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       When a final decision is taken, those who make the grade (just nine in all of Thailand) automatically become the property of the king. By special arrangement, however, Oom Chakawan could remain at the Kraal, in the care of the ECA on His Majesty's behalf. He's certainly proven to be a model citizen there, happily taking "offerings" (mostly fruit and vegetables) from well-wishing visitors. A Hollywood premiere-style red rope keeps the careless beyond the reach of those massive incisors.
       It's his crossed tusks that make Oom Chakawan a true rarity among rarities. This uncommon configuration was doubly deadly when elephants served during wartime as history's original Sherman Tanks. The upper and lower points could attack the eye and the throat of an enemy elephant simultaneously, or both an elephant and a rider. Thankfully, this old warrior lives in gentler times, but his mere presence is still believed by many to symbolically protect the province in which he resides.
       The media soon got wind of Oom Chakawan's lofty credentials and touching story; the recent buzz (in print, on television, and among the crowds who flocked to see him for themselves) was the result. Whether the hype will last is anybody's guess, and the subject of all this attention isn't saying much. Through it all he's remained calm, for he's seen the twists and turns that life can take.
       It seems his has taken a turn for the better.

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