Alongside Choosak and Mum Jokmok, Pongsak Pongsuwan, better known under his stage name Teng Terdterng, is among Thailand’s most famous comedians. Here, he talks about his not-so-comedy life behind the onstage laughs.

My personal life is actually not funny at all. I had to leave school in the fourth grade to join a likay troupe. My family has been performing since my grandparents’ generation, so it’s deeply rooted in me.

I left my home in Sukhothai at 13 because I wanted more life experience. There were times I was so hungry, but I had no money. I drank water from toilets. I met some sam-lor (pedicab) drivers who let me join their group.

Then I found out about a dishwasher job at a noodle stall in Udon Thani that paid B50 per day, with 21 nights work a month. That was the first time I saw a thousand baht.

I spent three years without any contact with my home. My parents probably thought I was dead. Then I finally went back on an impulse. There were tears of joy.

There wasn’t anything for me to do once I got back, except join the likay again.

One day I saw a likay actor, who had played the part of a king at the previous night’s performance. He was fishing with a net. I realized I didn’t want to be a poor actor like him. I wanted a good future, so I went to Bangkok.

I’ve been a comedian for nine years. It was the golden age for comedians when I started. Stand up comedy at cafes was still thriving.

I had to go through countless tough times. When my wife was pregnant we had to live on the second floor of a noodle shop. When the owners left at night, I would creep downstairs and steal kai pa lo (cinnamon eggs) for her.

In 1995, I entered the monkhood and dedicated my good deeds to the Princess Mother, who had died that year. I prayed and asked why my life was such a struggle, even though I always tried to do good deeds.

The turning point in my career came when I joined Mum’s troupe. When you are with him, getting on TV is easy. Then again, there are a lot of people out there who are on TV and haven’t become famous.
I feel sorry for comedians nowadays because there aren’t many cafes open anymore like in those golden days. Anyway, I guess we always have to keep on adapting.

I want to tell other comedians that I am not famous because of television. Many things contributed to my fame. Maybe it was my good karma from my last life. But I would also suggest that they find a different profession.

If I knew I wasn’t ever going to be famous, then I would probably have sought another profession. But there are comedians who really love this job and would never do anything else.

Education is the best foundation for everything. I had a tough life because I don’t have any education. I am lucky that I got many opportunities despite that.

I tell my kids, you don’t necessarily have to graduate, but you must be a good person and show respect to others. If you do something wrong, then apologize.

I don’t let my children watch any movies with swear words. That’s why I don’t want my movies to have swearing. I don’t want them to see me say one thing but do another. If you bring your children to my movie you can be sure it will be appropriate.

I wanted to do a monk movie, Teng Nong Jee Won Bin [in theatres now], because I’d never heard of a monk flying on an airplane, so I talked with a screenwriter to write a script with that concept.

Having lived 45 years, I now understand why old people love to go to temples to find peace. All I seek now is a quiet place.

I don’t work weekends. That time is only for my family.

I want to be a catwalk model. I have never seen a comedian become a catwalk model. It would be pretty cool.

I believe in destiny, but not in fortune tellers. I believe that we will get what we want if we try our best. You have to believe that you can make your own destiny too.

I love to be on stage. I want to do it as long as I can, even though I have a plan to retire at 60 and go live a quiet life. I


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After losing numerous competitions with his band, vocalist Sitthikorn “Keng” Prathumwan went it alone to scoop first prize at the recent Coke Music Awards.

BK: Tell us about your background.
I was born in Songkhla. My mom graduated in classical guitar and taught me to play, but I don’t like it. I guess because I’d known it my whole life. The teachers of traditional Thai music paid me more attention, so I ended up studying that. My main instrument is the Thai flute.

BK: And you continued during your university years?
Yes, I was on the waiting list of Chulalongkorn University, but had been accepted at Mahidol in Thai classical music. My mom suggested I try Mahidol.

BK: But other students were focusing on modern music?
Yes, but I’ve liked classical music since I was a kid. I figured that if I had these skills, it would make my overall profile more interesting.

BK: Have you ever participated in any competitions before?
I am addicted to them and took part in any I could enter, including the really high-stakes ones, like The Star and Academy Fantasia, even teen-craze ones like Zeeza. But I never managed to make any big breakthrough.

