A rising star from the Saranair reality show, Pongpitch “Starbucks” Preechaborisuthikul opens up about his crazy personality and his latest horror film, Saranair Hen Pee.

BK: Is Starbucks your actual nickname?
No. My real name is Pu but my seniors at Silapakorn University gave me the name Starbucks. There were lots of freshmen of different ages in our faculty, so they wanted to equalize things by giving everyone a nickname that matched their personality. Starbucks is the name of a one-legged captain in Moby Dick, a classic American novel about the 19th century whaling industry [editor: oi, it’s Ahab who’s the one-legged captain and Starbuck’s the first mate].
I walked with a limp like him because I had myositis in my leg until my junior year. They even gave the name Moby Dick, the name of the whale in the novel, to my giant friend.

BK: Weren’t you afraid that it would be impossible to make a living studying fine arts?
Not at all. I studied it because I like it. Besides, I almost never see anyone in this city starving to death.

BK: How was university life?
It was like a new empire where nothing was forbidden. We just said “Do it!”

BK: Were there any extreme experiences?
A lot! Nudity and feces are really normal in welcoming first-year students. It’s better than push-ups. One time our senior ordered their junior male students to take their clothes off and walk on a quiet beach. While we were finding our clothes, we saw a group of familyherding their cows and laughing at us.

BK: Is there any antic that went too far?
We were arrested in Chiang Mai because we decided to be graffiti artists that night. After drinking at Warm-up, my two friends and I spray painted many sois until the police showed up and took us to the police station with two options: jail or clean-up. We bought nail polish remover from 7-Eleven and started cleaning the walls from 3am until 5am. People who were up early probably thought we were doing good deeds for the city.

BK: How was life after graduation?
I tried to sell my art pieces. I sold all my stuff for B10,000 and used the money to make a set of rings that fit together. I realized when I was selling them that I measured the size of rings too big for most women. I later gave them to friends and kept one for myself.

BK: How did you get involved with Saranair Hao Peng?
I heard Saranair were recruiting. I decided to give it a shot but I did the interview practically still drunk because I had partied with friends until 6am and interviewed at 8am with my junior friends. Anyway, Saranair finally picked me and did the reality show about my unusual internship, which I wasn’t aware of.

BK: How did you feel when you realized you were being filmed?
I was scared that my family would find out about my bad behavior, like smoking.

BK: How is it following a script in Saranair Hen Pee?
It’s difficult to make the dialogue feel familiar in my mouth, but being with Aum-Patcharapa shows me what a good actor is supposed to be like.

BK: What’s your biggest dream?
I want to build a labyrinth in my back yard. I love to walk through labyrinths and see the view changing.


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Having recently released the third single of his sophomore album, Pleng Tee Nan Laew Mai Dai Fang, singer-songwriter Aphiwat “Stamp” Uethawornsuk, 28, talks to us about his dark side, his critics, the follies of a military-style education and the charms of Bangkok.

I was a pampered homebody as a kid, bullied at school and scared of the outside world.

I got into music tapes in sixth grade. My friend gave me songs from Gun & Roses and Aerosmith. After that, I watched every one of their music videos and started to play guitar in a band with friends.

I may have started playing music because I wanted to be accepted by friends, be in the spotlight, be the center of the universe.

I continued playing with my friends throughout university and even wrote my own songs. We sent lots of demo tapes to record companies but nothing concrete happened until I met Boyd Kosiyabong.

I didn’t want to be office worker while I was waiting for an album with my band, 7th SCENE. So I started writing for other artists like Boyd and Nop Ponchamni until I had my own album, The Million Ways to Write Part I.

If people accepted who they were without any fear, even if they want to be musicians, then we’d have a lot more musicians.

The Thai music industry has a problem with lyrics. I’ve been listening to music for 25 years and they haven’t changed one bit. Singing is meant to express your own thoughts and feelings. I don’t know who forces them to use the same words all the time.

Sometimes success can be a bad thing. A bad time in my life was when I won 20 awards in just three months. All the compliments made me afraid to write new songs. I worried they wouldn’t be as good as the first ones, that people would say I was a fluke.

Boyd snapped me out of it. He threw a book in the air. He said, “See? Everything has ups and downs.” I realized I didn’t have to be cool all the time.

I am actually a bad-tempered person, even though I write romantic songs. I am pessimistic about the world but optimistic about people. I always think about the worst case scenario.

Humans aren’t designed to be monogamous. Cheating is just a fantasy experience for men but, in fact, I think they still love their wives. When they do run off, it’s for true love, like John Lennon and Yoko Ono, who were really soulmates.

My parents divorced when I was 18. It was so tiring to stay in that psychological warfare. I didn’t want to be in the crossfire anymore, so I was pretty relieved when it was all over, and I stayed with my mom.

I don’t want to pay taxes after seeing how politicians behave, seeing their corruption and our spending money on nonsense.

People who don’t depend on the government have a good life. But for those who do, if the government is bad, their lives are miserable as well. That’s why we have the protests.

I think what everyone wants most is happiness. But some believe that money can create that happiness, which isn’t true.

If I were Bangkok Governor, I would make sure every road in the city was in excellent condition with the sign “Do not dig” so we wouldn’t have to dig them up again. I would prostrate myself at the feet of a governor capable of that.

I like the time warps in Bangkok. I like that we can have high rises as well as colorful ribbons on the spirit trees.

We are growing without aim because of visionless leaders and the excessive politeness of Thai people. We don’t know what we want to be, so we try to be everything.

I think this is because of our military-style education system. We have to salute the teacher who is always right. We also have to deal with the seniority system in universities and workplaces where seniors get promoted, like ranks in the military.

If we want to be like North Korea, that’s fine. But if we want to modernize our country, this system is not going to work.

Bangkok might be the messiest city in the world, but it’s our nature and our charm. I would rather stay here than in Tokyo where people walk about like robots.

I feel so lucky that I am still able to play music at this age. Music still motivates my life. Doing what you love is the best thing in the world.


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Bonanza’s handsome heir, Songkran Techanarong, 26, opens up about struggling through his teenage years and how family saved his life by giving him the chance to prove himself.

My parents knew that I was stubborn so they let me get hurt and learn my own lessons.

I loved going to Bonanza, our hotel in Khao Yai, for outdoor activities. I realized when I got older that maybe my family would take me there, as the oldest son, so that I would bond with the place.

I got a modeling job when I ran into [scout and film director] Poj Arnon at Siam. I had just graduated from junior high school in England. He asked me to do a photo shoot for The Boy magazine. After that, jobs kept coming.

It was pretty fun back then. I met lots of people and hung out with friends. All of my modeling money went on partying.

I started taking drugs for the adrenalin rush. As a teenager, I just wanted to try it.

My family intervened after I had been doing drugs for a year. They were afraid that my life would fall apart, so they sent me to study abroad again, this time to New Zealand.

It was all so natured and quiet, compared to Bangkok’s bustling atmosphere, where we had parties till dawn at the pubs.

I had to be patient even though I wanted it to be over as soon as possible. My dad didn’t pay for my expenses. It was pretty exhausting to study all day and work all night.

These struggles shaped me. I realized how well-intentioned my family was and I had to give back to them. My first task was getting a bachelor’s degree. That is essential to having dignity in our society.

I chose finance because no one in my family had studied it. And finance is the life blood of any business.

My dad let me manage our family business without coaching me. He built his business with nothing but will and hard work.

I love to play golf so I decided to renovate Bonanza’s golf course. It was a success, and was chosen as the main course for the SEA games in 2007.

Our first concert event in 2008 had huge facility problems. But even professional planners don’t always get it right 100%. We learned from our mistakes.

Big Mountain 2 is meant to be a real music festival.

Neighboring countries like Japan, Singapore and Malaysia already have something like this. They can export their culture via these long festivals.

I don’t agree that our concert is disturbing animals in the national park. It’s in a different area to the UNESCO forest.

The biggest problem with being in a family business is building up your credibility among the employees. They might see me as a rich boy running his father’s business, which makes it harder to get them to listen to me or follow what I say.

I didn’t do everything right, but some of it was successful. After five or six years, it seems they’ve accepted me.

If you want people to listen, make them see the future first.

I am still involved in the entertainment industry because my old friends are still there and ask me to show up at events.

I have become a target for gossip news and rumors involving actresses [including his famous girlfriend, Taksaorn “AF” Paksukcharoen]. I get really frustrated about this. Besides, it impacts my perceived reliability, which is essential in business.

I can’t ignore the news. I’m a businessman. I have to follow the current social trends.

I used to underestimate acting jobs. I thought they were easy. I changed my mind after appearing in My Best Bodyguard with Her Royal Highness Princess Ubolratana. It’s tough to make the audience believe your performance. I really respect actors now. It’s an art.

I love to hang out with experienced people. It’s like playing sports with brilliant players. It will make you advance yourself. Don’t have too much ego. Just ask them for advice.

The most important thing in life is to have goals. If we live pointlessly, we cannot motivate ourselves to achieve.


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The next big BMA projects set to change our city. By Monruedee Jansuttipan and Heyun Kim, illustrations by Tanwa Tiammek

1. Monorail Siam-Sayan

The BMA have drawn up plans for no less than 8 monorail routes throughout the city. Of these, three have been prioritized and, at present, the first to actually happen will be the circular monorail route between Siam, Chulalongkorn University and Sam Yan. The 1.5 kilometer circuit aims to reduce traffic, especially on Rama I Road where cars currently average 6-8 kilometers per hour. They hope the monorail will service at least 5,000 people a day, with Chulalongkorn University providing a depot space for the monorail trains to be housed. The other two priority routes are from Yummarat Intersection to the BMA Building (completion date: three years) and Bang Na to Suvarnabhumi Airport (completion date: 4 years). There are further five routes penciled in for the as yet undisclosed future: Thong Lor-Ekkamai-Ramkhameng University; Ratchada-Ladprao intersection-Chatuchak Park and three lines in Thonburi. Even the private sector is getting in on the act, with a project to connect the Grand Square housing project to the Rama 9 MRT station that hopes to service 30,000 people.
Verdict: Nice idea but a completely unrealistic timeframe.

WHERE: Siam, Sam Yan, Chula
HOW MUCH?: B5 billion
WHEN?:To be built in 2011, Open Dec 5, 2012

2. Bangkok Eye

We all know about the positive impact that the London Eye in London and the Singapore Flyer had on their cities. Now Thailand might be getting its own high-flying ferris wheel, offering 360-degree views of the city, after the Bangkok Governor, Sukhumbhand Paripatra mentioned possible plans for a Bangkok Eye. Opinion was split between fierce criticism over the lavish budget and excited anticipation. The project is still very much up in the air, with no definite plans as to where the wheel would be, or who would pay for it. Still the working plan is for it to be 176 meters high (making it the world’s tallest), and there is a preferred site next to the Chao Phraya River. Meanwhile the Governor insists the money will come from private sector investment only. The BMA see the Eye as being a big tourist attraction: the London Eye gets 3.5 million visitors a year.
Verdict: Heck, if we don’t have to pay for it, we’ll take it. But can we think of a more original name, please?

WHERE: On the banks of the Chao Phraya river  close to the Grand Palace.
HOW MUCH?: B30 billion
WHEN?: Not scheduled.

3. Flood Prevention System

While the city might have got away with it this year, especially when compared with the rest of the country, flooding is a problem that’s not going to go away. In response to this, the BMA announced plans to build four nearly six-meter-high underground tunnels as part of their long-term flood prevention scheme. After years spending billions on short-term solutions, this new plan, supported by the Engineering Institute of Thailand, is a longer term fix that increases the city’s drainage capacity from the current rate of 95 cubic meters a second to as much as 240 cubic meters. The 36 km of tunnels will be positioned in the following areas of town: Don Muang (13.5 km), Ratchadaphisek-Sutthisan (6.5 km), Suan Luang Rama IX (9.5 km), and Rama 9-Ramkhamhaeng (5 km). They will drain water from large parts of the city stretching from Din Daeng to Phra Khanong and Bang Na to Lad Phrao. All the water will be siphoned off into the Chao Phraya River.
Verdict: That these huge holes will be dug in some seriously crowded parts of town does make us a little concerned about the upheaval it’s going to cause. And won’t the Chao Phraya flood over with all that extra water? And aren’t we all going to drown in 2012 anyway?

WHERE: Don Muang, Ratchadaphisek, Suan Luang and Rama 9.
HOW MUCH?: B150 million/km or B5.4 billion total.
WHEN?: The first tunnel is set to open Jan, 2011

4. Homeless shelter

Before the BMA decided to make over Sanam Luang it wasn’t just home to a load of pigeons. It was also the spot where the city’s homeless population came to sleep at night. As part of the transformation, the BMA wanted to find somewhere a bit more permanent to house the homeless and turned their attention to the old Rama 6 Technology Vocational School. They are now renovating the 1,600-square-meter space. When it’s finished it should be able to house 400 people. It’s due to complete at the same time that Sanam Luang is set to reopen, so preventing the homeless heading back to their old sleeping spot. They are still deciding whether to offer a bed for the night for free or charge B30 a night.
Verdict: A worthy first step towards a long term solution to homelessness in Bangkok. We just hope they see sense and don’t charge for the privilege—and continue to develop cheap housing that people could actually call home.

WHERE: Rama 6 Technology Vocational School
HOW MUCH?: Not confirmed.
WHEN?: In negotiations for a 1-3 year lease with an option to buy. Renovations will last 4-5 months after the budget is approved.

5. New Futsal Stadium

You might not know it but Thailand is actually going to be hosting the next FIFA Futsal World Cup in the autumn of 2012. Of course that means we need a flagship stadium to host the indoor version of the beautiful game and the BMA (with the approval of the Cabinet) recently selected a site at the BMA Training and Development Institute in Nong Chok. The 12,000-seat stadium will occupy 80,000 square-meters, and will be designed by King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi. After a two month bidding process, construction is due to begin in August 2011 and should take 14 months with a grand opening set for November 2012. The BMA has also set aside budgets to improve all the existing indoor stadiums like Indoor Stadium Hua Mak and Nimibut Stadium.
Verdict: The whole plan is on a very tight schedule and we’re not sure this is really the best location for the stadium either. It is a lowland area at a high risk of flooding and it is not exactly easy to get to. We would have preferred the other option put forward: to build the stadium in the Makkasan area on State Railway of Thailand land. Too bad it would have cost the BMA a lot more to secure the space needed.

WHERE: BMA Training and Development Institute, Nong Chok district
HOW MUCH?: B1.3 billion
WHEN?: Nov 2012

6. Sanam luAng Make-over

Funded by the government’s “Thai Khemkhaeng” stimulus program, this on-going project is one of a number of events scheduled to celebrate the King’s 84th birthday next year. After getting rid of all the vendors, homeless people and animals (including 10,000 pigeons said to have been relocated to Ratchaburi), the BMA handed over Sanam Luang to the army to revamp the 120,000-square-meter area—apparently soldiers are great with flowers. The park will be split into two sections: the southern half, close to the palace, will be turned into a ceremonial ground for royal events, while the northern section will be concrete-paved for public use. The huge budget will be spent on landscaping, tree planting, new benches, lighting and underground public toilets! They’re also spending money on improving the drainage system so you avoid having to stand in floodwater while using the loo.
Verdict: Parks and toilets are nice but we would have liked to keep the vendors.

WHERE: Sanam Luang
HOW MUCH?: B181 million
WHEN?: Jul 2011



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It’s hard to find a full-flavored pad thai in Silom, particularly at lunch- time rush hour. But hidden deep in the bustling district down an alley in Soi Sala Daeng is a place that all the white collars crave. In the front yard of a 100-year old Thai house, the smiling cook, Pranee Thanee, 46, works tirelessly at the wok, not resting until the last customer has returned to the office. We caught up with her for a little chat just before it got busy.

BK: How did you come to open this shop?
My mother used to work at this house when I was a kid. I’ve worked here as a housekeeper for years. Then their children went abroad so I had a lot more free time, even though I was taking care of the owner of this house. He suggested that I start a little side business, and I agreed, because I wanted a way to pay my kid’s school fees. So I opened this shop.

BK: What’s the hardest part about starting up?
I had to find the money to open the shop. I asked for a B40,000 loan, which I’m still paying back to this day. When we opened, people were really skeptical about the sur- vival of my shop. But I survived.

BK: Why did you choose pad thai?
I’m not sure. I just figured it was the best food to sell in Silom, where there are so many different offerings.

BK: Were you taught how to make pad thai?
Never. I used to sell made to order food in my province some years ago, so I thought it wouldn’t be too hard to make my own pad thai.

BK: What’s your secret?
Nothing special, really. It could be the tamarind sauce that we make ourselves every weekend. We just use tamarind, sugar and salt, but it’s difficult because it takes two hours of simmering, and we do 14 bottles a week.

Pad thai (b30), pad thai kung sod or pla meuk (b40), kanom pakkad (b30) 47 Sala Daeng Soi 2 (behind Silom Complex), 086-403-0106 Open daily 7am-2.30pm.


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Son of Vietnamese immigrants, Naris Sampaiworakij, 34, was an events promoter who found music was his real love. Now he’s releasing his first album, Love at First Song, under the guidance of Koh Mr. Saxman.

BK: Tell us about growing up here with Vietnamese parents?
My grandparents were from Vietnam so my father and mother weren’t registered as Thai citizens. I remember, once, our family couldn’t leave Ubon Ratchathani because we didn’t have Thai ID cards. As I was undocumented, my parents had to work very hard to send me and my siblings to a private school, which was very expensive. At school, I was discriminated against because of my race, so I decided I wanted to be a exchange student. Luckily, the government gave Thai registration to me and more than ten thousand immigrant children that year so I was able to go study abroad and then come back to study at ABAC.

BK: What was your first job?
I went back home to help my father with his contractor work for two months. Then I opened a karaoke shop and starting becoming a DJ and event promoter at a big shopping mall in Ubon Ratchathani.

BK: Why did you decide to go to Sydney, Australia?
I felt bored so I put all my money towards registering for the first semester in an event management master’s degree in Sydney. I had to work hard to be able to pay for my education and living expenses. I ate instant noodles for months. Finally I got a job at a printing house and was able to finish my master’s degree.

BK: How did you become a concert promoter in Sydney?
My final master’s degree project was a concert event where I hired a Thai band, Potato, to play there. It made me good money, so I began doing it as a job and became the partner of a Thai restaurant, Na Bangkok.

BK: How did you become a singer on Mr. Saxman’s records?
I hired Jennifer Kim and Mr. Saxman to play in Sydney and they found out that I could sing well and ask me to join them.

BK: How would you describe your album?
Easy listening pop jazz. I wrote seven songs without any music skills.

BK: Do you worry having left everything in Sydney for this album?
Yes! It was a really tough decision and I know it won’t be easy for someone to begin singing at 34. But I want to follow my dream.

BK: What's next for you?
This album helped me discover myself and my interests, especially songwriting. So I will definitely stay in the music circle for as long as I can.


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The first Thai writer to earn over B100 million, Somkid Lawangkool, relates his rollercoaster rags to riches story and explains how his life was changed thanks to reading a funeral book.

My mother wasn’t married when she became pregnant with me and the guy ran away. She had to leave me at a temple when I was 2 years old because she didn’t have enough money to raise me. I was very poor and couldn’t continue my education.

I asked a priest how I could be successful. He told me rich people have to be smart and that I needed to read a lot. So I read every book I could.

A funeral book changed my life. It was a book of self-improvement ideas from Dale Carnegie, a famous American self-help writer, who had also once been poor.

You need to target your weak point. Dale said anyone who wanted to be successful has to have life goals.

I decided I would be a millionaire by the time I was 25 years old.

I tried being a boxer after I saw a famous fighter win several million baht in one fight. I later dropped this idea after my mom asked me to stop. She couldn’t see me hurt.

I came to Bangkok to work as a waiter and was promoted to be a manager. I also studied at school to improve my English. Then I got work at a massage parlor where I was earning B500-600 a night. I actually thought I could have a million dollars this way.

I was addicted to drugs. My mom cried and begged me to stop and I did.

I later became a soldier and a sergeant for years. Then my mom, who worked as a maid for a rich family, got me work for Thai Airways in their kitchen service department.

Being a soldier was quite comfortable, so I thought really hard, because I would start from nothing at Thai. Dale Carnegie said, if you have to make a decision, choose the one that helps you acquire your goal faster. The answer, for me, was to work for Thai Airways.

After 2 years, I decided to go work with Scandinavian Airlines as a cleaner at the new Jeddah International Airport in Saudi Arabia.

I did my job well, and I finally became an Operational Assistant, the youngest executive in the company.

I also achieved my goal. I had a million baht in my account when I was only 24.

I quit because I wanted to marry, but the girl didn’t want to marry me.

I withdrew from the world and went to live in the jungle on 30 rai of land. I tried to grow jasmine but I lost all my money due to flooding.

I realized I had failed because I didn’t have a goal. I made up my mind to have B10 million and to be famous.

I tried to get into broadcasting, but ended up being a human resources guy and then a general manager.

My friends said I would never get rich being an employee. I became a partner at Banana Music records which flopped after the mp3 boom. Then I produced TV programs and talk shows which failed because of the financial crisis in 1997.

I lost everything and was nearly B10 million in debt. I even thought of committing suicide.

Carnegie said you must see the opportunities in crises. While I was looking for things to sell, I found my old talk show scripts, which still made me laugh. I decided to write books based on them.

Ha Sud Kheed (Extremely Funny) became a best seller. I could pay off my debt in 2 years. I’ve since written at least 30 more books which have made me B100 million. That’s ten times more than I first planned.

I actually retired in 2000 but I still do some lectures and write some books. Now I have a goal to make another B100 million.

If I hadn’t been poor, I wouldn’t have had a life like this. I wouldn’t be willful and wouldn’t have fought like this.

I teach my only daughter to be poor. She has to wake up early to work at the cafeteria of her boarding school before going to study.

The practice of dharma is the best science. The trend is reversed now. Normal folk stop practicing dharma because materialism makes them want money. Rich people have returned to dharma because they’ve realized that everything that they ran after cannot bring them real happiness.

Chinese philosophy says that if you strive and fight unflinchingly, god has no choice but to give you great achievement.


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The director of TAN, Thailand’s first 24-hour English News Channel, Sarocha Pornudomsak reveals how natural disasters and strong beliefs have shaped her life as a journalist.

I grew up in America. My parents moved to Los Angeles to start a business there when I was three.

My mom didn’t want me growing up with American values, like enjoying wild teenage years or free sex. So she decided to return to Thailand after we’d lived there for ten years.

A big earthquake in 1989 also really freaked us out. It hit many of our neighbors hard, so my parents decided to sell everything and move back to Thailand.

I was in culture shock when I moved back. I really hated living in Thailand. I felt that I was an American. I had to wake up at 5am to get to school by 7am. What’s that all about? I was used to being able to walk to school in just 15 minutes!

I also didn’t understand Thailand’s social constraints. Like juniors having to respect their seniors or the fact I couldn’t go out with boys. So many things that just never happened in the US.

I told my mom I would only stay here until I was 18. Then I would go to study in the US and not come back.

My relatives and friends helped me adjust to Thai culture. I was an only child, with no siblings. Then all of a sudden, I had at least 12 cousins. It’s quite fun. I had to try and remember all my cousins’ names.

I transformed from an American to a Thai girl after four years. I even cried when I had to go back to the US to study.

I was preparing to study at UCLA in California but again, there was a big earthquake in 1994. I was so scared. I ended up driving from California to Phoenix, Arizona in eight hours and managed to get a place at Arizona State University.

Both earthquakes are signals that have directed my life.

I thought it would be easy for me to go back to the US but it wasn’t.

I felt like a second-class citizen. My old friends had all grown up and my new friends weren’t who I wanted to hang out with. So I ended up hanging around with Thais and Asians.

I realized the US was not my home anymore. After graduating in broadcasting, I decided I wanted to go home.

I couldn’t work for Thai TV because my Thai wasn’t good enough, so I went to work with an export company for two years. Then Channel 11 called me to join their English news TV program, News Line.

I was then asked to join The Nation by Suthichai Yoon. I spent three years there, then two years at Singapore’s Network Channel News Asia as their Bangkok-based journalist. I had to be trained in Singapore for a year. I read the news from 8am-5pm, working non-stop for 14 days, then I’d get 4-5 days-off. It was pretty exhausting.

I met Sonthi Limthongkul who wanted someone to host his TV program Muang Thai Rai Subda (Thailand Weekly). I thought it was interesting so I joined him. I was promoted to be the director of TOC before we decided to re-brand TOC to TAN, the first 24 hour English news channel in Thailand.

Managing the news and people behind the scenes is the most difficult job in my life.

I don’t worry about taking sides even though I am a journalist. We’re still human. We have our own ideas and should do what we believe is the right thing.

It’s hard to find neutral media in Thailand but the audience can choose what channel they watch.

We can’t underestimate the audience. They’re smart and know how to find the truth by using the internet or other news sources to fact-check the media. Even the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) watch other media to evaluate the truth.

Divisions in Thai society make people follow politics much more closely but we have to respect other people’s opinion without violence. That will be real democracy.

People may see me as a tough woman; I don’t. I am just a normal person who has experienced good and bad things in life. I also worry about so many things, especially the lawsuits that I’m facing, including one where I am being branded a terrorist. That is the hardest, I even cry when I think about it.

I wish Thais would live more slowly and be less worried about contending so strongly for everything. Then our happiness will return.


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The son of legendary action actor, Chatchapol “Pod” Kulsiriwutthichai, has managed to find his own fame as a stuntman in Scorpion King III and with his latest role, as the lead this time, in Kod Su Kod So.

BK: What were you doing before becoming a stuntman?
I decided to drop out of university after two weeks because I wanted to work and earn money. At that time, my father was also very sick. He was in the terminal stage of lung cancer and I wanted to be with him, more than worrying about studying.

BK: Why did you want to become a stuntman?
My father was an action actor but I was also inspired by Ja Panom [Tony Ja]. I was just amazed by his performances so I asked my mom to call Panna Ritthigrai, Thailand’s famous stunt master, to see if he could help me become a stuntman. Luckily, Panna was in the process of forming a new team of stuntmen so he asked me to audition.

BK: How did the audition go?
I had studied taekwondo, so I performed those moves for the audition. There were around a hundred people taking part but only eight people got picked.

BK: How did they train you?
We had to train intensively for three months. I think it was harder than military training. The first day, I couldn’t eat because I was so tired and would throw up if I ate anything. We covered everything from gymnastics and muay Thai to how to make a fight look real or how to avoid injury while still making things look great for the camera.

BK: What was your first job?
I helped out the stuntmen in King Naresuan II and then appeared as a stuntman in Chocolate and Somtam. Then I played the spirit of Ramil (Athip Nana) in Opapatika—the make-up took 4 hours! I also played the stunt double for Metanee “Lookked” Kinpayom in Lek Lhai because we are the same height even if she’s a woman.

