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  • LIFE

    The Lottery labyrinth

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 22/10/2012

    » For 230 years Thai people have gambled on the lottery _ legit and underground, paper-based and imagination-prone. Along with every discussion of the lottery comes a whole syllabus of tangled subjects: economic value, political manipulation, tax structure, legal philosophy, morality, superstition, national character, the distribution of wealth and luck.

  • OPINION

    A passport to happiness is all you need

    News, Kong Rithdee, Published on 26/07/2014

    » Like a sinner praying for salvation, I pray that the Ministry of Education will launch the "good deeds passports" project before the next full moon. Kids, parents and disciplinarians are dying to wave it around like a diploma of sanity, or an amulet against ghosts and anarchism. The Education Ministry is so educated that it has tapped into the zeitgeist: moral bookkeeping, and control of the happiness barometer (check out the military carnival at Sanam Luang), will guarantee the bright future of democratic Thailand.

  • LIFE

    Hat-trick for Thai cinema

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 06/02/2015

    » In the snowy German capital, the year's first major cinema festival has kicked off. The 65th Berlin International Film Festival (or Berlinale, as it's better known) opened last night with Nobody Wants The Night, a drama by Spanish director Isabel Coixet, starring Juliette Binoche and Rinko Kikuchi. Some of the hot world premieres include Terrence Malick's Knight Of Cups, Kenneth Branagh's Cinderella, Werner Herzog's Queen Of The Desert, and other art-house darlings. The Berlinale runs until Feb 15, with the Golden Bear being announced next weekend.

  • LIFE

    Documenting Southeast Asian diversity

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 20/03/2015

    » Now in its fifth edition, Salaya International Documentary Film Festival brings you real-world immediacy and reflection that covers a wide gamut of subjects — from the aftermath of the communist purge in 1960s Indonesia to the housing woes in Singapore, from the ferry tragedy in Korea to a grand tour of the National Gallery in London. The festival (better known as Salaya Doc) begins tomorrow and runs until Mar 28 at the Film Archive in Salaya and the auditorium of Bangkok Art and Culture Centre in Pathumwan (BACC). Admission is free.

  • OPINION

    Going mad in March, with fear of tragedy

    News, Kong Rithdee, Published on 21/03/2015

    » The March heat is driving people crazy. Each week, news headlines just get weirder, as if we were madmen who subscribe to the newsletter of our madhouse. Don’t tell me you never experience that moment when a headline is so absurd, so improbable that you believe − I mean, really believe for many seconds or minutes — that you’re reading one of those satirical publications or websites that peddles mockery and exaggeration. Only it’s not. It’s real. And if madness is defined by the inability to distinguish between what’s real and what’s fantastical, we’re all going down that path, led by the smiling Pied Piper in uniform.

  • LIFE

    Ain't no 'one nationality' movie

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 17/07/2015

    » Cataloging movies by their nationalities is convenient, though it's getting less practical and less relevant, in this age of internationalism and cross-border influences. We have a shining case in point this week: P Chai My Hero, or How to Win at Checkers (Every Time), looks, speaks, and feels Thai, though its genealogy is truly international. The film is based on two short stories by US-based Thai writer, Rattawut Lapcharoensap and directed by Korean-American Josh Kim, who moved to Thailand two years ago and successfully mounted this independent production.

  • OPINION

    Proustian questions for our leaders

    Oped, Kong Rithdee, Published on 26/12/2015

    » What is your idea of perfect happiness? When 99.5% of respondents in a government-sponsored poll think that the government is the best thing that ever happened for this country. Or maybe in the all of the universe, because such figures are even higher than God's rating.

  • LIFE

    Leaving a Thai impression

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 01/01/2016

    » Once again, a small Thai film blew over Cannes Film Festival like a graceful lover. On Monday, Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Cemetery Of Splendour (or Rak Ti Khon Kaen) was screened to a thundering 10-minute standing ovation in the Un Certain Regard section, where the film's elegant formalism and aching beauty, deeply rooted in the northeastern spirit and post-coup reflection, shook up the festival slumber.

  • OPINION

    Conscripted to fight an invisible war

    News, Kong Rithdee, Published on 08/04/2017

    » Until April 12, the biggest annual lottery will keep Thai men on edge: the military draft.

  • LIFE

    Lao cinema hits the jackpot

    Life, Kong Rithdee, Published on 19/05/2017

    » In this Lao film, a nearly-blind woman is visited by ghosts that come to tell her winning lottery numbers. Her young caretaker, a girl from the countryside, takes advantage of her mistress' impairment and cashes in on the phantoms' fortunetelling, scoring win after win. On paper, it all sounds preposterous. Ghosts that give out lotto jackpots? How superstitious! How Southeast Asia! But don't be mistaken: you should go and watch Nong Hak (Dearest Sister), a well-made Lao production that spins the supernatural premise into class critique and psychological horror, ripe with atmospheric suspense. In fact, this is simply a better film in terms of script and technical standards than many Thai flicks released each year.

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