Controversial Thai Singer Invades Vang Vieng

Earlier this year, Thai country singer Lumyai Hai Thongkam made national news by attracting negative attention from Thai General Prayuth Chan-ocha, for her sexually provocative dance moves and outfits.

The teen is now back with a new music video and fresh critiques, this time from Lao people. Her sexual dance moves accompanied by a skimpy gold outfit, set against a serene Vang Vieng backdrop has sparked debate amongst Laotians worldwide.

In the video, 18 year-old Lumyai performs with country artist, Charoenpan Phrakanyai, as Vang Vieng’s infamous mountain backdrop looms behind them.

Although her video “Plaa Kor Yai Viagra” (Snakehead Fish Viagra) was shot back in May, the controversial music video is just now making waves with Laotians across the globe.

Posted last week to a Lao-language Facebook page, another provocative MV shot in Vang Vieng drew a slew of negative comments, many of which complained that bikinis were inappropriate in a conservative country like Laos. However, some defended the video debating that Lumyai was promoting tourism in the small town located north of Vientiane.

Some of the comments criticized the Thai singer, questioning if the culture was studied before arriving to film the video, while others saw no problem. One Youtube user argued, “It’s so hard to be born a Thai, people are always criticizing you for this and that. Have you actually ever been to Vang Vieng yourself? Farangs are in bikinis everywhere. Do you commentators wear traditional Thai costumes to the beach?”

With so much negative criticism hailing from her image, the teen singer has before stated, “Sometimes I wear a jean jacket to dance, and the organizer will say that I don’t look like Lumyai if I cover up too much. I have to dress sexy, or people will forget me.”

Her manager, Thanassorn Phutinan, explained that toning Lumyai’s image down would be a detriment to her brand as fans associate her with her glittering gold bikinis or hot pants. He stated, “We don’t mean to have her dress revealingly, but sometimes the organizers who hire us will threaten to pay only half if she doesn’t change clothes.”

Lumyai, whose real name is Supansa Wetkama, grew up poor in the Thai countryside. She immigrated with her family from Roi Et to Bangkok, where she helped her grandma sell candy as a child. She got into the Salaya Performing Arts school after sixth grade and started working as a luk thung (country) singer to support her family.

Her most popular song “Phu Sao Kha Lor” (“Party Girl”), was released in November and racked up more than 200 million views in the span of three months. Gen.Prayuth Chan-ocha has repeatedly criticized her image and performances, sometimes even dispatching police to her concerts to cover her up.

 

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