Live-blogging from the airport
Photo: A monk at Bangkok's Suvaranabhumi airport meditates on the arrival of former Prime Minister Thaksin(Jotman).
Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin arrived in Bangkok this morning to a cheering crowd. Thaksin was deposed in a military coup 17 months ago which I live-blogged (A Night of Living Dangerously) . Today he was greeted by a cheering crowd of 2-3,000 enthusiastic supporters.
People sang, danced, and waved flags. Even the police seemed to be enjoying themselves.
As I passed through the crowd with my camera, people stopped me to wave. "We love Thaksin," was a phrase I heard more than once. Some wore blue t-shirts emblazoned with "People's Power Party" (PPP). That's the new name for the present governing party that is the reincarnation of Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai Party (Thais love Thais Party).
Actually, I arrived on the scene just as Thaksin departed in his limousine.
On my way back I walked over a grassy hill. On top of the hill a monk was peacefully meditating. This was not the first monk I had seen.
A few minutes earlier I had looked down from the Departure Level and seen a procession of about 100 monks pass beneath me. A superstitious person might deem the concurrent appearance of the monks an auspicious sign for the returning leader(video).
I had a brief chat with a Thai woman about Thaksin (next video).
"Why did you come here?" I asked.
"I love Thaksin!" she said, adding "He is a hero in my heart. . . He has vision."
"Thaksin helps poor people!" she replied.
She didn't look poor. "Did he help you?"
"No. I help Thaksin," she said.
We both laughed. Economic data shows that the Thaksin administration actually helped to improve the lot of many poor Thais. See my post, "Under Thaksin, Thailand's poverty fell at historic clip, despite relatively sluggish economy".
Here is my video of the scene at Suvaranabhumi airport: