Two years after becoming scandalised by paternity accusations, singer and actor Rattapoom “Film” Tokongsub is back in the spotlight and this time, it’s for more a far auspicious reason – he’s just finished work on a new album that has the rather ambiguous title of “Happy Hurtday”.
“The question I’m always being asked is whether I’m still stressed out. And I continue to answer no because I haven’t done anything wrong,” says Film.
During the paternity scandal, Film ordained as a monk at Wat Sung in Saraburi before flying to London. There, he stayed with a relative who was running a Thai restaurant called Thai Rice and took an English course.
“I wasn’t able to do anything in the entertainment industry because of my shaved head and eyebrows,” he recalls. “And of course, the English language was also an important obstacle for me.”
Although the album won’t be in shops for another couple of months, “Happy Hurtday” has already been released as the first single and is getting plenty of airplay.
The second single, “Nam Lai Thi Ta Tae Jeb Thi Jai”, will be coming out towards the end of this month.
“All of us have both happy and hurt days. Musically, this album easier to listen to and sing. It covers everyone, not just the teenagers who are the main targets of the RS label. It’s actually being called variety pop but I think of it more as party pop,” says Film, who will turn 28 in November. “Music is what I breathe, it’s what I love to do. It’s also a medium that makes people, including my Film Family fan club, happy.”
While music is his life, Film has enough common sense to secure his future with other, more tangible securities.
Five years ago, he set up the production company Heng Woon – Korean for lucky – which produces his TV travel programme “Chill Out Travel Note”.
At the same time, he formed a tour agency, Chill Out Leisure, in support of the TV show.
“I love travelling and discovering new things,” he says. “I think that TV viewers might also like to see who and what I really am.”
Film acts as both host and presenter of “Chill Out Travel Note”, which features a wide range of domestic and international tourist attractions. While the way of presenting the attractions isn’t all that different from other travel programmes, his commentary on them is far from neutral.
“I present them frankly and offer both my feelings about them and my assessments. I think that’s the reality of a travelling show,” says Film, adding that he’s been criticised by a certain newspaper for being too outspoken.
“I like comparing Thailand with other countries I’ve visited. Take South Korea. It doesn’t have a lot of natural resources but the people there know how to turn filming locations into tourist attractions. Why can’t our country do something like that and support its performers?
“Or Japan – it has its shinkansen [bullet trains] but we’re not making progress towards high-speed train travel. The Japanese have the best discipline in the world – we saw that in the aftermath of the tsunami – and most importantly, they are patriots, while Thai people look down on each other and don’t support Thai products.”
Film, who graduated in digital media from Siam University’s School of Liberal Arts, doesn’t just compare other destinations to Thailand though. He goes out of his way to encourage domestic tourism.
“I’m trying to inculcate patriotism, the environment and sustainability in the new generation. Thailand is rich in natural resources.”
The singer is proud of his successful travel programme and agency but says he has no regrets about his previous business failures, which included a clothing boutique, a food venture and ice cream.
“My image didn’t go well with those enterprises and more than anything I didn’t have the right experience,” he says.
It’s not stopping him from having another go, though. At the end of this year, he will launch a beauty centre, this time for his mum.
Film at 10.30
_ “Chill Out Travel Note” airs on Channel 5 on Sundays at 10.30pm.
_ Chill Out Leisure can be contacted at (02) 274 9009 or www.ChillOutLeisure.com.