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Thailand Bans Buddist Tattoos

Some people get tattoos to remember events or times of their lives, and holiday makers are no different. They have become just as common as tan lines and tacky photo frames! But the Thai authorities are seeking to ban tourists from getting Buddha tattoos as they feel that it is culturally insensitive to go home with dodgy tattoos of their sacred religious character.

There have been complaints to the thai government from residents feeling that the symbol deserves religious respect, and not to be a fashion statement, and the Culture Minister is taking it very seriously.

Thailand is a mostly Buddhist country and the statues and images of Buddha that adorn the country are symbols of respect and sacred objects of worship. Devoted Buddhists feel that it is reducing the relevance of the image in their country and making it a laughing stock, with more traditional Buddhists at the helm of the complaints.

The tradition is that heavily religious people get the symbol inked on their body as a sign of their devotion, but the minister, Mr Niphit, is asking that tattoo parlours across his country refuse to make these tattoos. There is talk of the government inspecting establishments and issuing certificates to prove that they will not be doing the tattoos, and he is pushing for a law to ban the practice of tattooing Buddha on a tourist full stop.

Tourists have to be careful to respect the religions of countries that they are visiting, although critics are saying that the emphasis should be on the tattoo parlours as opposed to the tourist, as it is your prerogative to get anything tattooed onto your body. In Arab countries women are expected to cover their skin, particularly their shoulders and knees, and although Thailand is a massive tourist destination, it should be preserved as the country that it is or risk being flooded by tourism and diluting its culture.

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