Tradional, Thai, and Topless

In the recet debacle over the sale of nude photos to help an Aids hospice, it seems the people in charge of culture in this country have forgotten their past. Look at these comments:

Prisana Pongtadsirikul, secretary-general of the National Culture Commission, said that being charity-minded was good but their deeds should also be responsible to the whole society. She said the ministry had been trying to promote polite and traditional Thai-style clothing ahead of the Thai New Year festival, so she would prefer these public figures to set good examples for youths nationwide.

Ladda Tangsupachai, director of the Culture Watch Centre, said she understood the good intentions of the organiser and celebrities but they might lack cultural understanding that merit-making money should be earned from decent methods and sources. She also expressed concern that the affair might confuse young people who have been criticised for wearing revealing clothes.

Venerable Phramaha Samai Jintakosako from the Saeng Thian Foundation said that, … taking nude pictures was inappropriate and against Thai culture and tradition.

Against Thai culture? So a topless statue and this mural at the Grand Palace are no longer appropriate? It was only 50-60 years ago, when Thais were being persuaded to move away from their “topless culture” to dress more ‘Western’. Left: A Thai government poster from the Marshal Plaek Pibulsonggram-era (1938-1945) promoting the “civilized” form of dress.”

So 50 years ago, we have a government encouraging Thai women to put their shirts on. Today we have culture ‘experts’ trying to tell you that it’s in line with “Thai Culture” to dress modestly.

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