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Phuket Opinion: One at heart

PHUKET: The incredible story of the 12 young children of the local Chiang Rai Wild Boars football team and their coach surviving more than nine days, trapped under a mountain kilometres from daylight, has had the dramatic effect of bringing together the nation.

By The Phuket News

Sunday 8 July 2018, 09:00AM

The boys in the Tham Luang cave have captured the heart of the nation. Screengrab: Thai Navy SEAL / Facebook

The boys in the Tham Luang cave have captured the heart of the nation. Screengrab: Thai Navy SEAL / Facebook

The entire country nigh stopped late Monday night when news broke that the children had been found safe after days of continual updates on the support from every corner of the Kingdom to help with the search-and-rescue effort.

Hearts warmed as people watched with deep emotion the video showing the moment when the rescue divers finally discovered the team sitting on a rock shelf above the waters inside the cave.

Not lost in the moment was the candid conversation between the rescue team and the children as they answered that they were all safe and in relatively good health.

The children’s light-heartedness on being found by the rescue team was a delight to hear, including the great question from Thais in English, “Where you come from?” Even more marvellous was the request from one of the children, “Tai roop gorn”, simply “Take a photo”.

Yet, even before this issue of The Phuket News hit the streets questions were being asked about the poor co-ordination among those joining the rescue effort. Likewise, serious doubts were voiced about the quality of information being relayed to the public during the continued search.


Those doubts lingered throughout Tuesday as unclear information about what strategy should be employed to get the children to safety became a matter of public debate.

All media coverage and the incredible level of interaction by people from all walks of life has highlighted just one point: that each person in the country had an emotional stake in the survival of the team and their coach. Their safe discovery felt like a collective victory that everyone could share.

The collective state of the nation focused on one single issue: safety and survival. And while the fate of just 13 quite rightly deserved the huge efforts to save their lives, amazingly so little is done and understood by the nation in preventing deaths on Thailand’s roads - and as this week presented, in Phuket, the deplorable state of marine safety when it comes to tour bouts.

One bus crash alone in March this year killed 18 people, while the seven days during the New Year week of holidays at the start of the year killed 423 people - and at the time of posting this report, the boat disaster in Phuket killed more than 33 tourists in one fell swoop.

With a little more concerted effort, maybe - just maybe - we can start to save a few more of those lives that are about to be lost.

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Jor12 | 11 July 2018 - 17:09:27

well no...it's the neo colonialists who are commenting about everything else other than deceased persons...and still doing it. One even stating he is the master race.

Pauly44 | 11 July 2018 - 10:21:09

We're talking about a boat load full of dead tourists, not neo nonsense, culture blah blah, the fact remains there is right and wrong no matter how you try and spin it with your Thai excuses.

Rorri_2 | 11 July 2018 - 06:15:39

". I was driving farm vehicles at age 11 years and using firearms at age 9," are you now suggesting 9 year olds should be using firearms, and driving at 11, wait, some Thai kids do... where your comment falls appart is you do not mention you were trained by, under "adult" supervision. I suggest your "adults" would not allow you to enter a dangerous cave complex, keep ...

KurtTi | 11 July 2018 - 05:52:23

Nothing to do we neocolonialism.In fact it is our superiority.Why denying it.Just look at the numbers of foreign divers.It is a fact that thais can learn from us  well educated foreigners every day.The thai apologists are living in their own bubble.Should keep them in a cordon sanitaire.

Jor12 | 10 July 2018 - 21:06:31

Sure...provided the expats who transplant themselves and want to control the nation in which they are settled that has a different culture and dominant racial or ethnic group without trying and fit in.  If I went to Germany or China and force my opinions of Thai culture, I too would be told too to go back where I came from.

ematt | 10 July 2018 - 20:40:03

The white supremacist crowd don't want to be characterised as neo-colonialists. It's a pity...

Pauly44 | 10 July 2018 - 20:09:27

Comments from J12 are senseless and incoherent, just what the heck are you on about, none of it makes any sense as usual!..

Kurt | 10 July 2018 - 18:25:19

Would it be possible we not need to read anymore about neo colonialism? That is not living in peoples mind when they write a comment. Actually quite insulting, and a sign of kind of  complex. Guess it can be stopped for reason the writer not lower himself any longer?

Jor12 | 10 July 2018 - 14:31:33

More from the neo colonialists.  When kids feel safe, they are free to focus their energy on exploring their talents and their environment. I was driving farm vehicles at age 11 years and using firearms at age 9. My grandchildren do the same. I also take them ocean sailing. Sometimes they run across the road on impulse, or forget shoes .

Rorri_2 | 10 July 2018 - 06:12:10

"Some expats must have led a sheltered childhood and their parents didn't allow them to go outside and play and discover the world," yes, many parents do, but most would NOT allow their kids to enter a cave, where local folklore, says it "eats" people, especially when there is already a "WARNING" sign... more nonsense form a "neo" colonialistic Thai apol...

Pauly44 | 09 July 2018 - 18:39:43

Another extreme view from the apologist J12, so if they all perished you would say it was their choice, utter rubbish again from you! All humans need to obide by rules of the land, they are put in place for a reason, what makes Thai's so special?

Kurt | 09 July 2018 - 16:49:34

Play and discover the world is given to all children, also the thai. But like in other countries nothing forbid thai parents to teach children to obey red traffic lights, safety warning signs, including the warning/'forbid' sign at entrance of that cave. After all boys are out, yes thai tv stations should make it a point to express how important and trouble saving such signs are.

Jor12 | 09 July 2018 - 14:14:21

Ah... more from the neo colonialists who think they are always right and have the best answers. Safety instructions? The boys have lived and grown up there longer than you.  It was to be close the week after. Some expats must have led a sheltered  childhood and their parents didn't allow them to go outside and play and discover the world.

KurtTi | 09 July 2018 - 13:12:57

Yes,yes.Another great opinion.But don``t expect any changes in safety thinking.No smart thai thinking here.Listening to or learning from us expats? Nooo?

CaptainJack | 09 July 2018 - 12:44:23

Personally I'm disappointed no one is taking advantage of this opportunity to show Thais how important it can be to obey safety instructions. No one is mentioning how these boys ignored warning signs posted in front of the cave that clearly say "These caves flood in the rainy season!" Like you say the entire country is listening, it would be great if some good could come of this trag...


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