HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

PM Thaksin Shinawatra and his daughter celebrate Songkran festival in hometown

PM Thaksin Shinawatra and his daughter celebrate Songkran festival in hometown

Nopniwat Krailerg

On April 13 after PM Thaksin Shinawatra offered breakfast to 209 monks at Thapae Gate as part of the Songkran festival, he and his daughter Pinthongtha Shinawatra visited Chiang Mai Zoo to see Chuang Chuang and Lin Hui, the two pandas.

The doctor on duty at the zoo reported that the pandas are in good health, especially Chuang Chuang, who likes bamboo leaves from the royal project.

In the afternoon, the PM continued his tour to pour water on a Buddha image, Phra Puttha Sihing of Chiang Mai City. He was leading the parade as Phra Puttha Sihing and other Buddha images were carried around the city, offering a chance for people to pour water on those images. Then he greeted people from Chiang Mai on the way from the governorís residence to the AIS building, and later rode a six-wheel truck to join a Songkran festival with his daughter and friends. There was so much traffic that the party gave up and returned to take a rest.

The PM wished Chiang Mai residents happiness and he sent his best wishes to people lacking opportunities in society. He said that this year would be a year of offering opportunity to cripples, elders and youth.

On April 14-15, PM Thaksin privately poured water on his ancestorís graveyard at San Kamphaeng and an aunt, Chansom Shinawatra, an elder relative of his and his family also poured water on the PMís hands.

On April 16, the PM presided over the opening ceremony of a new San Kamphaeng district office building and site at the Chiang Mai-San Kamphaeng Bor Sang crossroad. It could be said that the PM spent much of his holiday on duty in Chiang Mai.

PM Thaksin pours holy water over the revered Buddha statue.

Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat, Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn, PM Thaksin Shinawatra and other dignitaries from Chiang Mai Municipality during the opening prayers of this yearís Songkran festival.

Only in Thailand Ė when do you get the chance to drench your Prime Minister? (Picture courtesy of Brent Madison)

All major Hotels participated in the Songkran parade, in this case the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi Resort.

The impressive parade, comprised of hundreds of participants.

PM Thaksin Shinawatra, surrounded by well-wishers, receives traditional blessings from people on the street.

One of the massive water-canons spraying water on thousands of people on the streets of Chiang Mai.