Founder of leading architecture firm A49, whose massive projects now span the region and the Middle East, Nithi Sthapitanonda, 64, tells us why he choose to start his own business and how Bangkok can hope to fix its many urbanism issues.

Being an architect wasn’t a very popular career choice 40 years ago. All I knew was that architects designed houses.

I really liked to draw things when I was a kid. That’s why my teacher suggested I study architecture in college.

I got into both Chulalongkorn and Silpakorn universities but I chose Chula because I knew some seniors there and I liked playing rugby. I played for Chula’s rugby team for three years. Nowadays people don’t watch it anymore, but rugby was popular back then.

I left the managing director position at an architecture firm because I wanted to open my own company. I didn’t just want to be an employee. If you want to do something your way, you’ve got to do it on your own.

I wasn’t worried about starting my own business because I was a top manager before and I’d made it through hard times. I knew I could start off small and make it grow later. I made it through a few recessions. I know how to handle a bad economy.

I had to be really careful with customers. You can’t just accept every job someone offers you. If your customers are corrupt, your business won’t survive either.

A career like mine doesn’t really have an elevated position. I just want to give it my best. When people accept my work, that’s success. Society is the judge.

Bringing the firm into the international market is a necessity. Now foreigners are starting businesses in Thailand. If we don’t compete with them, we’ll be left behind.

I began publishing books to represent Thai architecture when I saw architecture books representing Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia. There were no books on Thai architecture. That was embarrassing. I wanted to show that Thais can design for the world, too.

We don’t have much stunning architecture because we are not a wealthy country. Thais build houses and buildings to live in. We don’t really care about luxury. We don’t invest much money in architecture like Singapore. We still have so many people living in slums.

We’re going to have more people living in slums if the government doesn’t create a plan to help them. They must show people that you don’t have to move to the city to live a good life.

It takes time to improve the lives of people in slums. Maybe we should start with education. When people are educated they might change to improve their own lives.

Bangkok is an extraordinary city. It’s where the high-end and low-end meet. The rich and the poor live together: wealthy people dine in fancy restaurants, poorer folks eat at cheaper places, but the taste of their food is not really that different. You don’t find this in other parts of the world.

Architecture can improve society if you get rid of corruption. But Thailand has suffered so much corruption from every government.

There is so much poverty and filth and so many traffic jams. Bangkok to me is not that beautiful a city, compared to where I’ve been in Europe or the US.

But Bangkok has character. My foreign friends have said that every corner of the city is different, and that makes it interesting. That’s what’s charming about Bangkok. And the cost of living is very cheap, too.

We must not forget that our country has 76 more cities aside from Bangkok. Lately we’ve seen a few more cities became self-sufficient, such as Chiang Mai, Khorat, Udonthani, Khon Kaen. People who’ve grown up and gone to college there don’t necessarily want to move to Bangkok, so they find work there instead. They’d rather stay where they are because they know that those places can still expand and improve.

I would take care of the illegal signs and establish laws for controlling street vendors, if I were Bangkok’s governor. If you drive along the streets nowadays you’ll see rows and rows of advertising canvases, covering the stalls of street vendors. We have to find a way to manage them and, at the same time, make sure that those street vendors can still make a living.

I’m a simple person. I don’t need any luxury. If I had a sports car, a private jet, or a yacht, I would have to find someone to take care of them for me, and that’s nothing but a burden.

Happiness doesn’t always have to be something grand. You have to find out where your happiness is.


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Ahead of his Man Gai Mak concert this weekend (Aug 27), beloved alternative music idol Ittipong Kridakorn Na Ayutthaya aka Tar Paradox tells us about his childhood music and the dream project he hopes to achieve before he dies.

How I appear and how I really am are at odds. People thought that I was well-behaved but I wasn’t. I would get voted head of the class, but outside of class, I was a nuisance.

I really love the Indiana Jones movies. As a kid, I would pretend to be an adventurer, exploring around my house in Sattahip, Chonburi.

I liked going to nearby islands to find treasures in caves, wading through water or exploring haunted houses to test my bravery. It brought color to my life.

I also love cartoons from both Disney and Japanese manga. They really captured my imagination and increased my love of art. Later, I went to Chula to study arts.

