Last edited: December 31, 2004

Thai Warning ‘Don’t Promote Loose Sex’

Liberal attitudes among female students and gay programmes on TV give rise to concern

Straits Times, June 6, 2004

BANGKOK—FIRST, there was the warning that many Bangkok girls think it is ‘cool’ to e-mail to others pictures of themselves in the nude or having sex.

Now, a senior Cultural Ministry official has warned that television programmes showing homosexual behaviour could cross the line of decency.

She wants something done—now—about liberal sex attitudes in the country.

Ms Ladda Thangsupachai, head of the ministry’s Cultural Watch Centre, warned early last week that young Thais in big cities were getting a distorted notion of sexuality because of easy access to pornography on the Internet and mobile phones.

As a result, Thai values that extol chastity among women are being replaced by obscene and aggressive sexual behaviour, she said.

‘Some female students upload pictures of themselves having sex and other nude pictures so other people can see them because they think it’s cool,’ she said.

Such behaviour, she added, was representative of a free-sex society which could lead to problems such as premarital pregnancies, rape and crime.

The Cultural Watch Centre is conducting seminars across Thailand as part of its fight against pornography and hopes to make the campaign a national issue.

One possible solution would be to appeal to Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to allocate funds for cracking down on obscenity.

The ministry would also suggest that cultural watch centres be set up in all schools, Ms Ladda said.

A few days after she spoke out against pornography, Dr Kla Somtrakul, deputy permanent secretary at the ministry, said it planned to ask local television stations not to air images of homosexual behaviour, describing it as ‘sexually deviant’. But the final decision would be left to the broadcasters.

Dr Kla pointed out the ministry’s concern about the effects on society of programmes featuring gays.

‘Many parents told me that they are worried that their children would have sexually deviant behaviour after viewing such behaviour on TV,’ he told The Nation newspaper.

Some television producers said they would cooperate with the proposed directive, though they dismissed the ministry’s concerns.

‘There is a third sex in the world and TV shows merely reflect reality,’ said Mr Yutthana Lophanpaibul, an openly gay television director.

‘Maybe there are too many male comedians dressing in women’s costumes. If so, then they should cut it down,’ he said.

Although Thailand is a conservative Buddhist society, homosexuality and cross-dressing are widely tolerated and transvestite cabaret shows are a popular tourist attraction.

On television, gays are usually shown dressed up in women’s clothes or as effeminates prancing about, waving hands, fluttering eyelashes and talking with exaggerated accents.

— AP, The Nation/Asia News Network 

[Home] [World] [Thailand]