Tuesday, March 10, 2009

In memoriam: Kenneth C. Ywin

Ken Ywin occupied a desk not far from mine at The Nation and I sometimes traded news tips with him about the movie scene in Thailand.

Toward the end of his career, he wrote a weekly newspaper column called "Unedited Cuts" that always started with "ACTION!" and ended with "CUT!"

A contemporary of Bhandit Rittakol, a former Nation staffer who turned to filmmaking in the 1980s, Ken had extensive contacts in the film industry. He wrote about Bhandit's struggles with censors to release The Moonhunter (14 Tula: Somkram Prachachon, or 14 October: War of the People), which was controversial because it dealt with the crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators and the communist insurgency in the 1970s.

Ken also had the inside scoop on several of the foreign productions that were made in Thailand, such as Oliver Stone's Alexander and Tom Berenger's Sniper series.

In addition to stories about the film industry, he was a restaurant critic, a travel writer and the organizer of a darts league.

Sadly, links to a vast majority of his columns on The Nation's website are broken.

Plans to write a book about the Thai entertainment industry were dashed by failing eyesight, a complication of diabetes, a disease that also claimed his kidneys. His last piece for The Nation was dictated and is heartbreaking to read.

That was three years ago, and now he's gone. He died on Friday (March 6) at age 62 in Sukhumvit Hospital. Funeral rites were held last night at Wat That Thon and cremation takes place today at 2pm.

A better tribute has been written by another colleague, Veena Thoopkrajae, and The Nation has his obituary, with a messed-up headline that he wouldn't have allowed in print.


  1. I'm sorry for your loss, and for Thailand's. I never knew Ken or his work, but I appreciate the chance to get to know him in some small degree through your tribute.

    It's a true shame that the Nation doesn't let its archives carry on his legacy.

  2. Sorry for your, and The Nation's, loss. Ywin's last piece was brutally honest and very moving.


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