Feudal warlords don’t understand “soft power”

Everybody jumps on the Lisa Blackpink bandwagon, including General Prayut Chan-o-cha.

Yesterday, the general said Thailand should take the example of the K-pop sensation and create “soft power” and a “creative economy,” inspiring Thai youths to shine globally.

The general neither understand soft power, creative economy, nor who Lisa is.

Pranpriya Manobal is Thai. But the entertainer named Lisa Blackpink has been a K-pop product since age 14. She’s Korean-made by the K-pop factory, itself full of horror stories.

K-pop is South Korea’s success in putting Asian faces in western-style pop culture. It takes the western-style boy/girl band and hip hop/pop rhythm and flow, multiplied by Asian melodrama and theatrics, to the power of glitters and bling.

K-pop is not just music. But the entertainment culture.

K-pop appeals to the young because it dares to go outside the box, breaks barriers, and captures the imagination. For example, the Oscar-winning “Parasite” that challenges social hierarchy.

Meanwhile, our entertainment industry reinforces the hierarchy.

When South Korea transformed from a military dictatorship to a democracy in the early 1990s, it embraced globalism—a national effort by leaders who understand soft power and creativity.

K-pop isn’t just entertainment but a national mindset.

Breaking news! Thailand’s leaders are feudal warlords who resist the modern mindset and handcuff the young and old alike inside the box: bowheads, obey and conform.

They don’t know soft power or creativity.

Would they ever allow something like Netflix’s “The Crowned Clown”?

Soft power is cutting-edge propaganda. Our warlords only know Cold War propaganda and the “hard power” of tanks for coups and rubber bullets for protests.

Suchart Sawadsri’s “National Artist” title is revoked because he questions the establishment.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul is a darling at the Cannes Film Festival but gets no love from the government. His works defy traditions while he challenges the government.

Want soft power and a creative economy?
First, eliminate the warlord mentality.

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