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 🙂 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)
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 🙂 I truly enjoy his feel-good music and the way he combines cool jazz rhythms with surf-rock and pop.
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 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.
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)
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 😉 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?
Thai Designer Nagara & The Floating World (BIFW 2015)
Nagara Sambandaraksa can be regarded as the most renowned Thai fashion designer. He has designed for Thai royalty and his creations are strongly connected with his Thai heritage and regional influences. Thus, his designs are predominantly custom-made pieces created from Thai silk, borcade and other premium materials.
Renowned Thai Fashion Designer Nagara Sambandaraksa*
At the age of 15, Nagara left Thailand to study interior design in the United States and the UK. However, each summer he returned to Bangkok in order to study the art of fabric painting and design. After finishing his studies in the US and the UK, Nagara went to Omoto School near Kyoto in Japan to study Japanese traditional arts in textile design.
Nagara’s models at the BIFW 2015, The Floating World*
At the beginning of his career, Nagara made home furnishing fabrics and textile design. He started fashion design in 1983 and today he is well-known for his ‘East meets West’ designs and the distinct oriental character of his creations. Nagara fashion is a regular representative at Bangkok Fashion Shows and the International Fashion Week.
Nadech Kugimiya & Urassaya Sperbund for Nagara*
He travels a lot to find inspiration in other countries. Hence, he particularly loves the cities of India, China and Japan. However, he also likes European cities like Paris and Florence for their inspiring character. He feels the need to search for inspiration in other countries but at the same time Thailand’s fashion scene is becoming more dynamic and younger designers are receiving more support.
Thai Fashion Designer Nagara ‘The Floating World’ at BIFW 2015*
He thinks that it is also important to consider trends in fashion and to be guided by the younger generation. Nevertheless, the special feature of Nagara’s fahion is that he produces all the fabrics himself. This includes the weaving, printing and painting of the fabrics. Thus, he needs more time in creating the designs but they are unique. Hence, his signature style is using the world famous Thai silk.
Janie Tienphosuwan at The Floating World by Nagara BIFW 2015*
We may describe Nagara’s style as flamboyant, extraordinary and yet simple. What is more, his designs are exotic. For instance, his 2014 collection was inspired by his travels to India. Hence, the designs are very colourful, oriental and many different fabrics are combined and mixed together. Nagara uses exotic materials like peacock feathers and native Indian floral prints. His recent collection is called ‘The Floating World’ and was featured at the Bangkok International Fashion Week 2015. This collection distinctively combines Japanese elements with a flamboyant design.
Yaya Urassaya Sperbund at the Bangkok International Fashion Week 2015*
Finally, we may say that Nagara is Thailand’s most renowned fashion designer with good reason. His designs are extravagant and they combine Western and Eastern elements.
(All pictures in this post, photo credit: Nagara Naga, FB page)
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.
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.
Not surprisingly either, my article about Yaya Urassaya Sperbundis 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.
Most recently, Yaya graduated from Chulalongkorn University. Congrats, dear Yaya! You are very talented 🙂
Yaya Urassaya just graduated from Chulalongkorn University (photo: Nadech & Yaya Vietnam Fanpage)
Next follows an article about another young luk kreung actress – do you guess who it is? It’s actress and model Mai Davika Hoorne who became famous with her role as Mae Nak in the movie ‘Phi Mak Phra Khanong’. 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)
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’ 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 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 😉
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 ‘common’ tattoos because they are supposed to have a magical meaning and power.
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 🙂 Thus, enjoy reading my blog and getting to know more about Thai (popular) culture!
