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Here I am. Look at me.

Tim Newton

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Editorial by Tim Newton

Yingluck’s in London. Yep, it’s her.  Somehow a Facebook page has been able to achieve what the entire Royal Thai Police and Interpol have been unable to – find former Premier Yingluck Shinawatra.

We are led to believe that these random pics of the fugitive PM are a serendipitous happening, arousing media speculation and allowing the officials to exclaim that they will seek “immediate confirmation of Yingluck’s whereabouts and do everything possible to bring her back to face justice.”

But do the NCPO really want Yingluck back in the country? And were these random shots, surfacing over a period of two weeks, actually carefully orchestrated leaks by supporters of the Shinawatra clan?

Yingluck’s planned exit from the country, just two days before she was set to appear in the Supreme Court to hear the verdict on her role in the Government’s failed rice pledging scheme, was the best possible outcome for the NCPO. The last thing they would have wanted was a martyr sitting in a Thai jail giving oxygen to the Red Shirts and lingering hope of a return to Shinawatra rule. She was gone and, hopefully, eventually, forgotten, living in exile alongside her brother – both fugitives forced to live overseas. The Government and Prime Minster have ridiculed any suggestion that her disappearance was an ‘inside job’, or aiding her escape in any way.

Yet, here she is, seemingly roaming the shopping centres and streets of London allowing happy snaps with strangers (we still don’t know who the other person is in the photo). There appears no fear of a tap on the shoulder from an Interpol detective or a Thai policemen who figured out how to buy an airline ticket. Here is a wanted woman wandering around London and posing with a 2 million baht pink crocodile Hermes handbag.

The fifty year old former PM appears to be coping with her exile in fine style. The Shinawatra clan became wealthy before and during the time of Thaksin and Yingluck’s premiership. Though Yingluck has said nothing on record since leaving Thailand, her brother is known to continue regular contact with a coterie of influential red shirts and leaders of the Pheu Thai party. The Shinawatras don’t need to worry about money to maintain a comfortable lifestyle, anywhere in the world.

That she has said nothing must infuriate the sitting Thai Prime Minister Chan-o-cha who can only mock from afar with no words or actions he can sneer at or sternly pound his lectern.

It all appears a little too staged – the photos turning up, the insistence from the Government that they are seeking official information from the UK Foreign Ministry about Yingluck’s whereabouts and her alleged application for asylum, the ease of unamed people taking photos of the former Premier when Interpol and the Thai police force have zero success with their worldwide resources and directions to ‘find her’.

But for what end? Is it ‘dipping the toe’ in the warm waters of Thai public opinion? Is it a damp gauge of lingering popularity? Is it a ‘hey, I’m still around – don’t forget me’?

For an international fugitive who fled her country fearing retribution from a hostile military dictatorship, she’s looking very happy. The granting of an application for political asylum in the UK would give Yingluck a five year stay with opportunities for permanent residency following the first five years. Whether she chooses to stir the pot from 11,000 kilometres away or just spend her days shopping, she has options.

Here’s a woman who knows precisely what she’s doing politically, although we question her taste in faux crocodile skin handbags.

- Tim Newton

Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2012. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for nearly 40 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program, presented 2,800 radio news bulletins in Thailand alone, hosted 330 daily TV news programs, produced 1,800 videos, TV commercials and documentaries and now produces digital media for The Thaiger and Phuket Gazette.

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National

Executed 26 year old had grilled chicken and rice for final meal

The Thaiger & The Nation

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In the wake of Thailand’s first execution in nine years, a few more details have emerged about the prisoner’s last moments and of his family.

According to witnesses, the first man to be executed in Thailand in nine years was calm during the last few moments of his life.

Identified only as Thirasak by authorities, the 26 year old remained expressionless as he walked to a room for the fatal injection on Monday.

“We let him say farewell to his family that day,” said Department of Corrections director-general Naras Savestanae. He said Thirasak also chose his final meal – grilled chicken and sticky rice – and after finishing it, was taken directly to the execution room.

Thirasak was executed by lethal injection six years after he fatally stabbed and robbed Danudej Sukmak, who was a 17 year old schoolboy in Trang at the time.

The victim’s parents have never recovered from the pain of losing their son. At the time of the crime, Thirasak was 19 years old.

The execution broke the hearts of Thirasak’s family members.

