It was April Fool’s Day last week, although it somehow seemed to blend right into all the other days. In fact, there has been so much pantomime and farce of late that Naked Farang has decided to honour the biggest jokes and jokers in our April Fool awards. Find out who our contenders are and cast your votes here...
Perhaps it’s the heat, but the silly season is in full swing in Thailand. Telling someone their shoelace is undone pales into insignificance compared to some of the monumental pranks that Thailand’s politicos have been serving up of late.
First we had the yellow shirts, and then there were the red shirts. We’ve even had cameo appearances by blue shirts and green shirts, but this week a new colour was added to the political spectrum – pink. Could pink be the new black? According to one April Fool candidate, it’s the new yellow.
The red-shirted protesters weren’t happy that a group of pink-shirted protesters decided to protest against the red shirts’ protest by holding an anti-demonstration demonstration. The Bangkok Post reported that United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) leader Natthawut Saikua claimed the pink shirts were really the yellow shirts in disguise. The fiends.
Natthawut Saikua was already an early contender for April Fool with his outrageous claims that red shirt protesters would donate 1,000 litres of blood to be smeared around the prime minister’s home and Government House. Aside from the logistical impracticality of such a claim, the stupidity and irresponsibility were breathtaking.
To the utter disbelief of all sane people, the UDD amazingly went ahead and ritualistically smeared the blood as promised. However, Natthawut’s prediction was later shown to have been somewhat hyperbolic when even his own comrades in the UDD offered a more sensible exaggeration of 300 litres. In truth, it was probably much less and tests of the smeared blood revealed that it was also mixed with pig’s blood. Far worse, however, was that the human blood was shown to be infected with hepatitis B and C as well as HIV.
In the pro-Thaksin movement, Natthawut is far from being alone in failing to understand the negative perception created by over-promising and under-delivering. Jatuporn Prompan is fast becoming a leading contender for this year’s April Fool crown. Regarded by many as nothing more than Thaksin’s lap dog, Jatuporn famously claimed there would be a million man march on Bangkok. While the numbers at some of the rallies have been impressive and even surpassed 100,000, Jatuporn’s wild exaggerations have served only to demean these figures into an embarrassing public failure.
Jatuporn regularly claims he will bring down the government and force a house dissolution within 7 days – a claim he renews on a weekly basis. In the recent government-UDD negotiations, he was also the only person who failed to realise that during a negotiation, you are supposed to negotiate and not just keep repeating the same demand in defiance of all presented logic.
And what of Jatuporn’s master? Thaksin is comedy gold and the front runner for this year’s April Fool award. All of this nonsense began when this democratically-elected dictator was removed by a popular coup in the name of a more democratic version of democracy.
Comparing himself to Mandela and Gandhi was comedic genius, but Thaksin’s humour is so black and his delivery so deadpan that many of his jokes go right over the head of his fans, who make the mistake of taking him seriously. Nevertheless, you have to admire the way he has them eating out of his hand.
There were pictures in the media recently of poor rural women crying because the courts ordered Thaksin to return most of the money he stole from them (and the rest of us). Thaksin has got them believing that it was his own money that financed all the populist policies during his reign. Priceless. How does he do it?
Thaksin’s piece de resistance, however, was convincing the poor he is fighting for them against the upper class elite. This guy has so much money he spends a million baht on a watch, bought an English Premier League football team, and went on the lam in Dubai. How elite do you want to get?
Alas, as with all good comedies, there is a tragic counter element. In this case, it is the fact that the very people who need help the most are the ones being exploited. The red shirts may have odious leaders, but they are the lifeblood of this country and deserve to be heard.
Our final contender for the April Fool award is the incumbent government. Their questionable purchases of bomb detectors have already been documented on this site. But it is their handling of Thaksin that puts them collectively in contention.
Although they weren’t to blame for allowing a convicted felon to leave the country on bail, how can they fail to know where he is? He’s the guy with the big square head and the huge entourage. He’s not exactly noted for his subtlety.
In fact, they are making such a bad job of finding him that you have to wonder whether they really want to bring him home to serve his sentence and risk turning him into a martyr.
Where is Thaksin?
He’s behind you.
Vote for your April Fool below.
Paul Snowdon – April 3, 2010
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Have your say...
29 Jul 2014, 18:04
Do you want some extra cash?If yes, wear red shirt and give your ID to the
protester leaedrs, then just show up, sit, stand up, walk and talk as the
leader order.It's around 2,000 Baht ($45)/ 3 days. Oh, with this rate it
comes with free meals.and of course, the money is from someone who is a
multibillionair.I'm pretty sure that 80% of red shirt protesters do not
know what they are fighting for. It takes a little effort to mislead those
people.Btw, your article is very interesting.Thai in the
01 Aug 2014, 11:09
^1. It was my first impression, too that the older man in the blue shirt at
the back is Sanoh 2. I was acutally thinking, hmm, and where is Sanan ..
he ought to be included? now that you mention it, K. Wisarut, yes, it's
probably him, not Mingkwan (though the latter also has protruding ears).3.
Yes, the thin guy with the drooping lip must be Newin, not Korn.
05 Aug 2014, 15:03
ao Nuno Castelo Branco (resposta ao comente1rio do cotnra-baixo).Penso que
o Nuno ne3o compreendeu bem o comente1rio, eu tambe9m sou um leitor e
admiro a qualidade de escrita, honestidade e rigor intelectual do Miguel,
sf3 que, os temas relacionados com a Taile2ndia contempore2nea, estou ao
corrente, e compreendo que o Nuno devido aos lae7os familiares com o
Miguel, interprete um comente1rio ou uma critica desfavore1vel ao artigo,
tomando defesa do autor, conhee7o, tenho interesses na Taile2ndia, e pra
le1 irei viver, voltando ao motivo do meu comente1rio, todas as pessoas
cultas e de bom senso, sabem que a Taile2ndia ne3o se pode comparar com
regimes totalite1rios, e alguns democratas, aonde reina a criminalidade a
grande escala, e ne3o li no comente1rio do cotnra-baixo qualquer
comparae7e3o da Taile2ndia com Cuba, sf3 compara, a veemeancia do Miguel,
na defesa de uma causa, (a bom entendedor), por isso ne3o percebi o seu
comente1rio, e se pensa que eu sou vermelho, devo gostar menos deles que o
Nuno, cordialement,Isidro Parreira http://ulskcvfwb.com