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Dr Preecha playing the Phuket paddy rice farmer

Look Who's Back! It's That Phuket Preecha Man

Saturday, August 29, 2009
PHUKET has at least two governors for this weekend, with Dr Preecha Ruangjan back on the island . . . as a tourist and entrepreneur this time.

The island's energetic and outspoken former governor is back to help the province he currently administers, Phitsanulok, to market some of its OTOP (one village one product) goods.

Over five days until Wednesday, the best of what Phitsanulok has to offer can be found in the new conference space upstairs at Central Festival.

There's certainly some irony with Governor Preecha returning now because when we last caught up with him, he was trying to work out how to fight the drought in Phitsanulok.

That's a stark contrast to the weather Phuket has turned on to welcome back the governor and his family.

His thinking behind bringing the Phitsanulok products to Phuket was that if he took the show to Chiang Mai, which is also in the north, the products would be familiar.

But down south in the richest province . . . well, there are bound to be Phitsanulok products that nobody has seen or tasted.

Dr Preecha's stay on Phuket as governor was brief but eventful. To learn about the place first, he toured the island riding pillion on a friend's motorcycle.

Early on, he made his feelings known about future development on the island when he criticised the ''people who pluck the stars from the sky.''

''You come and you take,'' he said. ''You never give anything back.''

He was a little miffed at having been ordered off a ''private beach'' when his belief was that all beaches in Thailand are public and should remain that way.

Before long he was urging local authorities to pursue the public good, not greed, and after the Santika blaze killed 66 in Bangkok on New year's Eve, he organised a crackdown on safety in Phuket's pubs and clubs.

The safety and security of tourists was high on Dr Preecha's list of priorities, and one of his last official duties was one of the saddest: greeting a marine police vessel when it returned to Phuket with the bodies of five of the seven victims of a dive boat capsise.

In some quarters it was thought that Wichai Praisa-nob, who replaced him, might be more conservative. But that has turned out to not be the case.

If the two governors happen to catch up this weekend, we think there might be some interesting and memorable exchanges. We'll be interested to see what Phitsanulok has to offer Phuket.

And the ever-energetic Dr Preecha has to be back at his desk on Monday morning.

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Sunday November 29, 2020
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa

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