Thai Youth……Just For Starters

Having written about enjoying the boogie-woogie of the country’s discos I thought that for this week I’d turn to a much more scandalous topic and that is the ins-and-outs of the country’s youth. Perhaps it’s the overcast cloudy weather of the rainy season but I thought that, just for a change, I’d try writing a blog of a more serious nature.

Well, teenagers here have a fondness for quite a few things and top of the list may be motorbike racing. Should you wish to join in the action or gather round to watch the starting line-up It’s advised to head for a rabbit-hutch Bangkok slum on a Saturday or Sunday night at around one-thirty in the morning. Sods having to leave Bangkok to race yer buddies, just do it on a public main road which is already littered with hundreds of stray cars and 12-wheel trucks, much more exciting stuff!

If you wish to honestly participate in such a dare-devil event you will need the following. Firstly, your bike has had to have been modified to make it as incredibly noisy as possible thus waking up any neighbourhood folk who have ashamedly not set their alarm clock for the glorious spectacle. Secondly, don’t even bother taking along a crash helmet, ya don’t need to be looking like a right dandy-boy in front of the other macho laddies. Next, if possible find yerself some young teenage girlie with a school uniform on who is as mad as yourself to plonk herself on the back. You want the outlookers to know that speed=brave=girls!

Well, just a few weeks back, the government (once again) asked the ‘brains’ of the country to put forward ideas on how to curtail this obviously dangerous (and illegal) sport. Well, the majority came forward with a plan to set up actual legal venues where the slum dare-devil riders could race their hearts out every weekend under supervision of the local authorities. The idea was hailed in the media as a ‘fantastic idea’ as if they dared killing themselves, at least us motorists or pedestrians wouldn’t be involved. I know I’ve had a right laugh on a few blogs of mine about our country’s leaders but there are times when I do pity them a bit. In fact, this was a pretty soundo idea as these racers have been plaquing the country’s main roads for years now and because the numbers involved are just so huge there is little the local cops can do unless they’ve had a tip-off beforehand.

Well, just when ya thought that a decent idea was actually gonna be implemented for once, mothers and religious groups were up in arms ridiculing such an idea as promoting ‘monstrous behaviour’. Guess, they just prefer turning a blind eye as usual and pretend that such daily activities don’t exist. Ur-hum…

Well, if it’s moto-racing that isn’t yer cuppa tea then don’t despair, just sign up for attendance at a local technical college and you’ll soon be able to enjoy having a decent punch-up with a rival college every other day. As for actual attendance at such an educational institute, no worries, half the administration in charge don’t give a darned, just as long as you’ve paid the fees due. If mini brawls aren’t enough to quench your appetite for a ‘good fight’ then hop along with all your classmates to the nearest concert (with your uniform on) and you’ll soon be sparking a major riot.

Well, ‘stevesuphan’ here used to live in Pathumthani Town which is synonymous for techno college rivalry. There are two such infamous institutes in town called ‘Pathumthani Techno’ and ‘Pathumthani Technical College’( names sound rather similar?) where students have actually lost their lives. Once I was on the bus into town and at a bus stop along the way a gang of uniformed whipper-snappers got onto the bus and just started punching this other so-called ‘rival’ student while all the passengers just looked away as if they didn’t notice ( well..what could they do anyway?). Even though the bus was moving, though relatively slowly, they just kicked the pitiful lad off the bus (the bus had no door). Then on another occasion, while taking the air-con Pathumthani Town-Future Park Rangsit bus I was shocked outta me system when the bus was suddenly pelted by a barrage of stones/rocks which seriously cracked a few of the windows. Guess the rival college didn’t like the fact that a few of their rival’s college where on that bus at the time.

One respected academic not so long ago actually proposed arranging boxing matches etc.. between rival colleges as a way to ‘let loose a little steam’. Would have been interesting to see how that idea would have worked out but again certain groups were once again up in arms at regulating anything. As for the average bus passenger, they are left to fear for their lives every time they pop on the bus.

Well, just when you thought that such preposterous hobbies were only the pastime of the uneducated masses or bunches of thicko hooligan students let’s now go into that other great student tradition ‘The Freshie Party’. When the yobbos are creating havoc on the streets the supposedly ‘smart’ generation are preparing for a life of university at a respectable government university. A lot of the readers here I’m sure will have read about the raunchy goings-on at such parties, as heavily publicized by the press this year. The nation’s mother’s were ( once again) up in arms at such disgustingly ‘un-thai’ behaviour that their little darlings were ‘supposedly’ forced into and ordered severe action to be taken. Guess these folk didn’t notice that all their innocently looking-darling daughters involved in the scenarios were obviously looking as if they were ‘having a grand time’.

Gimme a break, at least their exploits weren’t life-threatening. One story which co-incidently occurred at the same time but which hardly got a mention two days after it was initially reported was of a ‘freshie’ student forced into doing an acrobatic cheerleader’s stunt. However, since the girl in action had had no experience whatsoever in doing any such stunt before, soon died that day after she was accidently dropped on her head too many times. The only folks making a protest about that were the student unions after they were informed by the Education Ministry to postpone any cheerleader stuff for a while.

