(16 December) As 2013 is coming to an end in few weeks, Kasetsart University′s Faculty of Political Science has released the list of nicknames for political actors who have graced the headlines in Thailand throughout the year.
Handing nicknames to prominent figures such as celebrities and politicians is an annual tradition in Thailand.
In a statement, Kasetsart′s Faculty of Political Science explained that it has consulted many individuals on the nicknames compilation, and it hopes the humorous yet thought-provoking nicknames would encourage the public to be more interested in democracy.
It also hopes that institutions and figures named in the list would be aware of how the public perceived their actions.
"Hopefully they would improve and fix [their actions] in accordance with the criticism," the statement reads.
It nicknames the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra ?Lim Prai? (tasting of peasants), arguing that although Ms. Yingluck′s faction claims to fight on behalf of the common people or Prai (peasants) in their words, its behaviours end up serving the interest of the elite.
Most notable example is its pursuit of blanket amnesty bill which ultimately failed, leaving imprisoned Redshirts to languish in their detention, and abandoning the fates of those convicted of lese majeste laws, the statement says.
Meanwhile, the anti-government People′s Committee for Absolute Democracy With the King As Head of State (PCAD) is nicknamed ?Pheeboon Ror Sor 232? (The saintly revolt, 232 years since the founding of Bangkok).
The nickname parodies the incident of a revolt in northeastern Siam of Rattanakosin Era (Ror Sor) 119, in which a group of rebels claimed themselves to be holy saints (Pheeboon) equipped with magical powers, and promised to lead Siam into salvation. Their virtuous crusade resembles many aspects of PCAD, which views itself as morally superior, according to the statement.
Rival political parties were also handed nicknames: ?the waiting canned fish? for the ruling Pheu Thai Party and ?anti-corruption devils? for the opposition Democrat Party.
In the case of Pheu Thai Party, its nickname makes fun of its numerous politicians and allies who are perceived to be always waiting for orders from their party executives, while Democrat Party′s nickname refers to its flamboyant campaign against corruption of Ms. Yingluck′s government – which appears to ignore numerous cases of corruption committed by previous Democrat-led administrations.
It names the notorious GT-200 ?bomb detectors? as the hallmark of corruption under the watch of Democrat government. Defended by the Former PM Abhisit Vejjajiva′s administration as legitimate bomb detecting devices imported by the United Kingdom, GT-200 turned out to be useless metal equipment costing millions of baht per piece.
As for the ?Word of the Year? category, the Faculty of Political Science awards it to ?suud soy? (to the end of the alley), a nickname the Thai press gave to the blanket amnesty bill pursued by Pheu Thai Party, which would absolve all political actors of their political crimes in past 7 years, including the corruption convictions of former PM Thaksin Shinawatra.
The extreme nature of suud soy amnesty bill is a new phenomenon in Thai political culture, where compromises are usually preferred, the statement says.
"Suud soy means, in a negative way, to get what you want in the fullest way," the list compiler explains.