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Meeting The PM Is Like ‘Winning The Lottery’


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LETTER FROM ROI ET: Meeting PM like ‘winning the lottery’, says villager

“It’s almost like a dream, like winning a lottery”, is how Vichai Chaiyawong, 39-year-old village headman of Baan Non Somboon in Roi Et’s At Samart district, described Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s plan to spend the night in his humble village today as part of an anti-poverty initiative. “I’m excited. I never thought such an opportunity would come,” said Vichai, sitting in front of his home on Saturday night.

Thaksin will spend five days in the district to show the country how poverty can be eradicated.

His trip will be covered around the clock and broadcast live on UBC cable television in a show called “Backstage Show: The Prime Minister”.

“Though my confidence [about solving poverty] is not 100 per cent, things should at least improve after he’s been here,” said Vichai of Thaksin’s strange visit that will turn villagers into living props for his “reality TV” performance.

Vichai did not hesitate to discuss poverty in the district caused by mounting debt and floods. Being in serious debt, the thin and soft-spoken headman said, was a fact of life there.

On average, he reckoned that each of the 103 families in the village owe the Bank of Agriculture and Cooperatives and the Bt1-million Village Fund about Bt20,000.

Vichai himself owes 10 times that amount – Bt200,000.

Then there’s the almost annual flooding caused by dams built by the government. “At least his excellency should be kind enough to give us a water pumping station,” Vichai said, adding that any cash donation by Thaksin would also be welcomed.

The visit appears to be organised in a top down fashion, with the military setting up a nice green tent and temporary toilets for the premier in the yard of a villager who works as taxi driver in Bangkok. Meanwhile, the village headman had no idea whether he would get to speak to the prime minister about the area’s problems.

Somdej Thalangkham, the 53-year-old taxi driver in whose yard the premier will camp tonight, had similar views to Vichai when asked if he thought Thaksin’s visit could eradicate poverty.

“Everything is up to His Excellency the Prime Minister!” Somdej said, adding however that he wouldn’t mind asking Thaksin for some money to help him pay off the remaining Bt70,000 on the loan for his taxi or fund for his daughter’s master’s degree studies.

Vichai feels the premier’s visit is like hitting the jackpot because of the sudden change in the attitude of authorities.

Local authorities even watered the village road to keep the dust from rising and turning homes and plants a reddish brown, something they had not done in very long time.

“They just came today; the dust used to spread everywhere. The various government agencies also treat us differently now than before, but I won’t criticise them because it will affect them,” he said.

Vichai, who watched reports of the protest calling for Thaksin’s resignation at Government House on Friday night, said he didn’t quite understand urban people, especially middle-class Bangkokians.

“I heard about corruption [by Thaksin] but to us rural villagers, he’s still our favourite,” he said before listing the various populist policies initiated by the premier.

Ironically, the Bt1-million village fund is blamed for pushing many villagers even further into the debt cycle.

Some 40 kilometres away and 18 hours later, in Roi Et’s Muang district, other northeastern villagers denounced Thaksin as corrupt and his policies as the antithesis of people’s self-reliance.

“If a young child is overfed and chokes when being fed, would that be the fault of the mother or the child?” asked Nong Maenbutr, a farmer from the Chang Harn district of Roi Et, who criticised Thaksin’s policy of giving easy loans to villagers without verifying how the money is spent.

Nong said many borrowers used the money simply to buy motorcycles or mobile phones.

Source: The Nation - January 16, 2006

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ROI-ET IS READY TO WELCOME PM AND HIS ENTOURAGE

ROI-ET (ร้อยเอ็ด) Province is ready to welcome Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his entourage to the province to help eradicate its poverty problems, while local people are delighted that they are not ignored by the leader.

Before the premier’s visit, the poverty-hit province has prepared the welcome by setting up welcome posters along thew streets where the premier's entourage will pass through. PM Thaksin was scheduled to attend a meeting organized by officials at At SAMAT (อาจสามารถ)’s district office, as well as seek solutions. Then, the premier will visit the local people in Tumbon Nom (หน่อม) where he will stay overnight. Four tents had been set up as the resting place and working place for the premier and his members

Local media, especially UBC television has brought its own SNG (Satellite News Gathering) truck to broadcast the reality show live to viewers.

Source: thaisnews.com ประจำวันจันทร์ที่ 16 มกราคม 2549

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ROI-ET IS READY TO WELCOME PM AND HIS ENTOURAGE

ROI-ET (ร้อยเอ็ด) Province is ready to welcome Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his entourage to the province to help eradicate its poverty problems, while local people are delighted that they are not ignored by the leader.

