‘Hitler chic’ Bangkok’s trend riles tourists

In the Thai capital’s latest outbreak of Nazi chic, pandas, Teletubbies and Ronald have metamorphosed into cutesy alter egos of the Führer, who seems to exert a childlike fascination over some young Thais.

With any luck you can spot trendy young souls strutting around in T-shirts bearing cartoonish images of the Nazi dictator.

In a particularly popular design, Hitler is transformed into a cartoonish Ronald McDonald, the fast-food chain’s clown mascot, sporting a bouffant cherry-red hairdo and a stern look.

On another T-shirt the Führer is shown in a lovely panda costume with a Nazi armband. On yet another he appears as a pink Teletubby with doe eyes, jug ears and a pink swastika for an antenna. He pouts petulantly like a spoiled brat while flashing the Nazi salute.

Shirts cost from 200 baht to 370 baht (US$7-12) apiece, and some come in matching outfits for couples. Adolf McDonald’s partner is a transvestite with fuchsia hair, lipstick, long lashes and a timid Mona Lisa smile. Panda Adolf’s manlier doppelganger sports a brown stormtrooper uniform.

“Some foreigners get upset [when they see my T-shirts on sale] — they come to my shop and complain,” acknowledges the owner of Seven Star, a small clothing shop at Terminal 21, a new designer mall in central Bangkok on Sukhumvit Road which is a popular tourist haunt.

He’s a 30-something fellow who identifies himself by his nickname “Hut”, and is a graduate of a local university’s arts program. Hut does brisk business selling his T-shirts. Seven Star’s most popular items, Hut notes, are his  McHitler designs, which he sells alongside his caricatures of Michael Jackson, Che Guevara and Kim Jong-Il