Prayuth’s Dark New Ballad Conjures Turbulent Times

Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha face is photoshopped onto a lounge singer.
Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha face is photoshopped onto a lounge singer.

BANGKOK — The junta leader called on Thais to hold on to hard-earned peace in what’s become a familiar format during his nearly five years in power – a song.

With mounting frustration over the sudden uncertainty of Election Day, “In Memory” debuted today at a government exhibition, with PM and part-time lyricist Prayuth Chan-ocha credited for writing it. The song makes a familiar appeal for patience, saying the nation is “nearly away from turbulence,” and asking Thais to reflect on past polarization to see how difficult peace has been won.

The song, the seventh in his collection, comes at a time of growing dissatisfaction, both online and off, with the latest attempt to push back long-promised elections, which had been slated for Feb. 24. Pro-democracy protests have resumed in the capital and elsewhere to pressure the government not to break its promise again.

“In Memory” is sung by Sub-Lt. Pongsathorn Pojit, who’s performed all songs credited to Prayuth except 2018’s “Diamond Heart.” It continues the theme of military rule as the best antidote to social unrest first put forth in 2014’s “Returning Happiness to the People” and subsequent releases:

“In memory of the days we were in pain. When our harmony was destroyed. We were angry; our hearts were divided. Until we became one again, it wasn’t easy, wasn’t easy at all.

“We’ve walked far, until nearly away from the turbulence. We started over, built up great security. We were hurt, please don’t forget it so easily.”

Other songs attributed to Prayuth since he seized power include “Fight for the Nation,” “Because You’re Thailand,” “Hope and Faith” and “Bridge.”

As of noon, the song had been watched just over 1,200 times on YouTube and been “disliked” by a 10-to-1 ratio.