BANGKOK (AP) — The short propaganda film commissioned by Thailand's military rulers was supposed to promote the "12 core values" every Thai student must now learn. But there was one scene the junta has had trouble explaining: a grinning schoolboy painting an image of Adolf Hitler while his smiling classmate applauds.
The video, which has been screened before movies in major theaters since Saturday, has been met with ridicule on social media and condemned by the Israeli Embassy in Bangkok.
On Wednesday, a senior official in the prime minister's office, Panadda Diskul, called the uproar a "misunderstanding," but said the Nazi imagery in the cartoon scene would soon be replaced.
The 11-minute film tells the story of two young kids learning about life and loyalty, and Panadda told The Associated Press that the boy shown merrily painting an image of Hitler saluting beside a swastika was trying to compare his mother to a dictator, in essence a rebellious jest.
In the video, however, there is no such explanation. It is part of a sequence without dialogue that depicts an otherwise normal day at school — the boys catching butterflies at a playground, doing experiments in a chemistry class and exercising on a karate mat. It lasts just a few seconds and runs with a cheery tune playing in the background.
"The film is good, but it has caused a slight misunderstanding in our society," Panadda said. "We won't stop the project, but we will replace that problematic picture with another, more proper one."