The mighty river & its floodwaters makes it difficult for politicians to maintain a good image with lies.
BEHIND THE NEWS: Govt wrestles with telling truth or lies about floods by Amornrat Mahitthirook
As the nation reels from the worst floods in decades that have ravaged businesses and damaged the livelihoods of millions of people, it appears the public is being kept in the dark by a government which believes that telling the truth might backfire.
A recent Abac poll showed that the government's flood relief centre had failed the credibility test. On a scale of zero to 10, the centre scored only 3.6, reflecting growing public impatience with the government's approach to the crisis.
Sources at the flood relief operation centre at Don Mueang airport said that concerned ministers and authorities were at loggerheads about how to deal with the floods.
Some wanted to tell the truth to the public, while others thought playing it close to the chest was the best policy. The conflict between Science and Technology Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi and Justice Minister Pracha Promnok is a case in point. Mr Plodprasop's recent flood alert was retracted by Pol Gen Pracha, head of the flood relief centre, who thought that telling the truth would hurt the government's image.
When the Nava Nakorn Industrial Estate was breached by floods on Monday, government flood relief centre spokesman Wim Rungwattanajinda told people to evacuate in seven hours, but Pol Gen Pracha said that moving belongings to high ground should suffice. This left the public baffled.
Contradicting messages and a lack of clarity prevail among state agencies. Bangkok residents were relieved to hear that the capital was declared safe, with massive floodwaters moving past on Sunday. The next day, they were told Bangkok was actually still at risk.
Bangkok governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra is trying to keep inner Bangkok dry by ensuring that sluice gates and drainage systems allowing runoff into canals remain closed. The capital's outer suburbs have to be swamped as a result.
A source at the flood relief centre said the centre has found it difficult to instruct City Hall and the Royal Irrigation Department (RID) to open and close canal sluice gates.
All the centre can do is respond to problems arising unexpectedly rather than stick to their plans, the source said, adding that flood relief operations could not proceed if other agencies failed to implement the centre's instructions.
If the government had actually taken charge and sped water drainage into the east and west of Bangkok, particularly to Suphan Buri, the worst flooding could have been avoided, the source said.
It has been said a veteran politician from a central province can influence the RID's decision to open and close sluice gates in order to protect his political stronghold. An aerial photo showed there was no substantial amount of water lingering in Suphan Buri, unlike nearby provinces.
The same source said experts from the Netherlands who came to assist in flood relief efforts said that if runoff is not drained fast enough, the extent of the damage will become more widespread and Bangkok's inner areas will eventually be affected.
(Source: Bangkok Post, BEHIND THE NEWS, Govt wrestles with telling truth or lies about floods, 19/10/2011, Amornrat Mahitthirook, link)
Government Communication Vocabulary
image - an opinion that people have about someone or something, a picture that people have in their mind about something ภาพลักษณ์
maintain a good image
hurt image - give people a negative opinion about something (make them think bad things about something)
telling the truth would hurt the government's image
wrestle - to fight by pushing and holding a person (and not hitting with fists) (See Wikipedia)
wrestle with a problem - to try to solve a difficult problem
wrestle with telling the truth - trying to decide whether to "tell the truth" or "lie"
backfire - to have the opposite effect or result than the one you intended ส่งผลตรงข้ามกับที่หวังไว้
telling the truth might backfire.
kept in the dark - not telling people what is happening (what is going on), not telling them the truth
the public is being kept in the dark by a government
contradicting messages - say two things that have opposite meanings
lack - does not have ขาดแคลน
lack of clarity - not clear, difficult to understand
baffled - confused, not understand something
left the public baffled
credibility - believability, when many people believe that what you say is true; the degree to which something can be believed or trusted ความน่าเชื่อถือ,ความน่าไว้วางใจ
ravage - damaged so that it is almost destroyed
ravaged businesses - badly damaged businesses (that have almost been destroyed)
livelihood - ways to earn money to support a family; a source of money and income such as a job that allows you to buy the things that you need (See glossary)
damaged the livelihoods of millions of people - destroyed the businesses that people own (and the jobs, work and income that those businesses provide to people)
poll - a public opinion poll, an occasion when a lot of people are asked about what they feel about something (See Wikipedia)
Abac poll - one of the most important public opinion polls in Thailand (the "Suan Dusit" poll being another one)
relief - help; money, food, medicine etc. that is given to help people in places where there has been a natural disaster, war, etc. เครื่องบรรเทาสาธารณภัย
flood relief - providing help to people having problems with the flood
the government's flood relief centre
on a scale of zero to 10
impatience - being annoyed and irritated because you have to wait for something to happen
approach - a way of doing or dealing with some problem การจัดการกับปัญหา วิธีการทำให้ถึงจุดหมาย
crisis - an urgent, difficult or dangerous situation วิกฤต วิกฤตการณ์
approach to the crisis - a way to solve a crisis
growing public impatience with the government's approach to the crisis.
