“People,” Cathay says. “They make an airline.” They sure do, writes Asia Sentinel’s Pavin Chachavalpongpun
A Thai member of Cathay Pacific’s cabin crew has stirred up a social media hornet’s nest in Thailand when she revealed her extreme dislike of one important Business Class passenger – the daughter of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. She ended upon the front page of several Thai-language newspapers.
The flight attendant, known as “Honey Lochanachai,” posted on her Facebook page a photo of the manifest, the list of passengers on board a Cathay flight bound for Hong Kong on Nov. 25. The flight originated in Bangkok. Browsing the names, Honey came across Paetongtarn Shinawatra, Thaksin’s daughter.
It would be an understatement to say Honey is not fond of the Shinawatra family. The remarks she posted on her Facebook page have gone viral in Thailand, highlighting how deeply divided the country remains over the former premier, who was deposed in a coup in 2006 but who continues to run the place by remote control through his sister, Yingluck, the current prime minister, and through a handful of senior advisers from his pre-2006 government.
“I have heard that the Shinawatra family often uses Cathay Pacific to travel to Hong Kong. I never expected that (Paetongtarn) was on board today,” Honey wrote. “I immediately told my flight manager that I could not work knowing that the daughter of my enemy was on the plane. The manager was kind to reassign me to be in charge of other sections.”
She continued: “I also called my personal advisor asking if it would be all right to throw coffee at Paetongtarn, but was told that this could breach Hong Kong’s law. I was so angry and could not come to terms with the failure of last Saturday’s anti-government rally in Bangkok.”
The rally she referred to was organized to attempt topple Yingluck’s Pheu Thai government on the grounds that the prime minister was simply her brother’s puppet. Thaksin himself has referred to her as his “clone.” Honey thus is one among many Thais who continue to use Thaksin to justify a myriad of anti-government actions and policies, legitimately or otherwise.
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