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  1. #1
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    Bangkok's 'Hitler chic' trend riles tourists, Israeli envoy

    Bangkok's 'Hitler chic' trend riles tourists, Israeli envoy | CNNGo.com

    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


    A shopper poses with a large "McHitler" dummy soliciting donations for flood relief. Its head has since been covered by a Lucha Libre wrestler’s mask.


    Cartoon pandas, Teletubbies, Ronald McDonald. At first glance they don’t 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 capital’s latest outbreak of Nazi chic, pandas, Teletubbies and Ronald have metamorphosed into cutesy alter egos of the Führer, 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 chain’s clown mascot, sporting a bouffant cherry-red hairdo and a stern look.

    On another T-shirt the Führer is shown in a lovely panda costume with a Nazi armband. On yet another he appears as a pink Teletubby with doe eyes, jug ears and a pink swastika for an antenna. He pouts petulantly like a spoiled brat while flashing the Nazi salute.

    Shirts cost from 200 baht to 370 baht (US$7-12) apiece, and some come in matching outfits for couples. Adolf McDonald’s partner is a transvestite with fuchsia hair, lipstick, long lashes and a timid Mona Lisa smile. Panda Adolf’s manlier doppelganger sports a brown stormtrooper uniform.


    Cute or disrespectful? These T-shirts might be popular with the locals, but the Israeli ambassador isn't laughing.

    Not amused

    “Some foreigners get upset [when they see my T-shirts on sale] -- they come to my shop and complain,” acknowledges the owner of Seven Star, a small clothing shop at Terminal 21, a new designer mall in central Bangkok on Sukhumvit Road which is a popular tourist haunt.

    He’s a 30-something fellow who identifies himself by his nickname “Hut”, and is a graduate of a local university’s arts program. Hut does brisk business selling his T-shirts. Seven Star's most popular items, Hut notes, are his McHitler designs, which he sells alongside his caricatures of Michael Jackson, Che Guevara and Kim Jong-Il.

    Standing invitingly outside his shop is a large dummy of Hitler as Ronald with its motorized left arm going up and down in the Nazi salute. Thai shoppers love posing gleefully with it.

    “It’s not that I like Hitler,” Hut insists. “But he looks funny and the shirts are very popular with young people.”

    As Hut well knows, some foreigners are not amused. Israel’s local ambassador is one of them.

    “You don’t want to see memories of the Nazi period trivialized in this manner,” stresses Ambassador Itzhak Shoham, whose embassy is right behind Terminal 21. “It hurts the feelings of every Jew and every civilized person.”


    Shirts like these have been a popular buy among some young Thais.

    Shoham recently remonstrated with Hut. “I said to him, “I don’t mind the doll; just take the face off,’” the ambassador says. Hut’s McHitler doll's face is now covered by a Lucha Libre wrestler’s mask.

    Nazi chic bonanza

    Across town at another fashion mall, another small shop hawks its own cutesy caricatures of Hitler plastered on T-shirts. Panda Adolf takes pride of place among impressionistic Smurfs, pop stars and Japanese manga characters.

    “Hitler shirts are very popular, especially with teenage boys,” notes the shop’s 30-year-old owner, whose family operates a clothing factory.

    Meanwhile, on Bangkok’s backpacker haven, Khao San Road, other T-shirt designs boast Photoshopped prints of the Führer, including one depicting him sunbathing naked on a tropical beach.

    Shoppers looking for Nazi flags, reproduction Third Reich propaganda posters, pennants with Iron Crosses and Nazi eagles and faux SS crash helmets can find them at the Chatuchak Weekend Market, where they’re on sale alongside Bob Marley portraits and Rastafarian accoutrements.

    Some foreign tourists see such Nazi chic as just a peculiar aspect of Thai youth culture.

    “I guess one could say ‘boy, it’s a pretty ignorant world and kids today,’” notes Mark Goldberg, from New Orleans. “I doubt people who are [into these designs] would even know their significance.”


    A Teletubby has never looked so sinister.

    That’s a safe bet. Most young Thais seemingly know precious little about the Nazis and their crimes beyond their eye-catching pageantry. And so they are drawn to Hitler and his regime’s hallucinogenic visual propaganda. Last September in the northern city of Chiang Mai, a group of high school students showed up for sport day in homemade Nazi uniforms, complete with swastika armbands and toy guns. Leading them was a teenage girl dressed in a faux SS uniform with a fake Hitler mustache.

