Tips and tricks to beat the forces of nature.

German supermodel Heidi Klum once said that she was proud of her developing age lines and that she wasn’t planning to get a nip-tuck. Sigourney Weaver also confirmed that she is getting more attractive with wrinkles… We’re happy they feel good, but there is such a thing as aging gracefully. Noticed how all Hollywood stars look 10-20 years less than their age? Look at Madonna! To help you achieve the seemingly unattainable goal, BK gives you the latest secrets on staying young and beautiful, from economical simple eating habits to heavy-duty, turn-back-the-clock treatments. We give you a breakdown by generations—20s, 30s and 40s. Simply skip straight to your section or read the whole story and sulk about what you could have done.

20s / 30s / 40s


Just as you wave goodbye to adolescent acne and say hi to glowing, radiant skin, you need to realize you are about to be attacked by the evil effects of time. In our 20s, the speed of skin cell regeneration drops by up to 28 percent, meaning your dead skin cells won’t shed as easily and when they do, they won’t be reborn as fast as when you were in your tweens. But good news is that time is still on your side. Take action now and you’ll save yourself from wrinkles to come.

You Are What You Eat

Thidakarn Ratanabanangkoon, a dermatologist at Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital, suggests you start simple—with your food, for example. Lamenting the rise of rice’s price? How timely! “Believe it or not, vegetables like potatoes, cabbage and carrots are good sources of carbohydrates—much better than what you find in rice and white bread,” says Dr. Thidakarn. “So it’s better to cut down on rice and add more greens to your anti-aging regimen.”

Though white bread is a big no-no, you should make white meat your new best friend. “Chicken and fish have less fat than red meat,” explains doctor Thidakarn. “Though that chunk of beef or pork you are having may appear lean, they actually contain hidden fat that you can’t see with your bare eyes.” Also, keep fats to a minimum by opting for healthy cooking methods like steaming, baking and grilling rather than deep-frying.

Milk Matters

Just as saving for a brand new Ford Focus or your mom’s retirement pays off if you start early, so does calcium storage. Women, particularly in our non-dairy part of the world, tend to be afflicted by osteoporosis, a disease that causes the bones to become fragile and easily break. “Don’t dismiss it as an elderly concern,” warns Dr. Thidakarn. “To build and maintain healthy strong bones, you need to treat them to adequate calcium and you need to start at an early age.” But no, you don’t need to pop calcium supplements yet. Milk or soymilk will do just fine.

Damage Prevention

Free radicals are villains that wreak havoc on your skin. These reactive elements roam around with an unpaired electron and they will attack the nearest healthy molecule to steal its electron—the action which contributes to aging. Environmental factors like pollution and penetrating UV rays also spawn free radicals, so don’t forget to put on your Tom Ford shades and use sunscreen on a daily basis. “If you regularly stay in the office, choose one with SPF 25-30, but the outdoorsy type should opt for SPF 50,” recommends doctor Thidakarn. Also because of free radicals, nothing takes years off your appearance faster than smoking and drinking, so do it in moderation or quit them now, if you want to keep your good looks longer.

Sweat It Out

Plan (and stick to) your exercise regimen. Working out not only helps you get rid of a wide waistline, but also strengthens your bones, relieves stress and keeps your hormones balanced.

Life in the Fast Lane

Shortcuts for 20-something


What: Traditional Chinese acupuncture helps relieve aches and pains. It also claims to help you lose weight and quit smoking—the nemesis of a healthy skin.
The good: Soft, non-invasive and chemical-free.
The bad: Don’t get your hopes too high thinking that one acupuncture session will help you achieve the whole package mentioned above. To cure each condition, a doctor has to target different selected acupuncture points. Ultimately, it’s also up to you whether you are going to ditch the cigarette or not.
Who has it: An acupuncture treatment at S Medical Spa (2/2 Bhakdi Bldg., Wireless Rd., 02-253-1010, sets you back at B1,600, or opt for a B15,000 package for 12 visits.


What: A treatment of cellulite and stretch marks that works by injecting carbon dioxide gas beneath your skin’s surface.
The good: This is a quick, non-surgical treatment, meaning you don’t need to be put under anesthesia. After a 20-minute session, you can walk out of a hospital and straight back to work.
The bad: It takes at least three sessions for you to see the difference and overall between 15-20 treatments to eliminate the unwanted cellulite. After the whole process, you must continue to watch your diet and exercise regularly or else cellulite is going to come back to haunt you much quicker.
Who has it: Apex Profound Beauty (3/F, The Emporium, Sukhumvit Soi 24, 02-664-8613, offers a B25,000 package for 12 sessions. Bangkok Hospital (2 Soi Soonvijai 7, Petchburi Rd., 02-310-3000, also has the carboxy therapy with prices starting at B3,000/session.

Fat Loss Challenge

What: An eight-week weight management program designed to burn your fat.
The good: The most effective and affordable way to shed unwanted fat for good. As little as B386 a day, the program includes everything from a supermarket tour to a fitness session (three times a week) and an individualized exercise plan for you to practice at home.
The bad: While other treatments allow you to just lazily lie down and let the docs do their jobs, this one requires you to get off a couch and keep your butt moving. Motivation is mandatory.
Who has it: Fitcorp Asia (75/34 Ocean Tower 2, Sukhumvit Soi 19, 02-661-7900,


By the time you reach your 30s, we are sorry to report, there will be a real slowdown in skin cell turnover. And while the growth hormone, which plays an important part in your immune system, brain power and stamina, decreases, the aging process increases. So be prepared to celebrate the appearance of your first fine wrinkle. But hey, if Carrie and her posse managed to look fabulous in their third decade of life, you sure can too!

