marcel barang

Never say die

In English on 28/08/2011 at 7:51 pm

.
Will I have a good night’s sleep?
I’m psyching myself for tomorrow’s late morning interview by an ASTV team in situ (my ex officio workplace) to be broadcast in mid to late September, I’m told.
What will I talk about? Thai literature and its translation, of course – obstacles and rewards, hiccups (Four Reigns, Tuthiyawiseit), this year’s SEA Write maybe, the new wave of Thai writers, e-books and the digital future… Well, actually, I don’t even know how long I’m supposed to expatiate. We’ll see.

After I was screwed by TVThai’s predators (see ‘One more nail in my coffin’, 27/1/11), I swore to myself I’d ignore any future Thai telly talk request. I’m no good at talking anyway. It tires me unduly. And my Thai isn’t as flawless as I’d like it to be.
But ASTV is different: after all, we are part of the same multimedia group, and my work – I mean, the best of Thai literature I’m dealing with – needs to be better known, now that thaifiction.com is a cinch to order from and I have launched a bilingual blog, เรื่องสั้นไทย | thai to english fiction, which is modestly successful: 14 000 clicks in two and a half months, and 47 subscribers to date. (NB: About eighty percent of those visits come via a permanent ad in the leading website of the group, Manager Online.)

But then there’s a problem: ASTV is ‘different’. Because it’s seen as a mouthpiece of the ‘Yellow shirts’, whatever it broadcasts is deemed by many to be biased, not to say pernicious.

Well, talking for myself, pernicious I hope I’m not, but biased assuredly: biased in favour of good literature, whether penned by yellow-shirted or red-shirted or shirtless or stuffed-shirt writers; biased in favour of plurality and no-punches-pulled intellectual debate without exclusion, excommunication or anathema; and biased against narrow-mindedness, intolerance and censorship under whatever guise.
So there.

Oh, I know what I’ll do: tomorrow I’ll wear Chart Korbjitti & Co’s t-shirt, the one that states on the chest ‘Vote for Phan Ma Ba’! It’s a bit outdated – it was made for the 3 July election – but it’ll make a statement all by itself. (Phan Ma Ba: Mad Dogs & Co.)

PS: There’s more to that TVThai highway robbery.
The interview was set by a young man who, once it was over, handed me a Xeroxed leaflet, a collection of short stories he had penned. A month or two later, that same young man called to say the interview for Sin Samosorn was being ‘shifted to the evening cultural programme’ and what did I think of his stories? I’ll let you know once the interview is out, I said in an unusual fit of pique. The interview was never out as such: only a few words taken out of context for a broadcast I wasn’t even invited to watch. When I tried to get in touch with the fellow, I realised I hadn’t written down his phone number on that leaflet as I thought I had.
Months later, the same fellow calls yet again with the convenient tale that he was let go by TVThai soon after my interview and didn’t know what happened to it, and could I have your address to send you my latest collection of short stories?
That, Worrawit Sapthaweesaeng did, and his collection is entitled Work of a left-handed underdeveloped writer.
I couldn’t have thought of a better comment myself.

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