People the world over are obsessed by beauty. Obsessed by doing everything they can to be people they are not and never can be.
Pasty white westerners want a tan so they can show they have been on holiday to somewhere exotic. Asians of a darker complexion will sell their very soul for the latest treatment or whitening cream.
Those challenged by the scales of weighing justice put themselves through the misery of fad diets and expensive supplements to try and waste away while the short of height balance precariously on high heels ruining their posture.
If only more people would invest in improving themselves mentally rather than physically – the world might be in better “shape” if they did.
Even the complete newbie to Thailand will realize that this clamor for beauty is nothing short of an Olympiad of Obsession in the Land of Smiles.
Those who call themselves “black” want to be whiter while those who are pale skinned are still not satisfied and want to be lighter still.
Who has not seen unnecessary braces on already straight teeth or ridiculous contact lenses that make pretty women look like bizarre aliens?
Many Thai women are convinced they must look like Koreans or even the fake “pretties” they see adorning Facebook ads who are portrayed as some sort of attainable and much needed ideal.
For goodness sake, even Thai men have got in on the act this year; not satisfied with just wanting to enlarge their endowment they want to whiten their “jao lokes”.
When I arrived in Thailand – rather by accident in 1982 after turning left rather than right – I was immediately blown away by the inherent beauty of the people. Perhaps I should clarify that – the beauty of the women.
While there are some handsome Thai men I think there are far better specimens in India, the Middle East and many parts further West.
When it came to women I always felt – and this is my own taste – that the most stunning women in the world were Japanese, Polish or Brazilian.
But when you looked at the percentages there are far more exceptionally beautiful women in Thailand than elsewhere – especially those from everyday walks of life.
What male has not marveled at a shopping center or even a construction site at the sheer beauty of the Thai! Maybe some foreign women do too….though few told me that they did.
Rooster was lucky enough in marrying two Thais and being presented with children that so far have all been models of one kind or another – without any surgery bar a bit of teeth straightening. Without any supplements or cosmetics past shampoo and soap.
Their mothers included, these offspring have bucked the trend of laser losers and all that Botox bollox. Fortunately they got their looks from mum – and a few “be happy with what you have” genes from dad.
This week on Thaivisa saw the encroaching denouement of several high profile – and quite hilarious cases – of Thais attempting beautification. In all these experts have stepped in to make dreams come true and naturally enjoy a bit of free advertising.
The first saw Aunty Anan who bought her dentures on Facebook for 1,550 baht given a new set of gnashers for nowt by a Rayong dentist. Her smile will soon replace the grimace she got when opening the package in the mail.
“Meemee”, the man in Surin who makes the Elephant Man look good and who got in the news because of his naturally pretty wife, will go under the knife at Chula Hospital after up-country docs responded to social media pressure and referred him.
While a beauty salon lady has stepped in to help a woman who had two 200 baht eyebrow tattoos that were so thick they looked more like ads for Mars bars and made her look vaguely Martian to boot.
Of course, these were cases of people who really needed to do something to improve their appearance, even the eyebrow woman who bore a striking resemblance to watch man Prawit.
The deputy PM really needs a makeover though perhaps not as much as his boss the pocket general.
Prayut who has tried his best in 2018 to reinvent himself has failed miserably as his appearance at Newin Chidchob’s Buriram Bash on Sunday proved.
Courting the famous “kingmaker”, who never made a king but helped such souls as Thaksin and Abhisit in power, is a typical move. So too are the junta’s ‘oh so obvious’ moves to stop any politicians from continuing to be in bed with the Shinawatra’s after visits to the former PM and his sister in Singapore.
The new political fraternization laws are clearly intended to ease the path of Prayut back to power next year by weakening the latest reincarnation of Pheu Thai, though I wondered this week if the general was casting an eye over to Malaysia after elections there.
Not that yesterday’s Dr Mahathir at 92 represents the future or is some angel – rather more that the Malaysian people have rejected an alleged embezzler who introduced draconian measures to stifle both public and press and had his main opposition incarcerated on trumped up charges of sodomy.
Really, it makes Thailand look tame by comparison except perhaps that here it is done with even more barefaced cheek and that famous smile…..
Everyone knows that an election would bring Thaksin or his cronies back to power and Prayut is desperate. Not for him that old Thai world method of vote buying – he is just splashing the cash to the tune of 20 billion baht on four of the main north eastern provinces (Though, amusingly he did say that Newin might not get the lion’s share….)
