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Originality : Thai Uniqueness in the Global Creative Economy

            The great artists do not draw the most realistic picture. Instead, audience is forever spellbound by their picture.

            “Aesthetics” cannot be clearly defined. But the common factor of all great artists is the originality which cannot be imitated. By P_Lham kun.


            Everyone has distinguishing characteristics which render them different from one another. But the great artists are able to create individual originality, by which people can distinguish their works from billions of works by others.

            “Protagonist actress” does not have the face that launches a thousand ships, but her beauty is yet memorable. On the other hand, “antagonist actress” who distinguishes herself from others for a while by occasionally posing for sexy pictures cannot maintain her popularity in the long run. 

            Of course, even the best actresses shall experience aging, but their films and photos are recorded in the history. Similarly, the great artists who reach their originality, despite their passing away and the challenging popularity of new generations of artists, are never forgotten. Instead, their works are recognised as classic pieces. By Lham kun.

            Creative Thailand therefore should not only produce products with distinguishing characteristics from those of other countries, but also leverage Thai uniqueness into the level of “originality” which would result in worldwide loyal customers.

            Creative theory has been changing over time. It was believed in the past that artist’s creativity results from “born genius”. Later, there was however an argument for the fact that creativity can be developed, especially through deliberate practice for 10,000 hours in the environment full of raw materials of inspiration (Creative City).

            A number of evidences shown by new scientists prove that creativity of artists and genius scientists is a result of the intelligence in copying and connecting various things in a new and audacious way. Through lots of failing experiments, genius from hard effort finally results in success and creative products which escape from existing forms or limitations.

            Creating new things through combination of old ones until brand new forms and structures are synthesised makes people thought that creativity is an enlightenment of artists because existing forms are diluted and seamlessly become a part of the new structure.

            To prove that “creativity” is not an intrinsic enlightenment but in fact a connection of external diverse things through new and audacious ways is certainly a new reforming knowledge. Also, it will ignite the need to develop yourself into a genius. But science still cannot reveal the formula of “connection” which leads to superb creativity. Only saying, “Keep on experimenting. The more you fail, the more success you will be.” is not enough for the practice to become a great artist. 

            The policy to develop Thailand creative economy thus needs to be based on thorough understanding of the creative theory, or the origin and process for generating creativity, so as to ensure competitive strategies and strategic resource allocation.

            First, there is no or hardly such a thing as a genius who creates everything by their own insight. Support for the creative economy therefore needs to focus on development of outstanding and diverse creative ecology in order to encourage creative people to copy and connect to generate creativity. For example, building communities and dialogues of people from every angle of the society, urban and building planning, or delicate equipments. More importantly, creative environment needs to be located at the city center in order to allow maximum flowing of creative information to Thai people.

            Second, creative process is a result of copying and connecting raw materials and information around you. However, successful connection which becomes reforming creative products is not a piece of cake. It is possible that a layman who puts effort to do thousands of connection becomes successful similar to a genius who experiences less failure. But since the society has limited resources, and creative economy cannot wait to move forward for gaining competitive edge, the best policy is to allocate 80% of resources to the long-proven genius. Nevertheless, creative products are of abstract nature and subject to change due to fast changing preference of consumers. So, to play safe, 20% of resources should be allocated to the new generation of genius to showcase their work. Of course, if the new genius generation can prove themselves to the industry, the creative policy makers need to promote them to the group with 80% resources so that they can utilise the proven superb creativity to efficiently drive the creative economy.

            If any former genius consecutively fails to prove their cases, they should be demoted to the 20%-resource group. If they still show failure, support should be suspended in order to keep limited resources for the new generation of talented geniuses who just lack opportunities to show their skills.

            Most genius creative people have experienced thousands of failure. But once their work is proven and accepted, the number of failure will decrease and become less than that of ordinary people. So, to allocate the limited resources to amateur artists and laymen to repeat their experiments with a hope to become a genius is not a creative policy at all. The aim of creative economy is not to provide everyone with opportunities to develop themselves to be genius creative people. In fact, it is to appropriately allocate resources to ensure outstanding creative products accepted by the world market in the short and long term.

            Finally, Thai culture is so unique that it cannot be imitated. But similar to most people who are also unique and cannot be imitated, only a handful of artists and actors can create “originality”, which is not only impossible to imitate but can also forever impress people. By Lhum kun.

            Creating originality for creative products derived from Thai culture should therefore be done with great care. Both proven and new generation of genius need to be gathered to “copy and connect” the Thai elements scattered in the breath and lifestyle of people to synthesise more outstanding creative products than those of competitors in the world creative economy battlefield.

Translated by Thaya Wichayathian

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  • Published Date: 2010-08-02
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