Nadech Kugimiya: Thai-Austrian Actor
For some years now, half-Thai actor and model Nadech Kugimiya has been a popular face in Thai media and the entertainment industry. Hence, he is famous on Channel 3. I think there is hardly any Thai teenager who does not know him. As a devoted reader of my blog, you may know that I have dealt with him shortly in my article about Nadech & Yaya. Nonetheless, there is of course a lot more to say about him seen individually 🙂
Nadech, nicknamed Barry, was born 1991 in Khonkaen and his original name was Chonlathit Yodprathum. He is considered to be of Thai-Chinese and Austrian descent. At the beginning of his career there was some confusion about his origins and background because people generally assumed that he must be part-Japanese because of his last name ‘Kugimiya’. What is more, he also has the appearance of a Japanese manga character with his light complexion, thick eyebrows and doe eyes 🙂
However, Barry was brought up by his aunt Sundarat and her husband, the Japanese Yoshio Kugimiya. Nadech adores his Japanese foster father and this is the reason why he himself claims to be half-Japanese, even though he is not. However, Nadech does not know Japanese but speaks fluently in Thai and Isan dialect.
Barry was discovered at the age of 16 and has been working as a model, actor and singer since then. Up until today, he has been in numerous Thai commercials and on magazine covers. For example, he was in commercials like Trident chewing gum with actress Pachrapa Chaichua, Shokubutsu shower cream for Men, Samsung Monte 3G, Yamaha Fino, Baoji shoes and Lays with Thai-Norwegian actress ‘Yaya’ Urassaya Sperbund.
What is more, he was the first brand ambassador and brand presenter for Thai Air Asia. He was also a surprise guest flight attendant serving snacks to the delighted passengers in 2014 🙂
Nevertheless, Barry is not only a ‘pretty face’ – he has been studying Communication Arts at Rangsit University. Hence, most recently he has presented his short film ‘Mr. Peter’s Project’ which is a work to complete his B.A. at Rangsit. The film is concerned with the Nan’s forest conservation. Hence, Barry’s aim is to raise an awareness of deforestation. Here is the film, though only available in Thai.
Nadech has been in numerous TV series and films since 2010 when he debuted in Ngaorak Luangjai. Furthermore, he gained popularity with his work in the series 4 Hua Jai Haeng Khun Khao (Duang Jai Akkanee or Akkanee’s Heart). He played the character of Fai Akkanee Adisuan starring alongside Urassaya Sperbund.
Nadech & Yaya in Akkanee’s Heart (photo credit: iheartlakorns.com)
What is more, he was in Gamerai Gamerak or Love Game Evil Game as “Saichon/Charles Makovich” and in The Rising Sun series also starring alongside Yaya Urassaya. He had a very popular role in Sunset at Chaophraya (Khu Kam, 2013) playing the Japanese engineering officer Kobori who falls in love with a nationalistic Thai beauty called Angsumalin. He also sang the song to this movie.
Hence, it does not come as a surprise that he also won Best Actor from Starpics Thai Film Award for his role of Kobori in Sunset at Chaophraya. This is really well-deserved!
Finally, we may say that Nadech Kugimiya is certainly one of the hottest luk kreung actors in Thailand at the moment. With good reason, he can be called Mr. Everywhere because he is frequently spotted on magazine covers, in television commercials, billboards and soap operas. You cannot escape Barry, thus you must love him 🙂
Kimberly Ann Voltemas – Thai-German Actress
Kimberly Ann Tiamsiri Voltemas, born in 1992, is a popular half-Thai actress and model. She has a Thai mother who is from Chiang Mai and a German father. She is the youngest of four siblings, her sister is called Jennifer and her brothers are Thomas and Daniel. She is nicknamed Kimmy Kimberly which is also her stage name.
Kimberly Ann Voltemas*
Kimberly entered the Thai entertainment industry as a teenager in 2009. At first, she did some modelling and was featured in several music videos. As an actress, she debuted in Channel 3’s most popular TV series called ‘4 Huajai Haeng Koon Kao’ (4 Hearts of the Mountains).
This TV series was aired in 2010 and Kim played the role of Nam or Thipthara who is a warmhearted and compassionate doctor. In this movie, she acted alongside other well-known young luk kreung actors like Nadech Kugimiya and Urassaya Sperbund.
Acting in the role of Nam is this series has gained Kim many fans in Thailand and all over Asia. In addition, she has been constantly improving her acting skills, thus becoming an accomplished actress. Kim’s manager is Noom Piyachart and together they have succeeded in establishing her a fine reputation in the entertainment business.
