Stand-up comedy

21 02 2016

The junta and its “government” – there’s no real difference between the two – have been busy trying to convince the gullible that its Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) is “independent.”

Anyone who has followed the junta and its “government” – okay, it adds in a couple of civilian flunkies in the latter – knows that the CDC is a tool of the junta. It threw out the previous CDC it established and directed for still unstated reasons. It then exhumed the current CDC chair, Meechai Ruchupan, to head another military junta-installed CDC. It directed Meechai and the CDC to get the charter right in this second round of drafting. Meechai as done as he was told and the CDC is entirely filled with minions prepared to do the junta’s work.

Why does the junta even bother with disingenuousness and inanities about “independence”? To be honest, we don’t know. Perhaps it is about some international audience. Perhaps they think the “average Thai” is a political moron and will believe its nonsense.

Whatever the reason, they keep at it. One new strategy, to supplement repression, propaganda and direction, seems to be stand-up comedy.

The propagandist National News Bureau “reports” that one of the civilian military bootlickers, “Deputy Prime Minister” Wissanu Krea-ngam “insisted that the proposals were from the government, not the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).” He means the junta. He is claiming the junta isn’t directing the CDC.

While that might have elicited a chuckle, his next line that the junta’s 16 “suggestions” would “improve the draft law” might have drawn belly laughs.

So confident is Wissanu that the CDC will do the junta’s bidding that he says “it would not be necessary for the CDC to send back the revised draft to the government…”. He added that the junta “can just hold talks with the CDC.” That might have flopped as irony doesn’t play well to his audience.

At the CDC comedy night, a CDC spokesman took the microphone and declared that the CDC takes “all suggestions and recommendations … by the public, agencies and organisations [and] … weighted [them] equally.” We are sure that got quite a laugh.

Also at the National News Bureau, Meechai himself decided to joke about “independence.” He declared that the CDC “is working without influence and within the framework set by the interim constitution.” That seems like a tautology, but Meechai appears to have decided on a late career change as stand-up comic.

Meechai comic

Comedian Meechai on stage at military headquarters

His audience was “staff at the Royal Thai Army Headquarters…”. He must have cracked them up for the audience was the equivalent of telling jokes to friends and relatives. His comedic material was the junta’s independent CDC’s draft charter.

Meechai told the military staff a number of charter jokes: “senators will not have to be aligned with any particular political party and will be selected in an indirect manner.” He joked that this means of keeping the elite solid was to “allow more members of the public to be able to take part in the nation’s politics.”

His big one-liner was the joke on the Thai people: “the prime minister will be selected from 3 names to be proposed by the leading party and will not have to be a Member of Parliament…”.

Finally, Meechai was not averse to old jokes, and commented on vote buying. His joke is that under the past two constitutions, vote-buying was more or less a thing of the past. The joke is that the draft charter will bring back vote buying.


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