Stressed cleric seeks karaoke

SRISAKET: Apart from imparting knowledge, a key role for any educator should be setting a good moral and ethical example for his or her students. This is especially true if the teacher is in charge of disseminating religious doctrine.

Teaching can be a stressful business, however. Thus, it was “the need to unwind” that one high-ranking monk gave as his excuse after he was caught in a karaoke joint on the night of September 16, microphone in one hand and whiskey glass in the other.

Phra Mahathanin Thitiuro, 34, was deputy dean of Kanthararom district and responsible for teaching monks at Wat Srakampaengyai in Uthumphonphisai district, which functions as a campus for a Buddhist university. He was also pursuing a doctorate degree.

After a hard day of expounding the evils of immoderation on September 15, Phra Mahathanin felt the need to loosen up a bit.

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Returning to his cell at Wat Khanthararom, he invited three other temple monks to join him in a covert mission into Srisaket Town.

Led by Phra Mahathanin, the faithful foursome dumped their yellow robes and put on street clothes. Phra Mahathanin donned a wide-brimmed hat to conceal his shaved head and high-profile face.

Confident that no one would recognize them, they drove down to “Nong Tom Karaoke” and cheerfully cracked open a bottle of whiskey.

Unfortunately for them, some other residents of Kanthararom district had also fancied a spot of karaoke that night – and they could make out that one of their fellow crooners was, in fact, the second-highest-ranking monk in the whole district.

So they reported the incident to the police.

When officers arrived, they were met with the sight of Phra Mahathanin clutching the microphone in one hand and sitting next to a hostess, behind a table laden with alcohol.

On seeing the police, the unfortunate dean reportedly could not hide the look of shock from his face.

The officers, recognizing their target, demanded that he identify himself. On confirming that the reveler was indeed a high-ranking monk, they took him to Kanthararom District Police Station.

Under questioning, Phra Mahathanin claimed that he had been teaching very hard recently and felt stressed, so he invited the three young deacons out with him to try and relax.

He will now have all the time in the world to relax outside the structured world of the Buddhist clergy, as his night out on the town has reportedly resulted in him being defrocked.

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