Culture Ministry to issue Songkran handbooks


BANGKOK, 19 April 2011 – The Ministry of Culture is preparing to issue handbooks campaigning for greater awareness of youngsters on the genuine value of Songkran Festival after inappropriate behaviors were spotted during the Thai New Year celebration. 

Culture Minister Nipit Intarasombat reported that the overall celebration of the country during Songkran Festival this year was better than previous ones, except on Silom Road in Bangkok and in the central province of Phichit where inappropriate activities were reported.

On Silom Road, a few young women took part in the celebration by dancing half-naked with bare breasts. A similar incident was found in Phichit province but dancers were transvestites.

The minister said he has coordinated with the police and local authorities to file lawsuits against the problem teenagers already; nonetheless, he admitted that such incidents could not be solved by legal actions. It is necessary to instil awareness of Thai culture among children and youths, he said. The ministry will soon issue handbooks to be distributed for that purpose.

The online society recently slammed the Ministry of Culture’s website as it had posted paintings of the seven Nang Songkran goddesses during the festival. The goddesses were dressed in traditional costumes revealing their bare breasts and were compared with the incident at Silom.

Reacting to the criticism, Mr Nipit responded that he has already ordered removal of the image. He however asked all Thais to view the paintings as pieces of art, not pornography; otherwise, all Thai sculptures ranging from the mermaid to angels and kinnarees must be banned from displays.