Milk Tea Alliance: Constructing Transnational Identity by Consuming Milk Tea in the Asian Context


  • Pakorn Phalapong National Dong Hwa University


Milk Tea Alliance, milk tea, consumption, material culture, transnational identity


          Responding to democratization trends against the coercive influence of China toward Asian nations, the Milk Tea Alliance was launched by young activists in Thailand in 2020. The familiar beverage transformed into material culture to achieve political goals. This research examines its new cultural meanings in constructing transnational identities by consumerism. Qualitative research was done with primary data gathered by in-depth interviews. 18 samples were Thai and Taiwanese young activists. Results were that milk tea was culturally rematerialized by diverse consumer practice through the Milk Tea Alliance: social media habits when consuming milk tea daily; drinking milk tea during offline demonstrations; and choosing milk tea from a specific retail chain advocating democracy and the youth movement. This cultural meaning reconfigured multi-faceted transnational identity among participants, including democratization, regional solidarity, new Asian values, and defying Chinese political interference.


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How to Cite

Phalapong, P. (2022). Milk Tea Alliance: Constructing Transnational Identity by Consuming Milk Tea in the Asian Context. Thai Journal of East Asian Studies, 26(2), 1–14. Retrieved from



Research Article