This article was originally posted on WomenLearnThai.com.
Chuvit: The Angry Man of Thai politics…
The Thai press is calling Chuvit the colour of the election: สีสัน การ เลือกตั้ง /sĕe-săn gaan lêuak-dtâng/. And comparing Chuvit to the other candidates, who can argue? Chuvit is colourful, dramatic, and evocative. In your face even.
So it’s no surprise that Chuvit’s powerful posters are the talk of the town. Kudos to his design team, his direction, or whatever the combo. The posters are conveying a message as loud and lively as Chuvit himself.
In order to grab the attention of a speeding motorist, trained designers know that the use of a clean, bold design works. And that the information needs to be kept short, catchy, and memorable. To do just that, for the copy Chuvit took the message he wanted to convey and then pared it down into lean but powerful headlines.
Some of the posters play with words and sentences, that when looked up separately, have a different meaning. Some use noun phrases (word or group of words) to convey a broader meaning. And some could be using colour to add cheek to the message.
And while this method works wonders for a Thai audience, it makes it difficult for struggling students of the Thai language. So for me to understand some of Chuvit’s posters, it was important to find the message he started with before the fiddling, and then work out the possible meanings from there. And that’s what you’ll find in this post.
Note: My attempt won’t be 100% successful so if Chuvit is reading this – please feel free to correct me.
Oh, and I did not do this on my own. I asked a zillion questions. You know who you are. Thank you.
Chuvit for the opposition + footer…
This post is plenty long so I’ve mostly taken out repeats where I could. Chuvit’s request to be in the opposition and the footer information especially.
Chuvit knows he won’t win the election. His aim is to get enough votes to be in the opposition; to become the watchdog of Thai politics. And that’s why you’ll see this phrase repeated throughout his posters:
ผม ขอ เป็น ฝ่ายค้าน
pŏm kŏr bpen fàai-káan
I ask to be in the opposition.
For the duration of this post let’s assume that in every poster he’s first explaining the message and second that if he gets voted in as the opposition he’ll be the anti-corruption watchdog for Thai politics. The short version: Choose me so I can fight corruption.
You can read about Chuvit’s previous political attempts here (in Thai): Wiki: ชูวิทย์_กมลวิศิษฎ์
Also to save room I won’t put the footer, the final message running across the bottom of each poster. If you can’t read Thai, it’s the white copy knocked out of a blue background. Not all of the copy is exactly the same but it goes pretty much like this:
เลือก ชูวิทย์ พร้อมกัน ทุกเขต ทั่วประเทศ
lêuak choo-wít próm-gan túk-kàyt tûa-bprà-tâyt
Vote Chuvit simultaneously every area nationwide.
พรรค รัก ประเทศไทย
pák rák bprà-tâyt-tai
Love Thailand Party
The “everybody vote for Chuvit at the same time” phrase refers to the voting times for Thailand. You’ll read it on other political posters too. The polls are open from 8am–3pm, July 3, 2011. Everyone who’s going to vote needs to be there during those times. If they are late, they cannot vote so everyone votes at the same time.
From what I understand, there are three ways for Thais to vote in the election. 1) At the designated polls (Thais receive a letter in the mail telling them where). 2) Or they can vote ahead of time by registering on June 26th (a week before). 3) Or they can vote from overseas.
Chuvit’s angry man political posters…
There were many outings to get photos of the campaign posters. On the main run I took photos of the posters only, no background. Then I realised how many readers live outside of Thailand so I went back to get local flavour.
So here we go… the posters with their translations and my stab at what it all means. And if you have any suggestions, corrections, whatever, please share them in the comments.
เลือก ชูวิทย์ เป็น ฝ่าย ค้าน ต้าน คอรัปชั่น
lêuak choo-wít bpen fàai káan dtâan kor-ráp-chân
Pick Chuvit for the opposition. To oppose corruption.
ได้ ทุก เขต ทั่วประเทศ ไทย
dâi túk kàyt tûa-bprà-tâyt tai
Can. Every district nationwide in Thailand.
This simple poster lays out the basic theme running through the rest of the series. It’s main message includes some of the copy I’m leaving out.
Infers: You can choose Chuvit to be the opposition, to oppose corruption, no matter what district, nationwide in Thailand.
