We chat with Varawut “Top” Silpa-archa. 

The son of former prime minister Banharn (in power from ‘95-’96), Varawut “Top” Silpa-archa, is back. The 45-year-old father of three was banned from politics from 2008-2013 when the constitutional court disbanded the Chart Thai Party. As the junta eases its crackdown on political activities imposed since 2014, we chat to Top, who until now has been working as an investment banker and acting as chairman for Suphanburi Football Club.

 
I went to school in England when I was 12.
 
I’ve been into politics since I was a kid because of my father.
 
He taught me that nothing is impossible. There is always a solution.
 
I always knew it was temporary when I was working in banking. I always knew deep down that I would come back to politics. 
 
The Thai education system is “to push.” It is a one-way communication system that force -feeds students. 
 
Teachers don’t always have to be right, but in Thailand, teachers always have to be right.

I don’t send my kids to Thai schools because I want them to think outside the box. 

Old people run our country...we need to include the younger generation as well.

I enjoyed freebies as a child. Everyone gave me and my dad freebies because they wanted to satisfy him, but I learned that there is no such thing as a free lunch. 

Bangkok is a fun, lively city that represents chaos and a lack of discipline, but that’s what I love about it.

In Thailand I don’t feel free to be who I am. That’s why I vacation overseas. I want to be able to wear shorts and eat ice cream while walking on the street.

I don’t think I’m a scary person though my kids say otherwise.

The last restaurant I visited was Le Normandie.

When I’m off work, I swim, run or cycle. Whatever you do, always play sports. When you’re angry, just go exercise.

I’m the dad of a national athlete [figure skater]. Sport teaches you to be a good loser and a good winner.

We cannot afford to be picky about political colors. If we are going to rebuild Thailand, we need everybody in on this. Each of us is a brick and we need all of the bricks.

The word “enough” defines rich and poor. It’s not about the amount of money.

In 10 years, Thailand will be better than today. Sometimes, in order to go forward, you need to pause and go backward a little.

I always encourage my kids to express their feelings, thoughts, and to have new ideas. These are the things I want to see more of in the future in Thailand.

We can’t blame the military for misjudging things because they are not professional politicians. 

Democratic societies allow people to freely express their thoughts and beliefs.

Young politicians should have hope. Hope is everything we need in order to move forward.

Some of the articles in the constitution make running this country almost impossible. It’s like when you have one foot on the accelerator and the other on the brake. The motor heats up and you’re going nowhere.

Thais want to see democracy again. But most of all, really, Thai people want the economy to go up. 

Food is my one and only guilty pleasure.