- U.S. Navy to start giving gay couples marriage benefits in Japan
- Sen. Harry Reid goes to hospital as a precaution
- Fla.’s Trey Radel exits rehab, ‘excited’ to resume congressional role
- U.S. nuclear general boozed it up, chased ‘hot women’ in Russia: report
- 45 Calif. students at one school test positive for tuberculosis exposure
- Rob Ford on women: Give them cash ‘and they are happy’
- Ku Klux Klan group holds recruitment meeting in Maryland
- Airport assassination: Mayor, 3 others killed at Manila airport
- Tea party-type lawmakers take mysterious, off-books trip to Mideast
- North Korea warns South: We’ll attack ‘without warning’
Biases on beauty draw Thais to illegal surgery
Question of the Day
The clinic operator, Jiratha Saraban, told authorities through tears that she had ordered her products cheaply off the Internet and catered to low-paid office workers and college students.
“I wanted to help people who can’t afford to do these procedures at expensive clinics,” Jiratha said. She faces up to 11 years in prison on three charges that include posing as a doctor and illegally selling medication.
She offered standard black market rates: $30 Botox shots and $50 filler injections, a popular method for elevating the nose bridge to look “less Asian.” In licensed Bangkok clinics, Botox injections range from roughly $150 to more than $400.
Dangerous beauty treatments have become a worldwide problem as people seek cheaper alternatives to plastic surgeons. In Hong Kong, a woman died last week of septic shock after getting a blood transfusion that a clinic claimed would whiten her skin. An American woman died in March from an illegal buttocks implant in Georgia, caused by suspected counterfeit silicone.
But Thailand sets a particularly stark example, partly because Thais of all income levels are striving for a uniformity of beauty that for large parts of the population would be impossible without surgery.
“People here are not seeking to look unique or different. They’re all trying to look the same,” said Lakkana Punwichai, a Thai feminist and social commentator who hosts a popular TV talk show.
Thais with darker skin, flat noses, round faces and full lips _ features associated with the working-class descendants of Lao, Khmer and other ethnic groups _ are enduring needles, knives and hazardous chemicals to emulate the Bangkok elite, whose porcelain complexions and more chiseled features traditionally stem from Chinese ancestry.
“The rich already have the look that Thai society values, they just work to maintain it,” Lakkana said. “But the lower class has a dream of upgrading themselves. For them, cosmetic surgery has become a shortcut to a better future.”
The cost of cosmetic procedures is low enough in Thailand that many Thais can afford licensed beauty clinics. There are 500 of them in the capital, and most have sprung up in the past five years, the Health Ministry says.
Bangkok’s Yanhee Hospital, one of the country’s best-known beauty emporiums, performs 30,000 cosmetic treatments a month, a dramatic increase from five years ago when dermatologists at the hospital say Botox was much less popular.
Some of those procedures are for foreigners _ part of Thailand’s “medical tourism” industry. But a large portion are for Thais, including young people who are using Botox long before the onset of wrinkles.
At a cafe in Bangkok, a group of fashionable young professionals said most of their friends no longer have their original faces.
“Almost all my friends have had something done,” said Nuttida Kruapanich, a 23-year-old student and aspiring actress who recently had a nose job and injects Botox to make her face look slimmer. “If not cosmetic surgery, they’ve had Botox or filler. Nowadays, there’s so much importance attached to how you look. What matters is that you’re beautiful.”
Her friend Surasit Areesamarn, 24, joked that he’s a victim of both beauty and fashion. His nose job two years ago was modeled after what he called “the Western nose,” but now he wants “a Korean nose,” which is flatter at the top and pointy at the end.
“It’s like changing shoes,” he laughed. “You want the fashionable model.”
By Michael P. Orsi
Edward Snowden should declare his patriotism in court
- Huge backlash mounts over suspension of 'Duck Dynasty' star Phil Robertson
- Deportations under Obama plunged to just 1 percent last year
- Homeland Security helps smuggle illegal immigrant children into the U.S.
- Citing 'unfair system,' Obama commutes sentences for 8 crack offenders
- Sen. Harry Reid goes to hospital as a precaution
- TARGET credit card theft swells to 40 million victims
- EDITORIAL: Red faces at the White House
- Gov't wasted $30 billion on 'pillownauts,' crystal goblets -- buying human urine!
- Obamacare 'pajamas boy' gets roundly mocked
- Special ops vets slam military benefit cuts
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Southern Fried Politics from the Lens of a Persian-American Millennial
All of the world’s problems, solved on your back porch
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow