11 July 2024

Another Thai-born artist, Sitala Wongkrachang, is set to debut in a Korean girl group in January, but her family’s history of involvement in political activism in Thailand is coming back to haunt her.

#SITALA was trending on Thai Twitter after South Korean record label GLG released photos on Tuesday of its artists, including Sitala.

Over 3.5 million tweets called out Sitala, a member of new group “H1-KEY”, identifying her as a daughter of pro-establishment and pro-military parents, both of whom are celebrities.

Sitala is one of the twin daughters of TV star Sarunyu Wongkrachang, who passed away last year, but who took part in political activism in the last two decades, which led to not one but two coups, toppling Thailand’s elected governments at the time. Her mother,  Hattaya “Ple” Wongkrachang, is a DJ who also took part in political activism.

One of her family’s old photos, showing her parents, her twin sister and herself mourning the passing of King Rama IX, also went viral Tuesday, at a time when Thai society is deeply divided between royalists and reformists.

Most Tweets highlighted the fact that Sitala has the privilege of being able to go abroad and follow her dreams, while most youths in Thailand of the same age are stuck in a ruined country with a legacy of coups and dictators, which were at least partially supported by her family.

Student activists in their 20s, just like Sitala, such as Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak and Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul fought for their dreams, but are now in prison for wanting a more inclusive rule, comments on Twitter read.

As tens of thousands of netizens are cancelling Sitala before her official debut, a number of users said the artist should not be blamed for the sins of her parents.

Some Korean news outlets have already reported the development. The GLG group is yet to comment.