Thu Mar 1, 2012, 03:04 AM
ellisonz (27,182 posts)
Bangkok's 'Hitler chic' trend riles tourists, Israeli envoy
Thai youth are strutting around in T-shirts bearing cartoonish images of the Nazi dictator. Critics blame it on ignorance
By Tibor Krausz 27 February, 2012
Cartoon pandas, Teletubbies, Ronald McDonald. At first glance they donít seem to have much in common beyond a certain childlike quality. But during a visit to Bangkok you may discover another trait these popular cultural icons now share: their resemblance to Adolf Hitler.
In the Thai capitalís latest outbreak of Nazi chic, pandas, Teletubbies and Ronald have metamorphosed into cutesy alter egos of the FŁhrer, who seems to exert a childlike fascination over some young Thais.
With any luck you can spot trendy young souls strutting around in T-shirts bearing cartoonish images of the Nazi dictator.
In a particularly popular design, Hitler is transformed into a cartoonish Ronald McDonald, the fast-food chainís clown mascot, sporting a bouffant cherry-red hairdo and a stern look.
Really ignorant. I came upon this article while browsing history news, and was a bit - that this is happening in SE Asia.
This is not the same as religious use of the original swastika
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Bangkok's 'Hitler chic' trend riles tourists, Israeli envoy (Original post)
|Behind the Aegis||Mar 2012||#1|
|Jason Explains||Mar 2012||#2|
Response to ellisonz (Original post)
Wed Mar 28, 2012, 07:35 AM
Jason Explains (6 posts)
2. As US and Europe become less powerful, the taboos of the West will fade - like Hitler
Anyone who has been in Asia knows they do not have the same reaction to Hitler we do. He's just another dictator. They haven't had many years of Holocaust training. So, as the US and Europe fade from the world scene, look for our taboos to be flouted by them regularly.
Response to ellisonz (Original post)
Sat Apr 7, 2012, 09:57 PM
grantcart (41,778 posts)
4. I actually have had some experience with this first hand.
In the 70's, living in Bangkok I was working for one of the main refugee organizations and was in the office of the director helping the secretary sort through our French director's creative English. There was some reference to WWII and at some point this well educated Thai said something to the effect that "Hitler must have had some good".
It was a great shock to hear but it is based on the assumption that for someone to lead a government he must have done at least one thing that was worthwhile. It took me half an hour to explain to her that while Hitler may have been nice to a dog you cannot compare that to the tens of millions that died.
She was an upper class well educated woman and I had to get 'very assertive' in explaining to her that as long as she worked there she should never repeat what she told me because not only were we a refugee organizaiton but among our expatriate staff was a doctor that had survived Auschwitz as an inmate.
A couple of years later I was chairman of the International Church Council and there was a news item indicating that one of the new hot spots was done in a Nazi motif. The next day I visited the 'Nazi Bar' and I was overwhelmed by a mind blowing surrealistic experience. It wasn't just done in a Nazi motif it was done with brand new materials that all looked like they were from Germany 1933. The material was incredibly vivid Hitler Youth type stuff and I thought I was on a movie set or a time warp.
I talked briefly to one of the owners and the owner had no real idea who Hitler was but had gotten the idea and the materials from a close friend in Australia who thoguht it would be a great idea. I explained to him that he was about to get a whole lot of shit on his head and in the end would have to close. He was shocked.
The next day I called the Israeli embassy and told them that it would be best if they remained quiet on the issue and gave the international community a chance to voice their opinion.
We had a concentrated campaign of letters in the Bangkok Post and Bangkok nation and contact key people in the police and government and convinced them that this would become a magnet for a bad element and eventually end in violence.
Inspectors were sent and the facility was found to not pass the city's health code and was shut down.
Among my friends in Thailand was Sir James Holt who came to Siam in 1938. During the war he was interned into a camp with about 500 other allied nationals. Now this camp wasn't anything like the movies that you have seen but more of a summer camp. Sir James had a German national working for him at the time I knew him and I got to know him as well (but his name escapes me) and he had an even more fascinating story.
He arrived from Germany in the mid 30s and worked as an overseer in a rubber plantation for $ 10 a month. He not only was Jewish but was also homosexual and was unlikely to pass for anything else but what he was. During the war all of the allied nationals were confined to the camp but this fellow was an Axis national so he was able to walk free.
Because of his passport he was able to go in and out of the camp and he ended up setting up a lucrative business running errands and helping the Allied nationals keep their businesses going. Of all of the German Jewish gay men of the 1930s he may be the only one who was able to benefit from a German passport.
The Thais have virtually no knowledge of World War II. It isn't in their pop culture or taught much in their schools. Their only real exposure to it is from Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan and I doubt if many ever saw the earlier one and the latter didn't really explain much about Hitler and the rest.
For the Thais, and most in Asia, having something done in a Nazi motif would be akin to having something done in a Catherine the Great motif, they just don't know much about it at all.