My dad is a musician. He used to play at an [American] G.I. camp before. Once he started working as a condominium manager, he just played recreationally with family and friends.

He always played guitar at my bedside every morning to develop my love for music. But I wasn’t interested at all.

I changed my mind after I went to a high school friend’s house and saw that he was trying to play the guitar without a teacher. I was impressed by how he was trying hard to learn on his own. Me, I had someone who was ready to teach me but I hadn’t bothered. At that point, I decided to start learning.

I created a band and we sold our own CDs. Then one senior friend suggested we contact record companies.

We joined GMM the same day that I applied to Satit Chula School to be an art teacher. My mom, who was also a teacher there, wanted me to follow her. Music was just my hobby back then.

I decided to quit teaching after seven years. I decided that if I wanted to do something well, I had to devote myself to it entirely.

We love to do musical experiments on the audience. I love to see how they will react. Others may say, “Please buy our album,” but we might say, “Don’t buy it.” I always have crazy ideas.

Our next album might go beyond crazy. People love heartfelt lyrics, but we will offer them up in an abstract style. We want to use unusual language to make it like a big canvas when you listen, and make you imagine what the message is. Some might think about a whale while others might think about rain.

The songs and bands I like are all flops, but I still believe that they are good.

I have the same principle I had when I was a teacher, which is to create inspiration. When kids love something, they will find out more about it and there won’t be any need to push them.

It’s strange, I never lost my inspiration. I always encounter new things to try, like soundtracks or scores for movies. Now my friend is talking about doing an animation project.

I don’t like selfish people. They make my life stressful and difficult and just waste my time. I’ve learned a lesson on how to choose who I work with.

I love to bring out people’s talent and polish it until it shines. I will highlight what is good and bury the weaknesses. It’s fun!

My biggest dream is to be a director. Just only for short films. I think I might make it better than my music. I once filmed a friend and cut it to be a horror film like Friday The 13th. If I could make a short film, I could then die in peace.

I think everyone needs an objective. If we have an objective, we will focus on our goal and not let it go. Those who aren’t successful are mostly people with no objective, and they get distracted easily.

Thailand also needs an objective to be stronger. We are an agricultural country and we need to stress that. We have to think about how to make our country continue to be naturally beautiful.

If people are romantic, we will love art and each other, and not be robots like in some other countries.

Many Thais might think Bangkok is so chaotic but if you’ve been to other countries, you will find it’s actually quite pleasant and genial. If someone is sitting on the street crying, there will always be someone who will ask them what happened. It’s our character.

I would promote people’s spirits and minds to be more beautiful if I was Bangkok governor. If we have a good mind, everything will be better too. Interview by Monruedee Jansuttipan and Numchok Kamwan


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Currently a third-year student at the Department of Dance at Chulalongkorn University, Apinya “Ar” Rungpitakmana talks about his interest in Thai dance and playing the lead in Kon Khon (opening Aug 25).

How did you get involved with Thai dance?
When I was in elementary school, my mom enrolled me to study Thai arts, because she was interested in them and wanted me to learn about them. I didn’t do khon at first; I did Isaan dance and Thai performance in general. Then I guess our teacher saw something in me and got me performing in Taiwan, at a cultural showcase. It was surprising to receive my first round of applause. I was so proud that people were getting to see our culture. After that my teacher got me doing khon, starting with khon ling (the role of the monkey), followed by other roles later.

How did you get to be in this film?
Someone saw that I could dance khon and invited me to audition. I was glad to know there was a project to do with Thai art. I didn’t know if it was a film or a lakorn, but I was glad I’d be able to use my skills. So I went to the audition and tried many different roles. Then I was contacted and they wanted me to play the lead.

What’s the difference between dancing on stage and in a film?
Both are about performing and being another person. Both involve concentration and practice.

Is khon more popular these days?
In this film, we’re not always reminding the audience to preserve khon. Instead, we’re merging it with today’s daily life, and hopefully people will find it interesting.
How can you encourage people to take an interest in khon?
Khon is elaborate and calm and has an eloquent story in each scene. We have to find a starting point from which khon can be a part of contemporary life. I strongly believe foreign cultures would love khon if they see it. It is totally different from other kinds of performance, especially because of the finely-cut costumes. I’m sure that Thai dance will become more attractive if we commit to promoting it more and more. Monruedee Jansuttipan and Sasinipa Wasantapruek


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Police corporal Piyarat “Ploy” Poothong, 24, talks about how her life has changed since becoming a member of the “sweet troupe”, Thailand’s first all-female anti-riot squadron, which may also serve as bodyguards for Thailand’s first female prime minister.

