August 1, 2013 – Day 001
As the clock struck twelve midnight somewhere in Bangkok, our first official day in Thailand’s capital began. After our van that picked us from the airport deposited us at our new abode, the first order of business on our children’s agenda was to stake their claim on which bedroom would be theirs. This was no minor matter as the selection their bleary eyes and sleep-deprived minds came up with would be their place of rest for the next three years.
Thankfully, there were no scuffles, there were no attempts at blatant bribery, and all were happy with the outcome (including myself and my lovely wife).
The effects of jet lag only afforded us a few hours of sleep as the whole family was up-and-at-em at 6:00am.
One of the first things we noticed upon entering our kitchen was the Welcome Kit provided by my lovely wife’s employer. This is a standard kit that comprises plates, silverware, an iron, bath towels, and other assorted amenities that a new family will need before the rest of their belongings arrive via a slow cargo vessel that is currently somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.
One of the items in that kit gave me pause. It was an item bought on the local economy so I can safely assume that it is a product geared toward the Thai population. I will show you a picture of the item in a moment, but before I do that I miss invoke Disclaimer No.1.
As a reminder for those who don’t want to use the above hyperlink, this disclaimer – which I used during my time writing in Peru – basically says any critical observations I make about a culture is in no way meant to pass myself and my native culture as superior. I apologize for any offense taken as that is not my intent. My intent here is to observe and report.
Moving on, here is the item in question…
My apologies for the fuzziness of the picture as it appears that my digital camera is also suffering from jet lag. The product pictured above is a bar of soap that goes by the name, LUX. The text underneath the brand name is “White Impress”. Underneath that text is the word, “Whitening”.
To my eye, this appears to be a product designed to lighten the skin. I should delete the word “actually” from the previous sentence because this news article from last year states LUX contains an ingredient that helps “to lighten the skin tone”.
The Thai people, for the most part, are a people whose skin tone is considerably darker than my own pasty-white Caucasian hue. What must a person think when they are shown a vision of beauty and a target of beauty that is not natural to them? This is not the first time that I have posed this question and since I have now seen this phenomenon on opposite sides of the globe, I doubt it will be the last.