Prayuth Chan-ocha seized power in a military coup in 2014 after protesting and opposing what he claims was corruption in the government, forcing the prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra into hiding. Since then, Prayuth has served as prime minister, continued to consolidate power for the military’s rule, and pushed back elections multiple times.
A polarizing figure, Prayuth has been criticized by political opponents and pro-democracy organizations for his refusal to properly hold a vote and his efforts to stamp out dissent. Early last year, he dismayed and confused journalists by leaving out a cardboard standee to answer questions from the press.
One way he’s tried to court the masses in recent years seems particularly odd, however. Through the power of song, Prayuth has attempted to bolster public support for his regime since 2017. It’s like something straight out of The Lego Movie.
His newest pop ballad promises “We are looking for a new day in Thailand’s history … towards the democratic path.” The song is sung by two cheerful soldiers, undoubtedly to humanize their iron grip of rule.
Previous songs by Prayuth and his party include “Return Happiness to Thailand,” which was released right after his bloodless takeover and Diamond Heart, which reportedly bombed on YouTube. This was followed up with the more solemn tune “In Memory.”
Prayuth’s government also found itself embroiled in a rap battle with political activists in 2018. A video fiercely critical of Thailand’s junta administration called “Which is My Country” accrued 25 million YouTube views.
After unsuccessful attempts to censor and take down the video through the Computer Crimes Act, officials produced a music video called “Thailand 4.0,” an up-tempo tune that included the catchy lyrics ““Gen M, Gen Z, Gen whatever, if you all agree, it’s easier, easier.”
Prayuth has penned and released eight songs so far with varying amounts of success. Still, as political unrest continues throughout the nation, it seems unlikely that Prayuth will be able to sing his way out of more trouble.