Thai PM releases lyrics to new patriotic ballad

BANGKOK • Thailand's junta leader released the lyrics to a new patriotic ballad yesterday, the second song he has written since seizing power last year.

Prime Minister Prayut Chano-cha, who as army chief led the coup in May last year, first wrote the song "Return Happiness to Thailand", which is played constantly on television and radio stations as part of a public relations campaign by the junta to win over Thais.

The tune has racked up more than one million views on YouTube but has been mocked by critics of the junta.

His second song "Because You Are Thailand" includes lyrics like "If we join hands... the day we hope for is not far away" and "Because you are Thailand, you will not let anyone destroy you".

Mr Prayut told reporters the song was his New Year present to the Thai people.

The junta, or National Council for Peace and Order, overthrew an elected government, putting an end to months of protests in Bangkok led by the middle class and elite who wanted to oust the civilian government of populist prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

A military government installed after the coup has largely stifled dissent and cracked down on critics of the junta and monarchy by using a harsh royal insult law to detain dozens of people, prompting stern criticism from rights groups, the United Nations and some Western governments.

The junta has repeatedly delayed planned elections, claiming the country is not yet stable enough to hold a poll.

Mr Prayut comes from a musical family. His daughters enjoyed brief fame in Thailand as a pop duo called BADZ.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 23, 2015, with the headline 'Thai PM releases lyrics to new patriotic ballad'. Print Edition | Subscribe