Not known for its modesty or the the tameness of some of the performances in it’s go-go bars, each year the Silom Road area of central Bangkok has become ground zero for the biggest and best water fight possible during the Songkran festival. However, this year three topless Coyote dancing girls have become instant celebrities for a bare-breasted performance in the streets of central Bangkok lasting less than one minute.
The topless Songkran Coyote girls, whose names are not known, were filmed at about 11 pm dancing on top of one of Thailand’s numerous “audio-cars”, surrounded by water-throwing foreigners and Thais enjoying the celebrations.
The trio instantaneously became targets of a social media hate campaign amidst the recycled hackneyed claims that their actions would damage the image of the country.
Coyote Girls are not uncommon in Thailand, providing entertainment on the tops of heavily modified audio-cars, such as at the Burapa Bike Week 2011 in Pattaya earlier this year.
While teasing and tantalizing are part of the show, the display of any “naughty bits” is entirely by accident.
The total length of all the performances by the topless Songkran Coyote girls appears to have lasted for less than one minute.
Topless Coyote girls savaged
As if Thailand has no other problems needing addressing, the vernacular Thai media instantly turned feral, savaging the three topless Songkran Coyote girls like a pack of hungry wolves pouncing on a lost fawn, with one even using the word “hunting” in its headline to describe its search for the three dancers.
Social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook have likewise been abuzz, with many Thais and a few foreigners launching venomous attacks against the topless Songkran Coyote girls, accusing them of damaging the morals and reputation of the country.
While such claims, coming from a country where visitors to the same area as which the three girls performed their impromptu topless dance are regularly assailed by touts to visit go-go bars with such “exotic” performances as girls spitting ping-pong balls out of their vagina, or opening bottles of Chang beer with the same body part might make for a good April Fools Day story, today is not that day.
Sadly, the very same nation where the deaths of seven foreigners in a Chiang Mai hotel remain unexplained, where 93 people were killed on the streets of the capital last year by Thai Army snipers, where a stand-off on the border erupted earlier this year seeing the Thai Army break international convention and use cluster artillery shells against neighboring Cambodia, and where the son of a rich businessman can cut a Laotian girl in half in a speeding Porsche and smooth everything over with a Bt300,000 (about $US9,950) payment, is outraged by some bare breasts.
Despite the entire country devoutly observing the most special holiday period of the year, the district chief of the Bang Rak district where the topless dance show took place, Surakiat Limcharoen, took time off from his holidays to personally file a police complaint against the three girls for their “shameful behavior in public”, along with their supporters and those who uploaded video clips to video hosting websites.
Thailand Ministry of Culture faux pas as Thailand internet censored again
Mr. Surakiat said the three topless Songkran Coyote dancers should be fined Bt500 ($16.60) each, with their supporters paying two-thirds of the fine.
Those uploading any of the four video clips of the topless Songkran Coyote dancers face fines of up to Bt100,000 ($US3,316) and/or a jail term of up to five years.
Joining the moral police feeding frenzy, Culture Minister Nipit Intarasombat, asked police prosecutors to order those involved in the topless Songkran Coyote dance case to be ordered to perform community service, such as reading books to kindergarten children about the Songkran festival at least three times.
At the same time as publicly lambasting the three topless Songkran Coyote girls, the minister’s own website was displaying a banner depicting three bare breasted Thai women above a photo of the country’s reigning monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
Social media ablaze over double standards
As news of the three topless Songkran Coyote girls spread, social networks came to life, discussing the double standards that apply in Thailand, along with the artwork displayed the ministry’s website.
By late afternoon on the last day of the annual Songkran holiday, and a Sunday to boot, some poor webmaster was dragged off his holidays to change the ministry’s homepage artwork. Perhaps so that the ministry and its minister didn’t look any more foolish than they already.
With a history of heavily censoring the internet against material that shows the true goings-on in Thailand, it should come as no surprise to anyone that Culture Watch Centre director Ladda Tangsupachai also yesterday ordered the National Police Office and the Information Communications and Technology Ministry to ban the video clips on the Internet.
