Thai Political Turbulence and Cold Weather in Northern Area

[ePrayer – Pray for the instability and cold weather in Thailand]


The anti-government strike has been lasting for two months in Thailand and the situation is becoming more intense, whether in terms of participants, scale or violence. Last November when the strike was at its preliminary stage, CEDAR staff and five supporters visited Northern Thailand. It was not difficult to recognize that local people are tired of the ongoing battle between political parties. They do not want to see people from the same country to start fighting each other and they long for peace and stability.

Ethnic minority groups living in Northern Thailand mostly are not registered and without land property. Even though they have lived here for tens years and bought the land they live and farm from local people, they have no legal security. As local government officers changed frequently, they will be posted away after taking office for only six months or one year.  The additional problem of corruption has set back effort made in the land and residential registration by ethnic minority groups.

Besides the political turbulence, Northern Thailand is affected by cold weather recently.  In some border areas temperatures are only 11°C in day time and below 10°C at night. However local families are used to warm weather and have little thick clothes. Some households lived in hut made by bamboos and wood which are not strong enough to resist the cold wind. Local Christian groups are now collecting blankets and thick clothes to give to impoverished families and new migrant families from Myanmar.

Meditate on Hymn:

Prepare the Banquet”, a Chinese Hymn | Lyrics by Sanson Lau

How to prepare the banquet? For whom? For those who are poor? Destitute? Powerless? Painful?
Will you care for them? Or express your sympathy? Will you prepare a hot meal for them? Or give them a cup of cold water? Will you bandage their wound? …

“Whatever you did for one of the least, you did for me!” The Lord Of All said clearly and surely!
Present the best to the most powerless; receive them with hospitality.

Many ethnic minority families from Myanmar and Laos have moved to Northern Thailand to earn a living and find security.  The way Christians in Northern Thailand served these migrant communities is echoing the teaching of this hymn: receiving the powerless and destitute with hospitality. May God teach and prepare us to present our caring, hot meal and medicines to the poor, the migrants, the least, the helpless.

Pray for the instability and cold weather in Thailand:

  • May God make an end to current strife and open a new way for Thailand to move towards peace and stability. Pray for upcoming election to be just, fair and peaceful.
  • Pray for God’s mercy to people affected by the cold weather in Northern Thailand, especially for the impoverished and migrant families. Pray that they can have enough thick clothes and blankets to resist the cold weather. Also pray for God’s protection to the elders, the weak and the young and infants.


Labour Strike Resulting in Deaths in Cambodia

[ePrayer – Pray for the labour strike in Cambodia]


The Cambodia government recently announced to increase the minimum wage of garment industry to USD 95. However, this amount is way lower than the amount of USD 160 insisted by workers and thus sparked off the current labour strike. There are over 500 garment factories in Cambodia. About 300,000 garment workers go on strike, seriously affecting the local garment industry.

In the past, labour strikes usually ended peacefully in Cambodia. This time however, is in a very huge scale and seems to become more and more intense. Many factories go into a stall. Police is called to quiet the demonstrators using armed force, resulting in bloody conflicts leading to at least 4 dead.

The manufacturers of many multinational garment corporations are involved in this strike. According to the study of “Labour Behind the Label” and the news report of “The Independent” last September, these multinationals offer about a GBP50 monthly salary to their workers in Cambodia. One quarter of their workers however are found to be seriously malnutrition. It is reported that if a worker need to acquire energy of 3,000 Kcal per day as suggested by doctor, he/she will have to spend GBP47 monthly in food, which is almost their whole monthly salary!

Cambodia ended its civil war in 1997 and since then, many industries have embarked into recovery phase. Due to the huge labour force from the young adults, many foreign-invested enterprises came and set up factories in Cambodia. One third of them are from China. In recent years, the production cost in China is escalating quickly due to high salaries and complex labour benefits and welfare legal regulations. Investors in China have determined that it’s no longer cost effective to produce in China. Consequently many of them move to other countries with lower labour cost, such as Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar. [The Independent, BBC, HK Daily News, the House News]

Meditate on Scripture:

‘For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. …The workers who were hired first grumble against the landowner. “These who were hired last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.” But the landowner answered one of them, “I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?”’ Matthew 20:1-16

At that time, a denarius was the daily wage of a laborer, and was enough to buy one-day food supply for a household. In those days, the landowner considered what is the amount that a worker’s family would need to survive and paid him what we say today the ‘Family Wage’. It is indeed a challenge to balance the different benefits and wants from foreign investors, factory owners, government and labourers. However, as Christians, it is worth to reflect on such practical issue, which is under the globalized world today that is largely dominated by capitalism, how one can fairly allocate the profits and resources among different social stratum practising the teaching of Christian faith on justice and mercy.

Pray for the labour strike in Cambodia:

  • The Cambodian government will soon meet with GMAC to discuss about the minimum wage for the garment industry. Pray for good communications between the two parties and a consensus reached to all satisfaction;
  • Pray for an effective and secured platform/ channel for workers to express their opinions without facing any threats;
  • Pray for a fair wage to workers which can meet their daily needs.

