Voranai: May the Force Be With You

The political moments of 2017 satirized in a year-end card by now defunct satire page Kai Maew. Image: Kai Maew / Facebook
The political moments of 2017 satirized in a year-end card by now defunct satire page Kai Maew. Image: Kai Maew / Facebook

Voranai Vanijaka

The Yubamrung is a famous and powerful political family. The patriarch is Chalerm Yubamrung, a former police captain with a doctor’s degree in law. He’s also one of many politicians who had been accused of having “unusual wealth.” But nothing was ever proven.

Chalerm has three sons, Artharn, Wan and Duang. Back in the days, when they were young, the three sons were nightlife trailblazers. They popularized the phrase, “Do you know who my daddy is?” When they came into confrontation with rivals, civilians or the authorities, they would threaten, “Do you know who my daddy is?”

Of course, we do.

In 2002, Duang, the youngest, was accused of allegedly gunning-down an undercover policeman in the middle of a nightclub. He then disappeared; but turned himself in the following year. There was a trial. Evidence turned out to be insufficient. Witnesses either didn’t show, had amnesia and / or ended up giving vague and conflicting accounts of the incident.

He was acquitted.

Fast-forward to 2012, Chalerm became a deputy prime minister under the Pheu Thai government. A request was made, and Duang was awarded the rank of lieutenant in the Royal Thai Police.

It’s not exactly a morality tale one reads to children to teach them ethical values and build their character. It is what it is, reality of the world in which we live.

In recent months, with everyone talking about a possible general election, Wan, the middle son, who has been groomed to become a politician, has been very active on Facebook, giving his critique on issues and happenings in Thailand. In one of his many Facebook posts, Wan showed a video of himself passing out cash to victims of a neighborhood fire.

Perhaps it’s simply an act of kindness and generosity. Perhaps it’s also an opportunity for early campaigning. You be the judge. Recently, Wan also threw a party for his father, which was aired on Facebook. On camera, Chalerm spoke of how excited he was about the pending election and that he was eager to return to power.

Here’s the point: Life is an eternal struggle, kind of like the Star Wars film series. The battle just never ends. Blow up the Death Star? Nope, it’s not over yet. Darth Vader becomes “emperor-slayer” and himself dies? Nope, still not over. Leader Snoke gets smoked? Well, it’s still not over, is it?

Many Thais embraced Thaksin Shinawatra coming into power in 2001 for various reasons – not least of which was the thought that It would be the end of unsavory politicians. Well, it wasn’t. Swing to the Democrats. Well, it wasn’t to be either.

There are numbers of reasons why many Thais welcomed a coup d’etat and embraced a military government. One of which is the disgust over unsavory politicians. Now, with the generals having been in charge for nearly four years, Thais are coming to the realization that unsavory politicians don’t just wear suits, they also wear uniforms.

So similar to Star Wars, the Sith Lords keep coming back – as do unsavory politicians. Politics, as in life, is an eternal struggle.

Recently, I asked a political leader about how Thailand can be rid of unsavory politicians. He put it like this: In a dictatorship, there isn’t much anyone can do. But in the democratic system, it’s the people who vote for the politicians. Hence, it’s the responsibility of the people to make the right choices. As well, if there are those who condemn and are disgusted by politicians, then under democracy, anyone can jump into politics and fix things.

This is easier said than done, of course, but he made the point that we shouldn’t just complain and condemn, in a democracy, everyone holds the responsibility. Don’t just point blame. Help each other. Fix what is broken.

May the force be with you.