Mon, Feb 19, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Little black number sparks outrage in Buddhist Thailand

AFP , BANGKOK

A revealing dress worn by a minor actress has sparked a moral furor in Thailand, prompting a university to order the aspiring star to read to the blind in penance for her lapse in judgement.

Recalling a scandal sparked by British actress Elizabeth Hurley's safety-pin dress worn to a 1994 film premier, Chotiros "Amy" Suriyawong stepped out in a very little black number to Thailand's equivalent of the Oscars last week.

But the kingdom, currently experiencing something of a moral crusade, was not impressed with the frock, which featured a 8cm slit from the cleavage down to the thigh, held together by a few sparkly strips of cloth.

The dress, and her apparent lack of undergarments, caused a public outcry, with the Thai press berating the 22-year-old for offending Thai culture with the barely-there outfit, and Web chat boards discussing little else.

Since the dress made its debut at the awards ceremony on Feb. 9, there have been tears, apologies and retribution in Thailand, which is increasingly seeking to balance its traditional Buddhist values with the country's raunchier side, which attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists a year.

"I feel really guilty and sad, I would like to apologize to Thai people," said Chotiros, who has had a handful of small film roles and is currently a student.

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