Connect with us

Thai Life

Not bowing to tradition – School group demands end of prostration

Jack Burton

Published

 on 

PHOTO: Khaosod English

More than 1,000 members of Bangkok’s Bodindecha School community have signed a petition asking the principal to abolish mandatory prostration – the act of submissively kneeling or grovelling as a sign of respect. On July 2, the Bodin Democracy group launched a campaign to demand an end to the practice by encouraging netizens who agree with the cause to use the hashtag #AbolishProstration (#ยกเลิกหมอบกราบ) until it trended on Twitter.

Thailand’s King Chulalongkorn abolished the tradition of prostration back in 1873 but the custom has crept back into fashion during the time of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Prostration is the placement of the body in a reverentially or submissively prone position as a gesture. Typically prostration is distinguished from the lesser acts of bowing or kneeling by involving a part of the body above the knee touching the ground, especially the hands – Wikipedia

On July 4, the group wrote a petition to the school’s principal calling for prostration to be replaced with the ‘wai’ (the traditional Thai greeting with the palms pressed together in a prayer-like fashion) as the way to show respect. 1,276 people, including current and former students, signed the petition.

According to the petition, students at the school are forced to prostrate themselves as a way to show respect to others. The group views it as a way for teachers to oppress students; some teachers even said they would not allow students to look up until they were satisfied.

The petition gives 6 reasons for the change…

  • Due to Covid-19, it is not safe to prostrate oneself as it requires direct physical contact with the ground, which is a source of germs and dust
  • Due to limited space, prostration is not convenient for students, especially girls with skirts
  • There are other ways of showing respect besides prostration without oppressing students
  • The act of prostration dehumanises students
  • It is not a long-practiced tradition of the school as claimed, but was adopted in 2013
  • King Chulalongkorn abolished the tradition of prostration in 1873

The group says they are not against acts of showing respect, but rather against acts of dehumanisation. Students at Bodindecha (Sing Singhaseni) 2 School and Satri Rachinuthit School are signing similar petitions. Prostration has been a gesture of respect and hierarchy in Thai society for many years. It can still be seen in religious, family, and monarchy-related activities.

SOURCE: Prachatai

 

Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forum
🔔 Subscribe to our daily newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Scuzz

    Friday, July 10, 2020 at 6:39 pm

    A sign of respect is not a sign of respect if it’s forced. Have these people no clue? Head bowed, seething hatred.

  2. Avatar

    Glenn

    Friday, July 10, 2020 at 8:19 pm

    hmm, trying to move from the 19th century into the 20th. good for them.

  3. Avatar

    Bubba Lee

    Friday, July 10, 2020 at 11:25 pm

    Respect is also due to the students from their teachers. Forcing students to prostrate themselves is not a sign of respect, but simply a method of instilling subjugation through humiliation. This is frequently done during military training, but these children are not in the military. The traditional “wai” is an adequate replacement and even that can be equated with a form of salute.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Drugs3 hours ago

Record drug bust in Laos follows pandemic’s methamphetamine boom

World4 hours ago

Alec Baldwin could face criminal charges for shooting on set

Thailand4 hours ago

Thailand News Today | No more Lisa for new years, Abduction linked to Reused gloves | Oct. 28

Sponsored2 days ago

Top 5 dental clinics by Dental Corporations PLC in Thailand

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Transport4 hours ago

Bangkok public transport back to normal capacity on Monday

Thailand4 hours ago

Thailand’s Industry Ministry is backing hemp as a new cash crop

Economy4 hours ago

Reform urged for foreigners to invest or buy condos in Thailand

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Drugs5 hours ago

55 million meth pills seized in Laos in biggest SE Asian bust ever

Coronavirus (Covid-19)6 hours ago

Thursday Covid Update: 9,658 new cases; provincial totals

Phuket6 hours ago

BlackPink’s Lisa says “no” to Phuket New Year countdown event

Bangkok6 hours ago

Khao San Road expects very slow recovery, even after reopening

Thailand7 hours ago

Truckers and tour bus drivers plan strike over diesel prices

Malaysia7 hours ago

World’s first unisex condom invented by Malaysian gynaecologist

Thailand7 hours ago

Floating stage, 2nd hand medical gloves, Thai superstar Lisa, Crack ups | Thaiger Bites | Ep. 48

Property8 hours ago

Covid-19 has accelerated Thailand’s property market disruption by 5 to 10 years

Thailand8 hours ago

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha to outline Thailand’s path to net zero at UN Climate Change Conference

Thailand1 month ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism8 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism8 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism8 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand10 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand10 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand10 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand10 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand10 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending