BANGKOK (AP) — The temperamental but tuneful head of Thailand’s military junta announced Tuesday that he has written a song as a New Year’s present to his fellow citizens, his second such morale-boosting effort since seizing power in May last year.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said his new song, “Because You Are Thailand,” is an appeal to all Thais to join with him in overcoming the crisis that besets Thailand, an apparent reference to divisions that caused sometimes-violent political conflicts over the past decade. He has said the 2014 coup he led as army commander was aimed at restoring order.
Prayuth penned the lyrics to another song, “Returning Happiness to the People,” shortly after last year’s takeover. It is often played on state-controlled radio and TV stations. The lyrics of both the old and the new songs mention returning happiness to Thailand, a major theme of the military, which nonetheless has severely limited freedom of expression.
The former general is well known for his histrionic style at news conferences, where he will often scowl at an unwelcome question before dismissively suggesting the questioner is ignorant or ill-willed.
Prayuth is not the only musical member of his family — his grown twin daughters used to play in a pop band.