Updated: Know Gen Prayuth

1 04 2021

It has long been known that Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha is thin-skinned. Some of this is in his nature but much of it is learned behavior. As a senior military man, he has become used to deference, order, and hierarchy. He’s also a royalist and loyalist, which reinforces his notion of “good order.”

As such it should be no surprise that the General has ordered a “Thai reporter, working for a Japanese news agency, … temporarily banned from Government House, because of her alleged negative attitude towards the working environment there.”

The ban was later “explained” as resulting from “the woman involved released misinformation.”

In fact, though, it followed a press conference by The (semi-)Dictator on Tuesday when he told “the reporter in question, who was sitting crossed legged with one leg pointing at the podium, to sit differently.” Natthareeya Thaveevongs, the director of the Office of the Spokesman for the PM’s Office, “later explained that the reporter’s posture was not normal…”.

Obviously, Gen Prayuth took offense: “PrayuthThe way the reporter had sat upset the prime minister…”. So, apparently, had her tough questioning.

The reporter tweeted:

“The prime minister wasn’t happy a reporter sat cross-legged. Who’s that? Who raised her foot before the premier? Yes, I did. LOL. I was warned. One must sit with both legs pressed tightly together.”

It is also reported that:

the reporter also wrote in a satirical tone on social media about chasing after news at Government House. She likened her position as a reporter waiting for cabinet ministers to emerge from the main building to a dog being shut out of the cool air of a 7-11 convenience store.

Natthareeya later claimed the “ban had nothing to do with the inappropriate posture, nor had it anything to do with the reporter’s tough questions during the press conference,” but this is clearly not true.

Unhelpfully but also expected, the chair of the ethics committee of the often hopeless Thai Journalists Association said that:

although women sitting cross-legged is treated as normal these days, the Thai custom of being respectful towards people of seniority remains unchanged and reporters should treat senior figures with respect, through proper attire and conduct.

Old men with old ideas are ruining Thailand’s future.

Update: Thanks to a post by Andrew MacGregor Marshall, it seems that the reporter mentioned above was involved in another event last Sunday. Thai Enquirer reported that:

A reporter had a rubber-bullet gun thrust at her by a riot policeman during protests at the weekend, the latest escalation against journalists by Thai security forces against journalists working in the field.

Kamonthip, a reporter for a Japanese newspaper, was documenting the scene a couple of hours after riot police arrested peaceful protestors in front of Government House.

“I was one of the last reporters near the police line,” she told Thai Enquirer Monday. “The police were telling press to move back and get on the sidewalk.”

As she was trying to comply, “a group of riot police shouted at me to stop filming,” she said. “I asked why I was not being allowed to document, and why they needed to use guns to clear the area.”

“I stopped recording and got onto the sidewalk, and one of the police officers came in to talk to me. The same police that was in the video with the gun came in very close and I felt something hard on my shoulder. When I looked I saw the muzzle of the gun pointing at me. The police that came to talk to me separated us and was apologizing and saying nothing happened”….

She said she was clearly identified as press by the front and back of her vest, a neck tag, and a white armband.

Clearly Gen Prayuth and his minions see here as both “culturally” and politically suspect.


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