We’ve all been annoyed by public displays of affection, but should a government be able to ban it completely?
Well, in Thailand, it doesn’t matter what you think. A regulation passed in 2005 banned all public displays of affection for every student in the country. No kissing, cuddling, or holding hands after school.
Sounds kind of harsh, right? It gets worse. A new amendment is hoping to make it illegal for students to display affection even in private places – including in their own homes.
NBC Left Field has published a new video about the clash between Thailand’s conservative culture and its youth.
“The government try (sic) to represent the way they expect teenagers to do, but right now, Thai culture, starts to change, become more westernised,” says Nattusada Taephant, an assistant professor of Psychology at Chulalongkorn University.
Taephant also makes the apt point that when you tell a teenager to do something, they’re liable to do the exact opposite. Anyone who has been a teenager knows the truth in that.
It seems that the Thai government is attempting to return to the values of the 19th-century world. As pointed out in the video, it wasn’t really until the early 20th century and the rise of Hollywood romances that PDA was widely accepted.
The video states that in Thailand, until the last 60 years or so, a man might be expected to meet a woman’s entire family before they were allowed to date.
Those in power say that it’s “observing Thai customs,” but others say that banning intimacy behind closed door is an oppressive and overly restrictive policy intruding in people’s private lives.
“This amendment was ridiculous from the very beginning,” says Tanawat Wongchai, the president of Chalalonkorn University’s Student Council. “I think the students who are against this regulation, they definitely won’t stop.”
Ask any parent: there are few things more difficult to stop than teenage love, and I suspect that Thailand will soon learn the same lesson.