A rap group in Thailand created a surprise hit with a strong video attacking the government. Instead of arresting the rappers, the government put out its own hip-hop song.
The group is called “Rap Against Dictatorship” (RAD). Dictatorship describes a government run by a person or group that has complete control a country, usually by force.
Thailand’s government was taken over four years ago by the military (army). Since that time, the military government has had tight control over what people can say and do. Most people don’t dare to speak freely, because they are afraid that they will be put in jail. This makes the video even more surprising.
RAD first posted their video on YouTube on October 22. In English, the name of the video is “Which is my country?” or “What’s my Country Got?” But in the Thai language, the words the rappers chose sound rude.
The video and the language of the song are also very shocking. But the strong feelings of the rappers come across clearly. They are upset with the political system and the government in Thailand. The words to the song complain about the way the government treats the people. The video brings up violent acts of the Thai government, both now and in the past. The group says they want to encourage young people to take part in politics.
When the government saw the video, they complained about it. They said that they were trying to decide if the rappers should go to jail. The rappers had actually talked about that in the song. “The country that asks you to stay quiet, or stay in jail,” they rapped.
The government’s complaints about the video had a surprising effect. Though the video didn’t get much attention at first, after the government complained, lots of people in Thailand suddenly wanted to see the video. Soon, many people were sharing it on social media . The video has now been seen almost 30 million times.
The video is so popular that it seems to have protected the rappers. The government has now said that it will not put the rappers in jail.
On November 1, the government put out its own hip-hop music video, which they called “Thailand 4.0”.
The video shows Thai people using technology, such as computers, phones, and robots. The song has words like, “Think further, Thailand can go far.”
If the government was hoping that its video would make people forget about the other video, they’re probably disappointed. So far the government video has been seen by around 3 million people. About 2,500 people “liked” it, but over 43,000 people gave it a “thumbs down”.
Thailand’s military government is talking about holding elections in February. That may be partly why they are ignoring RAD’s song. They are also relaxing some of the controls they’ve put on the Thai people. But the elections have already been delayed several times. Many people will not be surprised if they are delayed again.
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