Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Opposing spokespersons laugh together

They are not supposed to be too friendly with each other. Ms Mallika Boonmeetrakul is the opposition Democrat Party's deputy spokesperson. Prompong Nopparit is the ruling Pheu Thai Party's spokesman. They have both been engaged in ferocious exchange of angry words on any number of issues that split the government from the opposition.

But yesterday, they met at the Department of Special Investigations (DSI) undertaking the same mission: to push authorities to speed up work on websites that contain contents that affect the monarchy under Article 112 of the Criminal Code.

For once, they were on the same side.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Thaksin's oil search continues

Thaksin Shinawatra is on the move again. He tells the Bangkok Post this morning that he is in Lebanon to "pave the way" for PTT Exploration and Production Plc to bid for a concession to explore oil blocks.

The Post said a source in PTT said the management was unaware of Thaksin's move -- and that it had not received an invitation to join the bidding from Lebanese authorities.

In a telephone interview with the Post, the former premier said he expected to meet with Lebanese prime minister Nijib Mikati.

He said the Lebanese government would favour deals with oil companies from Asia as it is not on good terms with the US.

He believes PTTEP, a subsidiary of PTT Plc, would be part of a consortium to win the bid.

Thaksin was recently also in Cambodia -- just as Thai Foreign Minister Surapong Vichakchaikul was talking about joint ventures to explore for oil in the overlapping areas in the Gulf of Thailand. He was last week in Luang Prabang of Laos. Nothing to do with oil exploration, obviously. He was seen in pictures making merits at temples.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Seksan, Thirayuth try to keep a distance from Nitirat Group

The two leading activists of the 1973 student uprising, Seksan Prasertkul and Thirayuth Boonmee, have emerged to more or less dissociate themselves from the Nitirat Group, especially on the lese majeste law amendments.

Seksan's name was on the list of supporters of the 112 amendment spearheaded by the Nitirat Group. He said in a statement yesterday that he had agreed to let his name used in that context at the request of a respected senior person. "I also saw the proposed change as part of a general legal reform with a humanist touch. Besides, the important point was that the proposals were to protect the country's major institutions," he wrote.

Seksan said he was in no way a key member of the movement. "I considered it an expression of opinion. Society will decide whether to take it up ornot. Besides, I had no idea of pursuing it as a political move. I feel tired from the country's conflicts and would like to spend my senior years in solitude," he said.

Seksan insisted that he was in no way related to the Nitirat Group and has nothing to do with the other proposals enunciated by the group.

"I was briefed on the 112 amendment by a group of senior scholars who were not part of Nitirat Group and was approached on this particular issue only," he wrote.

Thirayuth, meanwhile, came out in public on the same day to suggest that the proposed 112 amendment could worsen the conflict in Thai society. He warned that neither side should claim exclusive loyalty to the monarch. All sides, he said, should shed their bias to reach reconciliation.

It was clear that Thirayuth, who said he had not offered any political opinion in the past two years because of ill health, wanted to avoid being seen to associate himself with the Nitirat Group as well.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Abhisit's new stand: We go for broke in next election

It wasn't a big story in the local press. But it was nonetheless a very significant political story because Abhisit Vejjajiva, leader the Democrat Party, has for the first time made clear his next political strategy.

He told a party meeting recently that the only way to "detox" the "Thaksin Effect" would be for the Democrat Party to win the next election.

He was quoted as telling his party members in a serious tone: "And if we don't win (the next election), I will not form the next government again. And if we form the next government without winning the elections, I won't accept any position -- and the party should pick a new leader to replace me..."

In other words, Abhisit has declared a "Go-for-Broke" strategy. A tall order. But still a challenge that can't be ignored.

British paper concentrates on her "style."

Daily Mail, India, says Thai Premier Yingluck is "suay, ruai, keng" (pretty, rich and smart) as described by some Thais. When she landed in New Delhi the other day, the Indian correspondent for Daily Mail did a "style" story on her.
Here is the link to the story:

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Yingluck at Taj Mahal

Premier Yingluck in front of the Taj Mahal in India. She arrived in New Delhi yesterday for a three-day visit that will include taking part in India's National Day Parade.

The premier says she is hoping to double the two countries' investment and trade during talks with India's leaders during the trip as part of the "strategic partner" arrangement.

