[About this blog] Inspired by local soccer player Mike Lim during my rookie reporter days at Singapore Polytechnic, I set up this blog in August 2002. I feel that blogging is a novel platform to document interesting facets of my life and my thoughts on certain issues. [Email blogger] ephraim@singnet.com.sg

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

[Land of Smiles]
1. It is always a pleasure to visit Thailand. The people are friendly, the service is excellent and the food always yummy. Although my recent visit was a short one, it had a special symbolism. I was supposed to visit Bangkok early last year but was 'dis-invited' when bilateral relations hit a bump over DPM Jayakumar's private dinner for Dr Thaksin. I had informed the Thai FM of it in advance as a courtesy. Somehow it got leaked out in Bangkok and became an issue between us. After a year, I have been re-invited. Bilateral relations can therefore be said to be fully normal again. In fact, they are very good and getting better. My host was FM Noppadon who ably fought off a no-confidence motion two days before. As PM Samak was in Beijing, I called on the Acting PM Somchai who is also Education Minister.

Meeting with Acting PM Somchai

2. Together with FM Noppadon, we launched the 8th Civil Service Exchange Programme. FM Noppadon hosted me to a lovely dinner on board a ship in the Chao Praya River. On both sides, buildings were beautifully lit. The Royal Palace looked magical. I took the opportunity to meet up with old friends in Bangkok - former FM Kantathi, former DPM Surakiert, Democrat Party Leader Abhisit and General Chavalit who was as sharp and witty as ever.

Meeting with former FM Kantathi

Meeting with fomer DPM Surakiart

Meeting with General Chavalit

3. Later next month, I'll hand over the ASEAN Chairmanship to Thailand. I promised him Singapore's full support.

Do also read my posts on Beyond SG


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