Billed as the world’s largest water fight, the Songkran Thai New Year festival attracts hundreds of thousands of foreign tourists annually. For the last two years celebrations have taken place with armed troops and red-shirt protesters on the streets of the nation’s capital.
Thais are revelling in the opportunity to celebrate Songkran in a peaceful environment, flocking to their favorite holiday destinations in their droves and providing a much needed boost to the Thai travel industry.
Songkran 2011 road toll
With the last of the Songkran holiday makers heading home tonight, the official road toll for the first six days of the seven day-long holiday period stood at 229 dead, a 25.2 per cent decrease on last year, while injuries had dropped by 9.4 per cent to 3,172 people.
According to the Road Safety Centre (RSC) there were 2,932 motor vehicle crashes across the kingdom in the first six days, a drop of about 8.9 per cent on 2010, with 31 per cent of accidents caused by drunk driving.
Motor bike riders and their passengers failing to wear crash helmets top the fatality group at 34.7 per cent and were involved in 77 per cent of all vehicle crashes.
With the country due to start back at work again tomorrow, it will be be interesting to see if there is as much indignant outrage over the final Songkran road carnage figures when they are released, as there has been directed at the the three topless Songkran Coyote girls.
Updated at 23:25 April 19, 2011 local time: It has been revealed that the three topless Songkran Coyote girls in the story above were aged 13, 14, and 16. Despite being children the heavy hand of the Thailand government, the Royal Thai Police (RTP) and the vernacular sensationalist media was applied with all the force of a strict Shariah state.
All three topless Songkran Coyote girls were paraded before local media wearing balaclavas by the Thai police and fined Bt500 each, while the changes to the Ministry of Culture website highlighted above have not gone unnoticed by even the Thai media.
Video Sansern Kaewkamnerd
Photos John Le Fevre
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He has spent extensive periods of time working in Africa and throughout Southeast Asia, with stints in the Middle East, the USA, and England.
He has covered major world events including Operation Desert Shield/ Storm, the 1991 pillage in Zaire, the 1994 Rwanda genocide, the 1999 East Timor independence unrest, the 2004 Asian tsunami, and the 2009, 2010, and 2014 Bangkok political protests.
In 1995 he was a Walkley Award finalist, the highest awards in Australian journalism, for his coverage of the 1995 Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) Ebola outbreak.
Most recently he was the Thailand editor/ managing editor of AEC News Today . Prior to that he was the deputy editor and Thailand and Greater Mekong Sub-region editor for The Establishment Post, predecessor of Asean Today.
In the mid-80s and early 90s he owned JLF Promotions, the largest above and below the line marketing and PR firm servicing the high-technology industry in Australia. It was sold in 1995.
Opinions and views expressed on this site are those of the author’s only. Read more at About me
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Hell that is some crazy stuff – what do they put in the water over there?
huhu that change full culture of ministry topless, means ministry is topless u say nice.
I notice in some news reports that the age of the three girls is being reported as 13/14/16, personally i am not convienced that this is correct and not a put up job by the ministry to push home its point
The ages of the three girls as reported by the police and the children themselves is 13-, 14-, and 16-years-old – children
Thanks for reading
This is hypocrisy at its best. The Thai government is criticizing the topless dancers to get brownie point from voters, and yet they allow sex trade to flourish because they benefit from them.
Valid point, and surprisingly paying for sex in Thailand is illegal. I still believe that some modesty should still apply in everyday life in Thailand. Imagine if public nudity was allowed, especially for the young girls that were arrested, you’d just have more and more similar behavior or probably worse. Public nudity is illegal in most countries in the West, Thailand should be no different. Prostitution? Meh, sweep it under the rug like everyone else does.
Haha funny that they changed the topless girls on The Ministry of Culture website.
When did they decide nudity was wrong? Ive seen old hill tribe women wandering around topless.
It’s good to see that the country see fit to keep it’s priorities prioritized Thai style.
Westerners cannot comprehend #thainess