Culture Minister Sukumol Kunplome from the Palang Chon Party speaks to The Nation on Sunday's Budsarakham Sinlapalavan and Wannapa Khaopa about her job after having served in the Cabinet for more than a year. She dwells on a wide range of subjects, inclu
How does the Culture Ministry plan to protect historical and ancient sites from floods?
Local officials in flood-risk areas have been told to monitor the flood situation that may affect the sites, particularly those near riverbanks. They will use communication technology to immediately send information to other officials in nearby zones, so they can work together and share equipment immediately to deal with problems caused by floods. Traditional designs of ancient monuments facing repetitive floods will be copied and readied to fix any damage caused by the floods so that they retain their old features.
We will also train local craftsmen or artisans on special repair techniques so that they can help repair temples that are not registered with the ministry in a proper way.
An 18+ rating film [erotic movie Jan Dara] has led to a debate in society and there are concerns about its impact on youngsters who watch it. Will the Culture Ministry review the rating?
The National Film Board has regulations for ratings, and it issues ratings to each film as per the regulations. The board will decide whether it will review the rating’s enforcement or not. We cannot limit teenagers’ rights. Regarding concerns that youngsters less than 18 years old will watch the 18-plus rated movie, all stakeholders will have to cooperate. Parents should talk to their children while cinemas should screen customers to ensure that those who are too young do not watch it.
There has been a criticism in social media about censoring Shizuka, a girl from the Doraemon cartoon series, taking a bath. What do you think about this?
I’m not aware of this. However, Doraemon is a cartoon for children and they can watch it at home. If children have questions about censorship, parents will have to explain to them.
In 2015, the Asean Economic Community will come into effect. How is the ministry preparing for cultural exchanges and the challenges?
The Culture Ministry emphasises on people-to-people contact as people are an important part of cultural exchange. They are the smallest unit, but they can create a big impact. We will provide young people more opportunities to promote Thai culture among other Asean countries so that they learn from people of those countries, too. Not only Asean, but we also have cultural exchange with China, South Korea and Japan. We invited Asean countries to perform the Ramayana, the epic that is part of each country’s culture, late last year. Asean countries also joined our ‘Art for All’ activity to improve the skills of children with disability. We learn the way of life, art, languages, music and culture from each other.
We are collaborating with those countries to exchange culture calendars of each country. So, we can plan when and where we can meet to show our culture together.
Thai actors and actresses are becoming popular in China. How is the Culture Ministry planning to promote Thai culture and tourism through Thai films and soap operas famous in China?
We have asked entrepreneurs of films and soap operas to insert beautiful scenery of tourist destinations in Thailand. The ministry is setting up a fund to promote the film industry.
How is the progress on the art gallery project on Ratchadamnoen Avenue?
We’re renovating at the moment. Asean artists will come to exhibit their works, especially paintings and drawings, in Thailand in November. Their works will be exhibited in early December when the first zone of the gallery will be officially opened.
How does the Culture Ministry plan to engage with people, especially the youth most of whom prefer socialising in the cyber world?
We’ve invited them to join a short-film contest via online media. We’re making changes to the websites of the ministry and its departments, making them friendlier for users, with easier access. We have a mobile-phone application that gives information about each province’s map of cultural tourist destinations and advice on travel plans.