Fugitive ex prime minister is willing to see the country destroyed in his pursuit of revenge

Thaksin and his dangerous mindset

It is obvious that Thaksin has been behind the political turmoil inside the country since he was deposed. He is vicious enough to stir up trouble at home continuously while he lives comfortably as a fugitive in exile in England.

When he formed his own party in 1998 and later became prime minister, Thaksin transformed Thai politics, not necessarily for the better, into a more centralised system. He reigned and acted liked a corporate leader making all the decisions, which, in his view, were business-linked. Nothing wrong with that, he contended, because everybody could make money under his tutelage. (But he would make a lot more than everybody else.) The country should be thankful for such a leader.

With such self-importance and self-indulgence, Thaksin constantly displayed destructive and high-risk behaviour. He popularised the notion that “winner takes all”. Once people worked under him, they could not question him. Everyone had to succumb to his charisma.

He has shown his true colours since fleeing the country, jumping bail over the Ratchadaphisek land purchase scandal.

Immediately after he left Bangkok and returned to London – where he and his wife, Potjaman now reside – a family photo was released by his public relations company. It showed Thaksin and his family walking and shopping leisurely and happily. This has been the constant public image that made Thaksin, as the Thai leader, so unique. Wherever he goes, his team of spin masters comes up with stories and photos to portray him in the best possible light. Never mind Thailand.

It was a smart move when he bought Manchester City football club. It increased his popularity at home because he knows exactly what makes Thais tick. They would adore a leader who had the money and the power to dictate the game plan of a major British soccer team. He did just that, but not for long. He sold the club because it was no longer useful for his political objectives at home.

Throughout his political career, Thaksin has been very efficient at choosing the right person for the right job. After all, he is a business CEO at heart. He is also results-oriented and cold-hearted. A former Cabinet member who was very close to Thaksin once commented that if Thaksin liked a person, he was willing to bet everything on him or her. Similarly, if any person crossed him, he or she would be punished immediately. This helps to explain why Thaksin’s words are still sacred among People Power Party members and other disciples. After all, his enormous wealth has been used to purchase loyalty and surrogates in all areas.

But his power is fading, and not fast enough. His vengefulness is so intense that he is willing to see his country go down the drain at his behest. He really believes he has a right to pursue retribution against his enemies – everyone except his cronies. With such a mindset, he feels no regret. Indeed, it is a joy that no other human being can have.

By The Nation
Published on October 16, 2008

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