So far this year, even amid political instability, a new government and rumours of a coup, the public have spent a good amount of time discussing women who behave provocatively. During Songkran, for example, the entire country became fixated by the Boob-gate incident on Silom Road that involved three young women who took off their tops before a crowd of lucky revellers. More recently, Nongpanee Mahadthai, aka Ja Turbo, found herself in hot water for a video in which she performs a song called “Khan Hoo” (itchy ear). In the clip, Ja appears in skimpy attire and comes across as horny rather than itchy. And while the innuendo-laden song coupled with her provocative dance moves was taken as just a bit of cheeky fun by many, conservatives have cried foul over what they view as a new low being reached in Thai morality.
So what’s all the fuss about? Surely Ja isn’t the only woman putting female sexuality on the table (it seems OK if it’s contained behind closed bar doors, for example). But we wonder why people have given these women such a hard time. What does this speak of the state of female sexual morality in Thailand?
SCRATCH THAT ITCH
With plenty on our minds, we headed out to ask people their thoughts on the Ja Turbo Itch-gate saga.
“The problem is that the video is available on YouTube where people of all ages can watch it. Some young viewers may copy her. Look at how Thai youngsters try to emulate Korean pop bands.” – Pep, male, 24
“The question of appropriateness depends on the setting. If she performs indoors for adults, that’s fine by me. If she performs outdoors where young men can see it, I wouldn’t approve. Aroused by her show, they may commit sexual offences afterwards especially when alcohol is involved. I’m not saying all male teenagers would do that, but why risk it at all?” – Sunee, transgender, 40
“I don’t like her. She’s too outrageous in the way she sings, moans and dances. I think it doesn’t fit with Thai society at all. I think she should put more clothes on.” – Metta, female, 22
“I find her dance moves most inappropriate. She doesn’t wear enough clothes. I think her performances arouse men and there’s a chance that male teenagers may be more likely to commit rape because of her show. The clip definitely worsens society.” – Kanjana, female, 50
“I don’t think her clip negatively affects Thailand because there are much worse things happening. Her performance is for a certain audience and children shouldn’t be allowed to see it.” – Parida, female, 30
“I know that this type of performer exists and I don’t mind them so long as they keep their shows in the right context. Uploading such a clip to YouTube is very inappropriate because anyone can see it. ” – Charoen, male, 31