In 2012, Kim acted alongside Prin ‘Mark’ Suparat in the roles as Cha-Aim and Khun Tam in the remake of Punya Chon Kon Krua 2012. Hence, both actors became very popular as an onscreen couple (‘koo jin’). Since then they have frequently been paired in series and modelling 🙂
In fact, Kim has been much praised by her fellow actors. Hence, she may be regarded as a young actress in high demand. Even acclaimed actress Ann Thongprasom thinks highly of Kimberly and her talents. Ann is of the opinion that Kim might one day replace her as a princess of Thai entertainment. Furthermore, she finds that Kim very much resembles herself and thus can even identify with her. Consequently, Ann also holds the view that Kim might reach same level of success as herself. Great compliment! 🙂
Hence, Kim has already starred in the series ‘Ab Ruk Online’ in which actress Ann Thongprasom is also in. Further, this TV series features her partner Prin ‘Mark’ Suparat and acclaimed actor Peter Corp Dyrendal. In fact, up until now Kim is the first and only younger generation actress who has been in three out of five lakorns produced by Ann Thongprasom. These are ‘Punya Chon Kon Krua 2012’, ‘Ab Ruk Online’ and ‘Piang Chai Kon Nee Mai Chai Poo Wised’.
Furthermore, Kim has been the cover-girl of several magazines and has also featured in a lot of TV commercials like this one for United Almond, for instance.
Summing up, we may claim that Kimmy Kimberly is one of the most aspiring and promising actresses of the younger generation in Thai entertainment industry. She is not only popular with her fans but also with her fellow actors 🙂
(*photo credit: Kimmy Kimberly, Official FB page)
Photo Exhibition ‘The Anatomy’ by Amat Nimitpark
Today’s post is just a note to inform you about the photo exhibition ‘The Anatomy’ by Amat Nimitpark, the most renowned fashion photographer in Thailand.
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
The motto of this exhibition is, as the title ‘The Anatomy’ 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
As I understand it, ‘The Anatomy’ is a collaboration of Amat Nimitpark with the health club ‘WE Fitness Society’. The exhibition should inspire people to exercise more and to take care of themselves and their health.
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.
Thus, Amat Nimitpark plays with light and shadow in ‘The Anatomy’ indicating that every person’s shape can be appealing and beautiful seen individually.
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.
All pictures in this post, photo credit: Amat Nimitpark, FB page
‘Yaya’ Urassaya Sperbund: Thai-Norwegian Actress
If you are into Thai popular culture, you certainly know the lovely Thai-Norwegian actress and model ‘Yaya’Urassaya Sperbund. I have dealt with her shortly in my post about ‘Nadech & Yaya’ because they are the most favourite and desirable couple in Thai media today. However, there is a lot more to say about the young actress seen individually 🙂
Yaya (ญาญ่า) was born in 1993 to a Thai mother and a Norwegian father in Pattaya. She was discovered as a model at the age of 14 but when she was younger, she claimed to have been like the ugly duckling. Thus, for some years she had to wear braces but that is in the past. Today, she is a gorgeous and amazing actress famous in Thailand.
Yaya (photo credit: women.sanook.com)
Even though she grew up in Thailand, she could not speak much of Thai language in her younger years because she went to an International School, had predominantly American friends and at home she would talk English to her father. Later when she worked with Channel 3, she had to learn Thai in order to be able to speak the language properly.
Nevertheless, Yaya is a Thai girl at heart and her mother also taught her Thai mannerisms and politeness. What is more, she is a Buddhist and went frequently to the temple with her mother as a small girl.
Yaya (photo credit: Volume 183, NadechYaya at Pantip.com)
She is a self-confident model and actress today but when she talks she sometimes appears to be shy. However, Yaya smiles and laughs a lot. Hence, it is really surprising that she actually wants to become a lawyer or a politician. Being an actress was not her first career choice but of course she is happy with that too 🙂 In fact, she is now one of the highest paid actresses in Thailand! In the following clip, she talks about her upbringing and her career as an actress. This is really interesting!
Hence, Yaya has been in numerous commercials and she is also frequently spotted as a cover girl on glossy magazines like Volume, Image, Mistine and WE, just to name a few.