What did you do before becoming a policewoman?
I lived in Nakhon Phanom with my parents who are both public servants. I went to Khon Kaen University and applied for work and travel programs in the United States, where I worked for a year. I just wanted to explore the world. I chose Florida because I fell in love with a picture of Miami on a postcard. I also love Winnie the Pooh, so I applied to work at Disneyworld in Orlando. It was really fun. I could go to any theme park for free.

How did you end up being a police corporal?
My mom wanted me to come back to Thailand, so she applied for this job for me, and called me to come back and take the entrance exam. I didn’t expect to get in, but I did.

Has it been a big change?
Absolutely! I’ve had to wake up at 5:30am to go running and do training drills. I had to train in the jungle, where I had to carry a five-kg machine gun and an eight-kg backpack on my shoulders. I went from being in the kitchen to making bombs and hanging from helicopters.

How do you feel now?
I love it. It’s really fun. It’s not an experience that many people get to have. I used to hate cops because I was arrested once, and the cop would only release me if I gave him my phone number. It was so terrible. I even told my friends at school that if they had a cop for a boyfriend, I wouldn’t talk to them anymore. But now I am a cop myself. I also realized that there are good cops and bad cops. I just do my best.

How does your family feel about all this?
My mom seems very satisfied by all my training and by the fact that I’ve lost 18 kg. Seriously, though, I know that they are relieved that I have a stable job which is good for my future. It doesn’t pay a lot of money but if you’re not greedy, you will have a good life.

What sorts of missions will you undertake?
It will vary according to our orders. We’re anti-riot police, so our job is mostly dealing with people. I was once pelted with pla ra [fermented fish] when I was trying to disperse a protest in Bangkok. It’s even my job to put my finger in the vagina or anus of female criminals to search for drugs. We have more and more female criminals these days, and male cops can’t do those searches as it violates the rights of the suspect.

What does your boyfriend say about your job?
He’s actually in a S.W.A.T. team so we understand each other’s duty.

How do you feel about our new female prime minister who you might have to protect?
I think she’s smart and has the stregnth to be a leader. The rights of women in society may be better now that we have a female leader.

What’s your next dream?
I want to open a coffee shop next to Mekong River in my home town. But I have to save money first.


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Star of the sexually explicit song whose video went viral—and nearly got her banned by the Ministry of Culture—Nongpanee Mahadthai, aka Ja Turbo, talks about her life as a student and how she’s nothing like her raunchy persona.

I have been singing for nine years. My parents both did likay and I dreamed of being like them since I was young. But when I grew up, I realized that I wanted to be a singer, after I was in a singing competition at school.

My mom really supports me being a singer.

I moved from Angthong to Supanburi to study at Rajamangala University of Technology Suvarnabhumi Suphanburi Campus. I am a second-year student of management.

At first, I didn’t sing in a sexy way. I started doing it after seeing another female singer do it. I really liked her style, so I asked a dancer to teach me to dance like that. My performances have been more sexy since then.

I got a call from Pai Turbo [JirapatKoohapattanakul, head of Turbo Music]. His friend suggested me for his band because Pai wanted a singer who could be fun, bold and sexy. We got along well, so I now play with him.

I am trying to balance my job and studies. I go to work after finishing class at around 3pm. No matter where I perform, I have to go back to my next class on time. I avoid going to places that are too far because I don’t want to be exhausted for class.

I know singing is a fleeting career. It’s better to have a degree for the future.

My normal life is really different from the stage. No one recognizes me on the street. I recently visited Samchuk Market and no one recognized me, even though they were playing my music.

All my friends and professors at university know who I am. Some like what I do and some don’t. People who know me in real life have posted comments on YouTube saying how different I am from my videos. When I’m in class, I dress neat—no make-up or hairdo.

