Thai King Launches a Trend By Appearing in Pink Clothes

Associated Press
Saturday, November 10, 2007

BANGKOK, Nov. 9 -- Thailand is turning pink.

Some people in the Southeast Asian country have been wearing pink shirts this week as a tribute to their beloved monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The trend started when he checked out of a hospital Wednesday wearing a pale pink collarless shirt and pink blazer.

Bhumibol, 79, had been in the hospital for more than three weeks to treat a colon infection and weakness on the right side of his body.

In the past couple of years, Thais have shown their respect for the king by wearing yellow -- the color that in Buddhist tradition symbolizes Monday, the day of the week he was born. That trend began in 2006 during celebrations of Bhumibol's 60th anniversary on the throne.

But it looks like pink could be the new yellow.

A move toward pink was already underway because astrologers had declared it an auspicious color for the king's 80th year. Pink was included in a royal emblem designed for his birthday.

But Bhumibol's appearance in pink attire has spurred new interest in the color.

The Commerce Ministry is preparing to produce 30,000 pink shirts in the coming weeks to meet rising demand, said Yanyong Phuangrat, chief of the agency's domestic trade department.

"There is a high demand for pink T-shirts, because it's an auspicious color for the king," Yanyong said.

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