The Burden of Being a Prominent Thai Woman–and Being Called a Slut

From Manager, November 22, 2012
Left: He… You! Not every Thai woman is like a Patpong woman.
Caption: Thai woman scolds womanizing farang men in the past
[Patpong area on Silom road in Bangkok is known for its prostitution industry.]
Right: Hey… You! Not every Thai woman is like the Thai Prime Minister.
Caption: [Thai woman scolds womanizing farang men] today

[Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s opponents harshly criticized her for her body language towards U.S. President Barack Obama. Such criticisms and insinuations of being a slut are often leveled at high-profile Thai women.]

From Thairath, November 25, 2012
Cartoon title: Thailand, the land of smiles
[This cartoon series has a couple of interesting examples of the chauvinistic attitudes towards females acting in nontraditional roles.]

Top left: Smile at the surveillance camera eyes of Sgt. Choey [Sgt. Choey is a police dummy installed mostly at traffic lights across the country.]

Top middle: Smile at the Comfort 100 in cars [Comfort 100 is a brand name of portable toilets for usage in cars.]

Top right: Smile at independent teenagers who have their equipment injected to expand their sizes. [refers to young Thai men who receive injections in their penis’ to enlarge them–often resulting in severe health problems]

Lower left: Smile at the G to G rice trading deal, the government’s top secret. [Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom claimed that the government made a deal with the Chinese government on a government to government basis to export rice to China. When asked for more details, Boonsong declined claiming that it is a government secret. The opposition doubts the truth of the deal since, to comply with international trade agreements, the price of the rice would have be commensurate with the inflated prices the government is paying to farmers for the rice.]

Lower middle: Scandalously smile at Obama
[Reference is to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s gestures and smiles toward Barak Obama which have been fiercely criticized by government critics in Thailand for not being appropriate. In the Thai world, being called a “slut” like this is an extra burden women in public positions have to bear.]

Lower right: Smile at the confession: “Yes, I am Thaksin’s lackey. Have you just found out, Khun Somjit?”
[The speaker is Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Ubumrung. He said this in reply to Somchit Navakruasoonthorn, a reporter for Channel 7.
During an interview, Chalerm became upset with Somchit so much that he accused her of being biased toward the Democrat Party and announced that he would not give any interview if Somchit were among the reporters.
Somchit fired back at Chalerm asking what he would do if she accused him of being Thaksin’s lackey. Chalerm replied that he has been Thaksin’s lackey for a long time.
Boisterous male Thai politicians like Chalerm or the late Samak often take a threatening or aggressive stance against female reporters who speak up to them.]

From Manager, November 21, 2012
In the U.S. President Barack Obama’s hand reads: Thaa
President Obama: I don’t want it… But she forced it [into my hand].
Caption: A souvenir from Yingluck

[At Obama’s side is the U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. On the building’s stairs are Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Foreign Minister Surapong Towichakchaikul.
The point being made is that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra “gave thaa” or “hai thaa” to President Obama.
“Hai thaa” in Thai is saying means “flirting” or “seductive.”
Like other women who dare to present themselves in a prominent way in the Thai world, Yingluck is criticized for being flirtatious.]

Also from Gawker: America, Meet Your New First Lady: Obama’s Foreign Side Piece, the Prime Minister of Thailand

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6 Responses to The Burden of Being a Prominent Thai Woman–and Being Called a Slut

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