THE ABC IN THAILAND
April Is The End Of Summer is the culmination of more than two months’ shooting and 3,000 miles of travel through Thailand by an ABC television team.
The task was to show the rest of the world the only nation of South East Asia which has never been colonised, and the newest target – so proclaimed by Peking – for Communist subversion.
It’s a country as big as Spain, shaped like the trunk of an elephant.
Its borders are 500 miles and more from the capital, Bangkok.
Getting to remote areas in summer, and particularly in April, which is the hottest month of the year, entails car and truck journeys over dusty potholed roads and tracks scoured out of the bush by timber jinkers and heavy trucks – sometimes even buffalo carts. Thailand has four geographical areas — the hills in the northern corner close to Burma, the northeast plateau along the Mekong Paver, the great central plain which is one of Asia’s biggest rice bowls, and the jungled southern peninsula.
The team concentrated on three personalities; Air Chief Marshal Dawee Chullasapya, one of the leaders of the predominantly military government which rules Thailand; Khun Bu, headman of a village complex in the northeast, where Communist insurgency is strongest; and Latchee, 49-year-old chieftain of an Akha tribe in the hills of the north. The cameras followed Marshal Dawee for days. He was filmed in his office, at the Defence Ministry, at the Thai Open Golf Championship, at a youth rally and at several official gatherings.
Khun By was filmed at his village some 500 miles from Bangkok, where the crew stayed for two weeks. Here, there was none of the formality of Bangkok. The ABC men lived in a schoolhouse, guarded hy troops, shot film of such diverse happenings as the hearing of a divorce case and a temple procession.
Latchee’s home is among the mountains of Northern Thailand, where much of the opium grown in South East Asia Begins its journey to the addicts of Europe or the United States.