Author: Gary Brock
Lady Gaga struck a nerve in the Thailand Government as they express displeasure with her tweet about purchasing a fake designer watch in a Bangkok street market. The government has complained to the US concerning the incident.
Bangkok’s outdoor markets and malls are inherently known for their “knock off” sales of near perfect replicas of luxury brand names imported from and also sold in China. While it is no secret that these products are available there, when Gaga tweeted this information just before her concert in Bangkok, it stirred up a hen’s nest amongst the Thais who claim the artist has tarnished the country’s reputation by suggesting that she could easily get her hands on a fake Rolex watch.
Rubbing a lot of people the wrong way over seas, the Grammy Award winner recently cancelled a concert in Indonesia after threats by conservative groups in the Philippines and South Korea, but has yet to apologize for the tweet which the Thailand Commerce Ministry claims undermines their efforts to end piracy there.
A member of the Commerce Ministry in Thailand relayed his thoughts that Lady Gaga is a representative of the US and the US government puts a lot of pressure on smaller countries to promote protection of intellectual materials and products although the spokesperson requested anonymity when talking to reporters as he was not authorized to speak to media. He goes on to say that Gaga should tell her fans that they shouldn’t use fake goods.
Looks like Gaga stirred them up as they got caught with their pants down. Her comment stirred debate on Thai web and social media forums alike. There was also a protest in the Bangkok business district but when her sold out show when on Friday Night, it did not keep any of the 50,000 fans away.
Gaga’s earlier cancellation of a sold out concert in Indonesia was replaced by the performance of Titan Karisma as she parades onto the stage in a rhinestone bustier and matching pants with juggling sequined fringe to the rhythm of beating drums. Preteen kids, mostly boys, gaze on as she straddles a speaker, licks the microphone, and whips her long hair, thrusting her pelvis toward the camera and the audience.
Gaga’s onstage show in her explicit sexual content would be considered tame compared to the popular genre of music in this predominantly Muslim nation. While her performance was banned from Indonesia, thousands of young women put on performances like Karisma’s every night as they grind in smoky bars and nightclubs, on stages, at weddings, and even circumcisions. The sexier the better as the shows go on.
The banning of Gaga’s performance citing indecency as the reason highlights the double standard division between Indonesia’s largely tolerant majority and the vocal minority of Islamic hardliners. The conservatives hold influence in government there and often pick high profile fights like the one they did to get Gaga banned, but have experienced little success in getting rid of the long-standing tradition and performances of the likes of Karisma in the country.