Happy April 1

It looks like Thailand finally has a culture minister with a sense of humour — emphasis on looks like.

The Bangkok Post has a great story on the bottom-right corner of its front page this morning, which is April 1, Thailand time. (If you live in the West, and you fear the world will end tomorrow, stop fretting; it’s already tomorrow in Thailand.) The story, with a great picture, says Culture Minister Anusorn Wongwan has picked a sexy girl band to run its short-term campaign for Thai girls to dress modestly for the upcoming Songkran or Thai New Year festival. Songkran is the top holiday in Thailand, sometimes described as a combination of the western excesses of Christmas and New Year. It lasts for days, often a full week. The actual New Year Day is April 13.

The second biggest feature of Songkran is water fights. The biggest feature of the festival is government officials and professional scolds telling the country that it is going to Hell for aggressive water fights, and that if girls don’t stop throwing water at people and dressing like sluts, it will cause the end of the world. For starters, they say, dress modestly for heaven’s sake. Everyone laughs for a moment, then gets on with ignoring them and having fun.

The hugely popular Girly Berry band (the photo is from the bottom-right of the front page of the Bangkok Post this morning; did I mention it is April 1?) is going to tell Thai gals to be sweet and demure during the festival, not aggressive and violent. Girly Berry singer Bell Limsathien told the girls not to wear spagehetti-strap or strapless blouses. No hot pants, she says, no revealing dresses.

Girly Berry, apart from having the singer with the best name in the entire world in Gybzy, is best-known for its, er, dress code, (scroll down):

The girls also dress to impress in colourful, tight tube tops and trendy short skirts… In their day-to-day lives, the girls don’t dress in the sexy outfits they wear for photo shoots and performances. In their private time, they prefer jeans, slacks, t-shirts and tank tops.

Short illustration of this group on YouTube, here. Best quote of the article (apart from the entire article itself):

National Culture Commission secretary-general Preecha Kanthiya said girls should wear black outfits that help conceal their bodies even when their clothing was soaked.

Good for the Bangkok Post to publicise a traditional Thai event on April 1.

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