My Top 5 Thai Singers: Number One Is Palmy

Indeed, this year there has been a lot of music on Sirinya’s Thailand blog. Thus, I feel inspired to do a Top 5 of my favourite Thai singers ūüôā Actually, this proved to be a hard tasks because there are so many Thai musicians and singers that I like. However, I’ve tried to narrow them down to my Top 5 at the moment.

My Top 5 Thai Singers

My number one is defintely Thai-Belgian singer Palmy. I really love her style and her way of performing. In most concerts she performes barefoot and this is also her signature feature.

Thai-Belgian singer Palmy (photo: Palmy FB page)

Thai-Belgian singer Palmy (photo: Palmy FB page)

What is more, Palmy, Eve Pancharoen, is so unique because on the one side her style has a 1960s touch but on the other side she is very modern, rocking but also melancholic sometimes.  In a nutshell, Palmy is charming, amiable and true to herself.

For number two I chose Singto Numchok who is known as Buriram’s Ukulele Lion ūüôā I truly enjoy his feel-good music and the way he combines cool jazz rhythms with surf-rock and pop.

Singto Numchok*

Singto Numchok (photo: Singto Numchok FB page)

In addition Thai singer Singto Numchok is also an example of how to escape poverty by becoming a famous and successful musician. His trademark is the ukulele but he also plays the guitar. Indeed, his relaxed sounds may also be called chill-out music.

Well, my number three is a band. Can you guess which one? Yeah, it’s Thai Hip Hop band Buddha Bless. I think they really make great songs and music with a message.

Thai Hip Hop band*

Thai Hip Hop band Buddha Bless (photo: Buddha Bless Official FB page)

Buddha Bless members Gaotong, Gui Oui and Goh-M might appear a bit crazy sometimes but their music is special and thus their lyrics were even awarded by Thailand’s Buddhist Council. Sometimes Buddha Bless seems over the edge and ‘out of control’ (like their latest song) but they like to create songs with messages in accordance with Buddhist thought.

For number four I chose Lula (Kanyarat Tiyapornchai). She is known as a bossa nova queen and her songs range from ballads to pop songs and also electro pop music. Lula has perfomed duets with many other popular Thai singers and what is more, she has also worked on soundtracks and theme songs for Thai TV series and films.

Lula Kanyarat Tiyapornchai (photo: Lula FB page)

Lula Kanyarat Tiyapornchai (photo: Lula FB page)

A very beautiful example is her duet ‘Cross Love’ with Klui for the TV drama The Rising Sun starring well-known half-Thai actors Mario Maurer, Urassaya Sperbund and Nadech Kugimiya.

Last but not least, for number five I decided to choose an artist about whom I have not written an article yet.

Thai singer Bell Supol (photo: Bell Supol FB page)

Thai singer Bell Supol (photo: Bell Supol FB page)

It’s Bell Supol and I chose him because he sung a wonderful jazzy song that I’ve loved for years. I’ve certainly watched the video to the song a 100 times or more ūüėČ Let’s enjoy this song!

Finally, I may say that my number one among the Top 5 Thai Singers will ‘always’ remain Palmy! What are your favourite Thai artists?

Yours, Sirinya




Top 5 Posts: Nadech & Yaya Are Number One

Do you like to know which are Sirinya’s Thailand Blog’s most popular posts? Well, since I’ve been writing my blog for more than nine months now, I think it’s time for a small review of the Top 5 Posts.

Top 5 Posts: Nadech & Yaya Are Number One

Can you guess who is the number one? Yeah, it does not come as a surprise to me that it is Nadech & Yaya.

Nadech & Yaya (photo Nadech & Yaya Vietnam Fanpage)

First among the Top 5 Posts: Nadech & Yaya (photo Nadech & Yaya Vietnam Fanpage)

I think you all know this cute on-screen couple that is also frequently paired for fashion shootings and TV commercials. Both Nadech and Yaya are very talented young half-Thai actors popular in Thailand but also in other Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam. For instance, there is the charming Nadech & Yaya Vietnam Fanpage that provides fans with the most recent news about the two actors.

