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Pattaya Daily News

19 October 2009 :: 16:10:05 pm 7583

UK Ambassador In 1967 Thought Thais Were ‘Commonly Lewd’

Pattaya, October 19, 2009, [PDN] British ambassadors’ candid personal assessments of the countries they were posted to reveal that, among others, Thailand in 1967 wasn’t the most highly rated of postings, the Thais being described as “commonly lewd” and promiscuous.
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Details of the personal assessments by UK diplomats were revealed on Sunday, October18, with the opening of the UK’s National Archives and through Freedom of Information.

Until 2006, retiring British ambassadors traditionally sent a valedictory dispatch to London, giving their frank personal assessment of the country in which they had served, some of which weren’t exactly complimentary. The British Ambassador to Thailand from 1965-67, Sir Anthony Rumbold, apparently considered that Thais lacked culture, saying “They have no literature, no painting and only a very odd kind of music; their sculpture, ceramics and dancing are borrowed from others, and their architecture is monotonous and interior decoration hideous.” He further said, according to a report in the AP, that “Nobody can deny that gambling and golf are the chief pleasures of the rich, and that licentiousness is the main pleasure of them all.”

Other UK ambassadors had equally scathing comments to make about their hosts, calling Nigerians maddening, Nicaraguans often dishonest, and Canadians deeply unimpressive. Sir John Russell’s letter from Rio de Janeiro in 1969 apparently regarded Brazil as being “damn badly run“, with corruption so rampant that you can “buy anything from a driving licence to a High Court judge”.

Other diplomats turned their invective on the Foreign Office itself, criticizing British bureaucracy, and the frequently mundane world of international relations. The UK Ambassador to India, David Gore-Booth, wrote in 1999: “One of the great failures of the diplomatic service has been its inability to cast off its image as bowler-hatted, pinstriped and chinless with a fondness for champagne. Indeed cocktail parties are death as, I am sure 99 percent of diplomatic service colleagues would agree.” The tradition of sending candid assessments home was ended in 2006, following the leaking to the press of a message from Ivor Roberts, the UK ambassador to Italy.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Politics News

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