1 2 3 4 5 I LOVE YOU (Mob Fest version)

By Ammy The Bottom Blues

Note: This song doesn’t need much translating. It is a mainstream Thai pop song, with a chorus in English; the original is not political. However, at Mob Fest, a concert November 14, 2020 at Democracy Monument, which was part of the ongoing student-led demonstrations, words in the chorus were changed from “I LOVE YOU” to “Ai hia Oh” with the whole crowd repeatedly singing “Ai hia Oh” in unison, which basically turns the king’s nickname “Sia Oh” into a swear word, as explained further below. The key section to listen for is:

1 2 3 4 5 Ai hia Oh!

6 7 8 9 Ai hia Oh!

Every day and night Ai hia Oh!

Oh my darling, Oh my darling!

The original chorus was:

1 2 3 4 5 I LOVE YOU

6 7 8 9 I LOVE YOU

Every day and night I LOVE YOU

Oh my darling, Oh my darling!

Full explanation: “Ai” is a derogatory preface put before a name either to show distain or possibly used fondly to show extreme informality with friends. In this case it definitely indicates distain. The next word is a horrible swear word, that actually mean “monitor lizard.” But like the English words “ass” or “bitch,” the word has a power that is not mitigated by the fact that there are certain animals are also legitimately called “ass” or “bitch.” So “hia” one of the most powerful Thai swear words. The general public didn’t used to refer to King Vajiralongkorn by his very long name. He had a nickname, Sia Oh, which is the name of a gangster. In this name, the “Sia” part indicates a rich [usually Chinese] businessman. So “Ai Hia Oh” roughly corresponds to “That fucking Oh” or “That fucking Vajiralongkorn.” The fact that crowds of thousands are now often chanting this in unison is very significant.