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Are Cooking Shows Popular in Thailand?

In the U.S., political factions debate the constitutional wisdom of the president and his family making money on business endeavors that sometimes seem to benefit from presidential influence. In Thailand, there’s no debate at all. When Samak Sundaravej became prime minister, and he continued to appear on a cooking show called Tasting and Complaining, the Constitutional Court took a firm stand in 2008. The court said Samak had “violated Article 267 of the constitution” and declared that “his position as prime minister has ended.” The reason? Thailand’s constitution prohibits government ministers from engaging in private employment while in office.

Working for a living:

  • Samak had hosted the cooking show regularly before taking office. He whipped up dishes such as Salmon Coconut Soup and his favorite fried rice recipes on a show that mixed cooking with current events.

  • The court said that Samak received about $2,300 USD for his appearances from a Thai company called Face Media. The 73-year-old Samak said the payment reimbursed him for ingredients and his transportation costs only.

  • Samak was also the target of ongoing protests. The People’s Alliance for Democracy said Samak was a shill for Thaksin Shinawatra, the former prime minister who was ousted in a 2006 military coup.

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More Info: NBC News

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