I moved to Bangkok with my husband and daughter a few months ago, and I’m very impressed with how fast we have managed to adapt to our new lives. This has a lot to do with the Thai culture, which is very welcoming. Locals are affectionate, especially with young kids.
My daughter, who is two years old, has pinkish round cheeks, is very cheerful and, just like her mom, she has dark curly hair. This means that each time we walk around the city we get exposed to excitement towards our exotic looks, so much that I feel like a walking circus sideshow, or a celebrity (depending on how you judge the situation).
Getting this type of attention could be good as it serves as a distraction for my two year old, when I try my best to shop with a toddler in tow. However, this friendliness comes with a price – the one of having my daughter’s picture taken by total strangers. This bothers me for many reasons… (thank you for letting me vent!):
Reason #1: No one asks for my permission.
By taking pictures of my daughter without my permission, I don’t feel respected – can’t someone at least acknowledge my presence, smile, and ask me if I’m ok with getting my baby’s picture taken by a stranger? I don’t guarantee the answer will be positive, but I’ll appreciate the respect given to me.
Reason #2: I don’t feel safe.
Not only do I not know the photo taker, but I also don’t trust them. Why are they even bothering to take pictures of a two year old? Is it to show it off to friends, look at this cute little girl I came across today? Sometimes when I don’t feel right about the person who is taking the pictures, I just ask them to stop (while trying to smile and sound as polite as possible!) and usually, they do.
Reason #3: What about my time?
The problem here is that I find myself in a photo-shoot session that I didn’t sign up for. I have other things to do (and I like to complete them all before the toddler tantrum kicks in). It all makes me wonder again: why are they taking these pictures in the first place? I still don’t get it.
Reason #4: My daughter is not in the right mood.
The other day I got stopped by three tourists (’cause yes, the exotic hair seems to be an attraction for both locals and tourists), who asked if they could take pictures of my daughter. Well, at least they had the courtesy of asking, but my daughter wasn’t in her best, most cooperative mood. They kept asking her to look at their cameras, and I was forced to ask them to stop. After all, I’m going to be the one to deal with the aftermath.
Reason #5: I just hate it.
Maybe I should have started with this reason. I just hate it. I hate for total strangers to take pictures of my daughter.
So now that this is out there, and everyone’s been officially warned, don’t blame me for going nuts the next time I see a camera pointed at me by a stranger — I’m just trying to protect my daughter!
By Ghada Karam, a first-time mom who lives in Bangkok with her husband and her two-year old daughter. She enjoys gossiping about being a mom and about her daughter’s tantrums. She thinks tantrums are great. They spice-up her day. You can follow her latest news on Confidential Mommy Talks, or socialize with her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.