From taxi driver to media celeb
What started as an innocent photo to keep the people of Bangkok informed about an explosion in February resulted in a Bangkok motorbike taxi driver becoming an overnight celebrity.
Monday 30 April 2012, 03:36PM
Dejchat Puangket was the first to post photos and news of February’s bomb blast in eastern Bangkok, where a suspected Iranian bomber had his legs blown off as he hurled a grenade at police.
Bomb squad experts were called out to the Sukhumvit Rd area after a blast at a house, following which three men were seen fleeing.
One of the men hurled an explosive device at a taxi, which refused to stop, and then tried to throw another at police, triggering a blast at the side of a busy road which tore off his legs.
Dejchat was one of the first on the scene, and the first to post news of the blast via his Twitter account @motorcyrubjang. He tweeted information and posted photos online immediately.
“The bombing happened on my beat, as I usually work about five or 10 minutes away from the scene,” he told The Phuket News.
“So I went there and took photos as a community service, more than for anything else.
I usually take pictures with my phone anyway, of anything of interest, while I am riding around.”
Journalists soon got in touch with the likeable taxi driver, asking for more information and wanting to reuse his photos. For the last two years, Dejchat has tweeted and blogged about his life, and directly after the bombings followers on his Twitter account quadrupled.
His followers are now numbered at more than 5,000, and his bomb blast updates even attracted the attention of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, the BBC reported.
The Bangkok resident, – who said he learned how to use the internet from a book and taught himself the rest – became an overnight celebrity, and has been the subject of many media interviews since.
He is now using his increased Twitter profile to advertise his own delivery services, along with of course a steady stream of local news.
“After all the hype about my becoming famous from the attention that the press gave me, life goes on as usual. I still work around that area.”
Despite his new-found fame Dejchat says he has no intention of giving up his job as a taxi driver. “Riding a motorcycle is what I’m good at and I know a lot of routes. And it’s easy and free, I have no boss and I enjoy that freedom,” he told the BBC.
Follow Dejchat on Twitter at @motorcyrubjang or read his blog at oknation.net/blog/motorcyrubjang.