Flight attendants are upset over the way their profession is portrayed in a new TV soap opera, Songkhram Nang Fah ( The Air Hostess War ), and will today make their feelings public.
Cabin crew led by the Thai Airways International labour union will petition Culture Minister Khunying Khaisri Sri-aroon to get the drama pulled off the air.
Acting union president Somsak Srinual said the Channel 5 show, in which female flight attendants battle to win the heart of a pilot, is humiliating and hurts their image. It would also discourage young people from entering the profession
They will petition the television station and the National Human Rights Commission. Thai Airways president Apinant Sumaseranee and air force chief ACM Chalit Phukphasuk will also get an earful.
The drama first aired on the channel last Tuesday and ran for three days last week. Songkhram Nang Fah is scheduled to air Monday to Thursday at 8.25pm. The female lead is a charming air hostess, the envy of her co-workers, and a married
pilot takes a fancy to her. The melodrama contains many scenes in which characters exact revenge, get jealous and fight each other.
The spat over the Air Hostess War TV soap ended yesterday after a talk hosted by Culture Ministry.
The producers, Exact, agreed to remove any fight scenes of characters in flight attendant uniforms, to make the uniform skirts two inches longer and to add some scenes showing cabin crew working hard for passengers.
Battle of Angels director Nipon Phewnena said the changes were not seen as damaging because he wanted everyone to be happy and feel better about the soap opera, and he affirmed this would not affect the story's intensity, continuity and
Nipon admitted audience ratings had actually increased following the flight attendant's movement against it, although he insisted it was not the kind of ratings boost the producers were proud of. He said this had taught drama producers to work
The Thai Airways International (THAI) Union acting chairman Somsak Srinuan said the union was satisfied with Exact's proposal and would keep a close watch for such improvements in the soap opera.
Thai Channel 3 looks to more child-friendly programming
There's not much left to censor on Thai TV and still social problems persist. Total failure to 'cure' any of the world's ills via censorship is always just taken as a bogus justification for censoring more.
Thai Channel 3 soap opera fans will no longer get to see any kissing scenes.
The channel is now only allowing love scenes to feature kissing on the cheeks and foreheads, hugging and embracing.
Channel 3 is moving top more child-friendly programming and more children programs.
Channel 3 Executive Prawit Maleenont has banned kissing in soap operas and told soap producers to go the traditional Thai love scene route with only kisses on the forehead and cheek and hugging and embracing.
Production executive for Channel 3 Somrak Narongwichai says this year's soap will reflect social problems and will be more realistic in that characters will have occupations and careers.
But of course less realistic in that lovers will go round kissing each other on the forehead.
Thailand's Daily News newspaper has reported the alarming news of the latest move by the Thai TV censor to improve the country's notorious soap operas.
Thais and even some foreigners who have been here long enough know how many of these popular TV melodramas are committed to over-dramatisation and stereotyping of characters.
Jealousy, class discrimination, chauvinism, exaltation of wealth and power, violence, typecasting and reinforcement of prejudices against people like housemaids, ethnic minorities and transvestites prevail in these television series. In recurring
soap storylines, protagonists often can't seem to do anything wrong even when they commit some wrongs.
Daily News quoted Supinya Klangnarong, a member of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), as saying guidelines will be issued to TV and radio producers addressing the negative aspects of Thai soaps in the hope that
the industry can regulate itself. While such a code of ethics will be non-binding, a warning will have been given and the future granting or renewal of permits by the NBTC to produce TV and radio content will be conditional on a review of
soap-opera content, she said.
Supinya, who chairs the committee for the promotion of self-regulation, was quoted as saying that she is aware that Thai soap operas are like sweets.
The more you eat the more delicious they become. But if you eat them everyday you will become fat. So [the challenge] is how to imbue Thai soaps with morality that will cultivate the hearts of viewers.
This writer can't help but wonder if Thailand will really become a good society if all TV stations air moralistic soap operas, along with religious programmes and mini-dramas extolling the virtues of the monarchy. Perhaps it depends on how
you define a good society. I am concerned, however, that people will become increasingly unable to shoulder responsibility and apply common sense by themselves - and this can't be good.
Thai Government figures have denied any political intervention in the abrupt termination of a controversial TV series on Channel 3, which was unexpectedly replaced last night with a new drama series.
Channel 3 announced in an onscreen message last night that Nua Mek 2 (Above the Clouds 2) had been replaced earlier than scheduled because of supposedly inappropriate content.
The storyline focuses on a corrupt politician keen on profiteering on a satellite launch and a sorcerer who performs black magic to manipulate politics, and of course lots of soapy romance.
Comments on social media, have it the series was cut short at the orders of people in power who were stung by its content.
Suranand Vejjajiva, the prime minister's secretary-general, claimed that the government had never interfered with any TV drama or news report. The prime minister has nothing to do with the abrupt end of the drama, he said in a phone
interview with The Nation.
The original schedule for Nua Mek 2 called for 12 episodes. Episode Nine aired last Sunday. As controversy mounted the producers hastily edited the last 3 episodes into a single episode to at least provide a presumably uncontroversial end
to the series. However even that edited last episode was cancelled, leaving the show's story unfinished.
A TV station in Thailand has agreed to allow government-approved 'Islamic experts' to censor the script for a TV serial after a small but vocal Muslim group whinged that the show 'misrepresents' their religion.
The soap opera Fah Jarod Sai (Desert Horizon) stars Thai actors in a romantic melodrama portraying an imaginary Arab-style royal officer who falls in love with a girl who is half-Thai, half-French, in a fantasy kingdom named Hinfara.
On August 22, a small, outspoken Bangkok-based group, Muslims for 'Peace', demanded Channel 7 cancel the series.
On August 24, in response, Channel 7's executives met Thailand's Muslim leader Aziz Phitakkumpon, who is the Chularatchamontri or State Counselor for Islamic Affairs, which is an advisory position approved by the prime minister and
appointed by the king.
The Muslims for 'Peace' presented their complaint to Channel 7, the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Ministry, and the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC). The Muslims for Peace's petition claimed:
We are afraid that the lakhorn [soap opera] could eventually have large-scale and unpredictable effects on Muslims if the ICT Ministry and the NBTC do not cancel Fah Jarod Sai.
Apparently the complainants felt that it was misleading to show the Muslim religion allowing its believers to be cruel to women and children.
The station had already broadcast four episodes and had eight remaining episodes. These last episodes will now be censored prior to broadcast.