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Last Updated: Monday, 2 July 2007, 10:22 GMT 11:22 UK
Thais remember economic chaos
Thailand's economy was the first to feel the effects of the Asian financial crash a decade ago.

Here Thais remember the effect it had on their lives.

VIKROM KROMADIT, INDUSTRIAL ESTATE DEVELOPER

Vikrom Kromadit

When the crash occurred, I was millions of dollars in debt. I thought my business was finished.

By 2004 I had paid off all my loans and I survived because I treat my customers like family.

The experience made me much more careful and taught me to always be prepared for another crisis. I had too much confidence before 1997, and when the crisis hit I never thought I would see the light after the darkness.

Human beings should know that nothing is 100%, and shouldn't have too much confidence when it comes to money.

THANOP EIAMAMORNPAN, JEWELLERY STORE MANAGER

Thanop Eiamamornpan

My entire family is in the jewellery business. Before 1997, people would come to our stores on private jets and buy 40 to 50 pieces at a time.

This has not happened since 1997. Thais are not spending except for our regular clients. The rich are getting richer and the class gap is getting bigger.

I'm optimistic that times before 1997 can return and the free-spending days will be back. Things are not too bad, but they are not too good. I hope things will get better after the Thai political elections later this year.

SIRIVAT VORAVETVUTHIKUN, SANDWICH SHOP OWNER

Sirivat Voravetvuthikun

I am very happy with what I am doing and I believe that I will be rich again.

In 1997 I thought I would have no future. I was very depressed, frightened and afraid. It was my wife's idea to sell sandwiches and now I can only move forward and slowly. I only depend on myself.

The Thai people are my regular customers and the Thai people call me "Mr Sandwich". My business is very tiny, but as long as I'm honest to my customers, I feel confident that they will support me.

I do not believe that Thailand has learned its lesson as many do not even remember the crash or the IMF (International Monetary Fund). A new crisis might be worse considering Thailand's oil consumption, which Thailand cannot afford.

People here tend to overspend.



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