BANGKOK — Current and past leaders of Thailand are sending messages of congratulations to President-Elect Joe Biden while some netizens are falling head over heel for a newly elected Republican congressman.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who came to power through a military coup and a highly disputed election, said on Monday that he has instructed the foreign affairs ministry to prepare for establishing a diplomacy with the new American administration.
“Even though many policies may change, we must adapt and create balance in our region, not just in Thailand, but in ASEAN,” Prayut told reporters.
Minister of Finance Arkhom Termpittayapaisith also said Monday that Biden’s platform on increasing the minimum wage could spell good news for Thailand, because investors could decide to outsource work overseas to the region, including Thailand.
In an official letter published by the Thai government on Sunday, Gen. Prayut congratulate Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris for “the trust you have earned from American voters.”
“With the long-standing ties of friendship between our countries dating back more than 200 years, Thailand as the first treaty partner of the United States in Asia takes pride in our strategic partnership which contributes to our mutual benefit and the region’s peace, stability and prosperity,” the letter said.
It went on, “On behalf of the Government and the people of the Kingdom of Thailand, I wish you every success and look forward to working closely with you and your Administration to further enhance our cooperation at all levels.”
Former Prime Ministers Thaksin Shinawatra and Yingluck Shinawatra also heap praises on Biden for his election victory. Both of the politician siblings are currently living in Dubai.
“We in Thailand continue to attach great importance to our relationship with the United States, our important partner and ally,” Thaksin wrote in a message. “As all the Asian people we are very much looking forward with great optimism to working closely with your administration in tackling the challenges that are facing us today.”
The former PM, who was ousted in the 2006 coup while he was in New York, added, “I am confident that under your leadership we would be able to make our two region relations more vigorous and healthier.”
His sister Yingluck wrote, “As we are in unprecedented times we do hope that your presidency would work closely with our region in overcoming these challenges and making our relations to reach its full potential in all aspects.”
Over the weekend, Thais also had a brief fangirl moment for Republican congressman-elect Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina. At 25, Cawthorn is the youngest person elected to the Congress since Jed Joseph Jr. in 1965.
But it wasn’t Cawthorn’s conservative policies that attracted unlikely fans in Thailand, but his athletic look and youthful energy.
“If he is my husband, I will quit watching PornHub,” a Facebook comment said. The government ordered a blanket ban on the popular porn website earlier this month.
“He kind of looks like the quarterback in high school that’s in love with himself,” Facebook user Nontham Nahub wrote.
Facebook user Sikharin Kasitin also compared the paraplegic Cawthorn to the lead in the romantic movie, “Me Before You” (2016). Cawthorn was injured in a 2014 automobile accident, which left him partially paralyzed. He was 18 at the time.
But the more politically aware netizens take offense at Cawthorn’s track record, like his unwavering support for President Donald Trump, allegations of sexual misconduct, and his vacation photos taken at Adolf Hitler’s holiday home that were seen by some as inappropriate.
“Stop fangirling just because he’s handsome and white. He has all the qualities of a Trump supporter: obsessed with Nazis, sexually harassed women, and bragged about how he almost got to learn at Annapolis even though he never did,” wrote Facebook user Nattakrita Lionella Reyjavinski.