Why The Hangover Part 2 Is Still Good For Thailand

*Warning: this contains a few spoilers*

This is not a movie review. This is not a piece to  defend The Hangover Part 2 and its creators.  This is simply a humble feedback towards comments on the film’s so-called negative representation of Thailand.

A few blogs and news articles, including The Bangkok Post, have published appalling reactions on how the movie’s raunchy plot desecrated what the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has been working hard for.

Well, that’s what they think. But I disagree. Right after the movie, I just wanted to be in Bangkok. I’ve been there before, got drunk, got into a little trouble with the folks at Patpong, and enjoyed every minute I had in one of the most interesting cities of South East Asia.

In a land where one can get arrested by simply posting an online link of a banned publication (I don’t need to elaborate on this), it is quite surprising that something as wild and smutty as The Hangover Part 2 could actually pass the Thailand film board and gain permission to shoot at different locations. The Bangkok Post critic asked if the people behind the film board are no longer perturbed by drug-dealing monkeys and ladyboy nudity. I cannot speak for the TAT. But, corruption, drugs, prostitution, crime and violence exist in every country, not just in Thailand. Besides, do you really think a peaceful place exists here on earth? It probably does if you’re thinking of Aokigahara.

Negative elements may mirror one side of a city like Bangkok, but it cannot speak for an entire nation like Thailand. Bangkok, however, is still a beautiful city despite a few abrasions that are no longer alien to the rest of the capital cities of the world.

The Wat Phra Kaew at sunset, the Grand Palace, the floating markets, and the garish street of Khao San are just some of Bangkok’s gems. Then there’s Phuket, Chiang Mai, Pattaya, and many other areas in Thailand that ignite the word AMAZING in the TAT’s slogan.

A few tweets were a bit inconceivable. If not for the lavish amount of consumed substances, Bangkok would have been a peaceful walk for the Wolfpack. So what exactly triggered the fear of those who tweeted to avoid Bangkok after watching The Hangover Part 2?

Kimmy, the ladyboy, whose line “You’re in BangCOCK sweetie” erupted with a show of his genitalia possibly shocked a few viewers. Transwomen, however, don’t exist in Bangkok alone. Perhaps, it was the sleaziness of the red light district or the debauchery that opposes your definition of “Pleasantville”. But come to think of it, these are all subjective.

The bottomline: The Hangover Part 2 made Thailand more astonishing than it already is. And I believe the TAT couldn’t thank the creators enough.

As for Justin Bartha’s comment, no one has to pay attention to it. It’s simply made by a man who has yet to be exposed to the different cultures of the world.

NOTE: (I have nothing against Mr. Bartha, but his general comment was outright offensive and uncalled for.)

PS: Here are a few snapshots from my Bangkok trip in 2009 (just to show you how interestingly beautiful it is):

The Grand Palace

Wat Phra Kaew

Sukhumvit area

Floating Market

Khao San Road

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2 thoughts on “Why The Hangover Part 2 Is Still Good For Thailand

  1. Hear, hear! Bangkok really is a very interesting city with its lively streets, smiling people (who almost always mistake me for a fellow Thai), delicious – and never boring – food, ostentatious temples…

    Oh wait. I haven’t actually watched the film so I couldn’t really comment on its effects – perceived or otherwise – on the viewers. But I’ve been to Bangkok a couple of times and I’m a great fan of the place. And of Thai massages (Health Land!!!). And of the beautiful women, err… people. Of curry, fruits with the chili-sugar-salt dip, and chai tea. And of Khao San Road and Marriot Vacation Club. Of tuk-tuks, bargain shopping, and temples. Of everything Thai.

    But if, hypothetically, I were seated before a giant screen where the movie was shot in some exotic location I’ve never been in before— filled with locals going about their daily lives, bars, alcohol binges, beautiful people (put generally), gilded steeples, a place where tourists can party and then walk around in minimal clothing and flip-flops all day (except if they were to go to sacred places), a city with a mixture of danger and humdrum — then I’m definitely boarding the next flight out to wherever that place may be.

    Publicity such as in the instant case could never be REALLY bad for a city, not to mention for one of the top destinations in SE Asia. People would talk about it – whether the movie or the place where it was shot in. People would wonder if all of those featured in the screen are, in fact, true. If they really happen. They would wonder. And they would go there.

    In less than a month, loads will troop to Suvarnabhumi in an attempt to experience their very own Hangover. Now, saying a lot about their tourism industry.

  2. I thought the movie was transphobic, and played to the audience’s assumed transphobia, but what’s good to keep in mind is that the character “stu” that freaked out over having sex with a ladyboy is a super-straight anxiety ridden fellow who was already freaking out about being “unfaithful” to his fiance. His character being ignorant and neurotic is understandable. The writers and director expecting the same prejudice from me, isn’t.

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