Political comedy show that attacks both sides? | Bangkok Post: learning

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Political comedy show that attacks both sides?

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Jow Kow Tuen (Inside Shallow News), a comedy show with serious messages covering cultural, social & political issues with educated research & sharpened, no-holds-barred opinions. 

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All jokes aside

With the political divide at its peak, an online satire programme straddles the line between absurdity and logic - an unlikely voice of reason in today's ocean of irrationality.


Onsiri Pravattiyagul

In the sea of present political madness, the currents are strong and directionless. We find ourselves slowly drowning, grasping for extending hands, awaiting a voice of reason to pull us toward open sky. 

Surprisingly, that voice comes from a zany online TV programme which somehow finds a sublime balance between lunacy and intelligence.

Jow Kow Tuen (Inside Shallow News), hosted by Winyu "John" Wongsurawat and Nattapong "The Shaman" Tiendee and scripted by Winyu's older sister and Nattapong's wife, Janya Wongsurawat, is farce, satire and scholarly messages cloaked in craziness. It's also probably the most reasonable news show that deals with the current political situation.

With more than 120 episodes and a combined viewership of over 30 million, Jow Kow Tuen has lashed its witty tongue at cultural, social and political issues through educated research and sharpened, no-holds-barred opinions, making the programme as a firm favourite for those in need of intellectual stimulation.

If you think Jow Kow Tuen is a serious news analysis programme, think again - it's more like a comedy sketch show with serious messages folded neatly inside, a political satire gig with heavy intellect waiting to be picked up like fresh dry cleaning.

Think Jon Stewart, or Egypt's Bassem Youssef .... Despite his half-American good looks, Winyu never holds back with comedic gestures, verbal acrobatics laced swear words.

Nattapong, dressed in a ridiculous white voodoo doctor outfit with unexplainable beads, bounces off Winyu's verbal landmines, creating perfect synergy.

Winyu is like Jon Stewart on crack. He once interviewed a political guest shirtless to drive home his neutral position. On another episode he superimposed his academic father's face on the screen, Japanese game show style, as an affirmation for a knowledge source. The way the show's hyper-stylised graphics and cartoonishly topsy-turvy camera works alongside its bizarre presentation style and high sarcasm seems as though it would lessen its authoritative tone. Instead it has gained the trio a cult following, from hapless teenagers to professionals and political academics, some of whom have appeared as guests on the show.

"The craziness is just a surface," said Nattapong. "If you know the issues, you'll get to the core, which always has serious substance."

Janya added: "If you know what you want to touch on, you've got to have all the information, and you need to make sure you've got all angles covered. As for the recurring lunacy, it happens very naturally. These two are plain crazy. They've always been like that. No one has told them to be this way."

The brilliance - and controversy - of Jow Kow Tuen is more evident now than ever. The way the trio ploughs through one political issue after another, challenging the amnesty bill and questioning the People's Democratic Reform Committee and its "shutdown" of Bangkok, has kept the public guessing as to which side they are on. But they will never be able to place the show in a box or pin it to a colour, because the group's opinions are dictated by occurrences and issues rather than a fixed political ideology.

To put it simply, they lambast everyone and everything that irk them - Suthep, Thaksin and the rest. Everyone is fair game, some might say. Fickle, others think.

"Especially now, I feel that everyone has to be classified into two boxes - your box or my box," said Winyu. "When there can be thousands and thousands of boxes.

"There are many subsets, not just two. Two boxes are impossible. There aren't many people who try to attack me openly. Let's say, on a daily basis, there might be 1,000 people trying to reach out to me on social media sites. It would be 20 out of 1,000 [that harshly criticise me]. Initially I was a bit paranoid, but then I realised those people didn't have enough details or refined knowledge on the issues to judge me. We live in the cyberspace age, so we can't limit what people say.

"I don't engage with people who make arguments on an emotional basis...

...Asked for their thoughts on media impartiality, Winyu was the first to respond.

"I still believe in exploring issues. The more refined you get, [the more clearly] your points of view are expressed. I think that's the job for the media."

Nattapong said he believes the idea of an impartial media is out of the media' s hands, but hate mongering needs to be controlled.

