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Thai editorial: History lessons required before the AEC forms


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EDITORIAL
History lessons required before the AEC forms

The Nation

Teaching kids the truth about the past would be good for all Asean states

BANGKOK: -- For a long time, Thais believed the Loy Krathong festival was quite a unique national identity. Now, globalisation and regionalisation have all but changed the feeling of monopoly.


Our neighbours have their own versions of Loy Krathong. Cambodia has Bon Om Touk as its biggest national festival and an occasion to express gratitude to the rivers. Some minorities in Myanmar mark the end of the Buddhist lent with their Thadingyut ceremony, during which candle-lit earth bowls, or sometimes monk bowls, are floated at night.

And when Thailand's northerners release illuminated lanterns into the night sky, many are doing the same across the Thai borders.

The cultural connections between Southeast Asian nations is not breaking news, but the greater regional integration due to happen under the Asean Economic Community (AEC) will most likely tell us that the ties are stronger than everyone thinks.

At the Prambanan Hindu temple in Indonesia, the biggest Islamic nation, Ramayana carvings are everywhere in what is the largest Hindu religious structure in Indonesia. That shouldn't be a surprise, though, as most Asean countries have one form of Ramayana or another. Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei all have Ramayana as a big part of their artistic or architectural elements. The rest of the region at least harbours some traces of the great epic.

The citizens of AEC, however, should brace themselves for some surprises in new political knowledge. Cultural claims can be disputed but settled amicably. However, differences in political histories will be harder to tackle.

A big example is the dispute between Thailand and Cambodia over territorial claims. Nationalism can come into play and it often distorts political histories. And if there were such things as "honest political histories", they are often played down when those who were at fault are in power.

There are three sides to every story - our side, their side and the truth. When AEC countries step up integration, claims and rebuttals concerning their painful past will most likely results in clashes. The new generations can get confused, while the old generations can get angry. At the end of the day, challenging history can't be bad. True histories will always stand the test of time, while attempting to rewrite history always results in repeated scrutiny, and rightfully so.

When it comes to learning about history, Thais are cursed. The nation's history, as taught in the classrooms at least, is flooded with white lies. Thai children grow up learning mostly feel-good parts of our nation's history and can thus land on the wrong side of nationalism.

How the country lost independence does not feature much in the curriculum but how we reclaimed it is repeated over and over inside and outside the classroom. Learning about history requires the most open of minds. While it goes without saying that Thais are not the only people half-blinded historically, we can only teach the ones in front of us - our children.

The new generation of Thais must enter the AEC era best equipped for new historical knowledge. One-track minds will certainly lead to problems on issues such as the Thai-Cambodia conflicts or the Muslim agitation at the southern border.

Political and religious differences have defined borders. The AEC will bring down some of the old barriers but the staunchest ones will continue to hinder mutual understanding and sympathy.

Economic cooperation will boost Asean but real trust will beg for more. After all, while humans can share a great many things, history is one of the hardest to have in common.

Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/opinion/History-lessons-required-before-the-AEC-forms-30248888.html

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-- The Nation 2014-12-01

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A brave bit of editorial work. well done. Eradicating the lies and bringing the truth here would be a tall order and would have to start from the grass roots level. There are so many lies that I couldn't see it happening within the next 20 years, if people know what I mean. You tell a lie over and over it becomes the truth.

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A brave bit of editorial work. well done. Eradicating the lies and bringing the truth here would be a tall order and would have to start from the grass roots level. There are so many lies that I couldn't see it happening within the next 20 years, if people know what I mean. You tell a lie over and over it becomes the truth.

It's more like, you tell a lie over and over and it becomes the unquestionable, undisputed FACE in every day's Thai society life 4life...

Edited by MaxLee
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As usual Thailand has left it to last minute to do anything,

with the AEC upon them,they should have been learning

English so they could communicate,or move about for work,

but it seems they don't have the skills,apart from cheap labour.

This is going to be a big learning curve for them as trade barriers

come down and they have to compete on a level playing field,instead

of behind restrictive rules that have always benefited them.

