There was some stifled laughter from a passenger on a Bangkok bus this morning, when it was noted that a fellow passenger, a soldier who was laden down with a heavy knapsack, had attached a rather childish-looking furry Teddy Bear key fob to his bag.
The Teddy Bear, measuring about 6 centimetres tall, was white in colour, resembling a polar bear, and was dressed in blue gingham pyjamas.
The soldier, aged about 19, was clad in green combat camouflage and black paratrooper boots, and was obviously on his way to the military administration area where he works.
There are a number of these military admin areas in Bangkok, at the perimeter of which members of Thailand's finest fighting forces regularly stand in the hot blazing sun for hours on end. They also perform other duties such as 'staring fixedly at a point in the distance', 'not blinking' and 'carrying a gun'. It is the latter which attracts so many of Thailand's youth to a career with the military, even if the gun they end up carrying is made of wood.
The man who witnessed the bizarre sight, English teacher Moys Kenwood, told us:
"This is exactly the kind of totem that puts off the Communist insurgents in the South, and the Burmese have an uncontrollable fear of Teddy Bears. The people of Thailand can feel safe in their beds knowing that they are being protected by such mature and professional fighting men as this one surely was."