Is the 'angel' doll here to stay?

PHOTO: The Nation

Look Thep or "child angel" dolls became the talk of the town after Thai Smile Airlines announced last week that doll owners could purchase separate seats for their so-called angels.

Many people reacted to this by saying that the very idea of sitting next to a doll on a flight was creepy, while some members of the media jumped on the opportunity to provide scoops. Avid reporters began staking out temples where people take these dolls to invoke the soul of an angel, and interviewed some owners, who insisted that their beloved dolls were in no way harmful.

Whether real or imagined, news of other services being provided for these "angel" dolls began doing the rounds in social media - ranging from plastic surgery and computer classes to funeral and termination services.

Some people even used actor Thep Pho-ngam as the butt of a joke, by posting his picture with a caption claiming he was in trouble for having so many children with different women.

Phitak Siriwong "Tic Neverdie", dean of Silpakorn University's Faculty of Management Science, posted that he had no trouble with students bringing their dolls into class, provided the doll can submit an assignment and defend its paper individually like other students. If the doll fails, he said, the student will be held responsible.

Academic Pinkaew Luangaramsri wrote: "I believe that the 'child angel' cult of the middle class is not a doctrine of worshipping sacred things, but is the consumption of artificial things by those who do not care for originals or are unable to distinguish truth from simulacra."

Chawisa Sethabuthra, who sells beauty and doll products, posted on Facebook: "As I have been in the 'pretty doll' business for some time now, I would like to say that dolls are just dolls. People enjoy playing with them and nobody really takes their dolls to a black magic ceremony. There is only a small minority of people who do this. Social media does not distinguish the truth from stories. The truth is that some people hold and take their dolls around with them, but there are some people who make up stories saying all these are 'child angel' dolls', branding the owners as crazy. Please be mindful before you make judgements."

Media academic Time Chuastapanasiri wrote: "We should stop calling them 'child angels' - they are baby dolls, not the children of any angels. Businesses in Thailand should also stop following all trends. Don't serve those who bring these dolls to restaurants and flights, because it disturbs others visually as well as mentally and intellectually. In the future you will have to issue many measures to handle this. As for the media, please clarify that this is nonsense and do not let it take up too much space or dominate over other news stories."

Wanchai Roujanavong wrote: "This 'child angel' craze will go away in no time and then nobody will care about it. Some Thais are good at picking up trends before getting bored. There was a time when the Jatukam Ramathep amulet was popular and people were ready to pay hundreds of thousands of baht for one. Now nobody will even spend Bt5 on one of them."

Jak Panchupetch wrote: "I've never seen any prophet teach humans to become slaves to a doll. I've never seen any millionaire get rich from holding a doll. Please take care of your mental health before spending your money and time taking care of a doll. Take care of your parents, give them food and drinks, take them on a vacation, take good care of them - they are the real angels."

@AkaravutTv9 tweeted that a "child angel" image made it to British newspaper Telegraph's top shots, to which @zapience tweeted: "From the caption we already know that Westerners are stupid enough to say it was a result of politics and economy."