BANGKOK — Settle in for another smooth jazz ballad from junta chairman Prayuth Chan-ocha, who just Wednesday dropped his latest single, “Hope and Faith,” a track recorded in advance of His Majesty King Bhumibol’s death two weeks ago.
In addition to his famed motorcycle riding ability and toppling of the previous civilian government, the retired general is known for penning saccharine ballads for the public, such as “Returning Happiness to the People,” the anthem of his regime that played for much of two years on television and radio.
Seeking to again set the tone with his wordsmithing, Prayuth’s newest song “Hope and Faith,” is described by his public relations department as a “gift to the public” to “boost public morale and spirits, so that everyone can get through obstacles together in order to build up the nation.”
“Don’t give up or be shaken, though tragedies obstruct us like thorns,” Sgt. Maj. Pongsathorn Porchit sings. “Combine our powers to get through this, for Thainess.”
Prayuth wrote the lyrics two months ago and the song was then produced by army musicians, apparently for release after the death of His Majesty King Bhumibol at 88.
Col. Sansern Keawkamnerd, junta spokesman, said Thursday morning the junta does not want to discuss the meaning and backstory to the song.
“Hope and Faith,” said to have been written by the retired general himself, was composed and directed by Maj. Surachai Tawinphrai, sung by Sgt. Maj. Pongsathorn and produced by Maj. Gen. Kissada Salika.
Smooth saxophones ease the listener into a piano-backed, easy-listening ballad laid out by the sergeant major’s gentle yet earnest tenor. Consistent with Prayuth’s don’t-dream-it-be-it approach, it invokes cooperation, nationalism, Thai exceptionalism and hope, all backed by equally earnest keyboards.
It’s Prayuth’s third known songwriting effort to date after “Because You’re Thailand” was released in December as a New Year gift to the nation.
Here’s our unofficial translation:
“Hope and Faith”
Lyrics by Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha
Composed and Directed by Maj. Surachai Tawinphrai
Sung by Sgt. Maj. Pongsathorn Porchit
Produced Maj. Gen. Kissada Salika
Hope and faith create great power
Holding hands and hearts, walking forward towards the destination
Don’t give up or be shaken, though tragedies obstruct us like thorns
Combine our powers to get through this, for Thainess
Two hands, one heart of all the nation’s Thais (repeated)
Let’s hold hands and declare our nation glorious eternal!
Just be honest, just be united, steadfast in goodness forever (repeated)
Just have faith, just have strength in your heart / What you hope for will come true