A male model in Thailand recently found himself embroiled in social media drama and controversy after posting an image of his welfare card online while exhibiting what appears to be an extravagant lifestyle.
Wachrin Tankuranan initially caught the attention of Thai netizens on Sunday when his welfare card was prominently featured in one of his photos. He has earlier posted photos of his G-shock watch, iPhone and fancy coffee which minimum wage earners in Thailand normally can’t afford, Coconuts Bangkok reports.
In Thailand, low-income earners, whose annual salary is less than 100,000 Thai baht ($3,000) and have less than that in their bank account, were recently provided with welfare cards by the Thai government. A monthly stipend of 1,700-1,800 Thai baht ($50) is deposited on the card to help poor Thais afford to pay basic necessities.
Since the card was supposed to be exclusive for the poor, the 26-year-old model’s suspicious photo prompted many to investigate his social media accounts to check whether he actually deserves to be on welfare.
His Instagram account revealed that not only does he frequent fancy restaurants, he also proudly displays his Apple gadgets and designer items on his photos. He has since become a trending topic on Twitter, with many users berating him for being a freeloader and abusing the system intended for less fortunate beneficiaries.
Some netizens also mocked his peculiar way of showing off his pricey items.
“The smartphone, I get it. But why do you take your watch off when you go to Starbucks! So fabulous!”
one Twitter user reacted
In an interview with Amarin TV, Tankuranan insisted that he is indeed poor, explaining that most of the fancy stuff he posted on social media did not actually belong to him.
“About Starbucks, sometimes my friend would invite me for a coffee. Sometimes I don’t have to pay for it because I go with my friends. Everything belongs to them,” Wachrin was quoted as saying.
“I only posted nice photos on Twitter and Instagram because everybody does that. I insist that I don’t have any assets,” he said.
He also claimed that there are months that he doesn’t even earn any money at all.
“I review products for a living. My income is not guaranteed. Some months, I don’t have any income at all, and sometimes I only get to use the products for free. I’m just a regular poor person. I’m not handsome or rich,” he added.
Despite his explanation, the Thai government has reportedly begun looking into his case after receiving complaints from netizens. His welfare card is at risk of being canceled should he be proven to be not qualified for the program.