Suharit Siamwalla, CEO of DHA Siamwalla, Thailand’s longest running stationery producer, perhaps best-known for his other roles as outspoken aspiring politician, influencer, and “Electronic Wizard” (DJ), is a man of many talents. Not to mention wide-reaching popularity with Thai youth. The self-proclaimed “world’s oldest teenager” talks about his life and the city he loves with Bangkok 101.
Singer, musician, DJ, politician, CEO. Do you have one role you enjoy most?
I enjoy every single thing I do. Each of my roles is interesting in its own right. There are still many things I’ve never tried, though. For instance, I would like to be Prime Minister of Thailand if I have the chance.
How do you balance life and work? How do you encourage yourself to stay positive and productive when times are tough?
Actually, I’m not trying to balance anything. I just go with the flow. I feel like the more we try to manage, the more we tend not to do things well. I put 100 per cent of my effort into everything I do. Some days, I’ll spend most of the time working, but then I’ll dedicate another day to my music. It’s very flexible.
The number of your followers keeps increasing. What do they like most about you? And how does it feel to be admired by a large number of the younger generations?
I feel like my personality is the key. I try to be very straightforward and honest about what I think. I stick to that gun. I express exactly what’s on my mind with genuine words that the young connect with and, at the same time, I challenge their thoughts. In other words, I speak their language.
Why did you decide to run for Bangkok governor? Do you have any plans to run for office again?
In Bangkok, many people complain about what they want. I think it’s time to stop complaining. Come out and do what you believe is good for the city where your family is going to grow up. That’s why I decided to run for office. Whether I would return for another election depends on how people view candidates who are not attached to political parties. I would be more than happy to give it another try if they believe that independent candidates can be as strong as those from well-known parties.
How has your family influenced your worldview?
My family is the backbone of everything. I have no worries when I go to work, and I feel relaxed at home after work. When you are happy with your family, you can start getting creative with things.
Are environmental issues the most urgent we face today?
In certain areas in Bangkok, I think environmental issues are critical. How we manage garbage is a prime concern right now. We need to carefully decide what to do about it before matters get worse.
What do you like most about living in Bangkok?
Bangkok has certain charms that liven up the city. It’s a kind of beautiful mess. If I were governor, I would never try to put everything in order, [but rather] improve for later stages.
How do you see the city progressing in 2016? What trends or changes will shape the future?
I don’t expect the city to be like a Utopia in a short period of time, but, honestly, I do believe that Bangkok can do better than this. What we really need is a right leader to jump-start improvement.
In 2016, I think it reaches the point where people need [to see] a lot of change in the way they are empowered to manage things. I don’t see a major, life-changing trend in 2016, but I guess people do really need an improvement in their quality of life, especially in terms of mass transportation. That is the ultimate issue that all Bangkok residents need to solve.