A quiz show from Thai television
After thinking up me last blog on bizarre, yet true stories from the ‘Land of Noodle Soup and Nose-jobs’ I was leftover with a wad more just asking to be written about. So, not needing them to fall out of mind and never be written about I’m taking the opportunity once again, to gives yous all, a brief read about some of the shadier stories from the past.
The Thais have no quibbles about having a right laugh at the foreigners’ expense in regards to speaking the Thai language. But, a bout of revenge needn’t be sought after, after it was revealed to the media just last week that our Thai buddies are pretty defunct at learning English (as if you hadn’t already realized, with no disrespect of course). On an average score of English tests out of nine ASEAN countries, our Thai counterparts came in eighth just one above the Cambodians. Of course, the local news stations and reporters had a whole host of excuses along the lines of ‘We are all flabbergasted at the stupidness of the scoring methods used’ and pledged that ‘Thailand ought to have at least got in the top five’. Now, what planet are they living on?
Anyway, back to a few weird but wonderful stories. Now, Thais just love their game shows and one extremely popluar one has to be ‘The Millionaire Game Show’ that is broadcast every evening from Monday to Friday. Personally, I used to like the show but it has turned into a bit of a farce to say the least. The first couple of questions asked to the contestants are something ridiculously easy like ‘How many days are there in a week?’ 5,6,7 or 8. But then, just when you think the contestant is gonna score a decent amount of cash the next question is along the lines of ‘What is the name of the King of Bhutan’s eldest brother?’
Well, most of the folks on this show look pretty brainy but I’ve seen them flunk on the easiest of questions, darned easy. Then, a couple of years ago, we had one contestant who looked as if she had came straight out of a durian plantation. Well, the old undernourished dearie didn’t even need to think about any of the questions as she answered them all like a piece of doddle and unbelievably hit the jackpot of a million baht. Well, the quizmaster looked more surprised than her who was completely straightfaced throughout the whole ordeal and sure enough, she hit national headlines. In fact, the producers just didn’t believe that this country bumpkin could have seriously ‘fluked’ all the answers and ordered an enquiry. In came to light that there was a computer hitch-up and the correct answer (a,b,c or d) flashed on her screen for every question asked. When the woman was asked by the reporters whether it was true, she replied ‘Well, yes”. She hadn’t yet been paid her jackpot prize but the police were called in anyway and she was actually arrested for supposedly trying to ‘scam the show’. The nation’s folks were up in arms at the hard justice dealt and after the media had latched on to her sad story, she was soon released with no charges brought. What a fiasco!
This was not the first time the show has been in the news. One former cursed contestant was seriously arrested along with a couple of corrupt counterparts once, as it was found out, after he had won the jackpot, that his fraudulent friends in the audience were all hooked up to these signalling devices. Therefore, when the contestant didn’t know an answer, his friends would send the answer to this little vibrating device hooked to his leg.
At lot of our buddies in the country are re-knowned for their ‘cheating abilities’ and that doesn’t mean leaving out ‘scam yer family too’! As I’ve said a hundred times before, the upcountry Thais just luv the national lottery and over the years the newspapers have been full of nauseatingly true stories of fake winners.
Just a couple of months ago, a ‘supposed’ winner was running around her village, somewhere in the middle of the jungle showing off so-called official documentation from the national lottery office stating ‘We are delighted to notify you that you can come and collect yer huge winnings next Wednesday at our HQ on Rachadamnoern Avenue’. Her whole village was up in arms celebrating as that meant lots of free parties hosted by her. Of course, she wasn’t able to collect the money for a week or so, so she ran around borrowing stacks of cash to hold a series of buffet parties and even buy herself a new motorbike and a few baht of gold in the meantime. Time went by, and the district chief on becoming rather suspicious on why she hadn’t collected her winnings yet, called up the national lottery office for verification. ‘Absolutely no winner from that village’ came the reply down the telephone and it came to light that this supposed winner had completely made the whole thing up and scammed not just her neighbours of money, but her mum, dad, brothers, sisters and even her poor old grannie of 94.
Perhaps, she’s still thinking up some more devious plans now, from behind bars.
Then, there was the story I remember of one certain husband-to-be. Wanting to marry the ‘love of his life’ it was decided by the girl’s parents that a dowry of 70,000 baht was to be paid. Sure, the guy had no problems with finding that amount of cash and the wedding day was set. Then, on the actual day of the wedding the groom had gone missing! ‘What has happened to him?’ all the guests and bride wondered. He was found later in the morning with his arms tied behind his back, sporting a couple of nasty black eyes. The poor bridegroom had been mugged of the entire dowry money of 70,000 baht! ‘What a darned pity!’ the family thought. The parents on feeling sorry for the couple married her off regardless of dowry or not.
Very soon after, a little grade 2 boy from the local primary school informed his teacher of some very peculiar antics that he had witnessed the week before. ‘I saw the very funny thing near me house, had one silly man punch himself in the face for no reason and his friend come to tie him up just for the fun of it’. Word got around and our unscrupulous husband friend here was soon down the local cop station admitting that he had intrepidly made the whole scenario up. He just hadn’t enough dowry cash to marry his darling. Luckily for the wife, they hadn’t registered the marriage yet and he was kicked out of her village never to be seen again.
Then, I remember the shockingly enviable story of the man last year who got married to two women at the same time. Believe it or not, the story went like this (lots of pics all over the newspapers as proof!). This stud of a handsome guy had got engaged to his girlfriend of a few years but just before they were about to be married he had also fallen in love with this other darling of his. Anyway, our extremely brave fellow here cofessed to his fiancee his love for this other girl. Well, his fiancee who must have been in right darned love with him, replied ‘Nevermind, just marry us both!’ Incredibly, the two girls along with their families accepted this and they were both married off to him at the same time. I wonder how the sleeping arrangements went. I can certainly, NOT imagine that happening in my hometown! Of course, by law you are only allowed to certify marriage with one spouse, so I wonder which one his beauties he chose.
Well, we all know that our nation’s ladies just love sticking on a bitta make-up, dressing up like Barbie and flirting their eyes and so the country has a whole selection of beauty contests for them to take part in. We have the annual Miss Songran, Miss Loy Kratong, Miss Motorshow, Miss Anti-wrinkle Cream, Miss Elephant Jumbo and Miss Smelly Preserved Fish…just for starters. Well, just last year one of these ‘big’ winners won as usual, a stack-a-cash, a free vacation and a motorbike and went on for the next couple of days to give interviews to a flurry of TV stations and magazines. That was until, a couple of angry women called up the newspapers to verify that this so-called winner, had been in fact, married.
These ‘grassers’ from her hometown were in fact relatives of her former husband who had since married some other woman. ‘She’ll have to be disqualified’ it was decided by the judges, only for the winner to burst into tears and to confess to the nation that ‘Yes, i used to be married (when i was 16!) but we never registered the marriage’. That means of course, by law, she never was officially married. The judges had realized by this time, that there wasn’t much they could do. But they disqualified her anyway. It was decided (along with The Ministry of Culture!) that to be entitled to be called a certain…. ‘Miss’ in Thailand, meant you had to be ‘a pure woman’ and so our winner was disqualified for ‘having been with a man before’. As for all the other 80 or so contestants, they were all judged to be sweet and innocent.