The Great Thai Election Campaign!

(The following blog/article was published in The Nation newspaper last Saturday. Here below, however, is the originally un-edited submission)

What a truly exciting week it has been for the land’s news junkies, we’ve had an elephant flee the scene of a crime, a well-known party leader (cum TV cook) ask a news reporter who had she fornicated with the night previous, but last at not least an exhilarating start to next month’s general election.

Yet again, in the run up to election day, the country has only the highest caliber of individuals to choose from. A truly amazing platoon of wanna-be MPs we have witnessed this week, in front of the cameras, swearing that only they can be trusted to lift the country up from the doldrums. Unfortunately though, it seems like the same old bunch of geezers who have been plaguing our TV sets for the past 3 decades and who may eventually out live even the Mona Lisa. Wanting to prove their outstanding political credentials, some of the golden-oldies are now in possession of a funky brand-new doctorate degree. Hasten to add however, some of them graduated online from the likes of some university down in Acapulco.

Then, if wrinkles and sagging chins are not your cup of tea this year, you will have the opportunity to select some young whippersnapper to run the country instead, an off-spring of a banned politician. Even though the youngster, may have no experience whatsoever and has just graduated in zoology that is not the point, but having a striking resemblance in all ways to his dad does. And that includes having the same corny haircut.

Run ups to General Elections in Thailand have always been enthralling and thrilling times for the mass public. A grand time for all to enjoy and reap the benefits of astonishingly generous wanna-be MPs. Even though, simply lobbing cash into the hands of the electorate has become rather less common, if not down-right risky these days, walking around markets and purchasing a van load of goods is perfectly plausible public relation policy. After the candidate has trotted off back to his luxury auto-mobile, the vendors are delighted with the stack of over-priced products they have managed to knock off to the super-kind politician.

As for the folk in some rural village they will not be forgotten, each week during the campaign many will be chuffed at smiling candidates banging on their doors dishing out groovy t-shirts with the name of the wanna-be MP printed boldly on the back. Perhaps even a huge mug-shot of the fine fellow plastered on the front too. On top of that, the village ladies will be inundated with countless bottles of free fish sauce and chilli paste. Not forgetting the men of course, they will be on the receiving end of a week’s supply of moonshine.

Besides just returning home at New Year this time around, rural migrants in the big city will have the fabulous opportunity to enjoy a free round-trip home to vote for his favorite candidate of choice. More compliments offered to the migrants to go back home to vote, will include; delicious free meals, free caps and air-conditioned buses kitted out with an electrifying karaoke system blaring out only the best in Thai Country Music. On arriving home, the generous candidate will be really easy to spot. Clad out in expensive loafers, black trousers and of course a yellow shirt, he will also be surrounded by half a dozen bodyguards wearing identical dark sunglasses and black jackets again clearly bearing the candidates name on the back.

Even Abbot Smoothy from the local temple will be remembered during the splendid run up. While he’s enjoying his morning coffee and TV chat show, he’ll be seeing some well-heeled candidate banging on the temple door mowing in a whole year’s supply of soap, toothpaste and instant noodles. After paying homage to the fine monk, the candidate will be stuffing a huge wad of purple coloured banknotes into the donation box. Before exiting, he’ll be telling Abbot Smoothy “You know what to advise yer followers”.

One of the down-sides of ever darned election however, is the incredible amount of billboards which will be splattered around the country. And especially in Bangkok, where mug-shots will be hung every three feet causing havoc for the capital’s pedestrian population. The only folk who enjoy this unbelievable volume of ugly billboards are the city’s garbage collectors who are ecstatically out in force at a minute past midnight after election day.

One thing which has always been missing though at times of elections, are some groovy political songs for all those involved. So, to get the ball rolling, here today are a couple of famous foreign hits from the past, rewritten with a Thai election theme.
The first is a new version of the Beatles classic ‘Let it be’, written especially for Mr Samak and his wonderful PPP Party, renamed ‘Let us win’.

When we find ourselves in times of bother, Father Thaksin calls and grins,
Speaking words of wisdom, let us win.
Before our hour of glory, when he’s standing there in Man City,
Speaking words of wisdom, let us win.

Let us win, let us win, let us win, let us win.
Whisper words of wisdom, let us win.

And when the rural farming people, vote for brains that really think,
We will make a comeback, let us win,
And though he may have darted, he is still a force in our admin,
He can give us answers, let us win.

Though the future’s murky, there is still a glass and a bottle of gin,
Waiting for our victory, let us win
I wake up to a call from England, Father Thaksin advises me,
Speaking words of wisdom, let us win.

Let us win, let us win…….

And, how about a dear song for the entirely confused population? A new rendition of Bob Dylan’s classic ‘Blowin in the Wind’

How many parties must a country have,
Before you can call it a land?
How many votes must a man have to buy,
Before he can understand?
Yes, how many wrinkles must an MP have,
Before he is finally banned?
The answer my friend is blowin in the wind,
The answer is blowin in the wind.

How many years can a farmer pay his debts,
Before he’s allowed to be free?
How many years can a driver crash his bus,
Before he can no longer flee?
Yes, how many years can an MP keep his job,
Pretending he loves you and me?
The answer my friend is blowin in the wind,
The answer is blowin in the wind.

Unfortunately, all the columnists at The Nation are limited to page space, but to give you an idea of some other classics which could be renamed and reworded, here is a quick run down. How about, for all the old golden-oldies, a brand new version of Cliff Richard’s classic, revised as ‘The Old Ones’. Then for the Motherland party, there could be a new version of Bruce Springsteen’s song re-titled ‘Born in the Land of Smiles’. Or, what about ‘Yesterday once more’ for Suphanburi legend, Mr Banharn. And not forgetting the charming Chalerm Yoobamrung and his lovely sons of course – there is always ‘Born to be Wild’.

**This is the second sing-along at . Sing your political blues away yet again at A Sing-a-song at Thai-blogs

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