Every year it is the same. All boys need to go to register for military service. The ladyboys turn up and the ladyboys get exempted. They don’t want to join the army and the army does not want them. It does not matter whether they are transsexuals or transvestites, its the easiest way to get out of military service. At least it was until this year.
Now we find that the army has exempted a former student activist “Ja New” for being overweight. So, no need for those expensive hairstyles, wigs and women’s clothes - all you need to do is eat junk food for a couple of months.
There was some confusion yesterday when The Nation, Thailand’s English language newspaper, had the headline: Ja New’ is spared from subscription due to his weight. Readers assumed that Ja New, and all other fat people, would be getting copies of The Nation for free. There was an immediate rush to KFC by people who wanted to save money on newsprint. However, it appears that this was an error due to the fact that The Nation’s proof reader comes from Arkansas.
Ja New is a protest leader who was apposed to the military coup and is opposed to the current military government. Its not difficult to see what he is planning. He intends to destroy the military by cutting off their supply of conscripts. He knows that not everybody is prepared to dress up in womens’ clothing and has come up with a simpler solution. His mottoes are “gorge yourself for democracy” and “get fat for freedom”.
The rest of the Nation’s report (11 April):
On Monday morning, student activist Sirawit Serithiwat, better known as “Ja New," bravely announced that he would forfeit his right to postpone his military conscription.
It appeared he would face the same fate in the lottery as any other young Thai man – if he draws a black card, he is spared conscription, but if it is red, he faces mandatory military service.
However, the high-profile story took another twist on Monday afternoon as he was about to enter the draw, when his mother said she had a hospital medical certificate that recommended that her son should not be conscripted because he is overweight.
When the issue came to a head, he refused to take off his shirt in public, saying privacy was his basic right, and instead went into a private room to be measured by an officer. When he came out from the examination, he said he was overweight, which qualified him for an exemption in mandatory military service.
“I’m here today according to the law. I’m not opposing the law as it was not issued by the National Council for Peace and Order. However my presence has seemed to attract special attention as I have been followed by Army officers all the time,” he said.
The exemption due to his weight means that he is permanently spared participating in the military.
Sirawit told reporters that he felt relieved but not happy because being overweight could affect his health. He added that he would work to lose the weight.
“Ja New”, or Sergeant New, made headlines in December 2015 when he led a group of students activists to board a train to Hua Hin, threatening to launch an inspection into alleged corruption in the construction of the Rajabhakti Kings Park project.
His group was stopped by authorities at Ban Pong Railway Station.
Sirawit had been on a list of university students who have asked for postponements for years, but he offered to enter the draw on Monday.
In the morning, Sirawit attempted to speak to reporters but was told by military officials that he could not do so in the conscription tent. After a brief dispute, Sirawit left the tent and told the media the story.