Face Saving

Expression lines, crow’s feet and uneven skin tone—you can thank three decades of sun and pollution exposure for this. At this stage of life, a skin care regimen should already be a part of your daily routine. To keep your skin supple and firm and delay new lines from appearing, you should start slathering on some age-busting products with antioxidant ingredients (see Shopping to Stay Young). Melasma, brownish blemishes usually found on the nose and upper cheek, is another threat to the 30-year-olds, especially in women. “Melasma is difficult to treat, so it’s better to prevent rather than trying to cure,” says Dr. Thidakarn. Sun protection is a must. Choose sun block with a ‘broad-spectrum’ label, which can protect you from both wrinkle-causing UV-A and burning UV-B. “You should also avoid the sunlight during 10am-3pm,” adds the dermatologist.

Curb Your Cravings

Calorie restriction is a key element in an anti-aging diet. “When you reach your 30s, your metabolism slows down and you tend to get fat more easily. Do not indulge yourself like you did before,” says Dr. Thidakarn. The Okinawa diet, which is low in calories and high in nutrients, is a good option. “According to various research, Okinawa’s locals consume 20 percent less calories than the dietary intake of an average person,” explains the doctor. “That’s why they have lower risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity.” The bottom line: Reduce your caloric intake and you’ll look and feel younger.

V is for Vitamins

You eat a lot, you are bloated. You watch your diet, you don’t get enough nutrients your body needs. So what to do? According to Dr. Thidakarn, 30-somethings should consider incorporating vitamin supplements into their diet plan. “Say, you need 500mg of vitamin C per day, that means you need to eat at least 20 oranges. But then you would be eating so much sugar that it could lead to obesity and diabetes,” explains the doctor. “If you are looking for dietary supplements, I would recommend all-around vitamins first. Then it’s up to each person’s nutritional needs,” says Shidapa Pongwaranon, a Boots pharmacist. “Always be informed of the formulations you are taking. Especially those with medical conditions or pregnant women.”

Shape Your Shape

Beer bellies are not only a big turn-off, but also a sign of ailment. “In your 30s, you’ve got to pay more attention to your figure. Accumulating fat around your waistline is associated with many diseases, from high blood pressure to diabetes and clotted veins,” explains Dr. Thidakarn. While you should exercise religiously, if you are in your late 30s, you should avoid high-impact sports such as squash, boxing and basketball that will take their toll on your knees when you are older.

Annual Checkup

Don’t wait to be sick to start worrying about your health. It doesn’t hurt to be preventive. Make your annual appointment with a doctor for a comprehensive body checkup. Many hospitals have various packages to offer. Bumrungrad Hospital (33 Sukhumvit Soi 3, 02-667-1555, has an extensive checkup, including a whole abdomen ultrasound, chest x-ray, tumor markers, etc. at B11,500. Bangkok Christian Hospital (124 Silom Rd., 02-235-1000/-7, provides a medical checkup for those under 35 at B1,360, covering chest x-ray, glucose and cholesterol test, blood count and kidney and liver function tests.

Before It's Too Late

Shortcuts for 30-somethings


What: A favorite wrinkle-busting prescription among middle-aged Hollywood stars and our local hiso ladies. Inject this into the frown lines between your eyebrows or your forehead and voila, a brand new face.
The good: Quick and painless, it takes only five minutes and you are good to go.
The bad: While the treatment itself is not time-consuming, botox is costly (B5,000-6,000 per area). If the doc misses his target, you can also end up with a droopy eyelid for six months. Effects last for only 4-6 months and you’ll have to get another shot or else you will get busted.
Who has it: There is a long list of botox clinics on (how popular!). Check it out and choose the one near you. Good luck!

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)

What: An application of IPL onto the surface of your skin to rid you of dark speckled areas.
The good: It is a capable way to get a brighter and spotless face.
The bad: After the IPL procedure, your skin might be slightly pink and swollen. You have to avoid the sun or else all the work will go down the drain.
Who has it: Seek advice from a dermatologist at Samitivej Hospital (133 Thonglor Soi 13, 02-711-8700, 02-711-8181,, where an IPL treatment is B7,900.


What: A surgical treatment in which a doctor inserts a tube into your stomach, thighs, buttocks, you name it, to suck out the fat.
The good: It is an answer for the overweight who have tried every possible diet and exercise strategy.
The bad: Not everyone is a good candidate for liposuction. “If you have diabetes, heart problems or you easily develop keroids, don’t even consider liposuction,” cautions Dr. Chartchai Rattanamahattana, a plastic and cosmetic surgeon at Samitivej Hospital. “You need two weeks to recover and have to exercise religiously or else you will get fat even faster.” In older people whose tissue is not as firm and elastic, other surgery like a tummy tuck is required, too.
Who has it: At Samitivej Hospital (Thonglor Soi 13, 02-711-8700, 02-711-8181,, liposuction costs B80,000 per area, while Yanhee Hospital (454 Charansanitwong Soi 90, 02-879-0300, offers it at B28,000 per area.


