Since “Bell” Nuntrita Khampriranon’s turn on Thailand’s Got Talent went viral, the You tube video has garnered over a million in less than a week; I’m contributing to it by abusing the replay button; so Bell, you had better find a way to release a CD of the cover soon.
Being well-acquainted with Thailand’s history of transgenders,I had a good idea from the start what the spot was going to be about.
So what else is there to say?
Aside from being awed by Nuntrita Khampriranon’s vocal abilities (I prefer the masculine silky tones), what struck me was the poignancy of the lyrics of the second chosen song,”Unloved“. (Lyrics from the kind subtitles provided by the uploader, BiBiBenny)
“I know I’m just no one.
I know it can’t be possible.
There’s no hope for me, no matter what.”
It was like she was telling her story as she sang ever-smiling, almost cheeky but confident and quietly defiant. An unspoken challenge seemed to have been tossed down;
Love me as I am, if you dare.
There was a possibility she could have been booed off the stage. There was a chance the judges would be horribly angered by being made a fool of on national television. Everything that would go wrong, could go wrong.
“Since you have nothing to do with me.
No matter how hard I’ve tried, you’d never love me.
And soon, all my hopes will be faded away.
But deep down I know it’s hopeless.”
The crowd loved her. They went wild. (To the girls who pounced up screaming vibrantly in the crowd, you make my heart glad.)
“Even if I love you this much,
but it’s just meaningless to you.
I’d just been hoping too much that someday you’d love me too.”
Like a reflection of her resilience and determination, she raised her hand briefly to engage the supportive folks in the crowd.
“Despite the fact that it’s impossible,
and I’m not the one, it’s still okay.
Let me just keep you in my heart till the time ends.
Don’t know how long will it take for me to erase you from my mind.
Don’t know when will I be able to love again.”
And that was it. The three judges voted her in. Whether it was due to the passionate response from the audience, they were taken by her audacity or they simply admired her vocal prowess, what mattered was; she was in, and more importantly, Nuntrita Khampriranon was in, by being herself.
During the backstage interview as she shared about the hate and woes she had endured, when she mentioned her family, I thought back about the lyrics and I wondered, was it also an unspoken different kind of ode to her unsupportive father?
In the few minutes Bell was on stage, she showed extraordinary self-belief and courage in standing up for herself. Even if she doesn’t win, for me, she has already “made it.” She has already has won over a legion of people who love her for being herself.
And that is something precious that I can take beyond from what I would normally percieve as simple entertainment.