Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Rally Rally

I ain’t into politics so I have no idea what’s going on, but it is kinda like a sudden election thing going on here in Thailand soon. Election means mass rally and cars with loudspeakers going around promoting the political groups. We have in Singapore the trucks with loud speakers going blah blah blah. Put a picture of the political person up the front of the truck and it would look like he died with the campaign speech so monotone alike its prayers for the dead. Similar events here in Thailand. But….

I was having my lunch at the roadside kopi tiam. Then very loud Thai pop music got nearer and nearer, then pickup emerge in the small one lane road with big big posters promoting a particular political figure. Music… not boring speech of blah blah blah. Loud bass thumping Thai pop music. Amazing, sort of shows the light hearted land of smiles side of wonderful people in Thailand.

Now to the darker side of things….. Thanks to Temasek Holdings Singapore buying up AIS, seems there is a “I hate Singapore” thing going on here now. In addition, I see the red crossy sign of UOB popping up here and there in Thailand. Wonder what other Singapore things I will see next. Singapore… what the heck is Singapore doing… buying up everything here just because its cheap?? I got a call from a friend… asked me to be caution… stay home. Why??? Read on...
Extracted from The Nation, Bangkok, 07 March 2006...ANTI-THAKSIN PROTEST
PAD stages protest at Singapore embassy
A group of 50 members of the People's Alliance for Democracy rallied in front of the Singapore Embassy Tuesday afternoon demanding Temasek Holdings to cancel its plan to buy shares of Shin Corp.

The protesters carried banners, saying "Temasek Get Out" and "Thailand is not for sale" outside the embassy.

They turned up at the embassy at 2 pm.

They chanted "Temasek get out" for about 20 minutes until Michael Chuan, the secretary of the embassy, came out to receive a letter from Somsai Kosaisuk, a PAD leader.

The open letter demanded Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to cancel the deal with Shin Corp by Thursday or the PAD would campaign for Thai people to boycott goods from companies under Temasek Holdings.

The letter said the Singapore government would be regarded as interfering in affairs of the kingdom, which could affect the national security.

The letter said the PAD would not cancel its campaign against Shin Corp and Singapore until the deal is cancelled and it added that the PAD would return to rally outside the embassy again on Thursday.

Vuthiphong Pribjrivat, an academic who has helped organise weekly rallies against Thaksin, said protesters would march to the Singapore embassy by Thursday to ask the city-state to "reconsider the takeover".

"We will inform the Singapore embassy that the Shin Corp deal has created a lot of political problems," Vuthiphong said.

At 2:30 pm, a group of some 30 students also marched from Lumpini Park to the Singapore embassy and submitted a letter to the embassy's secretary, demanding the cancellation of the deal.

Chua assured both PAD and student representatives that their letters would be forwarded to the Singapore government as soon as possible.

Singapore's state-linked investment company Temasek bought a nearly 50 per cent stake in Shin Corp from Thaksin's family in late January.

Thaksin's family made Bt73 billion on the tax-free deal, sparking public outrage that has snowballed into mass weekly protests against the prime minister.

Earlier Tuesday before the protests, Foreign Affairs Minister Kantathi Suphamongkhon said the Singapore government did not inquire about rallies which the anti-Thaksin coalition would stage outside the Singapore embassy in Bangkok.

Kantathi said Singapore understands the situation well but Thai police would ensure that would be no problems to the embassy.

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