What: A non-surgical treatment using a radiofrequency technology to tighten skin and promote the growth of collagen.
The good: An alternative for patients over 35 who aren’t ready for a facelift, yet. It also requires a short recovery period.
The bad: After the procedure, you have to wait four months to see the result, which lasts for only two years. “The frequency used for thermage delivers the heat deep into your skin, so you better seek out a legitimate doctor trained to perform the treatment,” warns Dr. Thidakarn.
Who has it: Both Thaniya Medical Center (Thaniya Plaza Bldg., Soi Thaniya, 02-231-2100) and Bangkok Hospital (2 Soi Soonvijai 7, Petchburi Rd., 02-310-3000, offer thermage with prices ranging from B45,000-100,000.


You have established a stable career path. Some of you might be married with two kids. But while your life (and the numbers of candles on your birthday cake) is on an upward trend, your body goes in the opposite direction—your hormone levels plummet, skin becomes flaccid and your beautiful locks are turning gray. While you can’t stop those aging signs, you can make them less visible. Give your body the care it deserves and middle age can be your prime years.

Golden Age

Most women go through menopause in their late 40s. A decline in estrogen, which plays an important role in women’s psychical and mental health, leads to mood swings and triggers a wave of syndromes from high cholesterol levels to heart disease. And if you haven’t adopted healthy eating habits, before you know it, you can’t squeeze into your pants anymore. And though they might not want to admit it, men, too, undergo this midlife crisis. Lower levels of testosterone contribute to the so-called andropause. “If you feel that your husband is turning into a grumpy old man, that’s a sign of his menopause,” laughs Dr. Thidakarn. “Men are luckier than women, though, because their condition is gradual.”

Hormone supplements can help to a certain level, but you should take them under close supervision of a doctor. “Everything has both benefits and risks,” cautions the dermatologist. “In the U.S., some researchers try to reverse the patient’s age by injecting them with growth hormone, but the method isn’t available in Thailand yet. After all, anti-aging is all about prevention, not reversal.”

Slow Life

Give your joints a break and switch to super low-impact sports like tai chi and golf. “Exercise is important in every stage of life. In your 40s, you should opt for low-impact, flexibility-boosting options like golf, yoga and tai chi,” recommends Dr. Thidakarn.

Submit to a Knife?

You can’t stand what you see in a mirror, and even the most expensive turning-back-the-clock cream can’t help. What’s next? Surgery can be the answer to what you’re looking for. “Think long and hard before you decide to go for a nip tuck,” advises Chartchai Rattanamahattana, a certified plastic and cosmetic surgeon at Samitivej Sukhumvit “Don’t overreact to your wrinkles and jump into a facelift. It’s a waste of money! Do your research. Visit as many surgeons as you can and choose the most trustworthy. Remember to ask about the side effects and the drawbacks of the surgical treatment as well.”

Turn Back the Clock

Shortcuts for 40-somethings

CyroStem Cell Facial Treatment

What: Full of antioxidants and vitamins, stem cells extracted from young, pregnant cows are added to your skin to stimulate the production of collagen and bring about a naturally glowing look.
The good: This skin regeneration treatment is said to deliver an immediate transformation. No surgery and invasive laser required.
The bad: Your animal rights activist friends might not approve.
Who has it: TRIA (998 Rimklongsamsen Rd., Bangkapi, 02-660-2602, at B6,500.


What: As the name suggests, this heavy-duty surgery lifts your face, pulling back all the creases and lines.
The good: For those who have deep wrinkles, a facelift is considered the best option. “It is a one-off investment as the result will last up to eight years,” says Dr. Chartchai, who performs facelifts for seven patients a month.
The bad: It costs a hefty sum of money and requires a long recovery period. This is surgery!
Who has it: Get a facelift at Samitivej Hospital (133 Thonglor Soi 13, 02-711-8700, 02-711-8181, at B110,000. A facelift at Bangkok Hospital (2 Soi Soonvijai 7, Petchburi Rd., 02-310-3000, sets you back B120,000, including a night stay at a hospital.

Optimal Aging

What: A holistic program that integrates physical and emotional anti-aging approaches to keep you at your optimal age.
The good: The program is comprehensive as it covers standard medical tests such as optimal blood tests, nutritional measurement and bone density, as well as counseling sessions to help you age gracefully.
The bad: If you are looking for a quick fix, this one is not for you. And it’s B48,200, which can get you four Botox injections.
Who has it: TRIA (998 Rimklongsamsen Rd., Bangkapi, 02-660-2602,

Anti-Aging Program

What: A three-month, age-busting program targeted at those who are prone to use hormones.
The good: The comprehensive procedure will introduce you to a body composition analysis, lab tests and weekly anti-aging exercise programs. You can also choose additional treatments from the list of colon therapy, chelation (helps remove heavy metals like lead and mercury from your blood) and hyperthemie (improves blood circulation and nutrients absorption).
The bad: B90,000 price tag (exclusive of medicine and supplements) and results that are not immediately visible.
Who has it: The Bodhi (20/F, Asoke Bldg., 02-260-4894,

BK Asks: How "Old" is old?


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See our tips and tricks to beat the forces of nature.

