Monday, October 27, 2008

Be careful of what colour you wear in Thailand

Foreign visitors, locals and football fans are thinking twice about whether to don yellow and red colours in Thailand, for fear of getting into political trouble. -Daily Xpress, ANN 

Tue, Oct 28, 2008
Daily Xpress, ANN

by Wannapa Phetdee

Everything is political in these divided times - even the colours you wear can get you in trouble

The effects of the political conflict are spreading, and this time around it is even creeping into people's wardrobes.

It didn't matter much which colour you wore in the past, but nowadays everyone is thinking hard before grabbing yellow or red clothes from the closet.

Staying neutral

"I have to think twice before choosing my necktie and shirt colours as I don't want people to get the idea that I support any political groups, especially when I act as moderator for political forums," said Suan Dusit Rajabhat University Vice Rector Sukhum Chaloeysap.

With red being used by the pro-government groups and yellow by the anti-government protestors, many ordinary folk are feeling uneasy when it comes to choosing what colours to wear.

Foreigners' fear

Sukhum, also director of Suan Dusit Poll, said that he once thought about conducting a survey on the red and yellow colours but he changed his mind as he was afraid of deepening the political rift.

"On the October 7, I was concerned about students' safety as the clash happening near our university. I went and warned student to stay away from the scene and some protesters shouted at me, saying that the shirt cares nothing and doesn't devote to the nation!"

Fear about sending the wrong signal has also spread to foreigners. The host of TV's "Jor Jai" programme Natwut Amornvivat said that many western and Japanese business travellers have asked him about what colours were safe to wear in Thailand.

"I told them that the colours shouldn't apply to them and that they would be okay if they stayed away from key protest areas," Natwut said.

Natwut said he wears both red and yellow sportswear on his free days. "My friends sometimes tease me about which group I belong to."

Democrat Party MP Rachada Dhanadirek said she tries not to dress in red or yellow, especially when she's around political demonstrations.

"I've started wearing red since my group campaigned against the 2007 Constitution drafting, even though red doesn't suit me," said People Power Party MP Chatuporn Promphan, a member of the Democratic Alliance Against Dictatorship and host of "The Truth of Today" TV show.

Chatuporn wants the People's Alliance for Democracy to stop wearing yellow, as he said it should be used to honour HM the King.

Chatuporn has red polo shirts, jackets and neckties. He tries to wear something red every day.

Football fans' dilemma

Thai football fans who follow English premiership teams like Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United are facing a dilemma over their red replica shirts.

Famous sport columnist Buranij "Bor Boo" Rattanavichien said in his column for Star Soccer that he's getting funny looks for wearing his Man United shirt. "I just want to wear my team shirt, and it happens to be red. I'm not siding with either the pro-government group or the PAD."


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