Thai government wants motor show model outfits to represent ‘Thainess’


As the Bangkok International Motor Show 2016 (BIMS16) looms, the Thai government is once again playing moral police against models’ attire during the show. The Ministry of Culture, last Friday, launched its annual campaign against ‘showing too much skin.’

There’s a fine line between what’s ‘attractive’ and downright obscene. Scantily-clad young women or ‘pretties’ as they are affectionately known in Thailand, are a common sight at motor shows, used as eye candy for booths.

Just as these sexy booth babes are common feature at some tech trade shows, they bring up the question of gimmickry; dehumanising and objectifying women.

BIMS15 Booth Babes

The moral debate

Yes, it is controversial. While some of us (men and women included) don’t consider it an issue, certain quarters do take the higher moral ground (not to say I have any less morals).

Thailand isn’t the only country embroiled in the moral debate, either.

In China, the government considers booth babes as ‘vulgar’ and recent laws have banned booth babes from events. Last year, the 2015 Shanghai Motor Show saw a dearth of beautiful booth babes. Allegedly unemployed models took to the streets to protest their rights to be sexy and to be paid for it.

At the motor show eventually, there were no official ‘booth babes’, but some operated under the guise of ‘high-end sales consultants’ or ‘tour guides.’

BIMS15 Booth Babes

More ‘Thainess’ please

Meanwhile, back in Thailand, the culture minister, Veera Rjpojanarat and his team visited Grand Prix International Plc, organizer of Bangkok International Motor Show to ensure that models dress appropriately during the show.

Complaints have come from citizens who visited the show in recent years, fearing the sexy models present a bad image of Thailand. They also cited that it’s a bad example for children.

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BIMS 2015 girls

The ministry encourages the organizer to get models attire to represent ‘Thainess.’ Efforts to curb pretties at motor shows have been futile. Last year the ministry threatened legal action against models who exposed too much skin on the basis of them violating public obscenity laws. So far, no charges have ever been filed.

Lip service? All show and no go?

BIMS16 will happen from 23 March till 3 April at Impact Arena Muang Thong Thani.


Here you go. No booth babes. Just car. Happy?

Check out our coverage of BIMS15 here.

And oh, have a look at the video we shot at BIMS last year, and we’ll let you be the judge of whether models do show ‘too much skin.’

Source: Khaosodenglish, Rocketnews24, Shanghaiist

About Vernon Chan

Vernon Chan is a certified petrolhead, an extremely talented gas-guzzler, copywriting specialist, guilt-ridden foodie and true blue tech-head. He splits his severely saturated time between running visual comm+branding companies, writing, blogging, networking, and playing football/futsal and consuming insane amounts of coffee. Black.

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