BANGKOK (THE NATION/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Inspired by the success of the royally initiated winter festival, Oon Ai Rak Klay Kwam Nao, and the mega-hit historical TV soap opera "Bupphesanniwat" or "Destined Love", Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha is encouraging Thai citizens to wear period outfits in public places.
People in period costumes had flocked in large numbers to the one-month-long festival held for Thai people to overcome the sadness of the past, as well as to pay tributes to the great achievements of King Rama V and King Rama IX.
Held at the grounds of Dusit Palace and Sanam Suea Pa, the theme of the festival was: wearing period costumes.
Large crowds also turned up in Ayutthaya, the location of the soap opera Bupphesanniwat. Many of them also dressed in traditional Thai attires, inspired by the characters in the hit-TV series.
During his weekly national address on television on Friday (March 16), Gen Prayut praised both the winter festival and the TV series for helping promote Thai Niyom, the government initiative.
He said he was glad to see Thai people wear the traditional outfits with confidence in public places.
"I want to see this phenomenon taking place throughout the country on different occasions, at tourist attractions. We should preserve this Thai tradition [wearing period costume] as a national treasure for the next generation," Gen Prayut said.
The premier also urged his Cabinet members and civil servants to wear traditional outfits to work.
Normally, every Tuesday, Cabinet members wear dresses tailored from Thai cloth and silk to attend Cabinet meetings, so it's okay if the ministers and civil servants want to wear Thai traditional costume on that day instead, Gen Prayut said.
He added that he also wanted to see this practice adopted by other sectors, including academic institutions and businesses.
"It's interesting to see people dressing in those outfits. Everyone will feel more vibrant and in a different atmosphere. But please do not force them to do," he said.