Since the coup took place on May 22, General Prayuth Chan-ocha hasn't had a day off. And some days he works past midnight.
As the chief of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), the general must feel a heavy burden on his shoulders.
He has vowed to “return happiness” to Thais after the political turmoil they have endured and the heavy toll this has taken on the economy and society over nearly a decade. The mission is noble, but many believe it may be difficult to accomplish.
Yet as time goes on, his dedication has become very evident.
Prayuth is always there when key decisions need to be made. Although the NCPO’s deputy chiefs are working hard to help run the country, they need to consult him occasionally.
During the past two months, the list of meetings he has had to attend is long.
Every Friday, he also goes on TV to communicate and stay in touch with the public via his “Return Happiness to the People” show. The programme is very similar to programmes recent Thai prime ministers hosted during their time in office. Before she lost the top job, Yingluck Shinawatra talked to Thais via the “PM Yingluck Meets the People” programme.
By hosting a weekly programme, Prayuth is clearly deter?mined to pursue the goals set out by the NCPO. He has also proven his ability to tackle state affairs, not just military affairs.
He is still at the helm of the Royal Thai Army but to many observers, he looks set to become the new prime minister soon.
The general is known to be decisive and quick when analysing things. He has also been inspiring.
Given his sometimes loud voice, people who have no previous work experience with him may get a little shaken. But for military officers or reporters familiar with him, he is not without a sense of humour.
And he often concludes his speeches with: “I am going now, na ja.” Or with this: “Go home safely, na ja.”
“Na ja” reflects politeness and friendliness.
Military-beat reporters, therefore, often call him “Big Too Na Ja”. Too is his nickname and big is often used to describe a general.