Thai cave rescue operation

I hate to sound like a grumpy old fart whining about western snowflakes but this is a screenshot capture of today's front page of the Times. In the UK 4 year olds are taught about depression whereas in Thailand...

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In the west we have to fabricate reasons why all our little darlings aren't top of the class. Special needs, transgender, depressed are all good labels.

In the East and here before the 1980s we understood that this just isn't possible.
 
I hate to sound like a grumpy old fart whining about western snowflakes but this is a screenshot capture of today's front page of the Times. In the UK 4 year olds are taught about depression whereas in Thailand...

View attachment 342825
I agree with your sentiment 100%, but I don't think it's so much about what 4 year olds are taught in Thailand as about how they live (at least in 'traditional' Thailand, in the north and north-east). I just can't agree with the idea that it's any more healthy to teach 4 and 5 year old kids as if they're in the Army, crawling under barbed wire, saluting, eating out of mess tins on the floor, etc, than it is to teach them that depression and anxiety are 'normal'.

Both, to me, are equally wrong although it's all a question of degree.

I'm totally out of touch at first hand with how kids are treated in the West, but the general impression I get is that children are increasingly encouraged not only to be different but to be proud to be different, whether that's because of their colour, religion, or sexual preference or 'fluidity' ... and, rather confusingly, although they're taught to be proud of being different they're also taught that it's wrong to make a point of others being different.

That doesn't seem to be too rational, or to make a team of anyone who's not focused on number one.

In traditional Thailand, on the other hand, no-one's so much proud of what they are (black, white, gay, or lady boy) as accepting of it - it just is, so get on with it and make the most of it ... and don't be so daft as to complain when others call you what you are, because it doesn't have to be perjorative but it's just ... well, what you are.

So "'Dam' (Blacky) you're the best striker, so that's where you go, and 'Katoey' (Ladyboy) you've got the best hands so you go in goal". Pretty simple, and fair to everyone.

Thais are proud of being Thai, for sure, but the rest of it just doesn't make any sense. Just as an easy example, why be proud of being gay or a ladyboy when it's just how you were born? Thais are probably more open about their sexual preference and sexuality than anyone else, but there's no 'Pride' here - it was tried but it just didn't make any sense, apart from the bars selling their wares, so it was binned as no-one cared.

Everyone's accepted and accepting, warts and all, and that makes for strong team bonds and a strong support network in the community - which is a big part of what got the Wild Boars through.

Sounds idyllic, and as if the West should copy the 'Thai Way' but unfortunately where it falls down is that it doesn't follow the current drive for 'Thainess' as it's pushed by some which while still being 'inclusive' and about 'acceptance' of 'diversity' is also about accepting your set place.

So " 'Dam' (Blacky) you're black and your dad was black and a mid-fielder, so you're going to be a mid-fielder too, not a striker however good you are as that's 'Whitey''s place ... and 'Katoey' (Ladyboy), you're a katoey so get out of the goal and go and join the cheerleaders, as that's your place". Pretty simple, but not particularly fair or likely to make for strong team bonds.
In the west we have to fabricate reasons why all our little darlings aren't top of the class. Special needs, transgender, depressed are all good labels.

In the East and here before the 1980s we understood that this just isn't possible.
Have to agree again, as I can't quite see how approaching 1 in 5 children can have special needs - if that's the case surely they're not that special?

I don't think it's as simple as East and West, though.

In the East your little darling may actually be top of the class but that doesn't mean he'll have as much chance to go on to the next class as he would in the West.

I think the West has a lot to learn from the East, but it works both ways and I'm far from sure that the reasons for the Wild Boar's strength as a team and as individuals can be explained quite as neatly as some may like to and some, I'm sure, will.
 
In the UK children are taught that their feelings are very important. In Thailand they're taught that jai jen is something to aspire to. I think that makes a lot of difference.
 
In the UK children are taught that their feelings are very important. In Thailand they're taught that jai jen is something to aspire to. I think that makes a lot of difference.
I've always been far from sure if that's a good thing.

Jai yen (cool heart) is fine as long as lasts, but the problem I've always found with it (and not just with Thais) is that it leads to 'all or nothing' situations with no warning signs of panic, fear or anger until all hell breaks loose without warning. I wouldn't be so sure that's such a good thing in these sort of situations.

I think it also goes at least some way to explaining why Thailand regularly has the worst traffic accident record in the world, and a long way to explaining why it leads the world in penile re-attachment surgery after 'feeding the ducks'* and is consistently at the top in the firearm/homicide tables.

In my view some warning signs and signs of escalating fear, panic or anger aren't always a bad thing, and bottling up emotions isn't always a good thing.


*: 'feeding the ducks' is a rather unique Thai tradition when a Thai wife is two-timed and she cuts off her sleeping husband's member and throws it out the window to feed the ducks below so it can't be re-attached later.
 
"In traditional Thailand, on the other hand, no-one's so much proud of what they are (black, white, gay, or lady boy) as accepting of it - it just is, so get on with it and make the most of it ... and don't be so daft as to complain when others call you what you are, because it doesn't have to be perjorative but it's just ... well, what you are."
This is my interpretation of what Thai culture teaches also and I think it is regarded by Thais as a lesson to either be enjoyed, experienced, or endured; but whatever else, to be accepted on the road to enlightenment. Their attitude to children, cripples, old people with dementia, alcoholics, crazy people of various sorts is equally inclusive, and nowhere near as dismissive as in the west. They also revere old people, which is great for old people ... no-one younger than me walks past me without ducking his head as a sign of respect.
 