The Thai prime minister will also attend the World Economic Forum in Davos after the India visit. A "Thai Night" event is to be held in Davos where about 1,600 dignitaries including 40 government leaders will be taking part in the annual forum. The European debt crisis looms large as the main topic this year.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Fireworks explode in Supanburi, at least 3 dead, scores injured

New defence minister wants to be govt-armed forces link

Premier Yingluck in the Air Force gear for the first time yesterday, flanked by the new defence minister, ACM Sukampol, and the RTAF commander-in-chief, ACM Ithiporn, once arc-rivals, and now seemingly having patched up.

The new defence chief officially took over the post today at the Defence Ministry where all the top brass were keen to demonstrate their "being together." ACM Sukampol reiterated that he wasn't trying to move the generals around. He has avoided commenting directly on whether he will push vigorously for the amendment to the current Defence Council law that deprives the defence minister of the aboslute authority to hire and fire senior military officers.

"I want to play the role of the middle man between the government and the armed forces," the usually blunt-talking general said.

How he will fulfill that self-imposed role as a negotiator will decide how long he can stay in the post.

Monday, January 23, 2012

PM Yingluck in her air force gear

Premier Yingluck in her Air Force gear for the first time this morning -- at Chaibadan District of Lopburi province -- for the Royal Thai Air Force's annual "Air Power Show."

All the top brass, except for Army Chief Gen Prayuth Em-Ocha who was busy with another assignment in Lampang, were there. Deputy army chief Gen Daopong stood in for Gen Prayudh.

It was also the first official function for the new defence minister, ACM Sukampol Suwannathat (second from left in the picture tweeted by Post military affairs reporter Wasana Nanuam), who was formerly with the RTAF as well.

Immediately to the PM's left appears to be Gen Yuthasak Sasipracha, the defence minister who has just been "kicked upstairs" to the post of deputy prime minister.

The new defence minister has said he will be working closely with military leaders in all the branches. He has avoided commenting directly on speculation that his main item on the agenda is to rewrite the current law that gives the authority of hiring and firing of senior military personnel to the Defence Council instead of politically appointed defence minister.

He will have to walk a tight rope over this highly controversial issue. So far, he has adopted a soft approach despite his reputation as a tough-talking, no-nonsense sort of military officer.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Gen Boonlert talks about a coup....again

Here is someone who would talk about a coup without any hesitation.
Gen Boonlert Kaewprasit, former rebel who had been jailed for taking part in a failed coup over a decade ago, is now a retired general. He is president of the Cadets College Alumni Foundation. He feels strongly that the current comments from certain quarters that he sees as being insulting to the monarchy shouldn't be tolerated by the military.

"If such comments don't stop, I think the military will have to do something," he said on FM1005's "Lab Luang Prang" weekly radio programme hosted by Wasana Nanuam and Patchara Sarnpimpa.

Wasana asked him whether by "doing something" he meant a military coup. The response was prompt. "Yes, I mean a military coup would be inevitable if the trend continues," Gen Boonlert said.

This, of course, wasn't the first time that the retired general had urged the military to take power when he sees that things didn't go as he wanted.

He had said it once, he would say it twice. "But I can't do it myself because I don't command any troops," he admitted.

The generals who are in a position to take that kind of action would never talk about it. Only those not in a position to do so can talk about it so daringly.

Friday, January 20, 2012

What the top brass say about each other

The new defence minister, Air Chief Marshal Sukampol Suwannathat comments on Army Commander-in-Chief Gen Prayudh Em-Ocha yesterday:

"We are both straight-talking characters. That's why we can understand each other. That's much better than sweet-talking people."

Gen Prayudh comments on ACM Sukampol today: "ACM Sukampol is my elder brother. Brothers don't hurt each other."

When 'Pu" meets 'Prem'

It was a much-anticipated scene: the meeting, albeit social, between Premier Yingluck Shinawatra and Privy Council President Gen Prem Tinsulanond last night at the annual "Army Day" reception party.

It was all smiles on both sides. Lots of pictures were taken. But there was not a single report in the press this morning about what they told each other....not even greetings.

Of course, both of them had known before hand that the meeting would take place. The fact that they did make the appearances and made great efforts to sport happy smiles underscores the attempt on both sides to show their readiness to at least put up a public show of civility.

