A Visit to Parliament

Leeann and Jayna, our learning channel interns, made their way to parliament yesterday, where they learned about Thailand’s political history and the basics of reporting politics.

The interns, Jayna (right) and Leeann, pose with the reporters after the interview. - JAYNA MILAN


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A Visit to Parliament

We waited patiently outside the Parliament, eating our delicious Koi Theow noodles at a roadside stall, until 9 am when we were scheduled to meet up with Bangkok Post’s Parliamentary reporter, Mr. Mongkon Bangprapa. It was just past 9 when we spotted a man on the other side of the road, scanning the crowd for two young interns – us.

Once we had passed security, we were escorted into the main lobby of the Parliamentary building, where people were bustling around and chatting loudly with their peers. Mr. Mongkon brought us into the pressroom where reporters set up shop and worked on their daily articles.

He introduced us to all of the other reporters and photographers from other news corporations such as Matichon and the Nation. Everyone was very amiable and interested to learn about our backgrounds and why we were at the Parliament.

After a short break, where we were given delicious honey-lemon juice by local vendors, our tour around the Parliament commenced. We were first taken to a museum that exhibited many different artifacts from the 20th century and it was here that we learned about the history of Thai politics. We had never learned about the Khana Ratsadorn, a group comprised of army, navy and military members who revolted against the country’s absolute monarchy in order to change the country to a democratic state. 

The pressroom where politicians release information to the public. - JAYNA MILAN

 

We were then shown a video explaining the different sections of the parliament such as the House of Representatives. The staff was even nice enough to give us a copy of the video as well as multiple pamphlets that elaborated on the structure of the parliament.

From there it was off to visiting the main National Assembly Hall, which wasn’t in session but was still impressive. The hall was quite spacious and it seemed to resonate importance.

The large National Assembly hall, currently not in session - JAYNA MILAN

We were lucky enough to sneak into a small conference after the tour. We stepped into the room and quickly grabbed seats as we felt the stares of the politicians on our backs. While it seemed that they were incredibly serious at one moment, they would be smiling and laughing at another the next. While it was difficult to follow along, we slowly realized that they were discussing the Thai luxury car scandal. If you haven’t yet heard about the luxury cars issue, you can read more here: http://www.bangkokpost.com/learning/learning-from-news/354353/2000-hidden-luxury-cars. http://www.bangkokpost.com/learning/learning-from-news/353416/lamborghini-smuggling-scam

Although that was interesting for the first ten minutes, our stomachs soon spoke out as we dashed out of the room to the canteen. We ate a tasty lunch with Mr. Mongkon as we asked him about his personal background. It turns out, Mr. Mongkon is a fluent mandarin speaker!

Once our tummies were satisfied and the grumbling stopped, he escorted us back to the pressroom where we met up with his fellow Bangkok Post parliamentary reporter, Mr. Aekarach Sattaburuth. We sat down in comfy office chairs across from both reporters, and began to interview them on their jobs at the parliament.

The Bangkok Post parliamentary reporters, Mr. Aekarach (left) and Mr. Mongkon, hard at work. - JAYNA MILAN

We discovered that, as a reporter, you are expected to write at least 2 – 3 articles per day. That was such a shock to us, as we have trouble even finishing one article in a day! Mr. Aekarach explained that with so many discussions and issues occurring within the parliament, there are always things to report. 

They also explained the difference between Thai local newspapers and other newspapers such as the Bangkok Post which are written in English. Apparently, in English written newspapers, the political stories have to be briefer and just get down the essentials. Mr. Mongkon said that the hardest stories are the ones that have to be the shortest.

We thanked them both, as well as the rest of the staff, for being so welcoming throughout our visit. Our image of parliament ended up in complete contrast to our initial expectations of the atmosphere and the people that we had expected to encounter. We would once again like to thank Mr. Mongkon Bangprapa, for without him, this day would not have been possible.

We were sad to say goodbye, as we rushed off into the rainy streets of Bangkok.

Other stories by our interns:

http://www.bangkokpost.com/learning/learning-together/354354/meet-leeann-and-jayna
http://www.bangkokpost.com/learning/learning-together/354731/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-photographer
http://www.bangkokpost.com/learning/learning-together/354540/sneak-peek

http://www.bangkokpost.com/learning/learning-from-news/355567/tv-behind-the-scenes

patiently – waiting for a long time without becoming angry or upset  อย่างอดทน
stall – a large table or a small building that is open at the front, used for selling things (or for giving people information) รถ หรือแผงขายของ
intern – a student or new graduate who is getting practical experience in a job, for example during the summer holiday/vacation คนฝึกงาน
escort – to go with someone ไปเป็นเพื่อน, คุ้ม
bustling – full of busy activity อึกทึกครึกโครม
peers – people who are the same age or have the same social position or the same abilities as other people in a group เพื่อน
set up shop – to use a place for work; to set up a business
amiable – pleasant; friendly and easy to like  เป็นมิตร, เป็นกันเอง
vendor – someone who sells something, but not in a shop พ่อค้าแม่ค้าแผงลอย
commence – to start; to begin เริ่มต้น, ตั้งต้น
museum – a building where objects of historical, scientific or artistic interest are kept พิพิธภัณฑ์
exhibit – to put something interesting in a museum or other public place so that people can go and look at it จัดแสดง
artifact – an object that was made a long time ago and is historically important, e.g., a tool or weapon  โบราณวัตถุ
revolt  – to take violent action against the people in power ปฏิวัติ
comprise – to consist or be made up of two or more things ประกอบด้วย
absolute monarchy – a system in which a king or queen has unlimited powers  ระบอบสมบูรณาญาสิทธิราช
pamphlet – a very thin book with a paper cover, usually given free to people แผ่นพับ
elaborate – to add more information to or explain something that you have said อธิบายเพิ่มเติม
session – a formal meeting of an institution such as a parliament or a court การประชุม
in session – holding meetings จัดการประชุม
impressive – something that people admire because it is very good, very large or shows great skill ซึ่งน่าประทับใจ
spacious – large and with a lot of space กว้างใหญ่,มีเนื้อที่มาก
resonate – to be full of a particular quality or feeling สะท้อน
sneak – to go somewhere secretly, trying to avoid being seen   เดินหลบ,เดินลับ ๆ ล่อ ๆ
stare – looking at someone or something very directly for a long time การจ้องมอง
luxury – the best and most expensive of something ที่หรูหรา
turn out – to be discovered to be; to prove to be กลับกลายเป็น
dash – to run or go somewhere very quickly because you are in a hurry โผเข้าไปอย่างรวดเร็ว
tasty – having a nice flavour or taste อร่อย
fluent – able to speak, read or write a language, especially a foreign language, easily and well คล่อง, พูดหรือเขียนได้อย่างคล่องแคล่ว
tummy – the stomach or the area around the stomach ท้อง
(stomach) grumble – the sound the stomach makes when it is empty – when you are hungry เสียงท้องร้อง
comfy – (informal) very comfortable สะดวกสบาย (คำไม่เป็นทางการ)
issue – a problem that needs to be considered ประเด็น
essentials – basics; things that are necessary  สิ่งจำเป็น
image – an opinion or mental picture that people have about someone or something ภาพลักษณ์
contrast – a noticeable difference ความแตกต่าง
initial – early; first  เบื้องต้น
expectations – what is expected ที่คาดไว้  
atmosphere – the mood or feeling that exists in a place บรรยากาศ
encounter – to experience something  เจอ, ประสบ

About the author

columnist
Writer: Jayna Milan
Position: Trainee