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    ตัด-แปะ ข่าว Apec

    Bangkok recovers from Apec
    By Tim Luard
    BBC News Online, Bangkok
    Source : http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/3203695.stm

    The ever-smiling host, Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, has said his gracious goodbyes to fellow leaders from Apec and is mopping his brow with relief that the group's annual two-day jamboree went off without major mishaps.

    Bangkok can now revert to its usual lascivious, litter-strewn, relaxed self.

    The world's tallest billboard - specially erected to cover up a slum - can be taken down again. The flower-sellers, beggars, prostitutes and street dogs can return from hiding.

    "Come back after Apec" was the cautious reply earlier in the week at a stall that normally does a brisk business in pirated DVDs.

    Streets plunged into unnatural silence to allow the smooth passage of presidential motorcades have reverted to their normal happy state of chaos.

    It remains to be seen what will be done about the pavements - some of which were raised to conceal potholes and other disfigurements, but only on the side of the road where Apec delegates might be walking to the shops.

    As for the guests - well, what an odd bunch. What a sight some of them looked.

    Especially when it came to the fancy dress bit at the end, when everyone slipped out of their formal evening wear and into their own, ornate little Thai silk jacket.

    Too ornate and too little, it appeared, for some guests such as the swarthy, bulky Latin Americans. But they smiled on bravely, secretly plotting their revenge at next year's Apec summit in Chile.

    Mrs Putin continued to dress in her very own, somewhat garish style.

    "She looks like she's wearing a rug," was the unkind comment of one young local woman.

    Problem guests

    The hosts had certainly spared no expense, laying on a gala dinner complete with personalised Thai porcelain plates, gold boxes encrusted with diamonds and rubies, a procession of royal barges and a 90-piece orchestra.

    The VIPs watched the show from behind a bullet-proof screen in an inner palace sanctum where kings once housed their concubines.

    Much thought had gone into seating arrangements.

    China's President Hu Jintao, having already insisted that Taiwan's prime minister should not be allowed to attend at all, naturally refused to sit anywhere near the humble representative Taiwan was finally permitted to send in his place. He even managed to persuade the host to steer clear of the poor man too.

    Another problem guest was Dr Mahathir Mohamad, more ebullient than ever as he prepares to step down next week after 22 years as Malaysia's prime minister.

    Star guest George Bush has not revealed exactly what he whispered in the good doctor's ear when he took him to one side.

    According to a White House spokesman, he gave him a stern ticking off over his recent remarks about Jews ruling the world.

    The Malaysian leader was unrepentant, taking the chance to repeat his claims about the Jews and laying into another old adversary - Australia - for good measure.

    Mr Bush, meanwhile, was still smarting from his faux pas early on in the proceedings, when he referred to the Burmese opposition leader as "Aung Suu San Kyi". And then repeated it, once again getting two of the names of the world's best known dissident in the wrong order.

    As one observer commented, "Well... he did manage to say four syllables".

    Ah well, as for me, I'm in agreement with most of Bangkok in saying thank goodness it's all over.

    Broadcasting live on the riverbank for the royal barge procession, I not only had to contend with police thinking my satellite phone was a machine gun. But the start was delayed by rain and I had to describe an imaginary flotilla.

    But at least, now that my fellow-guest Mr Putin has gone home, my hotel swimming pool will no longer be "closed for maintenance".

    จากคุณ : Nipol - [ 22 ต.ค. 46 20:27:19 ]