Pubpeab Craze Hits Facebook – Support the Thai Polite Way to Sit Instead of Planking

Cute trio Pubpeab-ing at the beach, copyright Pongz Panupong on Facebook

In response to Friday’s photograph of a monk ‘planking’, a new Facebook page has popped up promoting the Thai way of sitting known as  ‘Pubpeab’.

Pubpeab is the polite, traditional way to sit in Thailand, which Thais always do at temples, in front of Buddha images, with monks, with their boss, and to show respect to anyone older than them. So far, 139,500 people have ‘Liked’ the Facebook page, with more hitting the ‘Like’ button every minute.

As a westerner, when I moved to Bangkok a decade ago and began teaching at a Thai high school ‘Pubpeab’ was something I learned to do quickly.  It involves sitting on the floor in a type of kneeling position, your body facing forward and your legs curved behind you at the knee, so the soles of your feet are always facing to the back (having feet facing forward in Thailand is not polite).

Personally, I don’t find Pubpeab to be a comfortable way to sit. It seems to contort your body in an unnatural shape, at least for a foreigner. For Thais though, brought up in sitting in a Pubpeab position for hours, it’s natural and just as comfortable as westerners sitting with our feet up on a table, although of course much more polite.

It’s nice to see the Facebook page though and shows Thai pride in its culture and a disregard for a silly fad like ‘planking’.

The Facebook page is encouraging people to ‘Pubpeab’ – preferably in an unusual place, take a photo and put it up on their page.  There are some very nice ones so far.