The Kanokwan “Jubjang” Chusuk had to abandon his dream to become queen of beauty after they found that teachers are forbidden to participate in beauty contests in Thailand.
Tattoo artist Ajarn Jo decided to swap out the traditional costume of Thai goddess of wealth Nang Kwak for a sexy dress, and it quickly went viral on social media. Reaction to the fast was mixed, with some passionately defending the transformation while others saw it as blasphemous and inappropriate.
The goddess of wealth and fortune, or Nang Kwak, is represented as a statue or amulet of a woman in an alluring gesture. Nang means women and Kwak means alluring. The figure is popular among Thai business owners, especially restaurant owners, because Thais believe that Nang Kwak will bring good luck, wealth and prosperity to those who pray. Placing a statue of her at the entrance of a restaurant can attract more customers.
The tattoo artist is known for his traditional Thai tattoos, which are believed to bring good luck, wealth, power and strength to people who have them on their bodies. Ajarn Joe told the media that he wanted to propose a new Nang Kwak design to appeal to a new generation of customers, but insists that people can still pray for good luck and money, as they do with traditional religious charms.
Ajarn Joe added that Nang Kwak's sexy makeup is very popular with his overseas clients. He sells it overseas in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia for 3,999 baht per statue. It is much more expensive than the regular one, which costs less than 500 baht.
Many people who oppose the new look see it as inappropriate and destructive of traditional Thai beliefs and the Buddhist religion. The costume looks too sexy, and the statue was made only for money. However, many Thais believe it is the perfect way to add value to Thai products and spread the kingdom's culture and beliefs to the world stage.