Thailand Tourists Warned Not to Carry George Orwell’s 1984

August 14, 2014

1984According to The Telegraph, an in-flight magazine of Philippine Airlines contains a warning for passengers not to carry a copy of George Orwell’s dystopian novel, 1984, in Thailand. The warning has since been widely circulated on Twitter. “You don’t want to be mistaken for an anti-coup protestor,” the publication reads.

The warning was included in a bulleted list of five tips to help “blend in” while traveling in Thailand, which is currently undergoing a coup. The list recommended that passengers carry a passport; avoid wearing red t-shirts, “which are associated with a group opposed to the military government”; politely ask a soldier before having “that selfie” with him; and avoid debates about the pros and cons of the coup.

The novel, a haunting vision of a brutal, totalitarian state, has been a popular symbol of protest in Thailand since the May coup, which, allegedly, has prompted the country’s military regime to arrest demonstrators for reading the novel and intimidate organizers of screenings of the film adaptation. The U.S. Department of State warns on its website to “[b]e aware that under martial law, the governing [National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)] has considerable security powers… and that U.S. citizens are cautioned to avoid protest sites, demonstrations, and large gatherings. Although many protest activities have been peaceful, violent incidents involving guns and explosive devices have occurred at or near protest sites.”


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