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Patriotism law seeks to halt cars for anthem
November 23, 2007 / 3:31 PM / 10 years ago

Patriotism law seeks to halt cars for anthem

<p>A police official directs traffic outside the Constitutional Tribunal building in Bangkok May 29, 2007. A proposed new law to boost patriotism in Thailand would be "chaotic" because it would require motorists to stop when the national anthem is played twice a day, lawmakers said Friday. REUTERS/Adrees Latif</p>

BANGKOK (Reuters) - A proposed new law to boost patriotism in Thailand would be “chaotic” because it would require motorists to stop when the national anthem is played twice a day, lawmakers said Friday.

A vote on the Flag Bill proposed by a group of retired and active duty generals in the army-appointed parliament was deferred Thursday to allow a committee to study it.

“It would be chaotic if the bill had passed as it is now. So the National Legislative Assembly decided to set up a panel to review it,” NLA member Wallop Tangkananurak told Reuters. The bill’s supporters say road traffic should stop nationwide when the anthem is played during the raising and lowering of the flag “to preserve tradition and instill patriotism in Thais.”

“The national anthem lasts only one minute and eight seconds, so why can’t motorists stop their cars for the sake of the country?,” retired General and NLA member Pricha Rochanasena, 70, told Reuters.

“They already spend more time in traffic jams anyway,” he said, referring to Bangkok’s notoriously congested streets.

Most Thais already stop what they are doing and stand still when the national anthem is played on loudspeakers in train stations, parks and office buildings at 8 a.m and 6 p.m.

Pricha said the bill, which did not propose penalties for violators, would allow motorists to be patriotic too.

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