The more aggressive the convicted fugitive Thaksin Shinawatra gets to force his way back into power, the more Thais realize this is not the same Thaksin they knew. Even that Thaksin supporters don’t have the highest education, they do have memories of how Thaksin acted before, and today’s Thaksin is starting to make them feel a bit uncomfortable.
After living with someone for a while you get to know their personal habits. You know what foods they like or dislike, you know what programs they like to watch, and you even get to know their bad habits.
When Thaksin first came to power, his outward appearance was much more pleasant and he gave the impression he wanted to help people. But today’s Thaksin has displayed near opposite behavior than of that time. It is clear he was trying to incite violence during the Songkran riots, and it is also increasingly clear his actions are showing much less respect to the King than he did in the early days. Even winning the popular vote has been replaced with an appearance of trying to steal it this time.
There are few Thais if any that can remember the aggression Thaksin is now displaying and although most lack the education to diagnose it, it is becoming more clear that Thaksin has a problem in his head and to some it is becoming a concern what would Thailand be like if he ever got back into power.
When you happen to touch on a conversation with a Taxi driver, they almost always ask what do you think about Abhisit or Thaksin. Thai politics is on everyone’s mind so it is hard to avoid the topic. Seeing that the bulk of Taxi drivers are Thaksin supporters, they will clearly say they like Thaksin. But when you ask them is this the same Thaksin they knew, most will pause for a moment and say no but do not know what to make of it. A year ago this would have never been the case. All that changed when Thaksin’s party fell from power in December 2008 by a court ruling that dissolved the People Power Party for election irregularities.
So in that respect as all it takes to start a conversation that puts the grey matter to work is ask if this is the same Thaksin. Chances are all but the die hard Thaksin supporters will acknowledge that he has changed for the worse. That could most certainly be a tool to undermine Thaksin support by posing that question in group settings in Isaan and the north where Thaksin supporters are. The Thais seem ready to talk about it if it is brought up in a conversation as it is a relevant topic in all corners of Thailand. As it would be, that tool that can undermine Thaksin’s support is being wielded by Thaksin’s own hand. Observing how a person acts does not take an education. You either like what you see or dislike it.