Nuts, grapes and pineapple

19 03 2015

There’s not much light relief in the news these days, with the military dictatorship arresting, threatening and planning for the longevity of conservative royalism. However, there is a bitter sweet story at the Coconuts Media site for Bangkok. Coconuts says it “is a local city website network that harnesses social media and video to amplify coverage of urban areas in Asia.”

Readers may remember the infamous nuts rage incident on Korean Air, late last year, when Heather Cho (Cho Hyun-ah), vice-president of the airline and daughter of Korean Air chairman and CEO Cho Yang-ho, ordered the aircraft back to the departure gate at JFK after she was dissatisfied with the way a flight attendant served her nuts. She was widely condemned for all manner of faults but for essentially thinking she was so high and mighty that she could do anything she pleased, even over a “nut problem.”

As we well know, The Dictator can do pretty much as he pleases in Thailand. So is it any surprise that he is reported to have created a fuss over poor quality pineapple on Thai Airways. We assume that General Prayuth Chan-ocha was sitting in the big, comfortable seats, getting the best food. After his gastronomic adventure on the flight, The Dictator “smeared Thai’s fruit last month during a speech at the Stock Exchange of Thailand.” He reportedly stated: “If you want to find tasteless grapes, go on board Thai planes…. Pineapples too! Their color is pale and they are tasteless!”Grapes-pineapples

What The Dictator wants, The Dictator gets. The Bangkok Post reports that one of Thai Airway’s executive vice presidents has announced that it has “signed an agreement with Doi Kham, a supplier of food and fruit sourced from several royal factories, to cater foodstuffs and produce for the airline.”

Doi Kham is a royal project, so presumably its product could never be criticized. It is a company, but the nature of its registration and so on is, like many royal ventures, not entirely clear.

Following The Dictator’s complaint, the airline “had set up a committee to evaluate the menu on the planes regularly.” The VP added: “The committee was formed to fulfil the policy of the prime minister, who wants to add more flavour to food for passengers…”. The power of The Dictator is seen in the attention to pineapples: “There will be no more tasteless pineapples…. From now on passengers will get fresh, yellow ones.”

In Thailand, under the military dictatorship, Prayuth cannot be criticized and there will be no popular anger as in Korea. Just meek compliance. After all The Dictator demands nothing less, be it in his fruit or in politics.




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