PM calls for understanding for people not dressed in black/white

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has tried to calm down growing discontent among people who resent those not wearing black or white during the mourning period for the late King, saying this should be a time of national unity.

Please join us on our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/bangkokpostlearning

PM plays down splits over attire

Post Reporters

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has tried to calm down growing discontent among people who resent those not wearing black or white during the mourning period for the late King, saying this should be a time of national unity.

Government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said the prime minister believed all Thais revered and were loyal to the late King and wanted to wear black or white to grieve his passing.

Gen Prayut, however, said he understands black and white clothes will likely be in high demand and there may be a shortage in the markets, which might deprive many from wearing those colours every day.

Some people may also be unable to afford to buy new clothes, Lt Gen Sansern added, citing the premier.

"The prime minister wants people to understand each other and sympathise with the limits faced by each individual," Lt Gen Sansern said, calling on the public not to misinterpret the matter.

"This should be a time to demonstrate love, unity and keep the society peaceful," the spokesman quoted the prime minister as saying. Those who cannot dress in white or black can wear grievance symbols such as black ribbons or bows on their shirts, either on the chest or upper arm, Lt Gen Sansern said.

The move came after several social media posts were found to have expressed dissatisfaction against those who have not been wearing black or white.

In one case, a photo posted on social media showed a man wearing an orange shirt having a meal with a message saying: "Why is he not wearing black? What is his heart made of? He has no conscience."

The person who shared the photo later apologised to the man wearing orange after he posted photos that showed he had just come back from an event where he paid his respects to the late King.

Some netizens said they saw some people publicly condemning those who did not wear black or white. Some people were said to have begged forgiveness as they did not have the money to buy the clothes.

In another development, Lt Gen Sansern insisted the government has not ordered the removal of pictures of the late King as indicated by some social media posts.

"Photos or paintings of the late king can still be installed either in front of buildings or state agencies or public places," said Lt Gen Sansern.

He was responding to a complaint by Somkiat Osotsapa who wrote on his Facebook page that authorities were removing pictures of the late King from public places and asked the government not to do so despite the end of His Majesty's reign. His comment gained overwhelming support from netizens.

Lt Gen Sansern said he believed the removal of the late King's photos witnessed by some people was only done in order to decorate the pictures in black and white, adding that all the altar tables with photographs of the late King should be properly organised.

Meanwhile, people will be allowed to pay homage to the late monarch's urn at the Grand Palace's Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall from 1pm on Oct 28, after the 15-day merit-making ceremony is completed. After that, the Hall will be open every day from 9am to 4pm.

About the author

columnist
Writer: Terry Fredrickson
Position: Online Editor of Learning & Education