เปิดใจ “แอ๊ด คาราบาว” กับความรู้สึกที่มีต่อ “ป๋าเปรม”
Add Carabao opens his heart about his feelings for “Ba Prem” [Thai statesman Prem Tinsulanonda who died May 26, 2019, at the age of 98]
Inteview published on Jun 2, 2019
Note: People often express anger and amazement over the changes in Add Carabao’s life and political views. How did a former communist and freedom fighter, singing about poor people and democracy, end up a gazillionare at the head of a business empire based on an energy drink, who gives up on democracy and supports coups? they wonder. I have several theories and also note that the change has not been as drastic as advertised.* This interview about Prem Tinsulanonda, who had just died at the age of 98, is very enlightening on the question of whether and how Add has changed. Learn more about Thai statesman Prem at Wikipeida. “Prem” is pronounced exactly like the English world “blame,” not at all as looks spelled in English. Also please check out the Nga Caravan song Add mentions in this interview. It is remarkable!
TRANSLATION OF ADD’S COMMENTS: “I think there is one person in the military that loves and is very loyal to the institution [of the monarchy?], and probably no one more so, than Ba [Prem]. He is a statesman and a person we must respect closely. The Carabao songs arose in the era of the separatist movement in the jungle. It was the area of Ba’s policy 66/23 [leading to amnesty for former Thai communists].** If not for this policy, me and my group would probably have had difficult lives. Because I don’t know what we would have done. Because in that period, the situation, I must say frankly, [for] the side of the citizens that lost, Ba came out with Order 66/23. And so we were all able to return home. P’ Nga [Caravan] composed the song “Returning to the Nest.” That one says it all [is so clear]. Because the good deed he was able to do for us (because of his prestige) meant we could return and finish our studies. He was a teacher we grew up with. Carabao was established in that period. At that time the band Carabao was just like watching everything. Because it was Communists returning to the country and being born. When we would come out with some song, it was just following society at the time. When we began in 1981, we came out with the album Lung Kee Mao (The Drunken Uncle). Then in the 1984, Made In Thailand was the album that meets up with Ba one more time. It turns out that Ba ordered a music video be made for it. At that time Ba was the Prime Minister. There were many songs in that first period, [for instance] “The Persevering Soldier,” which came out, which they tried to ban. It turns out an order came out not to ban them! And I’m guessing that order probably came from Ba. Why? Well do the soldiers at the lower levels have value or not? But this was taking a stab at higher-ups in the military. It was fun to listen to. But actually it sent moral support to the soldiers at the lower levels. I think in that period, there was always an unseen hand getting involved, making it so Carabao could keep moving forward. And so I bow down to him, bestow money to him, and I made Prem happy. And I even gifted him with a guitar. And he had a concert in Korat, and I went to help him. I sat and talked with him. And he said, “Son, how was that Order 66/23 that I did?” He asked me that. I said, “If in that day, you didn’t do it, me and my group would’ve had a hard life.” Today, I can come back and study and live just like any other person, and it’s because of this policy. It’s that he was that he looking far into the future. . .”
* Add Carabao was supporting coups and dictators at least since albums Made in Thailand and Amerigoy. And one reason is, it’s the only game in town! Conversely, I can clearly see he still cares about humanitarian issues (he has stayed consistent on policy towards refugees) and is sentimental looking back on his communist days, while other reasonable fears (about his personal wealth, position, and family, and the possibility of a Thai civil war) drive him to conservatism.
**Note that Order 66/23 was issued on April 23, 1980. Former members of the Communist Party of Thailand (CPT) surrendered under Prime Ministerial Order No 66/23 in 1980.