Free black mourning shirts and ribbons for low-income people, budget shirts also to be subsidized

Finance permanent secretary Somchai Sujjapongse announced today that the eight million Thai citizens registered as low earners will receive free black shirts so that they can observe the mourning period for the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej for the coming year.

The shirts will be given out by state-run banks. They will cost about THB50 to make each shirt and the money needed for the project will be part of the government’s initiative to assist low-income citizens, reported Bangkok Post.

“Although the government has said it is not necessary for all people to wear black, the Finance Ministry is of the opinion that it would be good if the low-income people can wear black to mourn for the late king,” Somchai said.

In related news, the government has asked clothing manufacturers to increase production of black fabric and clothing in response to the increased need for mourning clothing.

It was widely reported that black clothing was sold out in markets and department stores over the weekend, as well as some sellers overcharging for these in-demand products.  

The government said that the new demand for black clothes is five times more than it was before. As part of their response, the government has also said that they are arranging for inexpensive black shirts to be for sale at stores across the country from Oct. 21-23.

It was noted that sellers and stores caught charging more for black clothing could be fined THB140,000 for profiteering. It’s been stated that the starting price for a basic black, grey or white t-shirt should be THB89 that polo shirts should be THB179.

A Twitter user posted a photo of a plain black shirt that was being sold for THB580.

Twenty million black ribbons are also being made by the country and will be given out for free.  

The Ministry of Education will also be teaching people how to dye their existing clothing black via a YouTube tutorial and will provide centers where low-income citizens can do so for free. In Bangkok, the centers are at Sanam Luang and the Ministry’s headquarters on Ratchadamnoen Nok Avenue.

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