Sunday, December 2, 2007

Pink is the new Yellow

When I was in Bangkok I couldn't help but notice the throngs of Thai people dressed in yellow polo shirts. This phenomenon was explained to me on the bus coming from the airport: In Thai culture each day of the week is associated with a color. Monday's color is yellow, and the king was born on a Monday, so everyone wears yellow (especially on Mondays) in honor of the king. Most of the polo shirts featured a royal emblem on the breast pocket.

Now there's a new fashion trend in Thailand. It started when the King of Thailand, HM King Bhumibol the Great (b. 1926 and sometimes called "Rama IX" in English), went into hospital in October. King Bhumibol just celebrated his 80th birthday earlier this year, and he is currently the world's longest reigning monarch. The king spent three weeks in hospital receiving treatment for heart problems and other ailments, and when he left he was photographed wearing a pink jacket. Astrologers told the king that pink was a lucky color for people, like him, born in the Year of the Rabbit. Check out the pic; it's actually pretty sharp and kind of makes His Majesty look younger.

Since then Thai people have been buying and wearing pink polo shirts in order to show their support for the king and to help bring him good luck.

People are used to seeing HM King Bhumibol dressed in more traditional dark suits, but now he has taken to wearing more bright colors. Why not wear something that makes the world a more colorful place? That's what I say. In the BBC news article they suggest that as the king is seen in various outfits there may be a similar rush on other colored shirts, and, indeed, I found a blog post reporting how people have been buying green polo shirts since the king was wearing a green blazer when he returned to the hospital for a visit last month.

Since my trip to Thailand I've been coveting the polo shirts (although not as much as the seriously hot orange wristbands which say LONG LIVE THE KING which were sold around the time of the king's 60th anniversary in 2006) even though I don't think yellow is my color (meh, maybe with a good tan...). I actually bought a blue one online yesterday, I'll take a pic when I get it.

Another thing I learned yesterday is that in Thailand insulting the sovereign, or lèse majesté, is a crime punishable by up to 15 years imprisonment. According to wikipedia, a Frenchman was once charged with lèse majesté after he refused to turn off his reading light on a Thai Airways flight at the request of two Thai princesses who were also onboard. He spent two weeks in prison, but was acquitted after apologizing to the king. Another incident in December 2006 involved a 57-year-old, drunken Swiss man who vandalized images of the king. 57, huh, isn't that a little old for such antics?! Apparently he was unhappy about the fact that liquor stores closed early in honor of the king's birthday. He was charged with 5 counts of lèse majesté and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, but the king pardoned him less than a month after his conviction. Some government officials suspected that the man was put up to the vandalism by dissidents. Indeed the lèse majesté laws in Thailand have often been used by politicians to attack opponents, and by military regimes in order to suppress resistance. Anyway, after seeing Brokedown Palace (starring that hussy, Claire Danes -- don't get me started on her) I try to stay on the right side of the law in Thailand.

Here's a photo I took from the plane before I left Bangkok. Until I return, Long live His Majesty the King!


Photo of King Bhumibol (c) AFP, photo of lady with polo shirt (c) AP, I took the other two photos myself.

5 comments:

nola32 said...

the shirts are fab and you know i totally want one but can we talk more about claire danes? am i making this up or did she really go off on mary-louise parker for being upset that billy crudup left her when she was 7 months preggers with their son? please tell me that i didn't make this up as i'm starting to worry about the fact that i often hallucinate good gossip stories-- like the one in which angelina jolie actually asked the UN to make her a goodwill ambassador. god, that would have been the best story ever!

Meeg said...

I would love to know what she said or supposedly said. You know I'm on team Mary-Louise Parker all the way.

Ada said...

Putting in orders for all of the Team Thailand crew for pink and yellows... pinks for the ladyboys and yellow for the boyladies...LOL... figure that one out.

Josie said...

Kayne did it first!!

Meeg said...

Yeah Kanye doesn't need an excuse to dress like a fool.