Many people don’t understand that it’s my work to be sexy on stage. They criticize me with harsh words, saying, “She’s a prostitute,” and even abusing my parents. I feel so bad that my parents are attacked by these people. They judge me even though they don’t even know me. Now I’m trying not to read all the bad comments on YouTube.

I want those who have written nasty comments to meet me face to face and see how I really am. I’ve never written anything bad about anyone. If you don’t like my videos, don’t watch them. No one is forcing you to watch them or post comments. Some people really have too much time on their hands.

I stopped using my parents’ money after I could make my own. All my money goes towards living expenses and my studies. I’ve taken out an education loan, but getting a degree still requires lots of money.

I’m now saving up to buy a car. My family has never had one. We are a poor family, so I try to take care of myself and finish university as soon as I can. I want to help my family to live well. They are now doing basket weaving at Angthong.

I used to cry when I saw other families driving their cars and dropping their kids off at the campus. I wondered why I didn’t have a life like that. I didn’t blame my parents for being poor; I just wondered about my destiny.

Being rich is better. The rich are always right—they have money and friends. Even when girls are discussing boys who are flirting with them, they ask, “What car does he drive?”

I don’t feel shy about dressing sexy. I used to be a shy girl. But after I realized that I loved my job, I’m not shy anymore. I love crowds.

I always encounter bad people during shows and even online. At a recent show, a guy out front tried to grope my bits. I jumped back and kicked in the air to show that I was pissed.

My rule is that I don’t let anyone touch me during the show. I also don’t like guys who call me to come sit with them or who try to hug or touch me. I am not easy.

I don’t like guys approaching me. If I like someone, I will go to talk to them. I like tall guys who spoil me. I am independent.

I was frightened when I found out that the Ministry of Culture was considering banning me from performing. But Pai calmed me down. I personally feel that I haven’t done anything wrong. It’s just performance. Others have done much more nudity and no one says anything.

My parents didn’t say anything about the controversy. They just want me to finish my education.

I dream about opening a clothing shop somewhere in Ayutthaya. I want to own a business.

And for those who haven't yet seen the video...


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Continuing her mother’s legacy by running this long-standing flower shop in front of Villa Market, near Sukhumvit’s Prom Phong station, Waraporn “Poom” Sridee, 41, tells us how her street boutique has received orders for royal galas and even went inter for the wedding of Hun Sen’s daughter.

How did you start this shop?
My mom opened this shop more than 30 years ago. She sold garlands, before switching to flowers. She learned how to make garlands alone at home. I quit school after grade 6 and came to help her and let my brother go to school instead. This shop still uses her name as a brand, Pa Mol, even though she’s now passed away.

'How has your shop grown?
We had a smaller shop on the side of Villa, before moving outfront and expanding our shop on the sidewalk. This is a good spot for foreigners. They remember us as the flower shop in front of Villa Market. My younger brother, Pok, has studied floristry and is now a flower arrangement teacher. We also have our own flower farm in Pakchong, Nakhon Ratchasima, where we grow flowers like hydrangeas. We order flowers from China and Malaysia, too.

Which flowers are the hardest to take care of?
Lillies and tulips are most difficult because we don’t have a fridge. We have to take risks when we buy them.

What kind of customers buy bouquets?
There are both Thai and foreigners. We don’t try to make much profit like those florists with glass cabinets. Our bouquets starts from B300, depending on the flowers and the vases. Sometimes people bring their own vases and give us a price. We can do everything.

What’s the most expensive bouquet you’ve ever done?
I don’t remember exactly because there too many of them. We did flowers for Princess Sirindhorn’s gala and an opera gala at Siriraj Hospital to honor HM the King. My brother also went to Cambodia to do flower arrangements for the wedding of Hun Sen’s daughter. They contacted my brother and he went with his friend, who is a photographer.

What’s the daily routine here?
We are open 24 hours. I start around 8am and leave when I’m done working; if I don’t have a lot to do then I leave early. I do everything like arranging flowers and taking orders from customers. If it’s the rainy season then we struggle a bit since we’re on the sidewalk. Our sales are good on the weekends because people are here, shopping at Villa.

How did you learn to choose and arrange flowers?
I learned from my experience with customers who are Chinese, Indian, Thai or farang. I now ask them what event they’re going to and what color they want, then I give suggestions.

