Siam Banana saga steals spotlight

national April 25, 2015 01:00


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THE NATIONAL Reform Council's debate on the draft charter doesn't appear to be as hot a topic on social media as the "Siam Banana" online drama.

The Siam Banana debate began when a blogger wrote about how an entrepreneur with a small company had developed a recipe imitating the famous Japanese banana-flavoured custard cake Tokyo Banana and planned to package the product to boost its shelf life. 
It was alleged that the entrepreneur pitched the product to a retail giant, and its executives showed an interest in it and set up weekly meetings to develop it, before scheduling an official launch for this month. 
The company allegedly told the entrepreneur that he had to reveal the recipe and production know-how in detail to ensure the product met international standards. 
Later, the entrepreneur learned that the project had been cancelled as the company wanted to produce its own version of the product, which was launched in March, alleged the blogger, who wrote under the pseudonym “Assuming” on the OK Nation blog. 
The company allegedly contacted him and told him to remove the post, but the story had already gone viral by then and the mainstream media had picked up the issue. 
On Thursday, Prachachat Online posted a comment from CP All executive Banyat Kamnoonwat in which he said the company, which operates 7-Eleven convenience stores nationwide, was negotiating to develop a banana-flavoured custard cake jointly with a small bakery. 
He said the deal would involve the product being sold at more than 200 branches but not at 7-Eleven stores. CP All’s Le Pan banana-flavoured custard cake had been put on the shelves at 7-Eleven stores. 
Banyat was quoted as saying CP All had its own research and development department, which meant there was no point copying or stealing anyone’s recipe. He had consulted with the company’s legal department about taking legal action for an alleged violation of the Computer Crime Law. 
While media also interviewed the creator of Siam Banana, social-media users continued to discuss whether the content of the blog was true, and whether the entrepreneur’s small company and big CP All were eligible to launch a Thai version of a cake using the design of the Japanese one. 
The discussion touched on the operations of modern traders, the ethics of doing business and business competition, as well as the justice and efficiency of Thai laws. 
One thing to come out of the drama is that more Thais now know that Tokyo Banana-style cakes are produced and sold in Thailand. 
Separately, another trend on social media are photos being shared online of the crowd enjoying discounted sales at shopping malls. 
The news of the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions agreeing to start the trial against former commerce minister Boonsong Teriyapirom and 20 alleged accomplices over government-to-government rice deals, the charter debate, and other big-news issues were not as popular online as the banana-cake drama and news of its sales. 
Perhaps it could be implied that social-media users are more interested in personal shopping issues.

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