This was originally a post to alert you that many artists at this site were in jail, charged with lese majesty and denied bail. I also introduce you to their art. Most people reading this post will already recognize these names as those of the leaders and heroes of the Thai prodemocracy movement.
As months went by, Pai Daodin, Rung, Ammy, Penguin, Port Faiyen, and Anon Nampa were all freed, then, when I updated this post on 8/31/21, Pai, Anon, and Penguin were again in jail; and as of this current post update, all three were out again by 2/28/21, but probably not permanently. Most if, not all, of the group of six contracted covid-19 in jail, but I know for sure that Port, Anon, and Pai contracted covid. Penguin and Rung were released the first time after a dangerous hunger strike, with worries that Penguin at least was near death (and willing to starve himself to death for the cause).
So the concern now is that frivolous charges still hang over their heads of all these artist-activists and if convicted (the trials will be held in secret), they may still spend decades in prison. More likely, the proceedings will drag out forever with no final decision until the whole nonsense is mysteriously dropped sometime in the distant future. The real purpose of these very shady “legal proceedings” is to hold leaders of the Thai prodemocracy movement hostage to break the momentum of widespread mass protests calling for real democracy, including reform of the monarchy. Below is my original post, written while all the artists mentioned were still in prison:
ALERT: Artists at this Site in Jail [ORIGINAL POST FROM MARCH 2021]
As of March, 2021, 5 musicians featured at this site are currently in jail for lese majesty (and if we count activists who guest star in the music videos, we have 6 artists in total recently arrested for lese majesty).
1) Poor sick Port Faiyen, of Faiyen band, under the names Port Faiyen and Rishadan Port, authored or coauthored at least 18 songs at this site. He is also a personal friend and advised on many of the translations at this site. Most people thought he had received asylum in France, arriving with the rest of Faiyen band in August 2019, but he never got to France. Right after the assassination of Surachai’s team in Laos, Port had to secretly return to Thailand to get treatment for a life-threatening illness. We covered for him, pretending he was in Laos and then in France. A few months later the regime would assassinate his onetime housemate and informal Faiyen band member Siam Teerawut (as mentioned above). Altogether the regime assassinated 8 people he knew well. He must be released for medical reasons as it clear the regime has been trying to kill him. He is a clever and prolific songwriter, with an accessible style. If you are unfamiliar with his songs, start with พ่อ “Paw” and ทวงคืน “Demand it Back.”
2) Pai Daodin (real name Jatupat Boonpatararaksa) stars in two of the best recent music videos posted at the site: คนที่คุณก็รู้ว่าใคร “You Know Who” by Commoner, and กล้ามาก เก่งมาก ขอบใจ “So Daring! So Talented! Thank You” by Paeng Surachet. [Edit: See also ไม่มีคนบนฟ้า There Is No One in the Sky]
3) Ammy The Bottom Blues (the name of his band is “The Bottom Blues,” first name “Ammy”), was arrested for lese majesty for setting fire to a giant picture of King Vajiralonkorn hanging in front of the jail where they are holding the lese majesty prisoners! He also boldly wears a t-shirt that says, “No God, No King, Only Humans.” Check out two songs he performed at MobFest: “1 2 3 4 5 I LOVE YOU” and a cover of Carabao’s “Made in Thailand.” [Edit: See also หลังคา Roof]
4) There is a Suphan Rap by leader of the student movement Penguin, (real name Parit Chiwarak) that is MUST SEE. (This is a prexisting Thai-style of rap, similar to, but not derived from, Western rap). Penquin has been arrested for lese majesty and, is in jail on a hunger strike.. [EDIT: Translations of two stunning poems by Penguin are now archived at Music of Thai Freedom (HERE and HERE) as they evoke the poems of Jit Phumisak, whose songs are among the best at this site.]
5) While going through the Port Faiyen songs yesterday, I was surprised to discover one that Anon Nampa had contributed to! Anon Nampa is the famous human rights lawyer who gave the Harry Potter speech saying we have to finally discuss the monarchy if Thailand is to solve it’s problems. The song both Port and Attorney Anon contributed to is a love song to a comrade in the struggle titled, “แด่เธอผู้เป็นดวงใจและไฟฝัน To You, the One Who is My Heart and My Dreams.” [Edit: Port pointed out another Faiyen song on which Anon Nampa is credited. He plays the Thai flute on ชาวนาเฮี้ยน (The Farmers are Strong Enough to Do It), which hilariously spoofs the Carabao song หำเฮี้ยน Ham Hian (Ham is Strong Enough to Do It).]
5.5) In addition we have student leader Rung (her real name Panasaya Sithijirawattanakul), Pai, and Penguin, starring in a new music video for Paeng Surachet’s hit song กล้ามาก เก่งมาก ขอบใจ “So Daring! So Talented! Thank You.” But they are not in jail for this particular video because it was released AFTER they were arrested for lese majesty. Pai and Penguin were already musicians with songs at Music of Thai Freedom prior to performing in the new video. But with the new release, Rung is added to the sad list of performers contributing to music videos at this site. [EDIT: Also see an awesome song ABOUT รุ้ง Rung.]
That the people on this list are on the right side of history is obvious, and internationally recognized. For instance:
A) ALL of Faiyen band other than Port have received asylum in France (Port would have been admitted too but was too sick to go) in recognition that they were being hunted for assassination for their free speech. The band members now make regular media appearances in France telling their horrific story to all who will listen.
B) Pai Daodin (Jatupat Boonpatararaksa) accepted a prize from Thailand’s National Human Right Commission on behalf of his Dao Din group ( in relation to their environmental activism), and won the 2017 Gwanju Prize for Human Rights from the South Korean May 18 Memorial Foundation.
C) Anon Nampa is on the Time 100 Next 2021 list of emerging leaders shaping the future.
D) Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul (aka Rung), was named one of world’s most inspirational and influential women of 2020 by BBC.
As the situation in Thailand deteriorates, in what is hopefully the last death throes of Thailand’s evil and unsustainable lese majesty law, you may continue to see Thai;ands best and brightest thrown in jail. Please watch and protest.