A pop singer has received support and criticism after tweeting that Thailand is, and will always be, underdeveloped. She later apologised saying that she tweeted out of anger at a delayed public bus.
It takes real courage for Thai artists to post anything political on social media, since it risks a decline in popularity.
The recent example is Suthita ‘Image’ Chanachaisuwan, 19, a finalist in Season 3 of The Voice Thailand. The singer tweeted on 2 August 2017 four messages expressing her sorrow at living in Thailand. The four tweets
“This country sucks. In 50 or 1000 years it won’t develop. Shoot me!
“Seriously, just make the [public] buses and vans arrive regularly on all routes and you can’t do that at all. What do you need to be developed? Funny.
“I’m so tired. Don’t want to call this place home.
“I’m willing to work hard. I’m willing to pay higher taxes, if welfare in my daily life gets better.”
Though she later deleted the messages, her tweets went viral and polarised social media. She was slammed by other artists for criticising her homeland and was pressured to move abroad.
Pharanyu ‘Tack’ Rojanawuthitham, another celebrity, took to Instagram to announce he would not tolerate insults against Thailand.
“I love Thailand and love everything that is Thai. Though sometimes we might have natural disasters, traffic jams, politicians who are bad, police and soldiers who are no good, protests and thieves, that is just a small part. What is good is more than this,” read Tack’s Instagram comment
. “But I think it’s OK. Everyone can express their ideas. But if you curse Thailand or insult Thailand, I will not tolerate it.”
But others have shown sympathy for Image. Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal, a pro-democracy student activist, posted on his Facebook page
that other people should be as courageous as Image in speaking out the truth.
“Speaking the truth in this country comes with a cost that you must pay. But if we don’t do it, we cannot change anything. Don’t let Image be just the one in the excitement of someone daring to speak. We have to be brave together with her,” posted Netiwit.
Amidst the controversy, an unnamed news source
who is close to Image told the media that she tweeted the messages after waiting for a delayed public bus in heavy rain.
“Usually, [Image]’s parents take her and pick her up [from the university] but yesterday, she decided she wanted to go home by herself. And then she was waiting for the bus and the bus she was waiting for may have come late or had some problems and that made her post those messages,” said the source.
According to her friend, Image is neither against the ruling junta and nor any political side.