Thailand: King, Combat, and Ad Karabao

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Thailand: King, Combat, and Äd Karabao (48:00)
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Unlike its neighbors, Thailand has never been colonized or annexed—but keeping it that way has been a stern challenge. This program examines Thailand’s political independence, which is based on democratic and generally peaceful rule by a culturally supported monarchy. However, growing dissatisfaction has caused grass-roots dissent, as demonstrated by the lyrics of pop music idol Äd Karabao, who protests against imported consumer goods, and the agitation of "Ubon Without a Border," a group lobbying for open access with Laos and Cambodia. The powerful yet incongruous influences of Thai boxing and Buddhism are also assessed. (48 minutes)

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Segments in this Video - (16)

1. Thailand: Free and Independent (02:44)
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Unlike its neighboring countries, Thailand has always been free and independent. The king guarantees social order. Fearing that the king's death will result in civil war, the Thai people consider the king's safety a top priority.

2. Burma: A Ruined Country (02:30)

Life is a hard struggle in Burma, Thailand's neighbor. Tension between the two countries is evident by a closed bridge and closed border. This segment features a Buddhist street celebration in Thailand

3. Wealthy Border Town and Illegal Drug Trade (03:11)

Mae Sot, a wealthy border town in Thailand profits from the poverty of Burmese villages. Rubies and sapphires smuggled from Burma enter a competitive market in Thailand where expensive jewelry is linked with social status.

4. Thai Consumers Buy Foreign Goods (04:16)

Prestige is everything in Thailand. The trade in fake consumer goods is big business. Thai industrialists want the biggest hit song of Ad Karabao for their national anthem--to encourage Thais to buy products from Thailand.

5. Protest Music in Thailand (01:48)

Pop music idol Ad Karabao performs "Made in Thailand," a song that encourages Thais to buy locally made goods

6. Thai Boxing: Breaking the Cycle of Poverty (02:15)

Thai boxing is more than just a sport. Fifteen boxing schools train boys from poor families to box and to interact successfully with others. The money they earn goes back to the families to break the cycle of poverty.

7. Thai Dried Fish Business on the River Nan (02:06)

Houseboats on the Nan River are among the last reminders of the old Thailand. This segment features the people on the river as they catch, gut, and dry fish--considered an expensive delicacy.

8. Religious Festival in Thailand (03:42)

In a famous temple, or wat, visitors come from far away for a religious festival. The faithful make offerings of flowers and burn incense and candles in the temple. The temple is well known for its ancient statue of Buddha.

9. Old Legendary Capital of Thailand (01:27)

Sukothai, the ancient 13th century capital of Thailand, is the birthplace of the Thai kingdom 700 years ago.

10. Bangkok: Capital of Thailand (02:36)

Bangkok is Asia, Europe, and America all in one, a place of extremes, and a melting pot of cultures. Huge, aid-conditioned department stores that never close serve as "amusement parks" for Thai families. Canal taxis are very popular.

11. Bangkok's Growing Social Problems (02:34)

In Bangkok, the Army controls all television stations. A daily influx of thousands of people from rural areas contributes to growing social problems such as traffic chaos and homeless children.

12. Popularity of Thai Boxing (03:12)

Twice a day, the stadium in Bangkok fills with tens of thousands of Thai boxing fans. Boxers go through ritual movements before each fight. Betting on the matches is heavy

13. Bangkok Nightlife (04:30)

Prostitution is an important part of Bangkok's economy. Restaurants and hot food outlets are busy around the clock. Seafood is the main ingredient in Thai cuisine. In Thailand, food and company go together.

14. Ruins of a 12th-Century Khmer Shrine (03:18)

On the road to Laos are the ruins of an old Khmer shrine. Viewers of this segment take a "tour" of the shrine and observe architectural features designed by Angkor Wat architects in the 12th century. Nearby are fortunetellers and shops.

15. Thai Dissidents Seek a Relaxed Border With Laos (02:54)

In northeast Thailand, or Esan, the villages are famous for their handmade silk cloth. At the border with Laos lies the town of Ubon Ratchathani where the annual meeting of dissidents is taking place. Their organization is "Ubon Without a Border."

16. Political Agitation in Thailand (02:55)

Music in Ubon Ratchathani is an expression of life, rhythm, joy, fund, and also political agitation. Live bands play mostly the music of pop idol Ad Karabao. Most of the music supports relaxed border restrictions between Thailand and Laos.

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