Why can’t we have 'tuk-tuk democracy': Junta’s NRSA member

After Thailand’s Miss Universe beauty pageant contestant was awarded best prize for national costume, a member of the junta-appointed National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA) said perhaps we should make ‘tuk-tuk democracy’ known internationally.  

Kamnoon Sidhisamarn, a NRSA member, on Monday morning, 21 December 2015, posted a Facebook message to congratulate Aniporn Chalermburanawong, 21, Miss Universe Thailand, for winning the contest for best national costume with a tuk-tuk dress.

He wrote that tuk-tuks (the auto-rickshaws which have become Thailand’s national icon) and long-tailed boats (ruea hang yao, motor-boats common in Southeast Asia) are inventions that were adapted to the country through ‘Thai wisdom’.   

“The acceptance of the tuk-tuk on the international stage makes me wonder if we can make other adapted inventions of ours accepted by the international community, especially when it comes to politics. We have successfully imported and adapted tuk-tuks and long-tail boats, making them ours until they are known as ours internationally. Why can’t we have tuk-tuk democracy or long-tailed democracy?” reads Kamnoon Sidhisamarn’s Facebook post.

“Every society has differences, and adaptations can be made without harming the principles,” added Kamnoon.

The NRSA member wrote that the tuk-tuk was first imported from Japan into Thailand in 1960 and Thai people adapted it until it became one of the icons which represent the country.

Auto rickshaws are a common form of transportation in Southeast and South Asia. Besides being called ‘tuk-tuk’ in Thailand, it also known as a three-wheeler, samosa, tempo, trishaw, autorick, and bajaj in India and Indonesia.

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