New Mandala has taken a long-term interest in Thailand’s royalist yellow fever. In one of our earliest posts (from 20 June last year) Nich Farrelly highlighted the phenomenon and asked:
I do wonder what colour t-shirts everybody will be wearing in three months time [20 September!].
The answer, of course, was yellow. In the lead up to the coup both sides’ political manoeuvrings were draped in the royal colour (despite attempts by anti-Thaksin forces to appropriate it solely to their cause). During the coup itself the army was unashamed in wrapping their illegal and violent intervention in royal cloth. And in the post-coup environment yellow shirts have become a key component of the Surayud regime’s more compulsory royalism.
Yesterday, a New Mandala reader wrote to me about the new compulsion of the royal yellow:
The craze seems to be dying down a bit. Mondays are still big, but other days seem less yellow, thankfully. However, I have had reports that the yellow is now enforced as a measure of loyalty. Well it has been for a while, but this seems to be going further. Some villagers told me that their shirts were provided free by “the government” – not clear exactly who – to all households. Actually, last year, at my condo, unknown people delivered free yellow shirts as well. In the village, these people also delivered 60th anniversary photos for each house and ordered that they be displayed. And I also heard that the current AIDS national conference – where the theme is sufficiency (what else could it be!) – had a minor glitch when a facilitator showed up in yellow shoes. This caused a bit of a problem and the facilitator was not permitted to facilitate, by orders of Ministry of Public Health bigwigs who were, of course, all in yellow shirts.
What other experiences have New Mandala readers had with the royal yellow?