K-Pop Debut of Pro-Coup Activist’s Daughter Stirs Debates

Image: Twitter

BANGKOK — A Thai singer is facing a online boycott campaign as she is about to debut as a member of a K-Pop band after netizens discovered she is a daughter of a late film star and coup-supporter and had joined pro-coup rallies.

Thai netizens who support democracy were outraged at Sitala Wongkrachang since Tuesday after they discovered that her father was the late movie star Saranyu Wongkrachang who was a staunch and prominent speaker and supporter of the political rallies by the People’s Democratic Reform Committee which led to the May 2014 coup.

As of Wednesday morning, Twitter hashtag #BANSITALA and #SITALA are trending after netizens learned that Sitala will be joining a new K-Pop all-girl band, H1-KEY, to be debuted on Jan 5 with. Hashtag #SITALA trended at over 2 million mentions before noon Wednesday.


Pictures of Sitala joining PDRC rallies also emerged and shared widely as pro-democracy netizens vow she must be punished by being boycotted.

“What goes around, comes around!” tweeter user @SleepBlueMango wrote late Tuesday night in English. “You & your family destroy other people’s lives and future. Rethink about the debut. She doesn’t deserve it!”

Accompanying the tweet, which was retweeted 753 times by Wednesday morning, was a poster with a photo of Sitala and a call to boycott her. “Her family and her are supporters of Thailand’s Chun Doo-Hwan,” reads one English-language online poster spreading, comparing junta leader Gen Prayut Chan-ocha to the late South Korean dictator.

Some compared Satila, 24, monarchy-reform protest co-leader Panassaya “Rung” Sitthijirawattanakun who is being detained and facing multiple lese majeste trials.

“One debut on stage and [another] debut in jail cuz she called for democracy,” user @bbblbT tweeted on Tuesday night.

“If they don’t regret, this is how it should be dealt with,” wrote socialist labour activist Lek Patchanee on Facebook Wednesday.

“Don’t be pretentious and say her parents caused damage to the country but it doesn’t involve their daughter. When I came out to campaign [for monarchy-reform] to make this country better, how was my parents involved? They cursed that my parents should die and condemned my whole family and ancestors. Let me say it here, I won’t forgive [Sitala],” wrote monarchy-reform activist Jatuporn Saeoung current facing lese majeste charge for alleged mocking of the queen by the way she addressed and presented herself at a rally on Silom Road late last year.


Not all support the ban, however. A “soft-power specialist”, Pacapol X Anurit, wrote on Facebook Wednesday that the incident is unfortunate as aspiring Thai artists are trying to break into the internal music arena but in this case, is being bogged down by domestic politics.

“I support all Thais to make it far on the road of soft power but Thais are still trapped [in the past political divide] even now… I think the Korean company won’t care [about the boycott call] and will debut her as scheduled. The Korean and international audience won’t mind where you stand politically [in Thailand]”

There has been no reaction from Sitala or the Korean company, GLG (Grandline Group), as of press time.