PHUKET: This week sees the release of the latest Star Trek movie, Into Darkness, the sequel to JJ Abrams reboot of the original TV series.
Mr Abrams came in for an awful amount of stick for taking on the Trekkies golden calf, particularly after he admitted to not being a fan of The Original Series (TOS).
Despite a few exceptionally large plot holes (worm-holes, more like) and completely ignoring some of Gene Roddenberry’s significant Trek tenants, he did manage to pull off quite a cool movie that won over all but the most die-hard Trekkies.
In the process – more by desire than design – he created a catalyst that would allow a whole new series of adventures to begin in an almost brand new Trek universe. Not bad, Mr Abrams, not bad at all.
Then comes the sequel, which Abrams and his demonic writing crew of Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof could just as easily have called: Star Trek Revenge ON the Nerds, because Into Darkness is packed with one-liners and favorite quotes from TOS and the original cast movies, but almost all quoted by the wrong characters. Hah! Take that fan-boys.
On top of which, rather than taking the opportunity to “plough onto places where no starship movie has gone before”, the team decided to slap the new cast with a well-worn old enemy. And, just in case you are in any doubt as to who it might be, up pops Leonard Nimoy’s alternate-universe Spock to bang that nail deep into your noggin.
On the plus side, new Kirk’s rather annoying, unremitting arrogance in the first movie is handled like a slap across Chris Pine’s smug mug, allowing the character to grow just a wee bit.
Meanwhile, Zachary Quinto is so pedantically logical he would surely be channeling a young Mr Nimoy were the original Spock actually dead rather than reduced to a video phone call in this episode. But everyone else, from Zoe Saldana’s Uhuru to Karl Urban’s Doctor McCoy, gets barely any more screen time than in their first outing, because all those other fun crew members are really just foils for the “Kirk Grows” storyline.
In TOS, Kirk usually had McCoy and Spock, like opposing angels standing on either shoulder, to help direct his choices, but new Kirk’s ego far outstrips that of his small-screen predecessor (yeah, I can’t believe I wrote that either). With Into Darkness, as with the 2009 movie, Chris Pine’s Kirk is shaped by his adversaries.
Ah, but what an adversary this time out. Played by the brilliant Benedict Cumberbatch, our villain of the piece is a dark, brooding man with a serious grudge against Starfleet. As with many past Trek villains, Mr Cumberbatch manages to steal what little of the show he is in, but being such a consummate actor he does so with barely a flair of the nostrils nor much scenery chewing – and is all the more sinister for it. It’s just a shame he had to recreate an old adversary instead of being allowed to shape a brand new nemesis.
Originals are rarely as good as we remember, nor tangibly better than the reboots. Into Darkness is a fair Trek romp, but Team Abrams should have been brave enough to push forward with their new universe and perhaps taken the four years between films to actually watch the original series. Then they could have done more with this sequel than just re-tread old TOS with new tech.
Alexander Maycock regularly shouts out the next line of new movies just to prove Hollywood hasn’t had an original idea since Casablanca.
— Alexander Maycock
‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people
On October 18, the ‘Always Smile Journey’ group and its partners will host an exhibition with plenty of fun activities at the Yak Yai Market, near Chalong Circle, in Phuket. This event was designed to raise funds to provide free English classes for underprivileged people on the island of Phuket on Saturdays and Sundays. The group does not accept donations but aims to raise money through the sales of the products available at the event.
From 2 pm to 8 pm, there will be a number of artists, musicians and performers who will keep the attendees entertained along the way. There will be a short film about His Majesty King Rama 9 as well as fun activities and games for kids and families, which are all free of charge.
The big bike crew is also a part of this event. They will ride a parade from Rawai Beach heading to the market and showcase their gorgeous two-wheel buddies.
One of the highlights of the Always Smile Journey exhibition is the ‘Happening’ artists group, who will draw and paint a picture of the His Majesty King Rama 9 under the name ‘Street Art King Bhumibol’ on a 4×10 meter sign live at the event so the guests will experience this large-scale art in action. The Happening will also offer portrait sketching for the participants.
