Portable Toilets in the Netherlands Decorated with Buddha Images

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Two images starting to go viral on Facebook at the moment are these one with over 5,000 shares in one day. What you see here are portable toilets in Holland that have been decorated with images of the Buddha. I don’t think any evil intent was meant here. The images are beautiful and serene and the designer probably just wanted to beautify what could have been an ugly corner of this town. But, as we all know, Thais hold their religion with the greatest respect. In Thailand there are many restrictions on what you can and cannot do with images of the Buddha. Although it has never been tested here, I am sure decorating the walls of a toilet is one of the activities which are deeply frowned upon. Naturally there is a lot of discussion on social media about this. How far do you think this will go? Should the Dutch ambassador be called to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to explain himself? Or are Thai Buddhists making a mountain out of a molehill?

UPDATE on Tuesday 22nd January from The Royal Netherlands Embassy in Bangkok:

“The Royal Netherlands Embassy has brought the reactions of Thai people to the attention of the renting company. The Company, Boels rental, reacted immediately. It has indicated that they were not aware about the impact of the pictures for some people. They will withdraw the bio box immediately from the market. They offer their apologies to the Thai and Buddhist communities for this action.” 

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29 thoughts on “Portable Toilets in the Netherlands Decorated with Buddha Images

  • January 21, 2013 at 8:41 pm
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    I think it’s really in bad taste, another image should be used for example trees or flowers.

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  • January 21, 2013 at 8:55 pm
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    Now wait a moment, they have parades of pupils dressed as Nazis in Thailand and they complain about this? They must have serious problems over there…

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    • January 21, 2013 at 9:09 pm
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      Haha, you beat me to it!

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    • January 23, 2013 at 1:25 pm
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      No one make them wear Nazi outfit.Dressing in Nazi is the same problem as this.

      It’s just ignorant.

      We have no problem with Nazi so not much mention in our history book.Those kids think of those military outfit as cool thing.

      The same as you guy think that these are nice picture and put it on anything you want.

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  • January 21, 2013 at 9:08 pm
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    When the Thais stop dressing up kids in Nazi uniforms for school parades the rest of the world may start to take their petty complaints more seriously.

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    • January 21, 2013 at 11:52 pm
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      Oh my Bhuddha.What have you done for Bhuddist’s hearts.I think it’s not really in bad taste but it’s the worst thought that human cann’t do like this.How about your Prophet on the wall of public toilet,I’m sure people will quickly remember the sign of their toilets.Nazi uniforms never been use in Thailand.

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      • January 22, 2013 at 1:15 am
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        My prophet? I’m not religious.

        Nazi uniforms never been use in Thailand? Guess you missed this

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  • January 21, 2013 at 9:25 pm
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    SO u would rather have buddha on toilets then hitler.
    Buddah Who stands for peace and Hitler stand for world domination and one rase people. if hitler had won the war u would not have a paradise and different cultures and food and other stuff. the world is ment ot be different and special were ever u are.

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  • January 21, 2013 at 10:35 pm
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    parade of Nazis?? and there was no ruckus about it? no pictures for the world to see daily? even Prince Harry can wear a nazi costume and not even a slap on the hand. something this permanent that can be seen daily on a dirty toilet is beyond dispicable. perhaps we should do the same with the image of Jesus and see the worldwide response and attention

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  • January 22, 2013 at 12:38 am
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    What bothers me more is those bhudists not behaving according to their faith. Everybody knows what i mean. But a pic on a toilet door……..

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  • January 22, 2013 at 6:44 am
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    My guess is this was not meant to be offensive, but simply to dress up an otherwise ugly necessity with beautiful artwork.

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  • January 22, 2013 at 7:44 am
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    Why the big deal, Do they not make Buddah’s from plastic in Thailand ?

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  • January 22, 2013 at 10:30 am
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    They should put Obama’s picture on one and a monkey on the other. Or maybe a picture of Mohammed and a page from the Quran on the other..only then will the Progressives start pooping themselves over how offensive it is!

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    • January 23, 2013 at 1:35 pm
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      Picture of poor Obama would not help.

      Christian always love to attack him.

      They even attack him when he use his dog picture for holiday greeting card instead of baby Jesus.

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  • January 22, 2013 at 11:47 am
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    Only last week some Thais were complaining because ‘Snoop Dog’ didn’t have 100% technical accuracy when attempting a wai. At least he tried.

    Tolerance is becoming in shorter and shorter supply.

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  • January 22, 2013 at 12:03 pm
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    WTF. i want to know who’s creat. YOU ARE MONSTER. and if i meet you everywhere i wil punch on your face. SURE

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    • January 22, 2013 at 1:06 pm
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      Shouldn’t you be in school?

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  • January 22, 2013 at 1:01 pm
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    May be it’s time for thais to start making our public toilets to look like those in Netherland and decorated with jesus images.
    I think it should make atleast similar feeling. Something very spiritual and sensitive decorated on shitty places.

    Do you agree?

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    • January 22, 2013 at 1:23 pm
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      I doubt most Dutch people would really care. Religion is fast becoming an out of date philosophy in many civilized countries. And rightly so.

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  • January 22, 2013 at 1:31 pm
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    in the modern world, Jesus has long been used to promote products in the west, with no out lash (that I recall). He’s one of those ‘feel good’ symbols, like bunnies and lambs and peace signs and such.

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  • January 22, 2013 at 4:00 pm
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    Jesus did not come to the toilet.

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  • January 22, 2013 at 4:42 pm
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    Speaking to both sides : I’m sure the person behind this has no idea how it would appears as offensive to Thai viewers. One the Thais side, Thais, we should be understanding and forgiving as Buddha teaching. I’ve following the Thai news they neither positive or negative about it..just said” The National Office of Buddhism is going to write a letter to the Dutch government” It’s just a misunderstanding I would say.

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  • January 22, 2013 at 4:53 pm
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    Looks like it is over. Dutch company has apologised and will remove the images from the portable toilets today.

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  • January 23, 2013 at 2:54 pm
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    I got the following email from the Dutch Embassy here in Bangkok. As far as I am concerned this matter is over:

    “The Royal Netherlands Embassy has brought the reactions of Thai people to the attention of the renting company. The Company, Boels rental, reacted immediately. It has indicated that they were not aware about the impact of the pictures for some people. They will withdraw the bio box immediately from the market. They offer their apologies to the Thai and Buddhist communities for this
    action.”

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    • January 24, 2013 at 11:10 am
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      ขอบคุณ

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  • February 22, 2013 at 12:39 pm
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    Only just seen this – can see the offence (though also see the comparisons with the Nazi parades), but Thais aren’t the only Buddhists in the world?

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  • September 13, 2013 at 11:15 pm
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    I am an atheist.but this is an offence to a religion.How about Jesus Christ brand condom or quarantine toilet paper?It isn’t right, is it?

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