He attended public schools on Long Island before transferring to the Franciscan Preparatory Seminary in Pennsylvania at the age fifteen. He graduated from high school and left Long Island in In March 3 his editorial arguing against U. It was considered one of the first, if not the first, student newspaper anti-war editorial. He also interned at both media institutions, as well as at the United States State Department in Washington in the summer of as a speechwriter, between Amherst graduation and Princeton enrollment.

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The situation is no good. Back in Bangkok, on that hot tropical morning of Tuesday, Sept. Around 8 p. Although modern Thailand has suffered through many coups, this was the first one in years that actually put tanks into the streets.

By 10 p. With dawn, the military locked down positions and conducted checkpoint searches of every vehicle passing the pivotal Rajdamnoen intersection. The next day, at a. They have also repeatedly insulted the King.

Thus the council needed to seize power. In fact there was no serious violence. Many Thais stayed indoors, sensing the unfolding coup because TV stations had stopped regular programing and were playing patriotic music. No shots were fired. No one was killed. It was a quiet coup. And a quiet ending … except for the political career of the prime minister, terminated as noisily as a tank rolling through a city street.

Later that afternoon, tension throughout Thailand visibly started to ease. Clearly, Thaksin was finished. Or so the coup leaders thought. And in my speed of reaching my anger and in showing it to everyone … I was too fast with all that.

My good part is being very constructive and creative in my thinking. Now they say that Thai courts have charged you, Thaksin, in absentia, after you left, for your role in fomenting the street protests. Have you actually been charged by Thai courts? I never have been charged. I was only charged because of the land use. My wife went for a public auction, and then she won. The auction was held for distressed assets hurt during the financial meltdown.

What was technically the charge? This is not true. The intention of the law is to prohibit you from having gained unfairly any kind of concession from the government. But … this [alleged offense] was at a public auction for the displaced asset, which does not belong to the government. But that kind of money might make people envious.

If she wanted to hide, she could have used a proxy name or the company names. Now … some have written that you have been convicted of additional corruption charges since going into exile. They allege, yes. Only one. One and only. As a point of fact, he has never been listed on any of the international arrest lists used by Interpol and so forth. To be sure… there were many other official accusations, and it is hard to believe that they all came from partisan parties.

But let me ask you this…: say for instance, the Shin Corporation deal involving Singapore, would you have done that differently today if you knew all the mess it was going to create? I mean, are there one or two you could mention that you would change? It was a huge transaction and struck many Thais the wrong way; it was almost like selling your national-security communications to the highest foreign bidder.

There was also a twist in the deal that critics found typical of a Thaksin transaction: The sale was structured to evade normal Thai taxes. So, because my enemies want to get me, the good intention not to be in the position of conflict of interest comes under attack.

The net effect of the Shin deal, for starters, was to make Thaksin at times as much a prime suspect as a prime minister. Perhaps it is true that the origin of the unfairness, if it was that, derived from continuing behavior on his part that his enemies could almost invariably paint as suspect.

Even so, in effect, he continued to behave as a businessman even while he was prime minister. Or about the same? Or impossible to say? You really do believe that? Their parents are poor. If they have been brought up better than their parents, or if their parents can do better in bringing them up than their grandparents, they will be better off. So much is an outcome of good nutrition, good education, and good opportunities.

But we want them to be able to breathe and flourish, but instead [in Thailand] they are drowning. If we can just get to them before they drown, take their head up so they can breathe, then they will find a way to get to the shore.

Suddenly they will have energy, and so they will try to use their own energy. So after they can breathe, they will never want to drown again. They are not strong, but even so, life asks them to carry a lot of weight. But at the same time the government is bigger. It can carry some weight for them for a while, and after they are strong, you put their true weight back on them. The government, for example, should provide computer tablets for every child that cannot afford one.

You have to help the rural areas to prosper. If you lift something, one sector up, the other will go up together, not just one part of the economy; but you have to lift from the bottom. If you lift the bottom up, the top goes up as well.

This approach does not mean that you neglect the cities, but if the rural economy is better, then everything, even the tourism, will improve even more. If we were to compare the whole organization of society to a human body, then when parts of it are dying, how can the whole body be strong? We have to re-invigorate each sector … that is, try to help the people from the countryside. I used to talk to them [the poor] when I was a young boy.

My father hired the garden workers, and they came, they worked, they dug the soil, and then at lunchtime they cooked their own meal, and then they did the work.

I watched the way they ate. How can they live? I saw this. When I came to power, because I climbed up via my business success, I know that, OK, we should do something, we should help them. How can we give them opportunities, give them some hopes? That is my passion. You are serious here? My passion is not to be prime minister.

My passion is to solve the problems of the people. Being prime minister was simply the vehicle by which I could try to do it. His natural impatience, which in general is a plus in the private business arena, became a dysfunctional liability when trying to build a consensus for new policy directions.

Thais dare not speak negative to the boss. Any negative thing or any kind of negative comment that can annoy the boss … well, they try not to.

That was my wife. I have one of those, too. Another needed reform, Thaksin believes, involves government compensation. Three thousand U. And no pension. You know how much I paid for my security people? They assign a security team for me, but they are government officials, so I need to pay them more.

We have to accept the fact. You are forcing them to go corrupt. Usually he is sitting back. I think forgiveness is the key. I mean it. I want to forgive and make the whole country forgive each other. You cannot be one nation anymore. If I were to go back successfully, you know, the people who are fighting against me now will not be fighting. Could you go back as minister-mentor, like Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore used to be for years?

The power behind the throne of India? And because I feel gratitude to my supporters.


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