A British family was beaten unconscious during a “Songkran” festival in Hua Hin last month. The son had apparently bumped into a drunken Thai reveler and so he and his friends decided a fitting punishment for this outrage would be to beat the parents (a couple in their 60s) and the offending son to a pulp. (see security video below)
First, let’s be truthful about “Songkran” in Hua Hin, Pattaya, Bangkok, Patong Beach and all the other places where “Songkran” is nothing more than an excuse to get drunk and party with bar girls. “Songkran” for these places is a made-up event.
Fourty, thirty, even twenty years ago, there were no Songkran celebrations in the southern beach towns. Songkran was observed in Bangkok only by a small group of people who were from the North and lived in Bangkok. Drunken water fights were never part of Songkran tradition.
Songkran is a Northern Thai tradition that comes from the old Siamese Lanna Kingdom. Bangkok and the bar-girl-beach cities of the south don’t have a Songkran tradition and never did. It was made up by the Thai tourist industry to boost tourism. Can you handle that truth?
Add in some drunk, horny White guys who only come to Thailand to fuck the local prostitutes, and you’ve got one of the greatest cultural frauds of all time.
So now the chickens are coming home to roost. Gratuitous violence is now becoming part of the Thailand’s holiest days of the year at these false festivals.
I spent this Songkran in Lamphun, a medium sized city in the North. Songkran celebrations have been going on here for centuries. It’s a religious event. In fact, whenever someone bumped into me they quickly followed it up with sincere “ka-tote” (I’m sorry.) There was some drinking, but no one was drunk. There were no bar girls dressed for business. And there were no drunken White guys. Such behavior would NOT have been tolerated by the locals.
If you’re interested in reading what Songkran really is about, I wrote a blog entry a couple weeks ago about it. But who cares about real Thai culture when there’s booze a plenty and bar girls galore to waddle in.
The thugs that committed this violent crime have been caught and face 10 years in a Thai prison. The British family has recovered from their injuries (the mother had to undergo brain surgery.) and have already given their testimony that will be used at any upcoming trial. (There won’t be a trial as the thugs will plead guilty in an attempt to avoid the maximum sentence.)
But this is not the end of the story. In fact, it is only the beginning. Look for more violence and debauchery to happen during these made-up “Songkran” festivals.
Update: June 7, 2016
All defendants pled guilty to the charges and received 2 years without parole in a Thai prison. They faced up to 10 years in prison, but they quickly admitted their guilt to receive the more lenient sentences.