When most people imagine monks, they think of Buddhists in orange robes peacefully meditating. Although that stereotype has persistently proven untrue, new footage out of Thailand serves to undermine that tranquil image.
The video, which was posted on Friday, features a white male, identified only as Jeff, being slapped across the face by a robe-clad monk after allegedly offering his seat to two women on the train. The monk, who was not identified in the clip, said something angrily in Thai, but his remarks have yet to be translated.
A police officer came to where Jeff was seated, and he informed the officer that the monk slapped him three times. The monk was then instructed by the police officer to go somewhere else on the train, which he agreed to do.
Some Thai media outlets have suggested the monk was upset that Jeff sat next to him, to which Jeff responded, “Fine, fine.” The monk might have heard Jeff say, “Kwai, Kwai,” which is offensive Thai slang meaning ‘buffalo,’ CTV News reported.
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Jeff has not addressed those claims and seems unfazed by the event.
The day after the incident, Facebook user Noojeab Kuntao, who is identified as Jeff’s wife, posted a video of him addressing it. Jeff, who teaches English, seemed determined not to let the encounter reflect poorly on Thailand and insisted it wasn’t a big deal.
“Thailand is Thailand, I love living in Thailand,” Jeff said. In what sounds like an Australian drawl, he said the whole incident “s’alright,” but added he was grateful for the support of the community. “I appreciate it,” he said. “Everything is okay. Thank you.”