Fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra sent a photo book to foreign media in the country on Wednesday (13 Jan 2016), expressing his hope of ending his exile abroad and returning to Thailand.
A thousand copies of the 279-page Life & Times hardcover book were published in December in Thailand, detailing his private life and career in photographs, speeches and memoirs and highlighting some of the successes of the five years he spent in office before being ousted by a military coup in 2006.
“Thaksin intentionally published and delivered the commemorative photo book to foreign media as New Year’s gift. The special memoir publication is not for sale,” a source close to Thaksin told Kyodo News.
The former prime minister’s intended aim in sending the publication, however, is unclear. Enclosed with the book was a New Year’s greeting letter signed by “Dr Thaksin Shinawatra -- 23rd Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand.”
Thaksin faced allegations of corruption following the coup on 19 Sept 2006, and now lives in self-imposed exile in Dubai, avoiding a jail sentence in Thailand following a conviction for abuse of power while prime minister.
The book describes the coup as “the end of the people’s democracy” which “dragged Thai society back towards darkness -- into the spiral of conflicts where solutions remain impossible to find.”
It goes onto to say Thaksin’s most important moments in life came with the death of his sister, his daughter’s wedding, and the birth of his twin granddaughters.
“I was so sad that I couldn’t be there with her,” the former premier wrote regarding his daughter’s wedding, which he “attended” via Skype.
The photo book also implies his strong intention to return to Thailand in the future.
“I hope that I will be able to prostrate and feel the land of my home country again. I hope that I will be able to spend the last years of my life there,” Thaksin says at the book’s end.
Earlier this month, the government banned the distribution of calendars depicting photos of Thaksin and his sister, ousted former premier Yingluck Shinawatra, in several northeastern provinces where majority of his party’s voters are based.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha told reporters the calendars had been prohibited “because there is a lawbreaker’s photo published in the calendar.”
Photo caption: Former premier Thaksin Shinawatra sent his self-published “Life & Times” photo book to foreign media in Thailand this week. This copy was received by Agence France-Presse’s Bangkok correspondent Jerome Taylor, who tweeted the picture. (Photo by Jerome Taylor / AFP)
Article courtesy of Kyodo News.