What are your rules of doing business?
Be true to your customers. If there are bad flowers, we will tell them upfront that they won’t last long. Like for hydrangeas, I tell them that they only last two days. But if customers have already bought the flowers and the flowers aren’t good then we let them exchange or return their money. Interview by Monruedee Jansuttipan and Sasinipa Wasantapruek


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Isaan singer Kwannapa Ruengsri, aka Lala Ponglangsaon, tells us about her passion for performing, her humble childhood and how she tries to be a model daughter.

As a kid felt I had to be good because my parents were both teachers. There was a little competition among teachers’ children to be ahead of each other. But my parents never pressured me.

My dad bought me nice stuff like mechanical pencils, which were really cool back then. He even offered to buy me a gold necklace if I ever came first in an exam, but I never did.

I really had no idea what I wanted to be until I went to see a dance show by students from Kalasin College of Dramatic Arts.

It was like seeing an epic tale come to life. They looked like angels. At that moment, I wanted to be like them. My dream became to attend Kalasin College and I did.

I nearly lost my dream when I was in grade 8. My mom told that we had debts and no money. It’s a bit of a given in a teacher’s life. She told me I should quit school and allow my two sisters to continue with their studies.

My dad heard that and they had a big fight. He said “Even if I have to die, I will find money to send my daughter to school.”

At that moment I promised myself I would do everything to make my family happy and wealthy. I even thought about buying life insurance and killing myself so they could use the money to pay their debts. But that was just a stupid idea.

I got a few gigs while I was studying so I made a little pocket money to reduce my family’s burden. Living away from home at a convent school since the age of 13, I learned how to be tough.

I wanted to challenge myself by applying to Srinakharinwirot University, and I made it in. I stood in a phone booth and called to hear my entrance exam results over and over. It was a really joyful moment.

Everyone at university called me “Lao,” but in an affectionate way. I always spoke Isaan with my family, and I never hid where I come from.

My confidence comes from the fact that I am doing what I love. I had dreamed about it, and now I am living the dream.

I joined Eed Ponglangsaon’s troupe because I loved his style of performance. It’s unorthodox and lots of fun. After we gained a reputation from playing at restaurants, we finally got a contract at RS.

My life is still the same as before, despite being famous. I just have to meet a lot more people. Eed rebuked me once when I turned down a photo with fans because I was sweaty. He taught me that no matter how tired you are, fans come first.

I saved money from my performances and sent it to my family. I was really proud to repay all my family’s debts, while my parents were proud that I became famous and could take care of them. I just finished building them a new house.

I get really upset when people say they don’t have time for their parents, even though they live under the same roof. I actually want to stay with my parents but my schedule and the distance keep me away from them.

I want to be a good daughter. I don’t want others to think of that Thai aphorism, “having a daughter is like having a toilet at the doorstep.” Being a woman, you have to make yourself valuable.

Now I am worried about my youngest sister. My parents warn me that I spoil her by giving her expensive stuff, but it’s only because I don’t want her to feel inferior like I used to feel in the past.

This year my mom will get a very special gift. She will appear before Princess Soamsavali when I receive the Filial Children Award this Mother’s Day.

As I get older, I no longer dream of a perfect man. I just want someone to take care of me and love my parents—not someone who will be a leech.

I would fix the traffic and prostitution problems if I were Bangkok’s governor. Having prostitutes near the Grand Palace tarnishes the image of the country.

I feel pity for women prostitutes. They only get a couple of hundred baht to have sex. Is this the value of a woman? Our income is low, and our human value is even lower.

I dream to open a pub or restaurant that has performances every night. I love the limelight and I love to dance.


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As she releases the second single “Rueng Kong Rao” from her fourth album, Thanida Thamwimon aka Da Endorphine, describes her long hard fight to becoming a singer—and her apocalyptic visions for the future.

I was about four when I moved to Bangkok. I was actually born in Uthaithani.

My parents were strict when I was a kid. My mom is a teacher and my dad is a cop. They were both busy at work so I was mostly raised by my granny in police housing.

My musical career started with a big “no” from my parents. I formed a girl band with my friends at my junior high school and it created problems at home. I had to stay late at night to practice and my parents didn’t get the point. They wanted me to quit.