    Locals cheered the students merrily from sidewalks as foreign tourists reportedly looked on aghast.

    In 2007, hundreds of students at a Bangkok school staged a similar Nazi-themed costume parade.

    Following international outcries, teachers at both schools apologized, saying they had no idea the students had planned to dress up as Nazis.

    In 2009, a waxworks museum in the seaside resort town of Pattaya advertised itself with a giant billboard featuring the Führer with the legend in Thai: “Hitler is not dead!”

    Cue another hue and cry. The museum’s managers quickly pulled down the billboard, insisting they meant no offence.

    “It’s a lack of exposure to history,” notes Harry Soicher, a Romanian who teaches at a Bangkok high school. “If you don’t live in Thailand, you may find it hard to believe they really mean no harm.”


    “You don’t want to see memories of the Nazi period trivialized in this manner,” says Israeli Ambassador Itzhak Shoham.

    Nazi chic cavalcade

    In Thais’ defense, the Nazi chic phenomenon is hardly limited to their country. The misuse of Nazi symbols for fashion purposes has also been common from India to Japan.

    Some years ago 7-Eleven stores in Taiwan sold dolls and key chains with Hitler’s likeness. In Hong Kong a clothing store chain once decorated a shop with Nazi flags and banners. In South Korea and Japan Nazi-style clothing is often a part of cosplay, which sees young people dress up as their favorite Japanese comic book characters.

    Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Los Angeles, which monitors neo-Nazi activities worldwide, agrees that manifestations of Nazi chic in the region largely come down to sheer ignorance. Yet locals should wise up about Hitler and his pernicious ideological legacy, he insists.

    “If the Nazis had won the war, Hitler’s racist ideology would have eventually targeted all races he deemed inferior, including Asians,” Cooper notes.
    "Slavery is the daughter of darkness; an ignorant people is the blind instrument of its own destruction; ambition and intrigue take advantage of the credulity and inexperience of men who have no political, economic or civil knowledge. They mistake pure illusion for reality, license for freedom, treason for patriotism, vengeance for justice."-Simón Bolívar

  2. #2
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    Chairman Mao became a pop art icon.

    I'm surprised it has taken this long for Adolph. And I can see that these images are pop-culture derivatives, simply from the style of their manufacture.

    (And I say that as someone who has a bunch of the original stuff in the back bedroom)

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    Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and by many state constitutions...Freedom of speech is the political right to communicate one's ideas via speech. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously. So, if "McHitler" has you flapping, then you are a Nazi...



    Mommy plays with my wee-wee - Every Korean boy under 21

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    Funny.
    Anything that upsets the PC crowd is alright by me.

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    Much ado about nothing. I doubt if 1/1000 Thai teenagers could tell you who Hitler was. And the Israeli Ambassador needs to lighten up a bit - WWII was fifty years before these kids were born. Hitler was bad - we get it - but to make a big deal of a cartoon trend which will be as short-lived as most is idiotic.

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    I would have thought reducing such people to figures of fun is far better than banning them and let them become the objects of desire for knuckle dragging thugs. I mean, if little Thai girls are wearing T-shirts with Hitler on, it makes the simians look a bit gay for admiring him, doesn't it?

    The Blue Suede Shoes have this over-touchiness wrong. They should be re-making Roadrunner cartoons and casting Hitler in the Wily E. Coyote role.

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    The TD Nazis must have something to say about this...

    hansuman ? where are u...

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    Shouldn't be banned, but it's thoroughly inappropriate.

    I bet Thais would get terribly offended if Germans or Israelis were making such paraphernalia featuring certain Thai historical figures. There would be arrests, 20-year prison sentences, likely lynchings as well...

    Still, the major problem here is ignorance, not malice. In the streets of Bangkok you can often see Thais wearing T-shirts with obscene semi-jokes in English (that reflect badly on the wearer). Hitler is no different.

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    Quote Originally Posted by crocodilexp View Post
    Shouldn't be banned, but it's thoroughly inappropriate.
    Really? Why?
    He was a powerful and charismatic leader.

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    Quote Originally Posted by crocodilexp View Post
    I bet Thais would get terribly offended if Germans or Israelis were making such paraphernalia featuring certain Thai historical figures.
    I'd like DJ Pat to design some Thai royal T shirts ! I think we'd have to keep them to PM though.

