BANGKOK — Netizens are lashing out at a social media influencer who seemingly heaped praises on the scandal-ridden Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, calling the general “sweet.”
Sean Buranahiran, whose Facebook account has more than 3.9 million followers, posted a video earlier this week and said he planted a tree together with Gen. Prawit in Chiang Mai during an event last month. Sean says in the video he found Prawit to be cute, unlike what social media made him to be.
“I just met with Gen. Prawit,” Sean says in a video posted Tuesday. “He’s not like what we saw in online memes, where he sleeps and looks kind of evil. But when I saw him in real life, he’s kind of sweet.”
The life coach then preached a moral he learned from his brief encounter with the 2014 coup leader: don’t believe everything we see in the media.
“The media has an agenda to make us think of something,” Sean said. “Don’t judge someone until we know them. My school in the U.S. taught me to believe half of what you see and none of what you hear because they don’t tell us everything.”
The video, which has since been viewed a million times and shared more than 7,900 times as of Thursday afternoon, was predictably met with a widespread backlash on social media.
Many criticized him for his naive approval of Big Pom, who has been at the center of controversies throughout his tenure.
“What makes you think like that?” Facebook user Duangjai Phichitamphon commented. “How could you praise such a corrupted man on tape? I’m shocked. What possessed you? Is this worth it?”
“I salute what you did about the pollution problem,” user Porpla Nessy Kerdsin commented. “But given the quote you mentioned, you shouldn’t rush to define the guy as what you said. You only bumped into him just for an hour.”
But others asked fellow netizens to pause and think carefully about what Sean said.
“We should use our judgement like what Sean said,” user Aw Moon said. “Don’t believe everything the media is portraying to us. Take everything they say with a pinch of salt. We can find what’s good or bad from it. I love his thoughts and will support him as always.”
The 29-year-old life coach was born and raised in the U.S. before moving to Thailand. He rose to fame from his inspirational posts and videos on his social media platforms founded in 2016.
Asked about the viral video this morning, Deputy PM Prawit declined to comment on the controversy, and said he had not even met with Sean during the event.
“There were a lot of people at the event,” Prawit said. “It’s his personal opinion. Ask me something else please.”