Saturday, November 22, 2008

Conspiracy theorists having a field day

Thai Takes

HERE’S one of the unofficial versions on how Thaksin Shinawatra became a wasband (which defines as “a woman’s ex-husband”).

According to Jatuporn Promphan, an MP from the ruling pro-Thaksin People Power Party (PPP), the main reason the former Thai prime minister divorced Pojaman at the Thai Consulate in Hong Kong on Nov 14 was he wanted to return to politics.

“Thaksin and his wife had decided earlier, after the coup d’etat in 2006, that they would separate if he decided to return to politics. It is a promise between them. So they have decided to part now that Thaksin will return to politics,” he told The Nation.

“However, their divorce does not mean that they are no longer in love,” Jatuporn added.

On the day the Shinawatras split legally, over dinner in Hong Kong, Thaksin shocked his close friends, including PPP MPs, when he told them his marriage of 32 years had ended.

Thaksin, according to the Bangkok Post, told them, “(We divorced, so that) my wife and children would not have to keep moving from one place to another. From now on, I won’t have to be worried about them. I have no choice. Even though I’ve stopped, they (his political enemies) did not stop killing me (politically).”

Instead of listening to his marital and political woes, an anti-Thaksin journalist told me that the MPs should have apprehended the “fugitive criminal”.

The billionaire politician is on the run. Last month, a Thai court sentenced him – in absentia – to two years in jail for conflict of interest in a Bangkok land deal.

So far the “homeless” Thaksin, who is currently in Dubai, has publicly kept mum about his divorce.

News of the shocking legal break-up spewed a slew of theories on why the couple headed for splitsville.

It is a cunning financial plan to protect the Shinawatras’ wealth – which is mostly under Pojaman’s name – in case Thaksin is found guilty in a major corruption case which will be tried next month.

It will allow Pojaman to appeal to the British government to reconsider its decision to revoke her entry visa so that she can live in London and raise her three children there. (The British government reportedly revoked Thaksin and Pojaman’s entry visa because of the former prime minister’s jail sentence.)

The least conspiratorial of the theories is that Thaksin and Pojaman are really at odds. Perhaps the simple explanation is it’s a Viagra divorce (wordspy: “a divorce granted on the grounds that a husband is behaving aggressively or unfaithfully after taking Viagra or some other anti-impotence drug”).

Thaksin is not the only Shinawatra who is having “marital problems”.

If a 25-minute video clip featuring Thai prime minister Somchai Wongsawat (who is married to Thaksin’s younger sister Yaowapa) is to be believed, his marriage is on the rocks.

The “smoking bed” (wordspy: evidence of sexual misconduct by a politician or other public figures) that was posted on and website of anti-Thaksin newspapers last month shows a man resembling Somchai in four video footages.

There’s the man in a red Mercedes-Benz picking up a woman (who is not Yaowapa) in front of a convenience store and they later dined at a restaurant.

There’s the man and a woman (who is not Yaowapa) in a black BMW heading to a love motel.

There’s the man having lunch with a woman resembling Yaowapa.

There’s the man and a woman (who is not Yaowapa) buying a refrigerator in a HomePro department store.

Nothing really scandalous about the video footages which were taken before Somchai became premier.

However, Chamlong Srimuang, a co-leader of the anti-government People’s Alliance for Democracy, thinks otherwise.

“This is a serious issue because he is accused of using office time to hook up with a woman,” he said. “For this type of allegation, leaders of other countries would have resigned, if they had been accused.”

Early this month, Somchai admitted he was the man in the video but “only in some parts”. The video clip, according to him, has been partly doctored to discredit him. Well, that’s the Thai prime minister’s official version and so far he is not yet a wasband.

(Published in The Star on November 22, 2008. Photograph of the Thaksin family courtesy of The Nation)