Mechai Viravaidya
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Mechai Viravaidya (born January 17, 1941, Thai: มีชัย วีระไวทยะ) is a former politician and activist in Thailand who has popularized condoms in that country.[1]

Since the 1970s, Mechai has been affectionately known as "Mr. Condom", and in that time condoms are referred to as "mechais" in Thailand[2] From the time that he began his work, the average number of children in Thai families has reduced from 7 to 1.5.[3]

Mechai was born in Thailand to a Scottish mother and a Thai father, both of whom were doctors. They met whilst studying in Edinburgh[4] He is one of four children. His younger brother, Sunya, is the founder of the Pattaya International Hospital. One of his two sisters, Sumalee, was formerly a journalist in Bangkok. Mechai was educated at Geelong Grammar School and (The) University of Melbourne in Australia. In the mid-1960s he returned to Thailand and started to work in family planning, emphasizing condoms. In 1973, he left government and founded a non-profit service organization, the Population and Community Development Association (PDA), to continue the work to improve the lives of the rural poor. Among other things, he held condom blowing contests for school children, encouraged taxi cab drivers to hand out condoms to their customers, and founded a restaurant chain called Cabbages and Condoms where condoms, rather than mints or fortune cookies, are given to customers together with the bill.
メチャイ氏は、タイでスコット人の母とタイ人の父の間に生まれ、両方とも医師でした。メチャイ氏はオーストラリアの大学に行き、1960年代半ばに彼はタイに戻り、家族計画の分野で、コンドームを推奨して仕事をするようになりました。1973年に政府を離れ、非営利サービス組織「人口と共同体発展協会(the Population and Community Development Association=PDA)」を設立し、農村貧困者達の生活を向上する仕事を続けました。数ある中で強いてあげるなら、学校の子供達の為にコンドーム膨らましコンテストを開催したり、また、タクシー運転手にコンドームを配るよう奨励したり、キャベツとコンドームというレストラン・チェーン店を開き、そこでお客さんに領収書を渡す時に、ミントや幸運のクッキーなどを渡す代わりにコンドームを渡すようなサービスを始めました。

Mechai served as deputy minister of industry from 1985 to 1986 under prime minister Prem Tinsulanonda. He served as senator from 1987 until 1991. During this time AIDS appeared in Thailand, and he increased his efforts to promote sexual-safety awareness.
A military coup in 1991 installed prime minister Anand Panyarachun; Panyarachun then appointed Viravaidya minister for tourism, information and AIDS. He was able to start a large and quite successful education campaign and served until 1992. In 2004, Mechai again became a senator.

In 1995 he was appointed an Honorary Officer of the Order of Australia, for "service to Australian-Thai relations and contributions to the world AIDS debate".[5]
As of 2007, he continues to oversee rural development and health initiatives as the Chairman of PDA, now the largest NGO in Thailand, with 600 employees and 12,000 volunteers. On May 29, 2007, PDA was awarded the 2007 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Gates Award in recognition of its pioneering work in family planning and HIV/AIDS prevention.[6] This award came with funds of $1,000,000.[7]

An interesting side note is the family planning clinic which openly operates next to the Cabbages and Condoms restaurant. This is one of several places in Bangkok where poor women can receive pregnancy termination, a practice which is legal in the country per Section 305 of the Thailand penal code, but often perceived as illegal.[8][9] The clinic is permitted by the authorities due to the dangers of unsafe abortion by Thai women because of "economic difficulties".[10]
In 2006 he won praise from the toilet industry (but criticism from the retail industry) for proposing that retailers be obliged to build a public toilet for every 10 square metres of retail space.[11]


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