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Great batalay 2011-01-25 9:54

Hi John,

I've known of this peculiar habit of controlled stretching of the female neck ever since i was a child. Last summer when we were going to Thailand for a brief visit, I wondered how I would react if I ever saw one of these hapless women (I know that if the rings are removed, the head can flop over, the muscles having atrophied).

This is a very good portrait (and her right eye is placed perfectly on the centerline).

Warm regards,


Old 01-25-2011, 07:09 PM
happypoppeye happypoppeye is offline
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Default To batalay: Padaung

Thanks for the comment Bulent.

As for this tribe, the Padaung, sometimes called "Longneck" or "Giraffe" people (which may have a racial slur undertone to it - I probably shouldn't have said it), they are an interesting bunch.

Hapless? In my opinion, not the right word either. I've had a few conversations on the subject and some of my thoughts (I know - you may not care ):

Although this picture shows what seems to be a very miserable girl, they are a happy bunch. The neck stretching (which is actually not neck, but a pushing down of the shoulder blades to produce the look os a stretched neck) actually derived from a religious animist belief. Right now, no one really forces these girls to do it, but they do it on their own accord.

Which brings me to the reason they do it - religious and tribal customs, yes, but some also do it for money. Is it right, no, but is it wrong, not necessarily. Many of these tribes have a very very low income and quality of life. Up in Baan Tong Luong, they have come together to make money off this practice. It affords them luxuries they would otherwise not even be able to dream of having. They can now buy medicine, have electricity, houses and not have to worry about being able to feed themselves even. (PS: this is what I got from talking to them).

Now. Doing this for money is not right in my opinion but, as always, being there is always different than seeing it from "afar" so to speak. One woman even said "If we stop we make no money, our children get sick, and they die, so what good is stopping this practice for health when we will die anyway". It is true. It is ashame also. It can be stopped, but the women really didn't want it too. They didn't want handouts and didn't want their future in someone else's hands. They wanted to make their own money, save it and spend it how they saw fit. A very admirable and strong bunch of women in my opinion. They have a whole different side to the story. Very interesting.

As for taking the rings off ...they do but usually when are going to sleep. They had a bunch of pictures with them off... Those rings were heavy too. Solid brass...

Not arguing or anything and your comments are always well received and appreciated. Just trying to give a "different side" to the story. They are anything but hapless though (and yes, I know you didn't mean anything bad by it). Strong, self-sufficient and admirable are better words

Thanks again,
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