Country-music fan Thaksin a man of simple tastes

Art September 20, 2013 00:00

By The Nation

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Soopsip sees by the papers (though not this paper) that sexy luk thung star Suteewan "Baitoey" Thaveesin pocketed a cool Bt1 million recently just for having dinner with Thaksin Shinawatra in Hong Kong and Singapore and singing for him. That's how homesic

Just part of her job, the songstress says. She’s on RS Plc’s R Siam label and her boss is tight with the globe-skulking ex-premier, so he sent Baitoey and a few other performers to entertain Thaksin last year. She sang a few songs in Hong Kong and got Bt500,000 and then he took her out shopping and bought her a posh handbag. 
Baitoey confirmed the news on Wednesday and it was all over the news the next day. Sceptics immediately implied that the sensational revelation was a ploy to draw attention away from the parliamentary debate on plans to borrow Bt2 trillion overseas (though not from Thaksin, surprisingly). Others wondered if anyone had any more photos of Baitoey singing “Nan Oak” in her skimpy costume. 
Thaksin’s son Panthongtae “Oak” Shinawatra asked everyone who reads his Facebook page to chill out. Last year Baitoey “wasn’t as sexy” as she has been in her shows lately, he said. Baitoey just went there to work. “I hope this doesn’t make narrow-minded slim [anti-government people] harass her”, because it’s normal that professional singers travel to wherever his dad is holed up to remind him how great Thai entertainment is. 
Oak failed to comment on the expensive bag that his old man bought the young lady – or the rumour that Thaksin’s property firm put a Bt20-million house in her name. Baitoey insists there was no house in the deal – but if he’s willing to do that, she’s ready to sing for him as often as he likes.
Ganesha calls the tune
It’s hard to believe that Vuthithorn “Woody” Militachinda once had just Bt10,000 to rub together – even after he’d started hosting TV shows. His first show, “Hi-so Bannok” was a commercial flop, he said this week on “Tuen Ma Kui”. “I invested over Bt3 million and got back Bt12,000!” Then there was an interim when he had no show at all and 10 staff members going naked and hungry. He was too shy to borrow from his family and relied on the kindness of strange banks. 
Then, nine years ago, Woody was advised to go see Ganesha, the Hindu deity who Thai Buddhists also worship just in case. “I heard about how the god makes people’s wishes come true,” he said, and at the shrine at the Huay Kwang intersection he came straight out and offered a deal: if he could earn Bt100 million from TV, he’d come back to the shrine and perform a traditional dance. 
His wish came true within six years, and of course he now has two immensely popular shows on Modernine – but he took his time upholding his end of the bargain. Nothing bad had happened, he said, but lately he’d been dreaming about crocodiles, which his friends said was a sign of impending Hindu wrath. 
So Woody rehearsed his moves and on Tuesday evening went to the shrine in a classical dancer’s costume and wearing so much makeup that no one recognised him. Passers-by no doubt thought he and his similarly dolled-up manager were part of the usual hired dance troupe. Woody showed a video clip on his morning news show. The debt is repaid. Now he should ask for Bt200 million.