On November 15th, 2023, Ms. Paetongtarn Shinawatra, the leader of the Pheu Thai Party, gave a speech on “Soft Power, The Great Challenger” in the seminar “Thailand 2024 Beyond Red Ocean” held by Prachachat, the newspaper publisher.
As the word “Soft Power” has been circulated in Thailand lately, the Thai government describes it as an influence that embraces new cultures through the flow of society. For example, people want to buy an iPhone from Apple even with an increasing price each year, but with its popularity by peers, people acknowledge its value and have loyalty to the brand.
Paetongtarn publicly stated that a big challenge for the Thai government is how to reduce the cost of Soft Power that will create opportunity and economic growth for locals.
There are three factors to initiate Soft Power.
- Culture Costs: a product’s background story,
- Political Values: policies that support Soft Power, and
- Foreign Policies: policies that publicize Thai culture abroad.
In fact, Thailand had previous similar concepts such as One Tambon, One Product (OTOP), Thai Kitchen to the World Kitchen, etc.
Paetongtarn further added the Thai government will establish the Thailand Creative Content Agency (THACCA), with cooperation from both public and private sectors. The TCCA will propose talent and expert individuals in Soft Power creation, such as in the Thai book industry where popular pieces of literature and books would be translated into multinational languages.
Additionally, Paetongtarn proposed a concept of One Family One Soft Power (OFOS) to develop personal skills through a village fund mechanism which would generate income of up to 16,000 baht monthly in the household compared to the present 11,200 baht monthly.
“The OFOS has pilot projects on Thai cuisine restaurants and Muay Thai in which the Thai government aims to train more than 70,000 individuals by professionals in each local project,” added Paetongtarn.
“Public and private sectors have initiated Soft Power and foreign countries embrace the opportunity. The Thai government vows to bring back the Soft Power strategy and elevate the quality of living for Thai locals on the world stage,” concluded Paetongtarn.