Opinions: It is time celebrities in Thailand stand up and notice social issues

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Thai rap group Thaitanium recently had some internet drama after releasing a new song “Por Mueng”. The lyrics criticizes the younger generation and added that they were here first and emphasizing their seniority.

I think that if Thaitanium did this in a different country, in a country that doesn’t have seniority problems so deeply rooted in its culture, the backlash might have been different. Or none at all.

As a big (American) hip-hop fan myself, these kind of lyrics is very normal for this style of music and I hear it all the time. However, just because something works in one language or culture, doesn’t mean it would translate well to another.

It’s a norm—and a problem—in Thailand that the older people have always tried to brag about how they know best because they are older.

But maybe being older sometimes simply means you’ve been alive longer.

I think another reason why the internet was so mad about this new song is also because Thaitanium has never really shown—politically—that they are on the people’s side.

Though they released a song, Mahanakhon, seven years ago praising Bangkok, and how it’s the only city in the world where you can ride on the back of the elephants and sip champagne. Part of the lyrics also praises the establishment.

This is not something unusual among Thai celebrities, unfortunately.

In Thailand, to fight for a social issue, it’s always “branded” as something that poor people do. The struggles they must have gone through to make them so angry and passionate to change something, right?

The rich people are not affected by these, how could they understand and share the same kind of passion, right?

On top of that, to fight for democracy or a social issue in Thailand is also not seen as something cool, it’s not “pop-culture”.

That’s why so many Thai celebrities were #PrayForNotreDame but never #JusticeForPhichit.

Thaitanium’s new song shows that they don’t really know (or care to know) what the people are talking about these days in the society. Just because dissing someone works in the American hip-hop culture, doesn’t automatically mean the Thai culture would accommodate that.

It also shows that they are isolated, analog dinosaurs in a digital world.

Celebrities have so many followers online and if they wanted to change something, or to raise awareness about something, they can snap their fingers and make it viral.

If you look at their new song in an American hip-hop culture kind of way, they didn’t do anything wrong. But in terms of the Thai current political climate, they are being a little insensitive. But how would they know what content is sensitive or insensitive when they’ve never really had to fight for any justice with the Thai people?

The rich are called “the 1%” for a reason—it’s because there literally is only 1% of them.

Not caring about politics is a privilege.

You’re not affected; you’re above it; what the government does, doesn’t really have anything to do with your everyday life, so why do you have to bother yourself with such a burden, right?

It is a privilege that 99% of the people in this country don’t have. And if you don’t want to get cancelled, maybe you should start considering taking a stand with the people, instead of against the people with your next song, guys.

Use your platform and your voice wisely, please.

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