Headline, August 20 2020/ ''' THAI ''STUDENTS'' : THEM '''


 THEM '''

STUDENT BENJAMAPORN NIVAS - 15, hardly looks like a rebel. Her hair is tucked back with rhinestone bobby pins. Owlish glasses frame her face, and her school uniform is neatly pressed.

Student Benjamaporn is on the forefront of a youth revolt in Thailand against her powerful military's influence in schools and society in general. This year, students began protesting strict school rules imposed by past military regimes, such as requiring boys to wear crew cuts and girls to crop their hair at their earlobes.

The protests have grown, taking on graver issues like the disappearance of Thai dissidents. For weeks, thousands of students, many dressed as in demure school uniforms or as pop culture icons, have staged rallies across the country, urging the armed forces and other allies to withdraw from politics and respect human rights.

Over the weekend and on Monday, large crowds gathered to support young protest leaders who had been briefly detained, defying warnings from the police that they, too, were breaking the law.

''What other countries have these kinds of rules, unless they are dictatorships like North Korea?'' said Benjamaporn, referring to the hair regulations. ''They want us to be like robots.''

Thailand may project an image of a relaxed holiday destination, where sun, surf and sex intermingle in hedonistic indulgence. But the country is also bound by marital traditions that critics - particularly younger ones - say promote subservience and glorify hierarchies that are ill-suited to modern life.

The prime minister, Prayuth Chanocha, is a former army chief who orchestrated a military coup in 2014, the 12th successful coup since a 1932 putsch ended Thailand's absolute monarchy. Two other retired heads of the army are in his cabinet.

Generals drafted the country's latest Constitution to ensure that the military retained significant power even after elections were held.
Mr. Prayuth's government has intensified efforts to instill obedience among the young.

Every morning, students are required to belt out a song exalting 12 Thai values, which include discipline and filial piety. On Children's Day they take field trips to military encampments to gaze upon tanks and fighter jets.

But rather than fall into line, the young Thais have taken to the streets, calling for democratic reform.

At the Democracy Monument in Bangkok last week, young people gathered in Harry Potter outfits that were as whimsical as they were nonthreatening. Some clutched chopsticks or batons, raising these makeshift wands to demand that the military stop interfering in politics and society.

''Thailand has been dominated by the dark power of the Death Eaters,'' read a statement from the students group that organized the protest, continuing the Potter's theme. ''It is now time for the wizards and muggies of democracy to come out and join forces to protect rights, freedoms and brotherhood and reclaim power into the hands of the people.''

Protesters raised their hands in a three-fingered salute of defiance from ''Hunger Games'' films, a gesture that was forbidden by the junta that orchestrated the last coup.

In June, Ms. Benjamaporn engaged in a piece of performance art in Bangkok that was also a protest. Slumped over in a chair, her hands were tied behind her back and a pair of scissors were in her lap. Duct tape covered her mouth. A sign around her neck asked the audience to cut her hair because its tendrils broke school rules.

''Maybe the older generation doesn't understand that their rights and freedom have been taken from them, but we understand,'' Ms. Benjamaporn said. ''They don't have the right to touch the hair on our head.''

The Honor and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on Countries, Societies and Students, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Hannah Beech and Muktita Suhartono.

With respectful dedication to the Great Nation of Thailand, Grandparents, Parents, Students, Professors and Teachers, and then the world. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global  Elections on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! -The Ecosystem 2011:

''' Drag Dawn '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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