Today I would like to introduce a figure named Natapol Puthpawana, or Toe. Toe is the former lead singer of the iconic Thai rock band Silly Fools, famous in the 90’s. But he has since quit the band and shunned entertainment and fame as he practices Islam.
He is now selling beef and has a new name “Weerachon Sattaying”.
I watched the following interview with him at 4am today and it got me thinking a lot about what he says and the way he explains certain things.
What interests me is not his embracing of Islam, but how he is keeping his belief to himself as he adjusts himself out of the entertainment industry in a manner people around him would consider “radical”, completely ditching music, including the master recording of the unreleased songs he last made.
The host seems to have had a hard time doing the interview because Toe’s answers have been so unpredictable. Toe not only has his own unique views which he is adamant about, but also does not answer beyond what is asked.
Being in Buddhist-majority Thailand, Toe’s “radical” change in many aspects of his life as a result of, and consistent with his belief in Islam, hasn’t been understood by many, including former band members (Silly Fools has since had a new lead vocalist) and fans alike. He used to be expressive through the music he produced, but he is now a lot more composed with profound thoughts.
What impresses me is when Toe says he doesn’t have any regret putting the entertainment industry and his fans behind, as what he is doing now is equally meaningful and, in his own eyes, yet another “height” of his life. This is despite others who see it from the mainstream perspective may disagree. His life has become a paradox with him seeing music as a sin now.
But to me that’s fine – he is just being conscious about his standing right now as a Muslim and not a rock star.
As Toe searches for the meaning of life – this is despite all the fame and money he’s got; as he evolves in his thinking and everyday life, most people will continue to see him as a changed man whom they cannot relate to anymore, instead of someone who is now spiritual with a more mature thinking.
You can read more about Natapol Puthpawana here.