Author Topic: General Prem  (Read 993 times)

Offline Taman Tun

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General Prem
« on: June 02, 2019, 04:56:05 PM »
General Prem, the grand old statesman of Thailand had a home in Suebsiri Road.  This is shrine outside his house:-
If the old only could, if the young only knew.

Offline Taman Tun

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Re: General Prem
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2019, 08:37:32 AM »
There is a belated obituary for General Prem in today’s Times.  It is quite an interesting story.  Still not too late to sign the condolences book outside his house in Suebsiri Road ( Opposite the entrance to the Army base)


Prem Tinsulanonda

Two of the more determined assassination attempts on Prem Tinsulanonda — a rocket fired at his car and a grenade thrown into the grounds of his home — testified to the volatile nature of Thai politics during his time in office.
A soldier and politician who was at the heart of Thai government for 40 years, Prem was prime minister of Thailand from 1980 to 1988, a period known as the “Premocracy”.
Having been appointed deputy interior minister in 1977 and then commander-in-chief of the army in 1978, he benefited from a new constitution that did not require a prime minister to be an elected member of the national assembly, or even a member of a party.
Cool and cautious, he saw his role as a stabiliser, compromiser and non-partisan political leader, in the older non-confrontational tradition of Thai politics.
With an almost Gallic aloofness, he remained above most controversies, avoiding personal criticism by letting his ministers take the blame when policies failed.
Nevertheless, after Prem had been in office for only a year, a group of officers known as the Young Turks launched what became known as the April Fool’s Day Coup, taking over Bangkok. The Young Turks wanted Prem to suspend parliament and dismiss his cabinet, while remaining premier. He declined, escorting King Bhumibol Adulyadej and the royal family to Korat in northeast Thailand and setting up a counter-coup headquarters.
To the rebels’ chagrin, the populace stayed loyal to the constitutional monarch and his government. Queen Sirikit, the king’s consort, broadcast a radio appeal for unity and the coup collapsed within three days.
He continued his nation’s close relations with the US, Thailand’s traditional ally, opening the country to global trade and foreign investment. That paved the way for a boom that made the country the world’s fastest-growing economy throughout his rule.
After the 1983 election, Prem remained prime minister as the only person acceptable to the military and the king. But in September 1985, while Prem was in Indonesia, a group of former military commanders and politicians attempted a coup. Although five people died, it was quelled by Prem’s troops in less than 12 hours.
In the 1986 election no party won an absolute majority, leaving Prem to be reappointed as a non-elected prime minister. He stepped down two years later, amid rumours that the country’s bestselling newspaper, Thai Rath (Thai State), was threatening to expose his private life, in particular his alleged homosexuality. Consensual same-sex behaviour had been decriminalised in 1956, but it was still regarded as evidence of mental illness in Thailand until 2002. Prem never married and leaves no survivors.
On the death of King Bhumibol in 2016 (obituary, October 13, 2016), his successor, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, asked for a period of mourning before taking over. So Prem, aged 96, became regent of Thailand for six weeks.
Prem Tinsulanonda was born in 1920 in Songkhla province, near the border of what is now Malaysia. He was one of eight children of Luang Winittantagum, warden of Songkhla prison, and an illiterate mother, Odd Tinsulanonda. Prem attended Maha Vajiravudh school in Songkhla, then Bangkok’s Suankularb Wittayalai, a government school founded by King Chulalongkorn. He wanted to study medicine at university, but, because his parents could not afford that, he was persuaded by a classmate to apply to what was then the Royal Thai Army Academy, now Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy, Thailand’s Sandhurst.
In 1953 he won a scholarship to the Armored Force School in Fort Knox, Kentucky, becoming an instructor on his return at the Thai equivalent. After years in the centre and north of the country, in the 1970s Prem became deputy commander of the 2nd Army, charged with defeating a communist rebellion in the northeast. Rather than using military force, he launched a peace offensive, distributing clothing and tools, reopening schools, expanding medical care and enticing the rebels out of the jungle. The policy, which reflected the king’s emphasis on development in rural areas and won royal approval, eventually defeated the insurgency.
A courtly man, he often appeared in elegant, mandarin-style shirts. He liked to sing and also composed songs, one of which was written during the violent protests against the prime minister, Samak Sundaravej, in 2008. Khamson Khong Por (Father’s Advice) set the king’s words to music and was sold to the Thai public to encourage national unity.
“Prem disliked the cut-and-thrust of parliamentary politics,” said Kevin Hewison, a Thai specialist and professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina. “He established a system of government that has been a model for the current military junta.”
Prem Tinsulanonda, soldier and politician, was born on August 26, 1920. He died of heart failure on May 26, 2019, aged 98
If the old only could, if the young only knew.