Thailand's Yingluck Shinawatra in display of 'ordinary life'

By Jonathan Head
South-East Asia correspondent

  • Published
Images of Yingluck Shinawatra posted on to her Facebook page - 31 May 2015Image source, Facebook
Image caption,
Yingluck Shinawatra wore a T-shirt with the slogan "Ordinary Life" written on it

Facing prosecution over her government's costly rice scheme, and with the Thai military ordering her exiled brother to be stripped of his passport and official titles, former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra tends to shun the limelight these days.

So her decision to post pictures of herself on her Facebook page smiling and cultivating mushrooms in Thailand has drawn a great deal of comment - the post has already had more than 580,000 likes.

Of course, the photogenic Ms Yingluck attracts attention whatever she is doing. But is she sending a message with this latest post? On her T-shirt in the photo is written "Ordinary Life" in Thai.

A close aide told the BBC that Ms Yingluck now finds herself with little to do, and that she really enjoys growing organic vegetables, exercising and eating healthily.

Image source, Facebook
Image caption,
The series of photographs posted on Facebook received more than 580,000 likes

But it also appears to signify a calm and deliberate retreat from politics, for which there is a strong tradition in Thailand when public figures are immersed in conflict. Her nemesis, Suthep Thuagsuban, who led the street protests that helped bring down her government, went to live in a Buddhist monastery after the coup.

Her controversial brother Thaksin, on the other hand, keeps jetting visibly around the world, and recently broke a long silence by accusing senior palace figures of conspiring to overthrow not just his government in 2006, but also Yingluck's last year.

Yingluck's Facebook post does suggest, though, that she wants to remain in the public eye. In it she thanks her supporters, and teasingly writes that there are "other stories" she will tell them next time.