Pisit, 46, manager
55. That’s the average age when company employees start to think of retirement.

Jiraporn, 24, sales assistant
Being 38 counts as “old” for me. At 35 you can still be seen as somewhat trendy and youthful. But once you near the big 4-0, people should dial it down and become more serious in appearance.

Kalawut, 29, mobile phone shop owner
I think people over 50 are old. Unlike when they were younger, they now start becoming more dependent on so many things, like society and their family and friends.

Panitang, 30, restaurateur
I think that when you reach the 40 plus mark, there comes a time when your body and its power starts to physically decline. You also aren’t at the top of your game mentally anymore.

Nattapong, 37, career consultant
I would say 60, the age of retirement. But then again, age is also a matter of personal mindset. Someone can be 50 years old, at the peak of their health and still be called “old” by others.

Vachira, 19, product design student
In my opinion, you start to look old at around 36. And nothing’s worse than those people who try to cling to their youth by dressing like they’re still teenagers and using new slang wrongly. It’s so embarrassing to watch.

Gingkarn, 50, accountant
Even at 60, one still has sharp mental facilities and can still work, but after that the gears start slowing down and there are no new impulses or real development happening anymore. So, I’d say that 65-70 is “old” for me.


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Zomkiat “Mr. Z” Ariyachaipanich After a six-year hiatus, the renowned remixer and co-founder of Bakery Music is back with a new record label, Plenty Music.

After Bakery Music was sold to Sony BMG,
I worked as a consultant at Sony for a couple of years. I wanted to produce a second album for B5, but the company turned me down. Well, they didn’t actually say no, but they kept rescheduling a meeting because of their “internal” problems.

Of course, I was upset and disappointed. But I had gone through a lot worse, so it was fine.

Staying put is very difficult for me. Leaving Sony BMG, I planned to take a year off simply to stay home and enjoy a much-needed rest. But it turned out to be very tiring and boring. To me, taking a break is even more exhausting than working.

I also dabbled in publishing. I launched Katch magazine, but I had a fight with the staff. I asked them to make some adjustments in the magazine layout and they got so upset they all walked out. You know what; kids nowadays, you can’t scold them that much.

Last year was my turning point. It was a bad time for both music and politics. There was the coup and the music scene was pretty dead.

I reached the point where I really needed to go back to work. Plus, I felt that dance music was finally making a comeback after letting hip hop reign for a few years.

I want to create a stir. These past few years, no one has truly stood out. The music scene hasn’t seen a real big act for a long time. Even now, P’Bird still grabs the best male singer title at almost every award show that exists. Come on, we don’t have any new faces?

For Academy Fantasia, music is just a tool used to butter up their real business, which is a reality TV show.

These days, audiences have no connection with music. They listen to a song, but they don’t know who is singing it. It is probably because artists come up with music that all sounds the same. Or maybe because the audiences just download music from the internet and don’t pay attention to the artists behind it at all.

Plenty Music is my new baby. It is a big change for me. I was surrounded by friends when I worked at Bakery, but now it’s only me and my sisters. Plus, I have to find new talented songwriters and arrangers because the ones I used to work with are all working on their own projects now.

Food, fun, family and friends are my four main inspirations. That’s why my new album is called 4F=M. Without them, I can’t create music.

I need to dust off my skills. I haven’t released a single for six years, and a lot of things have changed during that time.

Just before the album came out, I listened to the tracks that I finished and I felt that they were already outdated, so I had to go back to make some changes.

As a remixer, I add new twists to old, classic songs so that the new generation gets to rediscover them.

The Wizard of Dance Music is just a nickname that the media gave me. It is flattering but it is just a part of the media blitz. I would be happier if fans walked up to me and told me they like my music.

I used to have an enormous ego. I thought what I did was so awesome and I didn’t care about the feedback. When I read my old interviews, I almost puke. I was so full of myself back then. I am more mature now.

I plan my future day by day. Each morning I set a goal for myself and try to achieve it.

I still prefer to have my personal space. I am happy to sign an autograph and pose for a photo for the fans, but sometimes I am just not in the mood.

Without music, I would die. In 2003, my parents passed away. Not long after that, Bakery Music went bankrupt. I was very depressed and locked myself up at home. Usually, I was the one who played music for my friends to listen to, but at that time my friends had to come over to my house and play The Beatles and Paul McCartney songs for me.

Music cheered me up and encouraged me to move on. Be honest. That’s my advice to aspiring artists. The more honest you are, the better your music sounds. This might sound like the easiest thing to do, but I don’t see many people doing it.


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Way Thaitanium Arrogant? Sure. But the 27-year-old is the hottest local emblem of today’s most popular musical style, hip hop. Now, he plans take on the world with his Money Exchange Movement.

I come from where hip hop was born. I can go to Brooklyn, New York, do a show there and have the rappers there respect what I do.

I can’t even tell you when I fell in love with hip hop. It just happened. It wasn’t, “Oh, I want to wear baggy pants. I want to wear my hat to the side.” It’s more than just dressing up. It’s more than just fashion. It’s something you become.

M.E.M. [the Money Exchange Movement] is not a gimmick. We [Way, Big Calo and Dandee] didn’t get together just to make one single and get the crowds in clubs. We started it for everybody who understands English, to show them what Thailand has to offer when it comes to hip hop.

