Scandal-hit Thai monk seems to be a master of marketing

Scandal-hit monk seems to be a master of marketing

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Luang Pu Nenkham is a controversial monk today. But months ago, thousands of people held complete faith in him. -The Nation/ANN 
Fri, Jul 12, 2013
The Nation/Asia News Network

THAILAND – How did he manage to command their overwhelming respect and support? The answer might be as simple as a well-crafted marketing plan. It all began many years ago when someone in his close circle reportedly took notice of people wondering why he looked much older in a photo than his true age, then decided to spread a story that he was born to liberate Buddhists from the chain of suffering. Since the rumours circulated, the monk has attracted a huge following. He came to be called a “Luang Pu” – a title usually reserved for a monk old enough to be a grandfather, instead of a man still in his 30s today.His Dharma books boosted his fame even further. Some of them, like “Chart Na Mai Khor Ma Kerd” (I shall not be born again) and “Nippan Mee Jing” (Nirvana exists), became bestsellers. His PR team continued to churn out propaganda, such as that Luang Pu Nenkham was a direct disciple of Lord Buddha but had sinned in Heaven and was sent back to the mortal world, or that people who made merit with Luang Pu Nenkham could join him on his ascent back to Heaven.

Luang Pu Nenkham also made a similar claim in his sermons.

“In Lord Buddha’s life, I was among his 400 disciples. All of my friends became arahant [one who has reached the highest stage of enlightenment]. Because I was the only one who had not yet attained that state, I was instructed to be born for one last time and in this life, I shall lead you all on the path to nirvana,” he said.

Luang Pu Nenkham always chewed betel nuts before delivering his sermons. His voice sounded mature, yet charming and calm.

When he expressed a dream |to establish branches of Wat Pa Khanti Dhamma around the world, his clergy were eager to donate.

When he came up with the idea of casting a giant Emerald Buddha statue, he also insisted a god had directed him to do so.

Luang Pu Nenkham’s PR team has cleverly exploited online media to create an outstanding image for this young monk, who has a website under his name.

The website www.luangpunenkham.com is clearly well designed to promote Luang Pu Nenkham.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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