Nadech & Yaya in The Rising Sun (phot:o konchke.blogspot.com)

Nadech Kugimiya & Yaya Urassaya Sperbund in The Rising Sun (photo: konchke.blogspot.com)

Not surprisingly either, my article about Yaya Urassaya Sperbund is the second most viewed post on my blog. I think Yaya is so famous and loved by her fans because she is very lovely, playful, effortless charming but also a bit childish sometimes which makes her particularly amiable.

Yaya Urassaya Sperbund (photo: Nadech & Yaya Vietnam Fanpage)

Yaya Urassaya Sperbund (photo: Nadech & Yaya Vietnam Fanpage)

Most recently, Yaya graduated from Chulalongkorn University. Congrats, dear Yaya! You are very talented ūüôā

Yaya Urassaya just graduated from Chulalongkorn University (photo: Nadech & Yaya Vietnam Fanpage)

Yaya Urassaya just graduated from Chulalongkorn University (photo: Nadech & Yaya Vietnam Fanpage)

Next follows an article about another young luk kreung actress ‚Äď do you guess who it is? It‚Äôs actress and model Mai Davika Hoorne who became famous with her role as Mae Nak in the movie ‚ÄėPhi Mak Phra Khanong‚Äô. No wonder she is so popular – she is not only lovely but her beauty is also classic. Thus, she has been the cover girl on numerous glossy magazines like the Vogue for instance.

Thai-Belgian actress Davika Hoorne (photo: Mai Davika FB page)

Thai-Belgian actress Davika Hoorne (photo: Mai Davika FB page)

This leads us to my number four post which is about Thai-German actor Mario Maurer. It seems that the most popular posts on my blog are all about young actors. Well, Mario has been in ‘Phi Mak Phra Khanong‚Äô in the leading role alongside Mai Davika. Apart from acting, Mario also does a lot of TV commericals and has been advertising for TAT ( Tourism Authority of Thailand), thus promoting different areas of Thailand.

Mario (photo credit: TAT Kunming)

Mario Maurer (photo credit: TAT Kunming)

Most recently, there has been a cute Mario Maurer doll (Funko Pop). A must for all true Mario fans, I guess ūüėČ

Mario Maurer with his Funko Pop (photo Mario Maurer FBpage)

Mario Maurer with his Funko Pop (photo: Mario Maurer FB page)

Hence, last but not least, my fifth most popular post varies from the rest since it is about the¬†Thai Tradition of Tattooing called Sak Yant. I can understand that this is a subject of interest to many people since to some extent, Sak Yant has also become popular in Western countries. What is more, Sak Yant differs from ‚Äėcommon‚Äô tattoos because they are supposed to have a magical meaning and power.

Tattooed Monk of Wat Bang Pra (photo credit sak-yant.com)

Tattooed monk of Wat Bang Pra (photo credit: sak-yant.com)

Did you like this recap? And do you like the top four young actors as much as I do? I think we all love Nadech & Yaya¬†and are thrilled by the Yadech-Factor ūüôā Thus, enjoy reading my blog and getting to know more about Thai (popular) culture!

Yours, Sirinya




The Cult of Mae Nak

The story of Mae Nak is very popular and well-known in Thailand. Certainly, you remember the latest filming of this story: ‘Phi Mak Phra Khanong’ starring young actors Mario Maurer and Davika Hoorne. In fact, the gothic tale of Mae Nak has been filmed numerous times over the past decades and every one of the movies is a box-office hit. Thus, this story has also found its way into Thai popular culture.

Mae Nak Phra Khanong shrine offerings, portraits of the spirit and dresses (photo credit: Xufanc, wikimedia.org)

Mae Nak Phra Khanong shrine offerings, portraits of the spirit and dresses (photo credit: Xufanc, wikimedia.org)

The Cult of Mae Nak

However, it is unknown whether Mae Nak really existed or if her story is only a myth. As a matter of fact, there is no conclusive historical evidence of her existence. What is more, there are also different versions of her tale. Nevertheless, the main story line runs as follows:

Davika Hoorne as Mae Nak in 'Phi Mak Phra Khanong' (photo credit: bk.asia-city.com)

Davika Hoorne as Mae Nak in ‘Phi Mak Phra Khanong’ (photo credit: bk.asia-city.com)

Shortly after Nak and Mak get married, Mak is conscripted for military service. Thus, he leaves his pregnant wife involuntarily behind. Nak waits for her husband’s return but one day she dies during labour along with her unborn child. They are buried immediately, however¬†Nak’s spirit refuses to perish and let go. When Mak returns home from war, Nak disguises herself and her son as humans. However, Mak soon learns the truth and runs away. Hence, the ghost of¬†Nak¬†follows her husband and kills everyone who comes between them.

The shrine of the spirit, part facing the canal (photo credit: Xufanc, wikimedia.org)

The shrine of the spirit, part facing the canal (photo credit: Xufanc, wikimedia.org)

To get rid of the spirit, the villagers try to exorcise Nak. Her husband finally finds habour in the Mahabute temple and the venerated Somdej Phra Puttajan from Thonburi seizes the spirit by imprisoning it in a ceramic pot. Then he drops this pot into the river. In some versions, Nak’s skull is made into a belt buckle by the monk and passed into the possession of the Prince of Chumporn. As far as the fate of¬†Mak is concerned, in some versions he becomes a monk whereas in others he starts a new family. In some stories, Mae Nak reappears as an enraged ghost.

At the shrine (photo credit: Ananda, wikimedia.org)

At the shrine (photo credit: Ananda, wikimedia.org)

Her burial place is supposed to be where the Mae Nak shrine is today. This is located at the edge of Wat Mahabute, Sukhumvit Soi 77 in Bangkok. Here the devotees pray to her statue, which faces a television that is kept on day and night. People bring her many offerings including colourful dresses, cosmetic products, sweets, flowers and toys for her child. Devotees turn to her because she is said to be benevolent at giving out winning lottery numbers. What is more, she is popular among young men who will attend a ‘lucky draw’, which is the so-called ‘red bean black bean’ draft. She is believed to detest the call-ups since her husband had to leave her to fight in the war.

However, pregnant women are advised to stay away from this place because Mae Nak is not a blessing concerning pregnancy. In addition, there are two old takian trees next to her shrine which are considered to be very powerful. Thai people relate ancient trees to spirits. The devotees scrub the trees believing that winning lottery numbers will be revealed by the spirit. In fact, Mae Nak is considered to have brought fortune to some individuals of the community.

Making merit, actress Mai Davika at the shrine (photo credit: Instagram @davikah)

Making merit, Mae Nak actress Mai Davika at the shrine (photo credit: Instagram @davikah)

Finally, I think that the cult of Mae Nak prevails because her story deals with an universal theme, namely that two beings are torn apart because they are different and come from opposing realms. Her story shows that it is impossible for humans and ghosts to live together. Accordingly, most¬†screenings of this story do not have a happy ending since man and ghost are separated. For example, in the ‘Nang Nak’ movie (1999), starring Intira Jaroenpura¬†and Winai Kraibutr, Mak finally becomes a monk to pray for the spirit of his dead wife which cannot let go of him.

Nonetheless, the last filming of the story, ‘Phi Mak Phra Kanong’, breaks with this convention – in contrast to traditional Thai¬†ghost stories, there is¬†a happy ending because humans and ghosts can after all¬†live together¬†and be happy ever after.

Phi Mak & Nak, scene from Thai horror movie 'Phi Mak Phra Khanong' (photo credit: news.zing.vn)

Phi Mak & Nak, scene from Thai¬†ghost comedy¬†movie ‘Phi Mak Phra Khanong’ (photo credit: news.zing.vn)

Summing up, we may claim that Mae Nak has a special place in Thai culture and tradition. This is because her story is concerned with an universal topic that everyone can identify with.

