In late December 2009 the Thai-ASEAN News Network broadcast an interview with Thailand’s Privy Council Chairman, General Prem Tinsulanonda. Those New Mandala readers who follow such matters closely will want to read the interview in full. An indicative extract follows:
Sarosha: Oh, in the evening. And you still play golf, your favorite sport, sir?
Prem: Yes, once a week.
Sarosha: What do you do in your leisure time, sir? In your free time, sir, what do you do?
Prem: I play music, compose songs.
Sarosha: Any new songs that you have composed lately?
Prem: I compose many songs for my pleasure, not for sale.
Sarosha: Will we have the chance in listening to any of your compositions, sir?
Sarosha: Any time soon?
Prem: I’ll make an album. Right now I have 8 albums, not for sale, just for pleasure which I give to my friends, you know, when they come see me.
Sarosha: Last but certainly not least, since we ask since we are an English news station, your views on English news in Thailand, do you think it’s an important element of the Thai media system?
Prem: It is, sure.
Sarosha: Can you elaborate a bit more on that? The establishment of an English news station or the existing publications in Thailand.
Prem: Well, it directly goes to the people who don’t speak Thai so they can have some way to get some news from the English channels, but by listening to the English radio, English television, it’s the way you educate the people. The young generation would speak quite well, very good, I mean better than in my days. In my days, it’s not this popular. It’s not this famous.
Some readers may find the journalistic pedigree of the interviewer relevant. Musing on the interview it occurred to me that there were many questions that went unasked.
So I thought I would throw the ball into the collective New Mandala court. If you had the opportunity, what would you like to ask General Prem?
And thanks are due to a regular New Mandala contributor for pointing me towards the interview, and its transcript.