As the years pass my forehead expands relentlessly to claim space previously occupied by my flowing locks. It seems I am genetically predisposed to join the ranks of the follicularly challenged. Not for me the strong heads of hair, long, thick, jet black and straight, that are the preserve of the people around me.

Not that Thai people are oblivious to the beauty of their hair: many has been the time that I’ve visited a public restroom and had to wait whilst all the basins are occupied by young men preening their hair, teasing each strand until it’s just so.

Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
– Ecclesiastes 1:2, Authorised King James Version (1611)

In search of individuality, some young men dye their hair – usually to a dark chestnut colour, though some go further and reach for the Clorox.

These same young men weren’t allowed to display their crowning glories when they were at school; the Thai educational system demands that all boys have closely cut crops. If a teacher thinks a student’s hair is too long she (for it almost always is a she) will grab a clump of hair and cut it off with a pair of scissors, so forcing the student to make an unscheduled trip to the barber.


In searching for the quote from King Solomon I came across this optical illusion, which is apparently quite famous, but I hadn’t come across before and think is worth duplicating here, even though it has nothing to do with Thailand:

All is Vanity, C. Allan Gilbert (1892)– All is Vanity, C. Allan Gilbert (1892)

Incidentally, Gilbert, an American, was only 18 years old when he created this image.


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