By Wasamon Audjarint
“She worked a lot before she came here. She distributed leaflets and also rode on a boat,” Maj-General Kongcheep Tantravanich, a spokesperson for the government’s reconciliation building committee, apparently explaining why Nong Kiew Koy’s face showed dust marks despite the fresh debut.
“We designed her by ourselves. We didn’t hire any outsourcers to do this job. We are proud of her,” Kongcheep adding, referring to the committee’s sub-unit on public relations that he heads.
That explained why it only cost no more than Bt10,000 to produce the mascot, as Kongcheep said, adding that they had simply added decorations to an existing costume.
The mascot’s introduction on Wednesday was met by amusement on social media, with many agreeing that her smile was more “creepy” than welcoming. “I would scream my lungs out if I saw her in the dark,” one commentator wrote.
But many online artists also created their own cute versions of Nong Kiew Koy.
Nong Kiew Koy fanart (courtesy of Facebook page Akitozan)
The mascot’s stated job is to be a pretty, doll-like presence and handing out pamphlets, posters and pocket books to promote the so-called “agreement of truth”, which was formulated by a military-dominated committee based on talks with political and social figures.
The effort, initiated by the junta government, has been in place since the start of the year with the committee headed by Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha and including other senior military and government figures from junta-appointed bodies.
The tentative draft of the agreement includes mandates such as that people will “exercise rights and freedom appropriately by law”, “adhere to morality as an approach to living” and “learn, cooperate with and support the national strategy”. The last point refers to the 20-year, legally binding strategy the junta has formulated to steer future administrations.
But her other job is to have an active presence on the chat app Line. “Her smiling Line sticker will help cool down heated chats,” Kongcheep said. “We wish to boost reconciliation awareness at the very local level.”
Despite the limited budget, the mascot’s character and decorations are redolent with symbolism. Kongcheep said its gender, depicted as female, represented “humbleness, gentleness and politeness”.
The white colour on the mascot’s dress represented “pure power of all people to get away from conflict”, while the red represented the country as seen in the national flag, he said.
A heart on the dress also represented “the united heart of all Thai people”, Kongcheep said. Its hat is decorated with a national flag ribbon and its scarf printed with the reconciliation campaign’s official logo – five hands linked around a national flag circle.
“Her name, Pinky Promise, also means that we will turn to love each other like the old days,” Kongcheep said.
“We might have neglected parliamentary mechanisms [in the past], based on anger, and did not play by the rules,” said the spokesperson “We want to ensure the public that the reconciliation process really happens.”
Nong Kiew Koy fanart (courtesy of Facebook page Pinkie Rabbit)
Nong Kiew Koy fanart (courtesy of Facebook page GCz)