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PHUKET: Phuket was in the international news spotlight again last week, this time for the heartbreaking murder of an 11-month-old baby girl, hanged by her own father in Nai Thon (story here).

Most readers will already be familiar with the tragically short life of Natalee ‘Biw’ Wongtalay, whose execution went viral after her late father, 21, chose to post it on Facebook Live before taking his own life.

There are so many angles to pursue on such a story that it is difficult to know where to begin. Perhaps it is best to start by at least attempting to keep things in some kind of perspective, as difficult as that may seem.

As horrific as the murder was, the sad reality is that young men driven to insane jealousy have been perpetrating atrocities from time immemorial. Such jealousy is an incredibly powerful force that can flip an otherwise sane individual into the uncharted realms of unpredictable, violent behavior.

These days, we tend to be bombarded with ‘public awareness’ slogans. Smokers now not only have to endure ‘Smoking Kills’ slogans on their cigarette packs, but also graphical representations of what some of the potential outcomes might be. We are also reminded daily of numerous other threats, both real and perceived.

Yet the single greatest immediate threat to young women around the globe comes not from ‘second-hand smoke’, or other perceived dangers, but a testosterone-driven male partner in fear of, or in the process of, being dumped.

Thai soap opera culture plays a particularly interesting role in all this. Female leads typically dish out the hurt by slapping one another in the face, or through similar such outbursts, while their male counterparts remain quiet, composed pillars of virtue.

In stark contrast, real Thai women of every age should be made better aware of the potential dangers posed by a jealousy-fueled young male. They need to be dealt with just as delicately as a time bomb in the process of being defused.

We do not know the exact course of events that led to this tragedy, or if the victim’s now-widowed mom could have handled the situation better, but we nevertheless offer her and her family our condolences after such an unimaginable loss.

Rest in peace, Nong Biw.