‘Insulting’ Thai palace soap opera angers Myanmar

Screenshot of Thai TV Channel 7's website for the soap opera A Lady's FlamesImage copyright
Channel 7

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A Lady’s Flames, also known as Plerng Phra Nang in Thai, airs on Channel 7 in Thailand

A Thai soap opera that appears to depict Burmese palace intrigue has angered some in Myanmar including a descendant of Myanmar’s last king.

Soe Win, the great-grandson of King Thibaw, has called for the show to be cancelled as it is “insulting”.

But producers of the historical drama, called A Lady’s Flames, have insisted it is purely fictional.

Thailand strictly regulates depictions and reporting on its own monarchy under its lese majeste laws.

“We have asked Thais this, would they accept it if one of our companies here did the same thing about their country,” Soe Win told news agency AFP.

Striking similarities

A Lady’s Flames, also known as Plerng Phra Nang in Thai, depicts the bloody court politics of a 19th Century South East Asian kingdom that appears to closely resemble Myanmar, also known as Burma.

The lady in question is Ananthip, a character who schemes to seize control of the kingdom.

Some have observed she closely resembles Hsinbyumashin, a real-life Burmese palace consort who orchestrated the massacre of scores of royals so that Thibaw could ascend the throne.

Thibaw abdicated and the Burmese monarchy was abolished in 1885, when British forces defeated and invaded Burma.

Some Burmese online have also observed the show’s costumes and setting are strikingly similar to that of the Burmese court. One Facebook user called Cho Lay posted a series of pictures of characters from the show, complaining that it was “defamation of Myanmar Royals”.

In statements to the media Soe Win said the drama was “distasteful” and that scenes showing royal family members slapping each other was “quite insulting, as if we are wild”.

He called on Thailand to cancel the drama “to develop our… relations as good neighbours.”

Image copyright
Facebook / Soe Win

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Soe Win said on his Facebook page that the show had “angered everybody in Myanmar”

A Lady’s Flames is a remake of a 1996 drama that was based on historical books about Myanmar, according to Thai news portal Khaosod.

But a producer of the show, which airs on Thailand’s Channel 7, told Khaosod that it was “unrelated to Burma and is completely fictional, with the costumes and setting not meant to evoke any country or time period in particular”.

Thailand and Myanmar have had centuries of animosity, having fought several wars against each other.

Burmese characters often appear in Thai historical dramas, and are usually depicted as cunning or as villains.

‘Insulting’ Thai palace soap opera angers Myanmar}