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At the start of Songkran, the Kingdoms New Year’s Celebrations Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha advised young woman not to wear revealing outfits or risk being shunned like a piece of toffee without its wrapper. The message was sent to the nation’s young females via Thai reporters. The water festival that occurs during the hottest part of the year is renowned for water fights between friends and strangers. Thailand’s military government announced prior to the celebrations that they would try to discourage lewd behaviour and inappropriate dress. Prayuth said “during Songkran I ask that women wear proper clothes, Thai style to look good and civilised” he believes that women are like toffee or candy which nobody wants to eat if they are already undressed. He quantified that belief by telling reporters that some nicely wrapped candy will stay on the shelf for years no matter what.
Prayuth’s latest remarks drew criticism from Usa Lertsrisantat, director of the Foundation for Women, who said he should use his influential position to speak in a more helpful way.
“He should be sending a message to people who do not respect women’s rights as well,” she said. “He warns women not to wear revealing clothes, and he should warn men to respect women’s rights, too. Women are not toffees or candies, we are human beings.”
“When something bad happens, you can’t just say that it happened because of how women dress,” she said.