Petals on the water bid farewell to Bangkok victim
Reaching low over the river, Kritsuda Narongplaian gently opened her palm and let the breeze carry away a fistful of orange marigold petals — her final farewell to a boyfriend cut down by the Bangkok shrine bomb.
Yutthanarong Singro was delivering a document near the monument in the Thai capital last Monday when the bomb went off, killing him and 19 other people. He was 38.
On Sunday around 40 of his friends and family gathered on a ferry in Samut Prakan province east of Bangkok, to scatter his ashes at sea where the Chao Phraya river meets the Gulf of Thailand.
After a short Buddhist ceremony led by a monk, the white cloth containing the victim’s ashes, tied by a garland of orange flowers, was lowered into the dark waters.
As the boat moved, leaving a trail of flower petals and puffs of smoke from still burning joss sticks on the water, Kritsuda turned to the sea and gave a ‘wai’ gesture to bless the spirit of her loved one.
They had been together for five years.
The bomber is still at large and no motive has emerged for an attack that targeted civilians at rush hour in Bangkok’s commercial center.
But despite a week of heartbreak, 30-year-old Kritsuda harbors no thoughts of revenge.
“I don’t want anything,” she told AFP, her face drained by grief.
“After I send him to heaven (by releasing his ashes) then I don’t want anything anymore,” she added.
But others on the small ferry were less sanguine, reflecting the anger and pain of many Bangkokians shocked by the attack on a religious site in a devout nation.
The prime suspect is a young man in a yellow T-shirt seen leaving a backpack at the scene moment before the blast.
Police say he is likely to be a “foreigner” operating as part of network of several others, in a well-planned operation potentially needing the assistance of Thais.
“I want them (the bombers) to die — that’s what they deserve,” said the victim’s older brother, Pakkapol Singro, 44, adding his sibling was gruesomely disfigured by the blast.
“I want police to arrest the perpetrators as soon as possible. My brother was a cheerful person, he was a good man, his friends loved him.”
Yutthanarong normally couriered documents for an advertising company by motorbike but chose public transport that day, he said.
He was walking to the Skytrain when the bomb killed him.
He leaves behind two children aged 10 and 13 from his first marriage.
Six Thais died in the attack.
But he majority of the dead were ethnic Chinese Asians visiting a popular Hindu shrine with a reputation — until last week — for bringing good fortune.
More than 50 people remain in hospital, some still critically ill.
With no-one claiming responsibility for the bombing, rumors and speculation have swirled.
Possible perpetrators named by police and experts alike include international jihadists, members of Thailand’s southern Malay-Muslim insurgency, militants on both sides of Thailand’s deep political divide and even someone motivated by a personal grudge.
But with no breakthrough in the case, those who have lost loved ones are left only with memories.
Kamon Wongprasarn remembered a friend who loved sports and had a good heart and a ready smile.
“Now I feel that a good person has gone from my life,” he said.
“I was happy when I was with him. We talked all the time ... I feel lost. I feel so very sad.”
(Above) A woman holds incense sticks as she offers prayers at the reopened Erawan shrine — the popular tourist site where 20 people were killed on Monday, Aug. 17 in a bomb blast — in central Bangkok on Saturday, Aug. 22. (Right) Delegates from the mainland Chinese representative office in Thailand lay flowers as they pay their respects for victims killed in a bomb blast at a religious shrine in Bangkok, Sunday, Aug. 23.