"Impartiality doesn't exist. What is impartiality?"

"There are so many facets of facts, and we have selective presentation of facts. Every media has its own inclination and its own political shade. The audience must be aware and make their own judgements," added Janya.


Learn from listening

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absurdity: things that are completely ridiculous; not logical and sensible - ไร้สาระ, ไร้ความหมาย, ที่ไม่เป็นเหตุเป็นผล

academic: someone who teaches at a college, or who studies as part of their job - นักวิชาการ

acrobatic: involving balancing, jumping, or turning your body with great skill - การแสดงความแข็งแรงและยืดหยุ่นของร่างกายโดยการเล่นห้อยโหนโยนตัวเป็นต้น

affirmation: a statement or demonstration that something is true - การยืนยัน, การรับรอง

amnesty: a situation in which a government agrees not to punish people who have committed a crime - การนิรโทษกรรม

analysis: the detailed study or examination of something in order to understand more about it; the result of the study - การวิเคราะห์

angle: point of view; perspective; a particular way of considering or understanding something - ทัศนคติ

argument: a reason or reasons why you support or oppose an idea or suggestion - เหตุผล

audience: the people who watch an event happen - ผู้ชม

authoritative: powerful - ซึ่งแสดงถึงอำนาจ

aware: to know that something exists, or to have knowledge or experience of a particular thing - ทราบ

balance: the ability to keep steady with an equal amount of weight on each side - ความสมดุล, การทรงตัว

basis: the important facts, ideas or events that support something; the reason why people take a particular action - รากฐาน, หลักพื้นฐาน, หลัก

bill: a proposal for a law - ร่างกฎหมาย

bizarre: very strange and unusual - แปลกประหลาด,วิตถาร,ผิดปกติ

challenging: difficult, in a way that tests your ability or determination - ที่ท้าทายความสามารถ

cloak: to cover or hide something - ปกคลุม,ปิดบัง

comedic: of or relating to comedy - ที่ตลกขบขัน

comedy: a (type of) film, play or book which is intentionally funny either in its characters or its action - ความตลกขบขัน

comedy sketch: a short funny story acted out on TV or video -

controversy: a disagreement that a lot of people have strong feelings about - ความขัดแย้ง

core: the most important or most basic part of something - ที่สำคัญที่สุด

criticise: to say that you disapprove of somebody/something; to say what you do not like or think is wrong about somebody/something - วิจารณ์, ติเตียน,จับผิด

cultural: related to the customs and beliefs, art, way of life and social organization of a particular country or group - วัฒนธรรม

current: a strong movement of water in one direction - กระแสน้ำ

current: of the present time - ปัจจุบัน

cyberspace: virtual space, theoretical place in which one is located when connected to a computer network such as the Internet - โลกบนอินเตอร์เนท

deal with: to be about a subject - เกี่ยวกับ

detail: the small facts or features of something - รายละเอียด, ส่วนเล็กๆ น้อยๆ, ส่วนย่อย

dictated by: determined by , caused by -

direction: the way something is moving or coming from - ทิศทาง

divide: a disagreement between people, especially between people who belong to the same group - การแตกร้าว, การแบ่งแยก

drowning: dying from sinking under the water and being unable to breathe - การจมน้ำ

emotional: related to strong feeling such as anger or love, or strong feelings in general - มีอารมณ์

engage with: to make an effort to understand and deal with someone or something - ประสานกับ, มีส่วนร่วมใน

episode: an event or set of events that forms part of a longer series but is considered separately - กรณี, ตอน,ฉาก

evident: clearly seen; obvious - เห็นได้ชัด

express: to tell someone about a feeling, opinion, or aim by speaking or writing about it - แสดงออก (ทางความคิดหรือความรู้สึก) โดยใช้คำพูดหรือการเขียน, พูดออกมา

extend: to include something more; to make something longer - ขยายออกไป

facet: an aspect of something such as a situation or someone’s character - ด้าน, ด้านมุมมอง

fair game: someone whom it is ok to attack -

farce: a situation or event that is silly because it is very badly organised, unsuccessful, or unfair - เรื่องตลก

favourite: something you like the best of all similar things - ที่ชอบมากที่สุด, ที่โปรดปราน, ของโปรด

