The worldwide online planking craze has been a big hit in Thailand. The game involves lying face down in unusual or unlikely locations and then posting the photo of the ‘planking’ to social media sites. The fad has been adopted with some fervour by the young and internet savvy generation in Thailand. Although the game is seen as a bit of harmless sanuk by many in Thailand, there is also an element of the older generation who bemoan it as yet another example of the erosion of traditional Thai values. In particular, a photo of a monk in orange robes ‘planking’ was widely circulated in Thailand and caused a lot of controversy in the country.
Part of the charm of Thailand is that the people have a way of welcoming in outside ideas and influences and then recycling them with a distinct Thai twist. With this in mind, it’s out with planking and in with pub-peab. Participants in this new online fad sit down with their legs tucked behind them in the Thai way of polite sitting known as ‘pub-peab’. Photos are then taken and posted to social media sites. It’s an unlikely mix of West and East and old and new that neatly sums up some of the contradictions of modern Thailand. The Facebook page for Pubpeab has already amassed more than 230,000 followers since it was set up just over a week ago and also has hundreds of followers on Twitter. Although many photos are simply sitting in the pubpeap pose, there are some unlikely combinations where pubpeab meets planking.
Ladda Tangsupachai, director of the Cultural Surveillance Department, hailed the page, saying the campaign would encourage young Thais to learn more about the traditional sitting position. However, she said people should consider appropriate timing for their pubpeab so that it does not create danger or inconvenience.