BK: Tell us about the Coke Music Awards?
I almost wasn’t allowed to compete because my band, Oom-Pu, had already won a music competition before, and the Coke Music Awards are for total newcomers. I begged the organizers and explained I had won as a band, not as a singer. Oom-Pu had also cleared the first round, but were then banned because of the previous award.

BK: What do you think made the difference this time?
After participating in many competitions, I realized that I was always trying too hard to be something else that’s not really me. So this time I just expressed myself and I made it.

BK: How do you feel after finally being a winner?
Before I won, I thought I would stop competing because this one gave me so many new experiences, both in terms of the audience and the useful workshops. When I won, there was a slow-mo picture flashback in my head of all the times I lost, and it made me realize how precious this triumph was. Even though defeat creates tears, it also makes us stronger.

BK: What do you plan to do next?
All the winners will go to Japan and the US to do more music workshops and the big surprise was that we all get to be in the Coca Cola project, 24 Hours with Maroon 5 in London, where we might get to do a music project with them. After that I will do an album with Smallroom, but I don’t want my debut album to be as a solo act. I might talk to the label and say that I want to do it with my friends in Oom-Pu.


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As he releases the third single of his seventh album, Anusorn Maneethet or Yong Armchair talks of his rural background, hard work, tough choices and the weaknesses in Thai society.

I grew up in Angthong and played with friends in the rice fields. I used to throw a clothes hanger as a boomerang except, well, it never came back.

My new friends ridiculed my rural accent when I moved to study in Bangkok in fifth grade, but they finally stopped because I got very good grades.

I had a dream to get in to Suankularb Wittayalai School because I felt the school’s colonial building was the most beautiful construction I had ever seen. So I put all my energy into getting accepted there, and I made it.

Life at school was like a miniature model of the real world. It was really diverse, with sons of politicians and rich families down to the children of janitors. It was worth all my hard work to become part of this community.

Our educational guidance system is a failure. The counselors don’t really show students that there are many choices for them, even for students who only love one thing. Like me—I love the arts so I thought I should only enter an arts faculty, which is not necessarily true.

I couldn’t get into Silpakorn University, which was my first choice, but I was still able to get into King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang. I met my senior, Jatutthapong “Pueng” Rumakom (guitarist)there, and we later formed Armchair together.

He chose me to be the singer after I got drunk at a junior year reception party and took over the microphone.

I never thought Armchair would be this successful. I didn’t even graduate from college. At that moment I blamed others but I realize now that it’s also my fault.

I have no regrets. I can live on my own. I have been able to work in the arts without graduating, whereas only 10% of my friends who did finish school are working in fields that they studied in.

I don’t believe that higher education will necessarily make an ace of you. It also depends on experience.

Now I plan to go back to study to get a degree for my parents as I promised. It’s my responsibility to give it back to them.

My love is like a journey. The path may not always be beautiful, but the destination is worthwhile.

It’s a bit ridiculous that so many people do their weddings so extravagantly. It’s really ill-spent money. I would invite my guests to do something nice together, like this one couple I saw on the internet that invited all their guests to do reforestation.

Bangkok is really “nua” [“delicious” in Isaan]. It might be stinky but it’s delicious.

Thai belief systems are quite weak. People are impressionable, and when an idea is put before them, they start to believe it and finally, it grows into this massive power.

Democracy is not just the leadership of a large group of irrational people who shout at the top of their voices about what is right or wrong.

Thai people are afraid to think differently. They seem to wait for others to love something before they start to like it. It’s as if they were afraid to look stupid. But if you aren’t willing to look stupid, then you will never know that there could be a new world. Like when Galileo was the only one who believed that the world wasn’t flat [sic].

We’re so lucky that we have the king to teach us to live on our own. Who would ever want to flee from Thailand like that fugitive?

Everyone has to be aware that this is our home. Then we will take care of every place like it is our own.

Happiness is living sufficiently and not using up your future happiness. Believe in what you do. Even if [pursuing] it is exhausting, it’s worth it in the end.


