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Everything is OK – KCon 2018 comes to Bangkok

The Thaiger

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Everything is OK – KCon 2018 comes to Bangkok | The Thaiger
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In case you’ve been living under a rock, K-Pop, the garish, highly-produced pop/RnB/hip-hop fusion coming out of South Korea, is the biggest ‘thing’ in international pop music sales at the moment. And KCon – a celebration of everything K-Pop – has just swept through Bangkok.

No fewer than 40,000 devoted fans of the Korean Wave massed at Impact Arena and the adjoining exhibition centre for KCon 2018, perhaps the biggest South Korean spectacle seen in Thailand to date.

There was K-fashion, K-beauty, K-food, K-dance, K-drama and of course unrelenting K-pop, with some of the biggest names in the genre performing. (Although BTS, the most popular of them all, is on a sell-out tour in cities around the US and London in October.)

With the pop tunes scheduled for the evenings, the huge turnout – mainly Thai teen girls but also plenty of visitors from elsewhere in Asia – spent the daylight hours checking out the non-musical action on two stages. To read the story any further probably requires a crash course in K-Pop, so don’t worry if you get a bit lost in all the names and song titles.

Everything is OK - KCon 2018 comes to Bangkok | News by The Thaiger

The Star Square offered events such as “Oppa loves Thai”, “Thai Influencer” and a “K-Pop Cover Dance Workshop”, but also, at something known as “Exclusive Fan Engagement”, a chance to practise screaming at members of Golden Child and Nature.

The KCon Stage had Nature holding forth about beauty topics. Kim Chungha (Chungha) and Monsta X did sessions with Tofupop Radio and Cho Yumyong of YMC Entertainment and Lee Jooseob of MNH Entertainment presented the success of Chungha and Wanna One.

MNH put Chungha on the TV reality show “Produce 101”, in which girl groups battle for survival, and she finished fourth, then joined other trainees in the “project girl group” IOI, which released the mini-album “Chrysalis”.

She’s found far greater fame as a solo artist and has released three mini-albums that spawned the hits “Why Don’t You Know” and “Roller Coaster”.

Wanna One – the first K-pop group to sell a million copies of a debut album – emerged from the same reality show, as an 11-member boy band, and have scored success with the tracks “Energetic”, “Burn It Up”, “Beautiful” and this year’s “Boomerang”, backed by a world tour.

Its members currently also pitch cosmetics, clothing, mobile games and food and beverages.

“We usually only see the music idols’ abilities onstage, but for Wanna One and Chungha, their personal life stories make us understand and feel for them more,” said Cho Yumyong.

“That’s why the number of fans for both of them just keeps increasing. We impress on them when they’re rehearsing that they have to do their best for the fans, and they never stop trying because they want to get better and better.”

Lee Jooseob confirmed Wanna One and Chungha’s popularity among the fans and added that, “No matter what content we attach to them, they just become more outstanding.” Lee had just had a meeting with Nichkhun (Nichkhun Buck Horvejkul), the Thai guy in the South Korean boy band 2PM.

“He called me yesterday and made an appointment to meet me in the lobby of my hotel and we had a long talk. I was impressed to hear he was trying to read a book in Korean that would be difficult for even Koreans to understand. I asked him why and he said it would help him understand the language better.”

Thai fans had set up K-pop booths where anyone could get their picture taken posing with a life-size cutout pop star. Others inked affectionate messages to the stars on giant boards.

The official opening ceremony in the arena noted the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Thailand and South Korea, something that Nichkhun helps promote and for which he earned a thankyou certificate.

“It’s a great honour for me to have the chance to go abroad and to get foreigners to love our country and culture,” he said.

“I’d like to thank all the Thai fans who support Korean artists.”

Everything is OK - KCon 2018 comes to Bangkok | News by The Thaiger

The musical proceedings began with Nature, an even more cosmopolitan group than 2PM, with Chinese and Japanese among the members. They sang their first single, “Allegro Cantibile”, which is a remake of the track that opens the popular anime “Nodame Cantabile”.

More of the genre’s new acts followed onstage – Stray Kids (performing “My Pace” and “District 9”) and Golden Child (“Let Me”, “DamDaDi”). Together, the bands spelled out “THAI” – T for title song with sexy version, H for handsome, A for act cute and I for I Wannabe Like (with everyone agreeing they wanted to be like 2PM).

Chungha followed with “Why Don’t You Know”, “Roller Coaster” and “Love U” featuring DJ Soda, and Sunmi, formerly of the Wonder Girls, sang “Addict”, “Siren” and “Gashina”. The audience basically never stopped screaming and waving around white light sticks that were shaped like the numeral one, referring to Wanna One.

