TOUCHING, not too bad, worth waiting for after a lot of guessing and intrigue. Yes, this is about the content of Thaksin Shinawatra's phone-in talk on Saturday night to a huge gathering of his fans. The heart-rending hard-luck story moved some admirers to tears. Many sobbed genuinely. That was the effect of Thaksin's charm, bolstered by the power of his money. Snake oil salesmen would find it hard to match his passionate sell. Tens of thousands of people wearing red shirts - some were paid to show up - at the national stadium were not certain the scheduled phone-in would take place amidst warnings from many people.
I always wanted to meet and interview Charles Robert Jenkins, ever since I read his book in October 2005, about his defection to North Korea from the US army in South Korea in January 1965. He was the first person to write about Anocha Panchoy, a Thai woman who was allegedly abducted in Macao by North Korean secret agents in August 1978. It is an incredible story of suffering and deceit. Anocha's story appeared in Thai newspapers, based on Jenkins' account, in November 2005. Family and friends of Anocha came forward with additional information. They helped to shed light on why she went to Macau at a young age to work as a masseuse, before she was abducted.
AFTER the negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement on goods between India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (the India-Asean FTA) were successfully concluded on August 28, consumers now expect to enjoy a wide range of duty-free imports such as textiles, capital goods, plastics and electrical machinery, among many others, from India next year.
Many wellwishers recently came out of seclusion to publicly call for a truce among the "quarrelling parties" entangled in the current political turmoil. While no names were mentioned, the proposed "Four-party Peaceful Dialogue" by an academic was meant to include the government, the opposition, the PAD (People's Alliance for Democracy) and the DAAD (Democratic Alliance against Dictatorship)-organisers of the "Saturday Night Live" event that was telecast nationwide on state-owned station NBT and paid for with taxpayers' money).