By Malie Bifc USA
Bie Sukrit Wisetkaew as Kobori, the Imperial Japanese Navy Officer
Noona Nuengthida as Angsumalin Chalasin
Gun Napat as Vanut
Puri as Dr. Takada
Khu Kam (Ill-Fated Love) is a timeless classic novel written by Thomayanti. It’s a tragic love story between a Japanese Navy Officer and a young Thai woman. The story took place in Thailand during WWII.
Angsumalin Chalasin was raised by her mother, Orn and grandmother, Sorn. The family owned an orchard. They sell fruits and vegetable for a living. Angsumalin’s father, Luang Chalasinturath, a high ranking Thai Naval Officer left Angsumalin and her mother when Ang’s was young. He married another woman because of her connection in high society.
Angsumalin studied Japanese with Dr. Yoshi, a Japanese dentist. Dr. Yoshi ran a clinic in Bangkok Noi market. When the war broke, Dr. Yoshi returned to military uniform and declared himself one of the Japanese invaders. Angsumalin was very disappointed and angry. She announced to everyone that the Japanese were her enemy.
The Imperial Japanese Navy set up their base and Navy shipyard at Bangkok Noi canal next to Angsumalin’s house. Kobori, a young Lieutenant of the Imperial Japanese Navy was the commanding officer and a shipyard engineer. Angsumalin was curious with all the commotion and work being done at the shipyard. She couldn’t contain her curiosity. She swam to the shipyard to take a look. Kobori found her while he was fixing a boat.
Kobori fell in love with Angsumalin the first time he saw her. It was love at first sight. He tried to establish a good relationship with Ang and her family. When Angsumalin’s grandmother was sick with malaria infection, he brought Dr. Takeda to administer medical care to Angsumalin’s grandmother.
Angsumalin’s mother and grandmother adored Kobori after seeing the friendship and kindness he bestowed upon their family. They started to refer to him as “po Dok Mali” (Mr. Jasmine).
Bua and Phon, local villagers went to work for Kobori at the shipyard. They were caught stealing fuel tanks from the shipyard. Kobori as a commanding officer ordered a punishment to Bua and Phon in front of local villagers. Angsumalin knew both elderly men well. She resented Lieutenant Kobori for daring to punish Thai citizens. She stood up to him and voiced her dislike and resentment of the Japanese invaders.
One afternoon, Angsumalin was at home by herself. Kobori came to see her. Of all the sudden, an emergency air-raid went off. Kobori took Angsumalin to shelter from bombs at a ditch by the orchard. Bombs exploded. Kobori used his body to shield Angsumalin. Kobori confessed his love to Angsumalin just before they both lost conscious.
When things went back to normal, Angsumalin’s mother, grandmother including yai (grandma) Mian and other local folks, while walking home home from Gumnun’s house… they found Kobori and Angsumalin laid in the ditch together in a compromising position.
Yai Mian told everyone in the community about Angsumalin and Kobori, and how she found them in a compromising position. The gossip spread.
In the meantime, Thai government and the Japanese Army were having problems. There were lots upraising and political unrest among the locals. Angsumalin’s father, luang Chalasinturaj was in the middle of it. He was accused of being a part of a political movement called “Seri Thai” (Free Thai movement).
Since Kobori was able to build a good relationship with Angsumalin’s family and some other local folks, he became an exemplar Japanese officer successfully building good relationship with Thai citizens. As a result, Kobori and Angsumalin’s relationship were drawn to play a role in resolving conflicts between the locals and the Japanese invaders.
Luang Chalasinturaj went to talk to Angsumalin and instructed her to marry Kobori to help resolved the conflicts. Angsumalin realized that she was being forced into the marriage with Kobori for political reasons. She tried to resist but succumbed to the marriage.
Lieutenant Michael Walden, an American soldier was captured by the Japanese Army. He was beaten, tortured and was forced into slave labor building a bridge for the Japanese. One night while working on the bridge, Lieut. Walden escaped from his captures. As a fugitive, he thrust into Angsumalin’s house and used Ang’s house to hide from the Japanese soldiers.
Ang and her mother found him hiding in a darkest part of their kitchen. Micheal pleaded with Ang and her mother not to send him back to the Japanese Army. He told them about the torture and forced slave labor. Ang used an old cottage located deep in the orchard as a hide out for Micheal.
On the morning of Kobori and Angsumalin’s engagement, Kobori found out about Angsumalin and her cronies’ plot to sneak Michael out of the village. He also discovered that Ang was a part of the Free Thai Movement. Kobori overcame with emotions… with anger, disappointment and sadness that the woman he loved would use him and their engagement day to cover up her underground activities.
Kobori’s heart was broken by Angsumalin’s action. But because of love, Kobori kept everything to himself despite the imminent danger that could befall the Imperial Japanese Navy. Kobori could face execution if the Navy knew about the plot. The engagement ceremony went on without the presence of Kobori.
