BANGKOK, Thailand – Sexy dancing and Buddhism don't mix, or so says Thailand's Queen Sirikit, who issued a command cautioning against lascivious behavior during Buddhist events, local newspapers reported Monday.
After seeing television coverage of women dancing in racy outfits at a Buddhist ceremony in northeastern Thailand, the queen sent a letter to the Culture Ministry saying, "Buddhists in general should always bear in mind what is good for the image of the country," the Nation newspaper reported.
"Any shows or performances organized in association with any Buddhist festival should be held with respect for Lord Buddha and Buddhism," Culture Minister Kaisri Sri-arun quoted the queen as saying in the statement.
The Buddhist festival in Nong Khai province showed the performers — known as "coyote dancers" — wearing provocative dresses and dancing sexually explicit moves, the Nation said. The dancers are often hired to promote events or products.
In an apparent response to the queen's concerns, Thailand's Ministry of Culture said Monday it was issuing a regulation prohibiting female students aged under 20 to work as coyote dancers, the state Thai News Agency reported.
The ministry also ordered a crackdown on inappropriate shows in public places, the report said.
The images from the Buddhist ceremony were broadcast on television over two consecutive days and were published in national newspapers.
"The repetition of images and the act could mislead (young girls) into doing the same," Kaisri was quoted as saying in the report.
"The media needs to use very good judgment on which things should be relayed to the public, and which should not," she said, adding that she felt that laws should be passed to control the publication or broadcasting of inappropriate material.
Scantily clad women are not uncommon in Bangkok, where prostitution is widespread and widely accepted. However, the country remains relatively conservative, with frequent speeches warning against the dangers of women wearing revealing clothes such as spaghetti-string tank tops.