Chiangrai Times – Duangjai ”Pond” Jansanoi, the centre of a morality row after she painted a canvas with her bare breasts, is pleading for understanding after she was reprimanded for taking off her clothes.
Pond, interviewed on television last week for the first time since her appearance on the Thailand’s Got Talent show last month, said her life changed overnight when the public rounded on her for offending Thai morals.
As the cameras rolled for Channel 3’s talent quest, Pond painted a figure of a person on canvas, took off her top, and after dousing her front in paint, used her breasts to smear it.
Her brief appearance upset the only woman on the three-member judging panel, TV host Pornchita ”Benz” na Songkhla, who turned her back on Pond, and declared it was ”not art”.
She also chased her two male co-presenters backstage to demand to know why they supported it.
The act quickly became the talk of the town, with the culture minister declaring it offended morality, and the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission levying a 500,000 baht fine on Channel 3 for airing the daring segment.
Pond said a talent scout invited her to put her name forward as a contestant. She was not trying to seek fame by taking off her clothes as her critics had claimed.
”I did it for my son, who is aged six months, and my husband, who is out of work. We need the money,” she said.
”I didn’t know the name of the show, or when I would appear. The first I knew was when my segment aired on television.
”My friends and family called asking why I did it. It shocked my mother, who said she was too embarrassed to face people.”
As the furore intensified, Pond said she went into hiding rather than face people. ”I took shelter with friends, changed my phone number, and stopped going to work. I took pills for stress, and was admitted to hospital.
”I would like to apologise if I gave the public the impression that Thais routinely take off their clothes. I didn’t do it by choice,” Pond said, offering a wai to the cameras.
The Miracle of Life Foundation, under the patronage of HRH Princess Ubolratana, has now taken Pond and her family under its wing.
Pond, who returned to her family home in Phrae for the interview, says she left school early to take care of her parents.
Her father, a former boxer, is bedridden after a motorcycle accident 10 years ago, and needs hospital care every month.
Pond says her segment in Thailand’s Got Thailand was set up to boost the show’s ratings. Boy, the agent who spotted her, picked her up at home at 4am on the day in April when her segment was recorded.
He had told her that all equipment including the paint and canvas would be supplied.
Boy drove her to the studios, where she had to wait for more than 12 hours before she could take to the stage.
”The place was full of people filling out application forms. Boy, who filled out mine for me, had offered 10,000 baht if I would agree to paint on a canvas while wearing a bra,” she said.
That story changed as the day wore on.
”Shortly before my act, Boy spoke to the Thailand’s Got Talent team, and came back saying I should take off my bra as well.
”I told him that was not what we agreed. But Boy said that my taking off my bra would ensure I passed into the next round, and make the show look saucier.”
Boy also promised her that if she passed into the next round, she would be paid 10 million baht.
”When I mounted the stage, I performed my act as quickly as I could. I didn’t know what I was painting, as I kept my eyes closed. I grabbed a top to cover my breasts. I could barely face the panel,” she said.
Pond says she was shocked when the male judges passed her into the next round, as she admits no artistry was involved.
Panya Nirunkul, the head of Workpoint, which produces Thailand’s Got Thailand for Channel 3, has apologised for the breast-painting segment, which he said went too far.
He said the show is open to everyone, but if they put on an act which is judged in bad taste, they close the door on their own chances.
”Some acts are sourced from elsewhere, such as agents. The producers don’t know all the details of every act,” he said.
He said agent Boy was probably shocked about what happened, and wondering if he did anything wrong. ”But he shouldn’t feel that way, as he has introduced many acts to us before.”
Asked if an agent had exploited the show for his own benefit, Mr Panya said it was hard to say.
He had spoken to the Thailand’s Got Thailand team, and was sure it wouldn’t happen again.