Thaksin’s home town reflects on coup


Thaksin’s home town reflects on coup

After
a military coup in Thailand ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra,
the BBC News website spoke to residents of his home town of Chiang Mai,
in the north of the country, to get their reaction.



SUDAPORN TANANCHAI, DESIGNER, 49

When we first heard about what had happened, there was shock, disbelief and finally acceptance.

I still can’t quite believe that Thaksin has actually gone.

It is not fair to Thaksin to drive him away like this.
He had begun projects beneficial to Thai people. Even the coup leaders
who drove him away will probably continue that work.


Sudaporn Tananchai

Sudaporn is dismayed by the outcome of the coup

I feel there is something bad hidden behind these recent
events. I don’t believe everything that Thaksin is accused of, I do not
believe that he did anything illegal in his financial dealings.

Many people in Chiang Mai still support him but they are
not too sure whether to make their opinion public. If they had a chance
to go to the elections they would have voted for Thaksin anyway.

Perhaps this is why the coup happened. It is very difficult to see into the future right now.

There are soldiers around, but life appears to be going on as normal.

I think most people want to see in what direction the
wind will blow. It seems that many announcements are made just to stop
people voicing opinions.

At a deep level we know we cannot talk much or talk as
freely as before. In this new situation, I feel you may be put in jail
at any time.


NIDHI EOSEEWONG, RETIRED, 66

I am a member of Chiang Mai’s “midnight university.” We
are an informal group of people with similar interests who teach,
publish and move on political and social issues.



People are nervous or scared of voicing support for Thaksin
Nidhi Eoseewong


We have come out and asked the Thai people to put more pressure on the
coup leaders to ensure a democratic process is put in place and
quickly.

I haven’t noticed any kind of special activity among
Thaksin supporters in Chiang Mai. I know that coup leaders were
sensitive to the precarious position of Chiang Mai. They know there are
a lot of supporters here.

Soldiers were positioned very visibly around town.

I personally disagree with the coup. Any problems that
Thaksin caused in this country could have been resolved through the
democratic process.


Soldiers posing with students in Chiang Mai

Soldiers were a visible but peaceful presence in Chiang Mai

When you ask people what they think about the coup and
the Thaksin government, they will say that they accept the result of
the coup. They don’t like Thaksin now. But how can we believe them?

I think people are nervous or scared of voicing support for Thaksin, at least overtly.

I hope the coup leaders know they cannot keep power for
too long. They have to get out and let an elected government lead the
people to reform.


TEERAPONG L, WRITER, 32

When I first heard of the coup, we turned the television
on and there was just this patriotic song – nothing else. It was a very
big shock. We called everybody we knew, phone lines were jammed.


Teerapong L

Terrapong says Thaksin supporters have stayed quiet since the coup

The situation here in Chiang Mai was very weird. This is
Thaksin’s home town. He has very strong supporters in this province.
But after the coup everybody was just so silent. They didn’t speak out.

There are people in my office who loved Thaksin and in
the past when Thaksin was in power, they said that any movement in
Bangkok against Thaksin was a bad movement.

After the coup, these people didn’t say anything
political. People joke, saying that they don’t want to talk politics at
a gathering of more than five people.

But some people were scared.

One person said he was uncertain whether his life would change. Would he get his salary at the end of the month?

I was personally quite glad that somebody finally removed him. There was so much corruption about and he did nothing about it.


AJARN DHIM, SCHOOL TEACHER , 53

I didn’t want a coup, but I couldn’t see anything else solving the problems of Thaksin’s rule.



I don’t care that I am in Thaksin’s home town. We are all Thai people.
Ajarn Dhim

I know an army coup is not good for democracy but there is nothing else that we can do. The coup has come at the right time.

I believe that the head of the coup just wanted to solve the problems of the country. He will return power to the people.

Thaksin came from a business world. He is a very smart
man. But I felt he just wanted to get advantage for himself, his family
and friends.

I could not believe that some people are so fond of him. Many were too optimistic.


Chiang Mai city

Thaksin Shinawatra was born in Chiang Mai in 1949

The people in the country really liked him. They didn’t
understand the business side of his dealings. Thaksin is kind and gave
money away to the people so they saw only that. Some thought he was so
rich that he wouldn’t need to resort to corruption.

I have been teaching here for 30 years. I don’t care
that I am in Thaksin’s home town. We are all Thai people. Educated
people know what he is like and the majority of my friends here feel
the same way as me.

Every province in Thailand is Thailand. I don’t care
where the prime minister comes from – he is Thai, he had to think about
Thailand.

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