Your talents reached halfway across the globe to the youths of Thailand.
When this music video was first released, my brother and I watched via satellite from our hometown in Thailand. We giggled at the Thai dance sequence; it was King and I-esque but not bad, really.
Carabao, a Thai band known for writing politically charged lyrics wrote “Thaplang” in the late 1980s, during Thailand’s dispute with the U.S. over a stolen ancient lintel. The late 1980s was, of course, also the height of Michael Jackson’s career, and he was hugely popular in Thailand. The chorus of Thaplang translates as follows:
“Take back Michael Jackson. Give us back our Phra Narai.”
A little background on how this song came about:
Prasat Hin Phanom Rung, an ancient stone temple built during the Khmer Empire, is located in modern day Thailand in the northeastern province of Burirum. The Pra Narai lintel was stolen from the temple and reappeared at a museum in Chicago. In the late 1980s, Thailand launched a huge campaign to have the relic returned, and Carabao did their part by writing this song. The campaign proved successful and Pra Narai is now back in its rightful home at Phanom Rung.
King of Pop, may you rest in peace. Thank you for working to make this world a better place.