Monday, November 26, 2007

Thailand taking their pride a little far

BANGKOK (Reuters) - A proposed new law to boost patriotism in Thailand would be "chaotic" because it would require motorists to stop when the national anthem is played twice a day, lawmakers said Friday.

A vote on the Flag Bill proposed by a group of retired and active duty generals in the army-appointed parliament was deferred Thursday to allow a committee to study it.

"It would be chaotic if the bill had passed as it is now. So the National Legislative Assembly decided to set up a panel to review it," NLA member Wallop Tangkananurak told Reuters. The bill's supporters say road traffic should stop nationwide when the anthem is played during the raising and lowering of the flag "to preserve tradition and instill patriotism in Thais."

"The national anthem lasts only one minute and eight seconds, so why can't motorists stop their cars for the sake of the country?," retired General and NLA member Pricha Rochanasena, 70, told Reuters.

"They already spend more time in traffic jams anyway," he said, referring to Bangkok's notoriously congested streets.

Most Thais already stop what they are doing and stand still when the national anthem is played on loudspeakers in train stations, parks and office buildings at 8 a.m and 6 p.m.

Pricha said the bill, which did not propose penalties for violators, would allow motorists to be patriotic too.

Source [
Yahoo News]

"Phleng Chat" ("เพลงชาติ") is the national anthem of Thailand. It was adopted on 10 December 1939. The melody was composed by Peter Feit (Thai name: Phra Jenduriyang), 1883-1968, the son of a German immigrant and royal advisor for music. The words are by Luang Saranupraphan. Phleng chat, literally means "national song", is a general word for national anthem. Phleng chat thai, Thailand's national anthem, is also used to refer to this specific song.

The anthem was composed a few days after the 1932 coup, and was first broadcast in July 1932. The original lyrics were by Khun Wichitmatra. In 1939, when the name of the country was changed from Siam to Thailand, a competition was launched to create new lyrics, with those by Luang Saranuprapan winning. Prime minister Phibunsongkhram ordered the anthem to be played every day at 8.00 and 18.00, and ordering the populace to stand up to show respect for the nation. That law is still in force today.

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