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Thai Police Wearing Smiles

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Thai Police Wearing Smiles

Thai traffic police wearing smiley anti-pollution masks…

For the first week of the new year, Thai police officers are literally wearing the renowned Thai Smile in an effort to brighten the moods of passers by.

thai police smile Thai Police Wearing Smiles

The ‘smile’, an anti-pollution mask with a bright red grin painted on it, will be worn by traffic police during throughout the first week of the new year, and possibly longer if people are smiling back.

Colonel Somyos Promnim, the Highway Police commander said:

“For our highway policemen, we have the policy that the police must be friendly and smiling all the time, but the problem is, when we’re tired, it’s hard to keep smiling.”

After an unstable year which saw endless demonstrations leading to a week long takeover of Bangkok’s international airport and eventually the demise of yet another Prime Minister, the country now hopes to restore its public image as the ‘Land of the Smiles’.

“They have to put on a mask because a smile doesn’t come naturally anymore,” said Ammar Siamwalla, an economist who keeps a close eye on the mores of his countrymen.

“Normally people smile. You don’t have to put on a smiley mask…
“But these past few years that smile has worn thin because we are all angry at each other and willing to show it.”

In an survey conducted last month by leading polling agency Abac, people only gave Thailand 5.77 points out of 10, for being the Land of Smiles.

Kritika Kongsompong, a professor of business who for a year was Thailand’s public curmudgeon as the grim host of the television import The Weakest Link, said:

“People forget to smile, you know,”

Konsompong noted that one company had given it’s staff mirrors so they could practice their smile, adding :

“I think with better training we can do a better job,”

Starting out his new administration, Thailand’s prime minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva – the fourth prime minister this year – made a promise to his people this month:

“I will prove that once again Thailand can be the land of the free, the land of opportunities, and the land of smiles.”

And it seems like increasing the profile of the Highway police was his first move.

The new cloth masks, which hook behind the ears and cover the mouth and nose, will help “reduce the stress from drivers when they see the police,” said Somyos, the Highway Police┬ácommander.

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