Connect with us

Bangkok

Rap raising debate in the lead up to February election

Thaiger

Published

 on 

“As artists, we want to reflect the truth of the society we are living in under dictatorship,” a RAD member identified only as Hockhacker told The Nation Weekend.

“Thailand seems to be caught in a loop of dictatorship. We want to voice what the majority cannot say directly. The lyrics were based on information we collected on social media, reflecting the sickness of our society.”

by Phatarawadee Phataranawik

The hit anti-dictatorship rap song riling the junta-led government, “Prathet Ku Me” (“My Country’s Got…”), has also roused debate and hinted at change in both the political and arts spheres in Thailand, say multidisciplinary scholars.

The 10 member group Rap Against Dictatorship (RAD) used social media as an artistic weapon, its music video-as-political message garnering more than 25 million views on YouTube to date.

The government tried to ban the hit tune, warning that its message and video footage replicating the 1976 massacre at Thammasat University violated the Computer Crime Act’s strictures against information inconsistent with the truth and also threatened national security.

The effort failed. RAD has cheated the censors by using blockchain technology to prevent the government from deleting the video or barring access to it.

But that hasn’t stopped debate from reaching both extremities of pro and con among people from all walks of life, from scholars and politicians to teenagers and monks.

Anthropologist Sorayuth Aiemueyut, who lectures on visual culture at Chiang Mai University, said people incensed by the limits placed on freedom of expression by the government via the use of laws such as Article 44 of the Constitution have found the song liberating.

“The impact of this phenomenon reflects the fact that many Thais are under pressure for calling for democracy under a dictatorial government,” Sorayuth told The Nation Weekend.

“The political-art movement deploying new technology is also animating the current political situation, with thoughts being shared in both the virtual and real worlds, something called ‘digital immateriality’.

Overt political activity is just now resuming after being banned since the 2014 coup, but arts-related socio-political activism has steadily spread, both online and off. Art happenings, posters and music concerts have given voice to campaigners pressing for a return to democracy.

In some cases the authorities have reacted, in one instance arresting demonstrators outside the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre. Anti-junta artists began adopting “guerrilla” tactics to get their messages out.

The junta-led government has banned many political artworks, songs, films and stage productions. Individuals and groups targeted included Faiyen, a pro-red shirt band living in exile, and graffiti artist Headache Stencil, whose murals have depicted a black leopard and Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan’s luxury wristwatches.

Soldiers stormed Bangkok’s Ver Gallery to shut down an exhibition called “Whitewash”, featuring the politically charged conceptual photography of Harit Srikhao. Online political cartoonist Kai Maew had to set up a fresh link (Kai Maew X on Facebook) after being banned for a while. Also drawing junta was Anocha Suwichakornpong’s internationally acclaimed movie “By the Time It Gets Dark”, which similarly took inspiration from the 1976 Thammasat tragedy.

Meanwhile the recently founded pro-democracy Future Forward Party is tapping artists to help its election campaign. Targeting younger people, the party is hosting the “Future Fest: Art, Music, Culture” this weekend at Bangkok’s Jam Factory, with political art and an open discussion about it.

Another RAD member known as the Liberate P initially planned to attend the fest but changed his mind because he didn’t wish to be seen as supporting Future Forward either.

You can read the full article at The Nation Weekend HERE.

 

Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forum
🔔 Subscribe to our daily newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Thailand's largest online portal for news and information.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand7 hours ago

17 people in close contact with Omicron-infected traveller test negative

Thailand8 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Omicron under control, Illegal border crossing, Thailand’s recovery | Dec 7

Thailand8 hours ago

Crane collapses in Samut Prakan, killing a man and injuring 2 others

advertiseadvertise
Crime9 hours ago

Chiang Mai street vendor with busty top files sexual harassment complaint with police

Thailand9 hours ago

Three arrested in human trafficking crackdown near Myanmar border

Thailand9 hours ago

Hua Hin luxury resort guest claims “peeping Toms” stared at him naked

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand10 hours ago

168 Thai soldiers apparently forced to finish masturbating before showering

Coronavirus (Covid-19)11 hours ago

Hotel staff in close contact with Omicron confirmed to be negative in second test

Video11 hours ago

Grammar mistakes, Homemade coffee, Bhutan | Thaiger Bites | Ep.76

Southeast Asia12 hours ago

Myanmar ousted leader’s prison sentence reduced to two years

Chon Buri12 hours ago

Tourists stranded an island off the coast of Sattahip rescued by Royal Thai Navy

Thailand12 hours ago

Thailand deploys “King Cobra” unit at Myanmar border to monitor illegal crossings

Phuket14 hours ago

Thai Airways offering round trip Sydney-Phuket flights

Chiang Mai14 hours ago

1 tourist killed, 8 wounded in crash while on tour of Chiang Mai mountain

Coronavirus (Covid-19)15 hours ago

Hotel staff in close contact to Omicron case tests positive for Covid, variant not confirmed

Thailand3 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism9 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism10 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand10 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism10 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending