A viral film called “I Hate Thailand” has been heating up social media feeds overnight with its uplifting and completely fake tale of romance and adventure.
Posted anonymously to YouTube, the story depicts tourist “James” who stupidly loses a bag with all his possessions. Despairing, he runs into a cute Thai girl with bleached hair who asks him to hop on her motorbike, offers to buy him a drink and even loans him an iPhone charger.
Since being posted anonymously Tuesday, it’s gone on to be shared by those who enjoy the cute story. However many seem to take the obviously scripted video, which does not include any credits or source, at face value. While we would never doubt the generosity and hospitality that can be enjoyed in the kingdom, we confidently side with commentators calling bullshit on this one.
“Not sure what this highly scripted, romanticized, and strangely manipulative video is trying to say,” one commentator wrote. “The overall preachy message seems to be, ‘Hey, you might all think Thailand is full of scammers and assholes like I did, but wow, you’d be wrong….I’m so enlightened now.’”
After all there’s a pretty obvious difference between real life and acting, especially poor acting. How could anyone believe a professional production and this guy’s random misfortune magically converged at the same moment to capture every detail? Even the name seems “inspired” by a very real, and very popular French videographer’s film called “Never Go to Thailand.”
The video has been shared all over the media as a “tourist’s confession” and has gone on to amaze many who seem not at all skeptical of the production.
We get wanting some uplifting news for the battered national image, but lies aren’t the way to get there. The whole thing reeks of guerilla marketing and the misspent money of some tourism board. While it may go over well internally, few are going to buy it abroad. But maybe it’s meant to play to the home audience.
We love and ardently defend Thailand and Bangkok, but would suggest to this film’s creators how to fail less next time.
Sourcing: Video was uploaded to YouTube by “Mila pattana,” which sounds like a girl’s name. User signed up to YouTube one day before the video was posted.
Flesh out ‘James’: For all the time and money the character spent creating this, where is he online? Could we at least have a fake blog or news release?
Don’t overplay it: How could the Thai girl get 20 people to search for James’ bag in the dark using flashlights? Did she call the Ruamkatanyu Foundation?
Put in some ‘common sense’ exposition: Why didn’t James contact his embassy or relatives after losing it all? Address this with some throwaway exposition: “I can’t get signal!”
Characterization: Seriously, how did James learn to flirt like a Thai guy days into his first visit? “You’re not beautiful,” he says. “You’re narak.” FYI in most farangland cultures, that’s like the opposite of flirting – it’s rude!