Thai Ministry of Culture comes to life: Integrating culture with commerce

English: Part of a Marriage ceremony in Thaila...

English: Part of a Marriage ceremony in Thailand, 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thai culture is a mysterious and beautiful. Take the traditional Thai marriage ceremony, where so many foreigners comes to Thailand to get married the Thai Way, it is just full of vibrant tradition that is still practice today throughout Thailand. But if you were to look at it, from a materialism and capitalist point of view, at every stage, there is money involved, from the groom paying relatives of the bride, to open passage to marry the bride, to the groom, offering money and gold to the bride family. That has been a part of Thai culture for centuries, mixing tradition with money, into an art form.

Several local Thai press, such as Thai Rath and Matichon, for the past week, have been running reports of a new Thai “Soft Power” drive, in integrating Thai culture and commerce together. While the concept of marketing and sales of Thai culture together is a very old business model in Thailand, pushed mainly by tourism related people and units, this is considered a new break-through for the Thai Ministry of Culture seen for ages as a draconian protector of Thai traditional values, from a purely cultural conservation mandate.

Matichon reports, that the Minister of Culture, Sonthaya is to push for trade shows of the Thai arts and crafts OTOP products, as a show-case of Thai culture. Then Thai Rath reports Sonthaya is to get the Ministry of Culture involved in lifting several Thai traditional activity, such as buffalo racing in Chonburi, to become more globally commercialize, and recognized as a special and unique to Thailand cultural aspect. Several countries, for the past few decades, have been using “Soft Power” defined as aspects that helps build people to people exchanges, as a way to increase influence and standing globally. While the concept is as old as tourism itself, many have been active in using these people to people exchanges to foster a variety of other goals, outside of tourism, and have used it as part of a wider foreign relations efforts.

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