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At THAI, pigs really can fly

May 4, 2001

The other day Jidjam Jaidee, a flight attendant at Thai Airways International, was talking to her friend, Jamsri Chavivan, a ticketing officer, about their new boss Pracha Maleenont. Although they had been getting along in most matters, they could not agree on whether Pracha, the minister of transport and communication, was good enough for THAI.

Jidjam told Jamsri: “You know, we at THAI have been very ungrateful to Khun Pracha.”

“Why? He deserves egg on his face.’’

“Don’t be too unkind. Khun Pracha has good intentions for our airline company. He would like to change THAI for the better.”

“I don’t see your point,” protested Jamsri. “How dare you say that he is good for THAI when he only wanted to put his own people on the airline’s board.”

Jamsri is a member of the world’s most powerful union, which represents more than 25,000 staff.

“You don’t know anything about business,” Jidjam countered.

“But he virtually has no respect for us. We almost dumped his Mercedes limousine into a klong.”

Jidjam insisted: “You must understand that Pracha is a successful businessman. His family owns Channel 3 TV station. He plans to turn our airline company into a pure entertainment business.”

“With the help of that man? What’s his name? I mean–”

“Brian Marcar,” Jidjam said impatiently.

“Oh, Mr Marcar.”

“No, Mr Brian. He is a Thai citizen now. He is a concert promoter. You may recall that several years ago he brought in Michael Jackson. If we allow him to join THAI, he won’t hesitate to fly in Janet Jackson or Madonna.”

“I like Madonna, the Material Girl, but I could never trust Khun Pracha, the Entertainment Man, after all the things he has done to us. Next time he flies with us, I’ll put him in an economy class seat just beside the toilet.”

“You don’t know him well enough. If we give him a free hand, he’ll issue an order for a rerun of Channel 3’s game shows on board every flight.”

“Really?” Jamsri paused in wonderment.

“Even more so, he can arrange to have TV host Traiphop Limpraphat entertain our passengers by hosting the Millionaire Millennium game show live on special flights to Heathrow Airport.”

“I like Traiphop but I am not sure whether he wants to become a flight attendant.”

Jidjam continued: “Khun Pracha will localise our inflight service. Instead of screening HBO films on soundtrack that most Thais don’t understand, the airline can run Channel 3’s prime time soap opera series.”

“I just love Baan Sai Thong and Nam Soh Sai! I can watch those series a thousand times. I prefer easygoing Thai soap opera series to The Terminator or Hannibal.”

“Now you understand why Khun Pracha’s vision for THAI, sadly speaking, will never materialise. THAI stocks are worthless now. They will never go back to the good old days when they made a debut at Bt60 apiece on the stock exchange.”

“I’m beginning to appreciate Khun Pracha’s good intentions for our airline now,” Jamsri said. “I shall tell my fellow unionists to calm their nationalist nerves and treat him better the next time he visits our headquarters.”

“I’m glad to hear that. We need Khun Pracha and his game shows to help us beat Singapore Airlines.”

“By the way, what do people say about our TG flights nowadays? Is it still ‘Tomorrow Go’?” Jamsri asked as the two left for a lunch break.

“Well, better late than never.”

Thanong Khantong






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