Hip hop is universal. It doesn’t matter what language you speak, you can make money making hip hop anywhere in the world.

Thai hip hop artists have a lot of homework to do. A lot of the kids try to copy what they see on TV, which is cool because they are still young and everybody needs someone to look up to. But if it’s not what you do in real life, don’t talk about it.

We are not all about gangsta rap. We aren’t about killing, shooting and selling drugs. We just want to have fun with our music. Whatever we feel; wherever the music takes us, we just go.

People go to clubs in RCA to listen to the same music every day. If the song is not on the Top 40, they don’t listen to it and the clubs don’t play it. And let me say that Beyonce is not hip hop. She is a very talented artist, but how can you listen to Beyonce every day?

Hip hop is about individuality, about being somebody that isn’t the norm. You can follow someone’s footsteps, but you have to make something of your own.

The amount of hip hop that Thailand produces is like the dead skin on your body. Scratch, and whatever comes off, that’s Thailand’s hip hop. There are very few people who know hip hop, who have it in their blood, veins and bones.

Thaitanium couldn’t make the music that we make if we were just about fashion. We breathe, eat and shit hip hop. Khan and Day, ever since the early 90s, they’ve been part of the Zulu Nation. Do Thai people know what the Zulu Nation is? Khan was with DJ Qbert even before he became DJ Qbert.

Nothing comes easy. Everything that we have, we worked hard for it. Walk a mile in my shoes, won’t you?

I’ve gotten better and better with every day I’ve spent performing for the past six years. The joy of creating music is being able to perform it in front of other people and having them sing along to the songs. It’s the best reward. It’s magic.

We just do our music and stay true to ourselves. And that’s all we are happy with. We don’t care whether people like it or not.

You don’t like what we do? Then don’t listen. Go make your own music.

I love what I do and I get paid for it. I’ve got a company in America, a company in Thailand. I bought myself a house and a brand new car. I can afford to take care of my family and I don’t have to work from 9 to 5 to do that.

We are content with what we have accomplished, but we’ve got a bigger dream. We just completed the Tom Yum Samurai album, in which M.E.M collaborated with Japanese artists. Thaitanium Entertainment is now officially taking on America.

I want to grow as an artist and continue nurturing up-and-coming artists in Thailand.


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While most people his age go to Siam Square to shop, watch movies or get their hair done, 19-year-old Santasak Amornmaneekul (Saint) is there to play basketball. When he has time off his studies, the young streetballer turns the footpath under BTS Siam into his playground, flaunting his smooth moves to impress the crowds.  

Why do you play here?
I used to play with my high school friends at a court in front of Siam Discovery, but lately they haven’t set up the hoop. Also my friends have now scattered around to different universities, so it’s hard to get together for a game. I still want to practice my skills so I decided to play streetball here instead.  

How often do you play here?
Usually once a week. I am a freshman at Ramkhamhaeng University and I have to help with the family business. That’s a lot to manage at the same time. 

Do you get nervous?
Absolutely. Playing alone in front of lots of people can be nerve-racking, but I think I’ve gotten better now.

Are your parents OK with you playing streetball for money?
They are totally supportive. Actually, I started playing basketball because of my parents. They encouraged me to pick up the ball because they wanted me to be tall.

How do you improve your skills?
Streetball is different from basketball: with basketball, teamwork is the key. You need to work with your friends and score, so passing, catching and shooting are the most important basics. But for streetball, you need to learn new moves and tricks. That’s why I always look up clips from the internet and try them out. 

Your signature moves?
I am a good dribbler, so I guess my best move is the between-the-legs dribble.  

Do you want to be a professional basketball player?
Nah. I mean that would be great, but it’s not a realistic goal. Our country doesn’t support sports as much as it should. There are very few courts for us to play, and most of them charge a lot of money. Like the Red Bull X-Park on Sathorn, it used to be free, but now it charges like B200/hour. If we want a free spot to play, we have to go to a school and ask to share the court with the students there. So basketball is better off as a hobby. My future goal is to have a master degree and then open up my own business.


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Yuthlert Sippapak is a controversial figure thanks to his outspoken nature and out-of-the-box thinking apparent in such daring, unconventional films as Killer Tattoo (Muepuen Lok Prachan), Buppah Ratree, and, most recently, Ghost Station. Some critics complain that his movies are too commercial; others say that he’s just plain crazy.

You’ll either love or hate my movies. Usually, there’s no in-between.

Stay away from the theater if you don’t like my directing style. I never compromise to please anyone but myself. When it comes to making films, I want to do what I like and have fun doing it.

I get bored very easily. That’s why I keep changing movie genres. That’s the trick to keeping myself motivated.

The best thing about filming Ghost Station was that we got to laugh every day. It was my first comedy feature, even though comedy has been a part of previous films like Tattoo Killer and Sai Lor Fah.

You can’t tell someone to be funny. I didn’t “direct” Ple and Hoy. I gave them the script and let them act it out for me. If it was funny and the whole crew laughed, we moved on to the next scene. If not, we shot whatever takes were needed until we felt it was right.

To make people laugh throughout the whole film is the most difficult thing in making a comedy. There are many kinds of comedy, from witty wordplay to brainless slapstick, and what makes one person laugh his heart out might not raise even a smile in someone else.

