Thai Politics- Throwing Poo and Riding in (safe) Style

Friday, February 26 is Judgment day in Thailand- the fate of former Prime Minster Thaksin Shinawatra’s 76.8 million Baht fortune will be decided- the money has been frozen as the current government and courts investigate if the office of PM was used to curry financial favors that contributed to this personal fortune. This decision is dominating the news- more on the blog this week.

But, here are two great stories from the Bangkok Post from last week- I selected these two articles to show how different Thai politics are from USA politics. The first article shocked me, not for what was thrown, but for the fact that someone could throw something at the current PM’s house- many US Presidents are very happy nothing can be thrown at a sitting or retired President’s house (the shoes thrown at GWB didn’t happen at his private residence).

The second article again shows how “touchable” the PM is and demonstrates the tension in Bangkok at this time.

Feces thrower gets 10 days

  • Published: 13/02/2010 at 12:00 AM

A 43-year-old man was sentenced to 10 days imprisonment for throwing excrement at the prime minister’s house.

Wiwitwin Tiewsawat, a second-hand goods trader, said he carried out the protest because authorities had ignored his requests for them to rein in smokers near his house, who were affecting his sick daughter’s health.

The court found him guilty of disturbing and dishonouring other people and tainting private property with a dirty object. But the court cut his sentence to five days’ detention at Thong Lor police station due to his confession and the fact that he has never been jailed before.

Police arrested Wiwitwin at his house in Soi Rarm Intra 119 in Min Buri district yesterday. Police also seized his motorcycle which he rode to the prime minister’s house on Feb 1 when he threw the excrement.

Police said footage from security cameras helped them identify Wiwitwin.

According to police, Wiwitwin said his actions had nothing to do with any political group and he just wanted authorities to respond to his request.

PM switches to Rover for safety

  • Published: 16/02/2010 at 12:00 AM

It used to be a Benz. Now it’s a Range Rover. What next will the prime minister’s security team come up with as they seek to find him the safest form of transport?

The switch to a Range Rover was made to better protect Abhisit Vejjajiva after a grenade exploded near Government House on Saturday night and a bomb was found by the Supreme Court compound near Sanam Luang on Sunday.

The prime minister’s motorcade was also intruded upon twice on Saturday.

In the first incident, a car tried to join Mr Abhisit’s motorcade on the expressway when he was on his way to Government House. In the second, a taxi emblazoned with stickers supporting the anti-government red shirts, deliberately attempted to obstruct the motorcade.

An official in Mr Abhisit’s 20-member security entourage admitted the decision to change the vehicle was due to the series of events that took place at the weekend.

The Range Rover’s performance was also better, said the official, who requested anonymity.

The official said the security team planned to provide him with an additional vehicle to use for safety reasons.

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About faranginbangkok

Additional pictures: http://www.tumblr.com/blog/faranginbangkok For more updates about Bangkok, Thailand and other thoughts: www.twitter.com/lilrichardb I began working in Bangkok during 2008- a time that featured a great deal of political unrest in Thailand and particularly Bangkok. I had lived in San Francisco for 15 years and was working on a project in Thailand. Generally I spent 2 weeks in Bangkok and then 3-4 weeks in San Francisco. Did Bangkok begin to feel like home? Yes, and No. Bangkok and the Thai culture forced me to feel many things, the change in culture and environment was so dramatic it forced the decision- embrace or ignore. I embraced and made Bangkok my home and base in 2009. I have enjoyed living in Bangkok, experiencing Thailand and the entire ASEAN region.
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