Before the premier’s visit, the poverty-hit province has prepared the welcome by setting up welcome posters along thew streets where the premier's entourage will pass through. PM Thaksin was scheduled to attend a meeting organized by officials at At SAMAT (อาจสามารถ)’s district office, as well as seek solutions. Then, the premier will visit the local people in Tumbon Nom (หน่อม) where he will stay overnight. Four tents had been set up as the resting place and working place for the premier and his members

Local media, especially UBC television has brought its own SNG (Satellite News Gathering) truck to broadcast the reality show live to viewers.

Source: thaisnews.com ประจำวันจันทร์ที่ 16 มกราคม 2549

This reminds me of those old sand and sandals epic movies where the Roman emperor and his entourage would move around the empire in tents with hundreds of servants accompanying them,with all the comforts of home but in a tent nevertheless

The fact that Emperor Thaksin has no clothes is lost on the Isaan peasants as they are the recipients of his largesse. anyway.

He is often referred to as a magician with no spells.............

Edited by ratcatcher
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INTERIOR MINISTER: PM'S VISIT WILL MAKE GOV'S ANTI-POVERTY CAMPAIGN MORE TANGIBLE

Interior Minister Kongsak Wantana (คงศักดิ์ วันทนา) expressed confidence that the Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s visit to Art-samart (อาจสามารถ) district in Roi-et (ร้อยเอ็ด) province will make the government’s anti-poverty measures more tangible, adding that they may be models for poverty eradication nationwide.

Air Chief Marshal Kongsak said that the premier’s visit will make the poverty eradication campaign more tangible, adding that it will make the public realize that the measures can be carried out quickly, adding that it will serve as a model for the nation’s anti-poverty campaign.

The Interior Minister insisted that the distribution of land documents for the local people prior to the visits had been carried out by his Ministry for a long time, but the policy lacks publication. He said that this year, the ministry will solve problems related to land by 40%.

However, he said that if the people in each village cooperate with authorities in solving problems, the campaign will go more quickly.

Source: thaisnews.com ประจำวันจันทร์ที่ 16 มกราคม 2549

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MR. YONGYUT CALLED IN CONCERNED UNITS TO BRIEF PROBLEMS IN AT SAMART BEFORE ACKNOWLEDGING PM

Natural Resources and Environment Minister YONGYUT TIYAPAIRAT (ยงยุทธ ติยะไพรัช) called in concerned units to brief problems and solutions of water shortage in AT SAMART (อาจสามารถ) District of ROI-ET (ร้อยเอ็ด) Province before acknowledging the difficulties to Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

He has also reiterated the Department of Water Resources to discuss with Royal Irrigation Department over water shortage in the district, as well as emphasizing units to recognize their duties and potentials.

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra will arrive at ROI-ET Airport about 14.30 and he will then visit the provincial areas to inspect poverty problems. His visiting will be broadcasted live via UBC 16.

Source: thaisnews.com ประจำวันจันทร์ที่ 16 มกราคม 2549

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He criticised the policy of giving easy loans to villagers without verifying how the money is spent. Nong said many borrowers used the money simply to buy motorcycles or mobile phones.

All over Roi-et very poor people driving brand new motorcycles, 3-4 mobile phones per family. Motorcycle dealers stacking money. Money source from the 1 mill Bt fund.

Pay back later or never.

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“It’s almost like a dream, like winning a lottery”, is how Vichai Chaiyawong, 39-year-old village headman of Baan Non Somboon in Roi Et’s At Samart district, described Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s plan to spend the night in his humble village today as part of an anti-poverty initiative. “I’m excited. I never thought such an opportunity would come,” said Vichai, sitting in front of his home on Saturday night.

Yeah, head down the nearest dealer and tell them you want a brand new Vigo fully equipped because you've met Thaksin :o

Most people only see Mr T's presence as an opportunity to ask for cash, not for his personality.

Vichai said, adding that any cash donation by Thaksin would also be welcomed.

Somdej Thalangkham, the 53-year-old taxi driver in whose yard the premier will camp tonight..

“Everything is up to His Excellency the Prime Minister!” Somdej said, adding however that he wouldn’t mind asking Thaksin for some money to help him pay off the remaining Bt70,000 on the loan for his taxi

Same thing happens when people meet Kam Nan Pah, the Chonburi mafia lord...

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