Connect with us

Chiang Rai

Comment: They’re out. Now what? The future for Mu Pa football team members.

Tim Newton

Published

on

Comment: They’re out. Now what? The future for Mu Pa football team members. | The Thaiger

by Tim Newton

They’re out. Now what for the 13 young men from Mae Sai?

They entered the Tham Luang caves on June 23 along with their 25 year old coach, Ekkapol on a benign post-practice trip to the nearby caves. The y’d been there before.

Except for their families, guardians and school friends, they were basically unknown to anyone outside the Mae Sai district, up in far Northern Thailand, close to the border with Myanmar.

They were just kids, 11-16 year old teenagers who had nothing much to worry about except their schooling, their love for football and what to eat next (it’s emerged that they love sweet basil pork – spicy!).

That situation has now changed drastically and they are unwitting overnight (well, 18 day) media stars although we’ve barely seen them except for a few fuzzy videos inside the cave and some masked little faces in the Chiang Rai hospital.

If they thought their life had taken an unplanned swerve when they got stuck inside the cave, that’s nothing compared to what lies ahead for the 13 young men. Profound changes are about to descend on them.

Their lives, and that of their families, are going to be very different following their forced and extended stay inside the bowels of the Khao Nang Non mountains.

How will this be managed? Who is going to protect the interests of each individual as the world’s media try and get their ‘exclusives’, knock on their doors and ‘hunt them down’?

Comment: They're out. Now what? The future for Mu Pa football team members. | News by The Thaiger

As the authorities have worked diligently to protect the young soccer players from the prying eyes of the media, they’ve unwittingly made the team even more desirable media fodder. So far, we know very, very little about the team, their journey into the cave and how they managed the situation in the dark, waiting. And waiting.

After a week or so there will certainly be some sort of highly stage-managed media conference with a few or all of the team introduced to the media. If not the team we will have some of the key leaders and a few ‘heroes’ lining a stage providing information.

If they don’t accede to even a basic media conference with some representation of the 13 team members then journalists, local and international, will pursue individuals, despite the best wishes of families to ‘respect their privacy’.

The less that is known, the more people will want to know – that’s the nature of media.

It’s doubtful that any of them will be used to talking to hundreds of people, let alone a generally polite but persistent Thai media.

In the meantime the thirteen individuals have to get their lives back on track. Their school counsellors, families, medical staff and mental health experts will surely be keeping an eye on them. And there will be no shortage of support. We can imagine fund-raisers, Go Fund Me campaigns and any number of ways their local community, as well as the wider Thai and international community, will rally to provide whatever resources the young men need.

Comment: They're out. Now what? The future for Mu Pa football team members. | News by The Thaiger

But how to protect them from their new-found fame?

It’s going to be difficult and some of them will cope better than others. Some will surely want to get back to their lives as anonymous members of their community. Some will better cope with the attention and even take advantage of the many offers that are sure to come their way.

There will be the formal round of official ‘welcome homes’, thank you dinners for the rescue workers, medals awarded, meetings with the Thai PM and perhaps even some members of a ‘special’ Thai family may want to meet them.

Surely there’s the feature articles, the books, the TV appearances, interviews and, eventually, the movies that are bound to follow in the wake of such intense world-wide media interest. Hollywood producers are already in Chiang Rai scoping out the area and picking up background shots. It won’t be one movie, there will be several. And countless TV and web documentaries and analysis.

Then there’s the singular case of 25 year old assistant coach, Ekkapol Chanthawong who, by all accounts, is a responsible community member who loved his work with the football team, his Aunt and his ailing grandmother. Ekkapol, or ‘Ake’, will forever carry the burden of having guided his team into the caves on June 23 for, what was meant to be, a benign excursion following their scheduled Saturday football training. There will be a different type of media attention on him, partly because he’s older and partly because he is the lead character in the story. (There have been stories circulating in some Thai media that Ake actually went in to find the boys and was caught in there, along with the other 12, during his search. The stories are unverified at this stage.)

Of course we mustn’t forget the many rescue workers, from around the globe, and from within the ranks of Thailand’s elite Navy Seal. The international rescue effort has been extraordinary – a bringing together of some of the most competent and skilled cave-diving specialists, a first.

38 year old Saman Kunan, a former Thai Navy Seal, gave his life during the rescue effort – dying a hero trying to save others. His loss of life, during valiant efforts to save the group, was the only casualty and an honest reminder of how dangerous the mission was.

