The demise of the SCALA saddens me so but also makes me reflect on how the cinema fading is a small symbol of failed success and opportunity in Thailand.
You had the best airline in the world until, through short term greed and successional corruption, you drove it into the ground.
You had years of untold peace, but never built a solid educated middle class – you only talked of reform and kept the wealth to the few.
You had economic booms and bust, but keep repeating the cycles, not learning from the past, just hoarding for oneself
You chose not to educate your masses only to maintain a stratified society.
You talk of democracy but, by and large act, for the status quo.
And now the Scala, a remnant of a period of pride, of a bright past and its hope for the future – not a brand name co-opted from the west – but something designed, built and maintained by Thais, is now going to be destroyed and replaced by yet another mall.
Revered to this day
The long term Scala employees stand tall in their outdated but stylish outfits within the faded glory of their cathedral and the history they embody.
What will happen to them?
They will fade away within moments to be replaced by something cheap, non-Thai with no history, only to be forgotten in succession like so many other property revamps around town.
Where is the pride in a new shopping mall, another corporate boondoggle that does not make Bangkok nor Thailand a go-to tourist destination, only a cheap imitation of Singapore.
I wish that the Thailand, which I love so dearly, can learn to forego the bottom line and build places for the community, where anyone regardless of income status or wealth can come together and enjoy activities.
At places like Scala, we have shared experiences that help them escape into worlds of make-believe, high drama and fantasy. It is where dreams are shared and built and made.
Now those dreams are being destroyed.
Nicholas Simon is the founder of Indochina Productions. He has worked on film and cinema in the region for the past three decades and is a member of the Producers Guild of America.