BANGKOK — A direct descendant of Burma’s last king on Friday said he is offended by a Thai soap opera’s unflattering depiction of his great-grandfather’s court and called for it to be pulled from the air.
Soe Win, who is descended from King Thibaw, reached out to Khaosod English on Friday to say the series, which has angered some in Myanmar for its obvious parallels to the 19th-century Konbaung dynasty, was not helpful for good relations between the neighboring countries.
“Everybody knows that this ‘The Lady’s Flame’ Film is not beneficial for our present and future generations,” he wrote in English before asking how Thais would react to a negative depiction of its royalty.
Soe Win, 70, is the great-grandson of King Thibaw through his fourth daughter, Ashin Hteik Su Myat Phaya Galae, and the spokesperson for his clan. He said series should be pulled off the air “to develop our Two Peoples to People’s Relations as good neighbors.”
Asked if he had seen the series, whose creators defend as a work of fiction, Soe said he found it unwatchable.
“No, can’t bear to view from beginning to an end, it discourages me not to continue, it hurts my feeling!” he said.
In the series, Patchrapa Chaichue stars as Lady Ananthip, a vindictive character in a court full of mischievous and petty royals. Although the setting is given a fictional name, the appearance of the characters and details of the plot closely track to that of Hsinbyumashin, who helped set in motion a palace massacre that precipitated the downfall of the monarchy in what today is Myanmar.
Kantana Group Producer Chitralada Disayanon said the series is “unrelated to Burma and is completely fictional, with the costumes and setting not meant to evoke any country or time period in particular.”
Although Myanmar’s monarchy is long gone, Soe wrote in support of those who have complained the Thai series misappropriates history for entertainment.
“Naturally, the general reaction of the Myanmar People do not like the one sided film that’s not beneficial to both sides,” he wrote.
He also said it’s historically inaccurate for depending on colonial Britain’s version of historical events designed to “highlight the invaders as saviors.”
In “A Lady’s Flames,” Lady Ananthip (Patchrapa) rises to power through intrigue and a whole lot of women slapping each other. Royals commit vile acts and fornicate with foreign agents.
Again, there’s no direct reference to Myanmar in the names and places, but its costumes and story unmistakably place it in Mandalay.
“Even with the different character names it is very obvious that it referring Myanmar,” Soe wrote. “No doubt every Thais knows.”
Episode 10 of the series will broadcast at 8:15pm tonight on Channel 7.
Like many soaps, “A Lady’s Flames” is actually a remake, but Soe said he did not recall a similar reaction to the 1996 original, as the world was much less interconnected.
“This soap is distasteful,” Soe wrote. “History is to take lessons for the benefit of the country, not to discredit each other.”