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Exploring the Final Frontier: Star Trek Fandom in Thailand

In Episode 23 of Trends, we delve into Thailand’s burgeoning Star Trek fandom, spotlighting the Thai Sci-Fi Club’s dedication to promoting science fiction and exploring the universe’s mysteries.

Episode 23 of Trends takes us to the heart of Thai sci-fi passion – the final frontier of Star Trek fandom. In a country where the genre initially struggled to find its footing, the Thai Sci-Fi Club has emerged as a small but devoted community, boldly going where no fan has gone before.

Meet Mr. Prayoon, one of the biggest Star Trek fans in Thailand. According to him, the roots of the Thai Sci-Fi Club go back to a research project on Thai scientific literature pre-2005. Their findings revealed a scarcity of sci-fi novels, prompting the idea of establishing a club to ignite interest among the younger generation. The club aimed to promote the creation and consumption of science fiction literature, fostering a community passionate about exploring the unknown.

In the early days, Star Trek found its way to Thai television screens around 1969, continuing until the late Seventies. The Original Series, in particular, captivated audiences, paving the way for the release of Star Trek: The Motion Picture in cinemas. The franchise’s translation into Thai for magazines and books further fuelled the fandom. However, as TV series related to science fiction waned, so did the number of followers. It wasn’t until the advent of the TV streaming era that interest in sci-fi experienced a resurgence in Thailand.

Mr. Prayoon is an avid fan of both hardcore and soft science fiction, with preference of Star Trek over Star Wars. He appreciates Star Trek for its closer-to-reality narrative and its ability to extract scientific advancements, human relationships and moral stories through conflicts. The series, in his view, offers more interesting scientific explanations compared to the fantasy storylines of Star Wars.

When it comes to favourite characters, Mr. Prayoon is spoiled for choice. From the strong and cool Seven of Nine to the iconic Captain Pike, Captain James T. Kirk and Captain Archer from Star Trek: Enterprise, each character holds a special place in his heart. Fellow Starfleet enthusiast Mr. Charlie singles out Dr. McCoy from the original 1960s series as his personal favourite.

In assessing the various series, Mr. Prayoon holds Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Star Trek: Enterprise in high regard, citing them as the best. He finds inspiration in the first three series of Enterprise, as they depict mankind’s initial foray into space, navigating the universe without the advanced technology seen in later instalments.

Despite the vibrant fandom, the collectible market for Star Trek memorabilia in Thailand lags behind that of Star Wars. Mr. Prayoon attributes this discrepancy to the lackluster marketing efforts by Star Trek and Paramount/CBS compared to the dynamic promotional strategies employed by Disney for Star Wars. Without robust support from the parent company, gathering fans and increasing interest in Star Trek becomes an uphill battle.

Mr. Prayoon’s journey as a writer began in 2006, focusing on collecting items such as toys. Inspired by his time as a volunteer in a private museum, he penned his first book, ‘Toy and Memories.’ A decade later, he explored the realm of collecting general items, resulting in his second book, ‘Collecting for Happiness,’ covering a range of fascinating objects from portrait photos to rare books and everyday items like bank notes, coins, and stamps.

As Star Trek continues to carve its niche in Thailand, the Thai Sci-Fi Club stands as a testament to the enduring passion for the series. With phasers on stun and dedicated fans like Mr. Prayoon at the helm, with First Officer, Mr. Charlie, by his side, the final frontier of Star Trek fandom in Thailand is poised for exciting adventures ahead. Live long and prosper.

Managing Director - DBC Asia | + Articles

David Barrett is a MICE Consultant, Marketing Strategist and digital video advocate. Founder of DBC Group, Member of Institute of Place Management (MIMP) his motto is “Everybody has a story to tell. Let me tell yours.”

David is a long-term resident of Bangkok having lived and worked in the Thai capital for more than 32 years. He is recognised in the Thai tourism and hospitality industry for his passion for promoting Thailand, his love of Thai food, and his creative approach to marketing.

64 years young, David is a Brit in Bangkok. Born in St Helier, UK, he returned to the UK and set up home in Cornwall during the COVID pandemic. With business back as usual, David has returned to Thailand. He’s a man on a mission to interview leaders and trend-setters in business, sustainability, the arts and entertainment. You can watch his weekly conversations on Trends YouTube channel.