[FOUNTAIN]Winds of change in AsiaIn the west, yellow is sometimes regarded as a color of betrayal or cowardice. It originated from the color of the robe legend says that Judas wore when he betrayed Jesus. In the 16th century, Spainish heretics who were brought to the inquisition had to wear yellow cloaks. Adolf Hitler made the Jews wear a yellow Star of David during the Holocaust as a method of identifying them.
In China, yellow is a color of the emperor. Puyi, the last emperor of the Qing Dynasty, recalled that his life in the royal palace was a series of yellow.
On Sept. 19, the Thailand military overthrew Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The soldiers tied yellow ribbons around the barrels of their rifles. In Thailand, yellow is the color of the king and has been a symbol of the anti-Thaksin movement since last October. Journalist Sondhi Limthongkul initiated the campaign, claiming that Prime Minister Thaksin was corrupt and abusing his power. Mr. Sondhi accused Mr. Thaksin of not being loyal to the king and urged people to wear yellow clothes to deny the prime minister and protect the king. The streets of Bangkok have since been filled with yellow colors.
Red is a color of aggression. Boxers sometimes wear red gloves, and in the United States, drivers of red cars get more speeding tickets. In ancient Rome, gladiators drank the blood from the wound of a dying enemy, believing that the power of the vanquished would be transferred.
In China, red is a color of luck. Red is a popular theme color in many restaurants, and people like to set their desktop background in red. Children dressed in red are hoping to gain good luck, and gift money is put in a red envelope.
In September, a “red wave” started in Taipei, Taiwan. Protestors are demanding that President Chen Shui-bian resign. The red-clad demonstrators are condemning the alleged corruption of friends and relatives of the president and asking him to step down from power.
The one who suggested red as a symbol of the anti-Chen Shui-bian campaign was Jerry Fan, a spokesman of the anti-corruption movement. According to Mr. Fan, what Chen disliked and feared the most are the color red and international opinion. Therefore, he urged people to “dress in red, stage protests, and get international attention.” The campaign to overthrow the president has been in progress for nearly a month.
Following the Rose Revolution in Georgia and the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, the wind of colorful revolution is blowing across Asia.
by You Sang-chul
The writer is the Asia news editor at the JoongAng Ilbo.