Of course, scenes of red-shirt demonstrators lambasting Gen Prem in front of his house remain vivid in the minds of a number of people. Thaksin Shinawatra's famous allegations that "someone with extra-constitutional powers" had been plotting his ouster can still be heard from many quarters.

But Premier Yingluck has shown her flexible attitude over this issue from the outset. As soon as she declared her decision to enter politics, Yingluck has been saying that she would like to seek an opportunity to meet Gen Prem, who, before last night, had been keeping a cautious silence.

Will last night's meeting break the ice, leading to perhaps other gestures of reconciliation? If past Thai political practices were any indication, you will see a series of other gestures before a real compromise can be struck.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Yingluck 2 Cabinet: Catch me if you can

Premier Yingluck Shinawatra says her first Cabinet has “already” been in office six months. It’s time to review, evaluated and shake things up.
Opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva says this government started working “only” six months ago. If the premier feels the need to reshuffle her Council of Ministers, it probably means the Cabinet has missed its targets.
That’s how divergent the views are on the political scene. It all depends on where you stand and whom you speak to. In other words, reactions to the new Cabinet line-up (which has yet to be officially announced when I am writing this in the morning of Wednesday, Jan 18) are not only mixed, but are extremely subjective and partisan.
The strange thing about low expectations is that “bad” becomes “passable” and “mediocre” is automatically upgraded to “good” and the usual “acceptable” grading becomes “fantastic.”
Informed public discourse on the quality of politics has been banished from the conflict-ridden political landscape. If you are on one side, your reactions to everything that emerges from “your side” can’t be anything but positive. On the other hand, if it’s the other party that initiates certain activity, it would have to be downright ridiculous and terrifying.
I found it, therefore, rather amusing to hear those in the middle – trying to be “objective” about the whole political happenings – telling interviewers that the leaked list of the Yingluck II Cabinet “poses some very interesting challenging” to the prime minister.
That, of course, amounts to saying nothing. But trying to sound like saying something about nothing seems to be the new trend in a highly divisive society. You don’t want to be seen to be taking sides because you believe in “national reconciliation.” But when real reconciliation doesn’t happen, most people avoid making their opinion known.
They aren’t really members of the “Silent Majority.” Rather, they constitute the new class of “Muted Majority” who sit and watch in despair, hoping against hope that things will turn the corner, realizing, as Einstein once said: “You can’t solve problems using the same thinking as when they were created.”
The vocal commentators on the one side, not surprisingly, will tell you that Premier Yingluck is reshuffling her Cabinet to improve the performance after a six-month “probation.” That’s what a good CEO does in a successful business concern. That’s how her brother Thaksin had done before. You put more qualified personnel into the Cabinet to replace those proven unsatisfactory by the premier or the public. That’s call responsive government. That’s what every good prime minister should do.
Those on the other side cry foul, as expected. They immediately said in many cases, the choices of the new ministers reflect the usual “horse-trading” gimmicks. Political debt has to be repaid and favours have to be returned. So, it’s the qualifications of the individuals who count. It’s how the premier or her brother repays political debts that’s the main criteria for the new line-up.
They charge that the frequent Cabinet shake-ups doesn’t necessarily mean constant improvement attempts on the part of the prime minister. Rather, it shows just how much political debt has piled up on Thaksin whose main task these days is to pacify those who feel that the former premier owes them Cabinet, civil service and advisory positions for services rendered earlier.
And because you know that another Cabinet reshuffle may be effected again in May when some members of the 111 executive of the disbanded Thai Rak Thai Party are due to re-emerge from the five-year hiatus, there is little need to remember the names of some new Cabinet members, especially those named as deputy ministers. New names will soon replace the current ones anyway even before you have time to find out what their job descriptions are.
It’s therefore much more productive to ask who will be in charge of solving the major tasks facing the Yingluck government -- and how she goes about giving the public a regular score-cards of the performance of each Cabinet member.
Some of the main assignments for the Yingluck II Cabinet:
1. Who is in charge of measure to ensure that the Big Flood won’t recur?
2. Who’s responsible for the government’s economic policies to cope with the highly volatile international financial situation this year?
3. How does the new Cabinet implement the national reconciliation scheme which, despite all the promises, hasn’t taken any substantial shape in her first Cabinet.
If the premier could tell us who in the new Council of Ministers will carry out these major tasks (all clearly stipulated in the Policy Statement upon her taking office) and how we can grade their performances on a monthly basis, then we don’t even have to bother memorizing the names of the new Cabinet.
If we want to be realistic about it, the Thai public will just have to live with the fact that we will from now on have a new Cabinet every three to four months.
I know why this strategy will work brilliantly for the government. It’s the classic “Catch us if you can” gimmick all over again.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Yingluck II Cabinet: Not all that surprising, except the timing

