Greg and Ed do a tag team interview of legendary Thailand expat Joe Cummings, a renaissance man and expert on Thai culture if there ever was one. Joining us during a break on his latest film role, Joe and Greg discuss how they met in the jungles of Mae Hong Son 18 years ago, and discuss how Joe went from being known primarily as a writer (most famously founding Lonely Planet Thailand) to being an actor, musician and consultant on Southeast Asian mythology and culture, most recently for the Disney film ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’. Although a consummate traveler and consumer of Thai nightlife, Joe also explains that he has two Master’s Degrees, one in Southeast Asian Studies and one in Applied Linguistics. It’s safe to say Joe’s expertise is grounded both in the academic world and the real world of his hundreds of adventures in Thailand and around the world.
The guys then traverse a wide range of subjects from the apparent increase in Asian representation in American cinema to the extent to which both the U.S. and Thailand are really ‘melting pots’ of different ethnicities. Joe then discusses a recent documentary film on the controversial Dhammakaya sect of Buddhism that is based in Thailand.
Part One of the interview concludes with Joe’s take on the future of Thai tourism in light of the COVID pandemic. Many more interesting topics await in next week’s Part Two.
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