Thai singer apologizes for Nazi flag costume | News | DW | 27.01.2019
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Thai singer apologizes for Nazi flag costume

A member of the Thai girl group BNK48 has given a tearful apology on stage after wearing a costume bearing the Nazi swastika. The gaffe occurred ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

A popular all-girl music act in Thailand has drawn criticism after one of its members wore a shirt showing the swastika flag of Nazi Germany during a performance.

Nineteen-year-old singer Pichayapa 'Namsai' Natha from the group BNK48 wore the red-and-black top complete with the Nazi swastika during the group's televised rehearsal on Friday.

Photos of the offending costume were widely shared on social media.

On Saturday, while performing at another concert, she made a tearful apology and asked for forgiveness.

Read more: Thailand promises to end detention of child refugees

Watch video 02:20

Speaking out to prevent another Holocaust

On stage plea

"I want this to be an example for everyone, please forgive me," she said.

Later, she wrote on Facebook: "I cannot fix the mistake, but I promise I will not let it happen again."

Israel's embassy in Bangkok expressed its "shock and dismay" at the outfit, leading Natha and the band's manager to visit the mission on Sunday to apologize in person.

"Presenting Nazi symbols by the band's singer hurt the feelings of millions around the world, whose relatives were murdered by the Nazis," said the embassy's deputy chief of mission, Smadar Shapira.

Germany's ambassador to the Southeast Asian country, Georg Schmidt, echoed her remarks and invited the group to "discuss the terror of the Nazi dictatorship" with German embassy officials.

The timing of Natha's fashion faux-pas came just two days before somber ceremonies were held around the world to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Read more: Educating against anti-Semitism: German students visit concentration camp

Nazi regalia as design

Insensitive use of Nazi symbols, including images of Hitler, swastikas and other regalia, occur from time to time in Thailand, where there is little awareness of the Holocaust and an inclination to use them as design elements or comic props.

In 2013, Bangkok's prestigious Chulalongkorn University was forced to apologize after its students created a mural depicting Hitler during graduation celebrations.

A Catholic school was also left red-faced in 2011 after students dressed up in a Nazi uniform for a sports day parade.

BNK48's fans blamed Thailand's school system for not teaching about Nazi-era atrocities.

"What do you expect? When we were in school, they teach only about Thailand and Myanmar wars," Samruay Kraspra said.

Another fan, Prasit Rudeekriengkrai, wrote: "I'm over 40 and I don't know anything about this topic. When I saw the shirt, I didn't think it would be a problem."

mm/amp (AFP, AP)

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