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Antique and Unique

With its aging looks, dusty glass cabinets and antique clocks on the wall, this little clock repair shop has a lot of charm. Inside, Ratanachai Angkontee, 28, the young and amiable talks to us about his fascination with this bygone business.
How long have you been here? All my life. My father, Wanchai Angkontee, 55, learned this skill from his brother and opened the clock shop here and I learned the business from him since I was a kid.
How has the business changed? Now that Sapan Khwai has been growing so fast with more shops, malls and condos, [landlords] have hiked up the rent. Many shops are not able to keep up, so they moved away, and now there are fewer people than there used to be.
What’s your working day like? We now focus only on fixing clocks, especially old ones, as we have a lot of customers with antique timepieces. Sometimes it takes years and years to fix only one clock because it’s hard to find the parts. Anyway, our clients trust us and wait until we can make their precious antiques come back to life.
How’s business these days? It’s not really huge but it’s steady. We’re now well-known as “father and son mechanics” because we both work together. 80% of our customers are regulars who know my father, and another 10-20% are walk ins and those who learn about us from our website [].
Have you ever had other jobs? My father, no, but I used to be a webmaster before. I decided to quit when my father got a cataract in his eye, and I came back to help him.
Is there anyone asking about buying this building? No. But we rent our space in this building, and the rent goes up every year. And the contract is only year by year, so if they suddenly decided not to rent the space to us anymore, we wouldn’t have a shop at all. We might only be open through the website, since clients today just search on Google to find everything that they want. We rank high on searches if people Google about antique clock repairers, so I think it’s a new chance for our business to grow. I also plan to start our own antique clock brand.

Demolished drugstore

Walking along Phaholyothin Road in Sapankhwai, there’s plenty of advertising for the brand new luxury condos that are due to pop up there in the coming months. Here we talk to Ussanee Wiriyangul, 45, the owner of a pharmacy that’s going to be torn down soon to make way for the entrance of the new condo.
How long have you been here? At least 38 years. My family started renting this building when the neighborhood was still technically a rural area on the fringes of Bangkok. There were lots of buffalos walking around—hence the name of this area, Sapan Khwai.
What was the area like back then? A lot busier because our location is near the market. Now the business isn’t really going that well, but it’s steady. But there was a time when we had huge sales like we’d never seen before, during the Sixtieth Anniversary Celebrations of His Majesty’s Accession to the Throne. There were many royal guests from many countries. The Sultan of Brunei’s entourage came to buy all the drugs in our store. Our pockets were enough to to keep money!
Have you ever done any other business? Never. This is our family business.
What about your children? Do they take care of the business or support you to? I don’t know if they will want to inherit it from me or not. They’re still young. One of my sons is really capable. He won the gold medal in an international mathematics competition so he might continue his studies and win a scholarship.
Is there anyone asking about buying this building? It’s already been sold to developers who are building a big condominium. They told us that we have to vacate before the end of the month. All my family members are now separated. Now I have only my family and my mom. It’s reduced from 9 to 5. Others are busy with their own families or have gone off to study.
How do you feel about this? It’s pretty heartbreaking because we have lived here for so long but we have to accept it. This building isn’t ours. We have to vacate it.


These days if your zip breaks or you get a hole in your shirt you’ll probably just go and buy a new outfit, which makes street tailors a lot less popular. Kyaw Yen, 55, the man behind the sewing machine near Saphan Khwai tells us what business is like.
How long have you been here? About 7-8 years. I used to work as an aluminum worker. I was getting old so I decided to quit. I decided to do this because I already knew how to sew.
How do you run this business? I am here from 9.30am-5.30pm and just wait for customers.
Is business good? It’s not great. Still I have regular clients and I make an OK living. Sometimes I make B300-500 per day but some days I get just B20. It depends.
What about your family? I stay with my wife. There’s only the two of us so it’s OK.