Phon, Bua and their cronies put Lieut. Walden in a coffin and transferred the coffin on to a boat carrying him away. They also arranged a meeting between Lieut. Walden with Seri Thai. Before Michael was carried away, Angsumalin asked Michael to deliver a letter to Vanut for her if Micheal happened to see Vanut.
Vanut and Angsumalin had been friends since childhood. Before Vanut went to study abroad, he confessed his love to Ang. He asked Ang to wait for him as he promised to come back in 5 years to marry her.
Kobori knew that Angsumalin always had Vanut in her heart. Kobori decided to seek advice from his superior to stop the wedding. Nothing could be done. The wedding went according to plan.
On their wedding night, Kobori behaved like a gentlemen… he did not make any advance on Angsumalin.
Bua and Pon kept bringing problems to Angsumalin . They kidnapped a German soldier and brought him to a cottage at the orchard. They thought all westerners were enemies of the Japanese. In fact, the German reported being kidnapped by the two elderly men to the local police and the Japanese Army. He told them that an old cottage deep in the orchard was used to provide accommodation to Western Allies.
Gumnun Noom (Chief SubDistrict Officer)/ Vanut’ father and a few local folks had to quickly and secretly destroy the old cottage. They organized a dance party to cover up the affair.
Kobori went along with them. That night, he joined in the merry dance and drank heavily until he was quite drunk. Because of love, the pain in his heart and alcohol, Kobori forced himself upon Angsumalin.
Angsumalin resented Kobori even more. She treated him with cold contempt. Kobori felt very bad and knew that he had done wrong by forcing himself on Angsumalin. Kobori threw himself into work and did not return home that night.
Couple months’ later, Angsumalin found out that she was pregnant with Kobori’s child. She had a bad case of morning sickness. Kobori asked Dr. Takeda to come and check on her. Takada discovered her condition and told everyone the good news. Kobori was so excited. Kobori told Angsumalin that he planned to hang carp streamers in front of their house. He wrote a letter to his parents telling them about Angsumalin’s condition and that he was about to become a father. Kobori’s parents were excited with the news and asked Kobori to bring Ang and the baby to Japan for a visit.
One day, the news came that Vanut was a member of the Free Thai movement. Vanut parachuted into Thailand and was captured by the police. Angsumalin and Kobori had major argument. Angsumalin knew that Kobori would be a part of the Japanese interrogation team to question Vanut.
Angsumalin used her pregnancy to threaten Kobori… she said if something were to happen to Vanut, Kobori would pay dearly. She threw herself down steep stairs to prove her point. Fortunately, she and the baby were unharmed. Kobori was quite distraught and sadden by Angsumalin’s behavior.
He did everything he could to get a quick transfer to Burma. Kobori told Angsumalin if she didn’t want the baby after the baby was born, he would send the baby to Japan to his parents. As for Angsumalin herself, he would release her from their marriage… and she could go back to Vanut.
Kobori worked hard trying to forget the pain inside his heart. Fate… there was never a chance for Kobori and Angsumalin to reconcile.
With the help from Kobori, Vanut was acquitted from imprisonment. Vanut rushed to meet Angsumalin. Ang has been waiting to see Vanut. She wanted to give Vanut the answer she owned him all those years.
Ang told Vanut that Kobori was the only man she loved. She wanted to be released from the promise she gave Vanut years ago. Vanut said he understood and would release from the promise. He told Ang that Kobori was a good man and wished them happiness. Vanut urged Angsumalin to warn Kobori not to go to Bangkok Noi train station. The Allies were planning to intensely bomb the area.
While Vanut and Angsumalin were having conversation, they were not aware that Kobori had witnessed their secret meeting. Since Kobori could not hear their conversation, he misunderstood the situation.
Angsumalin began to realize that the person who meant so much to her was Kobori and the unborn child she was carrying. She wanted to tell Kobori that she loved him very much and she wanted to ask him to change his mind about leaving Thailand. Unfortunately, Angsumalin never had a chance to tell Kobori.
Angsumalin rushed home to tell Kobori that she was finally free from Vanut. She wanted to be a good wife to him and him only. It was not meant to be. Kobori already took a patrol boat out and headed to Bangkok Noi train station. Angsumalin rushed to the train station.
When she got there, the train station was heavily bombed. Everything was destroyed. There were many casualties. Angsumalin prayed to her unborn child and asked the baby to help and protect its father. She frantically searched for Kobori.
Finally, she found him badly injured. He was lying half-submerged in a wreckage. She called for help. She wanted to take him to the hospital. She cried out in desperate but there was nothing anyone could do…
with Thommayanty, the author of Khu Kam
1. “Khukam” by Bie and Noona
2. “Gerd ma ku gan” by Bie Sukrit
3. “Harm Jai” by Noona