By Shana Kongmun
Creativity in Thailand
Chiang Mai is of course promoting
itself as a creative city with the Creative City Initiative but a recent
conversation with a friend of mine made me stand up in defense of Thai
creativity. Too often I hear many people state with seemingly great
authority that Thais have no creativity as it has all been beaten down at
school with rote learning and lessons to never question authority.
While the facts of rote learning and authority remain true I think that
creativity can be silenced, for a time, but not killed outright and that
there is much creativity to be seen in Thailand. Thai commercials win
international awards for their creativity. One particular one a few years
back involving the devil out of a job because nobody was dying and ended up
being an ad for a sports drink. Another involved a house insurance ad that
saw a tornado destroy a house and then put back together. The latest was a
very funny, very Thai commercial for women’s bras that swept the world by
storm. Another one was a hard hitting ad against smoking that saw little
kids go up and ask adults they see smoking for a cigarette and when told
they wouldn’t give them one as they shouldn’t smoke, ask “why do you then?”
I attend many of the CMU Fine Arts students thesis shows at the Art Museum
on Nimmanhaemin and I do so with pleasure. The students offer up many
thought provoking projects that show they are thinking outside the box and
questioning the world around them. Either CMU has a heck of an unusual Fine
Arts Department (and I suspect it does) or creativity, when allowed an
outlet, will come out.
How many creatively repaired pickups have we seen trundle in from the
countryside that pause us to stop and think “How did they fix it that way?”
I saw a cute little yellow car painted with the familiar New York
checkerboard pattern and a sign on the back that said “Taxi for hippies
only.” Regularly I see things that make stop and pause to consider. I think
too often as foreigners we stop to judge it as dodgy rather than see it as
the creative outlet it is.
So, before repeating something that has been said a thousand times open your
eyes and see the world around you. It might increase your own creativity
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