Mom and pop shop

Sutthisan Road used to be all about pubs and bars. But after the entertainment venues gradually shifted to other locations and the alcohol laws got stricter, the nightlife in this area changed as well, as did the little retail shop belonging to Srinual Santisukbamroong, 69.
How long have you been here? My shop has been around 25 years, but the space itself is about 50-60 years old. I bought it from the previous owners and started my retail shop.
What was it like in the old days? There were many customers because this area used to be a busy district—lots of shops and bars. A lot of women who worked at night would come to buy stuff at our shop. Today there aren’t as many pubs, and there aren’t as many women who work at night.
How do you run this business? We only order what we know we can sell. Now we can’t sell groceries anymore, because there are no buyers. We still stock things like soap, toothpaste and alcohol. My daughter-in-law just opened a little phone kiosk in the shop to sell mobile phones and sim cards to people around our neighborhood.
Have you ever done any other business? No.
What about your children? Do they take care of this business? Yes, they are now taking care of it. I just help them.
Street books
At the foot of a stairway to BTS Thonglor, Chak Inthukate, 47, sits and waits for commuters to buy his secondhand books laid out flat on an improvised shelf wedged into the wall.
How long have you been doing this job? At least 21 years. I used to never take anything seriously. One day I decided to do something to make a living and wanted to open a book shop. I walked along the street, found a spot on Thonglor and have stayed here since then. I chose to sell secondhand books because I love books. It’s a product that lasts forever.
How have things changed? People read more and the streets are busier. It used to be a bus stop here, before the BTS. When the BTS opened, the administrators banned us from selling anything near the exits. I was lucky enough to get permission from the owner of a nearby house to set up this shelf on their wall. The other sellers had to move.
How’s business? It’s gone down again recently. Thai people normally don’t read much but it’s gotten worse with the internet. People don’t have to buy books to find something to read anymore.
How much do you earn per month? Nearly 100,000.
What would you do if you couldn’t do this anymore? I plan to get into the food business when I can’t do this anymore. I am now older, can’t carry heavy things like books like I used to. I also think the book biz will not grow anymore. It’s declining.


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Entire neighborhoods are being torn down in this city to make way for new condos. Will the death of communities mean all the lively faces plying their trades on the street disappear?

Everywhere we look these days it seems like old shophouses and old family homes are being knocked down and replaced with shiny monoliths to urban living. Sure we all yearn to live in state-of-the-art condominiums but at what cost? Condo living may suit our modern lifestyles but it also has a major impact on the local community. Condo-dwellers don’t sit out front of their shop, chatting to passers by, they don’t even necessarily know who their neighbors are. They leave for work in the morning, come home at night after dinner, maybe spend an hour in their air-con gym before hitting the sack. Condo-dwellers don’t get their clothes fixed at the local street tailor, don’t buy their new brush from the guy with the hand cart—they drive to the nearest community mall and buy everything from their brandname store and supermarket.

And if there’s no one buying your brush or dropping by your mom and pop shop then what is a small shop owner you do—especially when faced with rising rent? Pack up the business, look for alternate employment and another place to live. Taken to the logical extreme it means a day will come when you step into your soi and all you find is a row of fancy condos but nowhere to shop, eat or get your watch fixed. Before that sorry day arrives we headed out to the streets and talked to the people still making a living out on your soi before they disappear for good.

A Dying Art?

Spotting Khon Yom Pah Suwanchai Sae-tang, 48, is like catching a bygone scene from Bangkok’s past. He travels the streets with his stove and dyeing gear strapped to his bicycle alerting potential customers with a unique jingle performed on a Thai folk toy called a pong pang. If you want to bring your favorite outfit back to life then you can usually find him cycling around Thonburi, from Daokanong to Prapadaeng.
How long have you been doing this job? For 15-16 years. I was trained by my brother-in-law who also does this. I still do everything as it used to be in the old days.
How have things changed? Well people definitely used to dye their clothes more. These days it’s easier to just buy new clothes.
What’s your working day like? I cycle from my home along Suksawas Road to Prachauthit or sometimes as far as Samut Prakan. I cycle about 20-30 kilometers a day. Sometimes I leave my bicycle where I end up because it’s too late to cycle back. I then take a bus back in the morning then head back the way I came. I buy my dye at Klong Toei or Hua Lamphong. The complete set is about B1,000-1,500. I use the premium grade dye because it lasts much longer.
Are there a lot of customers? Not as much as there used to be but I still make OK money. Sometimes I can earn about B500 per day but it varies.
Have you ever tried any other kind of work? I used to do odd jobs but after learning this skill, I’ve never done anything else.
What about your family? My two children are still young. I still have to do this job to pay for them to go to school.
What would you do if you couldn’t do this anymore? I don’t know, I don’t have anyone to teach these skills to.

