Sunday, December 21, 2008

Licensed to thrill

Licensed to thrill

Dec 22, 2008

Thailand- The popularity of nude calendars by alcohol companies has been growing each year since the economic crisis that they have proven to be a hit. This year, however, they have become a controversy, pitting a manufacturer against the Public Health Ministry.

Boon Rawd Brewery's 2009 nude calendars for Leo beer is facing the wrath of the ministry, which says that it violates the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act of 2007.

"Nude calendars have become popular again since the economic recovery," says Witawat Jayapani, president of the Advertising Association of Thailand. "And alcohol sellers have bigger budgets to spend on making these calendars as part of their sales promotion."

Bt3 million to pose nude

In 1985, a famous actress received Bt100,000 to pose nude. But during the economic crisis and with strong social opposition, alcohol companies did not gain as the desire for nude calendars waned, Witawat says.

Then, as lately as 2001, another famous actress reportedly bagged as much as Bt3 million for posing nude.

Anyone disseminating pictures of nudes or so-called "farm sex" or even posting Internet messages considered to provoke dangerous behaviour - such as persuading people to commit suicide - will probably be found guilty, says Culture Surveillance Centre director Ladda Thangsu-pachai.

Bill to tackle crimes

She says the Judicial Council is considering if some part of a draft bill tackling such crimes should be changed or not before proposing it to the Cabinet and then the Senate for consideration.

"The act is expected to be launched within three months," she adds.

Dr Saman Futrakul, director of the ministry's Alcohol and Tobacco Consumption Control, says he is monitoring Boon Rawd Brewery to see whether it will continue distributing the calendar. He warned the company last week not to do so or he would inform the police.

Witawat believes that the distribution of nude calendars will face more resistance in the future.

Top model Methinee "Luk Ked" Kingpayom was in charge of the controversial nude-calendar project for Leo beer. She has been leading the project for the past five years. Cheers beer is another which has gone in for such calendars this year.

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