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  1. #1
    Mid
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    Opinion : "Patriotism, the Concentrated Version"

    Opinion

    Education: Clueless and misguided
    By: Voranai Vanijaka
    7/06/2009

    The new school term has started, and with it, a new syllabus for the advancement and betterment of Thai students, who are the future of Thailand. The new syllabus introduced to 435 Bangkok public schools is called "Building a Consciousness for Constructive Responsibility" or "Patriotism, the Concentrated Version" (NB This is my own direct translation). This syllabus is only a short course and is the start of what officials and educators believe are better things to come.

    The aim of the syllabus is to instil a democratic consciousness into Thai youth. A most important instillation, since democracy is a central issue of the political and social strife the country has suffered through these past few years. Officials, educators and various esteemed individuals are working on the longer syllabus, with the same aim of promoting an understanding of democracy, and hence patriotism and unity, correctly and constructively.

    Patriotism, the Concentrated Version focuses on better understanding the meaning of the Thai national anthem. This is done by handing out and going through the lyrics with the students after the singing of the national anthem at 8am every morning, the latter being an already required activity at schools. As well, there will be prayer activities for the religions of Thailand, such as Buddhism and Islam. During home-room hours, teachers are to instil in the young love and devotion to King and country, and religion.

    If a country is grand, it's because the country's education system is great. If a country is poor, it's because the country's education system is paltry. Greatness is achieved by excellence of the mind and integrity of the character. Mediocrity is the best possible consequence the clueless and misguided could hope for. So here's a very simple question: What exactly does the national anthem, praying and patriotism have to do with democracy?

    We Thais all know the national anthem by heart. We can sing it in our sleep. We know the melody was composed by the great composer Phra Jenduriyang (whose real name was Peter Feit, born to an American father and a Thai mother of Mon descent) following the 1932 coup that overthrew the absolute monarchy. We know the lyrics were rewritten by Luang Saranuprapan in 1939, when the country changed its name from Siam to Thailand. We know that every day we'll hear the national anthem at 8am and 6pm, because prime minister and military dictator Field Marshal Plaek Pibunsongkram decreed so 70 years ago.

    Guess what else we know? We know that the national anthem is an excellent ballad on patriotism that promotes unity, the courage to fight and make sacrifices for the country. All of which are wonderful things, except that not one word in the national anthem has anything to do with democracy.

    The problem in Thailand is never patriotism. Both the yellow PAD and the red UDD love Thailand no more, or no less than anyone else. The problem is that as a country we can't distinguish between patriotism and democracy. Clueless and misguided, we mistakenly think they are the same thing.

    Kim Jong-il is a patriot who loves North Korea, there's no doubt of that. Does that mean he loves democracy, or his people?

    The problem is, as a country, as a collective identity, we have no clue what democracy is - yet we continue to insist and persist in our ignorance. A man in yellow waves a banner and breaks laws for democracy, while a man in red waves a banner and breaks laws for democracy, while everyone else cries for democracy - but who actually knows what democracy is?

    Therefore, instead of singing, praying and expressing undying love and devotion, all of which we Thais do naturally anyway, why not just offer a course on democracy itself?

    A syllabus on its history and evolution in the context of the human civilisation in general and the Kingdom of Thailand in particular, and its meaning and consequence to modern Thailand?

    Looking ahead into the future, the subject of history, which has been absent in Thai schools for so long, will make a comeback in the school year of 2010.

    The Office of the Basic Education Commission plans to have the subject of history taught for at least one hour per week in Thai schools, as part of the five social studies curriculum - the other four are ethics, geography, the role of citizens and economics.

    Details of the course are not yet available, though the aim is one and the same as the "Patriotism, the Concentrated Version" syllabus. As such, scepticism abounds in this writer's mind.

    History is a subject that everyone should learn. Thailand cannot understand where we are today, if we do not know how we have developed and evolved from the past.

    And if we don't know the past and don't understand the present, how can we plant the seeds for our future?

    With that in mind, we should understand that history is about truth, not patriotism. No Thai can ever understand and know who we are and where we are going as a country, if we only learn about the greatness and glory of Thailand. Such a context would invite even more confusion, as students and teachers alike frown over the thought: "Wait a second, if we are so great and glorious, how could we be so messed up right now?" And the easiest way out of such a quandary is to blame foreigners.

    For the new history syllabus to be useful and constructive, to foster the minds and nurture the souls of the young so they are equipped and inspired to build a better future for Thailand, it has to be based on the truth - not only the good, but also the bad and the ugly.

