School uniform fad upsets Obec

School uniform fad upsets Obec

Agencies mull how to school Chinese tourists

The Office of the Basic Education Commission (Obec) is in talks with various agencies on how to deal with a recent trend among Chinese students of wearing Thai student uniforms.

The trend has taken hold in the last decade since mainland China started allowing the streaming of Thai films and series, such as Love of Siam and First Love, aka Crazy Little Thing Called Love starring actor Mario Maurer and actress Pimchanok “Baifern” Luevisadpaibul.

However, the trend seemed to be popular only in China, until the arrival of Ju Jingyi, a Chinese actress and former member of the girl group SNH48 before she became a solo artist under Star48.

Ms Ju posted pictures of herself on her Weibo account while dressed in a Thai student uniform that had her name in Thai sewn in the label as well as the student ID number “991”. The picture was taken in front of the CentralWorld shopping complex, after she travelled to Thailand last month.

The Sriphan Student Uniform shop in the Bang Lamphu area posted on Facebook saying that since the picture of the actress went viral on social media, many Chinese tourists were emulating the actress by buying and wearing their student uniforms — which cost about 600 bah each — so they could stroll around in them and take pictures.

Some tourists had asked the shop to sew their names into the uniform and even sew in other words such as beautiful, khao man gai (chicken with rice) and pad kaprao (stir-fried holy basil), the shop said.

Obec secretary-general Amporn Pinasa said a Thai student uniform with only the name of its wearer sewn in does not breach any laws.

But wearers must avoid wearing student uniforms that have existing school names sewn into the label as those schools could take action or file complaints, Ms Amporn said.

Obec would talk to the Foreign Affairs and Tourism and Sports ministries to seek a solution.

In a Facebook post, lawyer Rachapon Sirisakorn warned people against wearing student uniforms if they are not really students, as that may breach the Student Uniform Act 2008 which carries a fine of up to 1,000 baht.

People can wear a Thai student uniform if it has their own name sewn in. But it will be considered a violation of the law if the wearer puts an abbreviation of an existing school name in the label while they are not actually students.