The effort to find and retrieve these 13 footballers has been immense – the effort, scale and magnitude of the rescue has probably only been matched following the 2004 tsunami. The sheer complexity, volume of equipment and skills involved to get these youngsters out alive has provided valuable experience for everyone from government officials down to the nurses and staff at the hospitals, local village volunteers and Thailand’s media.

For the 12 members of the Mu Pa football Academy and their loyal mentor, Ekkapol, their lives will now be different in profound ways they can’t even imagine.

Comment: They're out. Now what? The future for Mu Pa football team members. | News by The Thaiger


Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Chiang Rai.

Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2012. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for nearly 40 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program, presented 3,200 radio news bulletins in Thailand alone, hosted 360 daily TV news programs, produced 1,800 videos, TV commercials and documentaries and now produces digital media for The Thaiger - Website, Radio, TV, Instagram and Facebook.

Continue Reading
1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. spunkee

    July 12, 2018 at 7:45 pm

    well done every single person who helped get the kids & their mighty coach out of those caves.
    regretfully one hero lost his life doing this magnificent work.
    r.i.p. sir Saman Kunan.
    ekkelon or ake, you are an absolute champion sport,you kept all those boys in a good
    condition/mood & you did every single thing thing you could do for them.
    when they make the movie i sincerely hope you are paid millions of dollars & all
    the boys many millions too most for when they get older 🙂
    ake i would sincerely love to see you also receive a medal of honour for all of
    this outstanding work you have done with these boys.
    we see very few genuine hero’s but this week have seen seen a few like you ake.
    bless you all from this aussie lady who visits phuket often

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Chiang Rai

900,000 meth pills and 3 kilos of ‘ice’ seized after brief shoot-out

The Thaiger & The Nation

Published

on

900,000 meth pills and 3 kilos of ‘ice’ seized after brief shoot-out | The Thaiger

Two suspected drug smugglers have been arrested at a Chiang Rai hotel following a short shootout with police. Police also seized 900,000 methamphetamine pills and three kilograms of crystal methamphetamine.

Acting on a tip-off, a team of narcotics suppression police staked out at a border point in Ban Tham Phatong in Tambon Tha Sud in Chiang Rai’s Muang district. They saw a car come out of the forest at 12.10am on Saturday.

Police followed the car to the Kriang Suwan Hotel and watched two men carry bags into a room. Police surrounded the room and informed the men that they would be searched.

Police said one of the suspects, 45 year old Pallop Ruangsri pulled out a .38 revolver and opened fire at them. He tried to climb over a barbed wire fence to escape but was shot once in the hip. The other suspect was identified as 35 year ol Charnrit Suwanmol.

Pallop was sent to the Chiang Rai hospital under police custody.

The drugs were found in eight fertiliser bags inside the car. Charnrit told police that he and Pallop were hired to smuggle the drug from the border to a central Thai province.

STORY: The Nation

Continue Reading

Chiang Rai

Ceremony held in Chiang Rai marking 100 days since the death of Saman Kunan

Kritsada Mueanhawong

Published

on

Ceremony held in Chiang Rai marking 100 days since the death of Saman Kunan | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Thai PBS

A religious ceremony has been held at a temple and near the entrance to the Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai to mark the 100th day of the death of Saman Kunan, a former Thai Navy SEAL member, who died trying to help save the trapped Mu Pa football team.

The religious ceremony was organised by the Mae Sai district office, the Chiang Rai cultural office and the provincial office of social development.  The 13 Mu Pa team members and their parents were involved in yesterday’s ceremonies.

Thai PBS reports that the religious ceremony started at Wat Phra That Doi Wa in Mae Sai district, then the temple’s abbot led the group to the entrance of Tham Luang cave, where the 13 were trapped for more than two weeks before being rescued by Thai and international team of skilled cave rescuers.

Tham Luang park officials opened the gate at the cave entrance to allow all the ceremony participants into the cave’s first large chamber to pay their respects to ‘Ja Sam’ and all the other people involved in the search and rescue operations.

Another religious ceremony was held at the nearby museum where a huge painting, depicting rescuers and telling a story of the rescue mission, was put on display in honor of all participants in the rescue mission that captured international attention.

The painting was painted by national artist Chalermchai Kositpipat and several Chiang Rai artists.

Ceremony held in Chiang Rai marking 100 days since the death of Saman Kunan | News by The Thaiger

Continue Reading

Chiang Rai

Mu Pa – The Movie. The frenzy for rights.

The Thaiger & The Nation

Published

on

Mu Pa – The Movie. The frenzy for rights. | The Thaiger

“The Wall Street Journal reported that Universal had offered $1.5 million (49 million baht) to be split among the boys and Ekkaphol.”

