Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Abhisit: Lunch with the FT in Davos..but why didn't he eat?
When Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij showed him a copy of the Financial Times (Weekend edition), Premier Abhisit Vejjajiva nodded: "Yes, I have read it. I don't like the caricature though. I look too old and ugly..."
"And you don't have a tie like that?" Korn said, to which Abhisit responded: "Right. It's not my tie. But I guess the cartoonist wanted to portray the fact that I am a fan of New Castle soccer team."
It's the "Lunch with the FT" column by Gideon Rachman while they were attending the World Economic Forum in Davos late last month.
When he was asked whether Thaksin Shinawatr has any good things about him, Abhisit responded: "He has a modern outlook. With him being in the communications and IT business gives him that feel. And he moves quickly. But he doesn't appreciate the true values of these times which is all about human rights, participation, true democracy, transparency and good governance."
Asked about the lese majeste laws, the PM said: "It's like the contempt of court laws in Britain. They are designed to protect an institution that is politically neutral and supposed to be above conflict."
Abhisit admitted that the law is sometimes abused and there may also be pressure for the law to be liberally intepreted. "I will try to find ways of fixing that," he said.
The column disclosed that when Abhisit was at Eton and London Mayor Boris Johnson was one of the classmates, the future Thai future was known among friends as "Veggie."
Johnson has boasted to being the only person in England to be able to pronounce "Vejjajiva" correctly.
It was supposed to be "lunch" with the FT but the columnist complained that Abhisit didn't touch the food at all.
"True," the PM told Korn, "the food didn't look too inviting to me on that day."
It was a sandwich in a Davos restaurant.