A new craze in Thailand involving life-like ‘angel dolls’ supposed to bring good fortune to their owners is being embraced by some businesses, while others have questioned the psychological effects of the fad.
The dolls, referred to in Thailand as Luk Thep, are reported to cost up to 21,600 baht (over $850) and have similarities to the long-standing Thai tradition of Kuman Thong, which involves “black magic”.
Superstitious consumers have embraced the latest doll obsession after a local celebrity reportedly praised the doll for its ability to bring their owners good luck.
One Thai business that jumped on the bandwagon was restaurant Neta Grill, which stated in a post on Facebook that the dolls were welcome to sit with their owners.
More than 30 customers so far have gone to the restaurant to enjoy a meal with their doll.
The trend has also spread to airlines with Thai Smile Airways reported to have welcome the dolls on their flights.
A leaked internal memo from the airline asked staff to serve meals to the dolls with owners allowed to buy the dolls their own seats on flights. The ABC contacted Thai Smile Airways for comment.
However, Thailand’s aviation authorities and airline representatives agreed on Wednesday the hugely popular ‘angel dolls’ would now be technically classified as luggage and would need to be placed under seats or in overhead compartments, according to local media reports.
Kids may become frightened of the dolls: resort owner
One hotel in Phayao also made moves to quash the trend, banning the dolls from staying in their rooms, the Bangkok Post reported.
China Town Resort Phayao in tambon Ban Tom posted a photo on Facebook of a sign outside their hotel explaining that the human-like dolls may cause other guests to feel “paranoid”.
The resort’s owner, Payom Thisri, told the Bangkok Post the ban was not intended to insult people and their personal superstitions.
Instead, it was meant to take into account the feelings of others who may be “psychologically impacted” by the dolls.
“If the patrons have children staying with them, the kids may become frightened and they won’t dare to check in,” Ms Payom said.
The rule does not apply to regular dolls, which are still welcome at the resort.
The dolls have also caused a stir on social media with some Twitter users describing them as “creepy” and others asking people whether they would feel uncomfortable sitting next to one of the dolls.