Paul Chamber, a Thailand based expert said it best describing Big Too and his new bedfellow: “Prayut has become the ultimate hypocrite” using (alleged) corrupt politicians to further his own political future.
While The Nation, in a well written but fairly obvious comment piece, posed a question that was clearly rhetorical: “Are we in for another bout of political deja-vu?”
Of course we are. We are headed back to square one if indeed we every left it in the first place.
The junta – just as in countless coups in the previous 70 years – came promising order and reconciliation. They will complete the best part of four years bossing people and while they have achieved a modicum of the former they have patently failed to get anywhere near the latter.
Resentment is rife, as the military, meddling in politics of subjugation, have left the country in a state of limbo from 2014. The public has been disrespected and pessimism reigns.
History could repeat itself for was it not General Suchinda in 1992 who tried to cling to power resulting in bloodshed on the streets of Bangkok? That is another rhetorical question.
And while that conflict was resolved due to the intervention of a much respected higher power many will wonder what His Majesty Rama X will be able to achieve if things ever turn nasty again.
Of course, it is not all doom and gloom. Thai political rhetoric is always vicious during elections and all about alliance and compromise when the votes have been counted and the dust settles.
But, ultimately, nothing sways Rooster from my “House of Cards” prediction about Thailand’s future made in this column last year when his departed majesty was sent to the heavens.
Feeling the wrath of the authorities and social media this week as much as the politicos was Premchai who dined on leopard the other month. Not content with charging the head of Ital-Thai with everything from poaching to breathing the emboldened authorities have charged his wife with ivory related misdemeanors and even his sisters over land encroachment in Loei.
The maid will probably be charged with something next reminding us of the time Thaksin’s “mae baan” was mysteriously found in possession of a 6 billion baht bank account!
It all pales into insignificance with the government sponsored “rape of Doi Suthep” however. The case of housing for judges on forestry land has supposedly been “won” by protest groups who will soon discover that winning a judgment and getting justice and resolution are two entirely different beasts in Thailand.
On a lighter note, my thanks to the several posters who appreciated my column last week and commented positively clearly having read to the end! To the poster who said that the “Free Sex” headline was click-bait….I rest my case.
To the poster who called me a “journalist” in quotes, said the column was mere “scribblings” and suggested that we all have emotions so why should we write about them…well, you are welcome to your opinion.
At least that poster had more of a point, albeit very little more, than the person who suggested that my usage of long words he had never heard of was disrespectful.
To him I say if you’ve got it flaunt it….oh, and I wasn’t being disgracious, profanatory or even smart-alecky in the slightest.
Top drama of the past week was the hilarious reaction to the hospitality girl handing out garlands to Chinese tour group tourists getting on a bus. Her perfunctory smile and couldn’t-care-less (Who really would!!?) attitude prompted many on Chinese social media to make mocking videos that were very funny if not entirely appreciated by the Thais.
Still, Phra Thong Thiaw (The God of Tourism) had been offended and “A” offered up her obligatory apology to society along with her sidekick “B” who had dared to post the original video.
The pair – in a meeting I am quite sure could only happen in Thailand – ended up face to face with flavor of the year “Big Joke” Surachet Hakpal, the deputy commissioner of the Tourist Police Bureau and resident crime buster.
Debate has broken out on the forum regarding Big Joke, not for what he is doing but for that moniker. My take, and I have studied the Thai language for a few decades, is that while the name can mean “joke” in the funny haha sense it also could mean rice gruel that the Thais eat for breakfast.
Taking off the tone mark, however, leaves the word meaning chief or even ring-leader, so it looks a bit like that too. For me the name is wrapped in cajolery and good humor for a figure who is largely respected for what he is doing.
And for those bashers who think that the Thai language lacks nuance and subtlety – try learning it! What it can lack in clarity it more than makes up for in cheekiness and ribaldry.
Finally, that dreaded time has arrived for Rooster. The conclusion to the Professional Snooker season and the end of the 2017/18 English Premier League.
Mark Williams – the Welshman who is an old friend of Thailand – won the former on Monday while Rooster’s beloved Spurs confirmed their top four place midweek before the final round of games today.
Heaven forbid, the lack of my favorite sports on TV will soon mean I have to converse with Mrs Rooster again. But not to worry…….
At least the World Cup starts next month.