In Thailand, as in most countries, it’s very difficult to have a rational political debate. When it comes to politics, people fall in love with a cult of personality as if they are lovelorn teenagers in a K-pop soap opera. It’s nauseating, really.
They gaze sweetly at political cult leaders with eyes beaming rays of rapturous devotion that spell out the word “sarang-hae.” For the older generation folks reading this, that’s Korean for “I love you.”
It’s the kind of love that even the fan club (FC) of Lisa Blackpink would go, “I wanna vomit.” For the older generation folks, she’s a Thai K-pop star.
Try saying something bad about her on Twitter, and you would wish you’d never been born.
Political FC exists on all sides.
When the Shinawatras were in power, their FC let me have it as if I said Lisa is actually not a good singer.
When Abhisit Vejjajiva was in power, his FC let me have it as if I said Peck Palitchoke can’t dance.
Since General Prayut Chan-o-cha has been in power, his FC let me have it as if I said BamBam shouldn’t wear makeup.
But all I’ve ever said, and will continue to say, is this: we got to “check the power,” and the government is the power, no matter who is in charge, whether sinister capitalists or sinister generals, or any of their brand ambassadors.
For the past six years, General Prayut has been in power. So he’s the one that we the people must put in check.
But try having a debate with Prayut FC.
You will encounter a love that is unshakeable and unconditional.
Prayut FC: He is a good man. It’s only those people around him that are corrupted.
Rationality: So you’re saying the Prayut Government is corrupted? And that the General fails in his promise to reform politics and eradicate corruption?
Prayut FC: He is a good man. He won the election fair and square.
Rationality: You mean the election in which 250 junta handpicked senators got to vote for the prime minister, and a funny calculator that two months after the election gave MP seats to tiny political parties, some with only around 30,000 votes nationwide, all of whom then raised their hands for the General?
You mean, that free and fair election?
Prayut FC: He won more votes than anyone else. He didn’t even need the 250 senators.
Rationality: So shall we change the constitution to make it fair and square by getting rid of the 250 senators then?
Prayut FC: The coup was necessary to end the violence in the streets. You want violence in the streets?
Rationality: Why is it that whenever the red shirts come out, the generals crack down on the protestors, but when the yellow shirts and the whistle blowers come out, the generals crack down on the government?
Is it about ending violence, or grabbing power?
Prayut FC: They put terrorists in the government! Look at Jatuporn Prompan and Nattawut Saikua becoming Pheu Thai MPs. Nattawut was even a minister!
Rationality: Have you ever met Nattapol Teepsuwan (Minister of Education) and Buddhipongse Punnakanta (Minister of Digital Economy and Society)?
Prayut FC: Thanatorn is so crude and rude!
Rationality: The General is not?
Prayut FC: No, he’s just honest, manly and a soldier.
Prayut FC: They are anti-monarchy!
Rationality: Read this article.
Prayut FC: Thailand is not ready for democracy!
Rationality: No, you just don’t want to give up your elitist privileges.
Prayut FC: General Prayut is very intelligent.
We can never agree on General Prayut.
And that’s actually fine. But can we agree on what is good and just?
Forget the name Prayut, Thaksin or Thanatorn. People come and go. People are capable of both good and evil. People are born and one day will die. But a good and just constitution is something that we can pass down from generation to generation. A good and just constitution that ensures a free and fair election for all 69 million Thai people.
If you believe General Prayut is wonderful and just, no problem. If you say General Prayut is intelligent and well read, sure, no problem with that either. Whatever you say about Thaksin and Thanatorn, go ahead, let them have it.
But don’t support the 250 junta-loving senators and the funny calculator. Don’t support the military, with all their guns and tanks, interfering with politics or taking over politics.
Let it be just your vote and my vote.
Playing fair is good and just, right?