Talk:S. P. Somtow

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Edits by Somtow?[edit]

It appears, given User:Somtow's editting history, that Template:Notable Wikipedian might be appropriate here. What do others think? Can we prove this is actually S.P. Somtow or should we just ask? Kit O'Connell (Todfox: user / talk / contribs) 15:51, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

Opera name request[edit]

Friends ... someone keeps "correcting" the spelling of my opera, Mae Naak (which also causes it to link to the wrong article). Would appreciate it if they would stop ... all best ... Somtow —Preceding unsigned comment added by Somtow (talkcontribs) 07:48, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

Somtow is Somtow[edit]

User:Somtow is S.P. Somtow. I know this for a fact since I was there when he created the account. So, Template:Notable Wikipedian then...? What think ye?  :-) Trisdee 04:22, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

Done! :) Kit O'Connell (Todfox: user / talk / contribs) 04:42, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

Arrangement of photos[edit]

Out of respect for Her Majesty the Queen and members of the Royal Family, I wonder if the photos on this page should be rearranged so that the Queen with Somtow is at the top, then HRH Princess Galyani, and finally the dramatic photo of Maestro Somtow himself (perhaps it could be moved a bit lower and flush left)? I know that Wikipedia is not Thailand, still the subject of this article lives there. Just a thought. Wisekwai

As an international encyclopedia, I think the emphasis should be on illustrating the subject of the article. The image of "Maestro Somtow" as you put it is the best illustration of the man himself and therefore should be first. From the perspective of the article alone, the other photos merely illustrate his associations with those illustrious people. Since they are documenting groups, Somtow is much less visible and emphasized in these photos, so I don't think they should be first. Kit O'Connell (Todfox: user / talk / contribs) 21:33, 24 March 2006 (UTC)


I'm confused by the opening statement which says he's a "Thai American musical composer" and then never again in the article mentions the United States. Is he a current or past resident of the United States? Where does he hold citizenship?--Prosfilaes (talk) 03:38, 6 May 2009 (UTC)

I'd say the opening statement needs revision. Somtow is a past resident of the US (and UK) where he made a name for himself composing music, but is currently resident in Bangkok where he is composing operas. He is a subject of HM the King, to whom Somtow is distantly related, and from whom he needed permission to change his name.

-- comment from Somtow: I am a dual national. I've lived in the UK (as the above note from someone or other states) but have never had a British passport. I hold both Thai and U.S. passports. At the moment I am mostly living in Thailand. I did not in fact change my legal name, merely switched it around for "pen-name" purposes, so I did not need permission to change the royally-granted surname. Anyway, the Thai American rubric is possibly more appropriate since the Library of Congress lists my books under "fiction, American". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:19, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

None of this is from a reliable source, unfortunately. Furthermore, the lead paragraph of an article should be a summary of what follows; it shouldn't have anything in it that's not backed up later in the article.--Prosfilaes (talk) 22:36, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

-- I am now logging in to confirm that the above "comment from Somtow" is in fact from me, the subject of this article. I don't want to continue to butt in, but I would appreciate the restoration of my correct nationality. I do feel that I have dispelled Mr Prosfilaes's confusion adequately. Thanks. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Somtow (talkcontribs) 17:41, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

WP:V.--Prosfilaes (talk) 14:17, 14 August 2009 (UTC)
Keeping WP:BLP in mind, perhaps Mr Somtow could satisfy everyone's needs by posting an entry providing relevant data at his official blog, This need not be permanent; WebCite[1] can be used to provide a permanent link for Wikipedia's referencing needs. -- (talk) 18:50, 14 August 2009 (UTC)

-- Dear Friends, I don't understand why the subject of my nationality has been the subject of so much back-and-forth discussion when I've informed you myself that I am a dual national. I'm not entirely sure what would constitute a reliable source if the person in question is not one ... Indeed, the SEA Write award speech referred to in the body of this article tells the story of how I became an American citizen ... it was at one time published on my website, but I believe it is also in the Archives of "The Nation" newspaper. Best wishes, -- Somtow —Preceding unsigned comment added by Somtow (talkcontribs) 15:42, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

The problem here is that your posting here does not constitute a reliable source, as an imposter could easily create a Wikipedia account with the name. As noted above, a post on your website is one way to solve the problem. (I could not locate the speech transcriptions.) --Paul_012 (talk) 18:44, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
A simple search on Factiva reveals the references the person writing above as Somtow mentioned. It's almost as if one could have found such references if one could be bothered to look. Per Occam's Razor, the likelihood someone is impersonating Somtow above is very low. I've updated the article to reflect the "new" years-old information, and will remove the "disputed" box in a few days, without objection. Hal (talk) 00:03, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
The odds that someone is using a basic social engineering hack to spread disinformation is hardly unlikely and steps to avoid that are critical if Wikipedia is to preserve the reliability it has.--Prosfilaes (talk) 00:14, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
I'm not saying that spoofing an identity is unlikely as a general concern. I'm saying the subject's behavior in this particular instance makes such spoofing unlikely this time. (Eg, making reference to easily verifiable sources, prior verified edits, etc.) Hal (talk) 17:36, 9 September 2009 (UTC)
Prosfilies, please WP:AGF and don't bite the newbies. This is uncontroversial and unpromotional info, so self-sourcing is fine, and if there's any doubt about User:Somtow actually being Somtow, the standard way to handle it is by email confirmation with WP:OTRS. (talk) 20:33, 2 July 2010 (UTC)


Controversy section retitled SEA Award speech by anonymous editor saying it was not clear what the controversy was, so I'll try to clear that up. The ousting of the elected government by the Royal Thai Armed Forces in the 2006 Thailand coup was the immediate controversy, in protest of which previously scheduled keynote speaker, the Nobel Prize laureate Wole Soyinka, withdrew. Somtow scorned Wole's action, but soon thereafter was himself embroiled in controversy over the on-stage death of the demon-king in his opera Ayodhya. State officials acting under the junta controversially censored the scene on the grounds that such depiction of regicide was ominous, and even more controversially asserted the right to "immediately shut down the opera in mid-performance if, in their sole opinion, a breach of 'tradition' occurs," 'tradition' in this context being anything at all that hints of controversy with the way public order is traditionally maintained in Thailand. It is even controversial to talk about it. It is a controversy that extends back at least to the beginning of the 25th Buddhist Century, and looks likely to continue at least until the end of this one. Does this clarify the matter?

I think I would write the description a little differently then. I may try to work on it later. (talk) 20:35, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
That would be greatly appreciated. Can't do it myself as NPOV meter is pegged. TIT (That 's the way It is in Thailand.) Wole's pegged because junta had ousted a democratically elected government; Somtow's pegged in one direction because prior actions of that government had been controversially far from democratic, then pegged in the opposite direction when he found it controversial to the point of being prohibited to stage the death of a king, even a nasty demon king from myth of yore. I can intuit why that would be, but my intuitions are even less reliable than most. Maybe some day Somtow will re-write it as a comic opera.

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Article needs a bibliography.[edit]

Just sayin', needs one. Bizzybody (talk) 07:17, 29 October 2012 (UTC)