I love going to the movies. It’s an experience. Love it! The popcorn, the seating, previews of upcoming movies, the dark atmosphere. And it’s always interesting to go in other countries. I always found the theatre in Japan to be a bit uncomfortable as nobody laughs out loud at jokes but it was always very quiet and respectful.
This week, feeling a little bruised still from my collision with a samlore, I went to the cinema in Phuket’s large western mall, Central Festival. I have been to the movies in Thailand before and really enjoy the experience. It’s cool on hot days, the popcorn is delicious and it’s a really reasonable price. The seats are amazing. You chose a seat, and can have beer or wine in the theatre, totally different from Canada.
One thing you should know, though, before going, is just prior to the movie starting after ads and preview trailers, the Royal Anthem is played. “Phleng Sanrasoen Phra Barami” (in Thai: เพลงสรรเสริญพระบารมี). This isn’t the national anthem, (which is played every morning and evening everywhere in Thailand) but a song to honour the King and the royal family. All people are expected to rise and be respectful during the duration of the anthem. Photos of the royal family and King doing great work and the Thai people showing their loyalty and devotion to the King are shown as the anthem plays. It is actually illegal not to stand during the anthem and I have heard of non-Thai people being told to stand up by Thais, having things thrown at them and also of being arrested.
I really enjoy this Thai tradition of standing to show respect for the King. It gives me a sense of belonging as an obvious foreigner in this beautiful country with its smiling people and it gives great insight into the Thai culture and their love of the king.