One thing that is interesting about living in Thailand is the way the ultra-conservative culture of much of Thai society keeps banging into the modern, more risque culture that is growing all over the country.
As a result, videos, movies, singers and actresses, things and people that many people wouldn’t bat an eye at in the west, are suddenly thrown into the spotlight as “bad for Thailand”, “against Thai values” or just plain “should be banned”.
Such is the latest case, that of 20-year-old singer, Ja Turbo, who almost got banned from performing completely in Thailand, by the Thai Ministry of Culture — yes, they actually do do that here.
Now, if you haven’t heard, Ja Turbo (real name Nongpanee Mahadthai) is a relatively new Thai singer who has been catapulted into national news here in Thailand for her new song “Itchy Ears”.
Called “Khan Hoo”in Thai, it comes from a Thai idiom meaning your ears are itchy because someone is talking to you”. But, if you use a couple of different vowels the “Hoo” meaning ‘ears’ suddenly becomes the slang “Hee”‘, and the song takes on a completely different meaning again.
Add to that the sexy dance of Ja Turbo, who spends more time with her hands on her private parts than she does singing and, if you have spent any time in Thailand, you might not be surprised when you hear Ja Turbo is now the talk of Thailand, and much of it isn’t good.
But, as always happens here, it is the old and conservative against the young and more liberal. The modern against the living-in-the-18th-century.
So while older Thais talk about Ja Turbo being “bad for Thailand’s image”, many of the younger ones love her. So much so, her video on YouTube has now hit 19 million views and then some.
As for us and our thoughts on Ja Turbo, we are sort of in the middle on this one. While we don’t think it’s necessarily as “disgraceful” as some of the older set, Ja Turbo isn’t really doing herself many favors clutching at herself and acting lewd either.
Not if she wants to be taken seriously as a singer and, particularly as she has an amazing singing voice and is very talented.
Hopefully though, “Khan Hoo” is a one time thing and she’ll hit the big time with her next song for its musical value alone, and not because she has shown she can do that on stage.
But, we also have to say……….Ja Turbo certainly seems to have her head screwed on right, and she really is beautiful. Read her BK Magazine interview here. She sounds like a very nice girl too.