Who is Mae Moo?

Sunday 7 April 2019

James' lucky break, Tim stakes claim, stork brings twins

I want to be a soldier ... not
James Ma
Actor James Ma says he still saw an opportunity to serve the nation as a conscripted soldier after learning he was the beneficiary of extraordinary good luck at his local conscription station last week.

James, who had earlier declared he would seek a sixth roll-over of his obligation to take part in the conscription lottery draw when he reported to soldiers at Wat Thatthong school in Watthana district for the opening day of this year’s military conscription round, changed his mind once he arrived.

He decided to chance fate in the draw and amid fanclub cheers drew a black card, which relieves him of the need to serve.

He was told that the military needed to snag just one would-be conscript in the district, of the 78 young men who took part in the draw. The result was predictable enough, perhaps, given James, also known as James Assarasakorn, was just fourth among the names called to pull a card from the barrel. The sole red card on offer obliging the recipient to serve for two years was claimed by someone else.

However, James denies that his brush with good luck tipped his last-minute decision to chance his fate in the draw.

James had declared earlier this month that he would seek another roll-over this year, his last allowed under the law, as he was busy with acting in TV lakorn and also in the final year of his university studies. However, knowing that he would have to take part next time anyway, he decided to bring it forward a year after Channel 3 executives complained the uncertainty was affecting its ability to cast him.

“Producers on my latest lakorn, Klin Kasalong, told me filming would wrap for sure at the end of this month, and Channel 3 has been in touch to offer me another ... however, I didn’t dare accept as it starts filming next month and there’s no way we could finish filming by mid-year should I have drawn a red card in the draw and been forced to serve,” he said.

“The uncertainty is causing problems for Channel 3. So I said I would go ahead this year, as I now have two lakorns, and if I don’t take part this year I will have to do so next year anyway.

“When I found out there was just one red card on offer I thought it was still a good opportunity [to serve]. I wasn’t really excited about taking part as I have reported on conscription day so many times. I would do my duty no matter what happened, and feel relieved that it is all over.”

Thai men must report for conscription when they turn 21, though they can apply for an exemption for six years if they are busy with study, or think they might qualify on health grounds. After that they must submit to the draw.

Fans turned up at the conscription reporting station to cheer James on. Asked about Twitter reaction to the moment he took off his shirt, revealing a starkly white chest and pink nipples said by fans to rival those of hearthrob actor Mario Maurer when he took part in the draw a few years ago, James said the reaction was overdone.

“It was just a trick of the light, normally I am not that white,” he joked, while admitting directors had complained that he was so white on screen he was hard to film.

“Mario and I are different types,” he stuttered when asked about the reaction. “His nipples are pink, strong, look good ... Mario is handsome. As far as I am concerned, I am just OMO,” he joked, referring to the washing powder.

In Watthana district, 72 youngsters eligible for the conscription draw applied for a rollover, leaving 78 people who had to take part. The military wanted 27 from this district, and received 23 applicants who joined as ordinary recruits. Another three fled rather than take part and will now be pursued under the law. 

That left just one person whom the Air Force wanted for its in second intake starting on Nov 1, a duty which falls to whoever drew red.

Custody row goes public
Businessman and aspiring politician Pita “Tim” Limjaroenrat is bracing for a new custody battle after his estranged wife, actress Chutima “Tye” Teepanart, complained that he had withheld access to their child.

Tye took to social media late last month after Tim failed to hand over the couple’s daughter, Nong PiPim, at CentralWorld as agreed under the couple’s custody arrangements in which they take it in turns every five days to look after the little girl, aged three.

Tye later alerted Pathumwan police after Tim failed to show with their daughter, though Tim responded later to say PiPim was safe and sound, and pleaded with reporters to let the couple deal with their divorce plans and custody battle privately.

A day later Tim went before the media to disclose he had decided against handing over the little girl as arranged, as he was worried about the impact of the five-day switch in custody arrangements was having on her emotional stability. 

“The court awarded me 100 per cent custody rights in February and as the hand-over at CentralWorld approached I was still willing to be flexible. But she didn’t want to go.” Tim said he decided to keep the little girl with him rather than proceeding with the handover as arranged.

Tim, a candidate for the Future Forward Party at the election, took flak on social media from the party’s opponents, who asked if this was fitting behaviour for a would-be MP. But Tim said he took advice from child development experts who agreed the five-day switch might be proving too much.

“PiPim is stressed and confused about having to move home every five days. She should not have to suffer because parents’ marriage has failed,” he said.

The couple married on the auspicious date of 12/12/2012 but have been having problems for the past year or so, and separated five or six months ago. They have yet to sign the court-approved divorce at the district office.

Tim said PiPim was moving between both homes to suit her parents. In future he would ask his wife to visit the little girl at his place instead. He wanted his wife to play a part in her upbringing, but also wanted to ensure the child’s best interests were being met.

“I don’t agree with the custody swap, and tried to change it in talks with the other side, but they went nowhere. PiPim has grown up in our family home all her life, and has plenty of friends, but suddenly must swap to a new place every five days with no explanation. Some would say I am being weak-kneed, but moving at the convenience of her parents is not something she should have to tolerate.

“I have been to see seven doctors, and also tried talking to other side, with no success. So I filed for divorce in November, and applied for sole custody for sake of our daughter’s emotional stability.”

Tim said Tye failed to show for the court’s Feb 11 decision which awarded him sole custody, and she had since declared she wants to appeal. He said another problem which has arisen is that Tye has enrolled the little girl at an international school close to her place, even though he has enrolled her at a school close to his own home in Sukhumvit. 

“So who will take responsibility if the child ends up confused? It’s time to talk. I was sure we couldn’t talk sense at CentralWorld, but we can always try again.

“I would appeal to Tye to keep her cool, as we must be able to solve problems better than this with the child’s stability and security in mind. It’s better than playing out the drama before our daughter in public.” Tye has yet to comment on the custody battle.

Pok, Margie gird for parenthood

Pok, Margie and their twins
Businessman Patsarakorn “Pok” Chirathivat and actress Rasri “Margie” Balenciaga are doting parents to twins, a boy and girl, after Margie gave birth on Thursday.

Margie was admitted urgently to hospital on Monday with doctors worried she may be succumbing to preeclampsia, or complications to her pregnancy which could affect other organs in her body. Margie complained of swelling to her leg and a urine test showed traces of protein, though another associated condition, high blood pressure, was not present.

In the event the twins were born four days earlier than planned. The couple, who posted pictures to Instagram of the babies moments after their birth, were preparing to talk to the media last night as this column went to press. 

Pok, heir to the Central Group fortune, earlier disclosed the names of the twins on the couple’s YouTube channel where they have enthused about the pending start of their family for months. They settled on Mika and Mia, which means “gifts that God has bestowed”.

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