Who would have thought that a famous and cute Japanese pop culture icon can be used as an effective Thai law enforcement tool. Instituted as a policy this week, errant Thai police are required to wear big bright pink Hello Kitty armbands against their dull grey uniform as a form of punishment if they commit petty offenses such as showing up late, parking illegally, and getting in fights with other officers. The fear of humiliation is supposed to stop these kinds of minor offenses from ever happening again.
From the Bangkok Post article:
“A pink ”Hello Kitty” armband wrapped around a khaki-clad arm is shouting for attention at the police Crime Suppression Division. It is a new disciplinary measure introduced especially for police investigators who refuse to play by the rules.
Starting this week, the warning will come in the form of the popular Japanese cat cartoon sitting on a heart on a pink background. “The same old warnings no longer work for some officers,” CSD acting chief Pongpat Chayaphan said.
“This new approach is intended to engender a feeling of guilt and discourage them from repeating the offence.” Offences liable to earn an officer the pink Kitty include failing to report for duty, parking in a prohibited area, fighting, or being the subject of a complaint about poor service.
Policemen see it as a bitter pill to swallow. Most agree it would be quite embarrassing to have to wear the pink armband, which stands out in vivid contrast against their uniform.”
Wow. Thailand must be a very masculine society if wearing a pink Hello Kitty will strike fear in the heart of men.