A Buddhist monk ran around the room like a celebrating footballer upon drawing a black card at a military conscription draftee selection event in Nakhon Ratchasima in northeast Thailand on Sunday, meaning that he won’t be required to serve in the military.
Cheers erupted from the crowd when a black card was drawn for 24 year old Phra Phuwanai Gayputsa from Wat Mai Sri Suk temple in Nakhon Ratchasima province.
DailyNews reports Phra Phuwanai “was so happy that he forgot he was a monk,” leaping up and running around the room with his arms in the air. Saffron-robed monks are usually seen walking slowly.
At the event in Nong Bun Mak district on Monday, 383 eligible Thai men over 21 years old went up to the front of the room one by one to draw either a red or black card.
In total, 120 men were enlisted at the event, meaning they either drew red cards or volunteered themselves to serve in either the Royal Thai Army, Royal Thai Navy, or Royal Thai Air Force. While some might want to start a military career, most dread the idea of spending two years of their life in military camps.
More than 80% of volunteers and conscripts join the army. All men undergo 10 weeks to three months of training before being assigned to specific units.
Phra Phuwanai and others who drew a black card were waived of military service and were issued a letter of exemption.
KhaoSod posted photos of a 20 year old “cute girl” named Jean today – who was born a male at birth – posing happily with her letter of exemption after being called to a draftee selection event in Chachoengsao. Jean was not required to draw lots after a doctor issued her a medical certificate to affirm that her gender had changed to female.
Transgender women who have completed surgical transition are exempt from conscription in Thailand, along with men who are unfit or test positive for drugs. Young men who complete a territorial defence programme at school are not required to draw a red or black card.
Mandatory military conscription is a dividing topic and is often used as political leverage. With the general election coming up next month, the Pheu Thai and Move Forward parties promised to get rid of mandatory conscription, which was introduced in Thailand in 1905.
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