THE first time ever, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha shared some snippets of his private life with the media yesterday.
He was attending a New Year party hosted for journalists on the Government House beat. The theme of the party was Children's Day - which will be marked today nationwide - so some reporters dressed like students in keeping with the theme.
Prayut appeared to be in a good mood as he recalled his life as a youngster, saying he was mischievous and often sneaked out of school by climbing over the fence. "Though climbing the fence was difficult, it taught me how to survive," he said.
As for his love life, he said he only dated one woman at a time, adding that all men should respect women. However, he said, he could not remember his first girlfriend because he ended up marrying another woman.
The premier said he met his wife Naraporn as an English-language teacher when he was preparing to go overseas. They married when he was 34 and an Army captain.
He also appears to be very caring and considerate in their relationship.
"Don't make her [his wife] moody," he warned.
As for his two twin daughters, who are musicians, he said he was worried about them and hoped they would not stay too far. "I have told them that if they cannot find men who are better than me, then they should stay single," he said, adding that his daughters were courted but he did not see the men now.
Members of the media then gave Prayut bananas and wished him well for the year ahead. He responded by saying, "This year will be tough, because it will be a year of change."
The prime minister also called on the media to report more on "development" and help raise civic awareness among people, government spokesman Maj-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd said yesterday.
"Thailand must not waste time on flashy stories anymore," Sansern said. "Decent reporting will inspire people to develop themselves as good citizens. On the other hand, overly pessimistic or biased reporting will only create confusion in society."
Sansern also quoted the PM as saying that "indecent" reporting also gives rise to discussions on social media, which would eventually "worsen the situation in the country".
He also cited a report from an unnamed source that accused the government of failing to manage the insurgency in the South, despite claims that violence in the region has dropped and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation supports the government's approach towards the matter.