Monday, September 29, 2014

Thai PM bemoans divisive soap operas, offers to write better ones

Originally posted on on Sept 26, 2014

Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha gestures as he speaks during an event titled ''The Instruction on the Procedures of Members of the National Reform Council'' at the Army Club in Bangkok September 4, 2014. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

(Reuters) - Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha on Friday criticized television soap operas for promoting violence and divisions in society said he wanted scripts to encourage reconciliation, and would write them himself if he had to.

Prayuth, who is also army chief, staged a coup on May 22, overthrowing an elected government after six months of at times violent anti-government protests.

"I have ordered that scripts be written, including plays on reconciliation, on tourism and on Thai culture," Prayuth told reporters.

"They are writing plots at the moment and if they can't finish it I will write it myself," he said of a team of government-appointed writers.

The junta has ruled unchallenged since taking over and has cracked down on pro-democracy dissidents and supporters of the ousted government of Yingluck Shinawatra. It has even warned academics that debate that might "cause misunderstanding" would not be tolerated.

Yingluck, Thailand's first woman prime minister, is the sister of ousted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, a telecoms tycoon who shook up politics by winning over poor voters with populist policies and challenging the royalist establishment.

Prayuth bemoaned hugely popular television soap operas which he said encouraged violence rather than peace. Some television dramas have also been criticized for trivialising rape and domestic violence.

"In our country, television dramas make people fight and they create divisions so we have much improvement to make in this area," he said.

"I have ordered that scripts be written," he said. "One plot will be two foreign families come to visit Thailand, they meet each other and come to love each other."

It is not the first time Prayuth, known for his gruff exchanges with reporters, has shown an interest in the arts.

The straight-talking general also penned lyrics to a patriotic ballad - "Return Happiness to Thailand" - which is played by radio and television stations around the country.

Definition List:
criticize: to say that you disapprove of somebody/something; to say what you do not like or think is wrong about somebody/something
promote: to help something to happen or develop
encourage: to give somebody support, courage or hope
reconciliation: an end to a disagreement and the start of a good relationship again
plot: the series of events that form the story of a novel, play, film/movie, etc
junta: a military government that has taken power by force
crack down: to try harder to prevent an illegal activity and deal more severely with those who are caught doing it
dissident: a person who strongly disagrees with and criticizes their government, especially in a country where this kind of action is dangerous
oust: to force somebody out of a job or position of power, especially in order to take their place
telecoms: {telecommunications} the technology of sending signals, images and messages over long distances by radio, telephone, television, satellite, etc
shake-up: a situation in which a lot of changes are made to a company, an organization, etc. in order to improve the way in which it works
populist: a type of politics that claims to represent the opinions and wishes of ordinary people
bemoan: to complain or say that you are not happy about something
trivialize: to make something seem less important, serious, difficult, etc. than it really is
rape: to force somebody to have sex with you when they do not want to by threatening them or using violence
domestic violence: violence that takes place in the home between family members, especially adults
gruff: (voice) deep and rough, and often sounding unfriendly, (behavior) unfriendly and impatient
ballad: a song or poem that tells a story

MP3 List:
= criticize
= promote
= encourage
= reconciliation
= plot
= junta
= crack down
= dissident
= oust
= telecom
= shake-up
= populist
= bemoan
= trivialize
= rape
= domestic violence
= gruff
= ballad