Every movie is a “market movie.” Whenever you put something up on sale and people have to pay for it, that’s merchandise. Whenever you screen your film in theaters, selling it to moviegoers, that film is a “market movie.” Arty or mainstream, the only difference is the size of the market.

I love sci-fi films. Too bad I haven’t had a chance to make one yet. My favorite directors are those who can turn overflowing imaginations into reality on screen, like James Cameron and George Lucas. I also like Stanley Kubrick because he achieved a balance between mainstream and art-house filmmaking.

A director needs to find his own signature trademark, the unique style that distinguishes him from others. Some might consider me blunt, crazy or eccentric, but that’s because I want to present something different, something that is me.

Be yourself—that’s my rule of thumb. Many directors have flopped because they present what they think audiences want. Listen to yourself and don’t try to be someone you’re not.

Making films is my hobby. I don’t want to consider it a full-time job or else the fun will be gone.

It’s good to see Thai films warmly welcomed. Many popular Thai films like Tom Yum Goong and Saeb Sanit Sid Sai Nah were a lot more successful than big budget Hollywood films here. Previously, it was almost impossible for a local film to reach B100 million in ticket sales. Now that’s quite feasible.

The greatest teacher of all is experience. I don’t usually take or give advice. We all have different ways of thinking, different backgrounds, and different lifestyles. So advice from others may not be directly applicable to you and your problems. It’s better to learn by doing.

My next project is a political satire called Manud Fai Chai (literally, Mr. Flashlight). I think we’ve all had enough of political nonsense. The film is in production right now and is going to mirror the effects of our system of democracy on society.

Now I’m just a cog in the film industry machine.

Eventually I’ll be replaced, so my future plan is to run a resort on Koh Tao. Of course, I’d like to be one of those with power over the system, say the owner of a theater chain or a big production house. But a resort on Koh Tao seems a more realistic dream.

I’m just a regular director whose work reflects who I am. What you see is what you get. That’s it. I’m not complicated.


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Cool off from the scorching heat with khao chae

As we all know, delicious, fragrant rice should always be served hot. But every rule has an exception, and summer is the time to serve khao chae, or “chilled rice.”
A Mon dish traditionally made during Songkran, khao chae is half-cooked rice rinsed several times with water to remove all the starch. “Once the rice looks really clean, put it in cold water for a while so that the rice isn’t cooked any further,” instructs Chef Charoensri Wattanasri at Thara Thong. When half-dry, put the rice into a piece of cheesecloth, and steam it over boiling water until it is cooked. “That way the middle of the rice will still be a bit firm as khao chae should be,” she says.

The Smell

Then comes the next important ingredient: nam dok mali (jasmine-scented water), which has to be prepared the night before. The traditional way to make it is to fill a clay pot with cold water and add a handful of fresh jasmine blossoms, then carefully float a jasmine-scented candle on the water before covering the pot for 15 minutes. Repeat the process so that the scent from the candle and the jasmine permeates the water. Leave the water to sit in the clay pot overnight. When it’s time to serve, mix the rice and water in individual serving bowls, and toss a bit of fresh jasmine on top.

The Sides

Khao chae alone is refreshing but bland, so there are many side dishes. Favorites include hom daeng yud sai (deep-fried stuffed shallots), chai pow phat (stir-fried dry turnip), small fried fish, muu or nueng sawan (shredded sweet pork or beef), prik yuak sord sai (green chilli peppers stuffed with minced pork and shrimp and wrapped in a crispy egg net), luk kapi (deep fried shrimp paste balls), and slices of green mango and cucumber.

Making the tasty tidbits requires some effort and patience—this is not fast food. Take luk kapi, for example. You have to grind galangal, lemongrass and fingerroot into a paste and blend it with ground dried-fish and shrimp paste until it becomes sticky. Add some sugar and mix it again until smooth. Roll into small balls and dip them into stirred egg yolk before deep-frying.

“The Phetburi version keeps it simple by serving only three side dishes—luk kapi, sweet fried fish,and chai pow phat,” explains Chef Charoensri. “However, with the royal style you have a more numerous and elaborate options, and the small fish is usually replaced by shredded sweet beef.”

For the original Mon-style khao chae, you’ll need to go to Koh Kret, Nontaburi, or Phra Pradaeng during the Songkran festival. But royal Thai and Phetburi khao chae are available all over town at this time of year.

Where to Chill with Your Khao Chae

Set (B150): khao chae, luk kapi, prik yuak thord yud sai (fried green chili pepper stuffed with minced pork wrapped in crispy egg net), khai dang kem (salted egg yolk), nhung phra kem chubb numtan (salty fish skin mixed with sugar), green mango and cucumber.
1/F, All Seasons Place, 87/2 Wireless Rd., 02-685-3860. Open daily 11:30am–10pm. Available through Apr 30.

Klang soi
Set (B150):
khao chae, luk kapi, hom dang yud sai, prik yuak sord sai, and shredded sweet pork.
Sukhumvit Soi 49, next to Samitivej Hospital, 02-391-4988. Open Mon-Sat 11am-2pm, 5-10pm, Sun 11am-3pm. Available through May 30.

Krua Mae Yui
Set (B200):
khao chae, luk kapi, hom dang yud sai, prik yuak sord sai, and shredded sweet pork, carved veggies.
53/1 Soi Ari-Samphan 1, Phaholyothin Rd., 02-619-9952. Open daily 10am-9pm. Available through May 1.

