During the WWII, more than 180,000 Asian civilians and 60,000 Allied POWs were forced to build a railway for the Japanese military between Thailand and Burma. The story of one of these POWs–and the Thai woman who forever changed his life–is the focus of a new heart-breaking ad-doc produced by Thai telecom company, True Move H. In it, a hopeless POW is beaten half to death by Japanese soldiers. A Thai girl reaches out to comfort him, only to be tortured by the same soldiers for her small display of empathy. After the war, the POW is freed; miraculously, he has learned to trade despair for hope and spends the rest of his days working to feed the poor. Many years later, the POW’s daughter goes searching for that Thai girl to learn what spoken wisdom healed her father’s wounded heart.
She’s startled to learn that there had been no words at all, only the simple act of one stranger reaching for the hand of another. It’s a touching demonstration of the message, “Compassion Is True Communication.”
If this tagline and cinematic quality of “Compassion” seem familiar, then you’ve likely seen True Move H’s previous viral sensation, “Giving Is The Best Communication,” about a boy who is caught stealing food for his sick mother and receives free soup instead of a beating. Years later, we watch the boy–now a doctor–pay that small kindness forward with a remarkable act of generosity. When that ad was released in 2013, it was linked with the rise of “sadvertising”–brands trying to burrow into the consumer consciousness by moving them to tears. This may still be true, but in tandem, both True Move H spots are also promoting the benefits of silent action–charity and compassion. It’s a notable approach for a company whose primary business is speech.
“Compassion” is accompanied by a separate documentary about the building of the railroad, including interviews with survivors. Unfortunately, you have to speak or read Thai to get the specifics.