Yours, Sirinya

(Reference: Siraporn Nathalang, Thai Folklore. Insights Into Thai Culture, Chulalongkorn University Press, 2000)




Photo Exhibition ‚ÄėThe Anatomy‚Äô by Amat Nimitpark

Today‚Äôs post is just a note to inform you about the photo exhibition ‘The Anatomy‚Äô by Amat Nimitpark, the most renowned fashion photographer in Thailand.

The Anatomy by Amat Nimitpark*

The Anatomy by Amat Nimitpark

The Anatomy by Amat Nimitpark

At Zen Megastore, this exhibition features more than 100 monochrome photos of Thai celebrities, top actors and actresses highlighting their well-toned shapes. I’m sure you already know some of these famous faces from my blog. For instance, Mario Maurer, Yaya Urassaya Sperbund, Davika Hoorne…

Picturing the perfect physique

Picturing the perfect physique

The motto of this exhibition is, as the title ‚ÄėThe Anatomy‚Äô suggests, to picture perfect bodies and to convey the idea of being physically fit. Thus, beauty is defined as physicality and of having a toned body.

Yaya Urassaya Sperbund

Yaya Urassaya Sperbund

As I understand it, ‚ÄėThe Anatomy‚Äô is a collaboration of Amat Nimitpark with the health club ‚ÄėWE Fitness Society‚Äô. The exhibition should inspire people to exercise more and to¬†take care of themselves and their health.

Mario Maurer

Mario Maurer

Hence, even though the focus of the exhibition is on well-shaped and toned bodies, nevertheless the message is that there is no ideal of a perfect physique.

Davika Hoorne

Davika Hoorne

Thus, Amat Nimitpark plays with light and shadow in ‘The Anatomy’¬†indicating that every person‚Äôs shape can be appealing and beautiful seen individually.

At ZEN event gallery

At ZEN event gallery

Come and see for yourself. The exhibition runs from 24th June to 16th August 2015 at ZEN Outdoor Arena and Amphitheatre Zone. The admission is free.

Yours, Sirinya

All pictures in this post, photo credit: Amat Nimitpark, FB page




Mario Maurer: Thai-German Actor

Mario Maurer was¬†born 1988 in Bangkok to a Thai-Chinese mother and a German father. He is also known as Nuttavut Maurer and his nickname is ‘Oh’.¬†He has an older brother called Marco with whom he performed some Electro-Hip Hop music. They formed a Hip-Hop Duo named “PsyCho & Lil‚ÄôMario” in 2007.¬†You may watch an example of¬†their music¬†here.¬†However, even though Mario has done some singing, he does not regard himself as a singer.

Mario Maurer

Mario (photo credit: TAT Kunming)

Mario (photo credit: TAT Kunming)

Mario was discovered as a fashion model at the age of 16 when he was approached by a modelling agent at Siam Square. Since then he has been working as a model for magazines, commercials and videos. Today, he is a well-known luk kreung actor and model in Thailand who has been also studying Communication Arts at Ramkhamhaeng University.

He became renowned as an actor starring in the movie The Love of Siam in 2007. This film, written and directed by Matthew Chookiat Sakveerakul, became very popular. It is about a gay romance between two teenage boys. This movie may be regarded as a pioneering film on this subject. Mario was praised for his dramatic abilities and considered a mature actor in his role as a homosexual young man. Hence, in 2007 Mario won the Best Actor award in Starpics Thai Films Awards and was also nominated in Bangkok Critics Assembly and Star Entertainment Awards.

Mario Maurer (photo credit: men.kapook.com)

Mario Maurer (photo credit: men.kapook.com)

Mario did not intend to become an actor but once he entered the Thai entertainment industry,¬†he gained popularity¬†quickly. Still, he has remained down-to-earth and surprised at this own fame ūüėČ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkV_WN3JdP8

Thus, in 2010 he became even more famous starring in the movie First Love which is also known under the title Crazy Little Thing called Love. This is a charming romantic comedy about young people falling in love for the first time. This film has become very popular because it deals with topics that nearly everyone has experienced in his life and thus can identify with the characters.

