THAI Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha advised his country’s young women to dress modestly or risk being shunned like a “piece of toffee without its wrapper”.
The prime minister has been known for making controversial remarks in the past. He previously warned of stern action against topless dancers and drunk drivers during Thailand’s famous Songkran Festival.
Prayuth made these latest remarks on Tuesday, speaking to reporters as the country prepared to kick off its traditional New Year celebration, known as Songkran. The holiday comes at the hottest time of the year and is best known for the enthusiastic splashing of water upon friends and strangers alike, a practice that sometimes takes on a sexual edge.
The ruling military government previously announced that it would try to discourage lewd behavior and dress as inappropriate for the country’s culture.
“During Songkran, I ask that women wear proper clothes, Thai style, so they would look good and civilized,” said Prayuth, a father of two daughters.
He asserted that women “are like toffee or candy,” which people would decline to consume if already unwrapped.
Prayuth qualified his own advice, saying that some nicely wrapped candy will stay on the shelf for years no matter what.
Prayuth’s remarks were panned by Usa Lertsrisantat, director of the Foundation for Women.
“He should be sending a message to people who do not respect women’s rights as well,” she was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.
“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.”
Additional reporting by the Associated Press