Monday, June 27, 2011

The Stranger in Bangkok's personal take on Thailand's stunning election posters

The Stranger in Bangkok is BACK.

Fresh from my Greek Odyssey, I am ready for an exceedingly exciting next few months. Thailand's election is taking place on 3rd July, and I cannot see a better way to re-start the Stranger in Bangkok engine by writing about it. Apologies to my Thai readers, this will be ANOTHER post on the election posters, but well, yeah, it is, so bear with me.

Singapore's election just ended. As much hype as it generated, the supposedly "most exciting" election ever ended off with the ruling party winning 93% of the seats in Parliament, their lowest ever total, so much for most exciting....

As for the one in Thailand, I do not know enough about previous elections to conclude whether this is the "most exciting", but it sure is extremely amusing for an on-looker like me.

Quoting directly from an article from the award-winning newspaper Bangkok Post, "there's a coup leader who now fancies being part of an elected parliament...... then there are nephews, nieces, brothers-in-law and little sisters of banned politicians.... party-list candidates who are there simply for immunity from felonies, including the one who routinely bunked parliament to instruct protestors on arson..." Wow wee, that's a good start.

Another side-story that has been developing is definitely the range of posters produced by the countless number of political parties. Through the last few weeks, these huge placards have been placed and replaced on every position imaginable, with each one placed barely metres apart. Those belonging to the 2 major parties (Ber Nueng and Ber Sip) are predictably unspectacular:

Handsome Prime Minister supporting his party candidate
As controversial as her participation may seem, few can deny that the "little sister's" pretty smile has temporarily brightened up the streets of Thailand

However, one candidate from party number 5 has really caught my eye. In fact, I couldn't quite believe it when I first caught a glimpse of this election poster.

Wait, is that really a poster of a party leader? Let me take a closer look.

Yes it is, he is doing the headache pose
This man is an intriguing character. His name is Chuvit Kamolvisit (literally pronounced as "come on visit") and aside of his periodic emergence as a political figure every few years, he is more notoriously known as the former king of sleazy massage parlours, and he once famously told the media that he did not know what the customers and ladies were doing in the rooms. For a man who used to pay millions to police officers to keep his business running, it's weird that his election manifesto reads "Chuvit against corruption". That said, he still leaves a lasting impression as the first politician I know who uses negative facial expressions to leave an impact.
Politics needs to change, just like babies' diapers, hilarious isn't it

His only smiling pose is with a dog, who is depicted to be even more honest than a politician

Since I returned to Bangkok last week, I noticed another group of posters which are extremely innovative as well.

Say "NO" to animals
This series of posters discourages people from voting for politicians who are vicious/cunning/dangerous like animals. I have to admit that the pictures are impressively well-done, with my favourite being Mr Monkey, who looks smart in his suit and holds a huge yummy-looking banana. I would vote for him if I could!

No one can accurately predict what will happen on the 3rd of July, and the consequences that follow after that are unthinkable as well. Hopefully, Thailand will not fall back into a state of unrest and turmoil, as no one here wishes to see this beautiful country take two steps back whenever it finally manages to make a step forward, so let's keep our fingers crossed.

Look at the size of the posters

Thailand General Election 2011 will soon become history, and many things will be forgotten, but for me, Mr Chuvit (like Mr Low Thia Kiang of the Workers' Party in Singapore), who strives to become the co-driver of an imperfect ruling government, and his pek-cek (frustrated) face/s will linger in my mind until they make their inevitable appearances once again in a few years' time.

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