Mud-splattered Thai university student highlights Asean’s education challenges (video)

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In Asean countries there are many obstacles children have to face in an attempt to gain a proper education  – distance to schools, tuition costs, under-qualified teachers, inadequate and poorly resourced classrooms, and so on. The list is endless.

For sheer determination alone though one has to admire the Thai university student in the video above filmed somewhere in rural Thailand.

Attempting to traverse what is meant to pass as a road, the young Thai university student is first seen sitting in the muddy road, her motorbike perched at a precarious angle and her class notes, and other possessions spread across the muddy road.

With her school uniform, face, and head smeared with mud and water she uncomplainingly – though clearly frustrated and annoyed – retrieves her belongings and stows them in the basket on the front of her motorbike.

Grasping the motorbike firmly she attempts to push it out of the boggy, rancid looking mud, but after just a few metres the motorbike again slides in the slipper mire and she ends up face down in the sludge.

Getting to her feet the Thai university student again grasps the motorbike and pulls it upright, by all appearances pressing the electric start button at the same time, and being dragged over the shoulder of the road and towards what appears to be an irrigation channel by the out of control machine. Fortunately she manages to release her grip before going for a swim.

As embarrassing as the above video clip might be for the Thai university student involved, the video serves to highlight the determination of children across Asean to overcome extreme difficulties in completing their schooling.

For the young Thai university student above the day was obviously a bad one, irrespective of whether she was on her way to school at the time or going home from class. It is doubtful if many Western students – or workers – would even get out of bed each morning if they knew that each day’s journey had a high probability of including an unwanted mud bath.

As Thailand talks of high-speed trains its road network remains a mess. Regularly flooded, frequently poorly maintained, and often taking an eternity to construct, the state of Thailand’s road infrastructure is often an embarrassment to Asean’s second largest economy.

Just a few months ago Instagram user Ratchasit Ketkeaw lampooned the state of Bangkok’s road drainage system by mimicking a swimming competitor and diving into a road submerged beneath about 10cm (about 4 inches) of water and swimming across it and back after completing a tumbble turn and swimming back in a style we have dubbed the Siam Crawl.

His actions followed a protest by group of grandmothers in rural Thailand last year who took to bathing in the potholes of the road leading to their village. After the video went viral the road was repaired, but the grannies were told to use more subtle means in future when they wanted State services.

The village had already tried subtlety several times… and were ignored. However, they found that a ‘viral video’ got them the results they wanted.

Whoever the unknown Thai university student is above, and to her contemporaries across the Asean community (AC), we at AEC News Today applaud you for your determination and resilience and wish you the best for whatever careers you decide to pursue.



Feature video: ប្លែកអារម្មណ៍ @Pleak.arom






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