A Songkhla _ Gen Prem Tinsulanonda yesterday counselled school
graduates to be careful in choosing role models as local residents
turned up in force to give him moral support and demand an apology
from talk show host Samak Sundaravej.
The elder statesman and Privy Council chairman also noted that
His Majesty the King had taught Thai people "to be decent
and to feel duty-bound to give something back to their motherland".
made the remarks at the graduation ceremony at his alma mater,
Mahavajiravudh Changwat Songkhla, which is located in his hometown.
Prem's visit confirmed local residents remained dissatisfied with
Mr Samak's response to the public anger at remarks critical of
the talk shows has nothing to do with it. We demand nothing less
than an apology from him," said Surachet Pa-yuenyong, head
of the school's alumni association. "If
he fails to do so, Songkhla people will come up to Bangkok and
stage a rally outside his house," Mr Surachet warned.
Samak and co-host Dusit Siriwan found themselves in the firing
line after criticising Gen Prem who made a recent public speech
spelling out the need for a leader to have a moral conscience.
They were forced to step down from their roles on their talk shows,
although Mr Samak offered no apology to Gen Prem.
speaking to the school leavers, Gen Prem cited His Majesty's pledge
at his coronation in 1946: " I shall rule the kingdom with
King has taught Thai people to be decent and to feel duty-bound
to give something back to their motherland." Gen Prem said.
was delighted to find that the teaching of "giving back to
the country" was widespread. It is only decent people who
know how best to serve the country and do it willingly, he said.
Graduates should choose a suitable role model to follow, he added.
must be careful in copying proper models who pursue respected
careers and discard those unscrupulous ones." he said. Students
should be self-disciplined, wise in their spending, be grateful
to their parents and be morally decent people among other things,
ultimate happiness in life is making others happy. It is unfortunate
that most ignore this kind of happiness, he said
am happy sitting in front of the students and talking to them.
This is the first time I have participated in the ceremony. I
am mostly concerned for the children because the future of our
nation lies in their hands," he said.
Prem said that when one makes a pledge to do something, one must
keep it in mind and try to fulfil it.
than 1,500 people from across Songkhla province gathered to welcome
the former prime minister at the school.
carried banners supporting the Privy Council chairman and demanding
Mr Samak apologise to him.