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Thailand to junta: Please change your soundtrack


By JOCELYN GECKER
Associated Press

BANGKOK (AP) -- First Thailand's junta seized power, then they commandeered every TV channel for round-the-clock broadcasts of dour announcements and patriotic hymns. The public's verdict: DJ, please change the soundtrack.

And after about 24 hours, they did.

As the sun set on Bangkok Friday night, Thailand's sappy soap operas flickered back on just as suddenly as they'd vanished a day earlier. After a full day of marching music and military ballads of a bygone era, things returned to normal - at least on television.

In this day and age, it's not surprising that the generals who launched Thailand's coup have set up a Facebook page.

But it was a sign of the times that the junta's vintage tunes didn't resonate with the Facebook generation.

"Since you're reforming politics, you might as well reform your music," said one of many postings on the page, which had over 220,000 likes by Friday afternoon, up exponentially from earlier in the day.

Song requests poured in - for Justin Timberlake, Michael Jackson, the Disney hit "Let It Go," and for foot-tapping Thai folk music.

"Please give us something more uplifting," said another comment on the page, which bears the junta's self-declared name: National Peace and Order Maintaining Council.

The running commentary offered a lighthearted and lively sideshow to the otherwise dramatic events unfolding in Thailand, where the military declared martial law on Tuesday and then announced two days later it was overthrowing the government.

The country's powerful army chief, Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, justified the coup as a means of restoring stability and avoiding more violence in a crisis that has left 28 dead and hundreds injured since it escalated seven months ago.

But some on social media joked that the nationalistic hymns could unleash old aggressions.

"Play other songs, will you! Your marching music is making me so patriotic that I want to wield a sword and slash some Burmese!" - a reference to Thailand's historical enemy and neighbor, now known as Myanmar.

The Facebook page was created Tuesday to post the military's announcements and edicts. But the complaints started streaming in Thursday when the martial music replaced all broadcasts on television and radio stations. There was no apparant crackdown on the criticism, despite an order that asked social media sites to suspend services if any messages opposed the coup makers.

Not all the postings were about music.

While schools were ordered closed Friday, parents posted pleas for the return of children's channels: "Can I have my TV back? At least the cartoon channel for my kid? It won't hurt national stability," said one father.

One woman posted a picture of a smiling shirtless soldier and asked: "Do you know if he has a girlfriend? I like him."

The coup Thursday was the 12th since the end of absolute monarchy in 1932.

One comment on the Facebook page suggested that when this coup is over, it would be nice to have a musical souvenir: "When it all comes to an end, don't forget to make a CD."

---

Associated Press writer Thanyarat Doksone in Bangkok contributed to this report.

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
bobtruth May 23 2014 at 9:22 AM

If they really want to torture the people, just play Jay-Z around the clock. That's really cruel and unusual punishment.

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3 replies
ronbobel7 May 23 2014 at 9:16 AM

the royal family has over $35 billion in assets while the rural poor have to sell their young girls to massage parlors and strip clubs in bangkok. shameful!

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12 replies
bdgrizcp May 23 2014 at 9:19 AM

I love it! Junta yields to pressure of people who still have a sense of humor.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
1 reply
porkmcjuicy bdgrizcp May 23 2014 at 9:38 AM

exactly my thoughts. Awesome sarcasm and humor in a nation I surely did not anticipate would breed and allow such sentiments. Love that guy who posted about the patriotic music turning him psychotic. hahha

Flag Reply +4 rate up
Mike May 23 2014 at 9:45 AM

While I have heard very little about the troubles in Thailand (the news is not what it used to be) it seems that life in Thailand, for the Thai people, seems to be going on as usual. An Army coup with a Facebook page and some acceptance of suggestions by the people... Wow. In the end, I hope that the coup leaders can find some kind of agreement with the political groups, that satisfies all parties, and Thailand can be returned to the Thai people.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
2 replies
ganderrrr Mike May 23 2014 at 12:22 PM

