Lusty teens await Loy Krathong
Published on November 09, 2005

The Loy Krathong Festival is traditionally an occasion for spiritual cleansing ceremonies, yet teenagers may exploit the festival as an excuse to have sex, according to a survey of local residents.

A cross-generational survey by the Thai Health Promotion Foundation (ThaiHealth) and the Culture Ministry of 1,246 city residents aged between 12 and 60 revealed that many suspected young Thais of using the festivities to engage in worrying activities such as racing and drinking alcohol, said Wilasinee Phiphitkul, director of the foundation’s communications office.

Around 43 per cent of people interviewed said they expected teenagers to have sex on Loy Krathong Day, while more than half were not confident that many youngsters would not engage in immoral activities.

Most of the respondents said police should monitor entertainment venues and ban the sale of liquor in and around festival temples.

Almost two out of three polled admitted that they had sex during last year’s festival, Wilasinee said. She said a third of teenagers surveyed admitted to engaging in unprotected sex.

One in four Thais interviewed said they would consume alcohol during the festival this year, whereas one in three conceded they had drunk on Loy Krathong last year, she added.

“Alcohol consumption causes many youngsters to lose their self-control and engage in inappropriate behaviour such as fist fights, premature sex, sexual harassment, and even drug abuse,” Wilasinee said.

She added that ThaiHealth would campaign for alcohol-free Loy Krathong celebrations.

Amornwit Nakhontap, a lecturer at Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Education, stressed, however, that in order to tackle problems at their roots, the authorities needed to step up their campaigns against teenage debauchery all year round, not just during specific periods like festivals. He recommended that extensive social campaigns be launched to try to convince parents to spend more quality time with their offspring, including longer maternal leave for mothers.

Amornwit said schools must also make sure to keep dormitories orderly, while police needed to crack down on gambling practices and the widespread availability of pornographic material among youths.