BANGKOK — Uncle Pol dances. Uncle Pol raises his arms in manly, yet graceful Thai dance. Pressing his lips together as he bobs his head to the music, Uncle Pol thrusts his hips in a shy show of virility.
In Thailand, a prime suspect in a murder case can become a luk thung celebrity, and from then, into a meme. In an act of satire against the overblown and uncritical coverage of Chaipol “Uncle Pol” Wipa, one viral social media page turns him into a meme material.
“Since society gives such value to Uncle, I wanted to play around with it,” the anonymous admin of “Uncle Pol Dancing but Different Music” said in an interview. “You want him to be famous? Fine. But I’m doing it in a mocking way, with a dark sense of humor.”
Uncle Pol, 44, first shot to fame after his 3-year-old niece Chompoo went missing in May in Mukdahan province. Her body found three days later showed signs of sexual assault, but medical examiners could not determine the cause of death.
Media coverage soon reached a crescendo of obsession as TV stations like Thairath and Amarin TV portray Uncle Pol as an innocent family man and delve deeper into his personal life.
Soon Uncle Pol was working as a model and starring in luk thung singer Jintara Poonlarp’s latest single “Tao Ngoi.”
That music video ended up providing meme material for the The Uncle Pol Dancing page, who took clips of him dancing in said music video and replaced them with all kind of songs.
There’s Uncle Pol dancing to the death metal of Slipknot, candy pop of BNK48, and even to the heady soundtrack of “Tenet.” There’s even a version of the legendary viral Japanese synthpop, Mariya Takeuchi’s “Plastic Love.”
The page admin said they want to hit back at the media attention on Uncle Pol even as other important issues are breaking out across the country.
“I’m confused why he’s this famous, worth millions…It’s way too much. All this began because the media gave him too much importance,” the admin wrote. “They’re hungry for ratings and produce such weird scoops.”
“But it’s not 100 percent the fault of the media, since they have to make things that people will watch. It all comes back to society.”