Gold gilder

A short walk from Saphan Khwai BTS station, in an old avenue filled with amulet shops, you’ll find numerous street craftsmen patiently waiting for customers to stop by and get their not-so-precious jewelry gilded in gold or sulver. We talk to experienced gilder, Kriengsak Kueprasertkul, 58, who’s been doing this job for over half his life.
How long have you been here? More than 30 years. My family opened a gold shop in Ban Mor and Nakornchaisri (in Nakorn Pathom province) so I learned from them. I moved to Saphan Khwai after one of my friends asked me to join him. I now sit next to his shop. I have regular customers who bring their precious things like accessories or brooches. I gild them to make them look brand new again.
How has business changed over the years? I used to have many more customers. I think it’s partly because my customers are old or have died or moved elsewhere.
What’s your working day like? I catch the bus from Putthamonthon to open my stall from 10.30am-6.00pm every day. I never stop. Now we have a problem with the high price of gold, but I still use only real gold because I am honest to the customers as they are my regular clients. Also, some customers are allergic to fake gold.
What would you do if you couldn’t do this anymore? I don’t know. I’ve never done anything else. This is my family’s profession.

A brush with success

It’s a question that you’ve probably asked yourself when seeing one of these traders pushing their cart full of brooms along the road in Sukhumvit or Silom: Who buys their brushes and what’s business like these days? Wisit Poltien, 43, tells us about plying his trade in Bangkok.
How long have you been doing this job? About 3-4 years. I used to work in a jeans factory, but it was quite low-paid and it was hard to support my family. My brother suggested this, so I decided to give it a try. I thought if it doesn’t go well I still can go back to work in the factory. But this job is much better than my old one. I can take a holiday whenever I want and there’s no one to tell me off or criticize what I do.
How has business changed? People used to spend more and now it’s all about saving. Some say it’s because the economy isn’t as good. Even when their brooms are really worn out, people still use them because they don’t want to spend the money.
What’s your working day like? I cycle from my home in Soi Inthamara 29 (Suttisan) in the morning to business areas like Pratunam, Ratchada, Sukhumvit or Silom. I then spend the day going up and down the streets looking for customers, heading home in the evening.
Who are your customers? It depends. Some are housewives, some work as cleaners in offices.
How much do you earn per day or month? It depends but I average more than B10,000 per month. That’s compared to my old job where I only got B6,000-7,000.
What does your family think about your job? They are fine with it because I can earn a living and send money back home to them in Roi Et province. One of my children has already graduated from vocational school but another is just in third grade.
What would you do if you couldn’t do this anymore? Well I actually plan on building up this business by hiring others to sell the brooms for me. I know a guy who built an empire by selling brooms just like me.

Save our Streets (2)


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The recent winner of the Chomnard Award, writer Thanadda “Eri” Sawangduen talks about becoming a prostitute, the justice system and the difficulties of starting a new life.

I grew up in Bangkok. But we lost our house after my dad couldn’t pay the mortgage. After that, we had to move often.

At 17 years old, I got pregnant after having sex with one of my cousins. It was my first time. I dropped out of school in ninth grade but he didn’t take care of me and once hit me. So I had to go look for a job.

I did a lot of odd jobs, like washing dishes and helping at a shop, until a friend invited me to work in Pattaya, as a waitress.

It turned out I had to sit in front of a mirror waiting for customers to pick me and go drink with them. At that time, I still didn’t know what this could lead to.

I had no customer for four days and only four baht in my pocket. The mama san introduced me to a client who later took me to a hotel for sex. I told him I was not a prostitute and asked to leave. He gave me 4,000 baht, though we didn’t do anything.

I realized how easy the money was and I made up my mind to be a prostitute.

I only slept with foreigners. I was too embarrassed to sleep with Thai guys.

I never let my family know anything about my career. I think they were curious but never dared to ask.

After a few months, I came back to Bangkok. I didn’t want to do this job anymore. I started selling cigarettes in Patpong but the money wasn’t anything like my old job.