My dad used every possible method to stop me from making music, like cutting off my pocket money. Still, I tried every possible way to keep playing music. I made up my mind that nothing would stop me from doing what I love.

I would sneak out of my house at night to play gigs at pubs. I would make about B150 per night. One day, my dad walked into a pub in police uniform and dragged me out.

He even hit me hard once because I went home so late. I cried so hard that night, and he did too. He thought I was just being a bad girl. But my granny kept me on track. She always supported me and my love for music.

The Royal Thai  Navy Band School was where my dad wanted me to study. He thought it might good for my future to work in the military. I refused because it sounded boring.

I joined Endorphine after meeting them at an event. My ex-bandmates had stopped playing music when they enrolled in university.

Our debut album happened so quickly. We went to a studio to make our first demo and the studio owner asked us to burn him a CD. It was later given to a GMM producer who called us to sign a contract the following week. My dad was shocked and relieved that I was on the right path.

I decided to drop out of Endorphine after the second album because I wanted to move on to another level, while others in the band weren’t so keen. Two of them quit to work with their parents.

People say my music has changed since my first album. It’s true. Music never stops changing. It’s dynamic, like me.

I don’t think of myself as a superstar. I would rather be known as a role model. It feels good when I get letters from girls who say that I’ve impacted their lives positively.

I plan to open a music studio. Studios in Bangkok are all depressing square rooms. I want my studio to be in a garden, a living space that has a kitchen, living room and recording space.

The Netherlands is my dream country. I want to go backpack there for a month.

I used to feel being famous stole my teenage years. Now I feel lucky that I’m not stuck with a desk job. My career gives me the energy to live my life and have fun. I do what I love and take care of my family while my school friends still complain that they can’t find a job.

I used to be depressed. I didn’t go out for six months when I broke up with my boyfriend. Luckily, work kept me on track. Now I am single.

I don’t like guys with big egos. I don’t want a guy who is famous or handsome, but he must understand life and be outspoken and friendly.

I think women today are bolder in relationships and sex. We talk more openly about it with friends, like in Sex and the City. It’s a good thing. It creates more sex education and increases awareness about women’s rights.

I believe there will be a doomsday but not in 2012. Our world is so tempestuous now. The next generations will face the worst disasters. They might be survivors.

I want Bangkok to have more bicycle lanes and green space. I want to organize things to make Bangkok’s standard of living better. We can do better than this.

Keep smiling no matter what you’re facing. You can create energy on your own. Interview by Nat Tantisukrit


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Known simply as God by fans of Liverpool FC, Robbie Fowler, one of the top strikers of his generation, tells us why he’s still playing at 36 and how he ended up at Muangthong United.

People live and breathe football in the UK. It was all I wanted to do ever since I was little. As soon as I could walk, I would carry a football around with me.

I never wanted to be anything else, being a footballer is what I’ve always wanted to do.

My dad was instrumental in a lot of things when I was growing up. He used to give me extra coaching, taught me how to kick with both feet. He really helped me become a good player.

I grew up at Liverpool FC. I was there from when I was 10.

My coaches were a big inspiration. I had the Liverpool way of doing things instilled in me from a young age. Steve Heighway [a former Liverpool player] made an especially big impact. He told you what was right, was wrong. He was very successful at bringing players through.

You live a life removed from reality as a footballer. But there’s good and bad in anything you do, and no one ever made me become a footballer.

You have to make sacrifices if you want to be a good player.

You get judged on what you’ve won. I’ve enjoyed everything about my career but I don’t think there’s one moment that really stands out.

If you’re successful in this sport you get recognition; people want to shake your hand, wish you well. But there’s always a flip side. You have to take the good with the bad.

I don’t call myself God, but I can’t deny it’s a great nickname. I’ve been called a lot worse as well. I guess it shows what people think of me, that I’ve done stuff right. It’s not like I go around telling everyone that’s what they should call me.

Life has to move on. As much as I had a great time at Liverpool, there’s always someone else ready to follow in your footsteps, ready to take your place.

Most things happen for a reason. If you start having regrets or looking back at the past you might start wishing things went differently, but you can’t change anything. I’ve had a good career and I wouldn’t swap anything.