As far as I know, she has been in about 13 dramas up until today. In TV series, she is frequently paired with Nadech Kugimiya, for instance in The Rising Sun. Thus, it does not come as a surprise that she has already won many awards for her dramatic ability. For instance, she was titled ‘Popular Leading Actress’ by the Mekkhala Television Awards. Her most famous series is ‘Game Rai Game Rak’ starring as Nang Fah (Fahlada) alongside Nadech Kugimiya.
In her second series called ‘Torranee Ni Nee Krai Krong’, she also starred with Nadech. In this film she played the character of Nong Nee (Darunee). Yaya herself also recorded the theme song for the series ‘Torranee Ni Nee Krai Krong’ which is called ‘Ar Karn Ruk’ (Symptoms of Love).
What is more, she also was in Thai-French singer Chin Chinawut’s music video ‘My bad habit’. Hence, she is also a skilled dancer and a talented singer as demonstrated in the first clip, in which she sings a duet with James Ji.
Finally, we may say that Yaya Urassaya is an amazing, versatile and promising young luk kreung actress. With good reason, she is so popular and has millions of fans 🙂
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’Mario” 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 (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 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 😉
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)
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 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 🙂
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 🙂 I’m curious what his future movies will be!
Nadech and Yaya: Ideal of The Perfect Couple
When I first saw Nadech Kugimiya (Barry) and Urassaya Sperbund (Yaya) in a clip to the Rising Sun Series (Roy Fun Tawan Deard), a series with a Japanese setting, I thought to myself that they are just to good to be true. Both seem so sweet and cute in whatever they do, it’s unbelievable.
Yaya & Barry (photo credit: NY Always Nadech & Yaya)
In addition, NadechandYaya are extremely good looking, embodying the Thai beauty ideal of a light complexion, large eyes, tall and slender statue and somehow Western features. Being both ‘Luk kreung’, i.e. half-Thai people, this does not appear so surprising at all 😉
Nadech and Yaya – the Ideal Couple
The constant acting and pairing of Nadech, a Thai-Austrian, and Yaya, a Thai-Norwegian, have made them the most favourite and desirable couple in Thai popular culture. Thus, they are greatly admired by a whole generation of Thai teens. In addition, Nadech and Yaya have captured the hearts and imagination of people who dream of the perfect match.
Nadech & Yaya (photo credit: Amat Nimitpark)
Nadech, born 1991 in Khonkaen, was adopted by the Japanese Yoshio Kugimiya and his wife Sudarat Kugimiya. He was discovered at the age of 16 and has been working as a model, actor and singer since then. What is more, he has been studying Communication Arts at Rangsit University. Hence, most recently he has presented his short film ‘Mr. Peters’, a project to complete his B.A. at Rangsit. The film is about the Nan’s forest conservation. Thus, Barry is ‘not just a pretty face’ as the Bangkok Post puts forward.
Here are Nadech and Yaya in a recent photo-shoot this month for Marie Claire magazine.
Yaya, born in 1993, has a Norwegian father and a Thai mother. She was discovered relatively early in her teens, at the age of 14, and has been working as a model and actress ever since. She is the darling of the Thai entertainment industry, extremely popular, and one of the highest paid actresses in Thailand. Everyone adores her and even Thai movie star Ananda Everingham admires her sincere personality. Once in Woody Talk show, Ananda spoke of her as “Yaya who always has an aura of sincerity”.
photo credit: NadechYaya.com
In fact, Nadech and Yaya have been very successful together. The first time they acted together was in the movie Akkanee’s Heart (Duangjai Akkanee, 2010) which is a kind of ‘Romeo & Juliett’ story. In addition, they starred together in a number of other ‘lakhon’ (Thai term for ‘soap operas’), e.g. ‘Love Game Evil Game’ (Game Rai Game Rak) and ‘Who Own This Land?’ (Torranee Ni Nee Krai Krong).
Apart from acting together, both Nadech and Yaya have several contracts for advertising campaigns with different companies. Together they have also been advertising for Lays potato chips.
