Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday showed his softer side while interacting with kids during National Children's Day celebrations at Government House, while urging them to be respectful and united.
The event, staged primarily outside the Thai Khu Fa Building, was a vibrant and fun occasion, offering a great number of educational activities including information about the ASEAN Community.
Prayut - or Uncle Too as kids called him using his nickname - first attended a Khon-mask play of the epic Ramayana performed by youth artists from the College of Arts.
He then took a group of 34 children's representatives - including from the deep South and pupils from Prayut's alma mater, Bangkok's Wat Naunoradit School - on a tour of Government House.
After arriving at Santi Maitree Building in the compound, the PM was warmly welcomed by many kids. He conversed amiably with them and posed for selfies, even as the media throng captured his every move.
Prayut even carried a puppet with him on stage while addressing the audience at the Santi Maitree Building about the need to respect differences in ideas and build a strong and united Thailand.
He urged children to study hard, be obedient to their parents and observe the 12 main Thai values, which his government has been promoting.
He sang with an orchestra, which included the famous 1950s song "Jong Rak" (Just Love Me), which is about respecting and loving someone unconditionally and which ends by telling the young one to "love our country as I do".
Many children were overjoyed to meet Prayut and expressed their best wishes to him.
Rungsan Deesawai, 15, a talented Khon artist, said he was grateful to have a chance to perform in front of the premier and he wished him very good health.
Pornsuda Siribuntat, 7, from Chantaburi, also wished him good health.
The organisers of the event arranged for 2,000 kids to sit in the PM's chair.
The first one to sit on it was Chaichai Thongprasri, a Nonthaburi schoolboy with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Earlier yesterday, Prayut presided over the National Children's Day celebration event at Sanam Seu Pa and urged children to do six things: Don't lie, don't wake up late, don't resist going to school, love your parents more, don't play computer games late at night and finish homework before watching television.
At Parliament, National Legislative Assembly vice president Surachai Liangboonlertchai presided over the celebrations there, while NLA President Pornphetch Wichitcholchai offered the day's motto - "be united and disciplined in concerted efforts to develop the country and democracy".
Many famous people, including Thailand national football coach Kiatisuk Senamuang and his AFF Suzuki Cup-winning team, were also on hand to greet the children.
The Royal Thai Armed Forces headquarters was also a popular site for the day, as parents and their kids looked at and took photos at awesome displays, including tanks and aircraft.
They also attended other fun activities and exhibitions.
Excited young crowds were spotted at 15 venues under the Royal Thai Navy and the Don Muang Royal Thai Air Force Base, the latter highlighted by an air show.