Hardcore porn mag or acceptable entertainment publication? I think Thailand’s got its issues confused. At the risk of becoming an X-rated blog, I’m going to put this post below a “more” tag. There will be some brief nudity so don't click if you will be offended.
Right, that’s better. I was in Tesco Lotus today and was waiting for some friends at a bookstore when a copy of Cute Mag jumped up and grabbed me. The nearly-naked Thai girl on the front cover caught my eye because not only was she falling out of her top, but she was on the bottom shelf of a family bookshop, within two meters of Harry Potter books, including the newly-arrived Deathly Hallows.
I picked up the magazine and thought it was probably just a provocative cover, like when you see a sexy girl on a billboard in Thailand. But then I flicked through a few pages and discovered that actually, this is as close to legal porn as you are ever going to find in Thailand.
How do they get away with it? It’s not hardcore by any shade of the word, but it’s naked pictures of Thai girls in a country where naked pictures of Thai girls are supposed to taboo.
Just this month there has been strong debate over proposed plans to regulate television shows in Thailand and rate them according to which age group they are suitable for. Adult shows will therefore be shown later and Thailand’s children won’t have to endure the evils of porn, violence and comedic sound effects.
“Every household has a television set, I'm so worried after watching TV programmes which show vice rather than creative things,” said a concerned parent from The Family Network, unaware that his son was just round the corner looking at pretty Thai girls in a copy of Cute Mag. (Bangkok Post)
Last week it was announced that Thailand’s police now have the authority to seize computers of people who send porn in emails. And yet next to the Harry Potter books at Lotus you can buy a magazine for 180 baht full of naked Thai girls. Go figure. Cute Mag is glossy, the photo shoots clearly have a lot of money behind them, and there is very little advertising, likely due to the fact that True Corporation is behind the mag.
Thailand’s confused ideas about pornography are in keeping with a traditional mindset that is incompatible with the modern world. Porn is still illegal in Thailand, but it’s everywhere, and it looks increasingly silly to turn a blind eye to it and pretend it doesn’t exist.
I asked my co-workers if a minor would be able to buy a copy of Cute Mag and they said they thought he (or she, we’re in the modern world don’t forget) probably would be, but they weren’t sure. There were two copies of Cute Mag left, and one of them was well-thumbed, so I guess a few people got their kicks without spending a satang.
Remember the fuss kicked up when sexy Thai student Chotiros Suriyawong, 22, went to the Subhanahongsa Awards wearing that (pictured, right) dress? While her choice of gown was perhaps not in the best taste, I don’t think she deserved the public mauling she received. The owner of Thai production house Sahamongkol Film International had all clips of Chotiros deleted from his movie Suay Samurai. He said, “I don't want my actresses to dress that way. We are not a porn production house, and it goes against Thai culture.”
That’s the moral high ground that goes on publicly when it comes to indecent exposure, but it’s unjust and unrealistic. Chotiros, a student at Thammasart, was ordered to read books to blind children for 15 days for shaming her country and university.
I don’t have a problem with naked Thai girls, but it borders on absurd when the public line is that they aren't real.
Cute Mag's cover girl was Mod Monchaya, if you're interested. Nobody I've spoken to has ever heard of her, so I don't think she is famous in Thailand… yet.