Turbulence Caused by General Election in Bangladesh

[ePrayer – Pray for Stability in Bangladesh]


5 January 2014 was the date of General Election in Bangladesh. Unrest in different scale took place before and after it. Weeks of conflict and violence caused over 100 dead, including the demonstrators and civilians.

In Bangladesh, demonstrations and conflicts are expected in the year of election as what was happened in the past. However, in this election, the ruling party amended the constitution and refused to set up an independent caretaker government to coordinate the general election. This ignited great discontent in the Opposition. The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) believe that this would seriously jeopardize the fairness of the election and thus boycotted it. In the past months, BNP took a series of actions to resist the election, such as strike, protest, blocking the traffic, violence and fire attack. The government dispatched troops trying to stop the violent situation and deployed 50,000 soldiers to maintain order on the Election Day.

This General Election caused more serious turbulence and separation in the society than before. The poor turnout was blamed on fear of violence and the boycott. One voter said: ‘I want to go to vote, but I am afraid of violence. If the situation is normal and my neighbours go, I may go.’ Even if the voters were willing to vote, there was no gain in increasing the credibility of this election. Due to the boycott of the BNP, over one third of the 300 directly-elected seats went uncontested. Awami League (AL), the ruling party, won two third of the seats, easily becoming the majority government to form the cabinet. [BBC1] [BBC2] [BBC3]

Since Bangladesh was independent in 1971, there have been constant conflicts between these two parties bringing political instability. Facing the issues of unemployment, poverty, corruption, inflation, industrial accidents and human rights violence, the Bangladesh people are fervently looking for political and economic stability for a better living. Local Christians told us: ‘What we look for is a stable society. However, our living is seriously affected by the non-stop strike.’ They added: ‘The opposition party has been fighting to rule the country with the law of Islam, including prohibition on any non-Islamic religious practices and activities and deportation of all non-Islamic NGOs. We perceive threats and are scared of it.’

Meditate on Scripture:

‘Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.’ (Proverbs 3:7)  The ruling party amended the constitutions and sacrificed the fairness of the election to avoid losing its power. The opposition party launched the attack and sacrificed the stability of the society to fight for its power. Justice comes from the Word of God; love is founded on God’s Holy Covenant. May everyone bow down before His Mercy Seat to seek the Truth, and to govern the land according to His will for most benefits.

Pray for Stability in Bangladesh:

  • Pray that AL and BNP will resolve their conflicts in peace and fairness for the people’s well-being and survival.
  • Pray for God’s comfort, healing, peace and hope of stability fall upon the people who are affected by the turbulence.
  • Pray that the damaged areas in the country will be restored soon so people can return to their normal lives.
  • Pray that God will strengthen His churches and people and give them hope and faith to live out justice and love under this adversity.

South Sudan Civil War Imminent, More Than Hundred Thousand Displaced

[ePrayer – Pray for South Sudan Civil War Imminent]


Since December 15 2013, there have been series of military conflicts between camps in the Government of South Sudan.  It has caused thousands deaths. 58,000 sought help from local rescue organizations to meet their basic living needs. Although cease-fire is said to take place in some areas, but residents still dare not return to their home.  In the capital Juba, more than 500 lives have been taken in 4 days. Citizens’ fear is obvious.  Continued fighting rendered no safe refuge, there is no sense of safety completely! Whether aid workers, women or children, their lives are in risk; rescue workers have reportedly been fatally injured in the refugees camps.  The overcrowded camps provided opportunities to culprits of sexual offenses. Trauma of war left in children’s hearts also need to be attended. [IRIN][BBC1][BBC2]

South Sudan is rich of oil reserve as its precious resources, but it leads to endless fighting and poverty to its own people.  South Sudan was founded in July 2011, but its national have been suffering from unsafety and poverty ever since due to power struggles in government and people’s snatching of land, oil and other resources. Facing such a disastrous situation today, besides help to displaced and injured from rescuing agencies how can we tackle the ultimate reason for the military conflicts ─ human hatred and greed?  How can we walk with this “young” country and assist to establish a good and effective governance?  Can we see how God act in response to the cry of the poor on this piece of land?

CEDAR supported children centers in Sudan serving children without homes due to war or poverty.  In early 2011 (before the independence of South Sudan), a portion of inmates of these centres were from south and chose to return their home-land.  Earnestly hoping those children are still immersed in God’s grace!

Meditate on Scripture:

“But he saveth the poor from the sword, from their mouth, and from the hand of the mighty.” (Job 5:5) In war, every moment of living is a miracle; it shows only the peace from the heaven can overcome people’s fear and anxiety and only His salvation can restore a country from corruption.

Pray for South Sudan Civil War Imminent:

  • May the Lord’s protection fall on all affected, taking them away from killing and persecution.
  • May all the military conflicts be stopped; the two contentious sides may have consensus for a settlement.
  • May the Lord have pity on the leaders so that they can treasure about people; building up healthy lives and a culture of mutual respect – food and clothes for the poor, refuge for persons in risks; rehabilitation for offenders!
  • May the Lord’s protection be with the rescue workers especially in their saving and medical works.