Anti-corruption ad draws political flak

Anti-corruption ad draws political flak

A new TV advertisement by the Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand, a group of 47 organisations from the public and private sectors, has quickly become politicised and joined a long list of wedges further polarising Thailand.

Video uploaded by ปฏิบัติการหมาเฝ้าบ้าน

It laid bare the differences in fundamental values of the country's embattled society.

The fourth in a series, the ad portrays an agonising mother feeling the pains suffered by her son who has been ostracised by his school friends because his mother is corrupt. Its punch line? "Don't leave any space for corrupt people to stand in Thai society".

The ad quickly went viral and within days social networks were abuzz with comments about it.

"I agree with the idea behind the commercial. If a child is affected, who's to blame for his misery?" reads one post on Pantip.com.

"It's high time Thai society changed. We can't be stuck here over the next 100 or 200 years. Whatever we do, we need to think of its impact on our families. Family members must bear the responsibility (for our actions), not just ourselves," says another.

"I don't see hatred in this ad, just the effects on children at the hands of their immoral parents. Nobody blames the child.Those who can't stand watching it are those endorsing corruption," reads another post, which garnered 19 likes as of early Tuesday.

But the other side of society disagrees.

"What the ad presents is violence in the form of a witch hunt and vigilantism. The right way to campaign against graft is to refuse to be part of it, collect evidence and report to the police or the media, or to give leads so due process can take place to properly deal with the acts in question (rather than branding or blanket accusation)," argues another poster.

Another offers an academic point of view.

"The commercial reminds me of a Nazi propaganda called 'Jüdischen Schüler und Lehrer von der Schulen verwiesen' (in which Jewish teachers and students were expelled from schools) and an anti-Semitic children's book called Der Giftpilz which called the Jews 'corrupt poisonous mushrooms'. They did that by generalising good and bad or black and white, ignoring the fact that grey is more human nature. No question is asked about the definition of 'corrupt'. Reasonable discussions are suppressed by the 'corrupt' discourse. Above all, it doesn't care how such generalisation affects an apolitical child.

"Nobody tolerates corruption in whatever manner. But corrupt people are still human. In punishing them, we need to take this fact into consideration or we could end up being corrupt ourselves by robbing them of human dignity the way the Nazis or Khmer Rouge used corruption charges to destroy their political enemies."


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