By Jocelyn Lee
THE most memorable thing for Thai Princess Ubol Ratana about producing and acting in her first movie, Where The Miracle Happens, was the chance to mingle with the production cast and crew.
'At first, I think that the people felt a little uneasy about acting with a princess. But I am only semi-royal as I have stayed in the United States for a long time, so I guess it was easier for the people to work with me,' said the eldest daughter of Thai King Bhumibol Aduyadej in fluent English at a press conference at Intercontinental Hotel on Monday evening.
The rarified circles in which the 57-year-old usually moves were evident at the movie launch, co-hosted by The Royal Thai Embassy and Media Development Authority of Singapore.
About 150 guests, mostly Thais clad in full suits and glittery cocktail dresses, rose to welcome Princess Ratana with thunderous applause when she arrived.
The glamorous princess, who is divorced, has two daughters. Her son drowned in the 2004 tsunami disaster.
She was impeccably groomed and stood out in her fire engine-red gown that showed a modest hint of cleavage. She handled questions with diplomatic grace during the hour-long press conference.
The movie, which was first introduced at the Cannes International Film Festival in May, tells the story of an ambitious businesswoman who loses her daughter in an accident and decides to renounce materialism and atone for her past mistakes, after receiving a life-saving heart transplant from her daughter, by fighting against poverty.
Princess Ratana spends her time working on charity projects. One of these projects, Miracle Of Life, helps poor Thai children get a proper education by funding their schooling. Inspired by this project, the princess then scripted and produced the movie. The proceeds will fund educational projects.
She chose Singapore as the first country in Asia to launch the movie because 'Singapore is very close to our country and it is a modern city which is moving forward very rapidly. As my work is centred on young people and helping the less privileged, I want to start with Singapore, which has a young population and people who are young at heart.'
The movie will be released in Thailand on Aug 7 and reach Singapore later this year.
Princess Ratana added: 'I do hope that after seeing the movie, you will take home with you an ever greater desire to make a difference for the betterment of those around you.'
This article was first published in The Straits Times on July 2, 2008.