There's plenty of drama in Thailand's markets with a surging currency and rising stocks. But Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij found himself in an entirely different sort of drama this week -- a role on a soap opera.
Delivering a heavy dose of government propaganda to Thailand's commercial television airwaves, Korn appeared in a special episode of popular soap "Wanida" on Wednesday to promote a plan to help the public repay high-interest debt.
In the show set in the 1940s, a debt-ridden character says he has found a way to escape debts. Moments later, Korn appears in a vast hall to explain how the plan works.
"The government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has helped over 500,000 people and reduced debt burden by about 3 billion baht ($100 million) per month. It's lucky that Mr. Prajuab registered," Korn said, referring to the character.
Ahead of expected elections next year, Korn's government has unveiled several populist policies to help win support in the vote-rich north and northeast, home to a mass "red shirt" anti-government movement that took to the streets this year.
In September, in one such measure, the cabinet approved a bill to regulate debt collection by financial institutions to alleviate the problems of informal debt and unfair "loan shark" debt collection practices.