BANGKOK — The country’s foremost creative dissent group released a new song on Friday – this time criticizing the rampant culture of hazing in the Thai education.
The Rap Against Dictatorship group released “Sotus” on Friday, a song lambasting the system of hazing commonly found in Thai universities and schools, which occasionally resulted in injuries and even deaths of students.
“Don’t force me to do things. You’re not my dad,” the song goes. “I don’t want Sotus, so what? You’re only a few years older but you come here and tyrannize me in such a low class way.”
Known as SOTUS – or Seniority, Order, Tradition, Unity, and Spirit – the creed often involves mentally, physically, and sexually abusive practices against freshmen students. Two teenagers died in July 2019 after being beaten to death during Sotus hazing.
Sotus has its roots in military initiation practices but has spread to universities and high schools nationwide. Some examples of Sotus activities include rolling around in mud to install a wooden pillar, Buddhist camps where students watch videos of gore, and stripping to one’s undies and having classmates lick ketchup off one’s nipples.
“Sotus” is the latest work by the same the group behind “My Country’s Got,” a viral rap video against the various injustices in Thai society – including the then-military dictatorship and the tendency of the rich to walk away scot-free from crimes.
The song, a rare voice of dissent in Thai pop culture, was awarded the Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent in May. The video currently has 77.5 million views, and counting.