Now I am back in Australian my South-East Asian media diet had been harder to keep up, it has involved predominantly following many online news and sites and their various social media postings. However, over the past few weeks, a major Thai story has been making headlines in mainstream Australian media.
And whilst it has been semi news in Australia the story that has quite simply gripped the Thai nation, in particular, the online or ‘netizens’ community. This is the tragic story of Thitima Noraphanpiphat, a Thailand model who was found dead in the lobby of a Bangkok condo. Under circumstances that would not be out of place in an amateur sleuth novel.
For more information on the death of Thitima Noraphanpiphat click here.
Whilst Thitima Noraphanpiphat’s death has been the cause of mass speculation, it has also highlighted the plight of the nations ‘promotion’ models. An industry that appears to be very poorly regulated, very profitable and prime for the exploitation of Thailand’s young women.
In a nation, that is for right or wrong considered the sex capital of the world, especially the tourist strongholds of downtown Bangkok and Pattaya. The news that young women are hired to dress in scantily clad clothing is anything but newsworthy. However, what many tourists may be unaware of is just how heavy the use of promotion models or ‘pretties’ as they are locally referred too by local organisers actually is.
This became evidently clear during my time at the Bangkok Post when I was writing for the lifestyle section. I was invited to attend a plethora of Bangkok events attending everything ranging from the opening of a new hotel, the latest energy drink and the latest addition of shopping centres. All used promotional models even a whitegoods company used a pretty to flog their latest washing machine.
Speaking to a few in the know locals I was introduced to terms and marketing strategies that had definitely never been taught during my time at university.
This is the port of call for 99% of Thailand’s pretty community, Line for those who don’t know is Thailand’s social media juggernaut. It functions as a cross between the WhatsApp messaging service and Facebook’s wall, allowing the user to both communicate and view postings for potential modelling jobs.
The use of Line in Thailand is much more for business and non-peronsal relationships, wth Facebook kept for closer family and friends.
These postings will contain information on time, price and location as well as the height, weight and skin tone of the model needed. They will also include a term to identify the level of service that will be required.
This is the most common of promotion model and reflects what many in the West would identify at boxing and racing events. The models will often wear tight-fitting, sexy clothes, take photos with customers and hold signage.
Typical rates range from about THB1,500 (US$50) to THB4,000 (US$130) per job.
Much the same as booth pretties, however, emcee pretties are expected to be able to speak well in a public setting and may be required to speak multiple languages. They may also need to pitch to potential clients, almost taking on a lead generation role.
They get paid from about THB2,500 (US$82) to THB4,000 (US$130) per job.
EN being the shorthand of entertainment and are hired for the entertainment of customers at an event. Duties would normally include sharing drinks and conversation.
These jobs usually pay between THB2,500 (US$84) and THB5,000 (US$164).
Similar to regular Ens, but they are required to wear bikinis the entire time. EN-Bikinis are often hired for events with a pool. They’re usually paid from
THB2,500 (US$84) to THB10,000 (US$327) per job.
“Up” in this case comes from up yaa, which translates to getting high on party drugs such as ecstasy, cocaine, ketamine or speed. N-Ups take jobs where they’re expected to party hard with illicit drugs.
THB3,000 (US$100) to THB10,000 (US$330) per job.
Rang is basically translated in Thai as hardcore, with the job expected to entail a lot of touching from customers.
THB5,000 (US$164) to THB10,000 (US$327) per job.
EN-VIP is basically coding that the models are expected to go all the way with clients. These pretties start their nights as entertainers and end up in bed with those they are entertaining. Rates vary according to the pretty’s profile. For example, any celebrity credentials – like appearing on camera or other credits – can see their rates shoot up sky-high.
THB7,000 (US$230) to 100,000 (US$3,300) per job.
Photo of the week:
This segment is always intended as a light-hearted section of the weekly post that I hope does not cause any offence. However, acts as a conduit for discussion about the lighter side South East Asia.
This week’s photo was sent in from a regular reader and taken in an undisclosed area of Thailand.
Please continue to send me through emails of stories, pictures and anything else that you would like to discuss about my favourite region South East Asia.
Harrison White can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org