The parliament has set up a special committee to “listen” to the demands of students. Why do we need a special committee? The duty of every member of parliament and the prime minister is to first and foremost listen to the people, and students are the people.
Opposition parties refused to participate in this special committee, and rightly so. They know it’s hogwash.
Earlier this year, many universities and high schools across Bangkok and in the provinces organized protests against the “injustice” and “double standard” of the government. Then COVID-19 happened.
As the pandemic subsides, students and young people return to fighting for what is most important for Thailand and their generation: the future.
From Rayong to Bangkok, Ubon Ratchatani, Chiang Mai, Cholburi, Mahasarakham, Ratchaburi, and elsewhere, they gather peacefully and make demands.
These are the words of one high school student, who spoke on a stage in Mahasarakham Province.
“Today, I would like to exercise my rights to political opinion as a high school student. The rights to political views should be a normal thing that every citizen has. So I don’t know why it is that those in power in this country see it as an abnormality.
Today, we are here to talk about the four demands we have made to pave a path for Thailand to become a democratic society.
Are we all tired of seeing the hashtags ‘save this person or that person’? When all they have done is express their political opinions, or to say they have lost faith in something.
Suddenly, the harassment of political activists is now becoming the harassment of students. Recently, according to reports, there’s the harassment of one high school student. We can’t help but think when it will be our brothers and sisters, when it will be our friends, and when it will be us.
Then, the unthinkable happened when the authorities question after [student] activists, [the police ask at schools] ‘are there any in this school? Please warn them.’
It makes us confused and curious, why are they doing this, and what are they doing this for? It makes us suspect, we are just high school students, are you afraid of us?
We are restricted in our political opinions, and that’s not all that schools and universities are restricting us. They also restrict what’s on our bodies, which is the uniform. We do not even have a choice in what we wear.
Have we had enough of the crap this country has put us through?
A country that says it’s a democracy, but a deeper look reveals a dictatorship. A country that says it’s a democracy, but a deeper look reveals a feudal structure. A feudal system that sees the people like us as elephants, horses, cows, and buffalos; to be used as labor and for the wealth of the elites.
When in truth, we are the power, the true owner of democracy.
In this glaring class division, our rights are not equal, therefore don’t expect our opportunities to be equal.
More people are losing jobs. But don’t forget, in this crisis, those who lose jobs still have to eat. To lose jobs means you’ve become poor. To be poor means you have no money. To have no money means you can’t buy food. With no money to buy food, in the end, you die.
The best way out is the welfare system. But it should be based on the rights of the people, not as charity or doing favors.
The only working system [in Thailand] is healthcare. The 30 baht healthcare, district hospitals, or the gold card [universal healthcare], all of this did not come from the Prayut government.
Let’s say, if our country has good infrastructure, such as in education, then we wouldn’t have to struggle to leave our hometown to study in another province. We wouldn’t have to hear the words ‘free education,’ when in reality, we pay tens of thousands [of baht]. In public transportation, we would be able to have an effective transport system at the price that everyone can afford, no matter which social class you belong to, from the richest to the rest of us grassroots.
Lastly, I would like to say that all the things I have said can easily become a reality, and they are always ready to become a reality, if our demands are met; all four demands.
Finally, I would like to say to everyone here that we all are the people of Thailand. Our voices matter. Come out to make a stance. Come out and show them that we have had enough.