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Somluck, the politician

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As a politician, this is Somluck's Khamsing's first fight but he seems to be learning fast. 

Olympic gold medallist Somluck Khamsing,who is standing in Khon Kaen’s Constituency 10 under the Chartthaipattana Party ticket, talks to supporters during his first campaign rally at a paddy field in Khon Kaen’s Ban Phai district on Wednesday. MANOP THIP-OSOD

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Somluck, the politician

As a politician, this is Somluck's Khamsing's first fight but he seems to be learning fast.

He was thought to be a pushover, an "ornamental candidate" with no chance of winning, but people are now starting to take him more seriously.

It helps, of course, that Somluck was Thailand's first-ever Olympic gold medallist, winning the featherweight boxing championship at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

His roles in several TV drama series have also make him well-known to voters in Khon Kaen's Constituency 10 where he is running on the Chartthaipattana ticket.

For his first campaign rally on June 22, a crowd of more than 10,000 people flocked to a paddy field in Ban Phai district to hear him speak.

He still talks like a boxer.

"Now I am 80% confident I'll floor my opponents from both the red [Pheu Thai] and blue [Bhumjaithai] corners with a knock-out blow. As a boxer, I would not have entered this race unless I was confident," he said, adding that voters were fed up with the same old politicians and political troubles.

Unable to rely on his famous knockout punch in the political arena, Somluck says he is depending instead on his feet. He has launched a door-to-door campaign to meet voters in villages.

"During my boxing career, I had to run 2-3 hours a day," Mr Somluck said during an interview.

"But now, I walk from 7am to 11am in the morning to visit local voters. In the evening, I start walking from 6pm until dark every day.

His growing popularity has forced Pheu Thai Party candidate Ruengdet Suwannafai, a strong contender in the race, and Bhumjaithai Party's Premsak Piayura to intensify their campaigns.

Mr Somluck said his fast-growing support from locals prompted Pheu Thai's No.1 list candidate Yingluck Shinawatra to plan a campaign rally on Thursday to help Mr Ruengdet claw back. The United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship is also planning a rally for the Pheu Thai candidate, Mr Somluck said.
Adapted from a story by Manop Thip-Osod in today’s Bangkok Post.

stand (for election) – to compete for an elected position ลงสมัครรับเลือกตั้ง
constituency – a district that elects its own representative to parliament เขตเลือกตั้ง
on the ticket – as a representative of the party เป็นตัวแทนพรรค
campaign – a planned series of activities designed to persuade voters to vote for a particular candidate or political party การรณรงค์หาสียง
rally – a large public gathering of people to support someone or to protest against something การชุมนุม
paddy fields – fields planted with rice growing in water นาข้าว
pushover –a person who is easy to defeat or to persuade or influence คนที่พ่ายแพ้ได้ง่าย
ornamental – used as decoration rather than for a practical purpose ที่ใช้ประดับ
candidate – a person who is trying to be elected ผู้สมัครรับเลือกตั้ง
featherweight – a boxer weighing between 53.5 and 57 kilograms, heavier than a bantamweight  น้ำหนักนักมวยรุ่นเบา (น้ำหนัก126 ปอนด์หรือ 57 กิโลกรัม)
role – an actor's part in a film or play บทละคร
drama – a play for the theatre, television or radio ละคร
flock – to go someone in large numbers; to gather together in large numbers แห่กันไป
floor – to make somebody fall down by hitting them, especially in a sport ล้ม
blow – a hard hit with the hand, a weapon
confident – being certain of your abilities or of having trust in people, plans, or the future มั่นใจ
fed up with – annoyed or bored with something that you feel you have accepted for too long เบื่อ, ผิดหวัง โดยเฉพาะกับสิ่งที่เจอมานาน
rely on – to need something in order to continue living, existing, or operating อาศัย, พึ่งพาอาศัย
punch – a hard hit made with the fist (= closed hand)  การชก, การต่อย
arena – an area of activity that concerns the public, especially one where there is a lot of opposition between different groups or countries เวที
launch – to start something เริ่มต้น เริ่มทำ
popularity – a situation in which someone or something is liked by many people ความเป็นที่นิยม, ความเป็นที่ชื่นชอบ
contender – someone who competes with other people for a prize or job คู่ต่อสู้, คู่แข่ง
intensify – to strengthen เข้มข้นขึ้น
prompt – to cause someone to take action กระตุ้น
 (party) list – a system that gives each party in an election a number of seats in relation to the number of votes its candidates receive ระบบสัดส่วน, ระบบปาร์ตี้ลิสต์
claw back – to gradually achieve something or move somewhere by using a lot of determination and effort
United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) – the group originally formed to demonstrate against the 2006 coup and which supported the Somchai Wongsawat government against the PAD and which is now leading the fight against the current government. They are known for wearing red shirts แนวร่วมประชาธิปไตยต่อต้านเผด็จการแห่งชาต

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