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Dr Preecha Ruangjan: the sky's the limit now

Former Governor Turns Rainmaker in Drought

Thursday, March 26, 2009
Phuketwan on two Phuket governors

FORMER Governor Dr Preecha Ruangjan plans to come back to Phuket. But his return visit is likely to be as a tourist, not as governor.

The former island administrative chief is settling in at Phitsanulok province, which is very different to Phuket.

Unlike the island, surrounded by water, the Governor's new province is suffering from drought.

He was looking to organise some rainmaking today to ease the pain.

''If the gods won't give us rain, we will just have to do it ourselves,'' he said. ''We will try to make some of our own.''

Dr Preecha said that the rural province was very different to Phuket, without the vast range of issues that sprang from such a diverse group of residents on the island.

He has been taking calls from a broad cross-section of Phuket people who were just becoming accustomed to his can-do style of administration when his term came to a sudden halt, after less than five months.

He said he would be back. ''I do like Phuket,'' he said. ''It is never boring.''

Even the media in his new province, he said, was more restrained and exclusively Thai-language.

He hopes to be free to come as a tourist sometime soon, probably when his children, both students at high school in nearby Nakorrnsawan Province, have their next holiday break.

Dr Preecha said that as much as he missed not being close to his children, he did not ask for the transfer from Phuket.

He said that there may have been people in Bangkok who perhaps came to the conclusion that his rural background did not suit an ''international'' province.

In his brief time as Phuket governor, Dr Preecha showed the intent to take on some of the big issues that have bedevilled the island, urging local officials to act in the best interests of the community rather than lining their pockets.

It is believed that he did not sign a single land-ownership chanote title in his time on the island (all title changes have to be endorsed by governors.)

Dr Preecha's successor, Governor Wichai Praisa-Ngob, has also won the praise of people from his previous province as a ''high grade diamond.''

His background makes him an expert in land-ownership issues and he is also known as a man who speaks his mind.

A change in governors in 28 of Thailand's 76 provinces put them both on the administrative roundabout after just a few months in their previous roles.

While politics are not supposed to be part of the process for appointing governors and the PM himself has urged governors to govern without favor, there is no doubt that people of influence constantly express opinions in Bangkok about the qualities of provincial administrators.

With compulsory retirement beckoning for Governor Wichai in about 12 months, it's even possible that Governor Preecha could be among the candidates for the Phuket job again.

He says there are certainly some tasks he would have liked to have finished, but he also has high regard for Governor Wichai.

Governor Wichai has already said he plans to continue some of the projects begun by Dr Preecha. With his tenure set, he may even want to see rapid improvements.

Meanwhile, there's a big drought that Dr Preecha hopes to help break, with a little governor intervention.

It will certainly be true to say that today, perhaps for the first time, he has his head in the clouds.

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Pity the govenor could not rain on the jetskis and tuk tuk parade ? Shame on you.

Posted by Annony Mouse 1 on March 28, 2009 06:13


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