Yingluck Shinawatra assured what must have been a bemused audience at this week's international conference in Mongolia that she certainly didn't wish to widen the political divide in Thailand.
Yingluck Shinawatra assured what must have been a bemused audience at this week’s international conference in Mongolia that she certainly didn’t wish to widen the political divide in Thailand.
But that’s exactly what she did, of course, by declaring for the first time that the 2006 coup overthrew “the rightfully elected prime minister” – her scurrying brother Thaksin – and derailed Thai democracy. On the social media, the opposing sides immediately took another giant step further away from each other.
After Abhisit Vejjajiva slammed Yingluck for her comments, her nephew Panthongtae got on Facebook to call the chief Democrat narrow-minded. Meanwhile Banharn “The Eel” Silapa-archa told the press that Yingluck was right, a view backed by ML Mingmongkol “Taona” Sonakul on Facebook. “She’s so smart to use this stage – she delivered one punch and the impact hits both Thailand and the international community.”
Red shirts online said Yingluck’s turning out to be an even better leader than Thaksin and praised her for denigrating the coup-makers.
Facebook was also the forum for criticism against the PM, though. “Enemy of the state”, “big mouth” and “pack hoi pack pouf” (shell mouth, crab mouth) were among the choice descriptions used. Someone posted a photo that went viral showing Thaksin schmoozing with 1991 coup leader Soonthorn “Big Jod” Kongsompong, captioned, “I guess when she says she’s deeply hurt by the coup, she’s only referring to coups that go against her family’s interests.”
Another photo of Thaksin with Suchinda Kraprayoon, also of 1991 regime-change fame, was captioned with Yingluck’s reference to the Thaicom deal that landed in Thaksin’s lap after Suchinda seized power.
Some observers refused to believe Yingluck could come up with a speech like that and called her “a parrot”. “Her English isn’t that good and the tone of the speech is more like a displaced leader asking the international community for help,” author Vasit Dejkunjorn suggested.
Anyway, Yingluck has done her bit for democracy – just by getting everyone to express an opinion! Freedom of speech, yes we have.