There are many values tested in this lakorn, the clearest of them all is the stress in good versus evil, love versus hate, revenge versus forgiveness and essentially, that the people one meet in one’s new life are all ties to a chain of events from the previous life. Powerful? Indeed. It is also clear who the bad guys are and I would fervently reach for my Buddha pendant (if I had one) and pray wholeheartedly that I can survive this lakorn emotionally unscathed, because so far, I’ve been scared to my wits, shed tears of sorrow and want to reach out and give Suriyawong a big hug- my heart goes out to our hero! And.. I’m only on episode five. I’d like to continue my reflection thus far.. in Roy Mai, a lakorn set in Chiang Mai, a province that appears to be untouched by modern society, and a lakorn that will tug at your heartstrings.

Moving pass the introduction to the lakorn where Rerin learns a little of the mystery behind Princess Maneerin, she gives Prince Siriwattana her word that she will complete the loom. She has no idea why she should complete the loom or what will happen once the loom is completed, but she feels a keen connection to it and to the story of Princess Maneerin. She also hasn’t discovered that the figment of the man she sees is actually not a man at all. There are obstacles for Rerin however, in order to complete the loom. One, the manager of the museum has forbidden her to enter the museum again because she feels that Rerin is up to no good. Two, Lady Bua Ngern is crazy and thinks that Rerin is Maneerin and is back to torment her so she assigns her pet ghost, Mery (her former maid) to remove the thorn from her side- in other words, kill Rerin. Three, Thanin is a disrespectful pest who has not ceased to make her life miserable and who has a rat that informs him of her whereabouts. Four, jealous Wongprajan will do everything in her power to end the friendship (because essentially that is what it is right now..) between Rerin and Suriyawong. And finally five, her own confused feelings about Suriyawong.

But it seems fate is on her side as she can overcome problem number one easily.  During an annual celebration at the museum, Rerin meets with an old woman who immediately recognizes her as Princess Maneerin and bows to the ground for her. Which if I were Rerin, I’d start speculating or questioning why all of these random people are mistaking me for Maneerin (including grandma Bua Ngern and a strange woman, even a bizarre man.) The old lady turns out to be Princess Maneerin’s former maid who astutely feels that her life is coming to an end- she is finally able to sustain enough longevity to meet with her Princess again. After their fateful encounter however, the old maid gets killed by Mery, the ghost but not soon enough that she had not prepared a message for her princess. This came in the form of a mysterious key and a golden flower with a long stem. These were presented to her in a box after her death. Coincidentally, things were finally adding up for Rerin and she ventured out to try to speak with the old maid but only to discover that she has died the night before and has left her a gift. We know what the key is for but the long stem, golden flower? Suspenseful.

Also regarding that fateful night (during the celebration), I don’t think any other Thai actresses can look so splendid, elegant and exceptionally beautiful with her hair in a bun and her body wrapped in thai traditional silk clothing as Aff Taksaorn. She conveys a traditional beauty, that adds to the believability and elegance of the lakorn. I don’t fault Suriyawong who stare at her with awe.

That is why my heart goes out to him. In both lifetimes, both Suriyawong and Prince Siriwong falls in love with a woman only to find out she is already taken. It is a forbidden love but a love nonetheless. Suriyawong is the ultimate, unfortunate hero, but a hero who encompasses gentlemanly behavior yet is vulnerable and is not afraid to speak from his heart. Take for example, in the temple, after the old maid’s funeral. Rerin asks Suriyawong to accompany her to pray (and religiously, if two people pray together, they can meet each other again in the next life.)  After they prayed together, Rerin asks Suriyawong what he prayed for. Suriyawong looks at her and says that he normally doesn’t ask for anything when he prays. But today, he prayed for the person he loved to be happy and to achieve everything that she set out to do. My heart beats loudly against my chest as the seconds tick away. Suriyawong turns to Rerin and says “I want you to be fulfilled. I pray that you find happiness.” Rerin looks back at him as the sweetest words were said to her, as if it is foreign to her ears. Suriyawong apologizes if he made her uncomfortable- Rerin replies that they just met and he doesn’t know her yet. But Suriyawong continues on that he has never felt this way about anyone, like the way that he feels about her. He asks for the opportunity to get to know her. He doesn’t understand the reason why he says the things he says, only that it is true to his feelings. Sigh. And my heart breaks a little more because he finds out that she is engaged to be married (and has been for awhile now) from her colleague, a coworker who also teaches at the same school.

A tearful moment for the two people who cannot be together (yet), Suriyawong rescues Rerin from the ghost’s abduction, although he doesn’t believe in ghosts, but the welts on her arm proves that she has been burned somehow. Suriyawong takes her to his home to care for her wound. They are alone, the night is upon them and Suriyawong is determined to get an answer from her about why she was in the proximity of the museum. But he said it a little too roughly and Rerin bursts into tears. My eyes were swimming as I watch her cry, as I watch Suriyawong apologize profusely for being impolite, and especially when he pulls her into his arms and comforts her as she cries. Gah.. you are incredible Aum!

