Skip to comments.Thai holiday sparks yellow-shirt craze
Posted on 06/05/2006 1:12:17 PM PDT by kingattax
BANGKOK, Thailand - Fashion-wise, yellow is the new black this season in Thailand. Yellow shirts, honoring the country's beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej on the 60th anniversary of his ascension to the throne, are so popular that there aren't enough to go around.
Thailand is marking the anniversary this month with elaborate celebrations to be attended by more than two dozen heads of state and representatives of royal families from around the globe.
Ordinary Thais, meanwhile, are showing their allegiance to the king by heeding a government-encouraged campaign to wear yellow shirts. Yellow is the king's birth color, traditionally corresponding to the day he was born, a Monday.
Suppliers say they're running out of shirts, and buyers complain they are being gouged by sellers.
The Commerce Ministry threatened Monday to take legal action against factories and retailers who unfairly raise prices or stockpile the shirts to manipulate the market.
Complaints have flooded the ministry, and inspectors are checking complaints that traders are holding back shirts, Deputy Commerce Minister Preecha Lohaphongchana told reporters.
"If we find traders selling shirts for an excessive profit, they will face legal charges with punishment of up to a seven-year jail term or a 140,000 baht (US$3,675; euro2,834) fine," he said.
Preecha said a T-shirt cost about 80 baht (US$2.10; euro1.62) to make, and shouldn't sell for more than more than 150 baht (US$3.94; euro3.04) each.
"Thai people want to express their loyalty to the king by wearing yellow shirts, but traders take advantage of this opportunity by doubling their prices," said political lecturer and radio commentator Sukhum Nuansakul.
Peer pressure to wear the royal color is intense.
"I did not buy earlier, so I can't buy one now when I need it to wear," said Bangkok bank employee Nares Marksook.
Shirt supplies are even tighter outside the capital.
"As a teacher, I was so embarrassed and felt pretty guilty for not wearing a yellow shirt while everyone else had one on," said Wanchai Kondongnok in the southern province of Chumporn
I understand the problem. I can never find anything red-white-and-blue in my closet when it's time to make a Clothing Statement.
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