What is more, Mario has done a lot of acting in Thai drama series. For instance, he was in The Rising Sun (Roy Fun Tawan Deard, 2014), a series with a Japanese setting. In this drama Mario (Onizuka Takeshi) starred alongside the young well-known young actors Nadech Kugimiya and Yaya Sperbund.

Mario and Nadech in The Rising Sun (photo credit: asianfuse.net)

Mario and Nadech in The Rising Sun (photo credit: asianfuse.net)

In particular, Mario became even more acknowledged as an actor starring in the popular horror comedy Phi Mak Phra Khanong. In the role of Phi Mak, Mario acted alongside the lovely actress Mai Davika Hoorne as Mae Nak. In fact, they make a charming film couple and have also done some modelling together.

Mario and Mai Davika on Volume magazine 180 VOLUME WONDER 9 Cr. Volume Magazine

Mario and Mai Davika on Volume magazine 180 VOLUME WONDER 9 Cr. Volume Magazine

Mario has had versatile roles. For instance, he had the leading role in the erotic drama ‘Jan Dara the Beginning’ (2012)¬†and ‘Jan Dara the Finale’ (2013). In these movies he is Jan Dara, a boy whose mother died giving birth to him and who is thus hated by his sadistic¬†father Luang Wisnan. Growing up¬†with his¬†Aunt Wad, his stepmother, he struggles to reconcile his guilt and longing with different women in his life. In the second part, Jan Dara wants to find out who his real father is and wants to take revenge on him.

Most recently, Mario has been promoting Amazing Thailand with TAT (Tourism Authority of Thailand). They have produced a series of very nice clips that really makes you want to go to Thailand immediately and try all the things that Mario does¬†ūüôā

Finally, we may say that Mario Maurer is a¬†bright and promising young half-Thai movie star. He has already starred in a variety of different roles and I must say that he cuts quite a figure in each role that he plays ūüôā I’m curious what his future movies will be!

Yours, Sirinya




Mai Davika Hoorne: Thai-Belgian Actress

Davika Hoorne¬†is a young half-Thai actress and model¬†popular in Thailand. Born 1992 to a Thai mother and a Belgian father¬†in Thailand, her nickname is ‘Mai’. Thus, she is often referred to as ‘Mai Davika’. She was discovered as a model early in her teens at the age of 14. Later she was educated in Communication Arts at Rangsit University.

 Mai Davika Hoorne

Davika Hoorne (photo credit: women.sanook.com)

Davika Hoorne (photo credit: women.sanook.com)

In 2010 she debuted in the drama series Ngao Kammathep in the role of Tien. In addition, she starred in a number of other Thai TV drama series like Neur Manoot (2011), Maya Rasamee (2012), Roy Lae Sanae Luang (2013), Kularb Rai Kong Naai Tawan (2015) and most recently as Rinlanee in Nang Chada (2015). In Nang Chada, Mai also engages in some classical Thai dancing, wearing the beautiful and opulent Khon dancing dress.

Mai Davika has also done a lot of modelling for brands like Ponds, Nikon, ZA and more. In addition, she has appeared as cover girl on numerous magazines like for instance herworld. She was recently the cover model of this magazine in February 2015. Here is a video clip of this shooting from behind the scenes.

Mai has also been engaged in some popular Thai movies. For example, in 2012 she debuted in the film Bpidtu Poom Prom Dan Haeng Ruk. A year later in 2013, she became famous as an actress in Phi Mak Phra Khanong in the role of Mae Nak, the wife of Phi Mak (Mario Maurer).

Lovely Mai Davika Hoorne as Mae Nak (photo credit: news.zing.vn)

Lovely Mai Davika as Mae Nak (photo credit: news.zing.vn)

In fact, Mai and Mario are a nice film couple and hence, they have also been paired in photo shootings and commercials.

