A Thai production company was forced to redesign its film poster featuring Cambodia’s national flower after the promotional material drew flak from Cambodian netizens.
Love Destiny, a Thai historical romance film, stars Ranee “Bella” Campen and Tanawat “Pope” Wattanapution. They were both featured surrounded by a backdrop of lamduan flowers, with a banner saying “lamduan flowers represent sustainable love”.
But the poster, uploaded on Facebook by Thai company GDH 559 Co last week, soon sparked a social media war of words between Thai and Cambodian netizens, who accused the former of appropriating their national flower.
“Thanks for promoting our national flower to the world, but next time don’t forget to give credit to the owner. I remind you, don’t forget your own culture… If you don’t know your own culture, you can search [on] Google,” The Bangkok Post quoted a user as saying.
Thai netizens defended the poster, saying lamduan flowers are found all over Southeast Asia and their neighbour’s anger also shows the popularity of Thai films there.
Others added fuel to the fire by targeting Cambodian migrant workers in Thailand, strongman Hun Sen’s leadership and Phnom Penh’s human rights record.
“Take your own country’s population back. It’s just about the flower. When you come to Thailand, nobody says anything about it,” a Thai netizen fired back.
Some people saw the debate as an opportunity to get rid of the deeply unpopular Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha.
A Thai Facebook user wrote: “If you think everything in Thailand belongs to you, can you please come and take the prime minister away. I give it, no return and no shipping fee.”
As the two sides upped the ante, production house GDH stepped in to cool tensions by sharing new posters that had different flowers, including Hong Kong’s bauhinia, which appears on the city’s coat of arms, its flag and its coins.
The move earned praise from netizens.
“Wow, no one from Hong Kong asking for their national flower. Yeah we love HK,” one said.
Love Destiny, which hits the big screens on July 28, was a popular TV series that first aired in 2018.