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Holy Helmets and Other Crazy Thai Items You Didn't Know Existed

Holy Crash Helmets

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha recently said during a speech at an innovation fair that Thais should build a hybrid between a rice cooker and fridge or an electric kettle and fridge. Basically, he wanted us to think outside the box more and innovate. This got us thinking whether or not Thailand already had some crazy, cool items out there in the market. And you know what? We did discover some amazing products that would perhaps even impress the dear leader himself. In doing our bit to help Thailand turn towards being 4.0, we talked to the brains behind some of the most curious products you wouldn't have even known existed in Thailand. If you're inspired by these examples and make it big later, don't forget to send us some tokens of appreciation.

TRULY (www.facebook.com/trulybkk, www.trulybkk.com) has some very unique items that could make both fashion and social statements. Artist Chardchakaj "Air" Waikawee, the brand's owner, designer and founder, has collaborated with Elder Helmets to introduce -- and we're pretty sure it's the world's first -- holy crash helmets, aptly named Khum Kala Hua (protecting your head) for B4,999.

Riding a motorcycle in Bangkok isn't the safest thing to do so Air wondered why not add some extra holiness for protection. Various sacred elements are built into these golden ABS helmets. They are blessed at Wat Chana Songkhram and the temple's name translates into "winning a war" so there's some added auspiciousness in there for you too. There's also a golden talisman printed inside for extra protection. Secular-ly speaking, they have been certified for safety by the Thai Industrial Standards Institute. Practically speaking, the helmets' eye-catching design should help remind motorcyclists to wear them before hitting the road for their own safety and should furthermore help fellow motorists notice them too.

The other example of meaningful designs from Truly are the Sati shoes, available in black (B2,500) or beige (B3,000). They look like your average sneakers on the outside but turn them upside down and your jaws may drop a little when you see that the left sole is red and the right sole is yellow. Air wanted to remind us that despite our differences, we can still all walk together side by side.

On closer inspection, you'll notice that with each pair comes two circles and infinity signs on the tongue. They look like a person meditating and represent karma, self and infinity. #deepAF.


Hug a Hia

Music teacher and YouTuber Kalayawast "Nui" Subsumroum, the owner of -- pardon our language -- Mhon Hia (fb.com/here666, IG - @herehokhokhok), turned offensive words in Thai culture into hug-gable pillows and cushions.

Her flagship products are a collection of pillows in the shape of the much-maligned Asian water monitor lizards and their five relatives -- bengal monitor, roughneck monitor, black monitor, yellow monitor and Dumeril's monitor. Given the life-like print, you may not want to lay your head next to one but, hey, cuteness is in the eyes of the beholder.

The most impressive (and perhaps ickiest) item is the 2m (B1,444) tall pillow in the shape of an Asian water monitor. If you want to carry it around, there's a 15cm key-chain version (B111) too. Mhon Hia also offers other funny pillows in the shape of life-like giant feet, krasue ghosts, buffaloes and golden flowers (which you probably shouldn't gift to any woman unless you're super close). Kindly note that these are the kinds of gifts to give to friends who have a sense of humour.


Cockroach is your f(r)iend

If you want to present someone with a really memorable gift but also tease them at the same time, go buy some cuddly cockroaches from Mhee Mee Khong (fb.com/MheeMeeKhong, www.mheemeekhong.com). It's the brainchild of Pattamaporn "San" Preechawuttidech, who is a very popular YouTuber by the name of Sunbeary, and her co-creator. They name their roach pillows Peter (sorry to all the Peters out there). Why? San told us there wasn't much of a reason behind the name.

These stuffed giant cockroaches with a realistic print have more versatile use than you think. They can be cuddle buddies in bed, weapons for an epic pillow fight or tools to confuse your pets with. Most importantly, you can prank someone simply by putting a Peter on the floor and wait for someone to open the door. Just have your camera ready.

Despite the fact that cockroaches are universally hated animals, there are less than 100 copies of Peter (B890) left since its introduction in June. Mhee Mee Khong also sells other novelty items online such as the "world's spiciest jelly bears" which, unfortunately, have sold out.


