Yesterday, Thai government officials announced that starting next month, officials other than Thailand’s Prime Minister, General Prayuth Chan-Ocha, would be giving weekly press conferences to make sure the media “accurately” covers the government’s actions.
Gen. Prayuth commented: “We want to explain to media, and we want to create understanding between the state and the media to avoid any mistakes.” The mistakes and verbal gaffes indeed have been many and if the military junta wasn’t so repressive, he actually might be a funny PM. In honor of April Fool’s Day (we didn’t want to scare anyone with fake news of PLA jets bombing Naypidaw or something of that sort), we’re giving you a list of ExSE’s favorite quotes from a true April Fool, Gen. Prayuth. Without further ado…
Letting you know that he’s hip with the youth and a proponent of culture, Gen. Prayuth even has ideas on how to improve Thai soap operas:
“I have ordered that scripts be written, including plays on reconciliation, on tourism and on Thai culture,” Prayuth told reporters. “They are writing plots at the moment and if they can’t finish it I will write it myself,” he said of a team of government-appointed writers.
“Thai PM bemoans divisive soap operas, offers to write better ones“, Reuters, September 26, 2014
To make sure Thailand remains the ‘Land of a Million Smiles’, the junta has cracked down on political dissent and discussion. In giving his reasoning for the crackdown, Gen. Prayuth quipped:
“Please understand that I don’t come from an election. I’m well aware of that. So please put on hold all political criticism and forums on politics,” said the prime minister, who came to administrative power through a military coup on May 22.
“‘Unelected’ Prayut warns against political forums“, Bangkok Post, September 19, 2014
After two British tourists were murdered, Gen. Prayuth wanted to make sure that the Thai authorities were taking the case seriously, or at least make it look like they did. But you can guess what happened…
“There are always problems with tourist safety. They think our country is beautiful and is safe so they can do whatever they want, they can wear bikinis and walk everywhere,” Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who is also the army chief, told government officials. But “can they be safe in bikinis… unless they are not beautiful?” he said, addressing the issue of tourist safety in a speech broadcast live on television.
“Thai PM questions if ‘tourists in bikinis’ safe after murders“, AFP, September 17, 2014
In one of his most notorious statements, Gen. Prayuth admits that there may be more than one of him:
“He was referring to the media’s suggestions for him to try to improve his personality. “I would like to thank [the media] for warning and suggestions. I won’t change my personality because I am a person with multiple personalities,” Prayut said.
“Prayut admits he has ‘multiple personalities’“, The Nation, November 3, 2014
Last but not least, it looks like the good ole General has some thoughts about truth and journalism. When asked by reporters what the government would do with journalists who didn’t support the official line, Prayuth, without smiling, replied:
“We’ll probably just execute them
We’ll probably kill journalists who don’t report the truth, says Thai leader, Reuters, March 25, 2015