BANGKOK (THE NATION/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The popularity of Thai period TV series Love Destiny has jokingly been said to empty the normally congested roads on the days it broadcast. Now it gets to be aired in prison at the plea of inmates.
Krit Krasaethip, chief of the Bangkok Remand Prison, said the prisoners normally go to the dormitory at 3pm, where they will be shown TV programmes for their recreation and to encourage behaviour change following a session of religious activities.
Inmates are allowed to watch TV programmes until 9pm, so they were unable to catch the talk-of-the-town historical series that broadcasts every Wednesday and Thursday for an hour starting from 8.20pm.
The prison authorities last weekend yielded to the calls from inmates who wished to watch the series by showing them the recorded versions. The inmates were happy to be able to watch the show, so the administrators then allowed them to watch the series on Wednesdays.
Krit said that he considered the content of the series as causing no harm and has value in educating prisoners about the country's history.
"Some prisoners have no education. But they could learn about the history of the country, so they are allowed to watch the broadcast," he said.
In the future, if there is similar programming, the prisoners will be allowed to view it as it is better than watching broadcasts of football matches which could result in gambling among the prisoners.
The series has been a big hit, leading many Thais, particularly women, to dress up in ancient costumes and visit various historical locales, especially the Ayutthaya temples, which have served as shooting locations for the TV drama.
The series that will end next month is about a vicious woman with a bad habit living in historical Ayutthaya, and her kindhearted woman reincarnation in the current time.
When the current time soul lives in the body of the ancient woman she meets her destined love. The cute and funny character as portrayed by the leading actress, and the way she was perceived by old-time Ayutthaya people as she introduced them to modern-day technology and lifestyles, has helped make the series a mega hit.
Inpired by the success of the show, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha has encouraged Thai citizens to wear period outfits in public places.
"I want to see this phenomenon taking place throughout the country on different occasions, at tourist attractions. We should preserve this Thai tradition (wearing period costume) as a national treasure for the next generation," Gen Prayut said.