On his first day in office, the new Thai Culture Minister Sonthaya Kunplome said that the “Gangnam Style” video clip advertising Loei province’s famous ghost festival should be revised to ensure that it focuses on the country’s cultural roots instead of fads. According to The Nation, the clip was produced by Dan Sai Municipality to promote the annual Phi Ta Khon Festival which will take place on 10-12 July 2013. The YouTube video features people in Phi Ta Khon masks performing the “Gangnam Style” dance in front of various landmarks, including the Phi Ta Khon Museum, Wat Phone Chai’s Sri Song Rak Pagoda replica and a large Phi Ta Khon statue on Dan Sai-Lom Sak Rd.
Obviously the Thai Culture Minister has never been to a Phi Ta Khon Festival otherwise he might have something to say about the giant penises which can be seen in the parade. Dan Sai Mayor Santiparp Cheuboonmee said that his office made the video clip to promote tourism. “Nothing is broken; the dance moves are simple. If you think this in inappropriate, then the annual parade of Phi Ta Khon, in which they dance to Mor Lam tunes or English songs would be inappropriate, too. People are entitled to their opinions, but the municipality thinks we did the right thing,” he said. I cannot agree more. This is a great way to promote next year’s festival.
In related news, the Bangkok Post this morning said that the Thai government had made two requests to Google this year so far to remove 14 videos from YouTube which insulted the monarchy. Google refused to remove any of the videos but decided to block people surfing from Thailand to see just three of the videos “out of respect for local law”.