I'm a red shirt but neutral, says govt spokesman Anusorn

national September 08, 2011 00:00

By Budsarakham Sinlapalavan

Deputy government spokesman Anusorn Eiamsa-ard is one of the many red-shirt figures who have become political appointees in the Yingluck Shinawatra government.

Anusorn, 36, is one of the three deputy government spokespersons, and his responsibility covers political and social issues.

Also known as "DJ Opal", he hosted news-oriented and talk-show programmes on pro-red satellite-based television and community radio. Eloquence has been his forte since he was in high school in the northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima - he won a prize for outstanding young debaters from Channel 3's High-School Debate programme.

During street protests by the red shirts over the past two years, Anusorn acted as stage emcee. He insists that despite his new job as deputy government spokesman, he still considers himself a red shirt - albeit a "constructive and compromising" one.

Unlike many red shirt leaders involved in the anti-government protests that led to unrest and riots, Anusorn has not been charged.

"During the election campaigning, the [Pheu Thai] Party wanted a clear separation between red-shirt and party rallies. I was the only red-shirt figure to be selected to work on the party's rally stage, and I didn't join the red-shirts' rally. That's because I have an image of being neutral. It's also acceptable among the red shirts that I am neutral," he said.

Regarding questions about his political background, Anusorn described them as "natural", saying that while the red shirts backed him, the movement's enemies did not like him.

He said his background in the news media would be helpful to his new job. The spokesman job would not be much different from the job of hosting news programmes although he would have to be more careful about what he was saying.

"As a spokesman for the government, what you say will cause a wider impact," he added.

Anusorn said he would now adhere to the job of deputy government spokesman and would not join any street campaign by the red shirts, adding that the red shirts already had many people who could be stage emcees at their rallies. However, he also expressed confidence the red shirts would not take to the street during this government's tenure.

"The red shirts will help support this government. The government has people who are ready to support them in many ways," he said. "The red shirts are from many occupations, such as police, military, teacher, and academic."

Regarding the political conflict, the deputy government spokesman said he believed the Pheu Thai-led administration "will not cause any new wounds and will also prevent the old wounds from having infection".

He said the rivalry between the different political colours would go in the future if the government could ensure there is no practice of double standards.

"If the government can please the people and win their acceptance by ensuring fairness and making them happy and getting rid of their suffering, not only the red shirts but also people from other political colours will support the government," he said.