We guess this was just a matter of time. A death-themed cafe has come up in Bangkok, Thailand. However, instead of delivering a morbid message, the Kid Mai Death Awareness Cafe instead urges patrons to acknowledge life.
And if you spend some time in a coffin kept at the cafe, you get a discount on the drink!
The cafe has been started by an academician named Veeranut Rojanaprapa, who wants people to rediscover Buddhism and its teachings.
The idea also apparently fits in with Thailand’s economic aspirations. Whether that happens or not is a question for the future.
Origins of Kid Mai Death Awareness Cafe
Veeranut spoke to Lonely Planet about what inspired him to come up with the idea of a death-themed cafe. He said: “This idea came from the research about [the] Buddhist philosophy to create a right – wisdom society in Thailand 4.0.”
He added: “The results found that awareness of death in Buddhism is strong enough to make people recognise their value of life [and] that when they recognise this, their greed and anger will decrease automatically.”
Veeranut continued: “Also, they will do good things for themselves, their family and society; this was the first part of [the] research. The second part is to find how to bring this tool, death awareness, into real life. Thailand 4.0 results found that society 4.0 is a symbolic society, people use materials or lifestyle to declare their class in their society.”
Thailand 4.0 is the fourth iteration of the country’s vision for prosperity. While Thailand 1.0 focused on agriculture, 2.0 put the spotlight on light industry. Thailand 3.0 had advanced industry as the cynosure. Thailand 4.0 aims at economic prosperity.
Highlights of the death-themed cafe
The Kid Mai Death Awareness Cafe’s colour palette is grey and black. Even the drinks reflect the macabre theme with names like “death”, “old age”, “suffering” and “painful”.
There is also a display where a skeleton is seen lying on a couch.
One of the main attractions, however, is a white coffin. Patrons are encouraged to spend some time in the coffin and contemplate on their last moments. The idea is to make them aware of what it feels to be alive. And the act also earns them a discount on a drink!
However, the experience is leading to some quite deep realisations. An IANS report quoted one customer as saying: “Death is a wise counsellor, there is only one life and therefore we must overcome our fears and abandon our pettiness… Without awareness of death everything is trivial, ordinary.”