I am not a puppet, PM says

I am not a puppet, PM says

The days of walking in the shadow of her brother are past. In an exclusive interview, PM Yingluck says she is now the decision-maker.

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There was a time when Yingluck Shinawatra was happy to walk in the shadow of her big brother Thaksin. But she insists those days are behind her, and she has no need for advice from the fugitive ex-prime minister, especially on her plans for a reconciliation forum in two weeks. (Bangkok Post file photo)

I am not a puppet, PM says

Assembly is her idea, not brother Thaksin's

Wassana Nanuam

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra insists she is not her brother Thaksin Shinawatra's puppet and the proposed political reform assembly is her brainchild.

In an exclusive interview, Ms Yingluck said she does not consult her brother on every issue as widely speculated. She made her own decisions largely based on advice and suggestions from her advisers and state officials.

''I don't have to ask. I do it myself. I am open to good advice and will follow it if I can. How can I ask for advice on everything? That is impossible,'' she said when asked about the ex-prime minister's pulling of strings behind the Pheu Thai-led government.

''Some people may say I am a puppet. But those who work with me know I am not. Even though I don't have much experience, I have teams of knowledgeable people.

''When decisions involve the country, I listen to all sides. Much of it comes from state agencies because they know the information.''

It was her idea, not Thaksin's, to invite former British prime minister Tony Blair and former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan to a reconciliation meeting. Mr Annan declined to join, saying he was committed elsewhere.

Ms Yingluck, who doubles as the defence minister, said she decided to take up the portfolio to help her understand the armed forces' needs better.

She said that in the past two years she was clueless about the military's needs and spending priorities.

She said the defence minister tends to focus on issues relating to military affairs only, which might not play out well when the military has to work with other agencies. As prime minister, she must oversee other ministries. This means she can contribute to increasing the military's efficiency in working with others.

Trust is important, she said, when asked if she was worried by the possibility of a military coup. ''I am wearing two hats. My job is to ensure we work as a team and we work on mutual trust. I have to get rid of mistrust. If there are doubts, we should open up and talk things out.

''We are like a football team. If the defence and offense players don't work in sync, they can't win. We have to be sure we are on the same mission and that we are on the same team,'' she said.

She said she respects the armed forces leaders and believes they know best what is happening in their barracks.

Ms Yingluck said she keeps contact with all the armed forces leaders, not just Army Commander Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha.

Gen Prayuth is also chief of the Internal Security Operations Command, so she and the army chief have many matters to discuss. She said she is not worried about a coup because she trusts the military's non-interventionist stand.

The prime minister said she is more concerned about unfounded political rumours making the rounds against her.

''I face a number of [rumours] and it takes patience. I understand some people like me and some don't. I try not to respond and think positively,'' she said.

She said she was not ''born to be'' the prime minister but she is performing her duty to the best of her ability and trying to bring about national reconciliation.

Ms Yingluck also pleaded with the public to take it easy on her when she makes verbal gaffes. She said she is not a professional speech maker.

''There are two types of leadership. The first is good at talking but doesn't know how to get the work done. The other is concentrating on working and may not be good at talking.

