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A Singaporean's guide to living in Thailand

yinyang

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Asset
Meet the ‘new’ Thaksin and Yingluck: Thai election candidates change names to emulate exiled Shinawatras

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Kanokwan Petraska, who changed her name to Yinglak, speaks to a constituent. (Photo: Jack Board)
https://www.channelnewsasia.com/author/7571378
NAKHON RATCHASIMA, Thailand: “Here comes Thaksin!”
It is a catchphrase that almost unfailingly draws a smile, and then a hug or a selfie, from voters along the rural back roads around Nakhon Ratchasima, commonly known as Korat.

But the man with the slogan, electioneering for support in this community, is no one particularly famous. He most certainly is not the Thaksin people in these parts have long adored.


Indeed, he has only been Thaksin for little over a month. For all of his previous 55 years he was Sathitkhun.
“Why did I change my name to Thaksin? Do people know me? They do but not many people do.
“Wherever I walk now, I say 'hello brothers and sisters, Thaksin is here'. People welcome me,” he told Channel NewsAsia on the campaign trail.

Sathitkhun formally and legally changed his name to Thaksin on Jan 31, in time for Thailand’s long awaited national elections being held this weekend.
His decision was a strategic one, playing to the local community’s yearning for the return of the Shinawatra family.
“People don’t know us much with our original names. This province has 14 constituencies. We need people to know us. We decided that we should come up with a ‘brand’,” he said.


Politician Sathitkhun formally changed his name to Thaksin Kuankoksung. (Photo: Jack Board)

In the Isaan region of northeastern Thailand, the Shinawatra family continues to be admired, and missed after the sibling former prime ministers were both expelled from the country over charges of abuse of power in 2006 and 2017 respectively.
Both enjoyed widespread support in the region, thanks to generous populist policies that benefited poorer, rural communities.
These included Thaksin’s sprawling microcredit systems and Yingluck’s infamous rice pledging scheme that saw farmers paid guaranteed above-market rates for their crops, a programme which saw her sentenced to five years in prison.
“People don’t know us much with our original names. This province has 14 constituencies. We need people to know us. We decided that we should come up with a ‘brand’,” he said.

“Grassroots and people in the rural area love Thaksin and Yingluck so much. Under the Thaksin premiership, Thai people lived a good life,” Thaksin Kuankoksung said.
“PM Thaksin and PM Yingluck are in the hearts of people. I don’t believe when any Isaan people say they don’t love Thaksin.”
In a nearby electoral district to Thaksin’s, something similar is happening. Yingluck is also on the campaign trail.


‘HERE COMES YINGLUCK’
Kanokwan Petraska has been working at local levels of politics for 20 years but like Thaksin has aspirations for higher office, a national calling. In a crowded field this election campaign she says she needed to stand out.
So now, she is known as Yingluck - spelled Yinglak officially on her new identification. With 37 candidates in her constituency and a short campaigning period, she hopes changing her name might yield a good outcome for her and her party.

“I wanted people to remember my name and instantly say: 'Oh here comes Miss Yinglak from Puea Chart Party and her number is 13',” she said, referring to her voting ballot number; somewhat ironically, candidate names will not appear on the papers for this election.
“The fastest way to make people remember you is to pick her name because she is such an outstanding leader.”
The reaction to this unconventional decision by the pair - as well as another two candidates in the same province also now called Thaksin - has been overwhelmingly positive, they agree.
The lasting popularity of the Thaksin brand of politics is clear in the northeast. A recent opinion poll shows that Thaksin’s latest party incarnation - Pheu Thai - holds the biggest amount of support throughout the region.
Its 43.6 per cent leads the progressive-minded Future Forward Party at 23.2 per cent, according to the poll by the E-Saan Centre for Business and Economic Research.


