National artist Chalermchai Kositpipat garnered headlines in the Chinese media last week by banning Chinese tourists from his famous Wat Rong Khun - the "White Temple" - in Chiang Rai.
Even state-run CCTV reported the incident.
Chalermchai hit the roof on February 2 when he saw the mess left by the tourists in the restrooms, which are just as ornate as the rest of the temple. A Thai visitor complained of used tissue on the floor and faeces on the toilet seats. So Chalermchai banned all Chinese henceforth.
They arrive by the busload, so there were a lot of disappointed Chinese travellers, only able to grab a long-distance shot from the parking lot. That went on the rest of that day and half the next day. And then Chalermchai had second thoughts and decided it was unfair to all the other well-mannered visitors from China.
He issued a warning to tour guides, though. Any more poop where it’s not supposed to be and they’ll have to clean it up themselves. “The ban and the warning were necessary,” a staff member quoted him as saying. “Otherwise it would happen again.”
Flyboy … and girl
Actors Nadech Kugimiya and Urassaya “Yaya” Sperbund are quite close both on- and off-screen, but in a way they’ve become competitors when it comes to the promotions they do for airlines.
Nadech has for several years been singing the praises of Thai AirAsia, starring in TV commercials for the low-cost airline and appearing at its public events. Now Yaya has become Bangkok Airways’ first celebrity presenter, with TV spots for the so-called “boutique airline” debuting last Friday.
“I am truly honoured and excited to become Bangkok Airways’ first-ever presenter,” she said at a press conference, and, come on, what else was she going to say? “I’ve been a customer of Bangkok Airways for many years because I’m impressed with the quality of their amazing services and products.”
Sure she is.
Anyway, asked whether her new job will absolutely destroy her relationship with Nadech, Yaya pointed out that their respective airlines deal with different markets, so it’s not like they’re competing for the same customers.
Okay, but she’s pitching for so many different firms now that she must be earning a spectacular amount – and paying horrendous figures in taxes – more than almost any other Thai celebrity. “We’ve heard you paid over Bt1 million in tax and your fee for advertising gets as high as Bt10 million. Is this true?” she was asked.
My fee’s not that much, Yaya coolly replied. “As to the taxes, I just want to comply with the law. I don’t know for sure how much I’ve paid but, yes, it is a lot of money since I earn a lot too. I’ve always paid my taxes – it’s taken care of by an accountant.”
Well, she probably knows exactly how much she gives the government, but we’ll let it slide, happy just to discover a rich person paying due taxes. If they all did that, the economy would be way healthier.