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Vocabulary

  • advice: an opinion or a suggestion about what somebody should do in a particular situation - คำแนะนำ
  • affairs: events affecting a government, organisation, industry, etc. - กรณียกิจ, กิจธุระ
  • armed forces: a country's army, navy and air force - กองทัพทุกเหล่าทัพ
  • assembly: a group of people who have been elected or chosen in order to discuss issues and make decisions - สภา, สมัชชา
  • barracks: a group of buildings where members of the armed forces live and work - โรงหรืออาคารใหญ่เป็นที่พักทหาร
  • brainchild: an idea or invention of one person or a small group of people - ความคิดหรือสิ่งประดิษฐ์
  • clueless (adj): having no knowledge of something, or of things in general - ไม่รู้อะไรบ้างเลย
  • commander-in-chief: someone in charge of the whole of the armed forces of a country - ผู้บัญชาการทหารสูงสุด
  • committed (verb): to have promised that you will definitely do something, keep to an agreement or arrangement, etc - ให้คำมั่น
  • concentrate (verb): to give most of your attention to one aim or activity - เพ่งความสนใจไปยัง  มุ่งไปที่
  • concerned: worried about something   - มีความกังวล
  • consult: to ask for information or advice from someone - หารือ
  • contribute: to be a part of a group or an activity and help it to be successful - สนับสนุน
  • coup: the seizure of power in a country by a group of people, usually members of the armed forces - รัฐประหาร
  • decline (verb): to say politely that you will not accept something, do something, or say something - ปฏิเสธ, ปฏิเสธที่จะทำ 
  • defence: the players who must prevent the other team from scoring; the position of these players on the sports field - ผู้ป้องกัน
  • Defence Minister: the person in the cabinet in charge of the Ministry of Defence which oversees the armed forces - รัฐมนตรีว่าการกระทรวงกลาโหม
  • double: to have a second use or function as well as the main one - ทวีคูณ
  • doubt: a feeling of being uncertain about something/someone or not believing something - ความสงสัย
  • efficiency: the ability to work well and produce good results by using the available time, money, supplies etc in the most effective way - ความมีประสิทธิภาพ
  • elsewhere: another place or other places - ที่อื่น
  • ensure: to make certain that something happens or is done - ให้การยืนยัน, รับรอง, ให้ความมั่นใจ
  • exclusively: only used by or intended for one particular person or group; only given to one particular person or group - เฉพาะ, แต่ผู้เดียว
  • focus: to give attention, effort, etc. to one particular subject, situation or person rather than another - เพ่งความสนใจ
  • forum (noun): a place where people can express their ideas and opinions - ที่แสดงความคิดเห็น, การประชุมแสดงความคิดเห็น
  • fugitive (noun): someone who has been accused of doing something illegal and is trying to avoid being caught by the police - ผู้หลบหนี
  • gaffe: an embarrassing mistake that you make in public, especially one that offends or upsets someone - การผิดมารยาทสังคม,การเสียมารยาท
  • in sync: in agreement with somebody/something; working well with somebody/something; moving or working at exactly the same time and speed as somebody/something else - คล้องจองกัน, พร้อมกัน, เป็นจังหวะเดียวกัน
  • insist: to keep saying very firmly that something is true, even when other people will not believe you - ยืนกราน
  • Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc): a unit of the Thai military devoted to national security issues - กองอำนวยการรักษาความมั่นคงภายใน (กอ.รมน.)
  • interventionist (adj.): the policy or practice of trying to influence what is happening in your own country or other countries -
  • interview: a meeting (often a public one) at which a person is asked questions in order to find out their opinions, experiences, etc. - การสัมภาษณ์
  • invite: to ask somebody formally to go somewhere or do something - เชิญ
  • issue: a problem that needs to be considered - ประเด็น
  • knowlegeable (adj.): knowing a lot - มีความรู้,เฉลียวฉลาด
  • matter: a situation or subject which is being dealt with or considered - เรื่อง, ภารกิจ, งาน
  • mission: an important piece of work that a person or a group of people has been given to do - ภาระกิจ หน้าที่
  • mistrust: a lack of trust -
  • mutual: felt or done in the same way by each of two or more people - ซึ่งกันและกัน, ร่วมกัน, ทั้งสองฝ่าย
  • offense (adj.): the members of a team whose main aim is to score points against the other team - ฝ่ายรุก
  • oversee (verb): (past form: oversaw) to watch or organise a job or an activity to make certain that it is being done correctly - คุมงาน,ควบคุม
  • patience: the ability to wait for a long time without becoming angry or upset - ความอดทน
  • plead: to ask for something in an emotional way - ขอร้อง, วิงวอน
  • portfolio: control over a ministry; all the responsibilities of a government minister - ตำแหน่งรัฐมนตรี
  • positively: in a good way - ในทางบวก
  • priority: something important that needs to be done first or needs more attention than anything else - สิ่งที่สำคัญที่สุดเป็นอันดับแรก
  • professional: a person who does a job that needs special training and a high level of education - ผู้เชี่ยวชาญในวิชาชีพ,ผู้มีวิชาชีพ
  • proposed: suggested as an idea for a group to consider - ถูกเสนอ
  • pull strings: to control a situation, especially secretly - จัดการเพื่อหวังผลอย่างใดอย่างหนึ่ง
  • puppet: a person who is controlled by someone else - คนที่ตกเป็นเครื่องมือของผู้อื่น
  • reconciliation: the process of creating a new and friendly relationship again with someone you argued with or fought with - การปรองดอง
  • reform: a change that is intended to correct a situation that is wrong or unfair - การแก้ไข การปฏิรูป
  • respect (verb): to have a very good opinion of somebody/something; to admire somebody/something - เคารพ, นับถือ
  • rumour: a piece of information, or a story, that people talk about, but that may not be true - ข่าวลือ
  • shadow: the dark shape that somebody/something's form makes on a surface, for example on the ground, when they are between the light and the surface - เงา, ร่มเงา
  • speculate: to consider or discuss what might happen or might have happened - คาดการณ์ อนุมาน
  • stand: an opinion, especially one which is public - จุดยืน
  • state agency: a government department or body - หน่วยงานของรัฐ
  • trust: a feeling of confidence in someone that shows you believe they are honest, fair, and reliable - ความเชื่อใจ, ความไว้วางใจ
  • unfounded: not supported with facts or evidence - ที่ไม่ได้ตั้งอยู่บนหลักเหตุผล
  • verbal: spoken, not written - ที่ใช้คำพูด

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