A sing-a-song at thai-blogs!

(The following blog/article was published yesterday at The Nation newspaper entitled ‘Sing Your Political Worries Away At The Nation’)

(By: Stephen Cleary & Nimit Somboonwit)

(Once anti-farang and anti-capitalism, ‘Carabao’ – now happily touring the world – with their own energy drink)

Whatever happened to the country’s once wonderfully politically active artists, musicians and students?
Once upon a time, 30 or so years ago, they were running into the jungle with their political ideas; now the only places they seem to be running to are magazine stalls to buy up the latest scandalous photographs of some Thammasat University student wearing virtually no undergarments. Popular musicians who were at one time rocking away with rebellious songs crying for an end to the military’s involvement in politics are now to be found wailing out their thoughts on love, love and, well, love.

A good example of how the tide has turned in Thailand’s popular-music scene is the career of legendary Thai musicians Carabao. In their heyday during the politically charged 1970s, many of the band’s songs involved the fight for democracy and against military interference and politics.

This time round, a few days after the military coup, they came out singing the generals’ praises and lambasting the previous democratically elected government – an administration that they provided with more than one ditty of praise during its term in office.

And whatever happened to their songs that were anti-capitalism, anti-materialism and anti-exports such as the popular “Made in Thailand”? For the past few years their well-heeled vocalist has been seen wearing imported Levis, perched on a Harley Davidson motorbike and selling his popular energy drink to the world market. I doubt we’ll be seeing these guys running into the jungle with their political ideas any time soon.

What the country really needs is for its artists to once again stand up and shout a bit of rebellion rather than hawk products and give gossip columnists juicy bits to fill up their columns. To get the ball rolling, here today are a few famous foreign hits from the past, rewritten with on a Thai theme.

(Are these the only politically active in Thailand these days?)

The first is a new version of the classic John Lennon song ‘Imagine’

(Notes: Square-face is the Thai media’s nickname for former PM Thaksin)

Imagine there’s no Square-face,
It’s really hard to do,
No need for stress or headaches,
A truly blissful land.

Imagine all the country, living life in peace….

Imagine there’s no lobbies,
That’s also hard to do,
No one to turn or pay to,
And no interference too.

Imagine there’s no Square-face,
Stirring up unrest….. Ooooh Ooooh….

You may say – Thaksin’s the worst,
But he’s not the only one.
He hopes some day you’ll understand,
And he’ll be back again to govern us.

Imagine no new airport,
A really brilliant thought,
No needs for cracks or scandals,
No big corruption too.

Imagine no new airport,
Happy travels indeed…..

Imagine there’s no somtam,
Incredibly hard to do.
No need for mortar or pestle,
Or fish sauce and chilli too.

Imagine all the people,
Craving all the day….. Ooooh Ooooh….

You may say – I’m a dreamer,
And I’d surely be the only one.
No need for MSG or sticky rice,
How could the Thais live as one?

(One of the Sondhis – “And I did it My Way……”)

Since the country’s politicians just love a bit of duet karaoke, how about a new take on Frank Sinatra’s classic “My Way”? Either Sonthi or Sondhi could sing it.

And now, my visa’s through,
And so I’ll get – my home in Sydney.
My friend, I’ll say it clear,
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain.

I’ve golfed a life that’s full,
I’ve travelled each and every country,
And more, much more than this,
I did it my way …

Regrets, he has a few,
But then again, too many to mention,
He did what he has done,
And sold our assets – just for the fun.

I planned….not to the court,
Each careful step along the highway,
But more, much more than this,
I’ll do it my way …

(Sonthi/ Sondhi)
Yes, there were times that you will know,
When I planned some actions – not very slow,
And did it all, till Thaksin’s out,
I kicked his butt, and knocked him out,
I faced it all, and I grew tall,
And I did it my way …

We loved, we laughed and cried,
We had our fill, our share of winning,
And now as tears subside,
We find it all so amazing.

To think, I did all that,
And let me say, not in a corrupt way,
No, oh no not me,
I took my money …

For a man, what has he got?
It’s for my wife – she wanna have a lot,
To say these things, how great I feel,
No need for words ’bout them Singaporean deals,
The record shows, how big they were,
And I did it my way!

Finally, one just for Thaksin, a new version of John Denver’s classic “Take Me Home, Country Roads”

Almost heaven, Northern Thailand,
Suthep Mountain,
Ping and Kok Rivers,
Life is great there,
Better than the West,
Full of great supporters,
Nothing is a mess.

Chiang Mai Roads, take me home,
To the place I belong,
Northern Thailand, Suthep Mountain
Take me home, Chiang Mai Roads.

All my memories gather round me,
Men and ladies, crying out for me,
Love and caring, painted on my face,
Lovely taste of winning,
Teardrops in my eyes.

Chiang Mai Roads, take me home,
To the place I am loved,
Northern Thailand, Inthanon Mountain
Take me home, Chiang Mai Roads.

I hear my cronies,
In the evenin’ hours they call me,
CNN reminds me of my home far away,
And drivin’ down the road I get the feelin’
That I should be going home … tomorrow, tomorrow.

(Written with Nimit Somboonwit. Nimit is an occasional columnist for the Thai language publications – Matichon and Thai Post)

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