“I just want you to understand. The things I have done, it’s because my heart told me to. Baby, don’t be mad. Forgive me, darling. I won’t bother you ever again.” – Sek Loso, from his song “Jai Sang Ma”.
One of Sek Loso’s most popular songs, “Jai Sang Ma” (“My Heart Told Me To”), is about a man driven by intense romantic feelings. Whatever drove him to lash out at Thaksin Shinawatra in a marathon Facebook Live outburst a few days ago, maybe the brilliant singer and songwriter is the only one who knows. Not that strategists in the red-shirt camp care, though, because their focus now must be on damage control, not finding out the motive.
The Facebook Live rantcast drew a massive audience, and clips from it were shared virally with those who missed the big show.
Had it not been for the Wild Boars, the clips must have easily been this year’s most-circulated videos to date. It’s the power of the social media hands down.
Sek Loso, whose real name is Seksan Sukpimai, didn’t even have to call a press conference in order to make his stunning political U-turn known to everyone in Thailand, including teenagers.
He has had serious problems. Thaksin’s son Panthongtae, another key target in the Facebook Live onslaught, asked Sek through the mainstream media whether he was all right and whether he needed any help. Sek’s ex- and current wives have reportedly taken him to hospital.
But that’s the red-shirt strategists’ big problem. He’s a guy with nothing to lose (or is unaware he has anything to lose), which makes him very difficult to deal with.
Sek’s life has been in tremendous turmoil. One of the most popular singers in Thailand a few years back, he has seen his romantic relationship and artistic career in tatters. His emotions have been on a highly public roller coaster and, a few times, he was declared on the verge of losing it. People seem to stop taking him seriously, but that has been somewhat belied by the enormous attention his anti-Thaksin broadside drew.
To start with, he was a Thaksin cheerleader. Having a famous – albeit possibly unstable mentally – artist on your side is fine, but you have to hope he wouldn’t turn against you one day. No matter what Sek’s mental state and regardless of motives, people will still scrutinise whatever he says, especially regarding a popular subject. And what Sek said about Thaksin on Facebook Live was not nice.
He called the man in Dubai a betrayer, a liar and a manipulator. He duped and used everyone, Sek claimed. If you hate Thaksin, the rant was hilarious. If you love Thaksin, the language was horribly impolite and you’d be asking the same questions Panthongtae did, if not scolding him outright.
Sek also attacked the big boss of Grammy, the show-business giant he’s worked for.
His problems with Grammy were such that he once publicly invited all illegal users of his songs to fully optimise them and promised there’d be no copyright hassles.
Despite Sek’s penchant for controversy, he has a huge fan base. His songs on YouTube have been watched a combined hundreds of millions of times. In the comments section, there have been fresh visitors lately, many saying the Facebook Live episode brought them there. “I have watched you talk for three days, so now I want to listen to you sing and play guitar,” said one. From a loyal fan: “You’ve gone crazy, obviously, but I still adore you.”
Sek is beyond fear of being discredited or targeted for character assassination, and that makes him dangerous. The Thaksin camp is not used to dealing with a fearless loose cannon, so he’s something new. Their strategists can claim he has to be taken with a grain of salt, but then again, he had previously been outspoken about his admiration for Thaksin.
One mass-circulation Thai newspaper wondered if Sek had been co-opted by the military, like some Pheu Thai politicians have ahead of the election.
It’s the same as asking about his mental stability, though, and could come back to haunt the Thaksin camp. Also, if Pheu Thai made such accusations aloud, it could trigger another round of Facebook Live blasts.
Some strategists must be thinking Sek is better left alone to hopefully cool down and perhaps be examined by doctors. That’s probably a good idea. After all, the election is still many months away.
Writer’s note: The majority of readers must have seen the Facebook Live barrage. For those who haven’t, here’s a polite but accurate version of it, in Sek’s own words:
“Don’t lie to me. Don’t do that. What you’ve done is too much … I have let you do it because I didn’t want to lose you … That’s why I bore everything, despite the fact that I was a man who couldn’t stand to bear anything.” – Sek Loso, from his song “Arai Kor Yom” (roughly translated as “Come What May”.