Like Elvis, Michael Jackson may be gone, but he lives on in Pattaya.
Chanapol Khongsri, 22, is one of the city’s best-known Michael Jackson impersonators. Moonwalking and singing at nightspots around Pattaya, this grade-school dropout from Korat earns as much as 4,000 baht a day in tips. For a country crooner, that’s a life changer.
Chanapot said he came to Pattaya three years ago, but was unable to find a “normal” job. After watching the many freak shows and odd performers along Walking Street at night, he decided he could make a name for himself similarly.
Chanapol Khongsri (or Om), the Pattaya Michael Jackson.
Jackson was always an idol for Chanapot and his older relatives had taught him a few magic tricks. So he tried out his luck entertaining tourists. Today he has no problem attracting a crowd. After Jackson died, he took the act further, dressing up and becoming a complete impersonator of the “gloved one.”
Chanapot can be found on Walking Street after 7 p.m. cutting cards, dancing and singing. His tips run about 100,000 baht a month, which has made for a good life for him and his family, who have now been able to afford a new house in Korat.