THAI  VOICES  on  “The  Impossible”  

Exclusive  comments  from  Thai  community  development  professionals   on  memory,  loss,  traditional  knowledge,  and  disaster  preparedness.       January  2013     Pojanee   I  cried  when  the  movie  began  until  it  ended.  The  movie  is  great.  I  was  deeply  sad  with   the  unfortunate  situation  the  family  faced  and  I  believe  that  the  film  fulfills  the   producer’s  purpose  very  well.  I  could  feel  the  violence  and  understand  how  many   people  died  in  the  tsunami.    Even  though  Thailand  is  largely  healed  from  the  disaster,  I   think  we  still  need  to  focus  on  disaster  management.           Boonyawee   It's  a  good  movie  to  show  how  the  tourists   felt  and  what  happened  to  them  at  the  time   of  the  tsunami.  It's  very  sad  for  so  many   people  to  lose  their  friends,  family,  etc.       In  my  opinion,  few  Thais  are  shown  in  the   film,  while  in  reality,  there  were  many  Thai   workers  and  volunteers,  including  doctors,   students,  nurses,  officials  who  tried  to  help   people  in  this  disaster.  Not  only  foreigners   were  lost;  many  Thais  died  and  Thai  survivors  lost  family  and  also  their  homes.             Santi   I  admire  the  director  and  filmmakers  in  that  they  choose  not  to  tell  a  story  of  a  hero  in  a   disaster  like  a  conventional  action/disaster  movie,  but  instead  told  a  story  of  human   beings  who  are  so  scared,  not  knowing  how  to  cope  with  such  a  large  force  of  nature,   but  having  such  strong  human  faith  that  their  families  will  be  alive.     I  had  the  opportunity  to  witness  the  scene  after  the  wave,  and  the  film’s  technique,   production,  and  setting  are  so  real  it  shows  that  the  crew  really  did  a  lot  of  homework.  I   like  in  particular  the  scene  in  the  hospital   where  it  was  chaos  but  very  respectful  of   the  response.     Myself,  I  have  no  problem  that  the  film   chooses  to  portray  only  one  family  with   Thai  people  as  a  background.  Viewed   though  the  filmmaker’s  eyes,  there  are   only  so  many  aspects  of  the  event  and  so   many  actors,  Thai  or  foreign,  that  can  be  

told  in  one  story  without  making  the  film  lose  its  focus.  The  tagline  of  the  film  focuses   on  the  moment  when  it  was  impossible  to  know  whether  your  loved  ones  are  alive  or   dead.    Such  experience  can  happen  to  any  nationalities.       One  aspect  that  I’d  like  the  filmmaker  to  explore  is  to  go  beyond  the  tsunami  event  as  it   happened  on  Dec  26  (the  waves,  the  victim,  the  chaos),  to  the  philosophical  question   about  nature,  disaster,  and  its  relationship  to  the  human  beings  on  the  earth.  For  the   tsunami,  people  said  there  is  no  one  to  blame  because  the  event  was  unpredictable  and   the  scope  was  too  large  for  humans  to  cope  with.  However,  there  are  so  many  natural   disasters  every  year,  and  their  severity  is  increasing.  It  would  be  good  to  have  a  film  that   can  make  people  leave  the  theatre  questioning  whether  human  behavior  does  to  some   extent  contribute  to  the  acceleration  of  such  disasters.       Suntaree     I  would  like  to  see  more  scenes  of  Thai  people  and  the  local  culture,  as  it  seems  like  this   tragedy  didn’t  even  take  place  in  Thailand.    And,  I  would  like  to  add  a  broader  range  of   feelings  of  people  affected  by  the  tsunami.       Tsunamis  have  never  happened  in  Thailand  before.  People  just  did  not  know  what  the   warning  signs  were  and  what  to  do  next.  This  was  in  contrast  to  the  tribal  group  called   the  Morgan,  who  live  in  the  southern  Surin  islands  in  Phang  Nga  Province.  With  their   traditional  knowledge  handed  down  from  their  sea-­‐roaming  forefathers,  the  Morgan   villagers  were  able  to  detect  the  first  signs  of  receding  water  and  take  refuge  in  the  hills   without  any  loss  of  life.  It  has  been  proven  that  even  10  minutes  advance  warning  saves   lives,  and  since  2004  Thailand  has  called  for  more  transfer  of  technology  and  capacity-­‐ building  on  disaster  monitoring  and  assessment.       Natthaphol   The  film  gave  me  mixed  feelings  of  love,   loss,  help,  family  and  fear  from  natural   disaster.  Even  though  there  were  not   many  Thai  in  the  film,  the  film  presented   them  well  in  terms  of  their  helping   without  asking  for  something  in  return.   And,  I  think  Thailand  recovered  quickly   because  we  helped  each  other  and  right   now  we  need  more  tourists  to  visit   Thailand.   Also  see:   “Beyond  the  Impossible:     A  Viewer’s  Guide  to  the  2004  Tsunami  and  Lessons  for  Today.”