Pretty much how it is whenever Thailand has a coup -- and there've been many in the past 40 years.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
Tommy Mike May 23 2014 at 1:00 PM

I'm guessing the whole issue is who gets to put all the incoming foreign aid dollars and euros into their personal and family bank accounts. For the rest of the people, as long as they are left alone to transact their daily business, they could care less.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
cgssnavickas May 23 2014 at 10:43 AM

Here's a few suggestions the next time they want to play torture songs:

Anything by Justin Bieber
Anything by Miley Cyrus
Anything by New Direction
Anything by Kanye West
Any rap or hip hop song
Any overplayed song

Flag Reply +6 rate up
2 replies
ganderrrr cgssnavickas May 23 2014 at 12:22 PM

You left out Brittney Spears.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
1 reply
cgssnavickas ganderrrr May 23 2014 at 5:46 PM

Oops, I did it again.

Flag +3 rate up
mezarickm cgssnavickas May 23 2014 at 9:10 PM

I'm thinking YOUR favorite listening music would be only "country" music....just a guess!

Flag Reply 0 rate up
1 reply
jay love mezarickm May 24 2014 at 2:13 AM

I am thinking your a BONEHEAD!! just a guess?

Flag 0 rate up
lekboonmo May 23 2014 at 12:58 PM

To All the foriengers, specially Americans. You have to learn what is going on in Thailand before you makes any silly, naive and stupid comments abut the situation in Thailand. Do not apply your own standard of Democracy into other country. Thaksin regime is a dictartor just like Putin. He stole so much from the poeple and brainwash poor people with populist policies. Rice farmers over 5 million families have not recieved the money from the rice shceme that sole to the government. They had alomost 1000 billion dollar missing from the program and 14 farmers had committed sucide for had not recieving money for 8 months, and many are suffering with so little to live. So please get more information before making fun of what is going on there. And if you don't care, then do not comment on the issue.

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6 replies
dave May 23 2014 at 9:56 PM

why doesnt president obama make a statement , they are usa ally for years

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
jay love dave May 24 2014 at 2:01 AM

President Obummer has plenty other domestic and world problems he has screwed up these last 6 years and has created scandal after scandal, problem after problem, no other country or ally respects us as a world leader anylonger and no other country or ally fears us either. when your the supposed world leader and due to your policies you are neither respected, nor feared by anyone anymore you have deep problems? Russia is taking names and kicking butt in eastern Europe and Putin is laughing at Obummer, Russia and China are having war games in Asia and China is taking land from Japan, Korea and Philippines. Obummer has no credibility to make a speech?

Flag Reply 0 rate up
Susan May 23 2014 at 10:39 AM

The two soldiers patrolling on a pink scooter are really frightening.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
Tommy Susan May 23 2014 at 1:01 PM

Government issue? Go figure!

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pow22saw May 23 2014 at 8:11 PM

For sure military coups are very common in Thailand but comments are right on. I speak with some knowledge as my Thai spouse & I own a condo in Bangkok but mainly live in USA. We get the Thai soaps & news on the internet tv & satellite TV so trust that they are back. The martial music & logo were really a drag! That aside I think US State Dept needs to understand that the Asian culture is different, Western ideas of democracy are not ingrained and so called "elected" governments are often elected by vote buying. Good luck to the Army as the last coup a few years ago did not restore stability and highly unlikely this one will either.

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1 reply
JustMe pow22saw May 23 2014 at 10:07 PM

let's hope this time, mistake learned and prevented.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
dal May 23 2014 at 10:32 AM

good to see the folks over in Thailand haven't lost their sence of humor over this coup. and equilly assuring to see the military means no harm to it's citizens.

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1 reply
prosymom dal May 23 2014 at 11:25 AM

This is the third or fourth time this has happened in Thailand. It occurs when there is such disagreement in the government that it can't even function (sort of like our current Congress). Then the military steps in and takes over until they can come to an agreeable solution to the government problems.

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