Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Thailand’s Got Double Standards and Not So Much Talent

I’d like to weigh in on the latest controversy from Thailand that is making news across the world.

The “Thailand’s Got Talent” television show, broadcast last Sunday, featured 23-year-old Duangjai Jansaunoi, who walked onstage barefoot in jeans and a baggy men's button-down shirt. She introduced herself as an independent artist from northern Thailand.

She then turned to a large canvas and painted a yellow outline of a person.

Afterwards, she removed her shirt and unhooked a black bra.

Then she doused herself with several tins of paint before turning to the audience with a broad smile to display her multicolored torso. The area around her breasts was blurred out by censors.

As dance music played, the contestant used her body as a paintbrush to fill in the outline.

Some in the audience gasped with hands over their mouths, while others cheered her on. Well, just watch for yourself the entire act and subsequent drama.

"If I paint in a normal way, then it would be too ordinary," Duangjai told the judges after being handed a towel to cover up.

The judges then debated whether her act could be considered art.

"This is an art form. If we were in Italy, like Florence or Milan, or the Czech Republic, say Prague, this would be OK," said singer Jirayut Wattanasin. The audience roared in support, many flashing "V for victory" signs.

"I'm not saying this is not good, but it's not appropriate," said the panel's only female judge, actress Pornchita Na Songkhla. "Within the Thai cultural context, I don't support this."

By now she appeared as if “her pantieswere all in a bunch.” But I can’t be too sure Pornchita was actually wearing any panties as she obviously wasn’t in this famous fashion shot of hers (within the Thai cultural context, of course).

Pornchita Na Songkhla
The other male judge then said “I want to look in the aspect of art since coincidentally it is also my background. Speaking in the sense of artistic talent, I can identify and accept your show.

That comment seemed to push poor Pornchita over the edge. “Are you all for real?” she asked. “Unfortunately I don’t have an artistic mind so I am going to say not pass.

Pornchita na Songkhla (nicknamed Benz) doesn’t have an artistic mind?  So it wasn’t art when she posed naked covered in chocolate? Perhaps she just enjoys having chocolate poured on her – nothing artistic about that.

Is this next picture of Pornchita not art either?  Perhaps she actually uses two naked black men as her couch (special order from IKEA?).

But Pornchita had a duty to fulfill by judging Duangjai’s performance as not being “within the Thai cultural context.” After all, Pornchita is a Deputy Spokesperson for the Thai Ministry of Culture.

Obviously, much of Pornchita’s work isn’t “within the Thai cultural context” either. But that’s not the point.

As Deputy Spokesperson for Thailand’s Ministry of Culture, Pornchita is supposed to accurately promote and project Thai culture to the Thai people and the rest of the world. And one of the most prominent aspects of Thai culture is the blatant use of “Double Standards” – especially by judges.

Now being a judge on a nationally televised talent show is not quite at the same level as being an actual judge in a court of justice but it is a judge nevertheless and a high profile one at that. Now the entire world knows a little more about Thai culture thanks to Pornchita.

Thailand’s Ministry of Culture has been successfully trying to project Thailand’s culture of hypocrisy for some time now. The most famous of their efforts was in 2011 when they admonished three young girls for going topless during Songkran (Thai New Year) celebrations while having this picture on their own website.

Now if I were a judge on “Thailand’s Got Talent” I would have given a fairer evaluation to Duangjai’s performance and her finished painting.  To me art is in the eye of the beholder and it has to represent something. It has to “stir my soul.”

Duangjai’s initial drawing of the yellow outline of a person obviously represented the PAD movement. But what she did afterwards totally lost me.  She used her breasts to aptly deface the image representing the PAD.  Had she used her feet or, more appropriately, her buttocks then that would have convinced me that she was a true artist and had true talent. And the finished painting seemed unremarkable to me.

Sorry, I’d have to give Duangjai a “No Pass.”

Now as talent goes with regards to painting with body parts, nobody matches the fine artistry as that of Pricasso, an Australian painter. 

I wonder what Pornchita would think of Pricasso?

My thoughts exactly, Pornchita.

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