Lai Rod
Set (B150):
khao chae, luk kapi, prik yuak sord sai, hom thod sord sai phra (deep fried shallots stuffed with fish), phra wan (sweet fish), neur foi or moo foi (shredded pork or meat), chai pow pad wan (sweet stir-fried daikon).
120/4-5 Suhkumvit 49, 02-391-3193.
Open daily 10am–10pm. Available all year.
122 Rama 6 Rd., 02-279-2895. Open daily 11am–10pm. Available all year.

Princess Café
Set (B180):
khao chae, luk kapi, hua hom yud sai, prik yuak sord sai, muu foi or shredded sweet pork, green mango, green onion and cucumber.
269 Larn Luang Rd., Pomprab, 02-281-3088 ext. 129.
Open daily 6am-10pm. Available for dinner through April 30.

Than ying
Set (B275):
khao chae, luk kapi, hom thod (deep fried shallots), prik yuak yud sai moo (green chili pepper stuffed with minced pork, chai pow pad khai (stir-fried dry turnip with egg) and neur wan (shredded sweet meat).
10 Pramuan Rd., between Silom 15 and Silom 17, 02-236-4361. Open daily 11:30am-10pm. Available for lunch through the end of May.

Thara thong
Set (B450):
khao chae, kapi (fermented shrimp paste), deep-fried shallots stuffed with minced fish, neur sawan foi (shredded and salted beef fried with palm sugar), chai pow ped pud wan (white Chinese radish fried with egg), prik yuak sord sai (chili peppers stuffed with seasoned minced pork wrapped in thin sheets of fried egg-white) and khra chai.
2 Captain Bush Lane, Siphya Rd., 02-266-9214. Open daily noon-2:30pm, 6:30-10:30pm. Available Apr 9-17.

Set (B370):
khao chae, luk kapi, hom thod (deep fried shallots), prik yuak yud sai moo (green chili pepper stuffed with minced pork and shredded sweet pork and beef.
The Peninsula Bangkok, 333 Charoennakorn Rd., 02-861-2888. Open daily 6-10pm. Available through Apr 15.

Thon kvrueng
Set (B155):
khao chae (with kadanggha, mali flower, and candle fragrant), luk kapi, hom dang yud sai, prik yuak sord sai, chai pow pad wan (stir-fried sweet dry turnip), muu foi (shredded sweet pork), cucumber, thon hom (green onion) and khra chai.
n 239 Thonglor Soi 13, 02-391-8703, 02-391-8719. Open daily 10:30am-10pm. Available through May 30.


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Chew to the beat at these restaurants with live music

Bay Ta Ra—Bar Ta Le

The scene: Hip glass building brings a bit of seaside ambiance to the crammed street of Khao San with its vivid blue pool surrounded by a bar and beach chairs. Seating in air-con comfort or on the second floor patio.

The food: The menu is designed to suit a more mature and less price-conscious crowd, and most dishes are toned down to cater to farang followers. But you can rely on fast and friendly service, so go ahead and try the signature Kai Bay Ta Ra (deep-fried chicken nuggets with house sauce). A small selection of wines is on offer.

The music: Acoustic easy-listening tunes early on and then things get wilder later as a resident DJ spins hip hop hits. He’s followed by a full band performing both Thai and English pop songs.

Noise level: Easy, like a sea breeze.

100 Soi Rambutri, Jakraphong Rd., 02-281-2899, 08-6323-5403. Open daily 6pm-1am.

Connection Bar

The scene: Two-story watering-hole with chic décor of watercolor paintings and dim lighting. The crowd is a mix of office workers and artsy types.

The food: The food is not as tempting as the décor, but there are still some good bets like hor mok talay (steamed curried seafood cake wrapped in banana leaf), lard tod (deep-fried larb balls) and kiew hor larb (crispy deep-fried wontons with larb filling).

The music: A spicy variety, from blues to bossa-nova, with three bands nightly from 8:30pm-midnight. Owner and singer Peet Peera steps up to the mic from time to time. Art Vacation croons easy-listening and jazz tunes every Thursday at 8:30pm. On Saturday, go Latin with some upbeat flamenco.

Noise level: Conversational, suitable for making new connections.
396/4 Narathiwat-Ractchanakarin Rd., 02-285-3238. Open daily 6pm-1am.


The scene: White and airy two-story house has high ceilings, clear glass walls and contemporary minimalist decoration.

The food: Dailicious lives up to its name, which means “daily delicious.” The prices are a bit on the high side (starting around B150), but the Thai dishes like green curry omelet and deep-fried shrimp spring rolls are tasty.

The music: Bands serve up Thai, English as well as a few Korean hits, Wed-Sat, 8:30pm onwards. Song requests are welcomed.

Noise level: A bit heavy. Can you read lips?

102 Narathiwat Rd., 02-676-4646. Open Sun-Thu 5:30pm-midnight, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-1am.


The scene: Located in a high-end shopping mall, this favorite lunch spot of khunying and khunnai resembles an outdoor café with its giant white umbrellas, green trees and cascading waterfall.

The food: Despite the name, Provence is known for its Thai recipes, not French—in particular kuay tiew rueh served in a huge bowl with beef and fish balls (B100).