They’d have to wait a little longer for them, but they certainly didn’t shut up when singer Shownu and rappers Jooheon and IM of Monsta X got the stage vibrating to the hip-hop beat of “Runway”. The trio was soon joined by the rest of the group for “Jealousy”, “Hero”, “Be Quiet” and “Dramarama”.
Okay, so finally it was time for Wanna One, and their frenzied female following – known as the Wannable – was melting into one big puddle.

Everything is OK - KCon 2018 comes to Bangkok | News by The ThaigerEverything is OK - KCon 2018 comes to Bangkok | News by The Thaiger

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Bangkok

Court acquits PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, allowing him to stay on at military residence

Caitlin Ashworth

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Court acquits PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, allowing him to stay on at military residence | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS World

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha will be staying in office and at his military residence. Bangkok’s Constitutional Court ruled today that the prime minister and former Thai general and commander of the Thai Army has not violated the charter by occupying a military-owned residence. The court says under military regulations, former officers can remain at their Army residence after their retirement at the discretion of the Thai Army commander.

Pro-democracy protesters have been pushing on Prayut to resign since July, along with calling for a rewrite of the 2017 Constitution together with reform of the government and role of the monarchy. Recently, Prayut was accused of violating the Constitution by staying at an official Army residence, rent-free, after his ‘retirement’ as General Prayut in 2014. Some say the tenancy represents a conflict of interest and the prime minister was abusing his power. A guilty ruling would’ve potentially put an end to his premiership.

Sections 184 and 186 of the Thai Constitution forbid a government minister from “receiving any special money or benefit from a government agency, state agency or state enterprise apart from that given by the government agency, state agency or state enterprise to other persons in the ordinary course of business.”

Prayut told the court that he was staying at the residence at the First Infantry Battalion of Royal Guards because his home in Baan Phitsanulok was being renovated and that his security team suggested he live at the Army residence for safety, a source told Nation Thailand.

Similar housing has been provided to former Army chiefs who are now members of the Cabinet, Privy Council and Parliament, according to the Royal Thai Army. They add that the residence was provided to Prayut because the prime minister “deserves the honour and security it provides.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Thailand

Thai Airways to resume flights from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Phuket

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thai Airways to resume flights from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Phuket | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai Airways

After nearly 9 months on the ground due to the coronavirus pandemic, along with problems balancing their accounts, Thai Airways will resume flights between Bangkok and Chiang Mai as well as Bangkok and Phuket later this month. The flights will start back up on Christmas day.

Flights from Bangkok to the 2 key tourist provinces have been grounded since April 1. Starting December 25, the airline will run 3 flights a week on both routes. A source told the Bangkok Post that the new schedules will run until at least February 28.

Thai Lion Air, Thai Air Asia, Nok Air, Thai Smile, VietJet Air and Bangkok Airways have returned to the domestic skies since July and slowly adding frequency to their routes.

In addition to resuming the domestic flights, the Thai Airways is relaunching some international flights from January 1 to March 27 including weekly flights to Frankfurt, London, Copenhagen, Sydney, Seoul, Manila, Taipei and Osaka. Flights from Bangkok to Tokyo will be available 3 times a week and flights from Bangkok to Hong Kong will be available every day.

Thai Airways has been tackling bankruptcy throughout the lockdown and trying to make up for more than 300 billion baht in losses. Since many flights were suspended due to travel restrictions, Thai Airways has tried to make money by business ventures on the ground, like a pop-up restaurant serving in-flight meals and selling off unwanted equipment from their warehouse. There also disposing of much of their older fleet, including all of their Boring 747-400s.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Politics

Court to deliver verdict on PM’s military residence this afternoon

Maya Taylor

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Court to deliver verdict on PM’s military residence this afternoon | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

Security is expected to be extremely tight at Bangkok’s Constitutional Court today, as the ruling in the matter of the PM’s residence is delivered. Prayut Chan-o-cha is accused of violating army rules by occupying a military residence rent-free, despite having retired from the army in 2014. Critics say his tenancy represents a conflict of interest. Should the court agree with them, it will spell the end of his premiership, something pro-democracy protesters have been calling for since July.

Thai PBS World reports that the court has issued a statement to confirm that only approved parties will be allowed in the courtroom, including the PM, the complainant, and relevant lawyers and officials. The case was brought earlier this year, following a request from the leader of the Pheu Thai opposition party, Sompong Amornwiwat. The court has confirmed the verdict will be broadcast on its You Tube channel from around 3pm, meaning the public can watch it live.

Bangkok authorities are apprehensive about potential unrest should some parties disagree with the court’s findings. Piya Tavichai from the Metropolitan Police Bureau has confirmed that hundreds of police officers will be on duty, in and around the court buildings, with the front entrance already sealed off. A planned rally by the anti-government protest group, Ratsadon, has now been switched to the Lad Phrao Intersection, in the Chatuchak district of the capital.

We’ll all know the decision around 3pm this afternoon.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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