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Tongue-Thai’ed! Part III: O brother, where art thou?

19 May 2011

Originally published at Siam Voices on May 17, 2011

“Tongue-Thai’ed!” is the new segment on Siam Voices, where we encapsulate the most baffling, amusing, confusing, outrageous and appalling quotes from Thai politicians and other public figures – in short: everything we hear that makes us go “Huh?!”. Check out all past entries here.

The election campaign has now really begun this week with the opposition Puea Thai Party finally putting Yingluck Shinawatra forward as PM candidate. Of course, we all know that she is the younger sister of one Thaksin and that this fact alone will certainly irk many voters.

More unsurprising is what Thaksin said during an exclusive interview with Post Today:

“ผมบอกเลยว่าไม่ใช่นอมินี แต่เรียกได้เลยว่าเป็นโคลนนิงของทักษิณเลย ผมโคลนนิงการบริหารให้ตั้งแต่เรียนจบใหม่ๆ สไตล์การทำงานเหมือนผม รับการบริหารจากผมได้ดีที่สุด อีกข้อสำคัญหนึ่งก็คือ การที่คุณยิ่งลักษณ์ซึ่งเป็นน้องสาวผม มานั่งเก้าอี้หัวหน้าพรรค สถานะนั้นสามารถตัดสินใจแทนผมได้เลย เยส ออ โน นี่พูดแทนผมได้เลย”

“I say straightaway that [Yingluck] is not a nominee, but you can say that she is a clone of Thaksin. I have cloned my [way of] leadership [to her] ever since graduation. [Her] style of work is the same as mine. [She] got all my best administration [skills]. Another important point is, since Yingluck is my younger sister and she is head of the party, she can decide for me. ‘Yes or no,’ she can do that for me.”

ทักษิณบอกยิ่งลักษณ์คือโคลนนิงของผม“, Post Today, May 17, 2011 (translation by me)

Clearly, the opponents (both lawmakers and the press) will bite on this bait and point out that this alone is enough not to vote her (as our favorite Suthep already did). But it would a mistake to rail just on that, because having a Shinawatra running for office is exactly why the Puea Thai Party is poised to gain many votes. Attacking her just for being a Thaksin proxy (or worse, digging up her private life) might prove ineffective.

People who hate Thaksin won’t vote for Puea Thai anyway and voters who still think highly of him will give their vote to his sister – there’s nothing to change about that. What’s crucial now is whether she can win over the undecided voters. We’ll have to wait for the campaign trail to see if Yingluck can stand on her own. She still has enough opportunities to prove herself as a politician and not only as Thaksin’s sister.

(You might ask why this is still filed under “Tongue-Thai’ed” – well, it’s the well-known bluntness and bravado of Thaksin’s quote that in my view still deserves a spot here. And I can’t just put up yet another Suthep quote!)

A lot of stupid things will be said during the election campaign in the coming months. If you come across any verbosities that you think might fit in here send us a email at siamvoices [at] gmail.com or tweet us @siamvoices.

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