Published on December 24, 2007
Master of the Known Universe Award
Hey, didn't we get rid of this guy last year? Nope, with a story that reads like a Hollywood blockbuster complete with subplots unfolding into subplots (R-rated for violence, drugs, drug violence, a sniff of sex and just plain lying), Thaksin Shinawatra has retained his king-of-the-headlines status throughout 2007.
He is the "you know who" of our times, no matter how much you try to get people to say "Frank Sinatra". He is the phoenix of modern Thai history. We saw his party smashed into toothpicks and, when we turned around, the People Power Party was standing there. We thought we got him to awk pai and now it looks like he'll klap ma.
Thaksin's true achievement is in his excellent public relations. For a guy who hasn't set foot on Thai soil in 14 months and only shows up on TV and videodisc, he's remains to millions The National Hero and Undisputed Champeen of the Woild. And even if he's no hero to you, you just can't shut about him, can you?
God knows we can't.
Romance of the Year
Paradorn "Ball" Srichaphan certainly isn't the Shrek that some people make him out to be. It's just that everyone looks like a troll when they're standing next to Natalie Glebova.
But the man who saved Thai tennis (or did he invent it?) is a brave lad, and if he thinks he that being Prince Charming is going to be as easy as knocking Andre Agassi out of Wimbledon, well, go for it, Ball!
His marriage to the former Miss Universe was the love story of the year, and who didn't get a bit moist the first time they heard them call each other Phi Ball and Nong Fah?
The pre-engagement rumours were bouncing around like an unclaimed Rafael Nadal lob with heavy topspin, especially when there was talk that the wedding was off. But the nuptials took place as promised and - despite some media grousing about the "reception" - Paradorn and Natalie are now safely ensconced as a couple in Celebrity Land.
Best Auto Promotion
Kanchai "Num" Kamnerdploy and the parking-lot scrappers she calls her friends did more to boost sales of Mini Coopers than several million baht worth of newspaper advertising.
The reason why the modest Mini was parked in a shopping-mall lot held everyone's attention for a couple of weeks while we tried to measure the sides of Kanchai's love triangle, co-starring May Fuengarom and Kem Tisib.
Was it a conspiracy cooked up by the Mini makers? We're still waiting for the ad campaign with the slogan, "The car that's worth fighting for".
The ThaiTube Award
Like a fat-wallet business tycoon riding a Russian rocket into space-tourism history, Sitthichai Pokaiyaudom went from being The Unknown Cabinet Member to The World's Most Famous Thai.
And all the Information-Technology-and-Crazy-Ideas Minister had to do was ban YouTube for hosting offensive videos. A global debate ensued on freedom of expression versus evil broadcasting.
The Americans who run YouTube were at first aghast, then defensive, then cooperative, and then they realised that Sitthichai had done them an incredible favour with the resulting publicity spike.
Was it a conspiracy cooked up by the online video generator and a Thai government official pretending he didn't think the website was "worthwhile"? YouTube certainly caved in fast when it realised that millions of Thais were meanwhile meeting over at Metacafe.
The Tomato-Tomahto Innovation Award
Some people who invent new words, like Shakespeare, become eternally revered. Some don't. For all her skills as a wordsmith, TV host Meesuk "Kai" Chaengmeesuk has been rewarded only with a new nickname: "Kai Sathorn Jeen".
In September she reminded her viewers that the Chinese Wan Sathorn Jeen Festival was coming up. She meant Wan Saad Jeen, but perhaps she'd just been shopping on Sathorn Road and got confused.
Or was she serious? This happens a lot, and some viewers are thinking of setting up a website to keep track of all the Meesuk-isms.
She once said on-air that women need to buy a "pregnancy kid" to test whether they're expecting. When someone suggested "kit" instead, she insisted that it was "kid" - same as a child or a baby goat.
The Pretty-Serious-for-a-Playboy Trophy
Krekphol "Fluke" Massayavanich makes Kanchai of the Great Mini Cooper Affair look like a kindergarten Casanova.
Fluke dated vast swathes of celebrities simultaneously before (and, yes, after) he married his main squeeze Chayada-known-as-Bo, but somehow he never seemed to run into any trouble. He's so slippery he even managed to keep it a secret that he's been separated from Bo for two years. It only just came out in the press.
However - and this is where credulity does a little dance for us - he insisted that he hasn't once cheated on Bo during those two years. But Fluke, what about all these pictures we keep seeing of you wrapped around some very flexible ladies?
What really clinches the trophy for Fluke is that Bo still speaks highly of him. And if she remains convinced that he's a great guy, we're just going to have to try and stifle the snorts, right?
Best Penmanship of the Year
Quick quiz: Who won the SeaWrite Award this year? Nah, we don't remember either, but we do recall the name Sunisa Lertpakawat. She's the Army lieutenant who wrote "Thaksin, Where Are You?"
Sunisa's rise to fame is a classic. Young girl dreams of writing a book. Young military officer goes AWOL to meet the subject of her book in London. Young writer's debut book is a best seller. Young officer is dragged in front of her superiors to explain where the hell she's been.
Runner-up: R&B queen Sarunrat "Lydia" Visutthithada, who wrote an autobiography coincidentally titled, "Here I Am!"
The Mel Gibson Patriot Award
So many people stepped forward this year to declare themselves patriots that we're pretty sure we could have whipped up an army big enough to scare the dickens out of China.
Everybody says he's a patriot, especially in an election year. We've seen politicians get so patriotic that they commit mass handholding, and the oldest among them actually kiss each other in public.
That's not patriotism, that's ... well, it's unpleasant whatever it is.
No, the real patriots, we figure, are you guys.
You actually went out and voted. You got in your car and spent money on fuel and waded through the traffic and then you actually touched one of those ballots, all stained with dirty politics.
And you did this knowing that, regardless of who wins the election, the country is still going to be in a mess!
You deserve the patriotism award, certainly not any politician.