Culture Ministry decides suicide not 'benefit' of wearing pha khao ma

Culture Ministry decides suicide not 'benefit' of wearing pha khao ma

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The "pha khao ma", or traditional waistcloth, has many uses, and is often given as a gift to important visitors, or during ceremonies such as weddings. (Bangkok Post file photo)

The Culture Ministry has deleted a controversial "benefit" of wearing a traditional waistcloth from its website, after the suggestion it could be used to commit suicide drew unfavourable reactions.

Culture Minister Itthiphol Kunplome said on Monday he had ordered the ministry to delete the information that the many benefits of wearing a waistcloth, or pha khao ma, include that it could be used to hang yourself.

The ministry's website promoted the waistcloth on its website with a long list of its uses -  including as a pillow or a towel, or even as a floor covering when it is too old to wear.

One use that drew attention was the final one, the 28th. "Used to hang oneself (when desperate)," it read.

The issue came to light when news media last week picked up on a post by a Facebook user who had been searching for information about pha khao ma and had found the reference to its possible use for suicide on the ministry's website.

The public response was very critical of the ministry.

The controversial benefit of wearing the traditional wraparound was at the bottom of a list that had been posted on a channel on the website to promote tourism and Thai traditions since 2015.

Mr Ithipol said the reference to suicide had now been removed from all the ministry's media channels.

The list of benefits of wearing the traditional attire was provided by local offices, he said, and admitted the information had not been checked and screened before it was posted.

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