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Thai One On

In a follow-up story to my recent Prime Time post, Thailand’s parliament elected a new P.M. to replace our man Samak. Somchai Wongsawat, unlike his predecessor, is no Rachael Ray. He’s the brother-in-law (and alleged puppet) of Thaksin Shinawatra, one of Thailand’s many deposed leaders, so his selection has pissed some people off.

(Is this too confusing? Imagine how the Thais feel; this is their fourth P.M. in two years. And I can’t help noticing that if you take the “h”, and the “aw” out of Shinawatra, you get Sinatra. Draw your own conclusions.)

The protestors who’ve been occupying the p.m.’s office and compound are mad as hell, so they have hunkered down (as they were saying in Galveston recently).They’ve laid down a wood floor across the muddy lawn, pitched a large tent for shelter, installed portable toilets and arranged for sewage removal.

(Maybe they don’t really give a damn about Thailand’s whacky politics; maybe they’re just in it for the cheap housing.)

In any case, the new (cowed) prime guy has given up on the compound and intends to rule from the VIP lounge of Bangkok’s old (soon-to-be-renovated) airport. I guess he figures that if he gets ousted, a getaway should be a piece of cake. (Apparently he hasn’t traveled lately.)

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