Anyone that has spent any amount of time in Thailand would know straight away what is so wrong about these pictures. For me these images are shocking and I almost didn’t reproduce them here. However, I think it is important for anyone planning a trip to Thailand to understand how important the three pillars of Thai society are to the Thai people. namely: The King, The Religion and The Nation. As a guest in this country you must never show any form of disrespect to any of these three pillars.
These pictures were taken by university students who were visiting the country in the 1920’s. Of course, we live in a different world these days and i would hope that most people are now culturally sensitive. However, I do remember when I first came here reading in the Lonely Planet of a group of backpackers who were arrested after taking their film to be developed. They had taken pictures of themselves in poses much the same as the one above. What must be understood, even if a Buddha image is old and in ruin, the Thai people still show the highest amount of respect. Please do the same when you are visiting temples.
Another story that I often heard when I first came here was of a passenger on a Thai Airways flight that said derogatory things about the royal family while the plane was in the air. Apparently the cabin crew radioed ahead and he was arrested as soon as he landed in Thailand. Now comes another story of a foreigner being arrested this week for spray painting over portraits of His Majesty the King. If convicted he could face up to 15 years in prison.
My advice to you is that if you are travelling in any foreign country, please do your utmost best to understand the local culture. There are plenty of websites about the culture and lifestyle in Thailand so before you come here for the first time then please make the effort and do some research.
The above picture was first posted on the excellent 2Bangkok.com website. The full story about the foreigner arrested this week can be read on thailandQA.com.
30 responses to “Disrespecting Thailand”