Goth is nothing -- try a full-body Buddhist tattoo instead

Goth is nothing -- try a full-body Buddhist tattoo instead

The sak yant form of tattooing Buddhist symbols onto the body is getting popular in Singapore
Local executive Ben Loke shows off his 'sak yant' tattoos
Local company executive Ben Loke shows off his 'sak yant' tattoos, which he hopes will bring him wealth and happiness.

In what should come as a relief to moms and dads everywhere, the AFP is reporting that full-body tattoos, once only the provence of sideshow carnival freaks and burly gangster body guards, have gone mainstream.

Originating in Thaliand, the sak yant form of tattooing, where rows and rows of Buddhist scripture are drawn onto the body, is now gaining popularity in Singapore among businessmen and managers who want that extra edge in the workplace. 

Sak yant grandmaster Ajahn ThongSak yant grandmaster Ajahn Thong uses a traditional needle and blessed ink to inscribe a sacred tattoo on the nape of a customer's neck."I'm a Buddhist, and the scriptures that are being tattooed on my back will give me some protection," 35-year-old Singaporean executive Loke told the AFP as he prepared to go under a needle wielded by a visiting Thai expert.

Sak yant, or  Yantra tattoos as they are also known, consist mainly of religious texts and animals as well as deity figures. Buddhists believe they bring good fortune, courage and self-confidence. Willie Heng, sales executive of Fo Guang Hang, a company specializing in sak yant tattooing, told AFP at a recent tattoo convention in Singapore that "sak yant is now widely embraced by the general population because of people's need for a form of spiritual support, aided by the social acceptance of tattoos."

Sak yant tattoo shop owner Christopher Tan has customers from diverse age groups and backgrounds. "Students, bankers, office ladies, PR girls, all kinds of job scope," he said, adding that the tattoos provide "spiritual support" in times of hardship.

Singapore is also attracting believers from other countries who fly in for sak yant tattoos, such as Badr Fyrkree, a banker and amateur Muay Thai boxing practitioner from the United Arab Emirates, who traveled to Singapore specially to have two tattoos inked onto the back of his hands by local grandmaster Thong, seen here in the inset picture. "I got a power punch and a speed tattoo, and it's spiritually based to help you not just with your fighting, but with your living," he said.

A technology reporter and wannabe entrepreneur in a previous life, Larry is now City Editor for CNNGo Singapore, where he sacrifices his nights, caffeine intake and waistline to the demands of the job.
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