fickle: changing often and suddenly - แปรปรวน, ซึ่งไม่แน่นอน

firm: definite and not likely to change - แน่นอน, แน่วแน่

fold: to bend something, especially paper or cloth, so that one part of it lies on the other part, or to be able to be bent in this way - พับ

gesture: something that you do or say to show a particular feeling or intention - ท่าที

gig: a single performance by a musician or group of musicians, especially playing modern or pop music - งานชั่วคราว

grasp: an attempt to take or achieve something - การจับ, การคว้า

harsh: cruel, severe and unkind - กระด้าง, รุนแรง, ห้าว, เกรี้ยวกราด

hate mongering: saying things to make people hate each other -

host: to introduce a television or radio programme, a show, etc. - ทำหน้าที่เป็นพิธีกร

ideology: system of ideas and principles on which a political or economic theory is based - แนวคิดอันเป็นรากฐานของสังคม เศรษฐกิจและการเมือง

impartiality: a condition of not being connected to or influenced by one particular person or group - ความเที่ยงตรง

inclination: tendency or tendencies to do certain things; predisposition, propensity - ความโน้มเอียง, ความเอนเอียง, ความชอบ

initially: at first - ในเบื้องต้น

intellectual: connected with or using a person's ability to think in a logical way and understand things - เกี่ยวกับปัญญา

intellectual stimulation: something that makes you think more, such as a good book or movie or TV show -

intelligence: the ability to understand and think about things, and to gain and use knowledge - สติปัญญา, ความเฉลียวฉลาด,ไหวพริบ

irk: to annoy someone - รบกวน,ทำให้รำคาญ

irrationality: not thinking or behaving in a sensible way - ไม่มีเหตุผล

issue: a problem that needs to be considered - ประเด็น

issue: a subject that people discuss or argue about - ประเด็น

judge: to form an opinion about somebody/something, based on the information you have - คาดคะเน

judgement: an opinion that you form about something after thinking about it carefully; the act of making this opinion known to others - การตัดสินใจ, การพิจารณา

knowledge: all the facts that people know about a subject (example: medical knowledge) - ความรู้

lambast: to criticise someone or something severely -

lash out: to criticise someone or something angrily - ประนามอย่างรุนแรง

logic: the fact of being a sensible or reasonable explanation or idea - ระบบการใช้เหตุผล

lunacy: craziness -

madness: ideas or actions that show a lack of good judgment and careful thought - ความวิกลจริต, ความกระตือรือร้นอย่างมาก

media: radio, television, newspaper, the Internet, considered as a group - สื่อ

message: an important idea that someone is trying to communicate - ประเด็น, เนื้อความ

naturally: in a way that you would expect - แน่นอน, อย่างที่คาดไว้

neat: tidy and in order; carefully done or arranged - เรียบร้อย, เข้าที่เข้าทาง, เป็นระเบียบ

neutral: not supporting either side in a disagreement, competition or war - เป็นกลาง, ไม่ฝักใฝ่ฝ่ายใดฝ่ายหนึ่ง

no-holds-barred: no limits or limitations, anything goes, anything you do is ok -

occurrence: something that happens - เหตุการณ์

online: controlled by or connected to a computer or to the Internet - ออนไลน์, การเชื่อมต่อผ่านระบบเครือข่ายทางคอมพิวเตอร์

opinion: your feelings or thoughts about somebody/something, rather than a fact - ความเห็น, ความคิดเห็น, ทัศนคติ

out of hand: out of control - ไม่สามารถควบคุมได้

outfit: clothes - เสื้อผ้าทั้งชุด

paranoid: worrying that people do not like you and are trying to harm you, although you have no proof of this - โรคจิตเภทแบบหวาดระแวง

peak: the time when something is at its highest or greatest level - ช่วงเวลาที่พบมากที่สุด

plough through: to go through something quickly , in a very rough fashion -

points of view: (noun) the way someone sees or understands an issue or problem; an opinion, point of view, perspective, attitude - ทัศนคติ, ความคิดเห็น, มุมมอง

position: stance; an attitude or view about an issue that you state clearly; position - จุดยืน

