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Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has been relatively quiet recently but he did meet with the Bangkok Post to suggest a plan for solving Thailand's water problems 

Ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra talks to the Bangkok Post at a restaurant in Dubai about the government’s challenge to deal with the severe floods. PATTNAPONG CHANTRANONTWONG

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Thaksin has a plan

Many people still believe former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is Thailand’s real prime minister behind the scenes.

That perception was strengthened by his video conference with the cabinet of the official prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, his younger sister.

Perhaps seeking to dispel that perception, Mr Thaksin has been relatively quiet recently, but yesterday he was back in the news after a dinner interview with the Bangkok Post at a fancy restaurant in Dubai.

As usual, Mr Thaksin was full of ideas, particularly on how to solve Thailand’s chronic water problems. 

During the interview, he called for the government to invest in an integrated water management system to permanently solve inundation and drought problems.

Thaksin estimated such a system would cost up to 400 billion baht, but the huge investment would be worthwhile.

"This year alone I estimate that damage from the current flood will be more than 100 billion baht."

Thaksin said an effective system would retain water in the rainy season and then release it in the dry season for agriculture.

Once the flood crisis is over, he will raise the idea with his sister and recommend she implement it as soon as possible.

"Looking at it from a positive perspective, the current flood crisis provides a good opportunity for the government to think about an integrated water management system and I believe all parties would agree with it," he said.

Thaksin said the government might not have to pay for the project in cash as a barter trade deal could be reached. "We can pay for the project with our agricultural produce," he said.

He pointed to countries with expertise in water management such as China and some Middle Eastern states. However, he said China could be a perfect choice as the offer of a deal involving farm produce would interest the Asian giant.

Adapted from a story in today's Bangkok Post by Pattnapong Chantranontwong  and Soonruth Bunyamanee. You can read the full story here:

ousted – forced out of a position of power ขับออกจากอำนาจ
challenge – something that needs a lot of skill, energy, and determination to deal with or achieve สิ่งที่ท้าทาย, การท้าทาย
deal with – to take action to solve a problem จัดการปัญหา
severe – very serious and unpleasant รุนแรง
behind the scenes – secretly rather than publicly โดยไม่เปิดเผย
perception – a particular way of understanding or thinking about something ความเข้าใจ
cabinet – the group of government ministers who make and approve government policy คณะรัฐมนตรี
official – connected with the job of somebody who is in a position of authority ที่เป็นทางการ
seek – to try to obtain or achieve something พยายามได้มา
dispel – to remove fears, doubts and false ideas, usually by proving them wrong or unnecessary ทำให้หมดไป
relatively – somewhat; in comparison with someone or something similar  ค่อนข้าง
particularly – especially, or more than usual โดยเฉพาะ
solve – to find a way of dealing with a problem or difficult situation แก้ปัญหา
chronic – (of a disease or pain) serious and lasting for a long time เป็นประจำ
invest – to spend money on something in order to make it better or more successful  ลงทุน
integrated – combining things of different types in one effective system ที่รวมเข้าด้วยกัน
permanently – for all time in the future อย่างเป็นการถาวร
inundation – flooding น้ำท่วม
drought – a long period of time when there is little or no rain ความแห้งแล้ง
estimated – thought to be a particular amount, size, etc. based on a guess or the best information available ประมาณการ
worthwhile – useful, important or good enough to be a suitable reward for the money or time spent or the effort made คุ้มค่ากับความพยายาม
current – of the present time ปัจจุบัน
effective – producing the result that was intended ได้ผลดี
retain – to keep, continue to have, or to store something เก็บไว้, สงวนไว้
release – to allow a substance to flow out from somewhere ปล่อย
agriculture – the science or practice of farming เกษตรกรรม, การเกษตร
crisis – a situation that has reached and extremely difficult or dangerous point ช่วงวิกฤต
recommend – to advise someone that they should do something  แนะนำ
implement – to make something such as an idea, plan, system or law start to work and be used นำแผนหรือนโยบายมาปฏิบัติ, นำมาใช้
positive – hopeful and confident, or giving cause for hope and confidence ซึ่งมองในแง่ดี
opportunity – a chance to do something, or a situation in which it is easy for you to do something  โอกาส
party – one of the people or groups of people involved in a situation คู่กรณี
cash – money เงินสด
barter – to exchange goods, property, services, etc. for other goods, etc. without using money แลกเปลี่ยนสิ่งของต่อสิ่งของ
deal – a formal agreement, especially in business or politics การตกลงซื้อขาย, ข้อตกลง, การซื้อขาย
produce – things that have been made or grown, especially things connected with farming  ผลผลิต, ผลิตผล
expertise – a high level of knowledge or skill ทักษะความรู้, ความคิดเห็นของผู้เชี่ยวชาญ

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