In 2014 Davika starred as Riam in the Thai romance-drama Plae Kao (The Scar), a remake of the same-titled film from 1977. This is the story of two peasants in rural Thailand engaged in a tragic, romantic relationship.

Today, Davika is a well-known young lady in the Thai modelling and television industry. Nevertheless, she seems to be still the nice girl next door, natural and very lovely.

Finally, we may say that Davika Hoorne is an amazing young luk kreung actress and model. What is more, she has got the look to become extremely successful¬†in Thai¬†entertainment industry¬†with her fair skin, tall statue and large eyes¬†ūüôā

Misstar Cafe (photo credit: Misstarbydavika, FB page)

Misstar Cafe (photo credit: Misstarbydavika, FB page)

Additionally, she has¬†recently founded ‘Misstar by Davika’ and promoted the Misstar Caf√©.

Yours, Sirinya




Why are ‘Luk kreung’ successful in Thai Media? Half-Asian Advantages…?

“The signs of beauty are the signs of health” (R. Elisabeth Cornwell, psychologist)

The topic I want to¬†address today concerns the increasing success and dominance of ‘luk kreung’, half-Thai people, in Thai entertainment industry since the 1990s. I’ve already brought up this subject in my recent article about ‘Luk kreung’ and concepts of mixed race in Thailand arguing that half-Thais are preferred because of their Western appearance and adherence to the current¬†Thai beauty ideal of fair skin, tall statue and large eyes.

This seems to be a lucid but also a¬†superficial¬†explanation. However, I’ve asked myself if there might also be a scientific¬†interpretation for this phenomenon? Are we maybe¬†justified in saying that half-Asian people possess¬†genetic advantages? I know this sounds controversial but might not there be some¬†truth in it?

Mario and Mai Davika on Volume magazine 180 VOLUME WONDER 9 Cr. Volume Magazine

Half-Asian advantages? Mario Maurer and Mai Davika in Volume magazine 180 VOLUME WONDER 9 (Credit: Volume Magazine)

Taking the example of the lovely ‘couple’ Nadech and Yaya, they have¬†their good looks in common and they are¬†both half-Thai. The same is true¬†of half-Thai actors¬†Mario and Mai Davika whom we know from the comedy ghost¬†movie ‘Phi Mak Phra Khanong’.¬†There are numerous other examples that show¬†‘luk kreung’ have become¬†a kind of¬†‘elite’ in Thai entertainment industry. An interesting case is also the luk-kreung actress Florence Faivre in the movie ‘The Siam Renaissance’ (2004).¬†What’s more, Thai youth culture¬†also¬†seems to have¬†incorporated and favoured¬†the presence of half-Thai entertainers in Thai media.¬†Thus,¬†some years ago, the Thai-British actress Paula Taylor said that ‘everyone in the entertainment industry is luk kreung nowadays’¬†and she seems to be right.

Nadech & Yaya (photo credit Amat Nimitpark via asianfuse.net)

Do¬†‘luk kreung’¬†have advantages? Nadech Kugimiya¬†& Yaya Urassaya¬†(photo credit: Amat Nimitpark via asianfuse.net)

Half-Asian advantages

In popular culture, people with mixed¬†racial origins are generally¬†referred to as ‘hapa’ which¬†stems from¬†the Hawaiian¬†Pidgin¬†word for “part” or “mixed”.

As far as ‘luk kreung’ are concerned, there are so¬†many popular¬†half-Thai people¬†in Thai media¬†today. Hence,¬†it only seems natural¬†if society would also go for and embrace a mixed look. Nonetheless, media exposure alone does not completely¬†explain the perception of half-Asian, and in particular half-Thai¬†beauty in this context.

We may assume that half-Asian people possess genetic advantages that let them appear more attractive. For instance, as Psychology Today (1/2006)¬†claims it is a fact that Eurasian faces are generally considered to be more appealing and¬†pleasant than European or Asian faces. One reason for this perception is that Eurasians and other ‘hapa’ people seem to be of good genetic health which makes them attractive. Like R. Elisabeth Cornwell, a psychologist at the University of Colorado, argues: “The signs of beauty are the signs of health”.

