A fine example of “Thailand-only” fame.
After his rendition of “Tao Ngoi,” originally written by Thai molam queen Jintara Poonlarp, exploded on the Internet recently, murder suspect-turned-overnight superstar (yes, you read that right) Chaipol Vipha, or “Uncle Pol,” has released yet another Jintara Poonlarp cover on Youtube. Titled Nam Taa Yoi Pok, which translates from the Isaan dialect to “Dripping Tears,” the tune topped Youtube’s trending section. In fact, it garnered so many views in such little time that it was able to overtake Blackpink’s most recent song as a result. Who would’ve thought that a man from the nowhere-land of Mukdahan, suspected of murdering his 3-year-old niece, would be mentioned in the same breath as the Korean supergroup, right? Well, that’s Thailand for you.
The thing is, Uncle Pol is actually a decent singer. Plus, he brings the entertainment factor to the table. Whether donning a flamboyant molam stage suit or his trademark “plaid over a Levi’s tee” look, both of which contrast his dead-eyed gaze, Uncle Pol makes for a very entertaining view, if you’re not thinking too critically about who the man is or the crime he’s accused of committing. The addition of “Auntie Tan,” Uncle Pol’s heavily auto-tuned wife, who shares singing credits on the track, gives this song more dimension than his last cover, too.
Discussing the struggles of Thai molam artists and performers, the lyrics pretty clearly reflect the irony of Uncle Pol’s rise to stardom. After news of his niece’s disappearance spread its tentacles across the nation, Uncle Pol became an overnight success. The “innocent family man,” as he was often portrayed in Thai media, was even being considered for a role in a TV soap opera. Really, we doubt the formerly unemployed rubber tapper is struggling now that he’s so adored nationwide. Considering the strange joy it has brought many of us, this latest cover song does nothing to diminish the fact that Thailand is obsessed with rags-to-riches tales, whatever the circumstances. Plus, those who actively seek fame now have a role model to follow. Thanks for that, Uncle.
At the end of the day, if you’re looking for a few minutes of laughter, or simply to check out from the gigantic cluster that is 2020 while simultaneously participating in it, give this track a listen. Shameless or sensational? You tell us.