I Last Friday night, around 8pm Thailand Television Time, we became a nation forever changed. A crisis of monumental proportions descended upon the country as hordes of citizens sat in front of their blank TVs, confused, lost and disoriented. The natives of this once-flourishing land were abruptly stripped of their Buddha-given right to fill their brain with mindless and nonsensical storylines. People wept and cursed at the evil entity that dared to mess with the sanctity of scheduled programming.
What plague so horrible befell us?
Well, that would be local broadcaster Channel 3's abrupt decision not to air the season finale of its prime-time political soap opera Nua Mek 2.
Riots ensued, local hospitals were filled with people convulsing and suffering from lakorn withdrawal, petitions were drafted to amend the constitution and add "The freedom to be a couch potato" clause...
Fine, I'm exaggerating more than a ludicrous soap opera plot. Forgive me, I make it a point to stay at least 50 channels away from Thai lakorn because it's more like watching one big whitening deodorant commercial with bits of silly drama interspersed.
Like its melodramatic counterparts, Nua Mek 2 centres on corrupt politicians, including a fictitious Thai prime minister involved in a shady satellite project, his crooked deputy, and a sorcerer who performs black magic to influence political events. You don't have to be a genius to connect the dots of this very transparent plot.
Channel 3's sudden cancellation of the show, with no explanation other than the vague reason that the ending contained "inappropriate" content, has created tons of speculation and backlash, mainly attributed to political interference.
People are crying foul with their conjectures: How dare the channel kowtow to political pressure and deny us the freedom and liberty of watching what we want! The government can't handle being parodied so they forced Channel 3 to cancel the show! Thaksin hired a witch doctor to inception the mind of Channel 3 execs and brainwashed them to axe Nua Mek 2!
While I personally could care less about any of this because I think all Thai soap operas should be banned anyway for obliterating the few brain cells we have left, I am shocked, nay, flabbergasted, at how much some people actually do care.
In the time since the show was cancelled, both the Democrat and Pheu Thai parties have come out to voice their opinions. Facebook pages such as "Bring Me Back Nua Mek 2" have been created. The Thai Constitution Protection Association have taken a strong stance against Channel 3. The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission have created a committee to investigate the controversial ban. And hackers have even broken into the Channel 3 website and posted "Where is my Nua Mek 2?" across the homepage!
Are you freakin' kidding me? The only time I've ever seen anyone spring to action this fast is when there's a "Sale" sign displayed. Now this lakorn is somehow serving as a metaphor for the divisions in this country? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.
OK, sure. To some extent this ban does violate our personal freedoms. But on a scale of "poverty" to "human rights abuses", is not knowing how a show ends as important? It seems those who are trying to politicise this are attempting to push their own vested agendas, and we're the fools for continuing to let politics seep into everything. What's next? Branding people "commies" based on how they hold their chopsticks?
If only our call to duty was this strong for other issues that are, y'know, important, maybe we could actually get things done in this country. But perhaps our love for TV is so strong that this is the only way to get passions brewing.
Considering we also don't know why Channel 3 pulled the plug on the show, all this speculation seems pointless. Wouldn't we all feel silly if the producers just didn't finish the episode in time for it to go on air? But whatever the reason is, Channel 3 has displayed itself to be an extremely amateurish, unprofessional network, made all the more incompetent by their horrible handling of this situation to the public. I mean, who really likes to be left hangi--G
About the author
- Writer: Sumati Sivasiamphai
Position: Guru Editor