THAILAND: Alms and the Man

At first glance, the pudgy man in saffron robes begging for a bowl of rice on the streets of Bangkok seemed like just another Buddhist monk. But the man who called himself Sukittikacharo Bhikku ("Honored Everywhere") was recognized last week as Field Marshal Thanom Kittikachorn, 65, the former dictator, who was toppled from power after a 1973 student uprising.

In his days of political power and glory, Thanom was partial to military gabardine encrusted with medals, stars, laurels, tassels, cordons, aiguillettes, galloons, ribands and frogging. As the new, humbled Thanom told it, his return from luxurious exile in Singapore was prompted...

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