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Video: Betel Nut Beauties of 檳榔西施 Taiwan


This is a good lesson for us. Video below is a teaser for a documentary on the unique betelnut culture (檳榔西施) in Taiwan. Though betel nuts are chewed in many regions of the Asia-Pacific, the betel nut beauty phenomenon is distinctly Taiwanese.

What the heck are Betel Nut Beauties and Girls?
Answer: The term Betel nut beauty (also betel nut girl – 檳榔西施, pinyin: bīnláng xīshī) refers to a common sight along roadsides in Taiwan: a young woman selling betel nuts and cigarettes from a brightly lit glass enclosure while wearing revealing clothing.

The risk factor:

People who chew betel nuts, drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes are 123 times more likely to get mouth cancer than those who don’t, according to Taiwan’s Health Department.

Mouth cancer killed about 15 of every 100,000 Taiwanese men in 2003, making it the fourth most lethal form of the disease, department figures show.

A 2000 study of ethnic Indian users in London found that Paan masala, a combination of spices and betel nut wrapped in a betel leaf, can be as addictive as cocaine, according to the British Medical Journal.


Christians must oppose Betel Nut Culture:

“Christians must oppose the use of girls’ physical charm as a commercial commodity. When this is the main aspect of a news feature, we should be on the phone to the broadcasters, telling them to stop this sort of programming,” said Ms. Chi Huei-young of Garden of Hope Taiwan.

“We must also get involved in promoting public welfare groups and movements that support young women. By these means we will be able to raise the level of Taiwan’s popular culture legitimately,” she said.

Betel Nut chewing countries

(Betel Nut chewing countries)

Good questions”

1. Will Paan market ever become glamourous in our country?

2. Should we discourage our people from chewing Paan/Kuva/betel nut?

Related – Outbound link: France24 coverage


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