Nakhon Ratchasima is an important province - it has more than 2.1 million eligible voters, with 14 constituencies, the second highest in the the country after Bangkok.
Thaksin and Yinglak are running for Puea Chart, a newly formed party considered a subsidiary of Pheu Thai, part of a divide and conquer strategy designed to combat new electoral conditions that disadvantage large parties. But they consider any votes they receive as dropping into a larger Shinawatra-controlled pot.
This is not blind worship - both candidates have clear ideas about the challenges facing their local constituencies. For them, economic issues centered around agriculture have been neglected in recent years.
“I believe that farmers and agriculturalists are the heart of the nation. And they are the grassroots of the nation. If the grassroots are good and strong, the whole tree will be strong and prosper,” Yinglak said.
Notably, policies centred around such issues were a key pillar in Thaksin and Yingluck’s vote-garnering strategy.


THAKSIN’S GRIP
While the result of the election remains hard to predict, one certainty is a return of Thaksin-influenced parliament actors, and possibly a prime minister depending on voting outcomes and coalition negotiations.
But the consequences of democratic rule returning to their control - via proxy this time- is one of the unknowns of this vote.
While the working class were at the receiving end of generous spending, the country was riddled with violent division and corruption, which the military claims to have used the past five years cleaning up after ousting the Yingluck administration in a 2014 coup.
Despite their absence, the Shinawatras have remained an unshakable force in Thai society - the fact that candidates under their political wing would change their names in efforts to attract support is proof of that.


But their strength could be “diminishing”, according to Titipol Phakdeewanich, a political analyst from Ubon Ratchathani University. He believes Pheu Thai cannot take their stronghold areas for granted anymore.
“Thaksin’s popularity remains strong but on the decline and is being challenged by the rising political star Thanathorn (Jungrungreangkit) of the Future Forward Party," he said.


Still, the 69-year-old Thaksin enjoys such a strong grip on parts of Thailand, particularly in rural areas, that the cult of his personality remains imprinted in its dusty fields more than a decade since he last set foot in the country.
Other political leaders have tried and failed to emulate the types of character and policies that saw this influence build. For the next wave of wannabe members of parliament, simply joining the Shinawatras and their cause is not enough. One step better is to become them, if only by name.
“If you ask villagers if they miss Thaksin. They can answer 'yes' right away,” Thaksin Kuankoksung said. “If I get a lot of votes this time, it means that people really love Thaksin.”
In response Dr Titipol said: “It shows how insensible they are."
But the "new" Thaksin is unwavering in his support.
If he is elected he says he will try his best to help bring his namesake home. And his new name will be staying with him, win or lose.
“I will keep using this name to the day I die.”

Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/new...nd-yingluck-thai-election-candidates-11358220
 

yinyang

Alfrescian (Inf)
Asset
Experts make dire predictions as lower than average rain forecast
MOST OF THAILAND will face drought and water shortages this year based on both current water supplies and weather forecasts, but the Royal Irrigation Department (RID) insists that, with good management of resources, we won’t go thirsty.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/national/30366264

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Water for the dry season

National perspective
Earmarked: 23.1 billion cubic metres
Distributed: 18.3 billion cubic metres |(79 per cent)
Balance: 4.7 billion cubic metres |(21 per cent)


Chao Phraya River Basin
Earmarked: 8 billion cubic metres
Distributed: 7.1 billion cubic metres (90 per cent)
Balance: 828 million cubic metres (10 per cent)
 

yinyang

Alfrescian (Inf)
Asset
Princess presides at reception for Thaksin's daughter
Princess Ubolratana on Friday presided over the wedding reception of Thaksin Shinawatra’s youngest daughter in Hong Kong.
Paetongtarn Shinawatra and Pidok Sooksawas, a pilot with a commercial airline, were married at the Rosewood Bangkok Hotel on March 17. The couple held another reception at the Rosewood Hotel in the Chinese territory on Friday, with hundreds of relatives, including former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, and guests from Thailand.


Notably, Khunying Potjaman na Pombejra, the mother of the bride, was not present. A source said she had already hosted a reception in Thailand and opted not to come. Khunying Potjaman and Thaksin divorced after the former premier went into self-imposed exile in 2008 to avoid being jailed on a conviction for abuse of power. Yingluck fled the country in 2017 before her conviction and sentencing for dereliction of duty.

