Thailand’s Mr. Bean plays jails for laughs

Mongkol Preechajan interacts with prison inmates as the popular British TV comedy character Mr. Bean in the central Thai province of Nakhon Nayok. (AFP)
Updated 15 February 2018
0

Thailand’s Mr. Bean plays jails for laughs

NAKHON NAYOK, Thailand: With the signature red tie, brown blazer, briefcase and teddy bear, a Thai computer technician has become a national sensation through his uncanny Mr. Bean impersonations that are tickling a country that loves slapstick comedy.
Mongkol PreecHajjan, a 43-year-old father from Phuket with more than a passing resemblance to the British character played by Rowan Atkinson, shot to fame after trying out the miming routine on the popular “Thailand’s Got Talent” TV show in 2016.
The video went viral — one YouTube clip has been watched over five million times — turning Mongkol into an overnight celebrity in a country where Mr. Bean is among the most popular foreign comic turns, in part because his speechless routines cut through language barriers.
Now Mongkol tours Thailand performing sketches and posing for selfies as the famously buffoonish character.
Mongkol said his fascination with Mr. Bean started as a teenager, when he became a fan of the British show and the character’s “cheeky and cute personality.”
He has since spent hours twisting his face and arching his eyebrows in front of a mirror to hone Mr. Bean’s trademark expressions.
“It’s quite hard because Mr. Bean doesn’t speak and only communicates through his facial expressions and his body movements — that was really hard to practice,” Mongkol said.
In addition to Bangkok comedy gigs and TV spots, the newfound celebrity is also performing at jails around the country in a bid to brighten up prison life.
A recent performance brought him to Nakhon Nayok province, where hundreds of inmates roared with laughter as he jittered around the stage with his iconic teddy bear.
“There were a lot of laughs,” one inmate said after the show. “It has lightened up the mood here a lot.”


Amputee Sumatran tiger gives birth to cubs

Updated 22 January 2019
0

Amputee Sumatran tiger gives birth to cubs

  • The gender of the two cubs is yet to be determined
  • There are less than 400 Sumartan tigers remaining in the wild as they are losing their habitats to deforestation

PADANG-LAWAS, Indonesia: A Sumatran tiger with an amputated paw has given birth to a pair of cubs in Indonesia, amid fears for the future of the critically endangered species.
Gadis — whose name means girl in Indonesian — delivered her babies at the Padang Lawas conservation area in North Sumatra about a month ago, conservationists say.
The tiger mom has been undergoing rehabilitation since her paw and part of her leg were amputated two years ago after getting caught in a trap for catching wild boars.
“Gadis... has now recovered and is healthy, giving birth to the two cubs,” said reserve head Parta Basmeli Siregar.
The sex of the two cubs has not yet been established, he added.
Sumatran tiger births are rare and the species is considered critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
There are fewer than 400 left in the wild and environmental activists say they are increasingly coming into conflict with people as their natural habitat is rapidly deforested.