The Yingluck II Cabinet is expected to be officially proclaimed today. When the premier was asked late yesterday whether the lists of possible changes in her Cabinet reported in the media earlier yesterday were more or less accurate, she said: "Oh! It's time for me to get out of here!"

Sunday, January 15, 2012

An upset FM wants to confront ambassadors over terror warnings

Foreign Minister Surapong Tovijakchaikul is miffed at the US, Australian and Canadian embassies in Bangkok for having issued their warnings to their respective citizens about "possible terrorist threat" in Bangkok without consulting the Thai foreign ministry.

Why the line of communications between the foreign ministry and the embassies failed is not clear. But the minister wants to summon ambassadors from the three embassies for a meeting to express his "disappointment" over the incident.

But then, it was later revealed that a total of about 12 embassies in Bangkok had issued such warnings without the ministry's advance knowledge either.

Now, will the minister call all the 12 ambassadors for a mass dressing-down session? Or perhaps the minister wants to check into what had actually happened between the ministry and the intelligence people?

Some of the envoys, if invited to the ministry, may have questions for the minister, such as: Deputy PM Chalerm Yoobamrung had told the press that the Thai government had in fact obtained intelligence earlier (even before the US embassy's alert) that some terrorists might have sneaked into Bangkok.

If that's true, why hadn't the ministry informed the embassies? If that's not true, why did the deputy premier say so to the public?

Perhaps, Minister Surapong may want to change his strategy. Instead of summong the ambassadors to the ministry for a not-so-pleasant confrontation, he might want to host a dinner to discuss just what had happened to their normal channels of communications.

Otherwise, the alleged plotters of terror might be laughing all their way to Khao Sarn Rd or Sukhumvit Soi 22 for some beer!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A 'suspect' identified in terror warning

Thai police have released a picture of the "suspect" in the warnings issued by the US Embassy on "possible terrorist threat in Bangkok." He is identified in a Swedish passport as Atris Hussein, a Lebanese. He was detained at Suvarnnabhumi Airport on Jan 12.

Deputy Premier Chalerm Yoobumrung had said earlier yesterday that "two Lebanese" had been arrested in this connection. He then changed his remarks to say only one was "asked to come to testify." Later, a police spokesman said one foreigner had been "detained" and wasn't sure what charges to press against the suspect.

Defence Minister Gen Yuthasak Sasiprapa told reporters that he had received intelligence "one or two days" earlier about a possible plot of terrorism against Israeli facilities in Bangkok "because they were said to have killed a number of Iranians."

Chalerm said intelligence to that effect had in fact been received by Thai authorities even before the New Year.

It's not clear how Thai authorities will proceed with the case. US Embassy officials say the warning to American citizens in Bangko still "holds" and that it's "Thailand-specific."

Friday, January 13, 2012

US Embassy warns of "possible terrorist threat" in Bangkok

Emergency Message to U.S. Citizens: Possible Terrorist Threat
January 13, 2012
This message alerts U.S. citizens in Thailand that foreign terrorists may be currently looking to conduct attacks against tourist areas in Bangkok in the near future. U.S. citizens are urged to exercise caution when visiting public areas where large groups of Western tourists gather in Bangkok.

U.S. citizens are encouraged to maintain a heightened awareness when out in public; be alert for unattended packages/bags in public/crowded places and report any suspicious behavior to the nearest law enforcement personnel. We also encourage you to keep a low profile in public areas, particularly areas frequented by foreign tourists.

The American Citizen Services Unit of the U.S. Embassy is located at 95 Wireless Road in Bangkok, and can be reached by calling 66-2-205-4049, or by e-mailing acsbkk@state.gov. The Embassy’s after-hours emergency telephone number is 66-2-205-4000. The U.S. Consulate General in Chiang Mai is located at 387 Wichayanond Road in Chiang Mai. The American Citizen Services Unit of the Consulate General can be reached by calling 66-53-107-777 and by e-mail at acschn@state.gov. The after-hours emergency telephone number is 66-81-881-1878.

