Thai Users Express Concern Over the New iPhone Meme from Laos

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A viral meme from Laos where users are pretending to have sold their kidneys for the new iPhone.

Health workers in Thailand have raised an alarm over jokes going around social media where users are pretending to have sold their kidneys to get their hands on the new iPhone.

The Thiager reports that the managing director of the Organ Donation Centre under the Thai Red Cross Society, Dr. Sophon Mekthon, called such memes unethical and inappropriate. And it is highly irresponsible for anyone to give the impression that they had to resort to selling their kidney to buy an iPhone.

A social media photo was first posted by a beauty clinic in Laos that depicted three individuals holding up their new iPhones while displaying bandages on their abdomens, hinting that they each sold a kidney to pay for the new gadget. Several Lao users responded in comments with their own version of the meme.

The post from Laos blew up in Thailand, prompting Thai social media users to criticize the parody even though it was taken as a joke among the Lao people.

The director encouraged individuals to register with the Thai Red Cross Organ Donation Centre, stating that there are two million people registered to donate their organs when they die, but there is now a waiting list of around 6,000 persons in need of donor organs. Organ transplants in Thailand may only be given by a close family under the supervision of the Thai Red Cross, and selling organs is forbidden.

“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.”

In Thailand and Laos, the new iPhone is priced between BHT 41,000 and BHT 45,000, a hefty price tag whereas the minimum wage in Thailand is about THB 9,000 and in Laos about THB 3,000.