Anyone familiar with the advertising industry will cringe at the sight of the Government campaign to encourage Thais to vote for a new constitution. Why on earth did they choose a monkey? But not just any monkey – this is Hanuman, a Hindu god, and Hanuman is a rather scary military monkey.
The mascot is truly bizarre. Mascots are supposed to be attractive to children, furry and cuddly, this one is frightening and no child would want to go anywhere near it. The style of the cartoon is archaic and one wonders if it was drawn by the “Army of the 12 Monkeys” on a trip back the the 1950s. Thailand's domestic advertising industry is as sophisticated as any in the world. So, how could the Government produce something so inept?
Another brilliant scheme is for 100,000 army cadets to fan out across the country to persuade people to vote. These will be 17 to 22 year old National Service Conscripts. Whoever dreamed up this idea has obviously never talked to a Thai teenager, or a Thai villager; either that, or they have been smoking something really good.
Since 1932 Thailand has had 17 new constitutions, that is one every five years. A full report from Reuters:
Thailand's military government on Wednesday kicked off a drive to convince citizens to vote in an August referendum for a draft constitution that the junta has said will pave the way for an election next year. Opponents say the constitution will instead enshrine a political role for the military, which seized power two years ago in a coup, besides heralding weak governments and worsening a decade of bitter political division.
On Wednesday, lawmakers and members of a constitution-drafting panel tasked with explaining the document to government officials received the first 100,000 copies of the draft, from a total of a million earmarked for the public.
The government of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who led the junta that seized power in May 2014 after months of political unrest, says the charter will lay the foundations of a stable democracy, and is confident it will be approved.
"At the moment, there are no signs to why this referendum will not succeed," Supachai Somcharoen, chairman of the election commission, told reporters.
Starting from mid-June, about 100,000 army cadets will fan out across Thailand to discuss the charter and encourage people to vote, said election official Pravich Rattanapian.
Thailand's political divide pits the forces behind populist governments ousted in 2006 and 2014 coups against the military, bureaucrats, and the middle class that support the royalist establishment.
The junta has imposed restrictions on debating the draft, an additional gag on potential critics, who have been banned from political activity since the coup.
The charter calls for an appointed upper house with some seats reserved for the military and police. The junta says this is needed to smooth a five-year "transitional period" before full civilian rule is restored.