Parit “Itim” Wacharasindhu shares his frustrations with Thai politics and his visions for the future.
Parit “Itim” Wacharasindhu, 25, perhaps better known as “Abhisit’s nephew,” has been in the spotlight recently after returning from studying at Eton and Oxford universities and getting involved in the Democrat Party. Already Itim’s been credited with trying to push the party down a more liberal, progressive path. Here, he shares his frustrations with Thai politics and his visions for the future.
When I was a little kid, I wanted to be a pilot. Then I realized I had very bad motion sickness so I had to give up on that.
Natural talent can only take you so far. I’m a football fanatic. I also wanted to be a footballer, but it wasn’t to be.
I interned at the Democrat Party when I was 16. Back then it was the only party in Thailand that had an internship program. I’ve always been into politics.
Eton taught me to be independent. It’s a full boarding school so you have to manage all your time yourself with nobody to tell you to study for your exam or do your homework.
I was the first Thai to be elected president of the Oxford Union student society. I was elected four times in total for different positions, climbing up the ladder. It was due to my actions, not who I am.
People often see politicians as a different species, like they have to behave a certain way. Obama changed that. He was doing fist-bumps with people in the White House, living his life as usual.
The level of inequality in Bangkok is my biggest frustration. And of course, traffic, too.
Thailand will not move forward in politics unless we stop talking about Thaksin. Whenever Thailand can move past that, then we will be able to move forward.
People think democracy is valuable because it always leads to the best outcome. That’s a dangerous way to think. Just because the most people voted for something, doesn’t mean it’s the best answer for everyone.
Democracy is like a chair with four legs. Each leg represents a different thing that’s equally important and a chair cannot stand without all its legs.
You shouldn’t portray the new generation as being in conflict with the old generation. At the end of the day, all generations need to work together for the good of the country.
As a politician, your actions impact a lot of people. You have to be absolutely sure about your decisions.
Never stop learning. Just because you’re young, it doesn’t mean you’re not serious about your job. Regardless of age, any job requires you to continuously learn in order to keep up with the world.
People like to assume that I got involved in politics because of Abhisit but I have two uncles in politics, one in the Democrat Party and another in Thai Rak Thai Party.
My looks come from my dad, who is not related to Abhisit. Abhisit is my mother’s younger brother.
The government wants young Thai people to do something for the country. But why is being a military draftee the only choice? Why not community work? There are plenty more ways a young Thai person could contribute to the country.
The one thing everyone in Thailand wants is food on their plates. I almost said democracy because I believe democracy is the best form of government. But if I ask the people from the provinces—people who might be struggling with their lives—I don’t think they care what the constitution says, as long as they have food on their plates.
Thailand needs more diversity and less inequality. People should be able to choose how they want to live their lives without the same old kha ni yom [old values].
I’m co-producer for a documentary series called Hen Kub Taa [In Their Shoes], where I spend a day with professionals from different fields in Thailand, like a garbage collector, someone from a poh teck tung foundation [a foundation that collects dead corps] or a former inmate turned masseuse. The first episode will air on May 4 on PPTV channel.
I’m a follower, not a leader, when it comes to where to hang out with my friends. I care more about who I spend time with.
Sushi buffets are my weakness. I don’t eat anything all day just so I can get the most out of it.
Correction: An earlier version of this story translated ต่างจังหวัด as "people from Thailand’s rural areas." It has since been changed to "people from the provinces."