The music: A pianist serenades the diners daily, noon-2pm and 3-6pm, performing a repertoire of international and Chinese tunes, along with the King’s musical compositions. Requests are welcomed.

Noise level: Soft, like the elegant customers.

G/F, Peninsula Plaza, Ratchadamri Rd., 02-652-1399. Open daily 11am-8pm.

Roadhouse Barbecue

The scene: Farang haunt Roadhouse Barbecue borrows a host of American traditions, including a log-cabin (or something like that) theme and a throw-your-peanut-shells-on-the-floor policy. Live music downstairs; sports bar on the third floor.

The food: Stick to the killer Buffalo Wings or the ribs, and wash it all down with one of the house or imported beers on the coldest taps in town. Ladies get 50% off food and house cocktails on Wednesdays.

The music: Every Thursday and Saturday, The Mandarin take the stage delivering familiar 80s hits and anything you request from 7:30pm onwards. Local expat band The Fugitives belt out classic rock, blues and pop covers every Friday, 9pm onwards.

Noise level: The Mandarin aren’t so loud, but the Fugitives can get pretty rowdy. Plus they have a horn section.

942/1-4 Rama 4 Rd., on the corner of Suriyawongse Rd., 02-236-8010, Open daily noon-1am.

To-Sit Pier 92

The scene: Decorated in a Mediterranean-style, this well-known riverside hangout offers both an air-conditioned dining space and an even more appealing riverside terrace.

The food: Delicious Thai fare is served ultra fast by the friendly servers. Try kaeng som cha-om kai (spicy soup with shrimp, eggs, veggies) and larb muu tord. There’s also a sushi bar if Japanese is your thing.

The music: Three bands perform acoustic Thai pop hits nightly, 9:30pm-1am.

Noise level: Not ear pier-cing. Sorry.
115 Charunsanitwong Soi 92, 02-879-1717. Open daily 4pm-1am.

Vientiane Kitchen

The scene: This open-air eatery oozes rustic Isaan charm with colorful paper lanterns, potted plants, bamboo furniture and servers in traditional costume. A great place to take international guests.

The food: The menu offers familiar hot and spicy dishes like somtum pla raa and soup nor mai (fermented bamboo shoot salad) prepared in authentic Vientiane-style. There’s also a selection of unusual items such as a hot veggie soup with ant’s eggs and miang khao pun (steamed catfish wrapped in lettuce leaves).

The music: Lively pong lang performances nightly, 7-10pm, then things get more raucous as a band churns out upcountry requests. If you book a table for 10 to celebrate a birthday party, they will perform a bai sri dance and even serve you a complimentary Thai dessert.

Noise level: Conversation is possible, but those pretty dancers can be distracting.

8 Sukhumvit Soi 36, 02-258-6171, Open daily noon-midnight.


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Better known as Piek DJ Siam, Thanachote Piensema is an icon of Siam Square. Over the past 15 years, he’s made a name for his record shop, DJ Siam, as well as for himself. He isn’t exactly a celebrity, but Piek is sometimes better-known among hip Siam Square regulars than some of the indie artists whose albums are on his racks.

Networking is important. At first, our shop wasn’t recognized among customers, while other record stores were mentioned on the radio quite a lot. That was when it hit me that to be recognized I had to start networking.

I began going to the concerts and talking to lots of DJs and bands. Now when anyone is throwing a concert or an exhibition, they leave leaflets at DJ Siam.

To run a successful business, you have to build a fan club and find your own unique selling point. At DJ Siam, it’s the entertainment factor. Every staff member is friendly and chatty.

Some think we are loud and annoying. But that’s fine with me. I can’t make everyone like me or DJ Siam.

Boyd Kosiyabong is my favorite artist. He has a knack for blending modern melodies with well-written lyrics.

I like to give new blood an opportunity to express their talent and be heard. That’s how Gunzue Club was born. Each year, we team up with some well-known artists, release a compilation album and donate some money to charity. That’s my way to give back to society.

I’ve become a marketing guru. Budding artists come to me for advice on how to contact the distributors, and labels like RS and Grammy also sometimes ask for my opinions on how to promote their artists.

Music that’s too easy is uninteresting, but music that is too difficult can also be frustrating.

To make a successful album, give 60% for art’s sake and save 40% for the audience. It’s not cool when artists make music without thinking about the audience. You might think your sound is excellent, but if the audience finds it inaccessible, it can’t sell.

Be patient is the advice I always give to budding artists. Study the styles of music that are in the trend before mastering your own. Send some sample CDs to radio stations and wait for their feedback. If it’s good, release the next one.

If you don’t get any feedback whatsoever, you should pause and see what’s wrong. Don’t just push an unfinished product before it’s ready. I’ve seen many flops happen when doing that.

Though there are lots of bands coming out, they fail to make their mark because they are all similar to one another.

The past couple of years have been very quiet—no boom in sales and no artists who can create a buzz. Plus, pirate CDs are more prevalent than ever.

The future of the music scene is uncertain. I don’t know if it’s still marketable to sell CDs. I’m planning to launch a legal download service for iPod and mobile phones.

It’d be great to have a music street. These days it’s all about fashion and shopping streets!

I love the music scene and, despite everything, I never think of doing something else to make a living.


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