Government House reporters yesterday dubbed the Yingluck Shinawatra government Phi Khon Raek (Brother First) and the premier Poo Kanchiang (Back-Crawling Crab) in their traditional sarcastic critique of the nation's politicians.
At the end of each year, Government House reporters re-christen the government, the prime minister and certain cabinet members with nicknames.
This year, nine key politicians were chosen for the jesting critique of their character traits and flaws, following the media's review of their performances since their swearing-in in 2011.
For some observers, the "Brother First" nickname is a perfect fit for the government due to its series of so-called "first-ever" populist policies and its close relationship with deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Among their policies were tax exemptions for first-time buyers of cars and homes, as well as the controversial move to rewrite the 2007 charter.
Critics say the rewrite is part of an attempt to whitewash former premier Thaksin, Ms Yingluck's elder brother.
Ms Yingluck earned her nickname Poo Kanchiang thanks to her tendency to sidestep questions and failure to clearly explain controversial issues such as the rice pledging scheme.
Poo, or crab, is her real nickname and Kanchiang refers to a crab's back legs, but can also mean a style of swimming backward.
Reporters often complained of her ability to float away from problems and probing questions.
Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung is Kanchon Trakun Shin (Bumper for the Shin, or Iron Goalkeeper).
The "Shin" is short for Shinawatra family, for whom Mr Chalerm allegedly acts as a bodyguard. He is often accused of creating diversions to divert attention away from questions asked by the media.
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong was dubbed Luk Kai White Lie (White Lie Chick). "White Lie" he earned for the excuse he gave for his too-good-to-be-true comment on export growth targets, while "Chick" refers to his inexperience in politics. Many reporters feel he has not met people's expectations. His real nickname, Tong, or rooster, is a moniker he has not yet earned for use in the political arena.
Tam La Na Lor (Handsome Man Hunter) was the nickname given to Defence Minister ACM Sukumpol Suwanatat who appears devoted to revoking the military rank of na lor, the soubriquet of Democrat Abhisit Vejjajiva, admired for his good looks.
Red shirt co-leader and deputy Commerce Minister Nattawut Saikuar likes to proclaim he fights for phrai, the peasants. His loyalty to the commoners earned him the nickname, Phrai Thiam, or Fake Peasant. The role of a deputy minister overseeing commerce policies is generally perceived as the role of an elite, or amart.
The handling of the rice pledging scheme earned Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom the nickname Boonsut, for what critics said was his poor ability to deal with the problematic programme and inflated goods prices. The reporters play with the word song, which means stable, in his name, replacing it with sut, or subsidise.
Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi, who is assigned to oversee the 350-billion-baht flood management scheme, was dubbed Pan Nam Pen Thun, or Water Capitalist.
Interior Minister and Pheu Thai leader Charupong Ruangsuwan was Singha Samlong (Singha Reserve) as critics say he serves as a puppet, following the orders of those more powerful in the Interior Ministry, which bears the seal of Singha, a mythological lion.
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- Writer: Patsara Jikkham