[There was a video here]
The kids. Who knows why they do what they do? Like these young cops and government bureaucrats in downtown Bangkok who've decided to start some gangs. Mexican gangs. With cholo clothes and tats and bikes and throwin' signs and shit. Goodness, IT'S A TREND:
Via Fusion, some videographers from a Thailand-based website decided to hang with the toughs and their painstaking simulacrum of NAFTA-territory thug life, minus the dealin' and pimpin' and killin'. The bizarre street action starts at :22 in the video above.
Why do the youngs do it? Just cuz. And also because it's hot up in here, son:
On the outside, many of these Thais resemble the Cholos who inspire them. Their clothes, tattoos, and hairstyles emulate those sported by real homies. That said, tattoos and bling do not a gangster make.
When Coconuts interviewed members from three of these "gangs" - Balcony Pain, Fratez and D Sixty - we found out that none of the men appreciated the brutal violence that is often associated with real Latino gangs like the Latin Kings. Moreover, most only had a shallow understanding of the foreign urban culture and Mexico in general.
What became clear is that the Thai obsession with these groups is simply an appreciation of their aesthetic. All of the men we spoke with were captivated by "the clean and simple style" that "worked well in this (Thai) weather," as one gang member said.
Their explanations are pretty fascinating. "During the day, I work in an office," says one. "At night, I'm a Mexican gangster. I'm a gangster at heart."
This dude, Yak Yai Fratez, says his day job is as a police officer:
"I think Mexican style reflects my life so well," says another. "I think I'm gonna dress like this till I die."
Cool, cool. But no, really: Why fixate on the stereotypical mythos of a violent culture? Eh, why not, really? It's nothing new in pop culture. Except maybe the cross-ethnic weirdness of it all. Quoth the videographers:
Many are family men, and some admitted to consulting their wives before getting certain tattoos. Needless to say, the Thai gangs don't fight amongst themselves or deal in illicit drugs, both of which are hallmarks of real Latino gangs. In a nutshell, this is a brotherhood of style-conscious men who bond over baggy white shirts and gothic-baroque tattoos.
Well, they've got something on most Americans, who couldn't tell a cholo from a churro.
For an extended look at these guys (and an interesting solo Thai gangster rap called "Fuck the Popo With Big Guns" at 2:44), check out the cut below.