Even after that night, Suriyawong does not give up and consults with his cousin, Wan. He asks her if he should approach Rerin straightforwardly about her fiancé or to remove himself completely from this feeling. Wise Wan advises that Rerin must have her reasons not to tell him, if she doesn’t want him to be involved, Rerin would tell him that she already has someone. Wan proceeded to advise her younger cousin, “Love is about two people who must seek for understanding with each other. True love is (having) good intentions for the person you love, not to get what you want. If you love, you can love, don’t be afraid of being disappointed (unrequited.)” Truer words have not been said. Hats off to Wan!

Suriyawong had a sleepless night, thinking about his next move and what that will mean for him. The following morning, he came to take Rerin to the monk so he can help bless away the evil ghost that is trailing her. When they were back at the hotel (after purchasing a necklace to go with the Buddha pendant the monk has given her) Suriyawong gets the answer from Rerin. She tells him that he doesn’t know her well enough and in the end, she doesn’t want to fool him. She is not in the junction of her life where she can accept love from anyone. She already has a fiancé and that they can only be friends.. words that will torment anyone, especially a man who is in love with her. Suriyawong tells her that he found out about that yesterday and he’s been asking himself all night about what he should do. He continues saying that many people may think that he is selfish, but even if he loves her one sided, he is happy to. No matter how much it will hurt him, he is willing. Golly, more poignant, painful words, but shows how fearless and in love Suriyawong is. Her response? I’m going now, and she runs away.

After the sad moment between Suriyawong and Rerin, we earned more pieces to the puzzle to the story about Princess Maneerin and Prince Siriwong. Rerin continues to make her way to the room with the unfinished loom and determines that it may take her two weeks to complete it- what with the complex weaving and intricacies of the pattern. She also learns (finally) that Prince Siriwattana, the strange man who has been appearing out of thin air, is actually a manifestation of the spirit of Prince Siriwattana. That came abundantly clear to her when he erased the burns from her arm. She pleads him to tell her the story of what happened to Princess Maneerin and how it is all related to the loom. Prince Siriwattana says, let me show you.. close your eyes. And we are taken back to the time of Lanna, where the Kingdom of Chiang Tiong will be tied to Chiang Mai permanently by the matrimony of Prince Siriwattana and Princess Maneerin.

My breath catches in my throat as I witness the beautiful parade, a spectacle to behold for sure, as the people of Chiang Tiong marches their beautiful princess to Lanna, in Chiang Mai. The moment was orchestrated beautifully and I can’t help but feel proud at how hard the production worked to bring this moment to life.

Princess Maneerin is opposite in personality to that of Rerin. Princess Maneerin is devious, trouble making, scheming and completely stubborn. She does not want to marry although she has to agree to do it for her country. And then.. she meets Prince Siriwong, under bizarre circumstances. Princess Maneerin hates being cooped up in the palace, so she schemes (with her maid who tries to stop her in every way) to leave the palace and get to know Chiang Mai. What best way to disguise as a Lanna, normal person and experience the market? As they set out, with no gold in their pockets, Rerin and her maid unintentionally has taken books from the booth, in which they were later hailed as thieves and were chased around the market. She bumps into Prince Siriwong (whom she doesn’t know at the time is a Prince) causing powder to erupt in their faces. It was a cute encounter, as she tosses the books in his direction and takes off. Prince Siriwong is left fending the angry merchants.

And that’s how their first impression started, Prince Siriwong mistaken Princess Maneerin for a market urchin, thieving her way to survive. He is heroic and still a gentlemen and offers to pay for her meal. It just so happens that he finished his studies from abroad and is back to live in the palace. Not wanting to be in anyone’s debt, Princess Maneerin is determined to pay him back. When his face was cleaned of the powder, she is struck speechless by his handsome face as she shyly looks away.

Their scenes together are so adorable and filled with chemistry that I find myself smiling foolishly at my computer screen. The Ateams always does this to me and Roy Mai is no exception. Their relationship this time, like a reader (Lilly) once posted, “is a refreshing storyline of the lead couple.” No bickering at the beginning and falling (unbelievably) madly in love in the ending.

Maneerin- Siriwong, Rerin-Suriyawong are reliving their two separate lifetimes and unfortunately are met with the same obstacles: she’s already taken. How will their love story be unraveled? Can Rerin weave the unfinished loom successfully? How will her relationship end with Thanin? Can she accept that she is in the junction where she can actually accept Suriyawong’s love (as she so eloquently declines it in the beginning?)

Roy Mai is a beautiful tale to not only weave us a mysterious lakorn with ties from two lifetimes, but it is set to remind us the power of Ateam again. I am proudly championing Aum as I have always had because he is an amazing actor that always manages to improve an actress. Even Aff Taksaorn can learn a thing a two from Aum. I am curious to find out what happened after Princess Maneerin accidentally tears Prince Siriwong’s shirt. What will happen when they find out each were princes and princesses, but not for each other? Are they fated to repeat their unfortunate love in their new life or can they tie up lose ends, finish the darn loom and stop the past from repeating itself?

I sure hope it is a yes because I’m not sure if my heart can last another devastating moment for Suriyawong/Prince Siriwong.

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