People often ask me why so many Thai people always seem to be wearing face masks. The simple answer is, I don’t know. But I have three theories.

First, a lot of Thais will wear a face mask to protect their face from the Sun. Face being the key word. In Thailand many people see a dark-colored face and think that the person is a farmer or construction worker. And often they are. Many Thais think that a lighter skin means a person works indoor, earning more money. The same mindset existed in Missoura where I was a lousy student. The teachers would ask me time and time again “Do you want to dig ditches for a living or work in an office?”

My second theory is that masks have become social firewalls. I often see what appears to be a perfectly healthy Thai person wearing them along with headphones. I think it is because they don’t want to communicate with people around them. And many young women believe it is safer to dress in anonymity when travelling on public transportation.

Finally there is the history theory. Covering the face with scarves and masks became an attempt to fend off the Influenza epidemic in the early 1900s. In 2002, Thailand experienced the SARS outbreak followed by 2006 Bird Flu panic. So, the face mask went viral again. Actually, surgical masks provide minimal protection from environmental viruses.

Now excuse me. I need to go dig a ditch…

Visiting a Thai temple during lunch hour.

Visiting the temple during lunch break.

Maybe a nurse?

Sun protection is needed in Thailand.

K. Dee does not want her face to get dark.

The arms are on their own.

Enjoying a party in rural Thailand.

Enjoying a party down the road.

A Thai laborer on her way to work.

Her work tools for the day are in the blue bag.

Bangkok Protest 2013

Bangkok Protest 2013

Spreading rice to dry in Thailand.

Spreading rice for it to dry.

It was a little over 100F.

The Thai Rath morning newspaper with the latest lottery results has been bought and this lady is heading home.

The Thai Rath morning newspaper with the latest lottery results has been bought and this lady is heading home.

Muslim ladies shopping in downtown Bangkok.

Downtown Bangkok

Sunscreen in Thailand

A common store bought

Ninja mask.

A daily wage in Thailand is B300.

Remember Gilligan? Meet Gin, one of our former daily workers. She would drive me crazy.

 

I will explain in an upcoming story.

The lottery lady trying to keep cool.

The lottery lady trying to keep cool.

A mother takes her daughter to school in Thailand.

A Watchful Eye

A Thai woman with a beautiful smile.

What a smile!

Black and white image from Thailand.

My sidecar photobombed the Lone Ninja.