Vocational school students, like some MPs, have acquired the image of thugs. Fairly and unfairly.
It's convenient to heap on the kids prejudices about class and upbringing, though it's not hard to see how they couldn't resist the lure of violence when even our distinguished MPs sometimes practise in-session brawls, pornography browsing and chair wrestling. Certain MPs, prior to the dramatic court ruling yesterday, even called for terrorism and civil war. The country is vulnerable to agitators, and the outbreak of violence by polytechnic students seems like a manifest symptom of the disease that's crippling the body.
To rub salt into the festering wound, there's the military and their weird schemes. While the images of flower-adorned tanks and M-16s after the September 2006 coup remain disturbingly fresh, now comes another initiative from the army to cure juvenile delinquency. Since dek chang kol - my father was an alumni, so I speak with proud authority - have caused so much trouble with their gangster-like shoot-outs that often kill bystanders, the potential troublemakers next week will be sent to - take note of the name - the Special Warfare School, in Lop Buri province. If the army really doesn't know, angry vocational school students often call themselves "warriors", and their rampages against rival colleges have the sanctity of war. Shipping them off to a Special Warfare School (don't you love the name?) is like unleashing screaming kids in a candy store. The boys have used homemade grenades, and next, who knows, they'll have a chance to fondle the real ones.
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