... old people with dementia, alcoholics, crazy people of various sorts ...
I suggest that may usually be fear from evil 'phi' rather than respect - possession by evil spirits is a very common belief.
They also revere old people, which is great for old people ... no-one younger than me walks past me without ducking his head as a sign of respect.
I'm guessing you mean if they walk between you and someone you're talking to, or between you and the TV if you're looking at it, or something like that?

If so, hopefully you do the same under similar circumstances (except if you go between children when it would be out of place) as it's basic manners.

If not and you mean they do that, and only that, when they walk past you in the street then unless they're taller than you (edit: or you're a monk) I'm sorry to say it can mean something else, and it's not necessarily a sign of respect.
 
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I've always been far from sure if that's a good thing.

Jai yen (cool heart) is fine as long as lasts, but the problem I've always found with it (and not just with Thais) is that it leads to 'all or nothing' situations with no warning signs of panic, fear or anger until all hell breaks loose without warning. I wouldn't be so sure that's such a good thing in these sort of situations.

I think it also goes at least some way to explaining why Thailand regularly has the worst traffic accident record in the world, and a long way to explaining why it leads the world in penile re-attachment surgery after 'feeding the ducks'* and is consistently at the top in the firearm/homicide tables.

In my view some warning signs and signs of escalating fear, panic or anger aren't always a bad thing, and bottling up emotions isn't always a good thing.


*: 'feeding the ducks' is a rather unique Thai tradition when a Thai wife is two-timed and she cuts off her sleeping husband's member and throws it out the window to feed the ducks below so it can't be re-attached later.
After my sister - the psychotherapist- came to visit me in Cambodia she put it this way:

In the west we have a range of emotional responses, from passivity through assertiveness to anger and aggression. Khmers (and I think it applies to Thai, Lao etc) only have 'passive'...until it erupts into aggression...
 

ancienturion

LE
Book Reviewer
Just watched an American-made documentary on Discovery about the whole thing. It was quite informative and some aspects of it we're good, especially the footage of condition inside the caves.(Quick, I know but US film companies already have people out there interviewing families and workers for potential films about it all.)

What I didn't like was it sort of gave the impression that "America saved everyone". They had "interviews" with USAF Master Sergeants and medics from the USMC talking about how they took part - along with civvy Yank engineers to pump the waters away.

They never credited the other nationalities with helping except for the very end when they mentioned over 1000 people took part in the rescue.
Sounds like the standard USA format because when they make a film about the rescue they will be able to avoid the truth as usual.
 
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ancienturion

LE
Book Reviewer
After my sister - the psychotherapist- came to visit me in Cambodia she put it this way:

In the west we have a range of emotional responses, from passivity through assertiveness to anger and aggression. Khmers (and I think it applies to Thai, Lao etc) only have 'passive'...until it erupts into aggression...
Exactly (and I too have found it to be the same with Khmer, Lao and Chinese, but to a much, much lesser extent Malay and Indonesians).

To me, it can be like being in a car where you don't have an accelerator but you've only got an 'on - off switch'.

I'm all for it in the 'avoiding confrontation' stage, but after that I think it's plain dangerous, and that applies equally in this sort of situation as it also covers fear and panic and there can be little or no warning if someone's going to 'crack' - that's why I think Dr Harris and sedating the kids and coach wasn't just important but the key, as the divers said.

It also, here, makes the job of family and friends that much more difficult as the warning signs of any 'issues' in a return to normality are that much harder to see.

Slow to anger / fear / panic's great, but all or nothing ...

It's one trait which, admirable though it may be in the early stages, I don't think the West should emulate.
 
"The cave rescue also allowed the government of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who has been criticized for political maneuvering to stay in power after elections planned for next year, to share in some glory. "

Surprise!
 
The contrast between here and the UK is that Thais know they have a military dictatorship and view their official news outlets with suspicion, whereas in he UK it's all a bit vague, yet.
 

ancienturion

LE
Book Reviewer
The contrast between here and the UK is that Thais know they have a military dictatorship and view their official news outlets with suspicion, whereas in he UK it's all a bit vague, yet.
I'm afraid we have to differ yet again, as I see no "contrast" at all.

Yes, the Thais are obviously very well aware "they have a military dictatorship", but I doubt they view their official news outlets with any more (or any less) suspicion than any statements from Westminster or Chequers or, to broaden things a bit, the White House, or give them any more credibility.

There may be more restrictions on press freedom here (and there clearly are), yet to give the press their due that hasn't stopped any debate or op-ed's on anything from Prawit's watches to the postponement of elections.

I'm obviously not in a position to comment at first hand, and I don't want this to descend into politics, but I find it very hard to believe that statements by May or Trump are given any more credibility in their own countries than Prayut is here, regardless of how they came to power.
 
Interesting perspective from one of Khao Sod's reporters

Reporter’s Notebook: Mud and Adrenaline in Chiang Rai
I thought it was a particularly interesting perspective (although the video interview at the end of the article is seriously dreadful), and the one thing I note in all these reports is just how Saman Kunan's death seems to have forced decisions to be made that otherwise may have dragged out a few more days until it was too late. Pretty morbid, but if that hadn't happened and things had just continued as before for a day or two more then things would evidently have turned out very differently.
 
A pretty disingenuous complaint from the Bkk Post about the foreign media interviewing the boys, particularly when you look at the actual interviews with Titan and Adul on both ABC and CBS.

Both were clearly done with the full agreement and support of their parents / guardians / community and it seems beyond absurd to say that the interviews should have been left for a couple of months in case they 'bring back memories' when the memories are still fresh now and that would be exactly what they'd do if asked in a couple of months time ... FFS!

It seems like a case of sour grapes and 'big brother', as well in Adul's case of it not quite matching the version of 'Thainess' that some want it to.

Edit: also cue the inevitable whingeing from Jonathan Head.

2nd edit: even the Guardian's done it.
 
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