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“I am not angry,” “I work wholeheartedly, naja.”

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Monday attempted to shrug off criticism of the humorous tone he used on Friday to announce new Covid-19 restrictions

The PM signed off on Friday by using the word “naja” and smiling. “Naja” is normally used by women and children as a humorous suffix meant to soften their conversation.

Prayut’s use of the word to announce new disease controls triggered a wave of criticism from netizens, who accused him of making light of the virus crisis.

The restrictions, which include a ban on restaurant dining in Bangkok and four surrounding provinces from Monday, are another blow to small businesses and public life.

Prayut’s humour and his government’s decision were hit by furious criticism across the social media world.

On Monday, the hashtag #นะจ๊ะ (naja) was top-trending on Twitter, accompanied by enraged comments about the prime minister’s performance and the worsening Covid-19 situation in Thailand.

Responding to reporters’ questions on Monday, Prayut attempted to shrug off the criticism by repeating the offending word.

“I am not angry,” he said. “I work wholeheartedly, naja.”

His words triggered more comments and shares on social media.

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