Some New Mandala readers may recall the controversy when Range Rover used Akha, Lahu and Mien “images” to promote a new automobile. For details, a partisan – but nonetheless fascinating and impressively well-informed – critique of the advertisement is found at the Virtual Hilltribe Museum. That page also has a video of the commercial so that readers can make up their own mind about this specific use and abuse of “hill-tribe images”.

At New Mandala over the past few months, we have tried to provide commentary and analysis based on other images from around mainland Southeast Asia. To this end, a new category has been added to the sidebar. We call it “Snapshots” and, over time, it will hopefully grow to conveniently catalogue the visual components of the blog.

Of course, Range Rover is not the only company that uses Southeast Asian “exotica” to sell its wares. In Burma, Gold Roast Coffee Mix, a popular brand of pick-me-up, uses this distinctive ambassador throughout the country.

Like with all of our other pictures, I would love to hear from readers with opinions about this image. Any thoughts from out there in the blogosphere? Does anybody know the young lady in question?