A seemingly self-explanatory photo with little context, showing three people with bloodied bandages on their abdomens each holding up a new Apple iPhone 14, caused a stir in Thailand after it was circulated among the people there, with some who took it to mean kidneys were sold to buy mobile devices.
The image, which originated from Laos as a joke, was apparently taken seriously enough by some in Thailand that one person in authority came out to denounce it, just in case it was accepted at face value as true.
They donated a kidney to get themselves the iphone 14 😂 pic.twitter.com/ko2InN8OHU— ZIM COUSIN (@zimcousin) September 12, 2022
Organ trading illegal in Thailand
Sophon Mekthon, the managing director of the Organ Donation Centre under the Thai Red Cross Society, condemned the image as unethical and inappropriate and warned people that organ trading in Thailand is illegal.
The image gained nation-wide traction by Sep. 11.
According to Bangkok Post, he said: “There is no organ trading. That is prohibited. It is inappropriate to suggest selling organs, especially to get money to buy an iPhone. It is morally wrong and unethical.”
Transplants are only done between close family members, such as parents and children, he added.
Despite the image being appreciated by some Thais as a funny visual gag, Mekthon encouraged people to register with the Thai Red Cross Organ Donation Centre to become organ donors after they die.
He added that there is a shortage of donors and about 6,000 people are on a waiting recipients list.
Currently, nearly 2 million people have signed up to become organ donors in Thailand.
Photo a joke from Laos
His harsh tone was in stark contrast to the jokey nature of the image.
The photo, which has since been taken down, supposedly originated from a Vietnamese beauty clinic based in Laos.
In Laos, the photo was treated more leniently, as the context was apparently more well understood.
This was attributed to the fact that Laotians earn about S$114 minimum wage a month, while Thais earn S$343 minimum wage a month.
The prices of iPhones are more exorbitant to Laotians than to Thais.
Thailand one of first countries to receive new iPhone 14
Apple started taking pre-orders for the new iPhone in Thailand in the second week of September 2022.
The iPhone 14 retails for between 32,900 baht (S$1,254) to 50,900 baht (S$1,940) in Thailand.
Thailand will be one of the first countries to receive the new iPhone on Sep. 16.
Top photo via