In Thailand, folk seem to be obsessed with uniforms. There must be huge factories somewhere devoted to the manufacture of work and school uniforms. Across the road from my little apartment there's the headquarters of the Siam Commercial Bank - a collection of tall buildings clad in mirror green glass. Like worker ants, this complex teems with bank workers and they all wear the regulation SCB purple uniforms. Lord knows what they do in there all day - probably write out extra uniform requests. I see them busying about, often buying or eating street food - another national obsession..There are thousands of them. All as purple as... as plums!
|Where is Mr Pudding? |
We need some extra tuition
When I was first here - back in 2011, I would often see strangely mature young people in school uniforms riding on the subway or the Sky Train - white shirt and black trousers or black skirt with the school belt. It took a while before I realised these older school pupils were in fact university students! Yes - university students in uniforms! I don't think that would go down too well at the University of East Anglia or Kent State, Ohio!
Within this school - where I am writing this particular blogpost during a free period - our army of ancillary workers all sport bright turquoise polo shirts. However, the maintenance men have grey polo shirts with side stripes in black and orange while the security men and the kitchen staff have their own distinctive uniforms which include face masks.
At the nearby "Major" shopping and leisure complex there are about thirty cafes and restaurants. In each establishment there is a different uniform. This might include vaguely Japaneses style uniforms in places that serve Japanese food to Frenchified uniforms with little white pinafores. The cinema staff wear smart cravats and silky gold waistcoats while the supermarket workers, "Starbucks" and "Dunkin Do-Nuts" people all have their unique uniforms too.
Then there are the taxi drivers and the road sweepers, the police and soldiers on leave, hotel workers, bus drivers, subway workers, gardeners, even the photo company team that visited the school this week - all in their own uniforms with particular colours and logos. And of course the children in our school are all in a uniform that includes ties, socks and leather shoes. Brilliant in such a hot climate. Not.
I have never been a big fan of uniforms even though I accept there are a few occupations where uniforms are pretty vital such as catering, hospital nursing and cricket. However, I prefer to think of a world where people are allowed to express their individuality not only through their thoughts and spoken words but also in the way they choose to dress. But hey - what do I know? Maybe I am something of a dinosaur still attached to the hippy dreams of the late sixties, still singing along with Richie Havens..."Freedom! Freedom!'