Saturday, December 17, 2011
In a new TV format, PM 'relaunches' her image-building campaign
As I write, PM Yingluck is live on Channel 11 for her Saturday broadcast, with a new twist. She has decided to turn it into a "reality show" of sorts, with Suranand Vejjajiva, former PM's Office minister, as moderator.
Yingluck chose a familiar ground -- her hometown Chiang Mai to "relaunch" her weekly morning show which since she took office was restricted to a radio show. Today, it became a new television format, aimed apparently at making her weekly "meeting the people" programme more lively and picking up ratings.
After a flesh-pressing walk around Waroros Market, the PM sat down with Suranand for an interview -- basically on non-controversial issues about the government's activities.
In the background are the two Pheu Thai MPs, including Foreign Minister Surapong Vijakchaikul from Chiang Mai, and the provincial governor.
They talked about floods -- and the premier said she would like to see a totally dry country as a New Year's Gift for the country.
She talked about recovery from the floods in general terms. The infrastracture must be rebuilt. Foreign investors are still confident in Thailand.
The PM also talked about the paddy mortgage project, car insurance for flood victims, etc...
Suranand asked: Is life as PM different from life as CEO? "Very different. But both are the same: We need team work."
She was asked about evaluating the Cabinet's work so far. "I have to be sympathetic with the Cabinet members many of whom have been busy with fighting the flood. We have been only here four months."
Suranand was obviously trying to avoid asking the direct question of whether she was thinking of a Cabinet reshuffle which has been one of the hottest political topics in the past week.
Self-evaluation? "I think the people should evaluate my work," she said. "Obstacles shouldn't be considered problems. They should be seen as issues we need to tackle and resolve."
"Give us a bit more time," she pleaded.
Next year's challenge? "The world economy is the challenge. Thailand may not face the direct impact. We must build our own strength from within.We need to improve our productivity (she uses this word in English here)."
She was asked about her visits to various branches of the armed forces in the past week. "I am ready to work closely with the military," she said.
Yingluck revealed that she is going to meet Aung San Suu Kyi when she visits Burma next week.