2010 ends with Abhisit Vejjajiva still holding the position of prime minister, a big surprise to many people.
Beating the odds
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has seemingly defied the odds – against a background of the most violent and turbulent political confrontation to have befallen the country – to have proven himself to be a decisive leader.
The protest against his government by the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship from March to May was fierce and widespread, and in the midst of the troubles, Mr Abhisit was forced to take up residence in a military camp on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road.
The red shirt protesters did everything they could to humiliate him. They splashed human blood at his home and at his Democrat Party headquarters.
A lot of restraint was displayed but eventually (inevitably?) violent force was used to disperse the protesters occupying the Ratchaprasong intersection, resulting in a large number of deaths and heavy casualties.
It can safely be assumed that any previous PM would not have survived any one of these calamities. But PM Abhisit did manage the seemingly impossible.
Is it the relatively young PM's character that has given him such staying power?
A source who has worked closely with Mr Abhisit said the PM's personality was markedly different from other Thai leaders.
"Mr Abhisit is not a top-down type," the source said. "He is a listening leader. He incorporates the opinions of other people into his decision-making."
A close aide to the PM, Sirichoke Sopha, said Mr Abhisit believed there was a solution to every problem. His confidence and optimism helped his colleagues stay the course and work towards a way out even in the face of crisis.
His weakness is his way of making people feel he is keeping them at a distance. Unlike Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban, who likes to mix with people after work and constantly works his connections, Mr Abhisit spends his free time with his family.
Anek Laothammathas, a former Democrat and prominent political scientist, said Mr Abhisit had grown into his role as prime minister of Thailand during his second year in the job. His push for a social welfare programme showed he had become a more mature politician.
"He only has to work with a larger, more diverse circle of people to become a better leader," Mr Anek said.
odds – the degree to which something is likely to happen โอกาสที่จะเป็นไปได้
beat the odds – defy the odds; achieving something that seems impossible or very unlikely ประสบความสำเร็จในกรณีที่มีโอกาสน้อยมาก
violent – involving the use of physical force, with the intention of causing damage to property or injury or death to people รุนแรง
turbulent – changing often or difficult to control ผันผวน
confrontation – a situation in which people or groups are arguing angrily or are fighting การเผชิญหน้า
befall – (of something unpleasant) to happen to somebody เกิดขึ้น,บังเกิดขึ้น
decisive – making the final result of a situation completely certain แน่วแน่
United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) – the group originally formed to demonstrate against the 2006 coup and which supported the Somchai Wongsawat government against the PAD and which is now leading the fight against the current government. They are known for wearing red shirts แนวร่วมประชาธิปไตยต่อต้านเผด็จการแห่งชาต
fierce – very strong รุนแรง, ดุเดือด
widespread – happening or existing in many places, or affecting many people อย่างแพร่หลาย
in the midst of – in the middle of ท่ามกลาง
take up residence – to move in and live somewhere
humiliate – to make someone feel very embarrassed and ashamed ทำให้เสียเกียรติ
headquarters – the place where an organisation or company has its main offices กองบัญชาการ
restraint – the quality of behaving calmly and with control การอดกลั้น
display – to show signs of something, especially a quality or feeling แสดง
eventually – at the end of a period of time or at the end of a process ในที่สุด
inevitably – certain to happen ที่เลี่ยงไม่ได้
disperse – to cause a crowd of people to separate and go away in different directions สลายฝูงชน
occupy – to be in control of a place that you entered by force as a group ยึดครอง
intersection – a place where roads, lines, etc., join or cross each other สี่แยก
casualties – deaths and/or injuries ผู้บาดเจ็บล้มตาย
assume – to accept something to be true without question or proof ทึกทักเอา, คิดว่าเป็นจริง,
survive – to manage to deal with something difficult or unpleasant รอดไปได้
calamity – a bad event or serious accident causing damage or suffering เหตุการณ์ที่เลวร้าย
character – บุคลิก, ลักษณะนิสัย
staying power – the ability to continue doing something difficult or tiring until it is finished ความสามารถอดทน
source – someone who gives information แหล่งข่าว
personality – a famous person คนที่มีชื่อเสียง
markedly – easy to see or notice ชัดเจน, ที่เห็นได้ชัดเจน
top-down – starting from or involving the people who have higher positions in an organisation
incorporate – to include as part of something larger ซึ่งรวมเข้าเป็นหนึ่งเดียวกัน
aide – someone whose job is to help another person in their work ผู้ช่วย
solution – a way of solving a problem or dealing with a difficult situation วิธีแก้ปัญหา
confidence – the quality of being certain ความมั่นใจ
optimism – a tendency to be hopeful and to expect that good things will probably happen การมองในแง่ดี,ลัทธิความเบิกบานใจ
colleague – someone who works in the same organisation or department as you do เพื่อนร่วมงาน
stay the course – to continue doing something until it has finished or been completed, even though it is difficult ยืนกราน, ทนทาน
in the face of – in a situation where you have to deal with something unpleasant or difficult ตรงหน้า
crisis - a situation that has reached and extremely difficult or dangerous point ช่วงวิกฤต
constantly – continuously; all the time อย่างต่อเนื่อง
connections – people or organisations that you know and that can help or advise you in your social or professional life วงศ์วานวงศ์ญาติมิตร
prominent – important and well known สำคัญ เด่น
welfare – help given, especially by the state or an organization, to people who need it; good care and living conditions สวัสดิภาพ
mature – behaving in the sensible way that you would expect an adult to behave มีวุฒิภาวะ
diverse – including people from many different backgrounds; very different from each other หลากหลาย
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