Playing is living the dream. You can set goals for what you want to do, but in this life you don’t always get to achieve them. I’ve managed to achieve my dream.

I get paid to do a job I love. You don’t play because you need to, you play because you enjoy it.

I’ve had loads of operations and lots of injuries but that’s all part of the job. You’re going to get kicked, you’re going to get injured; it’s just part of playing football.

I’d never heard about the Thai Premier League before. But when the deal came up I did some research and I liked what I saw about the game here. Some of the stadiums aren’t great but Muangthong is really the blueprint for other clubs to follow. They have a good stadium, good fans and good owners. Potentially this league could go on and on.

I don’t really have any expectations. I’ve only just arrived but, potentially, this club could be huge if they can keep progressing.

You don’t want to let yourself down. If you want to keep playing, you have to keep yourself fit. You train to stay healthy. But it’s also about having pride in what you do. You want to perform to your best ability.

I’m here for football, not for a holiday. If I didn’t want to do well then I wouldn’t have come. Thai people are so friendly and down to earth, so I want to do well as I can for them.

I am only as good as the team, though. It’s not just all about me. There are 15 other players in the squad. The team is far more important than the individual.

If someone offers you X amount of money to play, you’re not going to turn it down. It’s not the players who should be blamed for the huge salaries that they get these days.

Players are like actors. They are there to entertain. No one moans when actors get paid millions for a film. They are there to give people enjoyment.

I want to be involved with the game as long as I can. I think I have one or two more years left of playing but then I want to try and go into coaching.

It’s one of life’s mysteries. I don’t know why England never does better at major tournaments.

I wouldn’t want to be anyone else. I am more than happy in my life.


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Born from a well-appreciated Facebook status update, the zany Pheu Ter [For You] Party fan page has now gained more than 32,000 likes and has an army of fans following their party policy: Think New, Do New, For You Only. BK investigates this unofficial party and finds a surprise link between them and the band Poomjit.

Who is in your party?
I am Pachara Chusin, the head of the party, which I actually don’t want to be but my friends picked their posts while I was away. I normally work as a freelance photographer.
Bomb: I am Titinan Chantangpol, party house maid. I don’t know why I got this post. My regular job is as an animator, and I’m going to launch a studio soon, called Kark Me Studio. I also play bass for Poomjit.
Nui: I am Panuwat Apiwattanachai, party secretary. I work at my brother’s company selling cable wire. And actually, there are two more members of the party: Patzh Eaimtrakul (Pat) who is party spokesperson. He’s now studying film in New Zealand. The other is Puttiyos Phalajivin (Put) who is the party’s right wingback. He is Poomjit’s vocalist.

Where did the idea of launching Pheu Ter Party come from?
When political parties started their campaigns, I posted a joke on my Facebook, saying “I would like to join Pheu Ter Party” and got a huge number of likes. So Pat suggested we launch a fanpage for our party. Our purpose is to make nonsense jokes about political situations by mentioning love. During the election it was Ka Ber Wa Ruk Tabb, which in Thai is a spoonerism that can mean Vote for I Love You.

How do you feel about the positive feedback?
I was so surprised by the first ten thousand likes. I monitored the page every day and put up many jokes. Now I’ve run out of jokes!
Nui: I think it’s because Thais naturally like jokes and our page is about making fun of annoying political rhetoric.

Are you really into the political issues?
I’m quite bored with politics. I still see old faces, people skipping assembly or falling asleep during the meetings.
Nui: I personally think no one is suitable for the PM job. It’s like there’s a war between aliens and predators, and we’re the humans. And no matter who wins the war, we will lose. Anyway, I’m just happy that Chuwit got into parliament to be the opposition.

If Pheu Ter really ran for elections, what would be your platform?
Making people listen to each other. Nobody is listening to each other, and with today’s problems, we just can’t afford not to.
Joe: When the tsunami happened in 2004, people were so caring. I don’t want there to have to be another disaster for us to unite.
Bomb: We’ve already been successful about making people love each other on our page. I am sure that our 30,000 fans don’t all share the same politics. There are reds and yellows and that’s beautiful.

Do you have any personal Pheu Ter in your lives?
I already have a wife and two kids.
Nui: I am single.
Joe: Dating!


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