Injured ‘Toon’ Turns Down Army Airlift

Artiwara Kongmalai or Toon Bodyslam runs to the finish line of his cross-country charity run Monday in Chiang Rai province.

CHIANG RAI — A rockstar who just completed a nationwide run to raise money for charity on Wednesday morning refused an army offer to fly him back to Bangkok aboard a military aircraft.

Rather than taking an afternoon flight aboard a military transport, Artiwara Kongmalai, or Toon Bodyslam, instead will take a couple of days of doctor-ordered rest before returning to the capital by car, his spokesman said Wednesday.

“P’Toon will be riding a personal car back to Bangkok. The army offered us the plane and we thanked them, but the timing isn’t right. He wasn’t going to go back today,” Chaichan Baimongkol of run organizer Kao Kon La Kao said.

On Monday, army commander Gen. Chalermchai Sitthisart announced that the army would “take care of, support and service to the fullest extent the … flight to transport Toon and his company to Bangkok as per the prime minister’s orders and because of Toon’s charity for the Phramongkutklao Hospital.”

News that Toon might be escorted home by the military was met with criticism that state funds would be squandered so the army could share some of his spotlight.

“Why don’t you let him fly Nok Air back home so you can use the money for other things?” user Chakrit Rabeabode wrote.

Another Facebooker, Pisit Punsuk, wrote, “P’Toon probably already had travel plans. Stop sticking your nose into things and trying to look good,” on the comments section of a Khaosod news story about the proposed plane trip.

Toon’s 2,000-plus kilometer run raised over 1 billion baht for state-run public hospitals, a cause which prompted questions about why they were underfunded by the government to begin with.

In the end, Chaichan said Toon required rest, not a plane trip.

“Since he started running he hasn’t slept a full night’s sleep. The doctor ordered him to rest for at least two days, and also he wants to take some personal days in Chiang Rai.” Chaichan said. She added that Toon had also been experiencing numbness on the left side of his body.

Chaichan said that one of Toon’s injuries is to his left arm.

“He’s in pain. If you watched him running live in the last few days you would see he had to wrap his arm with cloth because he’s swinging it to much,” he said. “He hasn’t been fully treated yet because he just finished running.”

Chaichan said Toon would continue “being Toon Bodyslam” and focus on his band upon returning to Bangkok, producing music and concerts for 2018. His first concert is scheduled for a New Year’s Eve event at Mega Bangna.