“He made one last call to Mum just before he entered the execution room – but she didn’t answer the phone soon enough,” one of Thirasak’s sisters said.

She said Thirasak had, however, managed to talk on the phone to his first wife. They had two children together.

“When Mum answered the phone again on Monday, she was told to pick up his body. Mum hasn’t stopped crying,” the sister said.

Thirasak leaves behind his two wives, three children, his mother and sisters. His burial took place yesterday, immediately after his body was transported from Bang Kwang Prison in Nonthaburi to his hometown of Trang.

“I had never thought he would have been executed. Convicts of graver crimes are still alive,” Thirasak’s younger sister said yesterday.

His elder sister said she would have been able to accept his execution had other inmates on death row also been put to death.

“At the very least, prison officials should have allowed him to meet his family members one last time,” she said.

The sisters said they had kept in touch with Thirasak throughout his imprisonment.

“When he was locked up at Trang prison, we visited him often,” one of the sisters said. “But after he moved to Bang Kwang Prison in Nonthaburi, we could not make the visit due to travel expenses. We exchanged letters instead.”

A recent letter from Thirasak mentioned his love and care for his family and also told his siblings to take good care of their mother.

“Living behind bars, my caring concerns cannot actually reach her,” he said in the letter.

Thirasak had also intended to study while behind bars, according to his family.

ORIGINAL STORY: The Nation

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National

mu Space wants to send your name to space

The Thaiger

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Space and satellite company mu Space is sending its first experimental payload beyond the Earth’s atmosphere and it wants to include a list of space fans’ names on it.

The Thai-based company is encouraging the public to write their names on a signature board installed at mu Space’s booth (Experiencing Zone 4) during the Techsauce Global Summit. The event is happening on June 22-23 at The Centara Grand at Central World in Bangkok.

A video posted by mu Space on YouTube explains that the names gathered from the Techsauce Global Summit  will be flown to space.

“This space initiative is the first in Asia and this is something Thais should be proud of. It shows Thailand’s capability to join the space race and create history”, said mu Space’s project lead Chaiyos Kosalakood.

“mu Space will send my name to space, your name, and the names of everyone who wants to join this space mission. This initiative is an initial step to make our dream of travelling to space a reality. We would like to invite everyone, both the local people and foreign expatriates in Thailand, to be part of this,” Chaiyos continues.

If all goes according to plan, mu Space’s payload will reach 100km above the Earth’s surface, where a reduced effect of gravity or weightlessness can be experienced. 

mu Space’s payload box weighs 11kg and will be stowed aboard a sub-orbital space rocket. Aside from the list of names gathered from the Techsauce Global Summit, the payload will include several scientific experiments from universities and space research agencies based in Thailand.

“Later on, we will open a competition for students to research and develop their own space products. The winning product will get a chance to be flown outside of the Earth. mu Space will make that happen,” Chaiyos concluded.

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National

Sadvertising: The art of making us cry and selling stuff

The Thaiger

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“Sadvertising is a consumer advertising trend in which ad creators are using a certain set of strategies to play on people’s emotions and touch off feelings of sadness, melancholy or wistfulness. Touching or emotional advertising has become increasingly popular in recent years as companies work to create strong emotional ties around their products. This is based on a belief that advertising that elicits an emotional reaction from viewers is more likely to be shared, particularly online and over social media. By attempting to reach consumers on a deeper level, sadvertising represents an attempt to gain their attention in an increasingly ad-cluttered world.”

Sadvertising is something that Thai marketeers do very well. There have been some famous ‘Sads’, like this one…

One of the big ideas behind ‘sadvertising’ is the sudden shift in advertising across generations. Not too long ago, comedy and laughter were the most common advertising strategies. Sadvertising is a kind of logical progression, although it doesn’t really work the same way that comedy did. But sometimes you can combine the two…

While there is a lot of potential for innovating advertising to bring out a wider range of emotions, some experts point out that there are inherent limitations to sadvertising that do exist with comic advertising. While many forms of comedy can be considered harmless in advertising, sadness is, at its heart, a negative emotion based on negative outcomes, which is something that marketers have classically avoided.

That means that in sadvertising, marketers must walk a fine line between tugging at consumers’ heartstrings and making them feel depressed. And, mostly of course, they and make sure you have that happy ending.

Here’s one more (there are plenty of others). Have your handkerchief ready for this one…

 

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