For the latest security information, you should regularly monitor the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet website, where current Worldwide Cautions, Travel Alerts, Travel Warnings and health-information resources can be found. You can also obtain up-to-date information on security by calling 1-888-407-4747 (toll free) in the U.S. and Canada or, for callers in other areas, by calling a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (Eastern Time), Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

We encourage you notify us of your presence in Thailand by enrolling in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

Note: Due to a technical error, some recipients received this message - followed by a recall message - a few minutes later. Please disregard the recall message.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Chinese New Year Cabinet Shake-Up?

The rumoured Cabinet reshuffle may materialize earlier than expected. Matichon Daily this morning even suggested that the changes will take place on Jan 23 -- just in time to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

The first reshuffle of the Yingluck Cabinet may be on a small scale, however. It may involve the replacement of the agriculture minister, Theera Wongsamut, under the quota of coalition partner, Chat Thai Pattana of Banharn Silpar-archa. The ruling Pheu Thai Party will argue that the change is necessary to improve the efficiency of water management in the new year after the recent devastating flood.

But it is also known that Banharn has negotiated for a delay in the change until later when a larger-scale reshuffle could be effected all at once.

Another possible change is the industry portfolio. Chat Pattana Party has let it be known that Minister Wannarat Channukul has been taken ill and doctors have proposed that he take a rest. It's not clear whether this party, under the control of Suwat Lippatapanlop, will name another candidate for the post.

It's not clear whether the rumoured shakeup next week will include the replacement of the finance minister as had been speculated in the past week. It could turn out to be a mini-reshuffle to let Pheu Thai reclaim the agriculture post to consolidate its control over flood management activities. Pheu Thai is said to have offered Banharn one of the three portfolios in exchange for the agriculture post: education, public health or social development.

It's going to be a very exciting Chinese New Year this year, politically anyway.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Abhisit: Let's make it two, not one, for each province

Opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva says each province should have two, instead of one, representative to join the new constitutional amendment assembly (CAD) so that no political parties could influence the outcome of the process.

The ruling Phue Thai Party has proposed a 77-member CAD, with each province electing one representative to the panel. The Democrat leader said today that despite the suggestion that "independent" candidates would produce representatives who aren't attached to political parties, it must be admitted that in reality candidates with political affiliation would stand a better chance than others to win the election in this case.

Abhisit therefore proposed that two representatives be elected from each province so that the influence of political parties could strike a proper balance.

"For example, if a certain party has 60% of the influence in a certain area, it's not going to be easy for it to get two representatives.The other party with a 30% popularity would get the second seat. Or if two major parties share a 30:30 influence in a constitutency, the one with 40% will get the seat instead," he said.

Observers see Abhisit's proposal as a strategy to ensure his Democrat Party stands a good chance to win the majority in the elections of representatives to rewrite the charter. In the North and Northeast, judging from the last elections, Democrat candidates came second in many constituencies. In the South, the Democrats believe they could sweep the first and second seats rather than ceding the ceding the second best to Pheu Thai.

Of course, Pheu Thai isn't naive. They could easily see through the Democrats' game plan. The name of the game is "democracy," of course -- but when it boils down to the bottom line, the real battle is all about how do you define "democracy" in suc a way that you will win the next elections.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

If the PM had to make a choice between these 2 ministers....

It's still a rumour, of course. But this morning's front-page report in Matichon Daily sounded a bit closer to some real decision by Premier Yingluck Shinawatra to effect a Cabinet reshuffle -- and it's going to be sooner than you thought. The next two to three weeks?

Finance Minister Theerachai Puvanartnaranubarn appears to be the main victim and the winner is none other than Deputy Premier Kittirat na Ranong, a close friend of the premier even before she became prime minister. If Matichon is right, Kittirat will take over the finance portfolio. His commerce post will be up by Yanyong Puangraj, currently the ministry's permanent secretary.

The reason cited by the report for the reshuffle is the conflict between Kittirat and Theerachai over the proposed emergency bills to transfer FIDF's debts to the central bank -- a move which has raised a huge controversy with the finance minister opposing the move while Kittirat insists on making the change.

