This image was originally posted at bangkok.metblogs.com
The phrase 'reality TV' is being stretched to its limit in the Kingdom of Siam. The latest 'reality show' stars none other than Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra; media mogul, billionaire and populist despot.
It's called Backstage Show: The Prime Minister and will be a 96 hour live show featuring Thaksin, driving a motorcycle around an impoverished province in northeast Thailand, sleeping in a tent (surrounded by over 200 policemen), and helping the poor.
I'm not making this up.
The Independent wrote,
Back Stage Show: Prime Minister - the basic premise of which is to throw money at the problems of the rural poor who bolstered his landslide victory last year and to eradicate their poverty in just five days. It's a peculiar combination of I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here and The Apprentice, with a few Yes, Minister reruns thrown in for good measure.
The Straits Times reported,
The areas he was earmarked to visit were given a rapid spruce up -- roads were repaved and government buildings repainted in a clean-up frenzy.
"When I woke up one morning, I didn't recognise the road outside my house," commented a 50-year-old coffee vendor in the town of Art Samart. "Potholes that had been there for years were suddenly fixed."
One viewer left a message on the channel's website reading,
"I prefer to watch lottery drawing broadcasts to Thaksin's reality show."