~ Psychological Operations Battalion (POB)
~ Putting Humour To Good Use In The Army
This appeared in The Straits Times, Friday, March 19, 2010, Page A21
Army's psy-ops weapon defuses red shirts with humourBy Panjai Pinjinda
Published on March 18, 2010http://www.nationmultimedia.com/home/2010/03/18/national/Army&039;s-psy-ops-weapon-defuses-red-shirts-with--30124950.html
"Talking is our weapon," POB chief Lt Colonel Korsin Kampanayuth said proudly. On Monday, the red shirts marched to the 11th Infantry Regiment to demand that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva dissolve the House of Representatives. As soon as they showed up, Korsin's team members took turns to greet them warmly. Because most of the demonstrators were from the Northeast, a team member quickly shouted in the northeastern dialect, "How are you? How many of us are here today?" Sgt Major Suracha Praponsri, a POB team member, referred to red-shirt leader Veera Musigapong as "Brother". He also used banter to draw laughter from the red shirts. "My wife told me to take good care of you because my salary comes from taxpayers like you. If I failed to serve you well, she would refuse to sleep with me," Suracha said jokingly. He also tried to promote a friendly atmosphere by shouting, "Are you tired? Let me hear your voice", "Can you shake your feet clappers?" and "Are you hungry? Please take some food". The red shirts waved and smiled at him. POB also revealed its singing talents on stage. With a voice similar to singer Chollada "Tukkatan" Thongjulklang, Suntariya Kasa from POB entertained the red crowds with many songs. "I can speak northeastern dialect too," Suntariya said. Despite the scorching sun and tense political situation, the red-shirt demonstrators rallied and then left the 11th Infantry Division peacefully. "It's fortunate (for us) that they didn't want to storm in or damage any property," Korsin said. He and his team had been given only 24 hours' notice to head to Bangkok to deal with the red-shirt crowds. "I've recruited fewer than 20 people to this team. About four or five are speakers," Korsin said. He said other team members had the task of checking the mood of the listeners and passing on information to the speakers. "We also had to monitor what the red-shirt leaders said. We will plead when necessary," Korsin said.
Psychological Operations Battalion's basic information ~ Established in 1966, the Psychological Operations Battalion (POB) has the role of communicating with people in a bid to strengthen national security. Its operations sprang out of the Cold War when it focused on countering communist ideology. Today the POB conducts its activities across the country - mostly in boosting public understanding of government policies, to promote His Majesty's Sufficiency Economy philosophy, and to warn people about the dangers of deforestation and illicit drugs. The POB now has more than 800 staff members. Some have been to East Timor and Sudan to offer assistance there. They can speak the languages of these two countries.