Transborder News

“Pita” fever among people of Burma   

By Morkteava

“Each dusk and dawn, I wake up just to watch at least one video clip about Pita. I watch him when making a speech and participating in a debate. He can answer any question sharply, however hard such question is. This makes Pita looks ten times smarter. His apparent support for the people of Burma even makes me an avid fan of him” said a girl who fled from war in Karenni state as she blushed.

The buzz about Pita among the people of Burma has gained much more traction since he said in an interview on 15 May 2023, one day after the election, about his policies or his stand toward Burma. He was then asked by a foreign journalist, and Pita Limjaroenrat said that Thailand will resume the process related to the ASEAN’s Five-Point Consensus). Without support from Thailand, the achievement of the consensus is very challenging. 

Pita has even said that under his administration, Thailand will resume support to ensure the humanitarian corridor to address the suffering of the people who have been affected by political crises in Burma. He also mentioned that Thailand will help to implement the Burma Act, a law passed by the US Congress last year. 

Pita’s interview was translated into Burmese and shared virally among the people of Burma. Most of them feel jubilated with his gesture. 

“I am envious of Thai people for having Pita. I have been following him in the past two years and has been searching for his personal bio and background of his party. Many of the Move Forward’s policies really struck me. I really hope I can read Thai so that I would not have to work so hard to translate his word. I follow nearly everything about him and his party. I know everything about him since I have been following the Move Forward’s Facebook Page” said Myao. 

Myao, 27, an ethnic Danu in Shan State, worked for civil society sector in Burma. The military coup has forced him to move to land a job in Thailand. 

“I am sure the Burmese Generals would feel very nervous and could not sleep well, if Pita really ascends to the Thai premiership” said Myao with a mischievous grin while his eyes were still glued to a video clip on his cellphone. Getting a closer look, it dawned on us that the young ethnic guy was watching a livestream of the press conference on the MOU signed by the Move Forward Party and other coalition parties on 22 May 2023, even though he could barely understand a word in Thai. 

Reporters from the Irrawaddy used to share their thought in “The Irrawaddy Editorial Talk” that the election in Thailand has garnered much interest among the Burmese people inside and outside the country. This could be attributed significantly to that the current Thai government has been enjoying a cozy relationship with the Burmese Army. Another reason is millions of migrant workers from Burma who work in Thailand are waiting and seeing how they will be affected by the aftermath of the election in Thailand. What would be Thailand’s policies toward the political crises in Burma?  

At certain point, the editors of Burmese news outlet even said that politics in both countries shall many similarities as far as the military coups which happened at different times are concerned, and leaders of both countries have mimicked their political tactics from each other. Therefore, it is worth a watch as to how Thai politics will further unfold. 

August, a young LGBT from Burma, who was an observer of the past election in Thailand, said that his heart pounded every time the Move Forward received a vote. He supports a party of young people which appears to stand with the people who demand democracy in Burma. He was so excited with the election in Thailand this time and was happy with the Thai people. Getting to observe the election in Thailand helps to rekindle his power and hope that one day such election can take place in his home country. 

Meanwhile, Monual, 30, an ethnic Shan who has fled from wars to live in Thailand for decades and is still a stateless person said that it is good that Pita spoke about Burma. It shows he has done his homework well and the Move Forward’s policies will benefit people of all groups. Thailand is home to multiracial community including workers from neighboring countries. The stateless woman believes that Pita will make a good Prime Minister given his potential. She wants him to have a chance to be at the helm of the administration, particularly to help revamp Thailand’s bureaucratic system. 

This was not the first time Pita voiced his opinion on Burma. Last year, he called on the Thai government to not send the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB)’s reporters to the Burmese Army or Tatmadaw since by deporting the prodemocracy reporters to the Burmese junta, it would make them risk losing their lives. Pita also used to issue a public statement to convey his condolence and to condemn the Burmese Court for the execution of prodemocracy activists in Burma. While his defiant stand toward the despotic regime impresses the dissenters, Pita and the Move Forward are apparently becoming a stumbling block for the Burmese Army should he really be appointed as the 30th PM of Thailand. 

Of late, Irrawaddy reported on 22 May that Vice Senior General Soe Win, second in command of the Burmese Army from Senior General Min Aung Hlaing has instructed commanders across all regions to watch the border and get information about the Move Forward’s movements and activities.” In his written instruction, Vice Senior General Soe Win stated that “The Move Forward Party is pro-West and they will assist terrorists,” the name the Burmese Army calls the armed resistance groups (the prodemocracy ethnic armed organizations).

The election win of Pita and Move Forward does not just make Thai people happy and hopeful for the overhaul of the old regime, but also gives the people in neighboring countries particularly Burma good feeling and hope as well. 

They hope that one day the situation in Thailand will also happen in Burma even though this could still be a far-fetched hope for now. But at least, the euphoria in Thailand has sparked the flame of hope among millions of people in its neighboring country. 


This is a translation of original Thai article https://transbordernews.in.th/home/?p=33884

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