Instant Som Tum

One struggle Thais may face while travelling abroad is a craving for Thai flavours. Maetuk (facebook.com/mt.maetuk) is the maker of freeze dried papaya salad (B90) so you can get your som tum on whenever and wherever. Somkid "Maetuk" Intharabut, Maetuk's owner and her kids spent about two years figuring out how to make som tum instant so tourists could easily take it home while Thais could bring it abroad to cure bouts of homesickness.

After unpacking the pre-made som tum onto a plate, you simply add room-temperature water to it. Wait for a few minutes before you mix it all together. It comes in three levels of spiciness. We must say that we're quite impressed. It doesn't exactly taste like a som tum freshly pounded with a mortar and pestle, mind you, but considering it's an instant papaya salad, it does retain its crunchiness and flavour quite well.

It is available at Gourmet Market of Siam Paragon, EmQuartier, Emporium as well as The Mall Skyport at Don Mueang. Orders are accepted online via the Facebook page too. Grilled pork neck, grilled chicken and assorted veggies are sold separately, though.


Questionable Jellies

Go super weird if you want to get noticed. At least that was the case for Wilaiwan Ban Kanom Thai (fb.com/Wilaiwan01) in Pathum Thani. The store has been open for two years but recently received so much media attention due to the very unusual shapes of jelly they offer.

You can eat Thai-style jelly made of coconut milk in the shape of sleeping bulldogs, brains, turds, babies, eyeballs and more. Wilaiwan "Por" Mee-ngern, the owner, decided to acquire these unusual moulds to get her jellies noticed.

Her small operation went viral after some customers posted the hotly-debated pictures of dog jelly on their social media. They are priced at a highly affordable price of B25 per piece, minus the delivery cost. This is a small operation so order one day in advance if you want 30-40 pieces.


Siam Submarine

You never know where inspiration for your next breakout product could come from. Graphic designer and toy collector of 20 plus years Chaiwat Sermsutee-a-nuwat, also known as Tabun Lee (fb.com/customizeman.actionfigure) in the designer toy circle, cashed in on the regime's controversial purchase of Chinese submarines by introducing the Siam Submarine (B1,000) model. Each comes with a mini figure in green which has a familiar face.

This is not the first time Tabun poked fun at Thai politics. He's also the creator of "General of North Star", "The Dictator" and "Doi Man" figures. We will let you guess who these dolls were referenced from. Tabun insisted he isn't always political and views the dolls he created as a sort of diary that helps capture memorable points in history.

For the submarine model, you need some skill to put it together. But for guys who have a Gundam collection, this submarine won't be too big of a challenge. You'll have to paint it and complete the battery system yourself. But it comes with instructions so no worries.

If you want to own this submarine model, be warned that Tabun made them in very small numbers and you'll have to wait up to a month to receive one. Contact him directly via his Facebook page if you're interested.


Ramakien Rendition

HOLEN (fb.com/helloholen) gets kudos from us for making Thainess approachable, cool and kayute. You may already have seen these products at gift corners in Naiin bookstores and souvenir stores in museums. HOLEN (spoonerism of hen-lo, a Thai way to say hello) is known for making seriously cute products with designs inspired by characters from the Thai national epic, The Ramakien.

Silawat "Min" Virakul, HOLEN's creative director and founder, had consulted and designed products for many organisations before he decided to launch his own brand in September 2016. The monkey warriors and giant baddies from the story have been turned into cutesy keychains, dolls, mugs, luggage tags and sleep masks. The most impressive item is their Hanuman Transforming Neck Pillow Doll (B1,950). It looks like another doll until you turn it inside out to transform it into a hooded pillow neck. When you use it, it will look like Hanuman is swallowing your head. It will look familiar too because it depicts a scene off the mural art at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha where a giant Hanuman is holding a pavilion in his mouth. There are more stories behind this scene that made it the perfect inspiration for a pillow neck, but we don't have enough space to explore them.

We only hope that no conservatives will take issue with this very creative brand (remember the Totsakan-related drama last year?). g

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