Toon's virtual run gets flak on net

Toon's virtual run gets flak on net

Critics say he should push for charter rewrite ensuring better education funding

Toon: 'Misdirected energy'
Toon: 'Misdirected energy'

Rock star Artiwara "Toon Bodyslam" Kongmalai is well known for his charity runs, which until recently received overwhelming support from fans and the public.

In his latest fund-raising project announced by his Kaokonlakao Foundation, the singer plans to carry out a so-called virtual run for 109 kilometres from Jan 1 until Feb 28, with the aim of raising funds for the education of 109 students.

In the first version of his virtual run project, conducted last year, the money raised will go to 109 students who do not have enough money to cover the costs of their education after Mathayom 3 level.

It is called a virtual run because interested parties can join the charity activity by simply running at home, in a public park or on a treadmill, according to Chaichan Baimongkon, chief creative officer of the project.

Up to 1,700 people took part in the first virtual run project, he said, adding that aside from raising funds, the run promotes physical exercise.

However, unlike last year's virtual run, it ran into flak on social media almost as soon as it was announced.

Among those criticising the new charity run were Yingcheep Atchanond, manager of the Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw).

The problem actually lies with the constitution that doesn't ensure free education for all students after Mathayom 3, he said.

"Up to one million students would benefit from Mr Artiwara's charity run if he changes from raising funds for these particular students to campaigning for a rewrite of the charter instead," Mr Yingcheep said.

The government and the Ministry of Education must arrange free education for all students, said Nawat Itsaragrisil, president and founder of Miss Grand International, a beauty pageant franchise based in Thailand.

"If you [Artiwara] want to help students, please talk to the prime minister about education development, or things might still be the same even after 100 such runs," he wrote in a Facebook post.

Veteran news anchor Narakorn Tiyayon asked sarcastically in a Facebook post where the rock singer had been when many of his fellow singers and musicians lost their jobs as a result of Covid-19 restrictions.

Social media personality Isora Hata also chimed in.

"If you change from running 250km to urging those 250 senators to give up their salaries to pay for the education of these students, I for one will join the activity."

Meanwhile, Yong Lukyi, a TV comedian, said he will support Artiwara's charity run no matter what others say about it.

"I wish those of you who were so quick to criticise the charity run at least think about the value of the activity before making sarcastic comments," he said.

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