Thailand: Former Prime Minister Passes Away

Samak_SundaravejSamak Sundaravej — former Bangkok Governor, cooking show host, and Thailand's 25th Prime Minister passed away last November 24.

Samak was a controversial political figure who was legally removed from the top post last year when the Court ruled that he violated the law for hosting a cooking TV show while holding a public position.

Bangkok Pundit highlights the obituaries published by major newspapers. Thaizer describes Samak as a keen chef who popularized Thai food:

A keen chef, Samak’s passion for Thai food made him a regular at the fresh food markets of Bangkok and his gruff, no-nonsense approach made him a popular host of a cookery show on Thai television. Ironically, it was the television show which would eventually see him ousted from the position of prime minister.

Samak is fondly remembered as a true culinary enthusiast

After his election victory the first thing he did was invite reporters from all over Thailand to his home to sample his homemade noodles. Samak is a true culinary enthusiast, and we think he'll be a great contributor to the reputation and enjoyment of delicious Thai food all over the world.

A youtube video clip shows Samak’s well-attended funeral bathing rite:

Bangkok twitterers react to the news of Samak’s death

zaz_zy: RIP Khun Samak the cooking world will miss u. Truth Be Told … That is absolutely right.
TAN_Network: Red shirt supporters to protest against presence of Democrat MP's at Samak's funeral
Tongteng: @suthichai Although I aint like Khun Samak, I would say that I'm quite perplexed seeing many negative comments 'bout him online today. RIP.
praditpi: Samak Sundaravej, 25th prime minister of Thailand, passed away today. With all his goodness, I wish him rest in peace
anirutpichedpan: Death of K Samak proves many people forget the good notion of 4giveness in its entirety!Only hate remains!Forget about conciliation,I say
wisekwai: RIP Samak. Thai politics has lost a bit of color.
ChadapornLin: it's sad upon Samak's death that I try to think of good things to remember him by out of courtesy but I just can't

During a royally-sponsored funeral rite, the anti-government Red Shirts (most of them were Samak supporters) outside the temple booed government officials who attended the ritual.

Samak had many critics. After his death, some bloggers have chosen to highlight his negative legacy. Harrison George points out the anti-democratic record of Samak

Samak has established the right of all Thai political leaders to spend a career justifying murder, jailing opponents, shutting down the media and foul-mouthing anyone with the temerity to question them, and still be described, as his successor as PM Somchai described him, as ‘devoting his life to democracy’.

Bangkok Dazed describes Samak as a “creepy political character”

He may have been colorful but he was also a nasty character who embodied the worst traits of Thai politics. I only wish he would take a few hundred other current politicians to the grave with him.

Political Prisoners in Thailand writes that Samak is a political dinosaur:

Samak was one of Thailand’s old guard who was able to stay on the scene and politically relevant because many basic features of Thai politics remained unchanged. In other words, because the political environment changed relatively slowly, the political dinosaurs have been able to adapt and even thrive

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