A music video promoting tourism in Thailand has run into a storm of criticism over the appropriateness of using evil Thai ogres in a joyful manner.
The 4.07-minute-long video directed by Bundit Thongdee and released on Sept 11 uses ogres to encourage Thais to travel within the country.
The “Fun to travel in Thailand” video shows actors dressed as characters from the Ramayana in several promotions in all regions. It became a media controversy when Ladda Tangsupachai, a former Fine Arts Department official, filed a complaint with the Bunditpatanasilpa Institute, formerly the College of Dramatic Arts, about the appropriateness of the concept.
The institute called a meeting of experts who agreed that it was not appropriate to use characters from the literary classic in scenes such as cooking coconut cream cakes, biking, driving go-carts and taking selfies.
The director was called to talks on Monday by the Cultural Promotion Department to adjust the content of the promotional video. The revised version is expected in about a week.
A scene from the music video shows ogres driving go-karts. (Photo from Fun to Travel in Thailand music video)
Ms Ladda said on Instagram on Monday that the director was not aware of the cultural context when he made the video, which was damaging to Thai culture.
Mr Bundit argued on his Facebook page that cultural values should not be kept only “on the shelf”. “Shouldn’t it be used to benefit the country,” he wrote.
Mr Bundit told Daily News Online on Wednesday that the video was produced in complete awareness of the importance of Thai culture.
“I think the new generation does not think inside the box. For them, the presentation of Thai culture has to be easy to digest, attractive and fun,” he told Daily News.
After the issue went viral online, many people threw their support behind the director for his creativity.
“Using the characters of literature in an MV is very creative if it promotes tourism,” one supporter said.
“If they are untouchable and kept on the shelf, they will eventually die,” another wrote.
The “Fun to Travel in Thailand” music video directed by Bundit Thongdee.