No love in Laos

Thai drama Pleng Rak Song Fang Khong (The Mekong Love Song) has been pulled from the TV schedule after a Laotian official complained the shows content. Three scenes were objected to, prompting the Laos Information and Culture Ministry to ask TV station executives and the shows producer to adjust the portions that officials consider inappropriate.

The three scenes involved the mishandling of Laos national flower, an inaccurate portrayal of a marriage proposal and the possible creation of misperceptions about Laotian women.

After these points of concern have been fixed, the play can be put back on screen immediately, said Souvanna Phouyavong, deputy head of mission at the Laotian Embassy in Bangkok.

Kitti Wasinondh, a Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman, said that the programme had been intended to help foster relations between Thailand and Laos and that Laos officials had been consulted during the shows development.

The shows producer said the changes would be made.

Unlucky losers

The producer of Thai football comedy Mak Te Lok Talueng (Lucky Loser), has cancelled the opening of the film after complaints from Laos.

We will not release the film on May 18 as scheduled in order to show good faith, said Wisut Pulworaluck, chief executive officer of GMM Tai Hub. We dont want to create any problems that may lead to conflicts between the two countries.

Lao officials complained the movies jokes belittled Lao people and the film, about a Thai coach taking the Lao football team to the World Cup, contained inappropriate scenes. The film shows Lao footballers dyeing their hair and underarms to get a Western look, while the team practised in refrigerated containers to get used to the cold weather.

According to Mr Wisut, the Lao ambassador, Hiem Phommachanh, made several points that prompted the company to cancel the release. There are currently no plans to edit the film to make it more palatable to Laos.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Kantathi Suphamongkhon has advised Thai film producers to be more considerate and respectful of other nations.

He said Thai films have high potential in the international arena but the industry needs to be more sensitive about other peoples feelings.

This is the second Thai film in less than a month to offend a neighbouring country. Horror ilm La-Tha-Pii (Ghost Game) brought protests from Cambodia over resemblances between the film’s settung and the infamous Khmer Rouge Toul Sleng torture centre.