“Not enough monks” in Thailand anthem video

Buddhism, News, Religion May 22, 2019

“Not enough monks” in Thailand anthem video

The government will re-edit a music video accompanying the Thai national anthem after a Buddhist group criticised it for not featuring enough Buddhist imagery.

BANGKOK — The government on Tuesday said the national anthem’s official music video will be edited to comply with complaints from a Buddhist group.

The anthem MV, which is broadcast twice a day on all TV channels, will be revised to include scenes that depict Buddhist monks collecting their morning alms, Prime Minister’s Office secretary Patcharaporn Inseeyong told reporters.

She said the amendment should not be seen as divisive.

“The video is now being edited,” Patcharaporn said. “I don’t want people to see it as religious division, because the people of Thailand coexist in a multicultural society under the guardianship of His Majesty the King.”

The move came after a Buddhist advocate group protested the latest version of the national anthem’s MV last week, saying it lacks representation of the country’s most predominant faith

The new spot, which started airing in May, features a scene in which representatives from different religions — except Buddhism — sing the anthem together in a departure from previous versions of the MV. In the complaint filed by the Buddhist activists to the government, they said the glaring omission amounts to “indirect sabotage” against their religion.

“We do not despise other religions. Other religions can be included, but the depiction should include the national identity,” the Association for the Defense of Buddhism said in its statement.

Some Buddhists on social media also accused the government of shooting the controversial scene in front of a mosque — a claim denied by the Prime Minister’s Office today. Patcharaporn insisted the dome-shaped structure in the video is a building inside Government House.

Patcharaporn also said the edited MV will include scenes of Buddhist monks collecting alms on Visakha Bucha Day and a shot of a Buddha statue.

“We expect it will be broadcast this week,” she said.

Buddhists make up about 95 percent of Thailand’s population. Although Thailand has no designated national religion, the constitution and several laws require the state to uphold and promote Buddhism.

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