The day we were on National live television in Thailand
The story of what happened when we were asked to do a live TV interview in Bangkok…
On television in Thailand - Watching Our Episode Playing on National Thai TV5
After 11 hours on the road, we chugged into the car park of the Kozy Inn Hotel which we had booked for our stay in Bangkok. Grimy and tired, I peeled myself from the vehicle in search of the reception staff.
The last of the days light long ago faded as the lady handed me over keys to our room, smiling as she showed me the door entry system. I tried in vain to explain that we had a dog with us, the Thai speaking staff gathering around to try to decipher my rubbish Thai tones. Maai, Maai, I kept repeating to a sea of blank faces.
My mind not working as it should after being numbed by the long journey from Chiang Mai. The closest I got was the lady thinking I wanted to go for a jog, rather than having a dog!
Back at the car, J unloading our worldly goods onto the pavement, the staff flew into a fit of giggles as they spotted Eden laying on her bed and they then realized what it was I was trying to say.
A quick Thai lesson ensued as I pointed at Eden, Mah they told me in a rising tone, not what I had been saying at all, making a mental note to self. Must. Learn. More. Thai. Still I won’t be forgetting that one in a hurry!
We took the lift up to our 4th floor room, dumping mounds of stuff on the sparkling clean floor we headed straight out to get some food before allowing ourselves to succumb to the ever enveloping slumber creeping up on us.
Our room in the Kozy Inn
Being a 25 minute drive from the main sights and sounds of central Bangkok, our hotel had a limited selection of dinner options, although a Tesco Lotus and an ever reliable 7-11 were within a short walk. Feeling malnourished after hours of road food, I grabbed eagerly at the crispy red apples lining the shelves of the mini supermarket. A few minutes later, we were walking back to the hotel with our purchases.
The rest of the evening swept by us and before I knew it my eyes were opening to the bright blue sky and the top of a palm tree swaying gently as I enjoyed a moment of pure comfort, head in soft pillow, cool quiet room, sunny skies and tropical trees, a few pleasant seconds passed before I looked at the clock, 7:30am. This time tomorrow we will be at the TV station. A scared feeling of nerves mixed with a touch of anxiety evaporated my previous comforting calm of the early morning bliss. A full 24 hours to worry lay ahead of me.
View from our balcony
The timid part of me was in sheer disbelief. I am going on television, ME. What on earth has happened! This is the last thing I thought I would ever do.
Those feelings that you get before an important job interview, racing mind, slight nausea, a conscious need to impress and not look like a total wally, as I’m so capable of doing! “I don’t know what they are going to ask, what if I say something stupid, I haven’t prepared any answers” was pretty much all I kept saying to Jmayel.
I should mention at this point. The TV interview. The Thai TV5 National morning news LIVE TV interview…. It all came about when one of our cinematic 8 miles from home episodes, episode 7 ‘Chiang Mai Local Gems’ went viral in Thailand. It all started by someone randomly sharing our video on a popular Thai social media site Pantip.com, where in turn, others then started sharing it between themselves and before we knew it, our video, that had been online for 7 months already, with a total of 4,300 views, suddenly got a massive boost of over 150,000 views in a single week.
The Episode that went Thai Viral
This mammoth wave of viewings created a sudden exciting buzz about us, we were spotted in the supermarket more than normal, a bombardment of emails ensued; emails of thanks, encouragement and support were sent to us. Our facebook likes and youtube subscribers went manic. It was fantastic. Finally a solid recognition of something we were doing, was getting recognized in a positive way, the Thai people loved what we were doing it seemed and the best part is that they wanted us to continue.
A TV producer from Thai TV5, Khun Ding, got wind of this bubble of hype over our video and contacted us, asking if we would go to Bangkok for a live TV interview about our life in Thailand and to discuss what our videos are all about. Obviously, sitting at our dining table in Chiang Mai with a cup of tea beside us, we said yes. What a great opportunity and experience it would be.
A very different feeling from actually being in Bangkok, less than a day away from the actual event!
Yet here we were. An afternoon of shopping and lunch in a mall not too far from the hotel relaxed me somewhat. There’s something about buying dresses that can pause even the biggest of tummy butterflies! Wanting to look smart on TV, Jmayel got into the shopping sprit and purchased an actual collared shirt to replace one of the many t-shirts he now owns.