I always dreamed of going abroad. When an agent asked me to be a prostitute in Hong Kong, I immediately accepted, even after he warned me that I would have to be with 20-30 men per day.

It was really traumatic. After three weeks, I went to the police to beg them to arrest me and deport me. I made about B80,000 from my stay there.

After a week in Thailand, I took another job in Japan. I met a powerful yakuza in Shinjuku and he let me run his hostess bar for a year. He also gave me a new nickname, Eri, which means perfect lady.

I made millions of baht but I lost it all to gambling.

I tried to run away but the yakuza beat me. Finally, he was arrested in a murder case. I met an ex-client, and we got married.

While I was waiting for my wedding visa in Thailand, I was arrested and accused of intoxicating a guy to steal his money. In fact, he nearly raped me. I was jailed for three years.

This is the problem with Thai justice. Many people in jail are innocent. They don’t have money to fight in court and they get tricked by the police. My accuser even cried to me that he was sorry to send me to jail.

I tried out a lot of jobs but none of the jobs worked out because I was too old.

So I went back to being a prostitute. I met a guy who said my story was extraordinary and said I should write a book.

I never expected that my story would gain this much attention and win an award.

I have nothing to lose from telling my story. I just want to say that our lives are not easy. We’re miserable and don’t have any options. We need organizations to teach us skills.

I can’t stop other girls from going into prostitution but I want to warn them that this work brings money but not a good life.

Poverty is the main problem. If people weren’t so poor, they would have more opportunities to be something else.

I dream of having some skills to make an honest living, as a make-up artist, manicurist or hairdresser—anything.

Don’t discriminate based on age or people’s past profession. We’re human. We’re all equal. We have more ability than people might think. Just give us a chance.“Chan Kue Eri” is available at bookstores nationwide (in Thai) for B159.


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Better Weather, comprised of old friends Thonapat “Dew” Thanakornkan (vocal), Akkarachon “Fung” Ratchaphandi (guitar), Assawapong “Tum” Wongprasert (drums), Promphong “Jack” Prompanyo (bass) and Panuphat “Bas” Sukanyarak (guitar) has just released its debut album.

BK: How did you guys come together?
We were close at Assumption School Lampang.
Fung: Then during the U-Band Battle, I wanted the band to become stronger, so I invited Bas to join us.

BK: What genre are your songs?
Pop with influences from Europe. It’s a mix of Brit, French and Swedish pop that Thai people can appreciate.

BK: Why did you name the album Better Than Looks?
We want to tell people to not judge us by our appearances. We would like them to come and watch our shows, then judge us.

BK: How did you begin as a band?
We started the band playing cover songs at the pub.
In Lampang, we were the only student band to play there.Dew: Our friends would also come and support us, but when the police came, they would all run up to different floors, hide in the kitchen, or act like another band member, since they were underaged. We just acted cool.

BK: When did you first compose your own songs?
It was in our first year of college. We thought we played too many covers.
Tum: We had to move on in order to achieve our dreams.

BK: Any difficulties you faced as a band?
The difficulty we first faced was when we had to be separated during college years.
Dew: It was a tragedy. Fung went to study at Bangkok University. I went to Chiang Mai University with Jack.
Tum: We met up during the holidays and breaks and played together. We talked to each other everyday through phone, MSN and even letters.

BK: What was the most unforgettable experience you had on stage?
Right before going up the stage, I realized that my zip broke so I tried to cover it with my shirt. During the performance, I unconsciously raised both of my arms in the air, revealing my broken zipper. A fan uploaded and tagged me on Facebook. I’m also called “the blue man” because I wore blue underwear that day.

Interview by Monruedee Jansuttipan and Heyun Kim


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Making her debut in lesbian teen movie Yes or No, tomboy Suppanat “Tina” Jittaleela, 19, opens up about her geeky past and her tomboy look.

BK: What were you doing before Yes or No?
I studied in Ratchaburi province before I moved to Bangkok after sixth grade to study at Satriwit School. I managed to get in because of my skills in creating a website. I lost all the sample code they gave me and ended up writing my own. They found out what I did and that’s how I got in.

