Friday, October 14, 2011

Bangkok Governor's 'Listen to Me Only' statement may be aimed at many others

Bangkok Governor M.R. Sukhumbhand Paribatra repeatedly declared last night: "Please, just listen to me, and me alone."

He was of course referring to the flood situation in Bangkok. If he had just said it once or twice, I would have considered it a normal kind of statement. But when he said it again and again and adding: "It's my responsibility to save Bangkok. It's the Bangkok people's mandate for me to do that. It's a sacred mission for me...," I began to think he was having problems with the government's Flood Relief Center, headed by Police Gen Pracha Promnok.

A few hours earlier, Science Minister Plodprasob Suraswadi had placed the country in a near panic by declaring that the dike at nearby Pathumthani had collapsed and people in northern Bangkok should evacuated immediately.It turned out to be a false alarm.

The Bangkok governor's "Listen to Me Only" statement underscores perhaps the fact that his office and the central government's anti-flood operations aren't really working as one. Political observers would naturally point to the fact that the government is under Pheau Thai Party and the Bangkok government is under the Democrats.

But then, it must be pointed out that the governor did addd, in case anyone was entertaining political thoughts: "I am working on the flood crisis withouth any political consideration."

Then came Premier Yingluck who announced this morning that the Thai people should listen only to Police Gen Pracha -- and nobody else (Minister Plodprasob included?)

So, if you take their public announcements seriously, you would only listen to Police Gen Pracha for anything not related to Bangkok and only to M.R. Sukhumbhand if it's about flooding in the capital. And if you still get panicky, it's your own problem.

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