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‘2,215’ – this year’s ‘must see’ documentary

Tim Newton

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PHOTO: The Nation

From the outset, I can’t recommend this wonderful documentary more highly. It was inspiring, highly entertaining and a beautifully crafted, intimate insight into, as he describes himself, a normal Thai person doing something extraordinary.

Artiwara ‘Toon’ Kongmalai, a huge popular rockstar in Thailand, decided to raise money for struggling public hospitals in the Land of Smiles. He didn’t do it the easy way. He set out to run from the southern town of Betong to the northern tip in Chiang Rai, a journey of 2,215 kilometres (hence the title). The schedule would require Toon and his entourage to run 50 kilometres a day, 20% more than a full marathon every single day (with a few scheduled and unscheduled lay days).

He covered the distance, on schedule, in 55 days. The physical effort for ‘Toon’ was immense, for the support team, it was a nightmare trying to control the crowds, collect the money and mange the enthusiasm as they trekked north.

For a singer that ‘enjoyed running’ this was a mammoth physical and psychological undertaking and would test his own belief, stamina and resolve.

Rather than simply follow a daily timeline, the movie takes us on an intimate journey through the human side of this very public run-a-thon. We get up-close-and-personal with the people eager to meet Toon and pass on their contribution to the effort, the medical staff who are fighting the realities of Toon’s health, his proud parents who just want their son to be happy and the entourage who have to, somehow, control the huge public interest, the media, the crowds along the route and a very strong-willed and determined runner.

At one stage one of the many crowd and media controllers is asked, in a scale of 1-3, how stubborn was Toon? He said ‘do you have a scale up to 20?’

38 year old Toon, obviously used to the public adoration though his many years jumping around the stage as the lead singer in the rock band ‘Bodyslam’, made enormous efforts, throughout the journey, to meet and greet the hundreds and thousands of people who wanted to be a part of the epic run, and history.

In the end the aim to raise 700 million baht was exceeded when the total had reached 1.1 billion baht as Toon finally crossed the finish line at the northern tip of the Kingdom. So what do you do after 55 days of pounding the Thai roads, in humidity and rain, hundreds of pain-killing injections and even more therapeutic massages? Toon simply and quietly raised his finger in a reserved gesture – it was maybe the only energy he had left following the epic marathon.

Although Toon took time to meet with the Thai PM whilst passing through Bangkok, he clearly has no time for Thai politics. His aim, to raise money for a struggling public health system, could be regarded as a salvo across the bows of the Thai health ministry as a single runner did more to raise public awareness about the plight of smaller public hospitals, than anyone else ever had. Mission accomplished, message understood.

As a film, like most Thai films, it is high quality cinematography from end to end, a rocking soundtrack and compelling, although we already knew there was a happy ending with a record amount raised.

Please go an see ‘2,215’. It’s open in most cinemas now, with full English subtitles. It only cost 70 baht when I went to see it at the Jungceylon cinemas as much of the ticket cost has been subsidised by the duty-free group King Power.

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.

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National

Soi Dog congratulates the Hanoi people’s committee ban on dog and cat meat trade

The Thaiger

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Barely 24 hours after urging citizens to stop eating dogs and cats, Hanoi’s authorities have announced that the sale of dog meat will be banned from the central districts of the city from 2021.


The director of the city’s Department of Animal Health, Nguyen Ngoc Son, told Lao Dong Newspaper on Wednesday (September 12)...


“Following a direction from the city’s People’s Committee that called on residents to ease off eating dog meat, we are building a plan to gradually phase out the slaughtering and trading of dog meat.


“By 2021 there will be no dog meat restaurants in the city centre.”


The People’s Committee had asked city residents the previous day to stop eating dog and cat meat, and urged local district authorities to launch campaigns to warn people about the risks of contracting diseases, includi...

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National

Thaiger Radio News – Thursday

The Thaiger

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Listen to the daily news from The Thaiger, anytime, anywhere...

 

[audio mp3="http://thethaiger.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Thaiger-Radio-News-5.mp3"][/audio]

 

 
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National

MP numbers being shuffled around in lead up to Thai election

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Some of Thailand's key political parties are set to see a significant reduction in MPs after new regulations were issued reducing the number of constituency candidates.

For instance, Pheu Thai Party’s strongholds – the North and the Northeast – will lose 13 seats in Parliament, while the Democrat Party could lose six MPs, as the number of seats in the South and Bangkok has been reduced by three each.

Political analyst Stithorn Thananithichot said no parties were gaining an upper hand at this stage, adding that the impact of gerrymandering would only surface once the exact electoral boundaries are drawn.

"The political parties will have no choice but to make adjustments in accordance with the new boundaries."

The number of MPs from each province was published in the Royal Gazette yesterday. Since the number of constituency candidates have been reduced by 25 – from 375 in 2011 to 350 based on the new Constitution – the decrea...
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