    For instance, those topics that are never taught in Thai schools - October 1973, October 1976 and Black May 1992 - are events that directly affected and shaped the modern Thai democracy. Will they be included in the new history syllabus?

    Patriotism is a form of love and devotion. But a love for one's country isn't the same as the love we watch so fanatically on Korean or Thai soap operas. In those soap operas, a love that is blind, deaf and dumb is always romantic and enjoys a happy ending. However, in real life, a love that is blind, deaf and dumb will only make one trip and fall over, smashing one's face on the ground.

    We Thais have a popular saying: "Love your child the right way." Which means, not to be blind, deaf and dumb in your love for your child, but rather love constructively, foster and nurture, recognise mistakes and fix them, for the child's future. Shouldn't we also love Thailand in such a way? Love your country enough to recognise the flaws and correct the mistakes, for a better tomorrow?

    If we want our youth to be capable of building a better future for Thailand, we should cease and desist from ruining education for them.

    bangkokpost.com
    Last edited by Mid; 07-06-2009 at 08:30 AM. Reason: include byline

  2. #2
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    The victors always write the history, or teach their version of it anyway.

  3. #3
    Mid
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    ^

    Japan ....................

  4. #4
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    We Thais all know the national anthem by heart. We can sing it in our sleep. We know the melody was composed by the great composer Phra Jenduriyang (whose real name was Peter Feit, born to an American father and a Thai mother of Mon descent) following the 1932 coup that overthrew the absolute monarchy.
    Wow. I think this section comes rather close to Lese Majeste, considering that the official version has the King making a gift of democracy, rather than being "overthrown".

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    For once I am impressed. A fair and true report

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mid
    If a country is grand, it's because the country's education system is great.
    Only if that educational system encourages critical thinking.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mid
    "Wait a second, if we are so great and glorious, how could we be so messed up right now?" And the easiest way out of such a quandary is to blame foreigners.
    If a Thai actually wrote this then I would say there is hope for them yet.

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    Mid
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    Only if that educational system encourages critical thinking.
    kinda hard to call it great if it don't ....................

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    Poor kids, every morning 30 mins to 1 hour depending what school, edoctrinement with anthemn followed by school enthemn and then prayer...

    Once a month eventually, but every single day

    Took one of my daughter away from this, gone abroad...

    Pitty the native teachers as they call them, have to be present to that every day and probably cannot voice any comment for that eventually waisted time as they could be fired or sentenced even, if trying change the habits, in that not free speech land...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Panda View Post
    The victors always write the history, or teach their version of it anyway.
    As a rule of thumb, yes. Reasonably surprise to see such unconventional model in the Post.

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    As part of my weekly 50k ride, I just wheeled into the Starbucks in KSR to quaff a triple mocha and read the Sunday Bangkok Post. I noticed that on the same page with this apparently half-ways liberal article the same writer has a typically Thai horseshit defense of the Thai refusal to allow foreigners to own land here. So don't let your hopes run away with you there, Agent Smith.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mao say dung
    So don't let your hopes run away with you there, Agent Smith.
    Never happen, mate

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mid
    We Thais all know the national anthem by heart. We can sing it in our sleep. We know the melody was composed by the great composer Phra Jenduriyang (whose real name was Peter Feit, born to an American father and a Thai mother of Mon descent) following the 1932 coup that overthrew the absolute monarchy. We know the lyrics were rewritten by Luang Saranuprapan in 1939, when the country changed its name from Siam to Thailand. We know that every day we'll hear the national anthem at 8am and 6pm, because prime minister and military dictator Field Marshal Plaek Pibunsongkram decreed so 70 years ago.
    Drives me up the wall...No I know what it's like to be an American or from any other totalitarian state..China, Burma etc...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mid
    Therefore, instead of singing, praying and expressing undying love and devotion,
    They are forced to...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mid
    all of which we Thais do naturally anyway
    Or are conditioned to do from an early age...Mao Tse Tung did that as well...America does it as well....crazy shit. W
    When you look at all the crazy kids killing other kids at school...Is that next for Thailand....Mai Chop...Poot sa-was-dee Khrap....Khun 9MM...Boah jang leui...as kid goes nuts in Matayom 4...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mid
    A syllabus on its history and evolution in the context of the human civilisation in general and the Kingdom of Thailand in particular, and its meaning and consequence to modern Thailand?
    Not a good idea one thinks...could cause massive mental breakdowns...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mid
    Looking ahead into the future, the subject of history, which has been absent in Thai schools for so long, will make a comeback in the school year of 2010.
    Absent for so long!!!! Isn't it an eternity

    Quote Originally Posted by Mid
    geography
    I've got school kids that don't know places/Provinces in their own country...let alone around the world..or isn't the world gonna be included...As there is only one country in the world??!!!!! I'm so fortunate to be in and to have a child in...

