To the editor:
Again with the “soft power” references, regarding T-pop sensation Milli’s appearance last weekend at California’s taste-making Coachellla music festival (“Milli’s sticky rice and mango stunt grabs world’s attention,” Bangkok Post, April 18). Please, in the name of responsible journalism, stop. The tenuous concept of “soft power” (primarily advanced and promoted by a single academic, Joseph Nye) relates to a country’s overall positive and progressive attributes to which other nation states might aspire. Talented though they might be, Milli and Blackpink’s Lalisa highly-programmed and predictable rise to entertainment world notoriety fall far short of the standards of “real” soft power indicators, including global media image, immigration and tourism, and integrity in rule of law. Sadly, at this moment, Thailand’s performance in all three areas may generously be considered a “work in progress.” To her credit, according to the music publication NME, Milli did get in a jibe at the Thai government as she rapped the lyrics: “The country is good, people is good, our food is good, but the government is bood (rotten).” Rather than continually try to export its hollow version of “soft power,” Thailand’s regressive policy makers might find more success reflecting the “soft power” influence of countries that blaze a forward path in education, health care, human equality, and other key areas.