BANGKOK — The public face of Sunday’s charter referendum said today that he regretted embarrassing himself before a national audience and launching a thousand internet memes by breaking what he claimed was an unbreakable ballot box.
A day after his demonstration to the press corps went awry, Election Commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn acknowledged his pride was momentarily damaged like the plastic box which shattered when dropped, providing ready material for mockery by critics of the upcoming charter vote.
“When I tossed it into the air, and it broke apart, I felt so embarrassed,” Somchai said. “I knew that I would become big news.”
His demonstration intended to instill confidence in Sunday’s poll backfired, and thus, internet memes were born. Despite being the butt of many jokes, Somchai managed to put some positive spin on the outcome.
He said if it “made more people aware of the referendum and feel more eager to go out to vote, it was a good thing.” In fact, he said it might foretell “that many so people will come out to vote that the ballot boxes break apart!”
The commissioner said a technician explained the test went awry because he threw the box without its lid, and that a fully closed box wouldn’t suffer the same fate.
Update: At a Wednesday afternoon demonstration of the security of the boxes’ locks, a photographer was able to tear off the allegedly unbreakable seal. Somchai claimed it wasn’t properly attached before the demonstration.