We have been discussing the continued rollback of civil liberties by our Asian ally, Thailand, including absurd prosecutions such as the recent arrest of a mechanic who merely “liked” a photo viewed disrespectful of the King’s dog. He appears however to be in the disgruntled one percent according to the military junta. The authoritarian government just released the type of poll that only a junta would find plausible: 99 percent of Thais are happy with the junta’s governance since it took power last year. Well, if you can’t believe a junta, who can you believe?
I love how in places like North Korea and Thailand, propagandists allow for tiny numbers of unhappy people but cannot get themselves to allow more than a handful. The survey conducted by the government-run National Statistical Organization found that 98.9 percent of respondents were satisfied, according to the government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd. 98.9. Now if it were 99 percent, it simply would not be believable.
The junta said that the poll involved 3,900 people, presumably folks with the picture of army Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha hanging in their offices.
The junta has been carrying out a campaign to boost “return happiness” to Thailand. Those not happy have been known to be sent to camps for “adjustment” and have to sign agreements not to voice opposition or criticism as a condition of their release. Thus, by junta standards, they are “happy.”
Of course, the junta will have to chip away at that 1.2 margin. North Korea has already determined that it is the second happiest place on Earth — just after China.
To help along with the happiness campaign, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has written a new song this week for the end of the year titled “Because You Are Thailand” with such notable lyrics as “I have only two hands and breathe alone. There may not be enough power to make a dream come true. But if we join hands and breathe together, the day we hope for is not far away.”
Not quite as catchy as some other happy places like Duloc: