Quite sane, thank you
Athit ‘Riw’ Tangsawadrat.
Former star Athit "Riw" Tangsawadrat has opened up about his colourful history as a psychiatric patient, saying his family committed him four years ago and he has been struggling to prove he is sane ever since.
Riw, 36, a former singer and actor turned businessman, says his family admitted him to care after he started likening money to paper.
"I said what is money if not paper, as it comes from trees. Why are we obsessed with trees, or money for that matter?" he said. The expansive former actor and singer, who re-emerged in the public spotlight last week, said he is keen to dispel rumours about his mental state.
Far from being flippant about money, Riw says he is actually good at making it. His five companies provide legal and financial advice to industrial estates. He also has a stake in the Maxxis tyre manufacturer, and is father to three children.
Despite his successes, Riw said his family had concerns about his sanity. "I was just like a kid with problems, and never took anyone's advice. But I knew they were hatching plans all over town to put me into care."
His relatives grew even more anxious when he proposed going into business with a notorious herbal remedy peddler, Sorawan Sirisuntarin, better known as Auntie Cheng.
Consumer police charged her with false advertising two years ago, after she claimed her bio-fermented tonic possessed special medicinal properties.
Health authorities thought otherwise, claiming her products were contaminated with fungus and bacteria, and her eyedrops could cause blindness.
"Pa Cheng no longer makes the stuff, but others do it for her, and are now wealthy. When I went to see her to ask how it was done, I was labelled as mad," Riw said.
As his family started talking openly about committing him, Riw prepared an elaborate escape plan to secure his freedom.
He bought a turbo-charged motorcycle to evade his pursuers in the event the men in white coats came after him. As a backup, he bought a van that could serve as a portable home for those days on the road when he had to fend for himself.
"I spent millions of baht in just one week," he said, referring to his escape plan.
On the first night away from home, Riw asked Wang Thonglang police if they could put him up for the night. "I asked if I could stay in the cells, as I didn't feel safe. The police let me play computer games in their recreation room until the morning, when they said I would have to go home."
His escape plan now in motion, Riw headed for a secret bolt hole in a remote place.
"I ditched my van, with the keys still in it, as I knew they'd be chasing me. By the time they reached it, I was long gone."
After days away, Riw started to worry about his family, and called a trusted friend for advice.
"I needed to know what progress they were making in finding me. But when we arranged to meet, my friend betrayed me.
"He turned up in a Mercedes with four other guys. They convinced me I was running a fever and should see a doctor for a check-up," he said.
"They took me to a psychiatric hospital, where the doctors gave me sedatives which put me out for two days. When I woke up my arms and legs were strapped to the bed, and I was speaking deliriously."
He spent a month at a psychiatric institute, which he will not name, and took a series of courses over the next four years to look after his head. The doctors, he says, claim he has a problem with logic.
"I still see a doctor but I don't take the pills he prescribes, because I'm not mad. But the more I claim I'm sane, the more people around me are convinced that really I must be troubled in the head," he said.
Inside the psychiatric institute, Riw said he was a star among the patients, but a bugbear for doctors and family alike, who had to pay his bills.
"I felt sorry for the patients, so charged up huge amounts _ more than 1 million baht _ ordering the best food imaginable. I treated everyone to great meals, while causing mischief to the staff, as I resented the fact that my family put me there," he said.
Back on the outside, Riw insists he is holding it together, despite reports he once took off his clothes in a city mobile phone shop, in protest at their steep service charges.
"Are you mad? I'm not going to take my clothes off. They have CCTV cameras these days, but no pictures have leaked out of me standing there naked," he said.
"I admit arguing with them, but the last time I stripped off in public was in a banana plantation in Rangsit Khlong 2, when I was a kid."
Marked for life
Actress Pattarida "Tangmo" Patcharaweerapong has tattooed the name of her boyfriend, singer Pakin "Tono" Kumvilaisak, on her hip, but denies she's taken her love for the young man too far.
Pattarida ‘Tangmo’ Patcharaweerapong.
Tono says he has returned the favour and is now wearing Tangmo's name on his body, after getting a tattoo from the same artist.
The couple have defended their decision to get tattoos in each other's names, after a gossip magazine last week called Tangmo's decision "khort wer!" (over the top).
Tangmo, who showed off her tattoo on Instagram, opted for a tattoo of a large black bird, with Tono's name beneath.
Upset about the criticism, the actress said teenagers would be shocked if they read the magazine's headline.
"Magazines which go on the shelves without an age restriction should think twice before using such strong language in Thai, as it could influence teens in the wrong way," she pronounced.
Asked if she was not being a little sensitive, Tangmo insisted it was legitimate to show concern for the nation's youth. However, she also admitted the over-the-top jibe hurt.
"The media hardly ever resorts to such strong language with anyone else, just me. Why do they single me out? My parents are still alive and have to read that stuff. Show some respect."
Tangmo and Tono have suffered a fan backlash since Tono admitted in June he was seeing the sharp-tongued actress.
Tensions flared again after Tangmo gave an interview in which she said their love was so deep she would be happy to die for Tono.
After jealous members of Tono's young fanclub savaged her remarks, Tangmo urged them to see a shrink.
"These days, its not a shameful thing to take your children along to a psychiatrist. Open your hearts, and take the next step. My family and I wish you good look in your fight," she said in a message to their parents.
While declining to say which part of his body he had inscribed with his Tangmo tattoo, Tono said opting for body art was a personal decision that caused no one any harm.
"Whether or not she had her body tattooed with my name, I would love her just the same," he said.
Romance all fiction
Actress Rinlanee "Joy" Sripen is brushing off reports that she and TV3 presenter Sorayuth Suthassanachinda have a thing going.
Rinlanee ‘Joy’ Sripen.
"I admire the skills of that writer _ he can make it seem as if we are really seeing each other, when there's actually no truth to the rumour at all," she said when asked about a gossip report linking the pair.
Joy and Sorayuth team up on his morning news show once a week to discuss entertainment news.
"I don't even have Khun Sorayuth's number. We chat on his show, and that's it. I haven't spoken to him to clear the air and I'm sure his wife understands," she said.
A series of pictures of Sorayuth with Joy have surfaced, including one intimate shot of the pair in which he holds her by the shoulder and looks fondly into her eyes.
Joy stopped seeing actor Worarit "Not" Fuengarom recently, but said nothing should be read into that, as the pair are still good friends.
Outspoken TV presenter Leena Jung has also claimed Joy and Sorayuth are seeing each other, but Joy said she has no plan to seek redress. "I regard it as a joke. I know there's nothing to it, so why bother making a fuss?"