NEW YEARS HAVE COME to Thailand, but not everyone is celebrating with a smile.
In a move which has drawn widespread criticism, some holidaymakers have started wearing the traditional holiday cards from the 1970s in a bid to make them less obvious and less welcome.
Key points:People were given stickers that read “Happy New Year” or “Good luck” but the stickers were removed on MondayPeople had been given stickers which read “New Year” and “Happy Birthday” but they were removed from their cars on MondayThey have since been replaced by the official stickers, but a handful of travellers have started using the old yearcards on their cars and cars were also decorated with the new year cards.
“We were happy to see that people were coming up with new ways to say good luck.
People are getting used to it, they know that it is now a new year,” said Aung Hlaing, who works for a car manufacturer.”
But we are not allowed to wear them in public.”
The stickers were issued on the day that Thailand was to celebrate its 70th anniversary and were intended to be worn in public.
But on Monday, the stickers on the cars and vans were removed.
“The stickers have been removed and the cars have been decorated with new year’s cards.
But the stickers are still on the windows,” Mr Aung said.”
People have started getting used too.
It is now more and more difficult to notice them.”
The Thai government said that it had taken down the stickers because the new stickers were no longer effective.
“Our aim was to preserve the new tradition and to ensure that we don’t become the laughingstock of the world,” said Tourism Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha.
“It was important to take this decision without upsetting people, who had been used to the old tradition of the cards.
They were used as a joke in the past.”
In a statement on Facebook, the Thai government apologised for the change in decorum.
“As a country, we are sensitive to the feelings of people and our country is proud to be known for our love of life, and the joys of new years,” the statement said.
However, the new cards are not being worn by anyone on public transport.
“I am not sure if people will wear the new holiday cards or not,” said Ms Kritika Chaiwat, who lives in Thailand.
“They are just stickers that people put on their car.
We don’t know how long it will last.
We will find out after New Year’s, when we can buy the cards and wear them on our cars.”