The world loves Nong Dylan, but his parents are wary
The parents of Nong Dylan, a half-Thai toddler living in the UK who's become a YouTube sensation by rattling off the Thai alphabet the way Thai children do, say they'll do their best to keep him safe from hovering advertisers.
"We won't let him appear in a commercial unless he wants to and is old enough to understand," said the boy's dad, Peter Hall, in an e-mail interview with The Nation.
"Several programmes have approached us but we have said no. We see a difference in him getting publicity for being himself and in getting publicity for being forced to do something."
Nong Dylan's video entitled "Hard Core Kor Kai" was made in Wales for relatives and friends of the family across the world. It has been a big hit and gone viral, even spawning copycats and funny impersonations. The 3-year-old boy learned to speak and read Thai from his mom, Passamon.
"He knows Thai is a different language," Hall said. "He loves 'phet phet' [spicy] food, as his mum is a very good cook. He likes to eat anything with strong flavours."
The parents were pleasantly surprised by the video's popularity. But they're also balancing new-found fame with privacy. Reporters have hounded the family seeking interviews, and their story has featured on the BBC news.
"We have concerns. There are lots of people we have said no to," Hall said.
Asked why he thought the video had struck a chord with Thai viewers, Peter said: "The fact that he tries to get the traditional Thai alphabet correct - and at the same time using a rock style (he likes rock music), while still so young - all this while in a multicultural family living away from Thailand."
The alphabet video has so far received more than 2.4 million views in more than two weeks on YouTube.
His Facebook page, DylanKorKai, garnered more than 112,000 "likes" within a few days.