"Every Monday, pink."
06.12.2009 27 °C
December 7, 11:30 AM
Rush hour on the Bangkok skytrain, hordes of suited business commuters, giggling students, scrubbed up farang English teachers, yummy mummies toting yoga mats, camera-laden tourists and kids heading to the mall. Rushing, running, dashing onto trains. 6 pm on the dot. The Thai national anthem starts streaming from the PA system and the entire crowd just stops. Stalk still. Standing. At attention. Quiet where 5 seconds ago it was chaos. The tourists look confused.
Same same but different. 8 am. Cruising by the university and government buildings on the back of my motorbike taxi, wee bit late for work. The anthem comes pouring out of the loudspeakers and all the uni kids and civil servants stand still in the middle of the road. My bike whizzes by, pays the nation no mind. The music stops and they hustle on to classes and offices, swinging school bags and briefcases.
Popcorn and iced green tea. Never-ending previews. Now the little spot to tell you to turn your cell phone off. Is the movie gonna start?? The music swells, everyone gets to their feet. Stands reverently still. The benevolent face of King Bhumibol Adulyadej emerges onscreen. Highlights of his reign are played out, his earnest face, his scholar’s glasses, thin but stately in his monk’s robes. Crisply saluting the military. Laying his hands on the head of an emotionally-overcome subject. His always smiling Queen.
Friday night video hits on TV. Korean pop stars, Thai bad-boy rockers in high-tops, lethal doses of lipgloss. Rolling across the bottom of the screen, where pre-pubescent teens text in flirty messages to their friends at 10 baht a pop, “Long live the King” over and over and over…
Swanky spa. Popping in for a little mani-pedi combo. Mix of well-heeled Hi-So Thai, Japanese housewives, farang business chicks. My feet in soapy water, sipping jasmine tea and flipping through fashion mags I can’t read a word of. On the wall and tucked away on the shelves with the gleaming row of nail polishes, framed photos of the Queen when she was young and 60s glam. The epitome of Thai beauty & regal fidelity enshrined.
Monday at the office. Pink golf shirts abound. Small regal crest on the left shoulder. “It’s in honour of the King,” my office mate tells me. “His colour used to be yellow. But now because the protesters against Thaksin use that colour, his colour is now pink. Every Monday, pink.”