Philippine Airlines Teaches Passengers How to Blend in Bangkok

Mabuhay Magazine, the in-flight magazine of Philippine Airlines, has issued a warning to travellers bound for Bangkok to leave behind their copies of George Orwell's novel, 1984, as part of a series of tips designed to help visitors "blend in" while in Bangkok in order to avoid trouble, as Thailand remains under strict military rule.

Image Source: The Daily Mail
Since being published, a photo of the article has gone viral on Twitter. The article highlights Orwell's influential novel published in 1949 that covers life in a totalitarian surveillance state. The novel has reportedly been banned in Thailand, as it has become a symbol of political protest against the current military regime that seized power in May.

Protesters that are against the coup have staged silent readings in protest as an act of resistance against the military regime. To date, there has been at least one arrest. In June, a man was dragged away by several undercover police officers after being caught reading 1984 outside an upscale Bangkok shopping mall.

Image Source: Mabuhay Magazine / Facebook
The warning about the 1984 novel is just one of five tips that were published in Mabuhay Magazine offering visitors tips to make their visit to Thailand a more discreet one. In addition to leaving the novel behind, the article advises travellers to:

  • Carry their passports at all times
  • Avoid wearing red t-shirts as they are associated with anti-coup protesters
  • Ask permission before snapping photographs or selfies with soldiers
  • Avoid engaging in any debate regarding the pros or cons of the coup

In spite of the warnings for travellers, the article reaffirmed that while the country is under military control, Thailand remains a very safe destination for tourists to visit. However, passengers bound for Thailand should be aware that it is illegal to criticize the coup in any way and that one should refrain from making political statements in public. Most importantly, avoid any protests, political gatherings, marches, or demonstrations, as these have been known to turn violent. It is recommended that all travellers monitor social media and local news for the latest developments.

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