Volunteers-----the movie

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Thailand: Message Center for Thailand RPCV: Udon Thani RPCVs: While you were serving in the Peace Corps in Thailand did you ever work or travel to Udon Thani? : Volunteers-----the movie

By James I. Jouppi (nakorn) (69-87-141-36.async.iserv.net - on Sunday, July 24, 2005 - 4:42 am: Edit Post

Don't know how many Thailand RPCVs may have seen the movie VOLUNTEERS in 1985 which was set in Thailand but filmed in Mexico with actors who weren't Thai playing Thais. It was based on a story by Keith Critchlow, a professional strategic communicator and a classmate of George Bush and was released shortly after Roland Betts, another Bush classmate, started Silver Screen Partners to subcontract the production of Tri-star movies. The story seemed to borrow from a lot of places and was an obvious takeoff of BRIDGE OVER RIVER KWAI. I personally believe that Tom Hanks' character Lawrence was based on the young George Bush. I believe this for several reasons. First because the movie's early scenes were set at Yale and the movie was put together by Bush's Yale friends while Mr. Bush was on the Board of Directors of Silver Screen. Second because the plotline of Lawrence highjacking a spot on the Peace Corps plane seems very analogous to a story recounted in Secrets of the Tomb where a drunken George Bush apparently once hijacked a spot on the crew of a New Haven Connecticut garbage truck in the early morning hours while still dressed in a three piece suit from a party the night before. Thirdly, of course, would be the boldness and free spirited nature of the character Lawrence in the movie. From what I've read about Mr. Bush, that's apparently what he was like. And fourthy, might as well have a fourthly, because Roland Betts was the guy who was helping Mr. Bush along in his pre-political years. He was Mr. Bush's rush chairman in college at TKE fraternity and later helped him buy the Texas Rangers baseball team. These people were playing to each other, and making big money to do it. (I might say at Peace Corps' expense.) While the movie was obviously a fantasy, there was still some truth to it as well, but the truth, the truth that could and should have been told, was trashed. At least in my opinion. I would note, for example, the discussion started by Leonard Bukzak on the 6th of this month. So what did Mr. Bukzak see? Was he alone in seeing what he saw? Don't any of you all have a comment? As for myself, I was in group 38 and was the last CD volunteer sent to Nakorn Panome until after the insurgents surrendered. I was eventually evicted from Thailand by political enemies. The Peace Corps staff didn't like me, but I had a lot of Thai friends. As surely for others of you, my Peace Corps tour was the best years of my life. And yea, I wrote about all that happened. Bob Shanks, the guy who popularized the 20/20 news show, once asked to see my work. He was urged to do so by Dr. John Shade of the Pearl S. Buck Foundation. Mr. Shade wanted a movie, and I wanted the truth to come out, at least as much as I knew. I never wanted a movie produced which would be a takoff of some garbage truck escapade of the man who would become our president. We were more than that, weren't we? But why were we so independent? Why didn't we support each other? Why did I feel so alone when crunch time finally came? It was like everybody co-opted to "the system". And why why do you all let Mr. Bukzak seem so high and dry all these many years later? Do you think he was just a crazy? Didn't you all see anything? This is the United States of America. We believe in free speech. Tell us what you know in his discussion. I'd appreciate it. And let me know what you know about that movie. And thanks for your support. Jim Jouppi

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