BANGKOK — When not to point fingers, how to earn respect and why Thai women need not wear too much makeup were all topics the junta leader addressed in meandering comments Wednesday to athletes heading off to a regional sporting event.
Addressing competitors and cheerleaders who will participate in the 29th SEA Games later this month in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha – famed for his love of mandated exercise – dispensed advice on a wide range of topics.
“In Malaysia, they don’t point their fingers. Once I accidentally pointed in Malaysia, and I had to quickly retract my finger. As a military man in Thailand, I can point. I point when I’m ordering my subordinates, but I point in other situations too,” the general told the athletes during their audience with him. “If you want people to respect you, you have to express yourself honestly, not vaguely. Say what you feel. Change your thoughts.”
‘As a military man in Thailand, I can point. I point when I’m ordering my subordinates, but I point in other situations too.’
The broader merits of athleticism were also addressed.
“I know how to play all kinds of sports, but I don’t excel at any of them. Everyone should use sports to develop the country creatively,” Prayuth said. “Developing human resources starts with a strong body, not fixing problems with expensive medical aid.”
From there, he used the national stage to share his thoughts on his preference for natural beauty.
“Thai people are the most beautiful in the world already. They don’t need to put on so much makeup, because some people already have nice faces. If you get lots of plastic surgery, then it might not be as nice as it was before. Whatever your parents gave you, be satisfied with it. Everything comes from inside, from a beautiful heart.”
Addressing athletes of both genders, Prayuth addressed the relationship between a woman’s attractiveness and ability.
“Beautiful people are picky, so they don’t get married. So athletes, compete to your fullest, don’t worry if you’re pretty or not. Don’t be afraid. These days, pretty people can’t do much,” the general said.
Prayuth then shifted focus again to nationalism and regional stability, promising he will do his best and urging the rest of the nation to follow suit.
“Don’t ask what this country can do for you, ask what you can do for the country you’re standing in,” he said, sentiments once famously expressed by former US President John F. Kennedy.