Bart Simpson and the Kader fire commemoration
- May 21, 2005
Asiper writes: The photo above is from May 10 - Safety day. Workers, labour organizations, and NGOs gather in front of the Ministry Labour to commemorate of 12th anniversary of the Kader fire. On the left is a model of the Kader memorial statue. Next are photos of Kader victims and then a wreath made of dolls produced at the factory which reads "12nd anniversary of Kader fire." On the right is a large Bart SImpson effigy that reads "How many people will die, how many people will have disabilities so we will get the Institute of Occupational Health Safety and Environment at the workplace?" And Thaksin's name is at the bottom.
[An Institute of Occupational Health Safety and Environment is supposed to be set up, but labour organizations oppose government attempts to make it a state enterprise and not an independent organization.]
It was the height of the Simpsons craze and the factory was producing Simpsons toys. After the fire, labor activists collected discarded toys and a melted Bart became a symbol of the tragedy.
Malaysian labor activist Tian Chua writes: ...The bodies of Bart Simpson scattered all over the ground - some half burned, some without heads or limbs, some half completed. There were many other toys too. But the bright yellow color of the Simpsons stood up most vividly on the black ashes. Kader was one of the largest toy manufacturers in Asia. It was also a typical multinational company which moved around for cheap labour. Kader was jointly owned by Thai and Hong Kong capitalists. It mainly produced toys for European & American markets. The doll of the Simpsons was the latest hot item for kids that year.
Above: The Thai Labor Museum salvaged some of the toys from the ruined factory.
|The toy industry is a sector which produces
fun and joy. Toys bring laughter to children and parents. However,
the tragedy of Kader fire revealed the sorrows and suffering behind
toy manufacturing. Kader made us aware that workers use their sweat,
tear and blood to exchange happiness for children around the world...
(Tian Chua wrote this from prison. He has been detained in a Malaysian
prison since April 10, 2001 without
charge for attempting to organize Malaysian workers without
The Asian Network for the Rights of Occupational Accident Victims (Anroav.org) has a special issue of their newsletter on the 10th anniversary of the tragedy that can be downloaded here.
BTW: 1993 was not a good year for industrial accidents in Asia. In June, a cage elevator in Hong Kong fell and killed 12 workers and in November the Zhili Toy Factory fire broke out in Shenzhen, China. It led to 87 deaths.
|Right: Poster lamenting the lack of
a Occupational Health and Safety Authority in Thailand. (Photo:
Kader fire anniversary - May 10, 2003
Today is the 10th anniversary of the Kader fire disaster. There will be demonstrations in front of the former factory site in Nakhon Pratom province and stones for a memorial will be laid. On Sunday, May 11, seminars on the disaster will be held in the Tubtim Room at the Royal Hotel (across from Sanam Luang).
We have been informed that the Labour Minister has agreed to attend and open the ceremonies at the Kader factory site this morning.
Real Tragedy of the Kader Factory Fire
- The Irrawaddy, May 9, 2003
Left: Detail of a Kader fire remembrance t-shirt (Photo: 2Bangkok.com)