My recent post on American popular culture got me thinking about pop culture in Thailand, including a few things I probably won’t encounter on my annual summer visit to the US:
1. Motorbikes on sidewalks. It’s common, especially in Bangkok, to share sidewalk space with motorbike drivers attempting to escape the city’s gridlocked streets.
5. Parking garage attendants. These attendants, with their whistles or noise-friendly “light saber” wands, are ubiquitous in the city’s parking garages, ready to help you park your car in even the tightest of spaces.
2. The “beckoning” lady. This nang kwak talisman, a figurine dressed in traditional Thai costume, adorns shop entries and walls, inviting customers inside with a half-raised right arm. You’ll also see the Japanese version, a gold or silver plastic cat, with a battery-operated right paw.
4. A wai’ing Ronald McDonald in front of his fast food joint;
6. Blurred TV images. You’ll know the character you’re watching on TV is smoking or drinking or removing his clothes, but you won’t be able to see it. Censorship in the country comes in the form of blurred gray patches hovering over a character’s said actions until completed. Drug usage and weapons pointed at human beings are also known to be censored.
7. People with nicknames like “Beer” and “Mint.” Thais love nicknames, including “modern” names that everyone knows.
8. Whiskey mixer tables. Whiskey soda is the drink of choice in Thailand, hence the small tables that flank your dining table at restaurants and bars, to hold the whiskey, ice bucket, soda and limes.
What’s your favorite pop culture phenomenon?