I can recall a couple of these deathly freshie parties off the top of my head and one vividly was of one a couple of years back in Rayong. Even though these student seniors were supposedly the ‘brains of the future’ their idea of ‘great fun’ at one freshie party was to get a few of the new girls drunk and have them swim out in the sea at two in the morning. I don’t even need to tell you what happened next.

At the end of day however, youths are youths, wherever they may be in this world and on many an occasion we can’t just sit back and put all the blame on the kiddies involved be they Thai, Indian, American or Brazilian. As a teacher cum civilian, I am often perplexed as to why the directors of these Techno Colleges hardly ever get into trouble with the authorities in charge. What i mean is, in actual regards to never being bothered to promote goodwill between colleges or re-inforcing school regulations. As for the moto-racers, since half the squallid scum kids have a petty criminal record it’s impossible for them to get a decent job as their backgrounds would be checked by any decent prospective employee. As for sordid or life-threatening freshie parties, the administrations involved are also partly to blame as they enjoy turning a blind eye to such happenings.

Finally pulled that blog outta the bag. Have surprised even meself there with that one, kinda feels weird. Hope you found it… well….a thought provoking read.

10 responses to “Thai Youth……Just For Starters

  1. ya, i read about these “innovative” proposals these policticians came up with too… i always have a good laugh… what about suggesting giving the southern people cable TV to stop the violences??? Let them watch soccer matches and they’ll forget about terriorising the south…

    so u see, u can’t really blame the youth when the leaders are … eh… can I say it????? Will i get banned from Thailand?!!!!

    haha

  2. A lot of these dangerous activities are effect of mob behavior. When the youths are alone, they behave like a decent person. Alcohol is to be blamed too.

  3. It was quite some news though when that cheerleader was dropped on her head and later died in hospital. I feel sorry for her but on the other hand, I think it’s just outrageous that those in charge allowed for untrained students to perform such stunts without safety regulations or qualified instructors. Sometimes I just don’t understand how they can be so ngoh!

  4. I don’t know, I think the idea of having race track run by the local authorities seems like a great idea… then the city take in some money from the racers and then eventually accepts bets and become bookies! Imagine all the money the city would make!

  5. Yeah! Siamlam, I couldn’t agree with you more. And they might also be able to find the next Loris Capirossi or Mick Doohan there.

  6. Do the students in the college represent different sections of communities/class/politics etc? Or is it pure school rivalries?

  7. As for what Trangam asked to whether these techno students belong to any ‘section’ etc.. then the answer is ‘No’. It’s just school rivalry, something to do in yer free time. In fact a lot of discussion has been going into doing away with the techo uniform as that’s where the problem lies. But still, as usual, not exactly too much action.

    Great idea above about legalizing the races then making in-arena betting legal. Would help fight the billions of illegal baht that is going to gambled by students on this years English Premier League Football. Again, the govt would like to legalize this in some kind of way as the bookies make a killing on their ‘gamble in advance & pay later’ policy. But again, a lot of social groups disagree as such a policy would not part of Thai tradition.

    As for Bucky’s comment on the south of Thailand. It’s a well-known fact that during the 1990’s the Burmese Junta decided to completely ignore any kind of drug abuse by the countryside’s youth and instead encouraged any potentially potically active teenagers to ‘take drugs’. The Junta’s policy worked. Now, Burma ranks as having one of the highest drug abuse rates in the world. Though of course ‘No verified government statistics’

  8. Hi steve is the unruly behaviour by students directed at the teachers at all or do you have their respect? cheers terry

  9. Just to go over what Terry asked. The rival fighting between schools is only technical colleges. These colleges get biggest share of rowdy problematic kids as that’s where most of them go after their grade 9 examinations. There are both government and private technical colleges. Most of the fighting belongs within the private colleges as they are far less strict than government institutes.

    As for us teachers, we treated well by kids throughout the education system, nothing directed at us.

    Just going back to strictness. One of Bkk’s top poshy private girls schools St Josephs ( i taught there for one month once) saw a psychopath women hang around the school compounds for a whole week wearing a spaghetti top before stabbing four girls (one very seriously) just a few days ago. Let me say that no government school in Bankok would just let any woman just walk around the school for days on end. All such schools regulate that security ask every outsider to the likes of who youve come to see etc.. only after being authorised by a teacher can they be allowed entrance. In fact most govt schools even post a sign outside to the likes of ‘Governement compounds…. wear appropriate attire or you won’t get in’.

    In fact in looks like that a few race tracks for the racer hoodlums are going to get the go ahead. Big story at the moment but the govt is winning.

  10. Being one of the former student from the prissy private school, security has gotten more and more strict each year.

    When I was growing up, Mater Dei campus was pretty much open before school’s in and after school’s out. There were guards at the booth, but they were more to answer questions.

    Recently as I found out, the school is like a Fort Knox. It goes to protect the kids from possible kidnapping since these are the younglings of Bangkok’s rich and powerful.

    Oh yeah. And keeping the boys out too. 🙂