BK: So you are a bit of a computer geek?
My mom supported me in studying anything I wanted. I love to play with computers, so I decided to study how to make websites using various programs like Dreamweaver and Flash. I participated in the Nectec computing competition when I was in the sixth grade and won first prize.

BK: How did you get involved with the movie?
My senior told me to go for the casting for this project. They had been planning to make this movie for two years and couldn’t find a tomboy who had a character close to the one in the movie. They picked me because of the natural girly way I say “ka” or “nu” which other tomboys don’t. The character in this movie doesn’t start out as a tomboy at first but slowly becomes one.

BK: How did you find acting for the first time?
It’s pretty hard because I had never done it before. The team sent me to train with an acting coach and I just did the best that I could.

BK: Who should go and watch the film?
I would say anyone of any gender should watch it. I even know guys who’ve seen it thinking it would just be a lesbian film, but it’s actually just a love story between two people.

BK: Are you working on any other film projects?
Not yet, but I also work as a DJ at Pynk 98 FM every Mon-Fri 8.30pm-10pm.

BK: How do you manage your time between work and study?
I just dropped my course in International Software Engineering at Chiang Mai University because it’s too far and it’s hard to study in this field. It’s so science-focused. So I plan to study in Bangkok.

BK: And what are your plans for the future?

Whatever happens, I plan to continue working in entertainment. I really like it. I also really want to get into the communication arts program at Chulalongkorn University but the scores needed may be too high. I definitely want to continue my studies though.


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As his new movie, Lood Si Lood, hits theaters, Pakorn “Boy” Chatborirak opens up about his shy side and how he can also act ugly.

I loved to play eccentrically as a child, like wrestling with my brother.
I once fell into a two meter deep drain. I had tried to jump over but didn’t make it. My mom beat me so hard after I was rescued, because I could have died. I was lucky it wasn’t full of water.

My friends weren’t nerds like others might think. I think 80% of Assumption School students play hard and study hard as well.

I thought they all just played hard so I copied them. It turned out my grades dropped but theirs didn’t. I eventually realized they went home to study, while I didn’t.

I didn’t know what I wanted to be. I thought I might study accounting or engineering but I felt they weren’t cool because everyone flocked to do them.

I followed my mom’s suggestion to study pharmacology because our relatives own a drug store and it’s pretty stable. I was able to get into Srinakharinwirot University but it was too far to travel, so I dropped out and entered Chulalongkorn the next year.

Studying pharmacology made me scared of education. It was really hard, especially the exams. It’s all about remembering stuff. It nearly blew my head. I don’t want to study anything

My friends at school always threw some extracurricular work at me like stage plays. Most of them were ugly roles that no one else dared to take.

I am not always good looking. I always play dirty or act pervy with close friends (like Alex Rendell), pinching their nipples or prodding their asses. I also have a dirty mouth.

I remember the money from my first modeling job was a really huge sum. It was about B18,000, compared to the B4,000 monthly allowance I got from my parents.

The work dried up so I began looking for a job at some pharmacy companies. That was before I took off my teeth braces. Then the work started to pour in again so I decided to give the entertainment industry a try.

The hardest thing about being an actor is to be that character completely. I was lucky that I was trained by tough directors like Piak-Pisan Akkaraseranee and Off-Pongpat Washirabanjong.

I thought celebrities were special and hard to approach before I became an actor. In fact, we’re just normal like everyone else.

I try not to let my career affect my private life. I still do what I used to do, like eat at noodle stalls in front of gas stations.

Don’t be fooled by the fame—that is the best way to balance your life.

I don’t like to go to dinner with strangers because that first meal is never tasty.

I am afraid to get to know new people because of my shyness. When I first went to Channel 3, people might have thought I was conceited but I was just too scared to talk because I might say something stupid.

Once others approach me I will talk to them openly. After just a couple of conversations I know whether this person is someone I can make friends with or not.

The best thing about love is being with someone for a long time and being honest to each other.
I play an ambitious guy in my new movie Lood See Lood. He uses his friends to be successful but doesn’t realize that the happiness he has is fake. That kind of person isn’t loved.

I don’t have big dreams. I just want to be successful and have a good life. I don’t know how to evaluate my success.

Success is not only in work but also in life and family. Now I am planning to open a pharmacy with my mom. My education would be useless if I didn’t.

There are lots of things still to happen. I have only travelled one third of my life journey. Now I am interested in behind the scenes work. I love to see the way they make films or soaps. I hope I can be a director some day.


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The Red Shirt activist of Ratchaprasong red ribbon fame, Sombat Boonngam-anong talks about peaceful protests, what brought him to politics and how he envisions a revolution to end all revolutions.

My parents came from Southern China and didn’t have higher education. My dad only finished fourth grade while my mom didn’t go to school at all. My uncle, who studied at Thammasat University, is the highest educated person in my family. He taught me about politics and economics.

My uncle spoke to us on 13 October 1973. He predicted the military crackdown on the students.

I had believed that the students were the bad guys after watching the 1976 crackdown on TV. They said the students were communists and deserved to be suppressed. But my uncle would talk to me about the system, about what was really going on.

I was expelled from high school after I led a protest against the principal for student rights. At that time students had lots of problems with expensive, heavy, new school bags and corruption related to school fees.

I had a theory that if I wasn’t in school, I had to be rich. I opened a video rental business but it didn’t go well so I stopped and mostly spent my time at snooker clubs and gallivanting.

My turning point was when I joined Makhampom, an NGO group, as a volunteer doing stage plays for child development.

It killed my old identity and created a new me. I was in a whole new world. Acting is a journey of the mind. But they also took me to places like Thung Ku La Rong Hai, the driest place in Thailand, and slums in Bangkok which were near my house like Klong Toei. I had never been there before. When I saw these places, I realized that all my life I had been sheltered.

I spoke to the leader of the people fighting the expropriation of the slum dwellers. I asked him why they were asking for rights over other people’s land. He said he used to be a soldier at the border to protect the country. One day, his pregnant wife wrote him a letter about them being kicked out of their home. It made him think, “Whose house am I protecting here?” This is a problem of rights over rights.

When there was coup in 1991, I was so angry. I felt that it wasn’t fair. Coups are so backward. I performed a mime on the streets around Bangkok to criticize the coup and made thousands of anti-coup postcards to ask the government to call off martial law.

I quit Makhampom and established the Kra Jok Ngao group which did drama for kids, but I felt it didn’t solve real problems either.

I decided to focus my energies on bringing practical solutions to people’s problems. I started Kru Ban Nok in Chiang Rai, teaching children and fighting for the rights of tribal people. We later brought the project to Bangkok to share our experiences here.

I was really pissed off about the coup in 2006. That night I was online talking with people in the “19 Sep Against the Coup” group. The consequences were the same as in 1991. We had the May crackdown and many lives were lost.

I nearly joined the PAD at the beginning but later decided to sit on the sidelines after Sonthi Limthongkul asked the military to come out. That’s not what I wanted.

It’s really bullshit to think of Thailand as an agricultural society. It’s this romantic idea that city people hold on to. We’re now in the era of agro-industry and information. The problem is that Thai farmers can produce only half a ton of rice per rai while China makes one ton and Japan two.

People love Thaksin because what he offered was tangible. The 30-baht-healthcare project was a response to a very dramatic situation. Children would sell their farmland to pay for their parent’s hospital bills. That’s what happened to poor people like the security guard next to my office.

I believe this will be the last fight. All the revolutions in Thailand are about sharing the power and status. The 1932 revolution was for the military, 1973 and 1976 were for intellectuals, 1992 was for the middle class. This time, it will be for ordinary people.

The Red Sunday movement is about fighting without aggression. It’s about using my NGO skills to put this movement on the right path. I’m trying to make people come together and get our message across without violence or making people panic.

The important thing in this conflict is to maintain our humanity. War destroys humanity. Each side tries to destroy the other’s humanity so that it can destroy human beings.

I don’t understand why people accept the [May] killings but don’t accept what the Red Shirts want—the new election.

I think Bangkok is a gluttonous city. It engulfs everything. If you want anything, you have to be here.

I believe we can write the play of our life. Well, at least half of it.

Life isn’t just about living. It’s also about finding what you want to live for. Once you find it, serve that purpose for the rest of your life.

I want everyone to accept that we’re all equal. This will make Thailand better.


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