Microsoft's co-founder, Bill Gates took the internet by surprise after sharing a picture of his 92-year-old father wearing a baseball cap made from hundreds of condoms. Gates posted the picture of William Henry Gates II, better known as Bill Gates Sr., donning the cap and revealed that it was a gift from a social activist in Thailand named Mechai Viravaidya. Affectionately known as ‘Condom King’ in Thailand, Mechai is credited with promoting safe sex and encouraging family planning.
Mechai’s efforts have helped Thailand become one of the first countries in the world to achieve a considerable reduction in rising HIV cases. Gates, in a previous post, lauded Mechai’s efforts to bring the conversation on contraceptives (a taboo in most South Asian countries) by using a number of ingenious ways to advertise it. He took to Instagram to speak about Mechai’s incredible accomplishment to help his country and its people.
Mechai was born to a Scottish mother and a Thai father in Bangkok. He was educated in Australia at Geelong Grammar School and obtained his Bachelor of Commerce degree from the Trinity College at the University of Melbourne. He returned to Thailand in 1965 and started to work in family planning, emphasising the use of condoms.