Economy January 13, 2014 00:00

By Business Reporters
The Nation

Srettha serious about |handling 'shutdown'


Srettha Thavisin, president of property-development company Sansiri, is kind of a serious man. That’s why he takes the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee’s “Bangkok shutdown” plan very seriously.

Last week, he told reporters where he would be today. It couldn’t be Sansiri’s head office in the Siripinyo Building on Phyathai Road. That office building is at the corner of the Phyathai junction and very close to Victory Monument, one of the 20 spots that protesters plan to lay siege.

So Srettha plans to work from a coffee shop on Sukhumvit Road.

“I have no idea what will happen. Maybe the traffic will be jammed at the time,” he told reporters when asked about his preparations for the event.

And he welcomed all reporters to meet him there. They should go, to keep him a company. Sitting in a coffee shop all day can be a lonely pastime.

Chadchart is also prepared

Caretaker Transport Minister Chadchart Sittipunt is also prepared for the shutdown.

His ministry was among the first to announce preparation plans, getting ready to transport people from the suburbs to the inner city with shuttle buses. Last week, he rode a free train from Hua Mark to Asoke, where he boarded the subway to Chatuchak. This was to ensure that transport to the inner city would be accessible even if roads are closed off.

This was on top of his preparation for testimony before the Constitutional Court regarding the Bt2-trillion borrowing bill for the planned transport-infrastructure mega-projects.

But the biggest preparation dealt with a photo session. Chadchart was seen in shorts and a sweatshirt, holding plastic bags that contained some food. On the sweatshirt was a big yellow star.

The Thai word for star is dao. In the photo, he called himself “Chad-Dao”, bringing smiles to all who saw it. He has never been short of stuff to laugh at.

Big preparation at all levels

While ministries and government agencies prepared for the shutdown, private companies could not stay idle either.

Businesses in the capital, particularly those not located near mass-transit routes, had to make sure that their operations would not be disrupted when anti-government protesters seized the city.

Even those in buildings that are near the transit routes had to convene meetings on how to deal with the situation. Worrying about disruptions in logistics, one company with an office near a BTS Skytrain station on Sukhumvit Road called a meet?ing with senior staff. It was determined that staff without urgent issues to attend to could work from home or take leave. Those with urgent issues who could not reach the office should divert to a suburban office.

At the individual level, people had their own plans.

During a visit to our office last week, some PR officers revealed their plans for joining the protesters. Some planned to join the candle-lighting sessions over the weekend.

Some employees of the company on Sukhumvit Road said they had called their friends and set up meeting places and times. “I plan to take a day off,” said one.

She has been working at the company for a long time, so she must be convinced that the remaining staff can ensure uninterrupted operations to serve clients.

Where will you be today?

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