|Picture from Matichon Online|
Source: Reuters via Yahoo News
BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand's junta leader released the lyrics to a new patriotic ballad on Tuesday, the second song he has written since seizing power in 2014.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who as army chief led the May 2014 coup, first wrote the song "Return Happiness to Thailand", which is played constantly on television and radio stations as part of a public relations campaign by the junta to win over Thais.
The tune has racked up more than one million views on YouTube but has been mocked by critics of the junta.
His second song, "Because You Are Thailand", includes lyrics like "If we join hands ... the day we hope for is not far away" and "Because you are Thailand, you will not let anyone destroy you."
Prayuth told reporters the song was his New Year present to the Thai people.
The junta, or National Council for Peace and Order, overthrew an elected government, putting an end to months of protests in Bangkok led by the middle class and elite who wanted to get rid of the civilian government of populist Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
A military government installed after the coup has largely stifled dissent and has gone hard after critics of the junta and monarchy by using a harsh royal insult law to detain dozens of people, prompting stern criticism from rights groups, the U.N. and some Western governments.
The junta has repeatedly delayed planned elections, claiming the country is not yet stable enough to hold a poll.
Prayuth comes from a musical family. His daughters enjoyed brief fame in Thailand as a pop duo called BADZ.
(Reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat and Pracha Hariraksapitak; Writing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre; Editing by)
Comment from a reader:
If I were a Thai with an above average IQ---which may well be something rarer than a unicorn---I would be woefully embarrassed at the state of my state. Thailand is neck-and-neck with Bolivia as to which country has experienced the most coups since WWII, and this current self-appointed clown is not only a bit of a miscreant, he's a narcissistic one. Already he is trying to stick his own junta under the lese majeste umbrella, a law which should have disappeared during the Dark Ages, and he also appears to fancy himself a looker, what with his new duds, replete with more fruit salad than a California spa.
For the time being, Thailand's economy is gasping for air, but still (barely) above water. This will not last. Slowly, foreign businesses will close up shop and move to more stable, less restrictive, and better value environments like Malaysia or even Myanmar. The tourist route will also shift over time, as Thailand becomes 'yesterday's' destination and people are turned off by the heavy hand of the government and the increasingly violent nationalism that has been infused in a part of the populace. Should the present trends continue, Thailand could see its GDP fall by a half, a combination of declining FDI and with the possibility that trade boycotts will be imposed by Western nations.
This process might be accelerated when the current monarch passes, which is likely to be within six months. While the admiration the populace has for the King is undeniable, if not dictated by both law and peer pressure, it is also true that it has been his presence that has (barely) kept opposing factions from each others' throats for the last few decades. When he goes, all bets are off, and the odds of domestic violence on a grand scale are high. That will push foreign investors out even faster, and will slash tourist arrivals. Thailand will learn that it owes its moderate economic prosperity not to Thais, but rather to FDI and tourism, and its per capita GDP will likely tumble to a level on the order of Cambodia. The national ego, wildly inflated for reasons no outsider can understand, given the lack of input the country has in any area of human achievement, will be hammered.
The current ruling bozo/songwriter wannabe will fight tooth and nail to hang on, but in the end will probably find himself getting Ceaucescu'd or Mussolini'd. The popular execution will make it on to YouTube, perhaps accompanied by one of his own tunes.