There will also be some western menus available at the event which will be donated to underprivileged children.
This free English class project has over seven years of experience through its cooperation working with individuals and other charity organizations. Throughout the years, the group visited several areas such as Ban Laem Hoy School, Ban Bopud School and Ban Angthong School in Samui, Surat Thani province, Ban Bueng Ao Oun School and Ban Kakoh Rayong, in Surin province, Jalae Village of Lahu (Muser) in Chiang Rai province, as well as community education centers in Siem Reap, Cambodia and in Luang Prabang, in Laos.
This event is a cooperation between several groups, including Happening, Yak Yai Market and Arrow Media, Tattoo artist group, Thonburi Art School Alumni, International School of Tourism, Suratthani Rajabhat University, big bike group from Phuket, artists/performers/musicians from many provinces as well as several businesses across Phuket.
21% of Thai teenagers are gambling
PHOTO: Gambling, local style, Rai Et, north-east Thailand – Pinterest
Early in October the Thai Health Promotion Foundation met to discuss the gambling situation in Thailand in 2019. Also present were the Centre for Gambling Studies, Stop Gambling Foundation and related groups.
The meeting was set up after a report revealed that more than half (57%) of the Thai population, or 30.42 million people, gamble. The director-general of the Centre for Gambling Studies at Chulalongkorn University shared the report, which was based on data from a survey of 44,050 people across 77 provinces.
The figure is an increase of 1.49 million people from 2017. While most Thai gamblers are of working age, 2.4% of the total were aged between 15-18 years. This means that 21% of that age group are gambling.
According to California’s Council on Problem Gambling, youth, like everyone else, gamble for many reasons, including entertainment; socialisation; competition; loneliness, and boredom; to get rich quick; to impress others; be the centre of attention; make new friends, and because winning provides an instant, temporary boost of confidence.
“The California Council on Problem Gambling lists depression as one reason youth turn to gambling, noting that depression can just as easily be an effect as a cause. This is especially important to note in a country like Thailand.”
In an article in The ASEAN Post, it was noted that in December 2017, Thailand’s Department of Mental Health (DMH) reported that an estimated one million teenagers are believed to suffer from depression, many of whom go untreated, with two million more are at risk, making upward of three million among a population of eight million teens then.
The DMH said that stress and anxiety may affect a student’s ability to concentrate and perform well at school, and they may show several warning signs, such as lack of attention, loss of interest in daily activities, lethargy, sadness, and sleeping issues.
“It is clear from studies that depression and gambling go hand-in-hand: the unfortunate case in Thailand is that it is affecting children too.”
SOURCE: The ASEAN Post
Professor: Military government too interested in tourism – not people’s welfare
A professor of Rangsit University has criticised the previous military government for focusing too much on tourism and not enough on the welfare of the Thai people. The professor was speaking at Chulalongkorn University at a seminar discussing street stalls and urban development.
She questioned the National Council for Peace and Order’s policy of clearing street vendors in all but a few areas such as Yaowarat and Khao San Road that mainly cater to tourists.
She claimed that the NCPO – in power since the coup of 2014 until this year’s election – was more interested in economic development through tourism than in the welfare of the public.
Having affordable street food options was not just about tourism, she said, it was vital for poor workers who have migrated from the countryside, adding that it was part of an informal rather than a formal economy.
“For years people had earned their living from selling goods and services, including food, on the streets.”
This in turn provided an affordable option to eat for workers who came to Bangkok on for large investment projects. The issue, she said, was not just about tourism but the wider economy that might benefit.
The professor noted that CNN had once called Bangkok the best place in the world for street food but this had changed with the sanitized food trucks that have appeared since stalls and vendors were banned from most areas.
The Thaiger notes that banning street vendors has divided the capital. Many are happy that the sidewalks are easier to navigate, but others – including tourists – have said that the lifeblood and character of the city has suffered.
SOURCE: Naew Na | ThaiVisa Forum
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