How To Be A Trendy Thai Teenager….2008

(Due to the sudden death of Princess Galyani and the sensitivity of the moment, i replaced my intended article with this unserious one at the last moment. I hope you understand. It is based on an older blog of mine titled ‘How…to be a trendy Thai teenager!’ Below, is the original un-edited submission)

(Thai girls in the latest fashion)

Over the years, we have been inundated with an extortionate amount of guides on to how to behave properly in The Land of Smiles – more often than not originating from the great brains at the Culture Ministry. No need to think for oneself, there is plenty of helpful literature on the likes of ‘How to be a good subservient wife’, ‘How to be a diligent undrunk husband’ and ‘How to honour ones parents correctly’. But for today, entering this new year, perhaps it’s time to write up some brand-new guidelines for all those wanna-be trendy teenagers out there who want to get hip, get seen and get noticed.

Now, if you wanna be a trendy urban Thai teenager, it’s first paramount to get yourself out of your cheap back-alley government school and into a groovy institution, preferably one with a cool saintly sounding name. On applying for entry, it doesn’t matter whether you are as thick as a plank of wood or a complete delinquent – what matters, is daddy’s handsome donation. Once enrolled, you will first be able kit yourself out in the school’s splendidly nice uniform with the school’s emblem clearly patched on the shirt pocket (thus differentiating yourself from all the underprivileged slum kids) before being seen sipping green tea at some over-rated, but trendy, downtown Japanese food bar. Then, on the way home by skytrain with your pack of friends, just be as loud and hysterical as you possibly can. You are going to a prestigious school, so you can get away with lots of obnoxious public behaviour.

Bangkok, the epicenter of trendy high schools, is also home to trillions of over-priced private tutorial schools where you can really go and show-off at the weekend. Even though such institutions teach nothing different to what your school teaches, you can be rest-assured that just being there is a step in a trendy direction. If there is any week that you can’t be bothered listening to that boring Farang English teacher anymore, just don’t turn up – go instead to some cool shopping vicinity around the Siam Square area and sit around all day flirting with other good-looking trendy teenagers.

For girls on a day out in the town, it is essential to be dressed up in something simply saucy to steal the spotlight, as of course, you don’t need to have any onlookers presume you are some kind of low-class country bumpkin. Should your grandmother at home be in the habit of inspecting your attire before you go out, do the appropriate thing; stick a spaghetti top, strapless brassiere, short jean skirt and make-up box in your backpack. On leaving the house, show your granny that you are wearing something old-fashionably decent – before of course, to her complete indifference, getting changed at the nearest public toilet.

(Get yourself some of this stuff lads and look even whiter – the girls will love ya!)

Getting dressed up in the latest fashionable clothes these days though, isn’t quite enough to be a totally trendy female teenager. To really look cool, after splashing on a whole bottle of newly purchased whitening lotion in the above mentioned toilet, head straight for some swank mall or the likes of, to get dolled up in some hip trendy accessories. Common favourites these days, besides only fake cosmetic braces, are naval pierces, fingernail decorations and very recently, strands of colourful hair tinsel to make you look like a Christmas tree.

Now this is Asia kids, the copy-center of the world, so if your mom is a bit on the thrifty side, just make do with, as we say in Thailand, a ‘Grade A Copy’. Forget all the corny counterfeit rubbish they knock off to gullible foreign tourists at the likes of Pratunam and Chatuchak markets – you have to find the ‘hot copies’. To do so, head in the direction of one of the capital’s flashier markets and you’ll soon be offered, under the table, ‘Made in China’ stuff resembling the exact same products offered at flashy department stores on Ploen Chit Road. Kitted out nicely, you’ll be looking like the offspring of a former prime minister.

Again, even if you don’t have much cash, you can still look cool by hanging around suave places with your face and hair done up to the heavens, swearing noisily at all your friends and laughing at bedraggled Farang tourists and their sunburned faces. Then, if you are really fortunate, you may be approached by a ‘Maew Mong’ (modeling scout) who is on the look out for some trendy kids to appear in a groovy TV commercial or a fashion mag. Be warned though, the competition is fierce, there will be hundreds of other kids squatting around that very same area hoping to catch the attention of the ‘Maew Mong’.

So what about the lads, you may ask, what are they to do to attract the attention of the nation and especially soap opera style pretty girls with smooth skin and nose-jobs? Well, fortunately, this is the 21st century and men’s rights have arrived – none of that 1970s macho-man nonsense anymore, and no need to feel like a narcissist. Pop along to your local pharmacy cum beauty shop and stock up on a myriad of products to dazzle yourself up. Popular items now among trendy male teenagers are ‘Whitening lotions for men’, ‘Lipstick for lads’ and ‘Chest and facial hair cream removers’. On your way back home, don’t forget to pop into a shoe store too and buy some brown boot polish for your hair. Rub that in and the local girls will mistake you for some famous Korean hunk.

And on the subject of ‘Korean’, if you wanna join the leagues of the ultra-trendy, and if you are a girl especially, it is mandatory to find an idol from that part of the world and fork out some baht to join his online fan club. As for your fuddy-duddy neighbours and parents, they will probably have no idea who your Kim Il Sung look-alike is, but so what? They don’t even know the meaning of the word ‘trendy’.

Now, all this information may be all right for kids from well-to-do families but how about some guidelines for ‘kids from the sticks’. Well, no need to fret, but just make sure you acquire for yourself a speedy motorbike which can be modified to sound louder than anything you’ve heard at Suvarnabhumi Airport. The next step to getting trendy, is to join some racing gang that terrifies the local population in suburban areas at 2 in the clock in the morning. Then, to put the icing on the cake, look for some junior high girl who is willing to put her life at risk and plonk herself on the back. You want your buddies to know that Speed=brave=girls!

Well, if you haven’t the cash to buy a motorbike and so unable to join a racing mob, then never mind, just join another kind of gang, one that runs havoc around town looking for punch-ups. First though, to find such companions, it is statutory to attend a technical college renowned for its rivalry. Once there and after befriending a few classmates, it’s time to bunk off class early and go in search for some suckers at another techno college up the road. Just think how trendy you will look when you’re seen chasing some rival school students down the road while toting half a bus stop pole.

As you will realize by now, the country and especially the capital is already swamped with trendy teenagers. And who are we, as adults, to criticize them? As they are of course, just a result of the kind of society we have made for them. If you aren’t happy about this continuing behavioural trend of the youth, then you have only got us grown-ups to blame.

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