Stampede for the cave drama scoopnational October 20, 2018 01:00 By The Nation Weekend
Producers of movies, games, and books are queuing to see who gets a share in the Tham Luang story

After Hollywood studio Universal Pictures reported that they’d acquired the rights to make a movie about the Tham Luang cave rescue, the Culture Ministry continues to insist that no such rights have been granted to anyone.

Culture Minister Vira Rojpojanarat said this week that the Creative Media Panel the government, established for the purpose of examining proposals about the story, would hold an open call from November 15-23 for submissions for rights to make movies about the cave drama, as well as for depictions in all other media.

Several Hollywood-based and Thai studios were swift to pitch plans for feature and documentary films about the cave rescue, with even games-makers joining in the friz to depict an event that caught the world’s attention.

Vira says the government was “representing” the 12 youngsters rescued from the Chiang Rai cave, along with their coach and their parents, to protect their intellectual property rights. The panel, set up in July, has officials from the culture, tourism, foreign affairs and human development ministries and reputable figures from the Thai film industry.

To date there are 22 movies, a TV series, animated games, music videos and books in the works, Vira said.

Five foreign film studios and five in Thailand are proposing feature movies and 10 documentary projects have been touted by companies at home and abroad. Three projects involve books and music videos, and Thai and foreign news media have extended invitations to the boys and their coach to be interviewed on 27 different TV programs.

Watch an excellent documentary prepared in the days following the final rescue from the Australian Four Corners program…

Vira said local moviemakers could make their pitches to his Culture Ministry, while foreigners have to submit their proposals to the Tourism and Sport Ministry. The Creative Media Panel is also tasked with screening the information flow to and from the boys and safeguarding both their privacy and the country’s image. Once rights are granted to specific film projects, it will also oversee production.

The panel will help the families negotiate contracts with foreign studios, Vira said, with careful attention paid to their intellectual property rights. The restrictions on rights do not apply to the use of information already in the public domain, he said. Vira did not name any studios interested in the Mu Pa story, but it was widely reported that Universal Pictures had sealed a deal with the boys and their coach, Ekkaphol Chantawong, as well as Australian cave divers Dr Richard Harris and Craig Challen.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Universal had offered $1.5 million (49 million baht) to be split among the boys and Ekkaphol.

It listed Dana Brunetti and Michael De Luca as producers, a duo previously associated with box-office hits “Fifty Shades of Grey”, “Captain Phillips” and “The Social Network”.

Despite the report, panel members have insisted that no studio had as yet been granted the rights to produce a film about the cave rescue. Ekkaphol has also been quoted as saying he has accepted no such deal.

“But we are not sure if Universal Pictures bought the rights from the Australian divers,” panel spokesman Lt-General Weerachon Sukondhapati-pak said.

At least three other major foreign studios have expressed interest in producing movies. De Warrenne Productions, headed by Thai-Irish producer-director Tom Waller, recently announced plans for a movie titled “The Cave”.

He was looking for distributors at the Toronto International Film Festival. It was Waller who made the award-winning films “Mindfulness and Murder” and “The Last Executioner”.

Pure Flix managing partner Michael Scott and co-producer Adam Smith interviewed people around the cave in the immediate aftermath of the rescue in early July. Their firm is known for Christian-theme movies like “Do You Believe?” and the “God’s Not Dead” series and they hope to focus on the inspirational aspects of the rescue operation.

“Now You See Me 2” director Jon M Chu and Ivanhoe Pictures meanwhile announced they were teaming up for a movie about the incident.

“There’s a beautiful story here about human beings saving other human beings,” Chu said on Twitter.

The cave rescue drama that began on June 23 held people across the world spellbound as efforts to locate the Wild Boar team were repeatedly stymied by rising water levels and strong currents. Thai Navy Seals, joined by a slew of foreign professional divers including Australians Challen and Harris, coordinated the complicated operation.

One former Navy Seal, Lt-Commander Saman Kunan, lost his life in the operation. The boys and their coach were all safely extracted during a complex three day operation by July 10.

STORY: The Nation Weekend

Continue Reading
Chiang Rai Weather
November 15, 2018, 10:18 pm
22.0
°C
Temperature
100
%
Humidity
4
km/h
Wind from West-Northwest
0.0
mm
Rainfall
20
%
Cloud Cover

The Thaiger Newsletter

Keep up with all the day’s news. Subscribe here.

The latest news and information from Thailand.

* indicates required



Trending