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Designer symbols for Bangkok protest

Publication Date : 16-01-2014


At first glance, the protest-related souvenirs on sale at the anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) rally sites appear no different to those sold at red-shirt protests back in 2010.

But look a little closer and you realise that many of the mementoes are catering to deeper pockets - far deeper than those sported when red shirts were around.

At the cheaper end are the military green T-shirts emblazoned with "We're People of the King" available for 120 baht (US$3.65) on a footpath near Ratchaprasong intersection. But for real protest chic you have to head to the Siam Center mall.

There, a cool 3,200 baht ($97) will get you a long-sleeved T-shirt that "shouts" fashionable, rich and patriotic all at the same time.

Created by trendy Thai fashion house AB-NORMAL, the posh tee is a unisex design stitched from different pieces of fabric to signify the national flag, a shop clerk explained.

Designer T-shirt not enough to set you apart from the mass of well-heeled, patriotic protesters? Then how about the Swarovski ring with tiny crystals arranged to look like a little Thai flag? It goes for a little over 3,000 baht at a menswear section of Siam Paragon.

The upscale department store has to close two hours early due to the activities of the anti-government crowd, who are protesting nearby at the Pathum Wan intersection and using Paragon as their headquarters.

The mall is making the most of the extra business. A sales assistant was eager to assure me that the ring was a good investment as the protest could drag on indefinitely.

Also filled to the brim with well-heeled protesters are nearby coffee shops (selling brews that cost nearly half the daily minimum wage) and high-end restaurants.

At about 1:30pm on Tuesday, I noticed a middle-aged man looking a bit lost and idly perusing fashionable young men's apparel.

He was wearing a black polo-shirt with a neatly stitched message in English: "Bangkok showdown, popular uprising VS lame-duck government".

Perhaps he wanted foreigners to know he's not unemployed.

Yes, this uprising is definitely catering to a "higher class" of protesters than the one back in 2010.


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