TV commercials: The Loan Shark

A loan shark and her boys arrive to confront a food vendor who is past due in his loan. Thais commonly call this an 'informal loan.'

However, they see no one, so the woman shouts out and kicks the LP gas canister before she and the boys walk away.

Once she leaves, the canister is revealed to be the vendor in disguise--even holding the gas pipe in his mouth.

As he rubs his back and starts to get up, the scene cuts to the emblem of the Government Saving Bank and encourages people to get small loans from the bank--and not take out informal loans from individuals.

This commercial is extremely amusing. It is fast-paced and characters are wry and deadpan. These screen captures do not do it justice, but if one looks at the mock serious expressions on the loan shark and her cronies at the top of this page, one can get an idea of the tone.

It is also worth noting that the recent 'invention' of micro credit is not an invention at all--people have always needed and have always taken out these small loans, but usually from other individuals.

Critics have charged that this commercial and two others are actually thinly veiled endorsement of the ruling TRT government:

Critics riled over ad explosion - State budget used to trumpet TRT policies - Bangkok Post, January 31, 2005
..."Since the beginning of the year, on Channel 9, you have frequently seen commercials for the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Co-operatives (BAAC) and the Government Savings Bank (GSB),'' said one critic who asked not to be named.
The banks' TV commercials have been aired exclusively on the network of recently privatised MCOT Plc, in particular Channel 9. The advertisements emphasise how many poor people have improved their standard of living by participating in the debt-suspension programme or gaining access to credit...

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