Despite the odds, Thais express themselves -indicative of their free spirit. Unlikely you get scenes like this back home
Pro-election demonstrators hold anti-junta signs near Democracy Monument on Ratchadamnoen Avenue on Saturday. The signs say: "Destroy dictatorship eggs", "Stop putting off the election" and "Stop power...
Now Mongkol tours Thailand performing sketches and posing for selfies as the famously buffoonish character. (Photo: AFP/LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA)
14 Feb 2018 12:01PM
NAHON NAYOK, Thailand: With the signature red tie, brown blazer, briefcase and teddy bear, a Thai computer technician has become a national sensation through his uncanny Mr Bean impersonations that are tickling a country that loves slapstick comedy.
Mongkol Preechajan, a 43-year-old father from Phuket with more than a passing resemblance to the British character played by Rowan Atkinson, shot to fame after trying out the miming routine on the popular Thailand's Got Talent TV show in 2016.
The video went viral - one YouTube clip has been watched over five million times - turning Mongkol into an overnight celebrity in a country where Mr Bean is among the most popular foreign comic turns, in part because his speechless routines cut through language barriers.
Mongkol Preechajan, Thailand's Mr Bean, rehearses before performing for prison inmates. (Photo: AFP/LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA)
Mongkol said his fascination with Mr Bean started as a teenager, when he became a fan of the British show and the character's "cheeky and cute personality".
He has since spent hours twisting his face and arching his eyebrows in front of a mirror to hone Mr Bean's trademark expressions.
"It's quite hard because Mr Bean doesn't speak and only communicates through his facial expressions and his body movements - that was really hard to practise," Mongkol told AFP.
Mongkol said his fascination with Mr Bean started as a teenager. (Photo: AFP/LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA)
In addition to Bangkok comedy gigs and TV spots, the newfound celebrity is also performing at jails around the country in a bid to brighten up prison life.
A recent performance brought him to Nakhon Nayok province, where hundreds of inmates roared with laughter as he jittered around the stage with his iconic teddy bear.
"There were a lot of laughs," one inmate told AFP after the show. "It has lightened up the mood here a lot."