BANGKOK — The junta leader’s claim that everyone in the nation is his child to care for became the latest strain of political scorn to course through the net Tuesday.
Pique at Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha’s statement that he’s the head of a family with 68 million children became one of the day’s top trending hashtags on Thai Twitter with #YourKidMyAss.
“You raped democracy and can’t just force fatherhood down my throat,” user @Juliajulajunta wrote in a tweet shared more than 2,000 times as of noon.
Similar reactions spread among netizens decrying what they complained was a patronizing and paternalistic statement made by Prayuth during a Monday campaign stop at a hospital in the southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat.
“Today I’m like the head of a family and have 68 million children to take care of. It’s not only that I have two kids and one wife to look after, but I need to make 68 million people happy too,” Prayuth said.
— Juliajulajunta (@juliajulajunta) March 18, 2019
Going into the final stretch before Sunday’s election, pro-establishment politics appear widely unpopular on social media, and reaction to Prayuth’s comments were generally hostile.
— revolution in siam (@PRodleang) March 18, 2019
“You friggin’ are not my dad,” user @PRodleang wrote, adding an image of Prayuth holding a baby with an unamused face.
— ยัยลูกหนูของคุณแม่🐰 (@usakiD96) March 19, 2019
It wasn’t long before Gavin, the toddler popular for his expressive meme-able facial reactions, was dragged into the fight.
“I don’t have a father like this,” @UsakiD96 wrote, with Gavin standing in for his feelings.
“If I had a father like this, being scolded ‘your father died’ a hundred times a day, I wouldn’t be pissed,” user @Thebacon_egss wrote, referring to the unique Thai taunt of cursing one’s parents.
— 🥓 (@thebacon_eggs) March 18, 2019
Prayuth and his party, Phalang Pracharat, have struggled to find an audience on Thailand’s most-used social media platform of Facebook.
Content – videos, photos, links and status updates – put out by Prayuth and Phalang Pracharat garnered 755,000 reactions since March 1, just a fraction of the 3 million reactions received by Pheu Thai and its candidates, according to CrowdTangle, Facebook’s own social media analytics firm.
Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit and his Future Forward Party have consistently placed second in the race on social media with 1.1 million reactions since March 1.
While support for Prayuth has been thin on the Thainet, a few voice support and said publicly calling him out was crossing the line.
“What crimes did Prayuth make? How serious were they? The new generation calls him out like he burned the city or ordered someone murdered,” wrote Facebook user Tattana Kulwarinpak. “At least, Thai culture respects its elders. At least Prayuth’s age is around many of our parents.”
“Do you dare to insult him in person? Scolding the country’s leader like this is like you’re only good with your keyboards,” user Prakairat Kaewto wrote on Facebook. “[I] want a revolution to happen again, let’s see if you still want to call out Prayuth!”