The junta is working overtime to rebuild Thailand by turning the clock back to a yesterday world. In doing so, they are intensifying a conservative ideology and values of “Thainess”. An example of the absurd propaganda, which has been launched in the previous week, is the “Happiness Project” where grotesque women soldiers in uniform sing songs to “cheer up” the public. They also provided free meals, hair-cuts, snacks and sweets. I cannot help thinking that the sweets must have a terribly poisonous taste. The junta is forcing people to be happy and giving out sweets as though we are all “children”.
Recently, the junta boss Prayut even composed a song to return happiness back to Thai citizens. Was the song nice? The right answer in this case would be “absolutely awe-inspiring”. Otherwise you might be invited to the army camp.
Prayut fought back against the three fingers symbol, used by anti-coup protesters, by lecturing us that the Hunger Games symbol was not compatible with Thai culture.
The military junta are also trying to add more values of “Thainess” to the day to day work of civil servants. The office of the Permanent Secretary to the Prime Minister has issued an order that all letters address to H.E. Generalissimo Prayut must start with “I grovel at your feet, your excellency” (กราบเรียน)and the letter must end with the phrase “With Great Respect”.
If you think the “Happiness Project” was the ugliest form of political propaganda then you might be wrong. At the moment the junta has started releasing several video clips to assist Thai citizens in order to conduct themselves “correctly”. There is a video which targets students. The main messages in the video suggest that they stop thinking of themselves and put The Fatherland first. When you hear the national anthem then you have to stop and stand up in order to pay respect to the ARMY who guard the country! The military has never fought a successful battle against any invaders, but it is well practiced in shooting down unarmed Thai citizens.
On Friday Kasetsart University students tried to organise an anti-coup event by picnicking and reading books but they were intimidated by the university security guards and more than 100 soldiers. Students failed this time, but they will not give up and are seeking new techniques to exercise their views.
Some university vice-chancellors in the Northeast informed police to arrest their own students because they protested against the coup. The vice-chancellor of Ramatibodi University went further by clapping his hands to warmly welcome the coup. He said, “We need to have educational reform urgently; our students should study morals and technology”. In his plan, a “good” education system should reduce academic subjects because they generate different views among people and caused the political crisis.
The Office of The Basic Education Commission has announced the new education programme to suit the military junta’s criteria. All academic documents that criticise the junta are forbidden. Teaching programmes will promote the junta’s achievements. Political activities are not allowed to take place in schools and universities. Teachers, lecturers and staffs are told to avoid taking part in political events.
Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength!!
The best way to handle these absurdities is to relentlessly defy the junta’s New Order.