present: this time, happening now, happening currently - ปัจจุบันนี้

presentation: a formal talk given to an audience on some subject or topic - การนำเสนอ, การนำเสนอข้อมูล

professional: a person who does a job that needs special training and a high level of education - ผู้เชี่ยวชาญในวิชาชีพ,ผู้มีวิชาชีพ

realise: to know about - ตระหนัก  รู้

reason: a fact that makes it right or fair to do something; the power of the mind to think in a logical way, to understand and have opinions, etc - ความมีเหตุผล, การใช้เหตุผล

reason: to form a judgement about a situation by considering the facts and using your power to think in a logical way - คิดคำนวณในใจ,สรุป,ชี้แจงเหตุผล

reasonable: fair, practical and sensible - มีเหตุผล

recurring: that happens again and again - เกิดขึ้นอีก,ปรากฎบ่อย ๆ

refine: to improve something by making small changes to it - ทำให้ดีขึ้น

refined: high quality; considered typical of a high social class - สละสลวย, ประณีต, ละเอียดลออ

research: a careful study of a subject, especially in order to discover new facts or information about it - การวิจัย

respond: to say or do something as a reaction to something that has been said or done - ตอบสนอง, ตอบรับ

ridiculous: silly or unreasonable and deserving to be laughed at - น่าขัน, น่าหัวเราะ, ไร้สาระ

sarcasm: saying or writing the opposite of what you mean - การเขียนหรือพูดเสียดสี แดกดัน

satire: a way of criticising a person, an idea or an institution in which you use humour to show their faults or weaknesses; a piece of writing that uses this type of criticism - ล้อเลียน, การเย้ยหยัน, การถากถาง

satire: a way of criticizing people or ideas in a humorous way, or a piece of writing or play which uses this style - การเสียดสี, การเย้ยหยัน, การถากถาง

scholar: someone who studies a particular subject and knows a lot about it, especially a subject that is not scientific - นักวิชาการ

script: a written text of a play, film/movie, broadcast, talk, etc - ตัวเขียน,ต้นฉบับ, บท

sea: a big body of water - ทะเล

selective: careful about who they choose, choosy, discerning, discriminating - ซึ่งเลือกเฟ้น, ซึ่งคัดเลือกอย่างระมัดระวัง, ช่างเลือก

shade: a type or degree of a colour - ปริมาณสีที่แตกต่างกันเล็กน้อย

shallow: not deep - ตื้น

shaman: someone who has the power to talk to spirits and cure illnesses - หมอผี, คนทรงเจ้า

sharp: strong - ที่รุนแรง

situation: all the circumstances and things that are happening at a particular time and in a particular place - สถานการณ์

social: related to society, to people and the way they are connected to each other and interact with each other - เกี่ยวกับสังคม

social media: the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into an interactive dialogue, e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc. - เครือข่ายสังคมออนไลน์

source: a place where information comes from; someone who gives information - แหล่ง

sublime: of very high quality and causing great admiration - ล้ำเลิศ, เป็นเลิศ, ยิ่งยวด

substance: based on accurate  or true information - มีมูล

surface: the outside or top layer of something - ผิวหน้า, ผิวภายนอก, ด้านนอก

swear word: a rude or offensive word, used, for example, to express anger - คำสบถ

tone: the quality of somebody's voice, especially expressing a particular emotion - น้ำเสียง, ลักษณะน้ำเสียง

tongue: the soft part in the mouth that moves around, used for tasting, swallowing, speaking, etc - ลิ้น

topsy-turvy: confused, mixed-jup, lacking order - ที่สับสน, วุ่นวาย

touch on: to mention - อ้างถึง, เอ่ยถึง, พูดถึง,

trio: a group of three people; a group of three - กลุ่มที่ประกอบด้วย 3 คน; กลุ่มที่ประกอบด้วย 3

verbal: spoken, not written - ที่ใช้คำพูด

viewership: the number of viewers that a TV program has -

voice: to express your feelings or opinions - ออกความคิด

witty: able to say or write clever, amusing things - ซึ่งใช้คำพูดอย่างมีสติปัญญา, ซึ่งใช้คำพูดอย่างมีไหวพริบ

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