Thai PM composes poem to get his message across

Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha speaks during the "Thailand's Big Strategic Move" conference in Bangkok, Thailand, June 22, 2017
PHOTO: Reuters

He hosts a solo talk show on TV, has written songs - and the latest on the talent list of Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha is composing a poem to cherish his much-favoured "Thailand 4.0" concept.

The nine-stanza klon (poem) was named after the government's scheme to adopt innovation and technology to boost the economy in a fast-changing modern world.

Prayut was so overwhelmed about having penned the verse, which he did in his free time, that he read the entire poem out for the whole Cabinet to hear during yesterday's meeting.

Though titled "Thailand 4.0", the poem in fact only touches slightly on tech-savvy stuff.

It starts by encouraging "Thai successors" to be loyal to the Kingdom's traditional three main pillars - the nation, religion and the monarchy.

It goes on to ask Thais to offer hands together to improve agriculture, industry, the economy, education and social security.

"The most important thing today is law," says Prayut, who has used his absolute power under Article 44 of the interim charter to enact more than 150 orders. "[We] should not stand against it, and [should] hold it as a ground to follow."

The poem also delves into "Pracha Rat", another of his administration's iconic schemes, involving co-operation among the government, private and civil-society sectors.

"[We] have to be fast to get rid of conflicts and doubts," it says. "This is for tomorrow, for us to continue ancient legacy for Thailand's progress."

Last September, Suan Dusit poll results found that more than 75 per cent of 1,167 people sampled nationwide said that they understood the junta government more after it had hosted a day-long press briefing on its two-year performance.

The event, of course, included an hour-long speech by the premier.

But another Suan Dusit poll earlier this month found that most people agreed that Prayut's government should listen to political criticism.

Decent comments would not divide people, respondents said, and instead could bring about fruitful practices.

Although Prayut acknowledged that his poem was not perfect in terms of rhyming, he said it had been written with his pure intention to "improve" public understanding on the government's performance.

"I tried every channel, but people still don't understand us," Prayut said, half-jokingly.

"I talked. I wrote songs. I did it all. Maybe next time I have to make the government spokesperson sing likay [Thai local folk theatre style], or else people won't get to eventually understand us. That would just prolong conflicts," he added, philosophically.