Weekly Local Biography

  Lin and C.C.

It isn’t often that one has the opportunity to interview a celebrity couple as they prepare for the nuptial celebration of the year here in Thailand. Friends, neighbors and a large number of Chiang Mai residents will be there to honor them, and I plan to be in that number. So I was especially happy to sit down over a fresh bamboo shoot salad and a cup of Chinese tea with Lin and C.C. last week.

They look wonderful and are quite excited about the upcoming wedding, although I must admit that Lin has put on a bit of weight since moving to Chiang Mai several years ago. The food and lifestyle obviously agree with her. Nevertheless, she was stylish and polished in her black and white outfit. C.C. was somewhat introspective, tending to spend a little more time on the food and less in conversation, but perhaps that is his way. He does love to tell a good joke, though, and on more than one occasion I observed Lin with a slightly bored smile on her face. She’s obviously heard some of his stories more than once. But C.C., too, was well turned out in black and white with the latest in Jackie-O dark sunglasses (he doesn’t care for LayBans, claiming they make him look like a panda) and a short haircut - A dapper look for a young male.

Although this is to be an arranged marriage in the old style, the couple appeared to be quite relaxed with each other in their surroundings. Of course, it’s been somewhat hush-hush to the family back home in China, but they’ve actually been cohabiting for two years now, living in the hills near Doi Suthep in a luxurious home with lush gardens and a highly trained staff at their beck and call. They’ve grown accustomed to the gawkers who stare and talk about them, and generally find it quite easy to ignore the comments and photographs. When the cameras become too irritating they retire inside their home, where they have internet connection to stay in touch with family and fans. I found the paparazzi to be quite intrusive, but we remained in the garden for our chat. The formal marriage will make way for progeny, and will simplify any embarrassing explanations for friends and family.

We talked about their celebrity status, and their role as diplomats celebrating the 30th anniversary of the establishment of a diplomatic relationship between Thailand and the People’s Republic of China. Stamps were recently issued in their honor. Lin is a little testy that she was portrayed with a stalk of bamboo in her mouth, giving further rise to rumors of an eating disorder. “I’m not overweight”, she maintains, “I’m just undertall.”

Questioned about the arranged marriage, Lin simply said that she was comfortable with the tradition, and that those who aren’t should “Just look around at marriages that aren’t arranged. How much fur-flying fighting goes on? How many bamboo-tossing divorces do you see? Plenty.” “Anyhow”, she continued, “I’m in love with C.C. Most of our friends say we’re just like two pandas in a pod.” C.C. appears to share her devotion, even going so far as to offer her his carrot.

I asked Lin about her choice of wedding gowns, and she conceded that picking hers out had been difficult given the weight gain and the constant comparisons to petite and curvaceous Thai bears. She noted that she’s very sensitive about being referred to as a “giant panda”, and that her girth, while not exactly minimal, gives her character. She will, of course, wear Thai silk along with her usual black and white color scheme. C.C. will wear a formal morning coat of black, with white shirt and a black top hat. His customary Jackie-O glasses will help him to maintain some degree of dignity, as flashbulbs are sure to be popping.

Lin said that, like most young females, she has long dreamed of an elaborate wedding, but had no idea that theirs would become a public spectacle. The big day has been set, and friends will gather at Thapae Gate on the morning of November 8 to begin a festive party. There will be traditional dancing in the finest of Lanna traditions, as well as Chinese traditions in honor of their home country. All are invited to join in from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. for this celebration in the old world style. On November 9, a parade will be organized at Watthanothai Payap School at 10 a.m. The parade participants will wear Lanna and Chinese costumes and proceed in the general direction of Doi Suthep.

After the ceremony, the couple will host a feast of their favorite foods at a small private party. The wedding cake will feature bamboo leaves and shoots, with carrots and other fruits and vegetables added for color and flavor. Lin and C.C. reminded the interviewer that they are dedicated vegetarians, and in the best of that tradition will toast but not roast their fellow residents as part of the feast.

I asked about their honeymoon plans, but both coyly declined to reveal their destination. C.C. reminded me that it’s not easy for them to travel because of their celebrity status. The last flight they took almost shut down the Chiang Mai airport while they deplaned. Doctors and staff, special food and a major contingency of public relations people travel with them everywhere they go. Of course, they may simply choose to stay and enjoy the many comforts of their beautiful home in Chiang Mai. After all, none of their neighbors have the luxury of air-conditioning and internet connections.

For those of you who have not yet received an invitation, Lin Hui and Chuang Chuang request the honor of your presence at a celebration of their marriage on November 8, 2005, at 10 a.m. at Thapae Gate in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Dress politely. It will definitely be a party to write home about!