Thai Government Hits Back at Hip-Hop Critics with 'Thailand 4.0' Diss Track: Listen
When a rap video critical of Thailandâs military government became a huge sensation, the authorities first responded with threats to arrest its creators. Then they did what the establishment often does when under fire: try to co-opt the genre.
So on Thursday (Nov. 1) a government âThailand 4.0â rap video was played to introduce Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ochaâs remarks to about 500 attendees of a conference on start-ups.
The video was seen as a reaction to the popularity of the music video "Prathet Ku Mee" â" translated by its producers as âWhich Is My Countryâ â" which castigates the armyâs domination over Thai politics. The video has logged over 25 million views since it was posted on YouTube on Oct. 22. "The country where the panther was slain by rifle/ The country that preaches moral but crime rate higher than Eiffel," raps one of the MC's in the & quot;Mee" video, a stark black and white clip filmed in front of an angry mob of protesters. "The law can't fight against Dharma or Bible/ Good people never saluted as idol."
Prayuth himself has penned several patriotic ditties since seizing power in 2014. Most fans of rap and hip-hop would find âThailand 4.0â lame. It features a melodic sampling of the national anthem and lyrics such as âThere are many talented Thais, if we work together, weâd be stronger, strongerâ and âGen M, Gen Z, Gen whatever, if you all agree, itâd be easier, easier.â
Prayuth said at the business event that he was happy to hear a rap song with appropriate lyrics. He said some of the songâs beats could be changed but the meaning of the words was good. Officials are not so pleased with âPrathet Ku Mee,â which comes ahead of a general election planned for early next year and amid signs of public disenchantment with army rule.
The video provocatively references taboo subjects in Thai society. It replicates a gruesome historic scene where a corpse hanging from a tree is continuously beaten as a crowd cheers on, based on an iconic image from a 1976 massacre by police and soldiers of student pro-democracy demonstrators. A group of rappers takes turns delivering verses such as âThe country that points a gun at your throat, claims to have freedom but has no right to choose,â and âyou must choose to either eat the truth, or bullets.â
Government officials initially strongly denounced the song, with police saying it could violate the countryâs Computer Crime Act by allegedly stirring up unrest. Government spokesman Buddhipongse Punnakanta said the songâs lyrics attacked not only the military government but the country as a whole. But they later backed down, with Deputy Police Chief Srivara Ransibrahmanakul saying Monday that the lyrics were insufficient evidence to launch a prosecution, so people were allowed to listen to, sing, and share the song.
Dechathorn Bamrungmuang, one of the rappers in âPrathet Ku Mee,â said at a seminar Wednesday that he thinks the song grew quickly in popularity because hip-hop is becoming more and more popular around the world. âWhen the song came out, there were both negative receptions and supportive messages to us,â he said. âThis made us feel like we can communicate with people through our music and that this song doesnât overstep any boundaries.â
Watch both videos below.Source: Google News Thailand | Netizen 24 Thailand