Connect with us


Opinion: Saying it with puppets in Phuket [video]

Legacy Phuket Gazette



Opinion: Saying it with puppets in Phuket [video] | Thaiger

Rat Puanrak, 40, graduated with an electronic engineering degree from Ragamangala University of Technology in Nonthaburi. However, he made a career switch to the tourism industry before becoming a professional freelance photographer. He then began studying the art of puppetry and eventually founded the Phuket Marionette.

Here, he talks about how the art of puppetry can help children develop into well-rounded adults, as well as the importance of preserving the art for Phuket and for society as a whole.

PHUKET: When I think about puppets, I think about bringing something to life. It is a toy, but it comes alive when the puppeteer uses his or her imagination to fill it up, whether they make it walk, talk or just move around.

One of the main reasons I like puppetry is because everyone can do it. We can use this art as a way to express our thoughts and feelings to the audience, and the audience will be able to fully understand exactly what it is we are trying to convey. It allows us to connect with people.

Because I love this form of art, I want to share my experience and knowledge, including the cultural history, with children – our future. This desire led me to found Phuket Marionette.

I think that schools today focus too much on academia and do not give enough importance to art. It is essential to balance our lives. Learning the arts and how to control or channel our emotions through them helps create a well-rounded person.

Puppet-master brings Harmony World puppeteers to Phuket. Video: PGTV

Introducing puppetry to children gives them a way to express themselves, their emotions, their imaginations and their thoughts. It benefits them in the long term by sharpening their minds and teaching them how to focus and concentrate on something. It also teaches them about teamwork.

The art of puppetry is precious and has value in and of itself. Puppetry is about expressing and expanding our thoughts, along with giving joy and smiles to others. I would like to think that we, puppeteers, are a media that influences good thoughts and happiness in our audiences.

I started giving the unique art form my full attention in 2011. I was struggling to learn about and research puppetry, because most artists are quite possessive of their knowledge. Eventually, I became close with the Sema Thai Marionette Foundation in Bangkok.

At first, they were hesitant to share their knowledge, like so many others. After a while, they realized that we were on the same page – we wanted to preserve the Thai marionette. It’s a part of Thailand’s cultural identity and a part of our heritage that we should never forget.

After training, learning and researching for two years, I founded the Phuket Marionette in 2013.
In Phuket, it is the ka-lae marionette which I am trying to preserve. This art of puppetry dates back to the early days of the island, when Phuket was focused on tin mining.

The ka-lae marionette is one of Thailand’s oldest marionettes. It originated in China, and came to Phuket when the first group of Chinese migrants settled here. It was mainly performed during the mid-autumn festival, also known as the moon festival, as a ritual.

Because it is such a deeply-rooted belief that the art should be passed down only through bloodlines, there is always a chance that the ka-lae marionette could cease to exist in the future for our children and their children to see and appreciate.

Because of this, I have made a great effort to preserve this art. I was granted the rare chance to learn everything about the ka-lae, from creating the puppet to performing with it.

This art will not die with me; my goal is to preserve and pass on my knowledge to those of the next generation. More than preserving it and passing on the knowledge and traditions, Phuket Marionette has also made an effort to publicize ka-lae to everyone, not just children.

If you take the time to look into it closely, you will see how much can really be gained from the unique art of puppetry.


Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forum
🔔 Subscribe to our daily newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Malaysia19 mins ago

Singapore and Malaysia reopen shared land border today

Bangkok1 hour ago

Booze sales are likely to be extended until midnight during Christmas and New Year’s

Video1 hour ago

Thailand Top Stories | Thailand Pass update, later alcohol hours proposed, Thai porn | Nov 29

Sponsored34 mins ago

Siam Seaplane makes getting to your destination so much easier

Thailand1 hour ago

Legalising porn, Alcohol sales, Nightlife venue | Good Morning Thailand | Ep.141

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 hours ago

Omicron Covid-19 variant isn’t in Thailand, DDC director says

Media18 hours ago

No sex please, we’re Thai

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Events20 hours ago

An aquatic meal with Olga Belka – taking art to new depths

Transport23 hours ago

Hua Lamphong (Bangkok Train Station) – History and future | VIDEO

Thailand23 hours ago

Bug-eating challenge with Natty, feat. Mark Abbott | VIDEO

Coronavirus (Covid-19)1 day ago

UPDATE: Israel bans ALL foreign entry over Omicron

Thailand1 day ago

New variant could dampen Thailand’s reopening enthusiasm

Coronavirus (Covid-19)1 day ago

UPDATE: Latest news on Omicron – what we know

Tourism2 days ago

Songkhla prepares for tourism across the Southern land border

Thailand2 days ago

French expat being denied re-entry to Thailand over repeated criticism of the Thai monarchy

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 days ago

COVID-19 SATURDAY: 6,073 infections, 32 deaths, provincial data

Thailand3 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism9 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism9 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism9 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand10 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand10 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand10 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand11 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11