Regards Worgeordie

No the Thais will just find another way to level the playing field. They are very skilled at protecting themselves. Tariffs may come down but be sure it will not end there.

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We must be grateful that someone has at least acknowledged that lies are being taught at school. Propoganda and being economical with facts has always gone on everywhere but it should have no place in schools.

History is usually written by the victors and embelished along the way, only after time, when things have settled down do other things come to light which change your view of what really happened. So, history has many aspects to any story and will always be a topic of conversation and opinion, that is what should be being taught so that Thais can investigate their own past more thoroughly, even the bits they dont like, dont accept the dogma that is being peddled without examining more of the facts and there are more and more facts out there on the computers they were given not so long ago, just stop playing games and learn something that might help your development.

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"When it comes to learning about history, Thais are cursed. The nation's history, as taught in the classrooms at least, is flooded with white lies."

No, just lies. A lie is a lie, it has no colour.

Such as putting a religious focus on a separatist insurgency [to use polite terms].

However "The Nation would never do that,

oh wait...............

The truth is not important.

What is most important is the history book should make the country, especially their leaders looks good.

Even if the country is no more, or the leaders are no more.

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Quite frankly, I think that there will be so many exceptions and loopholes to implementing the AEC that we probably won't even notice it happening. There will be a big ceremony, some VIPs will hold hands and then it will be back to business as usual.

It's not just Thailand that's not ready, most of the ASEAN countries are not about to give up their petty bureaucratic rules and work together.

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My daughter is 7 and at a Thai school.

The Thai teacher told me that she was not doing well in Thai history, so I went to Asia Books and asked for a Thai History book in English. They couldn't find one, even checking on Amazon. They had all the neighbouring countries histories in English, but not Thailand. So I asked if they had one in Thai, to which they told me to go to B2S for Thai books. I asked the girl to accompany me as my Thai is not good. She did and asked about a history book for children in Thai and was told either they don't sell them, or there aren't any!

So I have no idea what history is taught here, or where it is referenced from.

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I once met a thai that claimed Angkor Wat belonged to Thailand and Cambodia stole it.

It is true.

Also Laos belong to Thailand, else why would they speack Thai language.

Thailand also always beat the hell of the Burmese attempted invasion.

North Malaysia was also Thai, even Singapore has to give gift to Thailand; this is true.

Edited by chotthee
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Teach Thais history ??

What, teach them that the countries of South Asia have been rivals for ages. And go into gory detail about how Burma attacked Siam, and sacked the capital ? What about teaching them that Japan's atrocities in Asia were just as bad, maybe worse, than what Germany did in Europe and Eastern Europe ? Actually, the Thais don't fully know about what happened in Europe during World War Two. Bit like most people in Europe don't fully know what Japan did in Asia during World War Two.

Actually, ASEAN, AEC, call it what you want, it's certainly not the same thing as the European Union. Give it three or four decades, then, then the countries of ASEAN might have 'freedom of movement of workers'. They might even have their equivalent of Brussels, a city somewhere in ASEAN, that acts as an administrative and governing centre for ASEAN.

So, the fact that ASEAN is not about them all coming together in a big way, well, do they really need to know right now about the history between them all ??

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I once met a thai that claimed Angkor Wat belonged to Thailand and Cambodia stole it.

It is true.

Also Laos belong to Thailand, else why would they speack Thai language.

Thailand also always beat the hell of the Burmese attempted invasion.

North Malaysia was also Thai, even Singapore has to give gift to Thailand; this is true.

Thailand belong to Laos, else why they speak Lao language 555
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  • 2 weeks later...

I once met a thai that claimed Angkor Wat belonged to Thailand and Cambodia stole it.

It is true.

Also Laos belong to Thailand, else why would they speack Thai language.

Thailand also always beat the hell of the Burmese attempted invasion.

North Malaysia was also Thai, even Singapore has to give gift to Thailand; this is true.

Have a look at the Siam and note where the borders were, amazing.

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