Our childhood idea of a hero is often a storybook image: a good-looking protagonist with magical superpowers and, more often than not, a head-turning outfit. But later on we come to realise that true heroism often has nothing to do with stunts or brave acts of derring-do. We learn that a hero is someone who is dedicated to making a positive difference—someone who is simply an inspiration to others.
As a part of Thailand Tatler’s 25th Silver Jubilee celebrations, we’ve decided to embark on a philanthropic journey centred on that very theme. Titled Thailand Tatler Heroes, our very first four-part TV series follows some of our favourite personalities as they embark on designated charity missions. We go behind the scenes as our celebrities take a big step outside their comfort zones, engage in new adventures and learn how they, too, can become heroes.
Mission 3: Field of Dreams
Our partner for this mission is AP Thailand, a leading property developer and an expert in utilising space. The idea was to create a communal space for underprivileged children to come and spend time together outdoors. “Our hope as a developer has always been to build an ideal city. So our job is not to just build buildings; half of it is to create an ideal city, environment and society,” says Sappasit Foongfaungchaveng, head of corporate marketing. After months of extensive research and planning, the team looked into a densely clustered and poor area of Klong Toey. “We found out that despite having 70 rai of land with numerous residents, there are very few public spaces where kids can come together and play sports,” he explains.
The challenge, however, is that the untended pieces of land are not in a suitable size or shape for standard sports facilities. “But we have a principle known as AP Space, meaning that we do everything to utilise every single inch to its maximum. So with this concept, we created the AP Unusual Football Fields, the misshapen football spaces,” he adds. A six-axis one spans 321 square metres, while another one located deeper in the community is L-shaped and 226 square metres. “We learnt that after we gave the facilities over to the Klong Toey community, it became a magnet that has been bringing those that live in the same building, but never knew each other, together,” says Sappasit.
For the third episode, we come back to see how the budding athletes are enjoying their football fields as well as to organise a surprise match with a very special guest. As our next hero arrives, Sappasit hands him the Thailand Tatler Hero briefcase to pass on to him the day’s mission. Our celebrity then sneaks into a nearby apartment and gets a massive makeover for a game of disguise. Wearing grey hair, a moustache and an incredibly battered outfit (quite a theatrical look, we must say), he makes his way to the side of the football field for maintenance work. The strange “uncle” later joins them in the field and reveals his true identity to the wide-eyed faces—it is television heartthrob and Central Group heir, Pachara Chirathivat.
Pachara and the boys then engage in a fun match, while the show’s host, Danny Pechapat Serireongrith, leads the other team. “The fun thing is that the misshapen field makes the kids think out of the box, letting loose their imaginations. The game’s rules that normally frame their being is now liberated, and I think that is what is magical about this project,” observes Sappasit. Pachara, who has recently become an official Friend of the UN Refugee Agency, believes that sports can help make a difference to a community like this. “I think that it’s activities like this that allow young people a sense of belonging, encouraging them to go outside their room and reducing their urge to take part in negative pursuits. It certainly cannot fix every problem, but I think something as simple as a football field can be an important stepping stone.”
The young gent refuses to think that he’s here to make a difference, seeing it merely as an opportunity to do something he doesn’t normally get to do. “Once this episode airs, I hope that it would bring more attention to the community so that more people would step in and do more,” Pachara tells us.
So, the question remains, what does it mean to be a hero? Sappasit sums it beautifully: “For AP Thailand, a hero is someone who has the courage to step outside their comfort zone, to confront all of the challenges and turn dreams into reality.”
We’d like to leave our fourth episode a mystery. Tune into Thailand Tatler Heroes and follow our celebrities as they embark on charity missions. The show is scheduled to air on Channel 9 MCOT HD and Modernine TV between 10:40-11:30 pm every Saturday starting December 3.
Previous mission (Part Two): Music Academy with Da Endorphine