Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Foreign Minister Kasit's first faux pas
Kasit Piromya was quoted yesterday in the Daily Telegraph as saying that the protests by the People's Alliance for Democracy, including the occupation of the Suvarnbhumi and Don Muang airports were "a lot of fun."
The new Thai foreign minister, I assume, didn't want to sound so flippant about the incidents that had received some very bad press abroad. He was talking to a group of foreign diplomats and journalists soon after he took office.
"The food was excellent, the music was excellent," he was quoted as saying.
The British paper said the audience was "astonished" to hear that. Kasit of course did make some serious comments about the PAD protests, which he attended regularly while they lasted. He was also quoted as saying:
"Look at (the PAD protests) as pushing the process of democratisation forward..."
He also said: "You should be happy that for the first time ordinary people came out in full force to oppose corruption. If society has to be changed, it has a price."
But what caught the Telegraph's reporter's real attention was when Kasit said:
"People said we were armed. My wife used to go every evening. What was she armed with? only food and medicine."
But the headline declared: "BANGKOK AIRPORT PROTESTSW WERE FUN, SAYS THAILAND'S NEW FOREIGN MINISTER."
Morals of the story: Never get light-hearted at the wrong time, about a wrong subject.