Prayut tells everyone to calm down over Thai-Cambodian Muay Thai drama

Prayut shows off his Muay Thai skills, photo by BangkokBizNews.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is telling everyone to calm down regarding the row that was sparked last week between Thailand and Cambodia over the origin of Muay Thai.

Cambodia, the host country of the 2023 SEA Games, changed the name of the kickboxing competition from Muay Thai to Kun Khmer and stated that the origin of Muay Thai is Cambodian. As a result, Thailand withdrew from the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games).

Now, Thailand’s PM is telling everyone to calm down. During an event with the Ministry of Culture promoting Muay Thai Day, which falls on February 6, PM Prayut said…

“Muay Thai has long been a part of Thai culture and we are proud of it. But it is not necessary for us to quarrel with anyone. Nobody can take away what belongs to us. No matter what other people may say, it should not develop into a conflict. Let us end this bickering.”

Prayut added that arguing about Muay Thai’s origins on social media was “pointless.”

At the event, Prayut showed off his own Muay Thai skills with fighters in front of a cheering crowd.

There was also a seminar discussing the importance of nominating Muay Thai as a UNESCO cultural heritage item, Bangkok Post reported. However, the National Olympic Committee insisted that Thailand will not send athletes to compete in Kun Khmer at the SEA Games.

Last year, Thailand’s tourism authorities worked hard to promote Muay Thai to the world. Muay Thai, or Thai boxing, is world-renowned as a uniquely Thai sport. People come from all over the world like to give it a try, whether they want to take it seriously as a sport or just for fun.

A crucial aspect of mixed martial arts training, Muay Thai is coached by some of the world’s most successful fighters.

Muay Thai has a long history in the kingdom. In the Sukhothai Dynasty, the first Thai army was trained in Muay Thai to defend the country. The men were trained in both armed and unarmed defence. The increasing awareness of danger between Thailand and its neighbouring countries, including Burma and Cambodia, saw the first Muay Thai camps surface at around the same time.

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.