Flickr: Rak Thailand
คุณ จะ ไป ทาง ไหน ?
kun jà bpai taang năi ?
Which direction are you going?
การเมือง + ผลประโยชน์
gaan-meuang + pŏn-bprà-yòht
Political affairs, politics + benefits
Which direction are you going? Politics benefit politicians.
Infers: Which direction are you going when political policies benefit the self interests of the politicians and not ordinary Thais? As a visual, it’s saying that Thais keep choosing to head into known traffic jams instead of going where the lights are green and the streets are clear.
คุณ จะ ไป ทาง ไหน ?
kun jà bpai taang năi ?
Which direction are you going?
รัฐบาล + ผลประโยชน์
rát-tà-baan + pŏn-bprà-yòht
Government + vested interests
Which direction are you going? Government benefits politicians.
Infers: Same as above. Which direction are you going when government benefits the interests of the politicians?
จะ หลงทาง กัน อีก กี่ ครั้ง ?
jà lŏn-taang gan èek gèe kráng ?
How many more times will you lose the way?
นโยบาย + ผลประโยชน์ พรรคการเมือง
ná-yoh-baai + pŏn-bprà-yòht pák-gaan-meuang
policies + vested interests [of] political parties
How many more times will you lose your way? The policies of political parties make profits for themselves.
Infers: Chuvit is asking how many more times will Thais lose their way by choosing policies that benefit the political party and not ordinary Thais. It means putting money in politician’s pockets by changing Thai laws to benefit the politician’s family businesses. In the west it’s known as conflict of interest.
เมื่อ … นักการเมือง พูด คำว่า
mêua … nák-gaan-meuang pôot kam-wâa
When… politicians say the word
ซื่อ + สัตย์
sêu + sàt
ประชาชน จะ เป็นสุข อย่างไร
bprà-chaa-chon jà bpen-sùk yàang-rai
how can people be happy?
When… politicians say the word ‘honest’ how can people be happy?
Could infer: How can people be happy when politicians say the words ‘honest’ but their promise of innocence cannot be trusted?
ซื่อสัตย์ /sêu-sàt/ means to be honest, faithful, and loyal but in this poster Chuvit pushed the two words apart, changing the meaning.
ซื่อ /sêu/ innocent (red)
สัตย์ /sàt/ the promise (black)
สัตย์ /sàt/ is in black so it could be that the promise cannot be trusted. But what could the red colour mean?
การเมือง เหมือน ผ้าอ้อม
gaan-meuang mĕuan pâa-ôm
Politics are like pampers.
ยิ่ง เปลี่ยน … ยิ่ง ดี
yîng bplìan … yîng dee
The more you change them, the better they are.
Elect Chuvit. Politics are like pampers. The more you change them, the better they are.
Infers: Politicians stink. Chuvit doesn’t.
Flickr: Rak Thailand
เมื่อ คุณ ต้องการ ความ ซื่อสัตย์ VOTE 5 ชูวิทย์
mêua kun dtông-gaan kwaam sêu-sàt VOTE hâa choo-wít
When you want honesty VOTE 5 Chuvit
In this poster ซื่อสัตย์ /sêu-sàt/ is in red. The previous poster has ซื่อสัตย์ as two words, changing the meaning. This poster could be playing off the other poster. It is saying honest for real, not untrustworthy, like in the previous poster.
Infers: Chuvit is using his dog, Motomoto, to suggest that dogs are honest but politicians are not. Chuvit’s use of ซื่อสัตย์ /sêu-sàt/ as a complete word could be stating that he’s honest but other politicians are not.
Flickr: Rak Thailand
bored with politics
ต้อง ไป เลือก ตั้ง
dtông bpai lêuak dtâng
must go vote
Infers: I know you are bored of politics but you have to vote (chose me so that I can fight corruption).
Flickr: Rak Thailand
เลือก ชูวิทย์ กา ที่ เบอร์ 5 ที่ บัญชีรายชื่อ เท่านั้น
lêuak choo-wít gaa têe ber hâa têe ban-chee-raai-chêu tâo-nán
Choose Chuvit by picking number 5 on the party list only.
