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Beer heiress' comments prompt boycott

Jan. 11, 2014 at 5:53 PM

BANGKOK, Jan. 11 (UPI) -- Thais say they are boycotting the iconic Singha beer after an heiress to the Boon Rawd Brewery said people from rural Thailand do not understand democracy.

Chitpas Bhirombhakdi, 28, the beer heiress who is also a major anti-government activist in Bangkok, made comments last month that she believes many Thais lack a "true understanding" of democracy, "especially in the rural areas," the New York times reported.

Chitpas' remarks outraged Thais, especially in the impoverished northeast Thailand.

"She's rich, and she lives in rich people's circles -- she knows nothing about rural life," said Patsadaporn Chantabutr, 45, a teacher at an elementary school in a village outside Udon Thani, who has followed the protests in Bangkok closely. "We reject the idea that we are just hillbillies."

Chitpas, an aspiring politician who ran an unsuccessful parliament campaign in 2011, took to Facebook to apologize, although she did not deny the words attributed to her, saying is she fighting for the country.

"I would like to inform you that I've never looked down on rural people at all," she wrote on Facebook.

Boon Rawd Brewery has not revealed how much the boycott has cost the company, the Times said.

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