New Mandala’s favourite junta bureaucrat, Ladda Tangsupachai (scourge of coyotes) has made it big time! ((One of our previous posts on Ladda, concerning Thai national dress, continues to attract an inordinate number of hits. I am sure it is the photo of Ladda that is attracting the attention!)) She features in an article in Time Magazine about Thailand’s proposed new censorship law. Here is an extract:
After years of biting their tongues in public over censorship, filmmakers are now finding their voice – and not just art-house mavericks like Apichatpong. The Thai Film Directors’ Association is lobbying lawmakers not to pass the act in its current form. Prachya Pinkaew, director of international martial-arts hits Ong-Bak and Tom Yum Goong, now sports a NO CUT, NO BAN anticensorship T shirt.
In the opposite corner is Ladda Tangsupachai, 58, head of the Cultural Surveillance Department at the Ministry of Culture and a prime mover behind the legislation. Her department already scrutinizes television shows, magazines, Internet cafés and schoolgirl fashions; they are keen to take on movies. “Uneducated” is the term Ladda uses to describe Thai filmgoers. “They’re not intellectuals – that’s why we need ratings,” she says.
Film-industry folk support the idea of classifying movies, provided they have a voice in the process. But many believe that simply transferring the regulatory role from the police to the Ministry of Culture is a jump cut from the frying pan into the fire, especially in the postcoup climate, when political and social conservatism are on the rise. Ladda counters that the audience is on her side when it comes to choosing a flick. “Nobody goes to see films by Apichatpong,” she says. “Thai people want to see comedy. We like a laugh.”
Yes, Ladda, Thais like a laugh. And you continue to give them one!