Cops in Thailand: always smiling

If you visit Thailand during the first week of 2009, you'll be surprised to see that the highway cops are Smile
always wearing smiles. Yes, they wear them in the morning and take them off at night.

It is the latest version of the famous Thai smile – motorcycle
policemen with a bright red goofy grin painted onto their white
anti-pollution masks.

For the first week of the year – and longer if people seem to be
smiling back – highway policemen in Thailand will wear the masks "to
lift the mood of motorists," according to police officials.

"For our highway policemen, we have the policy that the police must
be friendly and smiling all the time, but the problem is, when we're
tired, it's hard to keep smiling," said Colonel Somyos Promnim, the
Highway Police commander. [Link]

It's a brilliant idea, painting a smile on their faces. Just look at the man in the photo. He doesn't look intimidating at all, does he?

If this idea catches on, perhaps we can get all the flight attendants on Air India to wear smiles. They may not still give us "service with a smile," but at least we'd get half of it.

Come to think of it, I wouldn't mind wearing a smile like that myself. It would help me smile in places where smiling is almost impossible, such as the dentist's chair.

Me: "How do you like my new smile?"

Dentist: "Not bad, but I think we should straighten it a little. And perhaps whiten it too."

Me: "It's supposed to be like that."

Dentist: "Okay, suit yourself. But don't be surprised if someone mistakes you for a Thai policeman."

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through and You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.

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