My article in the Thai Enquirer this week:

Here is a tale of two press conferences.

One is held by the Governor of California, Gavin Newsom. He announces that California will be forming a task force to help guide the state’s economic recovery. Newsom invites the task force’s co-chair on stage, and it is Tom Steyer, a billionaire hedge fund manager (and failed presidential candidate.)

Later, the state government releases a list of the task force’s members, and it includes Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, and Bob Iger, Disney’s executive chairman. It is well received. 

Just one day previously, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha addressed the nation. We must all be a part of “Team Thailand”, he declared. He then announced that he will send a letter to Thailand’s 20 richest people. “As senior members of society, how can you assist us? How will you contribute to helping Thailand?” 

The speech was roundly panned. The hashtag “beggar government” started trending on Twitter. But what had gone wrong? The state could use all the help it can get. If a partnership between public and private could drive the economic recovery efforts along, why mock it? California’s advisory council, co-chaired by a billionaire and seating some of the world’s wealthiest, had not received anywhere near the same treatment. 

Click here for the full article.

(Cover image credits.)

Published by Ken Lohatepanont

Writer from Bangkok, Thailand; currently a student at the University of California, Berkeley. Enthusiastic about democratic development, international relations and all things politics. I believe in writing to facilitate positive political and social change.

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