Tattoo Sir? Madam? Subtle Fiery Dragon, Perhaps?

The tourism industry may have been disastrously damaged by the PAD Disaster and the whole economy in serious trouble but at least the tattoo industry is holding up. There are supposed to be around 500 tattoo parlours across Thailand and they offer a wide range of colourful and exotic designs. Tattoos are particularly popular among foreigners, it is said, who want to have a permanent reminder of their visit to Thailand and for whom ….. (three obvious jokes deleted here) is just not enough.

Tattooing has a long history in Thailand – it is quite common to see men in particular tattooed across the neck, chest or legs with complex designs in just one colour. These tattoos involve sacred or magical formulae which are believed by some to confer special powers, like protection from bullets or invisibility to spirits and the like and these were made using the ubiquitous piece of sharp bamboo. There is also an association with gangsterism but that is not necessarily the case. These days, of course, even otherwise respectable young women sport tattoos on various parts of their bodies (so I have been told, I have not seen for myself, obviously).

The implication is obvious: want to support the Thai economy? Then immediately go out and have a dragon tattooed all across your back. Or something similar.