BK: What is the most dangerous stunt you’ve ever done?
It has to be in Kod Su Kod Su, my new movie. The director, Panna, packed it full of stunts. One scene has 14 stuntmen falling from a two-story building. I nearly missed the safety boxes but the crew moved the safety sheet just in time.

BK: What about your international work?
Our Fight Club team featured in Hong Kong movies like Shanghai and Elephant White, where I had to run on the roof of a train. Now we’re doing Scorpion King III, which is being shot in Kanchanaburi. I feel making Thai movies is more difficult because on international movies, everything is already set up. In Thai movies we have to create the stunt scene from scratch.

BK: Aren’t you ever afraid that you’re going to be hurt?
No. I love it. I never get tired of doing this. It’s like a hobby, not a job.


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Aranya Namwong, wife of famous host and singer Settha Sirachaya, shares her experiences from 45 years in show business.

I dropped out of high school because I wanted to study at the military nursing school which had just opened that year. But I didn’t get in because I was too young, so I went back to high school.

My mom was the one who supported me to enter beauty pageants and the entertainment industry even though I wasn’t quite interested. She really loved watching the national pageant, which back then was called Miss Siam.

I didn’t study singing from any master. I just knew Kru Ue Sunthornsanan, legendary musician, who saw my singing talent and we attended ceremonies together.

The turning point happened when one of my sister’s friends asked permission from my family to send me to the Miss Thailand pageant. They wanted to advertise their business on my shoulder-strap.

Back then, there weren’t that many advertising opportunities like there are today so businesses loved to have their names at a big event like that one. The pageant had just restarted after being suspended for ten years.

I thought I would be eliminated in the first round and everything would be finished and I could go back to studying. But I ended up with the second runner-up title. The winner was Apasara Hongsakul, who later became Miss Universe in 1965.

My father, a military colonel, didn’t like that I had gotten into this. He wanted me to study, which I wanted too, and have a more stable job. But singing and acting jobs kept coming my way.

Another twist in my life happened through my uncle-in-law who was an aspiring filmmaker. He kept asking my mom to convince me to play the leading role with Mitre Chaibancha, the most famous actor at that time. I ducked my uncle’s request for a while because I didn’t want to do something that I felt I wasn’t good at.

My mom finally convinced me to do my first film, Saen Payod. And while I was working on it, His Royal Highness Prince Anusornmongkolkarn, the father of M.C. Chatrichalerm Yukhol, asked me to act in his film, E-Tan. I thought it would be a good opportunity for me because it was one of Thailand’s first 35mm films and the prince had also honored me by asking me to act in it.

Both movies were tremendously successful and I suddenly became a leading actress and remained so for decades.

The process of making movies was more or less the same back then, but the atmosphere was different. It was hard to shoot on location in the city because people always gathered around so we had to shoot in studios or in remote places, which was so inconvenient.

Fans from 20-30 years ago didn’t behave like fans do today. They always went crazy when they saw us and we couldn’t go outside. If we went to rural areas, they would treat us like dignitaries. They would run to us and kiss our hands.

The media in those days were harsh, like today. I think it depends on the morals of individuals in the press. I always had scandalous rumors written about me involving breaking up marriages or having rich boyfriends who paid for me to live with them.

I used a tit for tat philosophy to deal with bad journalists who made their living on other people’s misery. I had to protect my dignity. My parents didn’t raise me to accept this mistreatment, so I sued every newspaper that wrote bad things about me.

In one case, I sued a journalist until he had to go to jail even though he tried to mollify me by paying me a settlement. I wanted to teach him a lesson that you can’t escape your guilt by throwing money at it. After that, the media didn’t want to mess with me anymore.

We can’t blame anyone about today’s entertainment situation. We have lots of newcomers because people accept them easily, no matter how they get in or how scandalous they are.
Society gets used to it and lets bad things happen. So, who can we blame?

My philosophy for staying in this industry is to have fun and be sincere with whomever I work with.

The secret to having a good family is all about understanding which will make your relationships long-lasting.


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