    I too am thinking of taking my Thai wife and half-breed child out of.
    Not to mention the fact that most of Thailand is actually Lao, Cambodia, Burma(Myanmar..can't get used to that name) and southern Thailand (the warring parts are independent of both Thailand and Malaysia!!!! Do I qualify as a history teacher as well now and can you double my salary please???

    Quote Originally Posted by Mid
    No Thai can ever understand and know who we are and where we are going as a country, if we only learn about the greatness and glory of Thailand.
    Come again???? Sa bai dee por??? as they say in north-east Thailand..(Lao) sep sep...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mid
    Such a context would invite even more confusion, as students and teachers alike frown over the thought: "Wait a second, if we are so great and glorious, how could we be so messed up right now?"
    Damn they've been lying to us all these years and we've been conditioned beyond reproach!!! We're a laughing stock...help!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mid
    And the easiest way out of such a quandary is to blame foreigners.
    Done, done and done. As Homer says....


    Quote Originally Posted by Mid
    - not only the good, but also the bad and the ugly.
    Yes, that's it bring Clint Eastwood over to sort things out....Ahhhh actually he's just cancelled...seems he doesn't like the hotels in Bangkok...says the ropes are too tight.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Mid
    For instance, those topics that are never taught in Thai schools - October 1973, October 1976 and Black May 1992 - are events that directly affected and shaped the modern Thai democracy. Will they be included in the new history syllabus?
    Honesty...surely that's not the best policy...things have been working just fine for us so far.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Mid
    Patriotism is a form of love and devotion. But a love for one's country isn't the same as the love we watch so fanatically on Korean or Thai soap operas. In those soap operas, a love that is blind, deaf and dumb is always romantic and enjoys a happy ending. However, in real life, a love that is blind, deaf and dumb will only make one trip and fall over, smashing one's face on the ground.
    Sanook, sanook, sanook...


    Quote Originally Posted by Mid
    We Thais have a popular saying: "Love your child the right way." Which means, not to be blind, deaf and dumb in your love for your child, but rather love constructively, foster and nurture, recognise mistakes and fix them, for the child's future. Shouldn't we also love Thailand in such a way? Love your country enough to recognise the flaws and correct the mistakes, for a better tomorrow?
    Yep, don't teach it feck all, beat it as often as you want or like. if it's a girl at the age of 17 send her to 'work bar'....what a great society (granted not all thai's are as bad as this....some are worse...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mid
    If we want our youth to be capable of building a better future for Thailand, we should cease and desist from ruining education for them.
    Building...Thai's....personally I found their construction to be some of the lowest standard on the face of the planet...from a country that thinks it's the best..
    (most of the plugs don't work in my house, over the past months 2 extension leads have started to smoke and the wires have melted!!!! this is just a recent example!!!)

    Education Oh Lord Buddha, please stop.....

    Quote Originally Posted by forreachingme
    Pitty the native teachers as they call them, have to be present to that every day and probably cannot voice any comment for that eventually waisted time as they could be fired or sentenced even, if trying change the habits, in that not free speech land...
    What did he/she say...well actually nothing but if you don't like a fellow teacher...under Abhist's new 'grass you up' policy you can get rid of anyone you want... They told me they "hated listening to this twice a day" Gone!!!!!! now there's a job opening for your friend!! (thought that a guy who'd had probably the best education in the world in one of the best countries in the world would make sensible policies.....Oh well that's what thought did for ya!!

    Quote Originally Posted by mao say dung
    I noticed that on the same page with this apparently half-ways liberal article the same writer has a typically Thai horseshit defense of the Thai refusal to allow foreigners to own land here. So don't let your hopes run away with you there
    Still hate you foreigners...Ahh at least some things over here will remain the same..for eons to come....
    (don't come here and change us..and the other doozy I get often..you can't change 'them'..Oh don't I know it...they like to hate...Xenophobia...the new curriculum...the old book
    .....

  13. #13
    Noone here gets out alive
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    nice analogy...coming apart at the seams thrown to the Lions..anyone got any more????

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