No room for ‘losers’ in new Thailand

No room for 'losers' in new Thailand - The Age, July 3, 2004
...There is no room for losers in the Thailand of Thaksin Shinawatra, who, while deriding the national soccer team, was busy planning a public lottery to finance his personal fancy of buying a stake in Liverpool Football Club in England. Those who challenge the writ of the new strongman of Asian politics often find themselves sidelined or unemployed. Since he was swept to power in a landslide 3 years ago, Thaksin has transformed and energised Thai politics with his aggressive "can-do" leadership style, turning a flagging economy into one of the success stories of the region, infusing a moribund bureaucracy with his modern management credo and putting Thailand firmly back on the regional and global map.
Along the way, the 54-year-old leader has also ridden roughshod over the country's nascent democracy, independent media and legal institutions, crushing rivals and hounding critics. His high-profile campaigns against drug traffickers and organised criminals have left thousands dead, while hundreds more have been killed in an Islamic insurgency in southern Thailand inflamed by heavy-handed security forces...
"This is an ego that wants to control everything between the Earth and the Sun."
Two of the men Thaksin admires most have similar obsessions - Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (owner of soccer club AC Milan) and Harrods department store chief Mohamed al-Fayed (owner of Fulham Football Club), with whom Thaksin often stays in London, taking sight-seeing tours in his vintage Rolls-Royce.
...But Thaksin's energy and enthusiasm mostly enable him to weather such self-inflicted accidents. "He remains irrepressibly optimistic and confident. He is also engaging, quick-witted and amusing," says a senior regional official. "He is able to reach out to the people and they like him."
Thaksin plotted his political success with the same precision that he built his business empire. A minister in the revolving-door governments that mismanaged Thailand through the 1990s, he saw a window of opportunity and leapt through it.
...The Thaksin family now controls more than 10 per cent of stocks on the Thai exchange, and that does not include the vast amount of property and other assets held in unlisted companies. Last year, the value of the family holding company, Shin Corp, almost quadrupled.
This entry was posted in The Thaksin Years. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to No room for ‘losers’ in new Thailand

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.