Poll shows that Thais like ‘soft power’

PHOTO: Loy Krathong is celebrated in other countries as well. jcomp/freepik.

Thais are liking their government’s new ‘soft power’ promotion of the Kingdom to the rest of the world and to boost the local economy. The idea of soft promotion, or indirect promotion, took off after young rapper ‘Milli’ promoted the country’s signature sticky rice and mango dish in April. In the scheme, Thai authorities aim to promote the ‘5 Fs’ to the rest of the world. The 5 Fs are.. food, films, fashion, fighting (as in may thai) and festivals.

Now, a Thai university has polled citizens for their opinions of the promotion, and they’re overwhelmingly positive. From June 13 – 16, Suan Dusit Rajabhat University polled 1,066 Thais from across the country, asking them to comment on the ‘soft power’ policy. Of those polled, 78.4% said it would help spur the economy, and 77.2% said it would help propagate the many forms of ‘Thainess’.

On which types of soft power Thailand should promote, the biggest percentage, 93.8% replied tourist attractions, festivals and traditions. Meanwhile, 82.6% replied Thai food and desserts, with the majority of respondents also favouring Thai fashion, Thai traditional sports and boxing, and Thai traditional medicines and massage. So it looks like most respondents are on board with promoting all of the listed forms of soft power and indirect forms of marketing the ‘Thainess’ of the country.

On the most important elements of soft power, the biggest group of respondents replied “diversity and uniqueness”. The second biggest group replied “reflecting Thai culture and way of life”, and the third biggest group replied “it is well liked by foreigners”.

Respondents said the biggest problem in implementing soft power is that the government lacks long-term promotional plans. Other problems they listed included a lack of proper planning, strategy and direction, as well as lack of public relations.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.