A leader should inspire hope

A leader should inspire hope


Verbal slip-ups have become synonymous with our dear PM Prayut Chan-o-cha. Remember when he said that a human brain has 84,000 cells? On Monday, he had another episode of verbal blunder and, with due respect as always, this one warrants a proper response from yours truly.

During his visit to Hat Yai, he gave a speech to an audience of mostly older generations of Thai people while gesturing and pointing at them. In gist, he said Thai youngsters think fast like a computer but it's impractical and that they shouldn't abandon the family who raises them. He added that all foreigners would like to live in Thailand because of our good food, kind people and nice weather.

What irks people, me included, the most is the next part. He asked if his audience would try to live abroad. He answered for them that they would be frozen to death because they'd never been abroad. He also said that tax in a foreign land is much higher than that of Thailand. Thirdly, he added that energy costs for air-conditioners and heaters are pricey and asked whether his audience could afford such costs. He said if the rich want to move abroad they could before he concluded that we shouldn't move abroad because we were born here and should die here as Thailand is our holy land. In his defence, his entire statement can be taken as another off-the-cuff, tongue-in-cheek train of thought that tries to appeal to a certain audience.

First of all, no one will freeze to death if they put on winter garments to protect themselves against the cold unless they decide to wear a birthday suit while staying at the North Pole. And foreign land doesn't always mean wintery countries.

Secondly, taxes may be much higher in a few other countries but, in return, taxpayers receive better state welfare and their governments don't seem to spend taxpayer money on frivolous projects that don't improve the quality of life of the public either.

Thirdly, people should be able to afford energy costs, if their earnings are in appropriate proportions to the cost of living. Countless infographics by Thai media outlets have shown how little Thai people earn per day or month compared to workers in other countries and how much more expensive goods or commuting costs in Thailand are compared to workers in other countries.

His ending remark is the most puzzling part in my opinion. He said we shouldn't move to another country and should die here because Thailand is a holy land. I don't really understand how holiness comes into play. Does he actually think Thailand is superior to other countries because she's holy? What makes a country holy? If you're buried here, you'll get a guaranteed pass to heaven? Which heaven is he talking about?

You can take this incident as another somewhat amusing, cringe-inducing and puzzling statement from Uncle Tu but, if you really analyse it, it's very unbecoming for a country's leader to say something that well, for lack of a more polite word, ignorant. He also talked down on the younger generation and told his audience, whom I presumed to be his supporters, to be content with the status quo.

I don't think he inspired hope with this flippant speech.

Generally speaking, one thing I know for certain that could drive people away from their homeland is an incompetent leader who's condescending towards their people and doesn't seem to have a viewpoint that fits this age of globalisation. Generally speaking.

Pornchai Sereemongkonpol

Guru section Editor

Guru section Editor

Email : pornchais@bangkokpost.co.th

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