Narutchai Bunnag, a parliamentary candidate for Bangkok under the Thai Sang Thai (TST) Party, has a mission to showcase Thailand’s soft power by promoting its tattoo art culture. As the 32-year-old grandson of a late former House speaker and deputy Democrat Leader, Marut Bunnag, he is determined to challenge the negative stereotypes surrounding tattoos, which are often linked with criminal behavior.
Showing off his own sleeve tattoos in his party’s promotional materials, Narutchai is passionate about body art. “Before I entered politics, I did not mind what people said about [tattoos] because it did not affect my work, but when I want to be a people’s representative, I listen to people’s concerns,” he explained.
Narutchai believes that tattoos, especially Thai ones, can be promoted as an attractive art form rather than being judged only by their association with crime. “Many tattooed people work hard for their families and never cause trouble in society,” he said.
If elected, Narutchai plans to support tattoo businesses in a variety of styles, including traditional, tribal, and modern, and work towards changing the perception of tattooed individuals. With Thai tattoos being popular among foreigners, he sees an opportunity for Thailand to generate billions of baht in soft power revenue from the thriving tattoo art industry.
Although his grandfather was a member of the Democrat Party, Narutchai is running under the TST banner, led by Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan. He attributes his passion for politics to his grandfather’s influence, stating, “My grandfather inspired me to do what I wanted to do. I should be a part of the mechanism that drives development in the country. That made me interested in being a representative of the people and being in politics.”
A law graduate of Assumption University, Narutchai continued his studies at the University of Southern California and Cornell University to obtain his Master of Laws degree. After working as a lawyer, he joined TST and began supporting Khunying Sudarat’s political efforts. He is currently running as an MP candidate for Bangkok constituencies in Yannawa and Bang Kho Laem, where he works tirelessly to reach out to the local communities.
As the TST party gains popular support, thanks to their commitment to improving citizens’ living conditions and the leadership of Khunying Sudarat, who has over three decades of experience in politics, Narutchai is optimistic about his chances of winning. “I myself also work hard. I meet people every day, almost non-stop, to get others to know me better,” he shared. “If I am not too sick, I will not stop.”