Moonlight Chicken has now closed, leaving behind memorable characters that were flawed and complex, giving a sense of realism to the BL world. The character that intrigued me the most was Uncle Jim. He is not the usual fare for a lead protagonist in a BL series. He is a brooding, haunted man who is a product of growing up gay in a far more intolerant society than today.
You can watch Moonlight Chicken for free at GMMTV’s official YouTube channel. Episode 1 is here.
How many more times can you hear, “I’m almost 40.” before it needs to be said, “Bitch, please!” Wait until you’re almost fifty, and then you’ll have something to be concerned about. Yet, still, it does give the audience a date stamp on the time period Uncle Jim lived through as a young person. We are all shaped by the society in which we grew up.
Let’s face it: Uncle Jim (Earth Pirapat) has experienced a rough and raw past. He has been fraught with trauma and betrayal, which have been further compounded by his experiences as a gay man. He grew up in a time when society was far less evolved than it is now. There were no BL serials to show him what same-sex love could be or the positive worth of a relationship with another man. He, like many LGBTIQA+ people, had to run away from home in order to live their truth.
Uncle Jim versus the world
He was surrounded by a society that thought, like his sister, that two men could not love as well as a heterosexual couple. He fought that ideology by forging a life with a man who hoped for a bright future that would make his sister eat her own words.
Except, maybe she was right after all? He had met a great guy who he thought was his until he ended up betraying him. From his point of view, Beam was secretly cheating on him with a woman. Perhaps the whole damn world had a point? Heterosexual love would always trump his kind.
If that wasn’t a hefty enough kick in the nuts, his lover dies in a tragic accident, taking all the answers to his watery grave and leaving not just a grief-stricken Uncle Jim but a man without closure.
Just think about how shocked and confused he would be, followed by the pain that would be impossible to describe. When he was unable to get closure, especially over whether Beam truly loved him, you can understand why he wanted to build a wall to protect himself from that kind of pain ever happening again.
Uncle Jim is haunted by the Past
The wall was further strengthened when Beam’s parents took everything from him that was in their son’s name because they could. There was no legal protection for Uncle Jim, like same-sex marriage, further supporting the notion that two men weren’t the same as a man and a woman.
The parents dismissed him as insignificant in their son’s life. Uncle Jim lost all of Beam in one sweep. Their life together had been reduced to one cat and a lot of unanswered questions.
Of course, a man still has needs, no matter how high the wall is. He got his valve release through one-night stands. Not the first or last gay to do so. What tripped him up was Wen (Mix Sahaphap) getting under his skin. He never gave up; he persisted, almost relentlessly.
Yet, every time a situation came up that had the potential to hurt him, he would reinforce that damn wall. Yet the wall was keeping him stuck in place. Dealing with those unanswered questions was a way to start removing those bricks and moving beyond that wall.
Uncle Jim and Li Ming
So, after everything he had been through, it is no wonder the man reacted the way he did when he found out about Li Ming. He believed that his nephew was destined to face the same treatment. Unfortunately, for their relationship, it did come across as hypocrisy.
Yet, Li Ming (Fourth Nattawat) became responsible for those final bricks falling away. His mature view of himself was a learning curve for Uncle Jim. His nephew was showing much more self-assurance than he had been.
He also got to witness the affection that Li Ming had for Heart. Pure and sweet. Unbothered by society. There is no doubt that his experience as a young person is different. Li Ming wasn’t worried about loving Heart because there were far greater challenges, like how he was going to climb out of the poverty trap. Some may think him idealistic, but I say, you do you.
Uncle Jim isn’t perfect. He was talking without listening to Li Ming while keeping Wen at a distance. He was the first to help others but was resistant to receiving such help. I mean, how many times can you give back a title deed before someone calls out your bullshit?
He was also willing to be a friend to someone until things got complicated. He was contradictory in his behavior to prevent anyone from getting too close which could threaten the integrity of his wall.
The Final Word
Yet by dismantling that wall, the character appeared lighter and more affectionate, going to bat for his nephew and giving in to Wen’s advances. He was far more approachable and willing to break out of his comfortable world. He dared to dream once again.
And that is why I find Uncle Jim to be such a fascinating character—because he is relatable. His journey came from a place of truth. The ebb and flow of his choices provide a vehicle for growth. People who have walked a similar path will get him, while those who haven’t, I hope, will appreciate his story much more. He has had a reset for love. A renewal for a chicken rice seller because it is never too late to start again, even if you’re almost forty.
Psycho Weird deemed it worthy to create a special section for Moonlight Chicken where you can browse a selection of articles, among which are:
Daz James is an undiscovered writer living in Australia who is an advocate for LGBTIQA+ representation in media. He has come to love BL serials in recent years having been bewitched by the genre through Innocence – Bangkok Love Stories and Together With Me series. He provides commentary on all things not just BL serials on Twitter and Instagram.