It doesn’t matter in which way they disrespected Thai culture — just that these foreigners were forced to do an apologetic “wai” in the press photos when they were caught.
After the public humiliation as a much-photographed public bowing sesh — an act that many vacationing farangs don’t even understand but simply perform because they are told to — the case is closed and everybody leaves satisfied.
After a fine of THB500-1,000 is paid, of course.
To drive home the country’s culture of public shaming, when those arrested are not Thai, they are often told to do a “wai” as a traditional way to apologize and express regret to the whole of Thailand. Pro farang tip: If you want to go above and beyond, you can also add that you “love Thailand.”
Whether they were arrested for simply wearing see-through beachwear or having drunken sex in public, here’s a round-up of farangs doing apologetic wais.
Nothing says sexy like a dirty sidewalk, an audience of stray dogs, and honking from cars during their morning commute. This 28-year-old Spanish tourist, Pons Cresto Arnau, was filmed having drunken morning sex with a Russian tourist on Nathon Beach. The viral clip caused an outrage among peaceful Samui locals.
In the end, police could only catch him but not his partner. He was fined THB1,000 and made to do an apologetic wai and say “I love Thailand.”
After a night of drinking on Koh Phi Phi, this young couple slid past third base and straight into blowy territory, which wouldn’t have been a problem if they’d just gone inside their hostel and not done it in the doorway outside.
Locals on the busy street asked them questions throughout the highly unsexy act and pulled out their phones to film them and submit the clip to the police. The pair later had to pay a THB2,000 fine and do a wai to ask for public forgiveness at the police station.
To be fair, Phuket is a beach island, and beachwear is the everyday dress code. But this Russian woman seemed to forget to change before visiting a sacred temple was photographed and shamed by Thai people for wearing a see-through beach cover-up to the religious site.
She received a lecture on Thai culture from the police, and of course, apologized with a wai for her fashion mistake.
Two Italian dudes had a laugh casually ripping down the Thai flags outside a business in Krabi, but little did they know their drunken shenanigans were being filmed by CCTV and they could face prison sentences and fines for disrespecting the national symbol of Thailand.
Following a video of them pulling down the flags, the two appeared in another viral video, but this time they were surrounded by police, raising their palms in a wai before saying: “We are really sorry about that, we didn’t mean it at all. We are from another country. In our country, the flag isn’t so important. We were really, really drunk. We like the Thai people, we like the Thai country, we like everything but we didn’t know about that law. We just want to say that we’re really, really sorry. Khor thot krub.”
This 49-year-old American made headlines as “Farang Sai Burn” (Head-giving Farang), as he snuck up on a Pattaya bar girl during a wild Songkran water fight and put his head between her legs.
The man was charged with public indecency. He confessed to police that he was very drunk and he felt sorry for behaving in such an inappropriate manner to a Thai woman. The woman also admitted to drunkenness and accompanied her unintended sexual partner to the police station. He swore he would become a better person because he loved Thailand very much…all while doing a wai.
“Wait, but wai?”
It turned out this Irish teacher lied about getting robbed by a van driver in Pattaya for the most Irish of reasons — he was so drunk he couldn’t remember a thing — he was supposed to apologize to the police and van driver.
He did apologize to the whole country of Thailand, but maybe he didn’t get the memo about the wai. Instead, he shook hands with the van driver and called it a day.