He’s Back (kind of): Former PM Thaksin Shinwatra launches weekly podcast

Photo: Thaksin official website
Photo: Thaksin official website

What does it take to shush a Shinawatra? Apparently more than being exiled or overthrown by a military government.

Business mogul and former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is once again looking to connect with his Thai public, this time as the host of a new podcast dubbed “Good Monday,” which just launched its first episode yesterday.

The weekly podcast, published (as its name implies) every Monday, features Thaksin holding forth on a wide range of topics in what he describes as an attempt to “share what he’s learned” during his 12 years of post-coup exile.

The former PM kicked off the first episode by expressing his concerns for the possibility of a world economic slow-down by the end of this year, which he fears could drag into 2020, something he suggested Thailand — particularly its lower socio-economic rungs — could ill afford.

“We all have to adapt or else we’ll suffer,” he declared.

He suggested that moving towards a sharing economy — a peer-to-peer economic model that focuses on sharing underused assets — may be a solution.

Thaksin also weighed in on the role of artificial intelligence (AI) and what it could mean for the kingdom’s future.

“Academics predict that robots may become as smart as the average citizen by 2045,” he stated, clearly undisturbed by the terrors of the singularity.

“While less technologically advanced countries regard AI as a threat to jobs, more advanced countries believe that these robots will take over tedious jobs… allowing more people the opportunity to pursue better jobs. So Thailand should train people to become these robot’s boss instead of sitting around waiting for them to out-race us.”

Fair enough. Through the episode — which you can listen to here (provided you speak Thai) — the former PM scrupulously avoids touching on politic issues. Whether that changes in the lead-up to the scheduled Feb. 24 election will be at least one interesting thing to monitor.

Thaksin’s announcement of his podcast has thus far met with mostly positive reactions on Facebook. Since the post’s publishing yesterday morning, it has been liked more than 61,000 times and received over 7,500 shares.

Thaksin, who was elected prime minister in 2001 on the back of a populist message that appealed to the country’s poor, was overthrown in a military coup in September 2006.

Fleeing a jail sentence on corruption charges, he has been living in self-enforced exile ever since.

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