SOUTHEAST ASIA DIARY
Thailand’s position at the top of the Asian teenage pregnancy league is in part due to Facebook use, according to the country’s National Economic and Social Development Board. The government agency noted that some 40% of Facebook users are aged 18-24 and, cum hoc ergo propter hoc, the use of social media is partly to blame for the country’s teen pregnancy problems. Citing no research to suggest a causal link, the NESDB observed that young users of Facebook and similar sites post “seducing messages and video clips”. The report did not mention the impact of the country’s poor educational record.
The Malaysian government banned singer Erykah Badu from performing at a concert in Kuala Lumpur after the coutry’s leading tabloid, The Star, published a photo of the Grammy award-winner sporting body art in Hebrew and Arabic, including the word “Allah” in the latter. Information Minister Rais Yatim described the temporary tattoo as an insult to Islam, and said the act “might lead to excessive and uncontrollable excitement”. Badu said she understood the decision but pointed out that she no longer bore the marks. The Star apologised for publishing the photograph and removed it from its website.