On the afternoon of 3rd January 2019, after Wissanu Krea-ngam, Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, declared that the election was likely to be delayed to an unspecified date due to the announcement of the Coronation, a ranting hashtag on Twitter, #เลื่อนแม่มึงดิ (Luen Mae Mueng Di: Delayed Again, You Mother***), soared to No. 1 in Thailand as Thai high school students expressed their outrage. The hashtag even reached the global top 10 for a while.
The likely election delay is outrageous to many students because the earlier election date (24 February) caused the hasty re-scheduling of the nationwide General Aptitude Test and Professional Aptitude Test (GAT-PAT) one week earlier, from 23-26 February to 16-19 February. Teachers have also had to rearrange teaching and examinations in all high schools so that they can finish the term before the GAT-PAT.
Arranged by NIETS (National Institute of Educational Testing Service), the GAT-PAT tests are the main entry to universities in Thailand for high school students. Assoc Prof Samphan Phanphruk, the Director of NIETS, revealed that there were 259,882 applicants for GAT-PAT last year.
Giving themselves the hashtag #dek62 (Kids of 2019), many Twitter users explained the hardship of having to study in a shorter timeframe, only for the election to be delayed again. They also called for NIETS to return to the original schedule which had been set before the election announcement.
@SocialDome tweeted: “If they delay the election like this as if they’re playing with toys, the Ministry of Education should also please consider moving #GATPAT back to 23-26 February! Be fair to #dek62 [Kids of 2019]! You Idiots!”
@drballban, another Twitter user, tweeted:
“Promised Abe (Japanese Prime Minister) to hold elections in 2015 = Delayed
Promised Ban Ki-moon (UN Secretary-General) to hold elections in 2017 = Delayed.
Promised Trump (US President) to hold elections in 2018 = Delayed.
Promised May (UK Prime Minister) to hold elections in 2019 = Delayed
The father of election delays #Luen Mae Mueng Di”
So far there has been no response from NIETS or the Ministry of Education on whether GAT-PAT will be rescheduled.