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Thai Supreme Court Chief Ackaratorn Has Recipe Ready For Post-Retirement Life


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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

Supreme Court chief Ackaratorn has recipe ready for post-retirement life

By KITTIPONG THAVEVONG

THE NATION ON SUNDAY

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Ackaratorn Chularat, the first president of the Supreme Administrative Court, is set to retire at the end of this month after a decade at the high court's helm. When asked about his post-retirement plan, he replied with a smile: "I think of waking up late."

Now he has to wake up at 6am to get to work before 9am. From the first of October, he plans to sleep in until eight.

Learning to cook Italian dishes and to play the piano is also part of his post-retirement plan.

"I have a lot of cookbooks at home," he said. Ackaratorn, 70, acquired his taste for Italian food while studying for his doctorate in Law at the University of Rome (La Sapienza).

The piano he bought last year is now in his living room but he has rarely touched it due to his busy schedule. He was taught to play the piano by an instructor for three weekends. With more time at his disposal after retirement, "I will try to play the piano again."

The Administrative Court under his leadership has heard many high-profile cases. Some of the latest ones include the Map Ta Phut industrial projects and the 3G-licences auction.

It was the court's role as "the final bastion of an ailing system of checks and balances" that earned Ackaratorn the "Person of the Year" title given by this newspaper in 2005. A framed copy of the article, headlined "Defender of the Charter", hangs on the wall of his home's reception room.

Ackaratorn ruled out entering politics after retirement, saying that he had no political ambitions although he had worked with many governing politicians and lawmakers as part of his job since the days he was with the Council of State.

Admitting to his outspokenness, Ackaratorn expressed concern for the country.

He said the political conflict had dragged on for too long and little accurate information had been given to the public.

He called for the mass media to fill in the gap by reporting "correct and complete" facts, which he said would help ease the colour-coded conflict.

He also agrees to the view that the mass media - armed with knowledge and information - has the duty to offer guidance to society although they may be viewed as lacking neutrality.

An enthusiast of world history, he found that feuding sides in other countries became aware that they failed to do what should have been done to stop conflicts from worsening when it was too late. "When they got enlightened, unity followed".

He hoped for a charismatic and powerful statesman - similar to France's Charles de Gaulle and America's Woodrow Wilson - to emerge naturally when the country is in real crisis to "help save the country". But he sees no such figure at the moment.

Born in April of 1940, Ackaratorn was first named "Rangsit" after the canal in Pathum Thani province where he was born. However, when he was a teenager his father, a public prosecutor, changed his name to the current one, which means "carer of letters". It's a unique Thai name.

He is aware of only one other person with the same name and that person's father happens to be one of his admirers.

Ackaratorn is a descendent of Sheikh Ahmad, a Persian immigrant who became the first Chularatchamontri (leader of the Thai Muslims) in the Ayutthaya Period about four centuries ago.

Some of Ackaratorn's ancestors converted into Buddhists about 150 years ago although many of his relatives are still Muslims now.

Graduating from Thammasat University's Faculty of Law at the age of 19, Ackaratorn later won a scholarship to further his studies in Italy and got his doctorate after five years.

The man of law began his career at the Office of the Council of State in 1968 and became its secretary-general in 1995. He was appointed to the Supreme Administrative Court in 1999 after the law on the Administrative Court's establishment took effect. The Administrative Court became operational on March 9, 2001.

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-- The Nation 2010-09-26

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An intelligent man with a wonderful personal history and a man dedicated to law from his teens. If Thailand could form advisory boards to parliament made up of men of his ilk, and oversee the political mess, making politicians accountable, men like Khun Akaratorn could move this county to a more prosperous future. Wishful thinking again on my part.

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Quote/

He hoped for a charismatic and powerful statesman - similar to France's Charles de Gaulle

Unquote/

A view diametrically opposed to that of most Brits. WSC thought he was a pain in the rear. The US were not in love with him either. 

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It's great that the fellow graduated from law school at age 19. What about his work experience? I don't know about Thailand, but there is an understanding in the judiciary that one should not be a judge unless one has actually gotten one's hands dirty through actual work experience. I note the Italian law school doctorate. Considering the longstanding dysfunctional state of the Italian judiciary and government, it does explain alot.

De Gaulle had France in his heart. Nothing wrong in upsetting UK and US.

It isn't about upsetting the UK or the US. Mr. De Gaulle owed his political advancement to the sacrifice of Commonwealth soldiers on his behalf and the support and generosity of the USA. Mr. De Gaulle repaid the sacrifice on behalf of France by vetoing the UK's entry in the EEC 2X, by supporting violent separtists in Canada, by continuing the brutal colonization of Tahiti and the setting off of atomic bombs in the South Pacific, and by betraying the USA which had provided badly needed support to France as its colonial empire collapsed.

The way I interpret the comments of the soon to be retired judge is that he admires a semi pompous dictator like DeGaulle and a phonie like Woody Wilson. It is odd that a judge would admire a president who actively denied African American their civil liberties and it can be argued, stripped many of the rights the previous Republican administrations granted. (Not too difficult to believe since his family had supported the Confederacy and Wilson recalled fondly the generals that visited his childhood home.) Somewhat embarrassing though because one can see parallels to the stripping of some Thais of their civil rights. Or maybe, the lack of respect that Mr. Wilson showed by refusing to cede power after his debilitating stroke is appealing .

Surely there are better international figures to look up as role models? What about Nehru? How about Gorbachev who opened the door to freedom in Russia? What about Deng Xioping, the Chinese leader that transformed China from the backward basket case under Mao into the powerhouse that it is today? For a real leader can anyone top the earthy bravery of Sir Winston, or the legendary FDR?

Bah, another silly PR piece.

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Funny, in a sick I've-been-in-Thailand-so-long kind of a way, I was waiting to hear how much the guy was worth after these years of public service and where he was going to retire and on what pension. I wanted know what pensions the high level workers had arranged.

I'm not sure whether retirement in Thailand from a government job would allow world travels and such.

On another note, some time ago I heard that retired Senators or Representatives pushed laws to secure a super duper retirement payment plan in which they made quite a bit more than they're making in office. Anyone know?

Edited by tomyummer
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JFK’S Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, was in France in the early 60′s when DeGaulle decided to pull out of NATO. DeGaulle said he wanted all US military out of France as soon as possible. Rusk responded “does that include those who are buried here”? DeGaulle did not respond.

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