Theerachai was conspicuously absent from the television programme on Saturday when Kittirat appeared with Dr Virabongsa Ramangkura, chairman of the committee charged with post-flood rehabilitation, explained the necessity of restructuring the debt burden in order that the government could make new borrowings to finance the large-scale reconstruction.

Virabongsa hit out at the central bank for behaving like an "autonomous state within a state." Kittirat was more diplomatic. It was rumoured that Theerachai, who had been invited to join the panel, made himself unavailable at the last minute.

If the Cabinet reshuffle does take place, according to Matichon, two deputy communications ministers -- Kittisak Hattasongkroh and Police Lt Gen Chaj Kuldilok -- may also be ousted. They have been at odds with their boss, Communications Minister Air Chief Marshal Sukampol Suwannathat.

Also, a close aide to the premier, Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisal, may be made minister attached to the PM's Office to be in charge of media and communications, according to the report.

The line between Bangkok and Dubai must be very very busy indeed these days. Thaksin Shinawatra, in his recent phone-in to Pheu Thai MPs, said if he hadn't picked up the phone from some of them, it was because of the rumours about the reshuffle.

So, perhaps, things are really shaping up for some changes in the Cabinet line-up. The merry-go-round has started to spin now.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Too close for comfort?

He isn't prime minister anymore. But wherever Abhisit Vejjajiva, the opposition leader, goes, he is still greeted by some of his fans. This picture shows how intimate some young girls want to get to him. No security personnel around him? Apparently not.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Jatuporn meets Suriyasai: Soft sparring

I just watched "Woody" getting Jatuporn Prompan (red-shirt leader) and Suriyasai Takasila (yellow-shirt core leader as well as green movement chief) on Channel 9. And it was refreshingly frank for both to shake hands to agree to disagree.

Could this be the first step (one of many, many) towards some genuine reconciliation on a bigger scale?

Jatuporn and Suriyasai were in fact working together when they were student activists. Jatuporn was at Ramkhamhaeng and Suriyasai was attached to Kasetsart. They were both campaigning against military dictatorship and were in fact members of the student movement that was instrumental in calling for elections.

But they split after Thaksin Shinawatra took power. The rest, as they say, is history.

While they were smiling and expressing nice, warm words for each other in the programme, moderated by Woody, the two did confirm their political positions that are still poles apart. Yes, it still centres on the man called Thaksin.

Suriyasai said if the Yingluck government continues to make Thaksin the core issue, it probably won't last long. It should in fact be pursuing the issues that had been highlighted during the Pheu Thai's election campaign.

Jatuporn insisted that the red shirts would continue to push for the fulfillment of the promises of fighting for democracy and equality. "Thaksin will get what the rest of the 64 million Thais get," he said.

Woody, who described the meeting as a "soft sparring," got the two to shake hands. And, as it appeared on television anyway, a good time was had by all.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

When Asean secretary general tweets on flash-floods hitting his hometown

Surin Pitsuwan, the native son of the southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat, and currently Asean Secretary General, has been tweeting from early morning from his hometown which is being wrecked by fast-rising flashfloods.

His tweets tell the story.

He asked: "What have we done to deserve the wrath of Nature?"

Another tweet: "OMG! It's coming very fast from all directions."

With another picture, Surin tweeted: "Young students are preparing for the worst."

Yet another picture taken by "Citizen Reporter" Surin carried this caption: "This 'was' our school compound until now. It's a lake!"

Another tweet from the Asean secretary general: "Water, water, water!"

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year starts with specter of flood from Bangkok to South

Picture taken by @mahan_mcot posted on Twitter this morning of at the Sugei Padi Market in Narathiwat...

2012 starts with natural disaster hitting the South. Heavy downpours on New Year's Eve hit southern provinces of Songkhla, Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat, submerging many areas in those provinces this morning.

At 10.00 this morning, authorities at the southern commercial centre of Hat Yai Municipality raised the yellow flag as a warning for local residents to start preparations for moving things higher and possible evacuation if things get worse.

The specter of last year's severe flooding in the south has surfaced yet again, only a few days after Bangkok was declared "officially dry" by Bangkok Governor M.R. Sukhumbhand Paribatra.

It's an ominous beginning for the Year of the Big Snake.