[pinterest-pro type=”pinit” pin_url=”http://siam-longings.com/1music/manee-maneewan-มานี-มณีวรรณ.htm” pin_image_url=”” pin_counter=”horizontal” pin_desc=”1960s Thai singer Manee Maneewan (มานี มณีวรรณ) — what little I know of her.”]
I hope I am understanding the translation of มานี มณีวรรณ correctly.
I am relatively unfamiliar with Thai entertainers, so please forgive any mistakes.
As concerns Manee Maneewan, I believe this 1960s singer died very recently — possibly the evening of July 3, 2009, at the age of 74 years. Or so I believe it says here at a Thai forum.
Yet website OKNation.net quotes her age as 73 when she died, reportedly as a result of liver cancer.
Liver cancer seems to claim quite a number of Thai people, especially those particularly fond of dishes featuring uncooked fish (such as koy pla). There is apparently some sort of fluke that lives in the flesh of the fish, and continues to thrive within its human host, finding a home in the livers of those unfortunate enough to have ingested the parasite.
I do not know if this parasite was the cause of Manee Maneewan’s liver cancer, however. Apparently liver cancer — believe it or not — is currently the seventh cause of death in Thailand.
See Bangkok Post‘s Raw fish & cancer in Thailand.
I write of Manee Maneewan because she seems to have been an Isaan citizen, and had a popular hit in the 1960s that I am very certain struck home for many Isaan girls during the Vietnam War when American G.I.s were stationed in the Udon Thani City area. The song is basically her version of a “Dear John” letter, and deals with the heartbreak that she experiences when her American sweetheart returns home to the United States after his tour of duty finishes, and she realizes that she is never likely to see him again.
One translation of the song title that I have seen is “A Letter From A Rent Wife.”
You can hear that song in the video below, which depicts some still scenes of those times featuring young American soldiers and what I suppose are intended to be various young Udon Thani girls:
มานี มณีวรรณ จดหมายรักจากเมียเช่า AJ mv
Uploaded by Huaypai on Apr 4, 2010
I find such relationships deeply affecting, for I am of an age that — had I been American — I might have been drafted and faced with involuntary enlistment and service in Vietnam.
Fortunately, I am Canadian, and I spent the 1960s living in Surrey — not too far from Vancouver, British Columbia.
If you listen to that song, and you are old enough, you should recognize a familiar American pop hit that is obviously borrowed several times for additional plaintive effect — Sue Thompson‘s Sad Movies (Always Make Me Cry).
Unfortunately, there do not appear to be any live versions of Sue Thompson performing the song, but you can at least hear her in this video offering a number of stills that have absolutely nothing to do with the singer or her song:
Sue Thompson is very well known for another much snappier hit, Norman:
I have always been partial to this song because of a friendship I developed in September 1962 when I started Grade VIII and came to know one Norman Dearing, a fellow student in my home-room class. He and I became best friends throughout our teen years thereafter, and throughout our 20s, as well. We lost touch at the very end of 1982 or very early in 1983, and have never been in contact again. I often wonder about him.
As for Manee Maneewan, I wish I could know more of her. I asked my Isaan wife about Manee a couple of nights ago, and although Jack initially thought she did know the singer, it turns out that it may have been some other singer with a name very much like “Maneewan.” Jack is from very near Udon Thani City, but she was born in 1973 — 1960s music does not much interest her, even if it’s Thai. I could not even interest her in sticking around to listen to the song.
The singer Manee Maneewan seems to have acted in this movie:
Phra Aphai Mani (1966)
Summary: Adapted from the classic Thai literature of Sunthorn Pu, Phra Aphai Mani tells the story of two princes Pra Apaimanee and Srisuwan who take an adventure to find good masters from whom they can learn and prepare themselves for the throne.
Release Date: October 09, 2011
Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy
Duration: 1hr 30mins
From a website called MovieSeer.
I am serious about wishing to know more of Manee Maneewan. If anyone has access to some further facts relating to her — such as where she was born — please feel free to post it!
Edit August 5, 2012 — I located another version of the “Dear John Letter” song that has some different Vietnam War era images of Udon Thani than does the first video I posted above.
มาณี มณีวรรณ [HQ].mp4
Uploaded by naka9496 on Dec 22, 2010