Thailand's only double Olympic medallist, Manas Boonjumnong - who scored gold in Athens in 2004 and silver in Beijing in 2008 - is also famous for being a party animal, but he appears to have settled down now over a nice crunchy breakfast.
Like so many other Thai boxers kayoed by overnight success, Manas became a magnet for trouble, especially in between Olympics, when his womanising and gambling wrecked his first marriage. By the time Beijing rolled up he’d moved on to a second wife, but she too is now out of the picture.
Manas, now 35, is garnering media attention once again, this time with girlfriend Pichayapha “Pat” Phunissan, nine years younger, with whom he’s flogging a “healthy” snack called Cornflake Hero. You can buy it via the Facebook page “Cornflake Thanyaphuet by Manas Boonjumnong”.
Manas tells our sister paper Kom Chad Luek that he met Pat last year and asked her out, having long since split with his second wife. She said okay as long as he gave up drinking, gambling and wildlife in general. He had to think about that, but a review of his latest 10 years prodded him to do as she wished. He’s been “clean” of misbehaviour since last October, he says.
Cornflake Hero was Pat’s idea and he helps out with the packaging and taking orders by phone. Business has been “pretty good” thanks to the low prices – Bt30 to Bt50 depending on the flavour (original, strawberry and chocolate). And he’s pleased to be getting a fresh start in love and life.
Manas admits he blew a fortune on bad habits, but he still has cash left in the bank from the millions he earned in boxing and, until he’s 60, he’ll continue to receive monthly stipends from various organisations totalling Bt100,000. On top of all that, he also owns other businesses that his father and brother run.
This is not how we’re used to these stories ending. Well done, Manas!
“Mae Bia” is back again
ML Bandevanop “Mom Noi” Devakul has once again selected a literary gem for its vast movie potential – “Mae Bia”, the popular novel by the late Vanich Jarungkit-anant. This will be the third film based on it and there was also a TV series and, more recently, a stage musical.
Vanich’s widow Torrung has formally assented to the deal with Mom Noi and Sahamongkol Film, calling him the perfect director to bring the story to the big screen. She said she’s turned down many such offers since Vanich died. He was still alive to see the earlier movie renditions – the one in 1988 starring Likhit Ekmongkol as Chanachol and Passorn Boonyakiet as Mekhala the snake lady, and Somching Srisupab’s version in 2001 starring Akara Amarttayakul and Napakpapa Nakprasit.
Chanachol is a Thai returning home after a long spell overseas. He signs up for a tour to get reacquainted with the culture and falls for the tour guide, Mekhala. But he’s married, you see – and she has this weird relationship going on with a deadly cobra. Evidently her previous suitors never got very far with her.
Mom Noi has already begun filming and apparently has Shakrit Yamnam playing Chanachol. But who’s got the far more challenging role? (The role of Mekhala, we mean, not the snake.) The actress is supposedly a newcomer, and more to come as we get the details.