I think people are so fascinated by Nadech and Yaya because they appear to be perfect young adults and simply beautiful people who do everything they do effortlessly 🙂 We might also speak of a Ya-Dech Factor in this context. What is more, they also strengthen the assumption that half-Thai people are very popular in the Thai entertainment industry.
Nadech & Yaya in The Rising Sun (phot:o konchke.blogspot.com)
What do you think about them? Have you been captured by the Ya-Dech Factor? 😉
‘Luk kreung’ and Concepts of Mixed Race in Thailand
Recently I’ve written a post about Thai beauty ideals and the desire for ‘fair skin’ pointing out that in Thailand, Western beauty concepts prevail even though the country has never been colonized by a European nation. In this context, it is interesting to note that there is nowadays a considerable number of part-Thai people who are successful and prominent in Thai popular culture. We might be justified in speaking of a rise of the so-called ‘luk kreung’ in Thailand’s entertainment industry.
Concepts of Mixed Race
Hugo & Palmy, successful Luk kreung, mixed race people (photo credit: music.mthai.com)
In fact, in the time of the Vietnam War, during the 1960s and 70s, a large number of mixed race children were born from Thai women and American soldiers. Literally translated the Thai colloquial term ‘Lukkreung’ (ลูกครึ่ง) means ‘half-child’. It is used to refer to people who are of mixed Thai and European origin. Nevertheless, according to the official dictionary of Thai words, the term describes “a person whose parents are of different races, also called khrueng chat (ครึ่งชาติ)”. That is to say a ‘half-child’ does not necessarily have to be Eurasian.
Nevertheless, ‘luk kreung’ were perceived sceptically and also paradoxically in the 1960s and 70s. On the one hand, they were regarded as the offspring of Thai prostitutes, ‘rented wives’ or ‘mail-order’ brides and American GIs, even though this was not always true, since some of the American soldiers formed lasting relationships with Thai women and settled down in Thailand. On the other hand, ‘half-children’ have been seen as desirable, modern and attractive racially mixed people.
David Usher, Thai-Canadian singer went from 90s rocker to today’s creativity guru (photo credit: lametropole.com)
Thus, today the majority of ‘luk kreung’ people in Thailand are born of relationships and marriages when Europeans come to live and work in Thailand. Another possible case is when Thai people go abroad to study in Western or foreign countries and settle down and start a family there. Hence, in the last decades Thailand has become quite enamored with half-Thai people. That is to say that many mixed race, part-Thai people have ridden a wave of popularity in the Thai media and entertainment industry.
There are different reasons why ‘luk kreung’ people are successful in Thailand today. A very important factor is their Western features and often proficient English language skills. In fact, half or part-Thai persons also match the predominant Thai beauty ideal of a Western look (i.e. light skin colour, large eyes and a tall physique). These are features that are generally considered attractive and desirable in Thailand. An extremely prominent example of this popularity is the acting and pairing of Urassaya Sperbund (Yaya) and Nadech Kugimiya (Barry). They have captured so many fans in Thailand where the two are now the most popular ‘couple’ of this generation. Both Yaya and Barry are half-Thai people. Yaya Urassaya is Thai-Norwegian and Nadech Kugimiya is Thai-Austrian.
Nadech & Yaya (photo credit: Amat Nimitpark via asianfuse.net)
Nonetheless, the prominence of half-Thai people in Thailand today does not only apply to those who are of Thai and European heritage. If we consider the example of the world famous golfer Tiger Woods, who is of Thai and Afro-American origin, we realize that he has become a symbol that linked success to Thai identity. In addition, he was portrayed as a cultural hybrid through his career and international golfing tournament success. Hence, this shows that although dark skin is generally less popular in Thailand than fair skin, people of racially mixed origin with non-European heritage can become acknowledged and grab Thailand’s public attention too.
Tiger Woods (photo credit: people.com)
Summing up, we may claim that today mixed race people with part-Thai origin are acknowledged and quite popular in Thailand. This is particularly true of Thai-European people matching the predominant Thai beauty ideal of a light complexion and a tall statue. What is more, there also seems to be proof that half-Asian people have general advantages…
What do you think about the rise of ‘luk-kreung’ in Thai popular culture?