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Princess Ubolratana on the stage with the couple.


Among the Thai guests at the Hong Kong reception were friends of the couple, as well as Kachapa Tancharoen, a son of veteran politician Suchart Tancharoen and close friend of Panthongtae, Thaksin’s only son and elder brother of the bride. Mr Suchart, formerly a minister in a Thai Rak Thai government led by Thaksin, is now with the pro-regime Palang Pracharath party. Actress and model Araya A Hargate was also present with her husband, Vissarut Rangsisingpipat.
Other Thai guests were former members of the disbanded Thai Raksa Chart Party -- former leader Lt Preechapol Pongpanich, co-leader Sunee Luangvichit, and MP candidate Khattiya Sawatdiphol. The Thaksin-affiliated party was disbanded by an order of the Constitutional Court for nominating Princess Ubolratana as its prime ministerial candidate.
Tida Tavornseth, a red-shirt leader, was also present at the Hong Kong reception.


During his address, Thaksin said that at first he planned to hold the reception on March 23 but the hotel room was not available. “So I moved the date to today because if we held it after March 24, we’re afraid the room would be jam-packed because we would definitely win,” he said, referring to the general election.

The Shinawatra family at the reception: (from left) Panthongtae, Thaksin, Paetongtarn, Pidok, Yingluck,
Pinthongta and her husband Nuttaphong Kunakornwong.
 
Princess presides at reception for Thaksin's daughter
Princess Ubolratana on Friday presided over the wedding reception of Thaksin Shinawatra’s youngest daughter in Hong Kong.
Paetongtarn Shinawatra and Pidok Sooksawas, a pilot with a commercial airline, were married at the Rosewood Bangkok Hotel on March 17. The couple held another reception at the Rosewood Hotel in the Chinese territory on Friday, with hundreds of relatives, including former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, and guests from Thailand.


Notably, Khunying Potjaman na Pombejra, the mother of the bride, was not present. A source said she had already hosted a reception in Thailand and opted not to come. Khunying Potjaman and Thaksin divorced after the former premier went into self-imposed exile in 2008 to avoid being jailed on a conviction for abuse of power. Yingluck fled the country in 2017 before her conviction and sentencing for dereliction of duty.

View attachment 55841

Princess Ubolratana on the stage with the couple.


Among the Thai guests at the Hong Kong reception were friends of the couple, as well as Kachapa Tancharoen, a son of veteran politician Suchart Tancharoen and close friend of Panthongtae, Thaksin’s only son and elder brother of the bride. Mr Suchart, formerly a minister in a Thai Rak Thai government led by Thaksin, is now with the pro-regime Palang Pracharath party. Actress and model Araya A Hargate was also present with her husband, Vissarut Rangsisingpipat.
Other Thai guests were former members of the disbanded Thai Raksa Chart Party -- former leader Lt Preechapol Pongpanich, co-leader Sunee Luangvichit, and MP candidate Khattiya Sawatdiphol. The Thaksin-affiliated party was disbanded by an order of the Constitutional Court for nominating Princess Ubolratana as its prime ministerial candidate.
Tida Tavornseth, a red-shirt leader, was also present at the Hong Kong reception.


During his address, Thaksin said that at first he planned to hold the reception on March 23 but the hotel room was not available. “So I moved the date to today because if we held it after March 24, we’re afraid the room would be jam-packed because we would definitely win,” he said, referring to the general election.

The Shinawatra family at the reception: (from left) Panthongtae, Thaksin, Paetongtarn, Pidok, Yingluck,
Pinthongta and her husband Nuttaphong Kunakornwong.

close-up photos



 

Charlie99

Alfrescian (Inf)
Asset
Do the Thai names have any meaning?
Or do they have names with Chinese characters?
It appears that several of the Thai Chinese or Thai have surnames or family names that may been their grandfathers' or great grandfathers' full names.
I know of one individual, Nong OngPhongSong.
 
