How Pareploy Saeaia became an advert for women’s self-defense training in Thailand
Pareploy Saeaia has become a testament to the power of female martial arts, after the clip of her tackling a guy who poured water over her head because she spurned his advances went viral.
The vengeful wooer quickly discovered he’d picked the wrong victim at a roadside eatery when Pareploy unleashed her Muay Thai expertise to pound him with a series of kicks and punches.
The clip was uploaded to her Facebook on February 8 soon after the event, as the fitness trainer and martial-arts teacher wanted to send a message that abusive behavior towards women will not be tolerated.
“If a woman does not want to clink glasses with you, it’s her right,” said Pareploy. “You have no right to pour water over her.”
Pareploy said she decided to stand up and throw a few kicks at the man, later identified as a staffer of a Bangkok hotel, not only out of anger but also because she didn’t want the same thing to happen to other women.
“What would other women do in the same situation? In my case, he messed with the wrong person – I am a boxer. But what would other women do,” Pareploy said of her reasons for fighting back. “I also believe that this sort of case shouldn’t end with the harasser being just slapped with a small fine.”
Police slapped a Bt1,000 fine on both Pareploy and the man for brawling in a public place. However, the man’s employer, Swissotel Bangkok Ratchada, fired him for “inappropriate behavior” after the clip went viral. Married with children, the man offered an apology, saying he was drunk at the time of the incident. He also paid Pareploy’s fine.
She’s a boxing champ
Pareploy, 24, began boxing when she was 13. Later, she turned professional and racked up an impressive record of 40 wins in 50 pro-fights.
In the ring, she was known as “Kwa Tonsung” and “Pareploy Mor Krungthep Thon”, the latter a reference to her alma mater of Bangkokthonburi University. She majored in sports science and represented her university at several tournaments.
Boasting a cabinet full of boxing medals and trophies, she was even hired to teach female police officers how to protect themselves.
“Physically, women are not as strong as men but skills help,” Pareploy said. “I think women should pick up fighting skills because they can be useful in times of emergency.”
There is no longer a vast divide between boxing and beauty, and Pareploy is living proof. While she loves punching and kicking, she also enjoys the latest fashion and make-up trends like her peers.
For a famous example of femininity mixed with fighting spirit, look no further than luk-thung singer Nipaporn “Kratae” Boonyaliang. Powered by her love of Thai boxing, she jumped into the professional ring as a girl and fought 24 times, emerging as the winner in most bouts. Though she switched to singing as her day job, she still boxes regularly in her free time.
A string of other actresses and singers have also chosen to take up boxing as their fitness regime. Among them are Sarunrat “Lydia” Deane, Thanchanok “Bebe” Ritnaka, Janie Tienphosuwan, and Keerati “Gypsy” Mahapreukpong.
Sparring for confidence
A bank employee in her late 20s said that since she began boxing, she has been feeling more confident and free in public. She no longer fears the late-night drive home on her motorbike and has also noticed that men have stopped teasing her.
In fact, her boxing skills have become so good that she even spars professionally when she can get time off from her day job. “My colleagues cheer me on. When I win a match, they give me extra prizes,” she said.
A university student said she began taking Muay Thai classes at the age of 15 because unwanted advances from men were making her uncomfortable.
“After I picked up fighting skills, all the flirting and banter disappeared,” she said, adding that her sparring skills have become so good that she too fights professionally sometimes.
By Thai PBS World’s General Desk