authorities - government officials; the people with power; the police or people in official organisations who have the legal power to make people obey laws or rules เจ้าหน้าที่ (ตำรวจ หรือผู้มีอำนาจ)
concerned - ministers and authorities involved in the situation (matter, affair, problem, case, etc)
concerned ministers and authorities
at loggerheads - when two or more people disagree strongly with each other
chest - the upper front part of the body of humans and some animals, between the stomach and the neck, containing the heart and lungs หน้าอก
playing it close to the chest - when playing poker, keeping your cards close to your chest, so that the other players can't see them
policy - a plan of action to guide decisions and achieve outcomes (See Wikipedia) นโยบาย
conflict - an angry disagreement between people or groups ความขัดแย้ง ความไม่ลงรอยกัน
breach - to break through a barrier or wall and enter a place
Nava Nakorn Industrial Estate was breached by floods
evacuate - to leave a place because it is not safe อพยพออกจากพื้นที่ ถูกไล่ที่ เคลื่อนย้ายออกจาก
belongings - the things you own ข้าวของเครื่องใช้
moving belongings to high ground
suffice - enough
residents - people who live in an area ผู้อยู่อาศัย ราษฎรในบริเวณนั้น ชาวบ้านในบริเวณ ผู้อาศัยในบริเวณ
Bangkok residents - people who live in Bangkok
relieved - happy that something unpleasant has not happened or has ended โล่งใจ, เบาใจ, หมดกังวล, ผ่อนคลาย
capital - the city that is the main center for government in a country
relieved to hear that the capital was declared safe
massive - very large in size, amount or numberใหญ่โต มหาศาล
massive floodwaters - floods with very large amounts of water
risk - the possibility that something dangerous or unpleasant might happen ความเสี่ยง เสี่ยงอันตราย
actually still at risk.
drainage - the system of water or waste liquids flowing away from somewhere into the ground or down pipes การระบายน้ำ
runoff - rainfall that cannot be taken in by the soil and which flows into rivers, lakes or the sea ปริมาณของเหลวที่ไหลออก
drainage systems allowing runoff into canals
suburbs - the areas on the edges of cities, with lots of residences (where people who work in the town or city often live) ชานเมือง
swamped - having too many problem or too much work to deal with at one time ที่มีปัญหามากเกินรับไหว
source - someone who gives information to the media แหล่งข่าว
A source at the flood relief centre said ...
respond - to say or do something as a reaction to something that has been said or done ตอบสนอง, ตอบรับ
respond to problems arising unexpectedly
stick to - continue doing (what you are doing)
stick to their plans - continue doing what they planned to do (don't change plans and do something else)
proceed - to continue as planned ดำเนินการ
flood relief operations could not proceed
implement - put a plan into action, make a plan work นำมาใช้ นำ แผนหรือนโยบายมาปฏิบัติ
failed to implement the centre's instructions.
veteran - a person with a lot of experience ผู้อาวุโส (original meaning: ทหารผ่านศึก)
veteran politician from a central province
influence - the power to have an effect on people or things อิทธิพล
stronghold - a safe and secure place to stay, safe from attack
political stronghold - a place in which all the voters will always vote for him and will always win elections (safe from defeat)
aerial photo - a photo of an area of land taken above from a airplane
substantial - in a large amount or degree
lingering - lasting a long time; continue for a long time, to last for a long time (more than is expected or necessary) อย่างอ้อยอิ่ง ยืดเยื้อมานาน
no substantial amount of water lingering in Suphan Buri
efforts - the work done towards achieving some goal; people trying to accomplish something, achieve a goal ความพยายาม
drained - if you drain something, you remove the liquid from it, usually by pouring it away or allowing it to flow away รีดน้ำออก
extent - size ขนาด
extent of the damage - the size of the damage
widespread - happening or existing in many places, or affecting many people อย่างแพร่หลาย
eventually - at the end of a period of time or at the end of a process ในที่สุด
if runoff is not drained fast enough, the extent of the damage will become more widespread and Bangkok's inner areas will eventually be affected.
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