Does this tweet mean we’ve hit peak Thanathorn, Thailand?

Photo: Adisorn Podhiharn / Facebook
Photo: Adisorn Podhiharn / Facebook

No further sign is needed that ham-fisted attempts to take down Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn  Juanroonruangkit have only made him more popular than the fact a photo of him eating noodles is one of the hottest things online today.

A simple photo of 40-year-old Thanathorn doing a completely human activity – eating noodles at an event yesterday, in this case – has assploded online today and been reshared more than 45,000 times since it was posted by @Channel_cuteboy party member Adisorn Podhiharn.

Blocked from parliament, defiant Thanathorn says Thai junta is ‘desperate’

“Does anyone know about the billionaire, also my boss, who goes around signing autographs, meeting the people till late. He, who didn’t even get to eat lunch, eventually cleaned up the leftovers — is Thanathorn. Would you believe it? That’s the quality of a true leader … How can we all not admire this man? This isn’t a PR stunt. It’s just a candid shot,” Adisorn wrote.

Adisorn ran to represent parts of Din Daeng and Huai Khwang in Bangkok’s fifth district but lost by a narrow margin to the Palang Pracharath candidate.

His daughter reached out to Coconuts Bangkok on Tuesday to explain the provenance of the image:

“Towards the end of the event my father spotted Thanathorn walking around the venue around empty tables looking for left over food. Anyway, when he sat down at table, some staffs at the party brought him a big plate of Fried rice. That was when my father spotted him and took the photo,” Eva Podhiharn said, noting that her father’s paltry Facebook following of 300 ballooned overnight after he woke up to find the post had been viewed over 1 million times.

Thanathorn was suspended from parliament on the eve of its opening on somewhat spurious grounds. His party plaed third in the March 24 election, garnering enough votes to send 80 members to sit in the assembly.

The most vocally anti-junta politician, Thanathorn and his party have seen the complaints and charges mount up against them, which only serves to validate their popularity online, where younger and tech-savvier Thais widely support them.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified the source of the image as Twitter user @Channel_cuteboy. It was in fact Future Forward Party member Adisorn Podhiharn who posted it to Facebook.

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