BURIRAM — Junta deputy Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan on Monday denied being jeered when he attended a Sunday motorcycle race, insisting that he was instead being welcomed.
Prawit visited the Chang International Circuit in Buriram province – home to the 15th race of the year’s MotoGP championship – accompanied by Newin Chidchob, a former influential politician behind the race track project.
The incident occurred when Prawit entered the track and made a short remark, mistakenly calling the event a “MotoCP” race – CP being the acronym of the Charoen Pokphand Group, the kingdom’s largest conglomerate – causing the crowd’s confusion and laughter.
“They cheered to welcome me, not jeered to chase me away… If they jeered, they would have thrown objects. Why would they chase me away when I work for them?” said Prawit, who is also a deputy prime minister.
Prawit made his response after reporters asked him if the near 1-minute noise was a reception or sign of disapproval, as alleged on social media.
While opinions differed on social media, some believe Prawit was in denial.
“This is ‘positive thinking.’ Locals would call this having a ‘thick-skinned face,’” prominent Facebook-based social media commentator Pipob Udomittipong wrote Monday.
Pipob compared the event to an incident involving United States President Donald Trump last month, in which he was laughed at before the United Nations General Assembly in New York while he addressed his counterparts.
Spain’s Marc Marquez won Sunday’s race after taking the lead in the last corner, further extending his lead atop of the leaderboard by 77 points.