That night as we sat on our hotel bed, a magnum ice cream from 7-11 in each of our hands, we let our minds wander and think of the possibilities that lay ahead.
With the alarms set to 4:30am, in just a few short hours it would be show time!
We stood on the pavement outside the hotel at 06:30am waiting to flag down an early morning taxi. With Eden in tow, her ears and teeth nicely brushed, we all bundled into the blue car. ‘To the TV5 Studios Khap Khun Khrap’ J told the driver and we were on our way.
As we watched the golden sun shining through the buildings of Bangkok, the car drawing nearer to our destination, all my previous nerves vanished. I was beginning to get excited. I sent a smile over to J, ‘we’re really doing this!’
Ding, the TV Producer was outside waiting for us as our taxi pulled into the TV studio grounds. With a big warm welcome she ushered us inside, excited to show us, and Eden around.
Outside of the TV Studios
We were taken first to the studio where we would be filming. One of the presenters who would be interviewing us, Dr Wit was already there. After some introductions we talked in hushed tones about everything that had gone on over the last couple of weeks and he listened intently, asking questions here and there, gathering information and prepping us for the interview. I was drawn into his infectious enthusiasm, feeling more and more at ease with each passing second.
Inside the studio
Next up was the hair and make-up room, I went in first to be preened for the screen.
A quick blow dry of the hair, some powder, eye shadow and lipstick applied and I was good to go.
It was in here that I met the second presenter who was interviewing us, Khun Tip, the first words to leave her mouth when she saw me were ’oh you are so pretty and young, much more than I thought’ immediately I liked her a lot! Turns out she had studied at Leeds University in the UK and loved London, spending 3 years away from Thailand, visiting our hometown. Much like what Jmayel and I were now doing, just the other way around (bar the studying part!)
‘See you in there’ she said cheerfully as she smoothed down her silk dress and left the room as swiftly as she had entered.
It was Jmayels turn in the make-up chair next as I held onto Eden, peeping through the swarm of staff milling around the wardrobe area. After a dab of powder on his face and a slick of gel in his hair, he came out of the room smiling.
Ready to go on air!
We went back to the studio where we watched from behind the scenes with Ding, as the presenters worked on set, we were handed microphones to attach to our clothes and then it wasn’t long before she told us, ‘ok, they are introducing you now, you are on after the break.’
We stepped foot onto the studio floor, dazzled by the amount of cameras and lights all pointing at us.
Eden was unfazed, as soon as I sat on the swivel chair she jumped up onto my lap, ready with her paws on the table. Staff milled around us making sure we were in the right position, giving quick instructions as to what was going to happen in just a mere minute. Laughing with Khun Tip and Dr Wit as they prepared themselves in their seats, “it looks like she wants to eat me!” said Dr Wit as Eden stared at him intently without a single movement.
Khun Tip & Dr Wit
Strangely I felt completely relaxed and calm, not even a hint of nerves as all of a sudden Khun Tip started speaking, the segment had started.
The sound of our 8 miles from home intro filled the studio as they began to play our video on national television.
A minute and a half later Dr Wit started to ask some questions and that was that. We were on television. TV5 Morning News were showing our faces across the country.
Us live on tele in our friends living room!
The next 10 minutes flew by and as they started to wrap up the interview, I felt ecstatic. Something I thought I would never do and just a day previously had been so worried about, I ended up absolutely loving. Even so much as to wanting to do it all over again as soon as it was over!
Watch the Thai TV5 Morning News Live Interview
Posing with the presenters
Everyone rushed over to take photos of us and we posed with the presenters. Eden became a little star as everyone commented on how good she was, barely even moving throughout the whole thing.
She was taken off to have some photos with the staff as Jmayel and I thanked the presenters for such a great experience. To which they thanked us, for promoting Thailand to the world.
Still only 9am and we were in a taxi on the way back to the Kozy Inn Hotel. It was over and we now had the whole day ahead of us to celebrate. I couldn’t stop smiling. I felt on top of the world and wanted to tell everyone. We had just been on television, and it was amazing!
Watch the Cinematic Episode containing this adventure
Sacha El-Haj - 8 Miles from Home
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