Thai schools are notoriously obsessed with discipline. Thai society is infamously lacking in discipline.
Doesn’t make sense, does it?
Championing the rights of young people, Move Forward Party MP Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn went as far as calling teachers, who physically force haircuts on students, “criminals.”
Carrying the torch for teachers, Ratchchai Sornsuwan, Director of the Secondary School Association of Thailand, called Wirjoj’s word a “vomit.”
Via Facebook post, he also sent a message to the ruling Palang Pracharat Party not to pressure schools and teachers.
“800,000 teachers. 800,000 spouses or partners. 800,000 children of teachers. 800,000 students. Totaling 3,200,000 votes. Holding hands as one. Therefore, do not insult teachers. Listen to us.”
If the logic and mathematic seem somewhat weird, it explains the state of Thai education.
Meanwhile, the twitter account #badstudent daily updates news about teachers forcing haircuts on students, publicly bullying and humiliating them, and also giving the green light for other students to harass non-conforming students.
Social media and newspapers are plastered with photos of teachers administering embarrassing haircuts on students to punish them and to shame them.
Underlining it all is the Ministry of Education’s policy, which says students may wear their hair short or long, but also allows schools to impose their own rules.
And there you have Thailand in a nutshell. A dubious rule leads to a chaotic mess, sort of like the constitution.
The argument for the haircut rule, along with the uniform rule and much else, is simple: conformity and uniformity breed discipline. Discipline is good.
If “fact” has a hand, it will slap this argument across the face. After all, instilling discipline has been the cornerstone of Thai schools for generations, yet in the year 2020, our society is infamously lacking in discipline.
Discipline is the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior.
The chaotic mess that is the Thai traffic is proof that we Thais have an aversion to discipline. The disdain that we have for the rule of law has led to the social norm of using bribes and connections and cutting corners.
We talk about disciplines like government ministers and officials talk about face masks, social distance, and keeping the guard up; it’s just hot air.
We hate discipline so much we break the rule every time an election doesn’t go our way.
But of course, when the authority does not have the discipline to obey the rule of law, what can we expect from the people?
As sure as the sun rises in the morning and the 250 senators will raise their hands for General Prayuth Chan-o-cha in the next election, the haircut rule, the uniform rule, and all the other school rules have hopelessly failed to nurture a disciplined society.
Instead, these rules are just bullying tactics aimed at breaking down the human spirit into complete submission. So that the citizens of Thailand would embrace the single, most important cultural value: obey.
However, young people today are also learning to embrace a new cultural value. This new value is feared by the traditional establishment more so than COVID-19. It’s far more contagious than a virus pandemic.
It’s called change.
That is why we have the social conflicts that we do today.
Who will win?
The undefeated, undisputed champion of the universe: time.