“V” for Victory?


Dear Hillary,

Can someone please tell me why Thai women give the “V” sign when being photographed?  None of them can tell me why they do it, nor what the significance is supposed to be.  Any ideas, Hillary, the lady of letters, and hopefully of signs as well.


Dear Jeff,

Like so many items in Thai culture, there undoubtedly is a reason, but that reason itself has been lost to obscurity (which merely means it is more than one generation old)!  There is also confusion between the “V” sign of disrespect and the “V for Victory” sign as used by Winston Churchill (knuckles facing towards the giver, as opposed to the knuckles outwards while giving the sign of derision).  So take another look, Jeff, you will find that most of the “V’s” are the Victory signs, probably a celebration by the model that she was beautiful enough to be photographed.  From all that, you will have seen that I have no real idea, but my research showed that the “V” sign did not date back to English archers, as they needed three fingers to pull the long bows.

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  • Jeff its not what you think…

  • John

    This “V” sign hand gesture was originated in the early 1990s by Japanese motor racing sponsors’ promotion girls (known as “RaceQueens”). It is a sign of appreciation from the RaceQueen model girl to the photographer for promoting them and their motor racing team, with the photo as advertisement.
    Needless to say, this hand-sign “thank you” gesture at having one’s picture taken was soon copied by the Japanese general public and from there it spread quickly into SE Asia and eventually got copied worldwide.