The star of the popular feel-too-good video “I Hate Thailand” said this evening the production was indeed funded by Tourism Authority of Thailand.
Oliver Smith, who appears as “James” in the video’s sugary tale of boy-loses-bag, boy-gets-girl which has been met with equal parts love and hate, told Coconuts today the project was indeed a scripted work by production company “Hub Ho Hin” that was paid for by the government to remind the world of the hospitality and friendliness of Thai people.
“It was funded by TAT,” Smith said by e-mail. ” I believe the purpose of making it was to portray Thailand in a good light. This is another angle on Thailand, an upbeat angle that shows the friendly, accommodating Thailand that a lot of expats and travellers alike can relate to.”
Thailand’s image has been battered by an unrelenting storm of real-life incidents and crises. So the video seems a government attempt to counter reality with fiction.
Although the video was heavily staged, Smith said he can’t deny he has experiences similar to those in the video.
“Sure it’s scripted, but it is unlikely that one could film all their misfortunes themselves. I personally have had experiences similar to that of ‘James’ and felt that the movie, although a little cheesy, was a nice ‘feel good’ film,” he said.
Still, if it was funded by TAT as Smith said, then mystery solved. It’s unclear whether Smith was sharing the video privately before an official TAT rollout, or whether it was intended to be released unsigned as a guerilla marketing campaign.
As adamant boosters of Thailand and our home of Bangkok, we’d suggest there are countless true stories of kindness and generosity that could better tell that story. Start with this guy.
After all, paying for make-believe fantasies to influence how people think is just propaganda.