Challenge: Explaining a Thai Music Video

Remember the fabled days long ago when MTV played actual videos? Yeah, I don’t, either, because it was so long ago.

This is when I grab all my cats and shake my fist at the kids in the yard. You dang kids! Get off my yard!

I'm pretty sure this was how old I was when MTV stopped playing videos.*


*Me on the left, Sister on the right. NO SNARKS ABOUT AGE!

But I’m not here today to rant about the demise of MTV or teenagers–and I was a middle school teacher for three years, so believe me, I have a lot to say on the subject of teenagers. I’m here today to tell you the story of my favorite Thai music video.

I only get 8 channels or so and I don’t see a lot of different Thai videos, but a lot of people attempt to commit suicide in the Thai videos I do see. A LOT. Men, women, children, dogs, water buffalos…they all try to off themselves by taking pills or jumping off roofs.

Based on the videos, I’m surprised there are any Thai people actually left in Thailand. Seems like it should just be a bunch of farang walking around avoiding each other’s gazes at all costs and complaining about how hot it is.

My favorite video is an attempted-suicide one (that sounds terrible! I swear I’m normal! Ish!), and I have no idea the actual name of the singer or the song because I don’t read Thai. Being illiterate kind of sucks.

The music in this song is kind of melancholic. It starts out with a guy neighbor checking out his lady neighbor across their balconies and him falling in love at first sight.

Neighbor wants to take a picture of Lady, but at that point, creepy Boyfriend comes out onto the balcony and gets all possessive.  Neighbor is sad. He loves Lady because she is beautiful. Also, nobody has serious emotional problems, as we will discover later in the video!

Cut to Lady and Boyfriend in bed. Lady gets a phone call in the middle of the night, which turns out to be the wife of Boyfriend. To prove this, Wife sends a picture of their family to Lady. Lady is pissed! She starts screaming and yelling, and Neighbor can hear what’s going on, so he gets worried, but doesn’t do anything, because, well, that would be interfering? Unclear. Boyfriend finally leaves, the creep.

Of course, at this point, Lady decides that she needs to take copious amounts of pills to end her life. Every time I see this, I get annoyed. I’m like, Really, he’s not worth it, girl! I can introduce you to plenty of foreign men who would hit that in a second.

Neighbor discovers Lady laying on the floor surrounded by pills.

He takes her to the hospital, brings her a basket of nicely wrapped dragon fruit, and sits beside her bed to keep her company as she’s recovering. He’s clearly demonstrating that he is a super sweet guy–with NO stalking issues!–and she should totally pick him, as Boyfriend only sends her text messages that upset her. Plus, Boyfriend is married and has a kid, and all.

Neighbor thoughtfully brings Lady back to her apartment, and of course Boyfriend is sitting on the bed waiting for her. She tells him to leave, but he won’t–because he’s crazy. Instead, he tries to rape her. Rational turn to the video! Neighbor hears the commotion and this time knocks on the door to interrupt, so Boyfriend leaves with a sneer, like, Hey bro, way to go for interrupting my attempted rape.

Later, Boyfriend comes back, but Lady is hiding in Neighbor’s closet and Neighbor refuses to let Boyfriend in. Boyfriend leaves, but Crazy Pants Wife is waiting there for him, for some unknown reason. She gives him hell and slaps him on the face, which frankly is a lot less than I would do if I found my cheating husband leaving his girlfriend’s apartment after trying to rape her, so I feel he got off pretty easy.

I kind of admire Wife’s restraint, while at the same time thinking she’s a total sucker.

The video ends as Lady is in the closet and sees that Neighbor has secretly taken tons of photos of her, printed them out, and put them up in his closet. Of course she is flattered because, as I mentioned before, neither one of these two people has serious emotional issues! The video is a cliffhanger, but it’s clearly implied that Lady will fall in love with Neighbor since he so obviously loves her and is not at all crazy and obsessed with her!

Final Score:

Explaining a Thai Music Video: 0  Megan: 1

I suppose I could make some kind of social commentary on the fact that so many women in videos I see try to commit suicide because of their boyfriends/husbands, but I don’t really have an explanation for that. Anybody out there have any insight?

I kind of want to shake my fist at this video, though. It’s so emotionally draining. You dang video! Get off my yard!