    I wonder if Che Guevara would be pleased to learn in his grave to learn that his legacy was a t shirt design

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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Ghost_Of_The_Moog View Post

    I wonder if Che Guevara would be pleased to learn in his grave to learn that his legacy was a t shirt design
    Especially since almost none of the wearers have any idea who he was.

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    Haven't the Israelis caused enough problems in Bangkok this month? The 3 stooges Iranians were likely trying to do a tit for tat over the Israelis (likely) murder of their nuclear scientists.
    If being sick of their whining and double standards and PC crap makes me a Nazi, so be it.

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    Where's the thread where they dress up at school.

    T I T..

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    This thread needs more pictures of Hitler chics.



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    Quote Originally Posted by BobR View Post
    Haven't the Israelis caused enough problems in Bangkok this month? The 3 stooges Iranians were likely trying to do a tit for tat over the Israelis (likely) murder of their nuclear scientists.
    If being sick of their whining and double standards and PC crap makes me a Nazi, so be it.
    Lets bear in mind that journos take a story like this to an Israeli official, who is kind of obligated to say....

    'Well we don't approve of course'

    (He's not going to say 'ha ha, teletubbies', or 'fok off, i'm busy')


    And the reporter gets his headline. One story out of the week's quota is written. The journo doesn't have to go to the Israelis and kick up this stink, but it's 'low hanging fruit'. A nice reliable 'quote monkey'.

    Please be aware of how you're being manipulated journalistically in stories like this.

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    Perhaps someone should tell the Israeli's it is they that are making Hitler chic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smug Farang Bore View Post
    Where's the thread where they dress up at school.

    T I T..
    That was sooooooooooo last year.

    Now it is a country wide phenomena. Obviously the outcry over that incident led to a crackdown on Hitler material and an informing of the public so they are more aware of the sensitivity of such things....

    Oh............

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    Quote Originally Posted by BobR View Post
    Haven't the Israelis caused enough problems in Bangkok this month? The 3 stooges Iranians were likely trying to do a tit for tat over the Israelis (likely) murder of their nuclear scientists.
    If being sick of their whining and double standards and PC crap makes me a Nazi, so be it.
    Ah so you've given up on your Mossad conspiracy theory then.


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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Ghost_Of_The_Moog View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by BobR View Post
    Haven't the Israelis caused enough problems in Bangkok this month? The 3 stooges Iranians were likely trying to do a tit for tat over the Israelis (likely) murder of their nuclear scientists.
    If being sick of their whining and double standards and PC crap makes me a Nazi, so be it.
    Lets bear in mind that journos take a story like this to an Israeli official, who is kind of obligated to say....

    'Well we don't approve of course'

    (He's not going to say 'ha ha, teletubbies', or 'fok off, i'm busy')


    And the reporter gets his headline. One story out of the week's quota is written. The journo doesn't have to go to the Israelis and kick up this stink, but it's 'low hanging fruit'. A nice reliable 'quote monkey'.

    Please be aware of how you're being manipulated journalistically in stories like this.
    Good points.

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    Yet another symptom of an appalling education system. Shouldn't be banned, but those who choose to wear such things need a bloody good talking to. If the roles were reversed and westerners were making light of Thai history, the Thais would be calling swift action to be taken.

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    In Vietnam the kids grow up with local plays involving people in US army uniforms, perhaps in Thailand they might acquiesce and do the same thing.

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    I suppose it's quite silly to expect Asians to respect our western taboos. Hitler and his prediliction for industrialised slaughter of the Jews and others is really quite irrelevant to them and what passes for their medieval culture.

    Would the Israeli ambassador get upset if Uncle Joe Stalin was superimposed on the McD's icon? Certainly, it would be quite logical given the Russian penchant for pogroms and their slaughter of millions under his reign. But of course, he wouldn't give a flying toss.

    I should tell the Yids to take a hike if I were a Thai.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    Perhaps someone should tell the Israeli's it is they that are making Hitler chic.
    ..and the Streisand Effect...

    Left alone this would blow over in a matter of months.

    Now where did I put that brown shirt I've had for 10 years?

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    Thai kidss wearing t shirts.....its the mcdonalds theme thats much more offensive.

    U.S. corporations taking over the world and encouraging obesity...thats a modern day crime.

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    A while back one of our young designers came to the office sporting a swastika t-shirt. I sent him home to change clothes even though I knew he meant no harm. They are just ignorant of history and are attracted to the graphics.

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