Exercise Time Tracksuited Thai junta chief leads workout for bureaucrats

  • Published:

Former army chief turned Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha ditched his fatigues for a tracksuit and trainers Wednesday as he led hundreds of bureaucrats in an mass exercise session.

24/7 Live - Subscribe to the Pulse Newsletter!
Prayut Chan-O-cha (right) exercises with government officials at the Government House in Bangkok on November 23, 2016 play

Prayut Chan-O-cha (right) exercises with government officials at the Government House in Bangkok on November 23, 2016

(AFP)

He's a mercurial army general known for penning saccharine ballads and angry tirades against his critics. Now Thailand's junta chief has launched a new eye-catching project: trimming the waistlines of the kingdom's civil servants.

Former army chief turned Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha ditched his fatigues for a tracksuit and trainers Wednesday as he led hundreds of bureaucrats in an mass exercise session.

As music blasted out of loudspeakers he boxed, played volleyball and led an aerobics class, complete with star-jumps and squats, alongside hundreds of employees of Government House.

The trim 62-year-old, who seized power in 2014, has ordered all civil servants to exercise every Wednesday afternoon following concerns that Thailand's famously laid back attitude to life has thickened their waistlines.

Prayut Chan-O-Cha led hundreds of bureaucrats in an mass exercise session play

Prayut Chan-O-Cha led hundreds of bureaucrats in an mass exercise session

(AFP)

Prayut revels in being macho, plain-speaking and unpredictable -- a demeanour that creates many amusing press appearances and is a gift to social media meme-makers.

Highlights have included him kicking a muay thai boxer, throwing a banana at a cameraman, tickling a reporter's ear and riding a bike around Government House as his security detail jogged behind in the tropical heat.

Each Friday night he delivers a nationally broadcast "bringing happiness back" speech in which he doles out advice to Thais -- anything from how to get foreigners to appreciate pungent durian fruit to the best Korean soap opera.

He has also written two ballads since his coup emphasising love for the nation and what it means to be Thai.

Thailand has been politically divided since the military launched a coup in 2006 that toppled Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his elected government.

Years of debilitating street protests and another coup in 2014 that toppled Yingluck Shinawatra -- Thaksin's sister -- followed.

The Shinawatra clan is loved by Thailand's rural and urban poor.

Prayut Chan-O-Cha has ordered all civil servants to exercise every Wednesday play

Prayut Chan-O-Cha has ordered all civil servants to exercise every Wednesday

(AFP)

But they are loathed by Bangkok's middle classes and military elite, who say the family were corrupt.

Prayut has vowed to bridge the country's divides but reconciliation seems far off.

His critics see him as the most authoritarian ruler Thailand has had in a generation.

Some have likened him to Field Marshal Phibunsongkhram, a Second World War-era dictator who famously issued decrees on how Thais should behave, including how long they should sleep for, how they should spend their days off and how they should dress.

Recommended Articles

Recommended Videos





Top Articles

1 Too Late Court sentences man to death by hanging for armed robberybullet
2 Stiff Price Unilag student gets N500,000 bail for alleged gang rapebullet
3 Broken Home Husband demands N3m alimony from divorce-seeking wifebullet
4 Wrong Timing 18-yr-old boy shot dead by gang in the UKbullet
5 Shocking Houseboy stabs boss to death and set his body on firebullet
6 Agro Matters Security guard bags 14 years imprisonment for...bullet
7 Demand For Justice Outrage as soldiers beat man to death in Ogunbullet
8 Apostle Johnson Suleiman "Governors who used Stephanie...bullet
9 Divorce Woman seeks divorce over husband’s sexual violencebullet
10 It's Over "My husband is fond of sending me out naked...bullet

Top Videos

1 Video Angry pigs eat giant PYTHONbullet
2 Neoplan Station Scary! Snakes found in kumasi busbullet
3 Road Sex Man filmed having sex with road at a car parkbullet
4 In China Cheating husband force to wear pad, bra as punishmentbullet
5 Drug Use Five unusual ways Ghanaians use weedbullet
6 Video "Verna Changing Lives" episode 2bullet
7 Pulse TV Street Talk A heavy or light breakfast; Ghanaians...bullet
8 Prez. Nana Addo's inaugural speech Mixed reactions from...bullet
9 Edible six pack beer holderbullet
10 Video Man goes swimming naked; fish bites his penisbullet

Filla