Thursday, February 14, 2008

No love for Thai teens on Valentine's Day

Today is Valentine's Day, and police are on full alert in Thailand for teenagers who might try to celebrate the day by having sex.

Cops and "student inspectors" from the Ministry of Education will be watching the curtained love motels. Lights will be on full blast at public parks. Parents are urged to make sure their teens are home early. Authorities will be watching in restaurants and shopping malls, because those places are "starting points for potential sexual activities that will be done at home or motels," Bangkok police spokesman Suporn Pansuea is quoted as saying by Reuters.

The measures by Thailand's moral watchdogs are in response to media hype and a recent poll that showed 1-in-4 Thai teens planned to celebrate the February 14 Hallmark holiday by having sex.

Outside of Bangkok, in Ayutthaya, a city council chairwoman has sounded the alarm about the number of love motels that have cropped up around her city. She has urged police to step up checks on those places, and called on motel operators to check guests' ID cards.

Prime spots for teen sex in Ayutthaya are three parks: Somdej Phra Sri Suriyothai monument and King Naresuan monument and the Somdej Phra Srinakarindra Boromarajajonani park. The provincial sports stadium is also a place where amorous teens have gotten "carried away ... particularly the area on the back of the basketball field", the Bangkok Post reported in a recent article.

Other locations include karaoke rooms, Internet cafes and isolated corners in department stores.

"Authorities should strictly monitor and prevent premature sex in these locations throughout the year," Ayutthaya city council chairman Jiraphan Pimpan was quoted as saying by the Post. "The sale of condoms at grocery stores also encourages sex among youngsters."

Perhaps the Thai authorities should consider banning Valentine's Day, as has been called for in Kuwait or follow the lead of Saudi Arabia and ban the color red?

But Valentine's Day is also big business in Thailand. In Bangkok's Bangrak district (literally the "village of love"), Valentine's Day is an auspicious day for couples to visit and have their marriages registered.

And in Southern Thailand's Trang province, on the Andaman Sea, Valentine's Day is when the now-traditional underwater wedding ceremonies are held.

(Via; photo: Creative Commons licensed image via Flickr by _KoAn_)

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