Netizens roused by sexy calendar, music video

Low cost airline Nok Air has been roundly criticised over a web PR promotion offering calenders with pictures of women in bikinis posing next to one of its passenger planes.

  • Published: 11/02/2013 at 04:23 PM
  • Newspaper section: topstories

From Nok Air's 2013 calendar

Nok Air, which is based in Thailand, announced on its Facebook page that people who participated in its online campaign would receive the airline's 2013 calendar.

Models from Maxim magazine were hired for the calendar photo shoot.

A complaint was filed with the Ministry of Culture by Natee Theerarojanapong, leader of Chiang Mai Araya, who said the calendar should be banned because it tarnishes Thailand's image.

"The campaign focuses on the country's bad reputation regarding sex services, and an image that other organisations have been trying to change," Mr Natee said.

The message being sent out by the airline could also be misinterpreted as encouraging passengers to sexually harass air hostesses, he added.

Nok Air CEO Patee Sarasin insisted the calendars do not damage the image of either his company or Thailand because the models were not Nok Air staff.

"It was supposed to be a gift to our customers, and so far the campaign has received positive feedback, increasing the number of passengers. There were so many viewers that the webpage crashed," he said.

From Nok Air's 2013 calendar

Culture Ministry permanent secretary Prisana Pongtatpitakkul said the photos in the calendar were inappropriate. Being an airline, the pictures were not only viewed by local people but also by foreigners, she said.

However, she admitted the ministry could not take any action against Nok Air because it had not broken any law by producing and distributing the calendar.

The incident just reflects that modern society is full of businesses that lack integrity and social responsibility, she added. 

Nok Air's campaign received varying comments from Thai netizens. One of them wrote, "Many drama-erotic films that are being sold in stores, some with the uncut version, show much more than this calendar. Why don't they ban them?”  

Another poster commented, "It does not look appropriate at all. Some Thais might think it looks trendy but it's actually just a sloppy idea. There are other ways to promote the airline. I am one of Nok Air's frequent flyers and I don’t feel good about the idea." 

Meanwhile, a Thai music video teaser of a Thai country (luk thung) song has also sparked negative responses from internet users for its erotic content.

The song "Peh" (meaning perfect in Thai) was sung by a singer from a boy band group called Siam Country sponsored by Lederer Entertainment. Four models strip down to "almost nothing" in the video, according to the footage and interviews in the teaser.

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A netizen angrily wrote, "What decadence! If our luk thung ancestors saw this they would all cry. Thanks for degrading Thailand even further."

Another poster wrote, "You're a singer, sell your voice not sex and I understand that sometimes you have to be different but this is just too much. Luk thung is our traditional music, what will foreigners say when they see this?"

Another commenter said he is eagerly waiting to watch the music video and called on Youtube not to ban it.

"When it was Nua Mek [a political soap opera], you banned it. Don't let me learn that you'll let this music video go online," another netizen said.

Earlier this month, the Thai government asked YouTube to remove a video poking fun at the Thai sex industry because it was "tarnishing Thailand's image". The video, produced by US weekly satire show Saturday Night Live, is a parody of a commercial for the Rosetta Stone language learning software. The video went viral following reports of the Thai government's efforts  to ban it, and is still available on the web.

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