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Call me old-fashioned, but when an exiled former prime minister/international convict promises to render himself as a life-sized hologram, I believe he should deliver. That's just the way I was raised.
Let me back up a bit. Though exiled in a 2006 coup, Thailand's ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra continues to sway a major swath of the Thai populace through his in-country proxies, televised phone-ins and mass rallies held on his behalf.
Sunday, his faithful gathered for Thaksin's 60th birthday celebration: a day of well-wishing, good luck rituals and — so his camp announced — a "big surprise."
You see, they actually promised to beam a live-sized hologram of the billionaire fugitive from his secret international hideout. (You know, like the glowing, translucent 3-D images R2D2 could shoot out of his head.) What more could the voters want? Are you not entertained?
Thaksin, buddy, you really let us down. There was no hologram. His camp just played a video of Thaksin singing an original balled called "I will come back."
A sampling of the (translated) lyrics:
"I have become a wanderer / Sleeping in different places / Like a criminal in hiding / Oh, oriole / They still have a land in which to live / So different than I"
What a letdown. At least Thaksin was able to master another cutting-edge technological innovation yesterday: Twitter.
He and the current premier, Abhisit Vejjajiva, who he sort of tried to lead an uprising against a few months ago, engaged in some very passive aggressive Tweeting yesterday.
The current premier wishes Thaksin a happy birthday, followed with a gentle Buddhist dis: "If your eyes could see Dhamma (Buddha's teachings) you will be much happier."
Thaksin shot back by saying, basically, thanks for the birthday wishes ... and if I can help you solve the country's problems, let me know.
Overall, I have to say, they kept it rather polite, addressing each other with a Thai pronoun conferring great respect.
This is the prominent photo on Thaksin's Twitter page by the way — a shot of him wearing some Johnny Cash-meets-L.L. Bean garb wistfully staring out a train (plane?) window with a half-eaten pretzel. If anyone can help identify what drink he's holding in his right hand, please comment below.