WHAT’S the most popular souvenir from Thailand among those travelling from Europe, Germany in particular?
The story about a strange souvenir from Thailand began recently when a Thai travelled to Germany to do some business for a month or so.
He said he was surprised or even frustrated by the fact that anytime he went to a toilet he could not find a Thai style bidet or rinse sprayer or simply put bum gun.
Coming back to Thailand he bought one to be fitted at his restroom in Germany.
As time went by, many of his German friends who came to visit him at his residence found the bum gun and fell in love with it. From then on this hand sprayer has been in demand among his foreign friends.
The story of the popularity of the bum gun among foreigners eventually hit the Thai social media. At a popular community website Pantip.com, there has been debate as to why the bidet spray set has become one of the top ten souvenirs among westerners at the moment.
Questions have been raised as to why this product has not been used by the majority of the foreigners.
Among the answers is that overall the temperature in the West is low, which means it would be too chilly for them to use the bum gun.
Some argue that that might not be the only reason for actually it’s a matter of taste and preference, a matter of behavior. While many Thais love using bum gun thinking it’s more hygienic, western people feel that using toilet paper is what they feel is enough and comfortable.
They also felt that installing the bum gun in the toilet, particularly toilet in the public places like department stores or hotels or even in their own home’s toilet, might create risks among users especially the elderly.
There is risk that using the spray might make the floor wet and become slippery for users while it would be a burden for janitors to spend more time cleaning the toilet floors.
And that’s one of the reasons why even department stores in Thailand do not install the bum gun in their toilets.
A commentator at the site pointed out that bidet spray was initiated in France in the 15th century for use in the palace and later spread to several countries. In 1928, American scientist named John Harvey Kellog had invented and patented his product called “anal douche”.
Bidet has evolved over time and used in many countries including Arab nations, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. In 1980, the Japanese had invented electronic bidet, which has been widely used in the country.
The expert said the hose bidet or sprayer now widely used in Thailand had actually been adapted by Thais from kitchen faucet/sink sprayer used in Europe for cleaning their vegetables!
It’s unclear which country invented this but the product has been quite popular in Finland.
The popularity of the bum gun has risen lately in England after King Power bought Leicester City football team and then installed the bum gun in their club’s toilets. An English football fan posted a picture after using the toilet on the internet, saying this is the best thing King Power has done for the club!
These are views from the Thai side. Comments from horse mouths are more than welcome.
Top: A bum gun next to a roll of toilet paper in a bathroom.
First inset: Bum guns for sale in Bangkok.
Second inset: A Japanese electronic bidet.
By Kowit Sanandang