Saturday, November 5, 2011

Judge's harsh flood verdict

Nation Channel November 5, 2011 6:07 am
Judge's harsh flood verdict

The volatile maker of diatribes on YouTube says he's actually restraining his anger


The flood crisis has made Theema "Judge" Kanchanapairin something of a star with his "Judge Judd" talk shows - not on TV but on YouTube, where he's attracted more than 700,000 views. Evidently a lot of people agree with him that the Flood Relief Operation Centre (FROC) is doing a poor job.

What he calls a lack of clear and reliable information about the flooding irks the 29-year-old former radio DJ, and he's not pulling many punches in his criticism. We got him talking some more just after his third video was posted and already well on its way to a million views.

You spent eight years in mainstream showbiz. What happened to that?

At some point I just changed. What I was doing couldn't fulfil me in life. I wanted to contribute more to society.

You've said you'll talk about everything in your videos. If there were no flooding, what would you be talking about right now?

The transferring of government officials, or the Press Act, which I think is really a threat to the media. I'd also talk about government policies like the plan to distribute computer tablets to all the schools, because it concerns youth and that's my main target audience.

How long does it take you to put together a segment of "Judge Judd"?

It doesn't take long to record - I have the script in my head and I press "record" when I'm ready - not a whole script, just the topics I want to talk about - but the research is time-consuming. I jot down stuff I want to talk about on a notepad.

Recently I wanted to talk about the ICT Ministry spending all its time tracking down hackers when they could be helping agencies like the National Disaster Warning Centre or the Thai Meteorological Department.

And I wanted to talk about the FROC chief. I'm wondering why it's not Khun Yongyuth [Wichaidit] from the Interior Ministry rather than Khun Pracha [Promnok].

A lot of this stuff I wrote down but couldn't fit in because there wasn't enough time.

Another thing I left out is the flood solution suggested by Thai PBS - for the authorities to "pair up" so everyone has a buddy to work on the crisis together. What's happening now is every agency goes around doing its own thing and never hanging around along enough to see if their strategies work. At the end of the day the problems are still there.

You ever get carried away with emotion?

No, that's not professional.

A lot of people think your vocabulary is quite strong, though, especially your use of the word "stupid".

I admit I have to tone it down a little. I've sometimes referred to phu yai [VIPs in society who command respect] in vulgar terms and it's not decent, because even if they're inefficient, they're still phu yai.

I won't use "stupid" again. The second clip was a bit too radical - my mother and sister even asked if I was fighting with someone while recording it because I was very loud!

Are you scared of repercussions?

I wasn't at first because I didn't think many people would watch the videos. But then we had a work suspension, and a tyre on my car was punctured. I'm sure it was because of the clips because I normally never have enemies.

Some people called me "fag", but that doesn't bother me. I find it funny, actually.

I was thinking about clarifying what I do for the public, but I never did it. I even thought about deleting the clips from the Internet because it really affects my career - I've lost some opportunities because of them.

But you won't.

I will never delete them. This is me. It looks like I've undergone a radical change, but I've always said what I think, and I have the courage to speak up. Deep down, I'm proud that so many people have watched the videos. If I didn't have to care about my career and the income I need for the family, I would have gone full swing.

Some people had said you're just seeking fame.

I just present my thoughts. I can't avoid expressing them. I really want to do this, even though bad people are watching them, because I want Thai people to follow the news and value it more than they do entertainment. I want us to research, dig deep and find more information about the reported news that we don't understand. That's what people in developed countries do.

You've worked with Voice TV, which is linked to Thaksin Shinawatra.

Yes I did, purely for financial reasons. That was over two years ago, for a programme called "Men in Trend", which had nothing to do with politics.

Do you support any political party?

I respect the monarchy. That's all I can say. No matter what side or what colour you are, if you intend to sabotage His Majesty the King and the monarchy, I'm not happy about it.

If Khun Abhisit [Vejjajiva] was still the prime minister and doing the same as the present government, I'd be doing these same clips. Anyone with this much inefficiency in a crisis deserves a clip.

I support the monarchy and I might lean toward the Democrat Party, but what's wrong is wrong, and no exceptions.

On the Web

_ You can watch his videos at www.YouTube.com/user/TheJudgeJudd
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