Thailand: A Sign ‘O’ The (naughty) Times

(Typical ad: Un-Thai….or just the reality of modern day Thailand?)

(The following blog was published yesterday on the Opinion Page of ‘The Nation’ newspaper entitled – ‘Coyote training starts right from the cradle’. Here below, however, is the originally submitted un-edited version)

There seems to have been a whole load of fanfare recently about Thailand’s latest craze, Coyote Dancing Girls and whether the authorities in charge ought to pump up the legal age for such ‘Pretty Girls’ to 20 or/and just ban them altogether.

It could be argued though that looking naughty, acting flirtatiously and wearing skimpy revealing clothes are now as engrained within modern Thai society as the dreaded TV Game Show. No need to suddenly turn around, do the Culture Ministry thing, and blame the West for its influence as here below is the ‘amazing’ reality:

In this modern day of age, before the cute Bangkokian girly baby can even say ‘Ma-ma’ her proud mother is parading her around the capital’s air-conditioned shopping malls hoping to hear delightful praise of “What a cute little baby, such a nice nose with lovely fair-skin”. Dressed-up in a cute little baby outfit with her hair done up in a big fancy bow, mom is showing off her tiny package to ever passer-by as if she were a Barbie doll. As for the pitiful baby, no remorse is shown as she is left to shiver away in the sub-zero temperatures, with a big blue nose and pleading for a warm cot. As for baby-less women, they can take a cute little doggy instead.

A few years later and cute little baby has grown into a healthy toddler at kindergarten school. Then, even before she can count to ten, Mom and teacher are already training her for the life of a beauty queen wanna-be. Dressed-out in a kit of high-heels, a mini skirt, colourful stockings and her face plastered in make-up she is waltzed off to the local temple or town show to dance away on stage mimicing some popular Look Thung (Thai-Country Music) dancer. Absolutely, the kind of on-stage performance the likes of John Mark Karr would be fondly fascinated with.

Now, the Education Ministry may not be the staunchest supporter of sexy high school behaviour, but they certainly don’t seem to mind and the traditional annual ‘Sports Day’ is a fine example of officials and teachers turning a blind eye to naughty behaviour.

There is no other day of the school calendar year which pretty-looking High School girls eagerly wait more for than the traditional ‘Colour Sports Day’. In contrary to the given name for such an event, sports do not take the highest priority, but looking raunchy does. With the full backing of parents and teachers, all the best looking girls are chosen to be the sexy saucy cheerleaders for the day. Now, if you have ever witnessed such an event, you may have been rather shocked to see the likes of Grade 9 girls again dressed-up in sultry skirts, knee-high leather boots and even suspenders. I have never once heard about the Culture or Education Ministry with their arms in the air bemoaning at such a sizzling spectacle and complaining to the likes of ‘Oooooh, that is so Un-Thai’. So, why is this culturely acceptable and Coyote dancing for mature girls perhaps, not? Mmm, makes me wonder!

I had another memorable laugh lately reading some delightful quotes from the honourable voices of Educational officials “We have our dress regulations and our students ought to adhere to our strict university uniform recommendations”. The truth of the matter though is, universities realize that if they seriously enforced dress regulations then their freshy entrance figures for the following year would plummet by 50%. Not a very bright business proposal. Lack of enforcement about naughty dress is indeed supported and even promoted.

Anyone who has ever been in Bangkok for a single day would not have failed to spot university girls in tops so extremely short and tight that you can view even their belly-buttons from fifty metres away. As for Technical Colleges, one of their finest marketing strategies to coax potential new female students is their cute looking student outfits – Japanese-style. There are even celebrated annual awards to be won and the educational establishments enjoy nothing more than having their lovely Lolitas participating in such national ‘kinky teckno outfit’ competitions.

Skimpy revealing clothing is everywhere and there is no need to come out with the classicly boring phrase “Western Influence’ anymore. The trendy modern girl needs only turn on the afternoon TV to admire legions of Look Thung singers and their dancers bopping away across the screens showing off their motherly assets. If the authorities think they can clampdown on Coyote dancing, they ought to ban first the likes of pop sensation Tata Young who loves thrilling her fans in the smallest bikinis which she can morally get away with. Again, I haven’t heard from the Culture Ministry calling her Un-Thai! Are you sniffing double standards here?

And on the subject of bikinis, why suddenly all the hype about Coyote girls and theirs? One, of any age, needs only to visit a newspaper stand to be struck with the sight of bikini-clad models posing for the front covers of TV magazines. Open up a copy and you will see lots of back-alley clinics advertising nose-jobs, eyelid-jobs, lip jobs and other services which I daren’t mention here. Even Thailand’s best-selling national newspaper frequently has a pic of a well-known star in hot bikini attire plastered on the front. Let us not forget the ever influential TV Soap Opera which is packed out with actresses dressed in spaghetti tops flaunting the highest technological bodily-operations.

Besides Coyote Girls, teeth-braces and Botox, one the land’s other newest fads are ‘Women Talk Shows’. Now, some of these programs may have their presenters dressed respectably but others have them posed in skirts so short you can almost hear the cameraman advising them to ‘Just don’t budge an inch!’ What is even worse for grandmother to bear is that many of these ‘pretties’ are again presented in their university uniforms. Thailand just loves beauty and there are presently female chat shows aimed specifically at “Barely Teens’ ‘Single working women’ and even one actually entitled ‘30, but still hot!’

Having frequented Thai-style discos since I first arrived here, I really can’t understand once again all the sudden fuss about Coyote Girls. To me they are just an old product in a new package and nothing outrageously different to the kind of entertainment which such establishments have been dishing out to their customers for years and years. I had never once failed to see a platoon of saucy looking girls and semi-naked dancers at Thai discos before the arrival of Coyote dancing.

As an advocate for people’s rights, you are not going to hear me moan too much about such every day scenarios. However, I would agree that there ought to be some kind of enforced restrictions to the limits of public obscenity and especially at places of worship and education.

Every day, we hear about the decadence of young Thai girls, but who truly as an adult has the right to decipher whether all this is right or wrong, when this kind of behaviour is only a reflection of Thailand which the elder generations have not only laid down the foundations for, but also allowed, supported and promoted.

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