Tongue-Thai’ed! Part VI: Wifebeating campaign poster edition?!

Originally published at Siam Voices on June 1, 2011

“Tongue-Thai’ed!” encapsulates the most baffling, amusing, confusing, outrageous and appalling quotes from Thai politicians and other public figures – in short: everything we hear that makes us go “Huh?!”. Check out all past entries here.

The campaign season offers many curious incidents and sightings that only appear during the run-up to the elections, political campaign posters are one of them. Usually, they display the constituency candidate, the list number, the name of the party and a more or less witty and memorable slogan. Sometimes, the parties go the extra mile and somehow (deliberately or not) stick out from crowd – whether for the desired effect or not is another story. This year it’s no exception and some posters are drawing eyes and raised eyebrows for various reasons.

On Wednesday, Bangkok-based journalist Patrick Winn from the Global Post has tweeted this poster:

It’s a poster for the Bhumjai Thai Party, the largest coalition partner of the most recent government and considered to be a potential kingmaker for the next one. The slogan is “เลี้ยงเมีย ต้องตบ” which can be translated to “To take care of your wife, you have to beat” – beat what? Your wife, as Patrick suggested? Is this a reiteration of the proverb “เลี้ยงเมีย ด้วยเข่า” (“To take care of your wife, you got to knee her!”) to get the folksy vote? Are they endorsing domestic abuse? What do they want to say? Are we lost in translation somewhere?

The answer is tucked away right under the number and above the name of the party. It says: “‘สู้แล้วรวย’ สร้างศูนย์ฝึกนักกีฬาอาชีพ” (“‘Fight to become rich’ [We will] build sport centers for professional athletes). So, they’re not saying you should beat your wife but beat (or strike) the tennis ball to get it rolling to personal welfare! (Read James Goyder’s post on Bhumjai Thai’s godfather Newin and his ventures in local football here)

This is also a move to counter rival coalition partner Chart Pattana Puea Pandin Party’s sport centric policies, who recruited a number of former sport stars running as candidates. One of them is former tennis star – or rather he was supposed to be, because he now not on the party list since he didn’t vote in the last local elections in 2008 and thus not eligible (source in Thai here)!

Meanwhile, Bangkok Pundit has blogged about another note-worthy election poster:

This is Sophon Damnui also running for the Chart Pattana Puea Pandin Party in Bangkok’s constituency number 5. To answer Bangkok Pundit’s question why they choose this motive and the panda, one has to look at all the clues: Bangkok’s 5th is Dusit, where also Dusit Zoo ist located. Mr Sophon is also the director of the Zoological Park Organization, which overlooks all zoos in the country. And guess who that panda is? Yes, this is Thailand’s new national mascot, Lin Ping. And Mr Sophon also credits himself that this cuddly panda can stay in Thailand a little bit longer before the Chinese want him back.

So, the message is clear: “Vote me and Lin Ping will stay” or something like that – and besides, who can resist such cute cuddly thing…? (Author’s note: This animal has created a bigger and more annoying hype in Thailand than Knut the polar bear ever did in Germany!)

A lot of stupid things will be said and a lot of strange posters will appear during the election campaign in the coming months. If you come across any verbosities that you think might fit in here send us an email at siamvoices [at] gmail.com or tweet us @siamvoices.

Saksith Saiyasombut is a Thai blogger and journalist still based in Hamburg, Germany. He can be followed on Twitter @Saksith.


One thought on “Tongue-Thai’ed! Part VI: Wifebeating campaign poster edition?!

  1. LOL, thanks for all the explanations.

    The one I least get is Khun Sophon’s poster. Sure, Lin Ping is cute but, if I was Thai, I doubt I’d vote for K. Sophon simply because he helped keep Lin Ping in Thailand. Then again, I’m not Thai, so maybe there’s something here I don’t understand :)

    Either way, I’m loving all the posters around BKK. I make sure I take my camera out with me every day, just in case any new ones pop up!

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