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  • OPINION

    Be young and shut up

    News, Kong Rithdee, Published on 07/01/2012

    » A week before Children's Day, we have reason to cherish a bright future for our nation's youth.

  • OPINION

    Deserving of top honours

    News, Kong Rithdee, Published on 21/01/2012

    » On screen and in headlines, Iran the provocateur du jour, is causing a stir. As Israel fumes, as Bibi Netanyahu ponders a pre-emptive strike, as the US watches with hawk-eyed severity over Teheran's nuclear ambition, and as an alleged Iran-backed Hezbollah rabble-rouser was arrested in Bangkok and a spectacular arsenal of bomb materials uncovered - as the quivers in Hormuz Strait are felt throughout Earth, an Iranian film cruised past contenders to win the Golden Globe. Worldwide punters now believe A Separation will become the first Iranian title to win the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Never mind the sanctions, an Iran-scripted drama has had Hollywood (and Washington) in thrall. So catch it now: A Separation is showing on one screen in Bangkok, at House RCA (I hope it'll stay there for a few more weeks.) It won't give you a crash course on the latest nuclear grumble; the politics of the film is smaller in scope yet larger in humanity, for it concerns class, marriage, religiosity, and the heart-aching struggle to uphold justice in the court of God and by the rule of law. At the centre, the film is about a separation of a couple, called Nader and Simin, but at heart this is a complex drama of moral quandaries that inflict bourgeoise Teheranians and speak of other kinds of seperation, physical and spiritual, visible and clandestine, in a society heaving with pride, prejudice and doubt. In short, it's closer to home than the belligerent rhetoric of the nuclear war.

  • OPINION

    Look South, Bangkok

    News, Kong Rithdee, Published on 04/02/2012

    » It was a racket and near-scuffle. It was fear teleported as anger. The scene at Thammasat University on Thursday was distressing, as anti-Nitirat alumni exalted morality against knowledge, along the way confusing noise with argument and equating what's loud with what's right. It almost turned sinister when a small band of Nitirat supporters showed up, placards ready, and a mini face-off ensued. That was enough to dominate the headlines and consciousness of the public in the ongoing case that is testing the firmness of the ground beneath our feet - a historic test of what Thailand is, or what we want to become.

  • OPINION

    Thailand's idiotic mindset

    News, Kong Rithdee, Published on 25/02/2012

    » The question is so absurd that it could only be real. The multiple choices are so preposterous they could only be presented in germ-free, sanitised Thailand.

  • OPINION

    Davos, Tokyo and clueless Tinglish

    News, Kong Rithdee, Published on 10/03/2012

    » 'In general, every country has the language it deserves." So said Jorge Luis Borges, wordsmith, polyglot, a man fascinated by what letters and languages can do. Goethe, with his proto-Romantic genius, was much less kind when it comes to being monolingual: "Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own."

  • OPINION

    Hoping it's not 'The End' for iconic cinema

    News, Kong Rithdee, Published on 17/03/2012

    » It's hard not to peddle nostalgia when it comes to the Lido and Scala. In an age of plastic multiplexes with their garish neon signs and overpriced tickets - plus the dangerously robotic protocols of their pre-programmed staff - the two cinemas in Siam Square are a reminder of a time when movies had not been hijacked by blood-sucking consumerism. Two of the last stand-alone cinemas in Bangkok, the Lido and Scala, are movie houses, and something more: they're personal museums, the same way that movies are eternally personal. They're memory boxes, living archeological remains of this country's film-going history.

  • OPINION

    Unfairly ripp'd, 'Shakespeare' must pass

    News, Kong Rithdee, Published on 07/04/2012

    » Four centuries after his death, Shakespeare's child suffers a miscarriage, aborted into a limbo by the Thai censors. Unless the appeal goes through at the National Film Board, you will be deprived of a chance to watch what has already become the most scorching movie of the year, Ing Kanjanavanit and Manit Sriwanichpoom's Shakespeare Tong Tai, or Shakespeare Must Die, an adaptation of Macbeth, charged with black humour, scheming harridans, buxom Lady M in blood-red dresses, and a political parable that peaks with a simulation of the infamous chair episode of Oct 6, 1976.

  • OPINION

    Lady in waiting has a passion, unsurpassed

    News, Kong Rithdee, Published on 02/06/2012

    » All light is on The Lady. The hazy glare of our damp summer, then the incessant flashlights of journalists who've made the Myanmar MP the most photographed woman - our own photogenic PM being out-snapped - of the past week. Aung San Suu Kyi's first trip abroad in 24 years carries the weight of historic gravity, besides the simple fact that the 66-year-old is a walking epitome of how to age gracefully. Also thanks to her presence, the otherwise routine World Economic Forum has acquired a special lustre, a magnetic draw.

  • OPINION

    Tired of being the butt of our own Gaga joke

    News, Kong Rithdee, Published on 16/06/2012

    » Aren't you tired, sir? Because I am. Aren't you tired of becoming the butt of your own joke, of your strange demands, your occult charges, your fundamentalism? Because I am. Aren't you tired of repeating yourself? Because I am, as I'm sure a lot of people are, too.

  • OPINION

    Life imitates farce as Chuvit steals the show

    News, Kong Rithdee, Published on 07/07/2012

    » No one, not even Tom Cruise, exploits the media as shrewdly as Chuvit Kamolvisit. Moustache twitching, his neck veins throbbing as he went on TV to relate the stormy episode when he exposed a gambling den on Phetchaburi Road, which entailed callow pushing-and-shoving as photographers snapped and cameramen videoed it all. He led the reporters into the soi and phoned the police. When they were late in arriving, he grumbled, then sat down on a folded chair (how did that materialise?) sipping iced coffee as onlookers, journalists, children and toughs formed a circle around him.

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