From Pop to Mor Lam, Thai Singers Hitch a Ride on Coronavirus

BANGKOK — Even the coronavirus epidemic can’t dampen Thais’ obsession with culture of sanook and music. At least 9 songs released by Thai artists in recent days were about the outbreak.  

Here’s a definitive list of coronavirus-related tunes as of Tuesday, from luk thung queen Jintara Poonlarp’s latest hit, a Song for Life from Carabao, and an Isaan Batman fighting the virus through awareness, to Kalasin-style mor lam about ancient plague predictions, and of course, bubbly Bangkokian pop. 

1“Covid Comes, My Tears Fall” by Jintara Poonlarp

Luk thung queen Jintara Poonlarp released Monday “Covid Comes, My Tears Fall,” a country ballad to encourage Thais to “please don’t panic, please get well” because the government is “getting medicine to kill the virus from China.” Oh yeah, she went there.

Here’s an unofficial translation of the chorus:

Covid-19 making us all hot and cold
The government’s not afraid and is protecting citizens
Getting medicine to kill the virus from China
All our doctors and doing their best to cure everyone

I lie down, worry about the Covid until my tears fall
Hoping it will go away, that people will be cured
Everyday on the TV, more people are infected
It’s torture but we must make it through so everyone is safe
Please don’t panic, please get well
Please don’t panic, please get well

2Thais Unite to Overcome Covid-19” by Aed Carabao

Songs for Life legend Yuenyong Opakul, better known as Aed Carabao, has a habit of releasing motivational songs in times of crises (for instance, he dropped a ballad praising Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha just days after the 2014 coup), and this time is no different.

In “Thais Unite to Overcome Covid-19,” he cheers on Thailand’s medical staff on the frontline against the outbreak. “There aren’t enough masks for the doctors, nurses and patients,” he sings.

Here’s our translation of the rousing final chorus:

Don’t be selfish during times of crisis
Let’s get through this together, us Thai brothers and sisters
The nightmare will be shattered when us Thais come together
Sending our encouragement to the doctors, nurses, and nameless ant workers with applause

3“Covid-19_BTS” by the BTS Skytrain

Everyone’s favorite skytrain operator BTS released a dance song on March 5 with reminders for people to wash hands, use a serving spoon for shared meals, exercise, and so on.

We’re not sure what’s causing the larger ratio of dislikes to likes of “Covid-19_BTS” on YouTube — Is it the cheery way they describe the virus as “scary, scary” and that “people drop dead” from it?

4“Fighting Corona – Thai Batman Fights Coronavirus” by Kru Wut

Who else better to protect Thais from the coronavirus than Thai Batman with a pa kao ma loincloth? Wutti “Kru Wut” Lakchai, a teacher and vlogger in Udon Thani, released a luk thung song March 15 about watching out for Covid-19 symptoms. In the video, he’s dressed as Batman and dances with farmers, students, and the elderly. 

English and Japanese subs are in the video description. 

5“When Covid is Gone, I’ll Go Hug You” by Sala Kunnawut

By far the most wistful, romantic song on the list, luk thung singer Sala Kunnawut sings of a lonely Songkran and cancelled dates – “I love you, but I don’t have the strength to come see you.” 

Let his chorus speak for himself.

Don’t be near anyone, don’t let anyone close to you
It’s not that I’m being possessive, I’m afraid you might get Covid from people near you
As for me, I’ll even use antibacterial gel before sending you a LINE message 
I love you so much, you are my own heart. Please be safe

6“Mhor Lam Campaign Against Covid-19” by Pornsawan Porndornkor

Ancient predictions of plagues preface a Kalasin-style mor lam ballad about Covid-19: “Brothers and sisters, the world has changed much since 2005 / People in ancient times said / The world would be in chaos / People would die according to karma.”

Pornsawan is a professor of mor lam Isaan at The College of Dramatic Arts. She is accompanied by The Sun mor lam band.

7“Dangerous Disease Covid-19” by Ming Roi Seang

Popular blind singer Suppasit Theuphutsa, aka “Ming Roi Seang” (Ming Hundred Voices), also released a song about the pandemic. Armed with only his guitar and soulful vocals, he warns listeners that “Covid-19, Covid-19 / It’s a dangerous disease that consumes / Society and humanity.”

Suppasit, 30, was blind since birth and is a native of Nakhon Ratchasima.

8“Rub Rub, Twist Twist to Conquer Covid-19 Virus” by the Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University

Medical staff at the Chiang Mai University teach you how to wash your hands properly in seven steps, to a luk thung party tune.

9“Covid-19 Malongkongkaeng” by MickBow

Thai-Danish celeb Mick Tongraya and singer Maylada “Bow” Susri parody the obnoxious earworm you might have heard in Thai pubs before the coronavirus hit the fan earlier this month. 

The lyrics offer key hygienic guidelines; the song is actually an ad for coronavirus insurance. In the chorus the singer apologizes for being a bother (conveyed with nonsensical phrases) with all these rules, but it’s only because “if I didn’t care, I wouldn’t warn you. I’m annoying you because I love you / Because Covid is so infectious.” 

Watch the MV to see people disgustedly distancing themselves from sneezing people and a security guard flirtily measuring the temperature of a BTS janitor.