Markers of beauty = Markers of health? (photo credit: thebrightnessproject.com))

Markers of beauty = Markers of health? (photo credit: thebrightnessproject.com)

Consequently, we must assume that people who are beautiful must necessarily be more productive and more fit for survival than others…this is a controversial topic, I know and what is beauty anyway? We may define ‘beauty’ as a matter of symmetry concerning features and body statue. What is more, it is also a matter of¬†subjective perception, preference and culture…

In fact, studies have shown that¬†half-Asians seem healthier because of their diverse genetic ancestry which generally¬†lower the chances of particular genetic diseases. Some studies in this field have also¬†revealed that the perception of¬†attractiveness is mainly¬†connected¬†to the appearance of a person’s skin. I’m aware of the fact that this¬†subject is¬†disputable but on the whole I¬†guess the argumentation is right and plausible¬†– diverse genetic ancestry seems to be beneficial to a person’s health ūüôā

Nevertheless, it remains¬†controversial if¬†Eurasian features¬†are¬†generally the most attractive. There are also studies that claim the opposite. Well, I think this is primarily a matter of subjective and cultural perception. Considering the case of successful ‘luk kreung’ in Thai media, I think it¬†might be¬†their mix of being at home in different cultures that makes them particularly¬†interesting and desirable.

Hugo Chakrabongse - example of a distinctively mixed heritage (img.kapook.com)

Hugo Chakrabongse Levy Рexample of a distinctively mixed heritage (img.kapook.com)

A very prominent example of a distinctively mixed heritage with Thai royal origins is Hugo Chakrabongse Levy whose grandfather Prince Chula Chakrabongse (1908-1963) was already a half-Thai. Hugo can be considered a good example of a person who seems to be both comfortable with Thai and Western culture even though he is only 1/8 of Thai origin (amazing!).

In a nutshell, we may certainly be justified in saying that there are¬†half-Asian advantages, considering the fact that people of mixed heritage¬†come inevitably¬†into contact with different cultures generally. Nonetheless, this topic is broad and there¬†remains a lot more to say about advantages and disadvantages that hapa people generally face in different contexts and cultures…this may be a subject for further posts concerning ‘luk kreung’ ūüôā

Yours, Sirinya




Thai Ghost & Horror Movies and ‘Phi Mak Phra Khanong’

As you might remember from my recent article about Father Red &¬†Uncle Boonmee or A Thai Ghost Story, belief in ghosts and spirits is very popular, enduring and present in Thailand. This belief in the supernatural is also a part of Thai everyday life¬†considering the popularity of Buddha amulets and spirit doctors, for instance. In Thai tradition, spirits are either protective and beneficent¬†or evil and antagonistic.¬†Hence, we may also claim that the belief in spirits (‘Phi’ (ŗłúŗłĶ) ¬†in Thai) have contributed¬†greatly to the overall¬†popularity of Thai ghost movies (ŗłęŗłôŗłĪŗłáŗłúŗłĶ).

The Thai horror movie genre

Phi Mak & Nak, scene from Thai horror movie 'Phi Mak Phra Khanong' (photo credit: news.zing.vn)

Phi Mak & Nak, scene from Thai horror movie ‘Phi Mak Phra Khanong’ (photo credit: news.zing.vn)

As a matter of fact, we may¬†speak of an ongoing cultural relevance of the Thai¬†horror movie since¬†this genre¬†has constantly been popular among the Thai moviegoers. Thus, Thai horror films are very often based on folklore, myths and legends. They refer preferably¬†back to old Thai ghost¬†stories¬†such as the¬†‘Mae Nak’ (ŗĻĀŗł°ŗĻąŗłôŗł≤ŗłĄ)¬†ghost which is¬†based on a tale¬†about Lady Nak who is a¬†spirit woman. Generally, female ghosts are revengeful because they have been done wrong and thus¬†stand for human maliciousness and punishment. In addition, however, they also want to discourage people from committing¬†evil deeds and actions.

