Tongue-Thai’ed! Part I: Nouveau dismiss

Originally published at Siam Voices on May 2, 2011

Welcome to a new segment on Siam Voices where we (for now semi-regularly) encapsulate the most baffling, amusing, confusing, outrageous, appalling quotes from Thai politicians and other public figures – in short: everything we hear that makes us go “Huh?!”. We have previously highlighted some noteworthy Thai verbal outings of all kinds, such as the eye-brow-raising, contradictory, ill-considered or just simply outrageous – but now you’ll find them all in this segment.

Let’s start off with somebody very familiar to observers of Thai politics and somebody who has never been shy to voice his opinion, no matter the circumstances. Thailand’s commander-in-chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha commented on the most recent raids on pro-democracy community radio stations (see posts by Bangkok Pundit and Andrew Spooner), specifically comparing this to the clampdown on websites allegedly deemed lèse majesté:

“ปิดยูอาแอลไมได้ปิดเว็บ เพราะยูอาแอลมีคนคุมอยู่ ถ้าเขาคุมไม่ดีเขาก็จะมีความผิดด้วย เราจะไปปิดเว็บไซต์เลยไม่ได้บางทีมันมาจากต่างประเทศ มันต้องไปปิดต่างประเทศและอาจจะโดนต่างประเทศฟ้องอีก เพราะต่างประเทส [sic!] ไม่เข้าใจกฎหมายบ้านเรา กำหมายเรา [sic!] คือกฎหมายเราและประเทศไทยก็คือประเทศไทย ผมไม่เข้า(ใจ)ว่าหลายๆคนอยากจะให้ประเทศไทยเป็นเหมือนประเทศอื่น มีเสรีทุกเรื่อง แล้วถามว่ามันจะอยู่กันยังไงผมไม่รู้ ขนาดแบบนี้ยังอยู่กันไม่ได้เลย ” พล.อ.ประยุทธ์ กล่าว

“We have only blocked the URL, not the internet because the URL is controlled [read: in possession of somebody]. If he or she doesn’t control it very well, then it is his or her fault! We cannot shut down the[ir] websites, [because] some of them are in other countries. [When] shut down foreign websites, the foreign countries will protest, because the foreign countries don’t understand our laws! Our laws are our laws and Thailand is Thailand. I don’t understand why so many people want Thailand to be like other countries – to have freedom in everything – how can we live? I don’t know… I can’t live even like it is now!” said Gen. Prayuth

‘ประยุทธ์’แจงปิดวิทยุชุมชนหมิ่นยันทำตามกฎหมาย“, Krungthep Turakij, April 29, 2011 (translation and emphasis by me)

Well, of course foreign countries don’t understand our laws, sometimes we ourselves don’t get them either, hence why some of them are being used very arbitrarily. We don’t know for certain which countries Prayuth is referring to, maybe he misunderstood that people were telling him that Thailand is actually becoming like one other country. And freedom can be very scary if you can’t control it, isn’t it?

Today’s second quote comes from Thai finance minister Korn Chatikavanij, who wrote this on his Facbook page after he, like so many people, has watched the British royal wedding:

“ได้เห็นความยิ่งใหญ่ของพิธีของราชวงศ์อังกฤษแล้ว อดคิดไม่ได้ว่า คนฝรั่งเศสที่ดูอยู่จะเสียดายไหมว่าตนไม่มีสถาบันกษัตริย์อีกแล้ว”

“After having watched the greatness of the festivities of the British monarchy, I can’t stop thinking if the French are feeling sad that they a monarchy anymore?

Thai finance minister Korn Chatikavanij on his Facebook page, April 30, 2011 (translation and emphasis by me)

Yes, that’s really something to ponder on. Over 2,000 people (and very likely not many French) though have already made up their mind and ‘liked’ it and also the almost 300 comments are largely in favor of Korn’s musing. Maybe should have read the papers for an answer

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.