Relishing a peaceful life in Kanchanaburi, Chamlong Srimuang has been keeping a rather low profile lately.
At the age of 72, this vegetarian eats just one meal a day, wears a simple rural shirt and reads the newspapers only on Sundays.
"Political stuff can cause stress, and I don't want to suffer from stress every day," Chamlong says.
As a key man behind the street demonstrations that brought down two prime ministers, General Suchinda Kra-prayoon and Thaksin Shina-watra, Chamlong commands many loyal supporters.
Politically speaking, this is the man who can make or break a situation almost any time.
"I only travel to Bangkok when the People's Alliance for Democracy [PAD] holds a meeting or rally," the former politician says. "Most of my time is devoted to a leadership school I have founded."
Conducting classes for aspiring leaders, this school spans over 350 rai of land in Kanchanaburi's Muang district.
"I teach my students to be mindful of what they do, to meditate and to uphold morality," Chamlong says.
"I do so by taking them for a 45-minute walk up a hill and then letting them experience peacefulness in a cave.
"It's good to let the students get close to nature. It's useless if you attend class during the day and end up in a pub at night," he adds
Chamlong has been a major teacher at the leadership school, which has trained some 56,000 people over the past 22 years.
Throughout the four-day training, students must eat only vegetarian meals and learn to live a simple life so they can realise that life does not need to be complicated.
"I bar my students from discussing politics during the training, because I don't want to see them quarrelling," Chamlong says.
Yet the founder's extensive political experience has made it impossible for him to avoid talking politics.
"The students always bombard with me questions about politics during the question-and-answer session at the end of the training," Chamlong admits.
Talking about what he has in mind, Chamlong says he would not want to take to the street again, given the choice. "I prefer a peaceful life and an opportunity to fully dedicate my time and attention to the leadership school, a place where people learn to be good and morally sound leaders."
Dogs and cats
Aside from promoting vegetarian food and organic vegetables, he enjoys taking care of 2,500 dogs and 200 cats living on the nearby 38-rai plot owned by his wife's animal foundation. Every day he rides a red modified vehicle to visit the dogs he has vowed to keep till death parts them.
He even admits to having benefited from his battles: when he joined the PAD, he faced criticism over the ownership of the school land, but after the street protests, the Kanchanaburi authorities rushed to issue him the title deeds.
However, Chamlong insists he will not keep quiet while someone is harming his country. "If that happens, I will fight to the end."