For instance, you may remember the¬†horror¬†movie ‘Shutter’ (2004) with Thai movie star¬†Ananda Everingham as photographer Thun who is haunted by the ghost of a young woman whom he¬†run over¬†and killed. This is an example of a revengeful female spirit who wants to punish the one’s who let her die.

Nevertheless, there are also Thai horror movies with some comic elements which hence cannot be taken too seriously as a ghost movie. An example is O.T. Ghost Overtime (2014), starring again Ananda Everingham and two partners who¬†run a weird¬†company and are hired to do a wedding party at an old hotel. It is a luxurious hotel but they don’t know that¬†it is haunted by ghosts. This film can be regarded as a kind of horror comedy. However, ‘Ghost Overtime’ might also be¬†seen as a thriller.

As far as early movies from the 1950s and 60s of¬†the horror film genre are concerned, female ghosts are prevalent since they are also dominant in Thai folklore. In contrast, male spirits (so-called ‘poo som fao sap’ ŗłõŗłĻŗĻąŗĻāŗł™ŗł°ŗĻÄŗłĚŗĻČŗł≤ŗłóŗł£ŗłĪŗłěŗłĘŗĻĆ)¬†are mostly ‘fictional’ and not based on legends.

However, let me elaborate on the recurrent¬†topic of Mae Nak, the dead wife¬†who becomes a spirit and¬†haunts her husband by refusing to leave him. In fact, there are numerous movie versions of this story, more than 20 versions have been filmed over 50 years. The most recent¬†one¬†is called¬†‘Phi Mak Phra Khanong’ (2013) which is a comedy¬†ghost film like O.T. Ghost Overtime. The main actors are the young half-Thai movie stars Mario Maurer as Phi Mak and Davika Hoorne as Nak.

It is a very cute story and some scenes are truly hilarious. What is more, the film has numerous anachronistic elements which contribute to the comic effects.

Lovely Mai Davika Hoorne as Mae Nak (photo credit: news.zing.vn)

Lovely Mai Davika Hoorne as Mae Nak (photo credit: news.zing.vn)

The story is about the soldier Phi Mak whose wife dies during pregnancy while he is away to fight in a war. When Mak returns home the villagers behave strangely towards him and avoid him because they know that Nak has died and is a ghost now. Mak and his friends are ignorant of this fact. However, the friends are suspicious and want to go into the matter. When they realize that Nak is a ghost, they try to warn Mak but actually they get confused themselves and mistake Mak for a ghost instead of Nak. They turn to a monk in a temple for protection and guidance. In Thai horror movies, monks often function as antagonists to evil spirits.

Scene from Phi Mak (photo credit: enjoythaimovies.com)

Scene from Phi Mak (photo credit: enjoythaimovies.com)

Nak is not evil, she only wants to be with her beloved husband¬†Mak and finally love¬†wins against¬†all odds. There is a comic and also romantic scene when Mak and Nak go to a fair, take a ride on the Ferris wheel and also go to a tunnel of horror ūüėČ What’s more, there is also a fun song!

Thus, the story differs from ‘original’ tales about Mae Nak because¬†in this movie version¬†Nak is neither bad nor is¬†she¬†the main character. Her husband Mak is he protagonist. In contrast to more traditional Thai horror stories, there is also¬†a happy ending because humans and ghosts can finally¬†live and be happy¬†together. Thus, Nak is accepted as a ghost in the village and she¬†can also do some acting in the tunnel of horror ūüėČ

On the whole,¬†it is a¬†romantic story which is funny but also has some sad moments. This is for instance underlined by Palmy’s song ‘I want to stop the time’.

Summing up, we may say that the¬†Thai horror movie¬†genre is predominantly based on traditional beliefs and tales.¬†Hence, it seems that¬†the subject of ‘ghosts’ is¬†highly popular over there ūüėČ

What is your favourite Thai ghost film if you have one?

Yours, Sirinya