Pornpan “Joyce” Rattamamethanon, 34, was a member of the iconic ‘90s pop duo Triumph Kingdom before she was sent to jail in 2004 when police found 300 yabba tablets in her then-boyfriend’s house. Now out of prison for two years, she’s returning to the stage this Oct 30 for Z-MYX Live Vol. 1 with Triumph Kingdom and Yokee Playboy. Here, she talks to BK about how the eight years she spent in prison have been good for her.
I was 18 when I started Triumph Kingdom. I was living “the life,” hanging out with people who like to party and have fun. I thought drugs and alcohol were cool. But having fun and being happy are not the same. The crowd I hung out with made me look cool but they didn’t make me happy or help me become a better person.
At 24 I was put in jail. Deep down I knew that what I was doing, the drugs, were illegal and if I didn’t stop, I would get caught.
The outside world is completely different from the world I left. I was afraid of it. I spent my first two months out of prison living in the shadows. I put myself in a box. But I told myself that if I continue living in the shadows like this then it’s no different to prison. So I said, fine, let’s do it!
Eight years in prison taught me how to think for myself and not follow other people blindly.
Fifty percent of why I got into drugs was definitely the people I hung out with. But I can’t blame them. We make our own choices.
Prison has strict rules and consequences but it is clean and organized. I thought of it as some dark place, but in reality it wasn’t like that. It’s green with large trees. Everything is clean and very organized.
The punishments were tough. My friend sneaked coffee into the cell and our punishment was to clean the sewer.
Books opened up my world. I spent time learning and reading a lot—the only place to turn to when I got bored was the library. From one book to another, I read every single day in prison. I also decided to apply for college and graduated in film studies from Sukhothai University.
Family and friends were the most important things for me. Just receiving a postcard from a friend that simply said “I miss you” would move me to tears. Having my family visit made me feel like that part of me is not gone.
One of my friends in prison has HIV. When she started taking the meds, she felt like it was burning her insides and she couldn’t take it. She would puke it out and I would tell her to force it in. There are only four different prescriptions for HIV. If she can’t take any of them then she won’t have any relief.
In the end, everyone has some sort of problem. It’s up to them to identify what they are and make a change. Many young offenders are put in jail because of drugs. One year they get released and the following year they’re back again. It made me realize I need to fix myself and not be like them.
Find positivity in everything. It’s the only way to grow and change. If I’d been released sooner, I might not understand things as I do today.