Do the Thai names have any meaning?
Or do they have names with Chinese characters?
It appears that several of the Thai Chinese or Thai have surnames or family names that may been their grandfathers' or great grandfathers' full names.
I know of one individual, Nong OngPhongSong.
Same with Chinese names. Given names have meaning. Surnames, no. The Thai Chinese surnames, like Indo-Chinese, were localized in order to integrate.
Most Thais also have nicknames given to them by parents. Some change it later in life. The nicknames are more commonly used instead of given names.

>> Or do they have names with Chinese characters?
If they use Chinese at all, this would beceause name is tied to a long-standing business. But they would not use this as a legal name.
 

yinyang

Alfrescian (Inf)
Asset
Fight the power: Thai rap stars savage junta 'bootlickers' before vote
Breaking News March 24, 2019 01:00
By Agence France-Presse


A golden statue of Thai premier Prayut Chan-O-Cha with the word "cheat" behind him looms over five rappers as they rip into junta "bootlickers", in a video gone viral on the eve of an election critics say is stacked to favour the generals.

Excitement is coursing through Thailand ahead of Sunday's vote, which will determine whether the army that grabbed power in 2014 can hold onto it through the ballot box.
Rival campaign convoys sent loud messages across Bangkok early Saturday in a last-minute dash for votes in what many analysts expect to be a cliffhanger election.
Thai hip-hop sensation Rap Against Dictatorship has also weighed in with a new caustic attack called "250 Bootlickers" -- aimed at a rubber-stamp upper house which will be instrumental in appointing the next prime minister.


The music video of 250 Bootlickers includes scenes shot at an exhibition by the street artist Headache Stencil, depicting Prayut Chan-o-cha and Thaksin Shinawatra facing off in a casino
.
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General Prayut, who toppled the last civilian government, hopes to return as a civilian premier after Sunday's poll with the help of the Senate, whose members will be appointed by the junta's number two over the coming days.
The track, released late Friday on YouTube, has already been viewed nearly 114,000 times.
"Bootlickers, bootlickers... constitution of bootlickers," Liberate P raps in a coruscating chorus.
"Why bother campaigning when there is still the night of the howling dogs," another member says, referencing a Thai idiom for last-minute vote-buying.


Surrounding the rappers are symbols and statues, a who's who of Thai politics including billionaire ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra and Prayut -- all works by artist Headache Stencil known as "Thailand's Banksy".
Artists and musicians have been skewering the junta in increasingly bold ways as the election nears.
RAD's first song "What My Country's Got?" -- a indictment of military oppression -- garnered 60 million views and earned a rebuke from Prayut, though the rappers faced no legal censure.


"The new generation has a chance to bring change to the country," RAD's Hockhacker told AFP on Friday, adding the party he will vote for "is not supporting the junta".

Thailand's traditional split between Thaksin-aligned and pro-junta factions will be tested by the entry of more than seven million first-time voters aged between 18 and 25, and new parties joining the fray.
The most prominent is Future Forward, led by telegenic billionaire Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, who has commandeered the hearts of millennials with slick campaigns and calls to unwind junta power.
A commenter on RAD's video says he hopes the rappers' message "will reach Thai eligible voters... and I wish change would happen tomorrow".
 
Last edited:

Charlie99

Alfrescian (Inf)
Asset
Same with Chinese names. Given names have meaning. Surnames, no. The Thai Chinese surnames, like Indo-Chinese, were localized in order to integrate.
Most Thais also have nicknames given to them by parents. Some change it later in life. The nicknames are more commonly used instead of given names.

>> Or do they have names with Chinese characters?
If they use Chinese at all, this would beceause name is tied to a long-standing business. But they would not use this as a legal name.
Thank you
 

yinyang

Alfrescian (Inf)
Asset
Demographic stats speak for themselves. Numerical red victory more pronounced in north east and north (so no surprise here).

https://www.bangkokpost.com/specials/election2019/
(couldn't embed the graphics)

Junta made progress with unabashed campaigning by current PM. Democrats screwed themselves, thought to be traditional power bastion.

Abhisit threw in towel as blues leader. Youth newbie Thanathorn with Future Forward made inroads on debut.
 
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