My perspective, as a Thai, on the programme

Much is being discussed and debated about a television programme called “Big Trouble in Tourist Thailand”. The programme has been broadcast on Bravo, a British television channel, every Monday at 10 p.m.  for the last couple of weeks. I watched the first two episodes and I will carry on watching the rest of the series. Personally, I see nothing wrong with the programme. Given the title of the programme it is guaranteed to feature scenes depicting the bad behaviour of some tourists and locals. To my surprise, many people have been making a big fuss about it. The Thai authorities are not pleased to see what features in the show and have been taking action. Some expats are also not very keen to see their fellow citizens behaving badly in the Land of Smiles. Having watched quite a few programmes on Bravo, I am aware of the fact that this channel caters for a particular kind of audience. There have been programmes before on the channel where British tourists have gone abroad and got into trouble. Although this show about Thailand comes across as cheap entertainment, it also provides good advice to foreigners on how to steer clear of trouble when they visit certain places in the country and also how to deal with the locals in sticky situations. Here is a list of websites and blogs that discuss the show:

http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/Big-Trouble-Tourist-Thailand-t291222.html

http://absolutelybangkok.com/big-trouble-in-tourist-thailand/

http://www.bangkokdiaries.com/2009/09/10/big-trouble-tourist-thailand/

http://jamie-monk.blogspot.com/2009/09/phuket-jet-ski-debate_12.html

http://jonnytheforeigner.blogspot.com/2009/09/big-trouble-in-thailand.html

http://leosia.com/2009/09/16/big-trouble-video-nasties/

http://www.thai-blogs.com/index.php/2009/09/12/thai-police-ganja-scam-on-big-trouble-in?blog=8

http://www.tfs2m.com/main/2009/09/11/from-the-producerdirector-of-big-trouble-in-thailand/

http://soi1114.blogspot.com/2009/09/big-trouble-in-thailand.html

I bet the people behind the programme have been beaming with pleasure to see it being widely discussed. Hats off to them, I suppose!

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8 Comments

Filed under Farang, Thailand, Thai_People, Travel, UK

8 responses to “My perspective, as a Thai, on the programme

  1. absolutelybangkok

    So what’s your take on it?

    Isn’t it more of the same not too pleasant facts we were about to get used to?

    Seriously Oneditorial, I’m not aware of another tourist nation being able to produce such a regular amount of specific bad news.

    Who’s wrong?

  2. The problem with this clearly that it paints Thailand in a less than flattering picture. Sure Thailand as corruption, drinking, sleaze, drugs and other nasties shown but there is more to Thailand than this.

    Another issue is the alleged staging of events to over dramatise the series. If it is true, as evidence suggests, then this makes the documentary all the more worse for fabricating events, one of which involved a Pattaya-based gangster.

    You could sit on the wall and say just another documentary, but I think the noise being made about it is genuine – why else would the producer feel a need to trawl the blogs posting comments to clarify issues?

  3. The programme starts out with the aim of portraying some people, both locals and tourists, in a negative light. That is the main focus of the show. The title says it all in terms of the kind of entertainment the programme intends to provide to viewers. To achieve that aim, it demonstrates how badly some foreigners behave when they visit the country and how dodgy some natives are; although I agree with the view that some events have been deliberately staged. It does not single out either the tourists or the locals; it paints both factions in a dark light. That is quite understandable seeing as the the programme is not called “Great Civilisation in Tourist Thailand”. I find it quite amusing to see people behaving badly in the show, but they are just idiots who do not represent anybody. I would not be too worried about how the country is being perceived or what the locals think of foreigners. If people have any degree of intelligence, they will be able to distinguish between what they have seen and their experience of reality. UK viewers, too, will disassociate themselves from the lowlife behaviour abroad of their compatriots. Anyway, I do not normally spend my time finding fault with Thailand and other tourist nations so I cannot answer Khun Dan’s questions about the regularity of specifically bad news reported on Thailand or other countries. These things occur, and they will continue to occur no matter what. I am sure those with responsibility will find a way to fix the problems. On a positive note, it is good to have a programme like this to inform foreigners about the dubious activities that take place in certain parts of Thailand and to provide viewers with an understanding of how to behave when they visit the country. At the end of the day, people can make up their own mind about the places and the people. I would not spend my time brooding about this programme. All in all, I am entertained.

  4. Touché

    All points taken however statistics show that most people nowadays do not apply intelligence when watching sensational docudramas and will take things on face value!

    So there are degrees of responsibilities needed by the producers, don’t you think?

    Personally, I hope that all the pa lava that this has caused will show some programme makers, social responsibilities!

  5. I have watched a little bit of the show on Bangkok Diaries, and in deed I found it very interesting. Of course, it was outrageous. As a Thai, I do not want other people to perceive Thailand as a “gangster” country, like the way some countries are perceived. And if there are staged circumstances to dramatize the series, it definite would not gain my approval.

    My problem with the series, though, isn’t the fact that they show the “real” Thailand. My problem is I don’t understand the intention of the creator of this series. Portraying a country in a different angle – that I can understand. But why Thailand specifically? Don’t the problems in the series exist universally – in every state? That kind of gets me thinking.

    • Thank you for your comment. Regarding this programme, it is intended to be outrageous. The theme of the show is to focus on the negative and present selective facts. The viewers are supposed to assess what they see. The people behind this production did whatever they could to over-exaggerate reality in order to gain high television audience ratings. Thus, the integrity of both the production team and the broadcaster is questionable; either way, the respectability of the channel should be subject to thorough analysis. If you ask me why they specifically chose Thailand, in my view, it has got to do with the fact that the country is an eccentrically exciting place. On top of that, whatever people portrayed us to be, Thai people will let them get away with murder thanks to our “Mai Pen Rai” attitude.

  6. Pingback: Global Voices Online » TV documentary stirs debate on Thailand tourism

  7. Sawadee Kha! I’m about to go to Pattaya and I’m sooo excited about my holiday. Already booked my flight to Pattaya and from there I’ll go explore around Phuket and of course stay a couple of nights in Pattaya, I found your nice blog on Yahoo and it seems that you know a lot about Pattaya City. Could you kindly give me a hint where to stay in Pattaya? I’ve heard there are some good hotels in the main city and in the southeast… Thank you in advance!

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