Singer Lamyai Haithongkham has toned down her sexy stage act to appease high profile critics such as Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, while appealing to fans for understanding.
After Gen Prayut suggested her dance moves and stage attire were too provocative, the teenage singer agreed to limit her low squats and thrusting hip gestures.
She also softened her look on stage. At two concert appearances last week after the fuss over the prime minister’s comments broke, she donned a pair of denim shorts and jacket to appear less revealing.
Lamyai says she is prepared to wear sensible denim for now to replace the clingy, reveal-all outfits of the past. However, she warned one TV host she would not change her look entirely, as it was part of her character.
As host Kanchai “Noom” Kamnerdploi held up her gold satin shorts for inspection, Lamyai insisted she takes precautions to prevent her private parts showing.
“Even if I split my legs, you won’t see anything, as I am protecting myself. The pants have a black liner, and I also wear stockings and underwear,” she said.
“You’d have to get through all those layers before you saw a thing.”
Lamyai, or Suphansa Vechkama, said she was taken aback at first to be singled out by Gen Prayut, but later realised he meant no harm.
“He was merely worried about Thai culture, and wasn’t being too serious,” she said. “However, I have consulted my production team and we have now softened the act,” she said before her concerts in Surat Thani and Trang.
News reports said security was tight, with organisers asking Lamyai to do as the prime minister asked and keep it low-key.
Her fans thronged to the front of the stage for a close-up look at what all the fuss was about.
Speaking earlier in the week as the controversy broke, Lamyai was asked whether wearing such skimpy attire was worth it.
“Worth it or not, it is enabled me to make money and help my family,” she said.
Born in Roi Et province, Lamyai moved to Bangkok with her mother in search of work. Her mother sold peanuts, sweets and fruit at restaurants and nightspots in the Prannok area.
“I was born in a poor family. As I child I had to leave school early to help my mother.”
Lamyai’s hit song, Pu Sao Kha Loh, has notched up 246 million views on YouTube since it was released with little fanfare last November. Her manager, Prachakchai Naowaras, said it set a new record for an indie song.
“Fans like the combination of reggae beat and northeastern lyrics,”’ he said.
“As far as the sexy stage act is concerned, Lamyai is not the first sexy singer in this genre. Many coyote and morlum dancers wear outfits like hers. We are selling a stage act.
“Before this saga came to light, we didn’t know where the line between culture and sexually suggestive was drawn. But now senior figures have pointed it out, we are willing to take action.”
The teen singer, who has been singing for eight or nine years, and has styled herself as Lamyai for the past two years, is riding the crest of a wave, now booked for two to five concert appearances a day.
Asked about her new toned-down look, she thanked fans for their support, and asked them not to believe everything they hear in the media.
Kru Oi runs to police after web attack
Entrepreneur and self-help guru Thitinart “Kru Oi” Na Pattalung has gone to police after a website surfaced, making false claims about her personal life and attempting to extort 11 million baht from her.
Kru Oi went before the media on Friday to reveal news of an organised on-line campaign against her, threatening to exploit various platforms including websites, YouTube and social media.
Those behind it say if she doesn’t pay up, they will discredit her before the public and the media. They have also demanded she stop making merit and teaching her self-help courses, which have drawn in prominent business people and entertainers as participants.
“The website claims my father is a red shirt and they have supported me financially. My father supports the red shirts, but my mother is a yellow shirt, and in that respect my family is no different from many others,” she said.
She says the organisers track her daily movements as if they are intimate with details of her life. She says she has no idea who is responsible, but suspects it might be a disgruntled former student.
The news emerges as Kru Oi is under fire on another front, after entertainers came forward to ask her company to stop using their images to promote her Life Compass courses.
Celebrities complained after publicity suggested they were active participants or endorsed the courses.
Actress Maneerat “Ae” Kumoun led the charge, saying she stopped going to the courses three years ago and wanted the company behind the courses to remove her picture.
Singer Natee Ekwijit, or Oui Buddha Bless, said his picture had also appeared. He was not a follower but had visited as a mere observer.
Instructor Rossukon “Kru Ngor” Gonggeht, who runs the acting school Drama Academy, said she spent 200,000 baht on a Compass of Life course to learn hypnotherapy. However, she denied she had signed a form allowing the company to use her picture.
Referring to the fuss, Kru Oi said participants are asked to sign a consent form allowing her company to use their images in publicity. However, her company was willing to remove the images if they get in touch.
She also denied claims her company accepts donations from its followers, or charges exorbitant course fees.
Referring to publicity from some sessions, in which large numbers of followers, clad in white, sit in a trance-like state, Kru Oi denies she portrays herself as a religious guru in the manner of the former abbot of Wat Phra Dhammakaya.
Television host and writer Patcharasri “Kalamare” Benjamas has emerged to back the self-help guru.
Kalamare, who describes herself a follower, said the courses emphasise life skills and are not part of a cult or ideology.
“I went to one course; celebrities like the courses because some of them are free,” she said. “They show you how to live your life better and get over problems. There’s nothing scary about it … no gullible followers, black magic or anything like that.”
Asked whether the courses also touch on religion, she said the meditation component is free.
Ribald images irk contestant
The Face Thailand 3 contestant, model Wilawan “Julie” Anderson, is stressed after images emerged on social media of a woman bearing her likeness, playing with herself.
Piyarat “Tae” Kaljareuk, who holds rights to the talent show franchise, said she is waiting to hear from Thai-New Zealander Julie, 22, about whether it’s her in the pictures.
In the images, a young woman wearing pyjamas strikes sexy poses and eventually strips off. Eager netizens pointed to a birthmark on the young woman’s chest and nose to draw the likeness with Julie, who has not commented on the fuss.
Tae said he has suspended Julie’s appearances for The Face Thailand 3, but merely as a precaution. The latest series wrapped up last month.
He was not pre-judging the young star. “She is like a daughter to me, so there’s no way I would cut her adrift,” he said.
Wilawan ‘Julie’ Anderson