Should controversial Thai 'garbage collector' beauty queen be stripped of title? Netizens say...

31 October 2015 / 12 months 2 days ago

Kornchanok Raksaseri
The Nation/ANN
31 October 2015 

This month, most "likes" and "shares" were dedicated to people who have done good deeds, and many social-media users also brought up issues that require discussion.

For instance, the case of the beauty queen Kanita "Mint" Pasang, who comes from a family that collects garbage for a living. A photograph showing her prostrated at the feet of her mother went viral both in Thailand and neighbouring countries.

However, she became the centre of controversy when it was found out that she had lied about her educational background when applying for the beauty contest. She defended herself, saying she wanted to give her prize money to her parents to relieve their burden.

While the beauty contest organiser has decided to let her keep the title and prizes, debate has continued.

@Thai_Talk tweeted: "I don't agree with the fact that she had to lie about her educational background. I will not oppose it if the prize is rescinded and she is given a scholarship instead. This gives us a chance to look into poor people's problems."

@himatako_th: "I think it is necessary to take away her prize if we want to promote honesty and social values. We can be compassionate, but we need to tackle the problem at the root."

On Facebook, Kornkit Disthan brought up Confucius's teaching that "gratitude is the master of morality". Kornkit also cited the story of a Chinese boy being forgiven for stealing oranges, because he wanted to give them to his mother.

On's web-board, Lovegongli wrote: "I admire the lady for her gratitude. But gratitude and righteousness are not the same thing. I heard news that the contest organiser was heavily criticised for investigating the case, and a lot of social-media users have been supporting the girl. But the fact is, she lied... Most people are grateful, not just the poor." 

I Tried This Name wrote: "Is it fair to those who only completed junior high school? Especially if they are just as capable and beautiful but did not join the contest because they obeyed the rules? Despite the gratitude, despite the poverty, she still lied on purpose. That should have been enough to gauge her morality. The poor do not have the privilege to cheat. If you want to change anything, call for the rules to be changed."

Mae Pan 026 wrote: "The lie about her educational background was not that serious. She did not lie to apply for a PhD."

Member Number 2328755 wrote: "Wrong is wrong! But does this have to become a life-and-death issue? Society cannot survive if it is too strict. Rules should be used with judgement."

Earlier, a photograph of Chulalongkorn University graduate Klanarong Srisakul, wearing an academic gown and prostrating himself at the feet of his father, a garbage truck driver, went viral. Though Klanarong was not part of any controversy, in the eyes of some observers such as Patchara Kerdsiri this photograph reflects problems in Thai society - namely economic and social disparity.

Meanwhile, Mana Treelayapewat's reaction to the news of Chat Ubonjinda, a fisherman who helped pull a couple of foreign tourists out of a mud bank in Krabi was: "I saw the news of the hero from Krabi coming to Bangkok and meeting with many prominent people in society. I could not help but wonder if Thailand is so thirsty for heroes or if we are consuming heroes as if they are a kind of commodity. It is only proper to admire good people, but be careful about bringing a hero into the capital, turning him into an angel and then discarding him."

The latest story to go viral was that of 12-year-old Chainarong "Nong Tao" Loymalai, who found and returned a mobile phone to actor Kriangkrai Unhanandana in Sara Buri. The actor posted a comment in admiration of the young boy's honesty, and this writer can only hope that good deeds become the value of Thai society.

See photos related to the article in the gallery below. 

See also:

Garbage collector who won Thai beauty pageant tearfully apologises for faking educational background

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