ปรองดอง… ตอน ได้ ประโยชน์
bprong-dong… dton dâi bprà-yòht
Reconcile… when there’s something to gain
ปองร้าย เมื่อ ขัดแย้ง
bpong-ráai mêua kàt yáeng
Bear ill will… when in conflict
The first message conveys the basic instructions for voters: Only choose number 5 on the party list.
Infers: The second message states that politicians only agree with other politician’s policies when it benefits their personal income. And when their own policies are opposed, they play dirty.
Note the play on words between ปรองดอง /bprong-dong/ (reconciliation) and ปองร้าย /bpong-ráai/ (ill will).
Flickr: Rak Thailand
ถ้า คุณ รัก ประเทศไทย
tâa kun rák bprà-tâyt-sà-tai
If you love Thailand
ผิด ต้อง เป็น ผิด
pìt dtông bpen pìt
wrong must be wrong
ถูกต้อง เป็น ถูก
tòok-dtông bpen tòok
right must be right
อุดมการณ์ ชัดเจน ตรงไปตรงมา
ù-dom-gaan chát-jayn dtrong-bpai-dtrong-maa
ideology clear straightforward
If you love Thailand, then wrong must be wrong and right must be right. The ideology is clear and transparent.
Infers: There should be no bias in Thai society, no zig-zag (ซิกแซก).
When a father, in a position of power, refuses to help his errant son, he can say: wrong must be wrong, right must be right. This means the son must pay the consequences because the father will not pull strings to keep him out of jail, whatever. So no ลูก เทวดา /lôok tay-wá-daa/ here!
Why is Chuvit going for the English audience? Could he be courting the English press? Trying to get the attention of the English speaking younger generation of Thais? Or is he reaching out to his western-Thai children?
Chuvit’s on top!…
Here in Bangkok Chuvit’s posters are stacked on top of other campaigners. Not the other way around. But stay tuned for next week!
In Thailand the head is a most cherished part of the body so this campaign style of Chuvit’s has me wondering just what the message is. But note: Chuvit’s posters are not just sitting on the other candidates, he’s also doubling up his own posters.
More of Chuvit…
2Bangkok.com has series of Chuvit posters that show just how consistent the designs are: Chuwit Kamolvisit News. Does anyone know the name of the Alsatian?
Apologies, I didn’t provide a vocabulary list but the important Thai words can be found at Tweet Yourself Thai: Promises, Promises: Part 3 – Rak Prathet Thai.
And if you missed my first Chuvit post, head over to Thai Politician Chuwit Kamolvisit: A Man. His Dog. Their Park.
Next up in this mini-series will be the yellow PAD animal posters. And I’d better hurry before population of Bangkok tears the posters to shreds!
17 thoughts on “Chuvit’s Angry Man Campaign Posters Translated”
I realise that I don’t have a dog in this race but I’m glad that Chuvit placed. He has the needed gumption to do what he promises to do – be the opposition in order to stomp out corruption. I wish him well.
Hi Hugh, no prob. Life is like that 🙂 เบอร์ ห้า does suit Chuvit (sweet). And his posters seem to outnumber others in Bangkok too. If not, then it’s their message that overpowers the other campaigners limp efforts. Chuvit adding his posters on top of Abhisit’s and Shinawatra’s especially is making an impact as well. While I only saw one other poster on top of Chuvit’s – it was a one off (too much work perhaps?)
Sorry I am so late getting around to commenting on this post – stuff just seems to happen.
Chuvit’s party’s number is 5. Here is an interesting thing about the number 5 when it is said as เบอร์ ห้า /ber hâa/, as it appears in one of the posters. Thais love to play the word game กลับ คำ /glàp kam/ – reversing the word’s initial consonants and then flipping the words. When you do this for เบอร์ ห้า /ber hâa/ – “number 5” you get บ้า เห่อ bâa hèr – “really crazy”, which I think is pretty appropriate looking at his pictures. I’m sure the Thai readers are well aware of this little word play. BTW, Chuvit’s posters outnumber all the others up here in Chiang Mai.
Ben, I too was surprised at the angry man approach and for the same reason – it’s not supposed to be Thai. But he is right – it’s time for Thais to get angry about the corruption embedded in their society (not just government).
Chuvit is an alternative for Yellow Shirts who don’t want to follow the Vote NO! campaign. There won’t be enough votes to get to PM status but that’s not his aim. Time will tell (and I hope it’s peaceful, whatever happens).
Hi Cat, when I moved to Thailand I first noticed posters of one of Chuvit’s election campaigns around 2 years ago.. I thought it was a mistake to portray this ‘angry man,’ as anger is so taboo in Thai culture, so, I went against the idea.. Now, a bit wiser, I think his campaign team (and indeed Chuvit) have a very robust point, in fact my Thai family also share in that thought and my mom-in-law (very yellow shirt) also might vote for this guy, so, the results will indeed be very interesting 🙂
Good idea Dan. I’m more conscious of the colours I wear more than at any other time in my life. I look sallow in yellow so that’s never been an issue. Reds are good and it’s sometimes fun to go decked out just watch for the smiles.
I look forward to your post Catherine.
I will be in Singapore next week trying to get as much use as I can out all my red and yellow shirts.
Lani, his posters were so powerful, I was dying to know what he was saying too. And what a background! If anyone has the hard hitting personality to be a thorn in the side of corrupt politicians, he does. But is he corrupt? That’s the question.
Snap, I didn’t think about Chuvit running over anyone but you are so right. It looks like he’s mad enough to mow politicians down 🙂
Martyn, a part of me does with that he wins enough votes to gain a seat in parliament. And then maybe I’d pay more attention to Thai politics? I’ve been ignoring the politics of this country so it just might be the push I need.
Yesterday I was at a Vote NO! rally. There were quite a few attendees so the interest is there too. I expected to see a lot of PAD hi-so but they were ordinary Thais all dressed in yellow. I was able to get photos of a few characters so please join me on a Vote NO! post come Tuesday.
Catherine – Chuvit’s B movie type poster poses suggest he could have a very big career ahead of him in Thai TV soaps. He’d make the perfect irate father or bungling mafia boss. Though judging by the posters his dog Motomoto would appear to have a better chance of winning the bigger film contracts.
Chuvit comes over as a colourful chap and his poster campaign is going to win him a lot of votes come election day. However I do wonder how many road accidents his posters have and will cause.
The posters do make a clever play on words with their enormity seemingly enough to convince many people to vote for him. Many Thais rub trees in the hope of revealing lucky lottery numbers and so Chuvit’s play on words and poster trail should secure himself enough votes to become part of the opposition and Motomoto may well have won himself a lead role in Hangover 3.
Great post and best of luck to Chuvit.
Catherine, my friend and I were wondering who the angry poster dude was and what he was going on about, thanks! There’s just something wrong about him sitting behind a steering wheel…with that face though…isn’t there? 😉
To be black and white honest I’ve been wondering what these poli posters say. Thanks for the interpretations. But the cynic in me thinks anyone who is saying he’s opposed to corruption, must be. . .
Ah yes, I forgot about the TV peanut gallery… apologies for that. I usually only go to their Thai language forum but even that has suffered. One of TV’s advertisers is calling the shots, making rules about what members can post in the forum.
Er, thanks Catherine. I think I got the answer from Mole’s post which was very interesting. The rest of it just highlighted why I never read Thai Visa. What is the matter with these people!
Thanks. The only way I can understand posters is to dig into them. And since I’ve already done the work, might as well post them here.
The other candidates are plain vanilla compared to Chuvit. The yellow PAD campaign (no candidate, just a request to avoid voting) is drawing as much attention as Chuvit’s – hatred even. That will be my next post.
Wow, Catherine you go into so much detail. I love the sense of humour portrayed by the posters, i can’t imagine the politicians in the UK doing this. Real hard hitting, thought provoking messages!
Are any of the other candidates using such tactics and spreading their message so effectively?
Thanks Dan. There’s a conversation about “why Chuvit and not Chuwit” going on at TV about this very same subject: Massage Parlor Billionaire Chuwit Makes Political Comeback.
I thought I had all of the posters I needed for my PAD post but there’s a HUGE one by the riverside. And I must have it 🙂
Another great post Catherine.
I have a question, why Chuvit and not Chuwit. As in Suvarnabhum(i).
I have never seen ‘wor wen’ being pronounced as ‘v’ so why is the ‘v’ used so much.
And the NO posters are being abused here as well.