This is certainly an interesting case of observing cross-cultural misunderstandings and preconceptions/prejudices. On the Western side, there is quite a bit of cultural arrogance and insensitivity (towards any culture that is regarded as "less developed" and "not ours") which has historical roots. But even among Westerners sympathetic towards other cultures, and admiring other cultures for being more spiritual, there is a lack of basic knowledge concerning etiquette and body language (as we can often see when they visit a country like Thailand and behave in temples in ways that go against Thai cultural norms -- although if they read the travel guides carefully they should know better).
On the Thai side, and in the current political climate, there is also a sense of pride and anti-foreign sentiment which is now probably being directed against such perceived offensive acts by "ignorant Farangs". The comments range from fairly well-presented polite pleas to angry nationalist rants. Often their knowledge of English and their spelling is not very good.
Respect is common sense. Would you sit on a chair that have a photo of your parent's head? Common Sense. ค่ะ
Stop done thing this!
Shocking... why would they do this?
But some of the Thai comments also urge the others to have a more open mind and simply accept that cultures are not the same and that there a different cultural perceptions of what is appropriate and what not. The Knowing Buddha organizers also urge people to use polite language, but unfortunately the English language skills of some of the Thai commentators are limited to a few rude words...
They have received an apology from the American company which makes the Buddha head furniture:
Apology from 21st-living design, The truth that hurts Buddhist hearts.
"Words from 21st living design"
The starting product research emerged that nowadays you can find in the world market many locations (e.g. the Buddha Bars) and a wide variety of objects (pillows, bikinis, slippers, carpets,sneakers, water closets, bier bottles etc.) that represent images of the Buddha.
For these reasons, we thought it appropriate to proceed in making these objects, with an attitude of absolute respect and good faith.
We are sorry for having aroused feelings of disapproval, and we hope that these explanations can eliminate any negative sentiment.
21st living design
They didn't say they will stop producing these product line.
Please help write to them at E: [email protected]
We admit that the growth of Buddha Bar has led the world of business that disrespects Buddha even more immensely. Buddhists have been too quite on this matter. Even though we've started quite late but it's better than never. We'd like to ask Buddhists and supporters, to please help us ban this company and help us stop all of these disrespectful acts towards Buddha.
We ,Buddhists really have to fix these issues at its core by giving proper knowledge. - Knowing Buddha Organization.