Miss Universe Thailand 2021 Poses With Thai Flag, Netizens’ Reactions Are Varied

4 minutes reading time

Miss Universe Thailand takes a photo with Thai flag

According to พิพิธภัณฑ์รัฐสภา, the Thai flag is a symbol of the nation, the Buddhist religion, and the monarchy.

The three colors – red, white, and blue – on the flag’s five horizontal stripes have different meanings. Red honours the blood that was shed in order to maintain independence of the country, white symbolizes the purity of Buddhism, and blue represents the Thai monarchy.

As the flag’s symbolism for highly revered elements of Thai culture, some people may find it inappropriate and disrespectful when someone uses the flag in certain ways.

Here’s the story of Thailand’s Miss Universe 2021, Anchilee Scott-Kemmis, who posted a photo with the Thai flag that was found offensive by some Thai netizens.

More news stories on TSL:

Miss Universe Thailand’s photo with the Thai flag sparks criticism

On 21st November 2021, the story about Miss Universe Thailand’s promo image became a hot issue on social media after a picture showing Anchilee Scott-Kemmis standing on the national flag had been posted on Miss Universe Thailand’s official Facebook page.

Image credit: Sanook

The picture saw Anchilee in a red jumpsuit striking a pose while holding the national flag on her left shoulder, and standing on the blue striped area of what can be described as a Thai flag carpet.

The promo pic sparked criticism from several netizens who viewed the photo as an affront to the Thai monarchy.

Sonthiya Sawasdee, a former advisor to the parliamentary committee on law, justice and human rights, plans to pursue legal action against The Miss Universe Thailand pageant for disrespecting the national flag, according to Prachachat.

Recently, TPN Global, national organizer of the Miss Universe Thailand pageant, has clarified the issue on the official Miss Universe Thailand Facebook page.

They stated that the company has high respect for differing opinions and reaffirms its commitment to improve society and elevate the Miss Universe pageant in Thailand to the next level.

The caption was posted with a picture citing a quote from Jill Blakeway as what seems like a message to those who misunderstood the image.

Image credit: @Ann_scottkemmis

Soon afterwards, on 22nd November 2021, Anchilee also tweeted on her personal Twitter account that “I’m so honoured to be representing Thailand but more importantly, I’m so proud to be Thai” as a sign of respect for Thailand.

Netizens react to the story and show support for Annchilee and organisers

After the story went viral on Facebook, many netizens shared their thoughts on the issue – mostly about supporting Annchilee and the organisers.

Screenshot: Miss Universe Thailand

These two netizens sent their encouragement to both Annchilee and the organisers of the pageant.

Translation: We’re cheering for you guys, TPN team. Let’s cheer on Annchilee, our Miss Universe Thailand, for building a good reputation for our country. I love Annchilee. Keep fighting, good girl.

Screenshot: Miss Universe Thailand

Translation: I can see that TPN has done a great job and embraces the different opinions of people. You guys are such a professional team. I’ll keep my fingers crossed, and I’ll cheer for Annchilee in the upcoming Miss Universe pageant.

Another Facebook user also showed their support in English.

Screenshot: Miss Universe Thailand

From the drama over this story stems what seems to be a very important lesson.

Respect is a must

Whether you consider the image of Miss Universe Thailand standing on a carpet with the national flag printed on it appropriate or not, one thing we can learn about this story is that we should have respect for one another.

It’s obvious that both Anchilee and the Miss Universe Thailand pageant organisers had no intentions of insulting the national flag, and continue to display high respect for our country.

From our point of view, these are the types of role models we should follow.

Cover image adapted from (L-R): Sanook, @Annscottkemmis

Enjoying The Smart Local Thailand? Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more stories like this.