Beyond the image

In a commentary that won’t please fans of Thailand’s new PM, the Bangkok Post’s Anchalee Kongrut suggests that people should look beyond the public image cleverly created by her PR team.

Huge attention has been paid to giving new prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra the best possible public image. Photos like the above are no accident.

If you are a big fan of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, you probably won’t like today’s commentary by the Bangkok Post’s Anchalee Kongrut. But does she have a point? Are people too often judging Ms Yingluck simply on her carefully prepared public image? Here are two excerpts to help you decide. You can read the full column here:

Click button to listen to Anchalee and rightclick to download

From: Paying the price of passiveness

Anchalee Kongrut

I have to admit our first female prime minister is pleasant to look at. She rarely bores me, especially when she stopped saying "na kaaa" in a high pitched tone.

I found myself listening to her, trying hard to find out her character, something other than just being an attractive woman, a corporate executive, and of course the favourite baby sister of Thaksin Shinawatra.

Unfortunately, her image is a lot better than her words. Since July, I have witnessed how she can talk a great deal to voters without actually telling them anything. Perhaps I have a bias against her, but only because I've never seen her participate in any public forum with rival politicians.

During the campaign, Yingluck spoke to her supporters as if she was reading off a script, even in her interviews. According to reporters who closely followed her on the campaign trail, Yingluck's addresses to the public were prepared by a group of speechwriters on the campaign team.

However, after taking up the post of prime minister, she has resorted to the "walk-away" tactic, like when she simply turned her back on reporters at Government House, presumably because she had no script in hand to help her answer questions about rumours of the Foreign Ministry asking the Japanese embassy to grant a visa to her convicted brother…

I really do believe that Yingluck is a clone of her brother. Their images are well crafted by a brilliant PR team designed to mesmerise the public. People are tamed by their gripping, easy-to-understand dialogue and their subtle but manipulative one-way communication style.

They come across as casual, accessible yet elusive – like watching flashing images on the television. But after watching these fast-cutting images for a while, you become numb and tend to forget what to ask or why you have to ask serious questions concerning the welfare of the country and its people.

Why bother? Just enjoy the show.

Excerpted from a commentary by Anchalee Kongrut in today’s Bangkok Post.

(pay) attention – to watch, listen to, or consider something or someone very carefully เอาใจใส่, สนใจ
image – an opinion that people in general have about someone or something ภาพลักษณ์
commentary – a newspaper article that discusses a subject and gives opinions about it บทความแสดงข้อคิดเห็น, คำวิจารณ์
point – a reason for saying something เหตุผล
excerpt – a part of a longer story, speech, song, text, etc. บทคัดย่อ
pay the price – to have something bad happen as the result of doing or not doing something รับกรรม    
passiveness – accepting what happens or what people do without trying to change anything or oppose them  การไม่มีปฏิกิริยา,การไม่โต้ตอบ
admit – to agree that something is true, especially when you are unhappy, sorry or surprised about it  ยอมรับ
female – being a woman or a girl สตรี, ผู้หญิง, เพศหญิ
pleasant – enjoyable or attractive in a way that makes you feel pleased and satisfied ถูกใจ, พอใจ, เพลิดเพลิน
rarely – not happening often นานๆ ครั้ง, ไม่บ่อย
bore – to cause you to feel impatient or dissatisfied, because you are not interested in something or because you have nothing to do ทำให้รู้สึกเบื่อหน่าย ทำให้รู้สึกเหนื่อยหน่าย
pitch – level of sound ระดับเสียง
tone – the quality of somebody's voice, especially expressing a particular emotion  น้ำเสียง, ลักษณะน้ำเสียง
character – all the qualities and features that make a person, groups of people, and places different from others; strong personal qualities such as the ability to deal with difficult or dangerous situations  ลักษณะพิเศษ
attractive – pleasant to look at มีเสน่ห์ดึงดูด
corporate – involving large companies  บริษัทใหญ่
executive – a senior manager in a business or other organisation ผู้บริหาร
favourite – something you like the best of all similar things ที่ชอบมาก,ที่โปรดปราน
unfortunately – making you sad or disappointed, or getting you into a difficult position เป็นที่น่าเสียดาย
witness – to see something happen – มองเห็น, เป็นพยาน
a great deal – a lot มาก
bias – an attitude that you have that makes you treat someone or something in a way that if unfair — อคติ, ลำเอียง, เดียดฉันท์
participate – to take part in or become involved in an activity มีส่วน
forum – a place where people can express their ideas and opinions การประชุมแสดงความคิดเห็น
rival – competing; opposing คู่แข่ง
campaign – a planned series of activities designed to persuade voters to vote for a particular candidate or political party การรณรงค์หาสียง
script – a written text of a play, film/movie, broadcast, talk, etc ตัวเขียน,ต้นฉบับ, บท
interview – a meeting (often a public one) at which a journalist asks somebody questions in order to find out their opinions, experiences, etc. การสัมภาษณ์
reporter – someone whose job is to write articles or make broadcasts about events in the news ผู้สื่อข่าว, นักข่าว
address – a formal speech  คำปราศรัย
resort to – to do something extreme or unpleasant in order to solve a problem ใช้มาตรการรุนแรงในการแก้ปัญหา ยุติปัญหา
tactic – a planned way of doing something ยุทธวิธี
presumably – used for saying that you think something is true based on what you know, although you are not really certain  น่าเป็นไปได้, ซึ่งพอเป็นจริงได้
rumour – a piece of information, or a story, that people talk about, but that may not be true ข่าวลือ
grant – to officially give something  ให้
convicted – having been proven guilty of a crime by a court of law ได้รับการพิสูจน์ว่ามีความผิดจริง
clone – a person or thing that seems to be an exact copy of another โคลน, สำเนา
crafted – done with great skill ประดิษฐ์โดยใช้ฝีมือ
brilliant – very skilful, impressive, or successful ฉลาดหลักแหลม
public relations(PR) – the activity of creating a good opinion among people about a person, product, company, or institution งานประชาสัมพันธ์
mesmerise – to attract or interest you so much that you do not notice or pay attention to anything else around you สะกดจิต,ทำให้หลงเสน่ห์, ทำให้ตกตะลึง
tame – to make someone or something easy to control ทำให้อ่อนน้อม, ทำให้เชื่อง
gripping – exciting or interesting in a way that keeps your attention น่าสนใจ, น่าดึงดูดใจ
subtle – not obvious เบาบาง
manipulative – skilful at influencing somebody or forcing somebody to do what you want, often in an unfair way
casual – without paying attention to detail, relaxed and seemingly not worried about anything ไม่เป็นทางการ,ธรรมดา ๆ  
accessible – easy to talk to and to get to know ที่สนิทได้ง่าย
elusive – difficult to describe, find, achieve or remember ซึ่งหลบหลีก, ยากที่จะหา, ยากที่จะเข้าใจ
numb – having no feeling ชา
tend – to be likely to behave in a particular way or have a particular characteristic มักจะ
welfare – help given, especially by the state or an organisation, to people who need it; good care and living conditions สวัสดิภาพ
Why bother?  Why take the trouble to do anything?

About the author

Writer: Terry Fredrickson
Position: Education Marketing and Support Manager