Filed under Daily Challenge, Thailand

24 responses to “Challenge: Explaining a Thai Music Video

  1. Hi Megan, many of the Thai music videos are actually based on a TV series. I am always amazed by the difference between the people on Thai television soaps and real life here – they react so differently but maybe this is some type of release valve for everyday frustrations. The stories that appeal to the masses in Thailand tend to follow a common theme – love triangles and bad man/woman gets punished. The music videos tend to focus mostly on the love triangles – poor guy or girl has secret love for someone who has a rich partner but treats them bad. Suicide will often be used to build tension – it also means that ghosts can come back and seek revenge.

    • Yeah, I see the love triangles ALL the time! Interesting point about the ghosts–I never thought about it like that. I see a lot of Thai TV like soap operas back home; there’s just something that people love about them. I think you’re right about it being some kind of release. Like–‘Well, I might have to work a double shift at McDonald’s, but at least I don’t have an evil twin who stole my baby and shoved me down an elevator shaft to steal my identity and soul!” :)

  2. Jess

    This is awesome. Do you think Thai folks think it’s weird that the music videos we do have left require people to dance together, wear little clothing, and have great badonkadonks? Sometimes I wonder how we will be judged by future generations. Thank goodness we have plenty of ways to keep this stuff around for them to analyze…

    • I’m not sure, Jess! I don’t think I can really say because the dancing videos from back home are so “normal” to me that these elaborate story videos are too odd to really understand. And what’s even stranger–I miss the sexy dancing videos! I like watching people dance because I have White Girl Rhythm Deficiency Syndrome.

  3. Nice. It’s amazing that you got through more than 10 minutes of Thai television without your brain leaking out of your ears. Wait until you see a soap opera where a guy is attempting to rape a girl and in the middle of it, they lock eyes and fall in love (true story). THEN maybe your brain’ll start leaking.

  4. Oh my god I love it when you use stick people to explain things. “Oh noes! She is ded!”

  5. I think it’s nice that you got some melancholic music to go along with it.

    The first time I witnessed, err, how can I describe it, “Say it with rape” on Thai TV, the soundtrack was comedy Benny Hill, slapstick style music.

    Now THAT’S unsexy.

  6. I think this will have to be a new requirement. You will need to explain Thai music vids in future posts. I think you have the Thai shape down, very true to life and realistic drawings. You have a gift Megan.

    As for the theme, I have to agree with Paul. Rapes are common soap fodder and really disturbing because the guy gets the girl always. I’m holding out for feminism to kick in and for a dark skinned Thai girl to REPRESENT the rest of us.


    • I really *do* have a gift! :)

      Oh man, I really want to see some Thai girl represent in the videos…that would be amazing. Gonna keep my eye out for that…

  7. Steph

    Are you certain R. Kelly wasn’t behind this video?

  8. I’m glad to see you are using your time in Thailand well! Your stick figure soap opera cracked me up.

    Those insects in your previous post are undoubtedly the ones we saw crawling around at the central market. You are definitely brave to eat them.

  9. Hi Megan,

    the only parts missing for it to be THE thai music video instead of a Thai music video are

    1) a ladyboy somehow, especially a scary ugly one everyone can make fun of
    2) one of the lovers must be really rich and one really poor, they must love each other, but the rich person will always pick their rich fiance over the poor one they really love, because, hey, this is thailand.

    Also, never watch Issan music videos at night, they are way too depressing.

    • Oh yeah, I often feel that Thai/Issan videos are like country music videos: I lost my dog, my cat hates me, my girlfriend stole my money and my house burned down…so depressing!

  10. haha, that’s because issan music is essentially thai country music! all that’s missing is singing about jesus. oh, and also issan music videos have a lot about mom, always mom….i’m working in the city in some shitty job, and i fondle the scarf my mom gave me, coz i miss my mom, or my mom gave me to the temple so i could have a better life, and she left me this scarf, always the scarf, always the mom….man, so heart-wrenching!

  11. crocodilexp

    The attempted suicide thing is NOT a laughing matter. Thai women actually do it, I know *two* people who did when a BF left them. Just enough paracetamol pills to land them in a hospital for a night (can’t afford more on a Thai salary), but not enough to be seriously life threatening.

    Apparently, it’s a culturally sanctioned method of getting attention and hooking up with that neighbor they always thought had a crush on them.

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