One of the things I hated most about school was lining up in the morning, as one of the teachers went on and on about things that didn't really matter. Or maybe they did -- I wasn't really listening.

A high school girl recently passed out and later passed away while lining up at school, in this brutally scorching heat. In Thailand, most students are forced to stand for a good half hour in the sun, because we're told that's what makes them good children.

I can kind of understand the logic. We sing the national anthem. We pray. We sing the school song, sometimes. We listen to the adults. Those things, in theory, are supposed to make us love our country, our religion, our school, as well as love the idea of being completely submissive.

But do they really achieve such results? I don't think so. If you ask me, my friends and I did those things mindlessly. Our love for our country didn't come from singing the national anthem. Rather, it came from the pure joy of seeing Chompoo represent Thailand at Cannes two weeks ago. I mean, what would we have done without her and that level of news coverage? I swear I saw her pictures more often than I saw my own kid.

OK, back to the point. I recently read an online discussion about the pros and cons of lining up in the morning at school. Those who are against it say it's not appropriate for hot or rainy days (which, if I might add, is practically 360 days a year). Those who are in favour of this tradition say it helps groom children in the right way and keep them in order. Wow, maybe there's something in the UV rays that make children behave.

I often wonder, when I watch American movies, how their kids will turn out. They don't line up in the morning. They don't have strict dress codes. They are free to grow their hair long, even the boys. They don't even wear uniforms in most schools. If we don't do all those things here because we fear we'll all turn out to be a mess, well, wouldn't America, and most countries in the world, in this regard, be totally chaotic by now? Should we blame the lack of such rules for the wars going on today?

According to many netizens, Thailand, as a society, is not that disciplined. Give us freedom and we'll make a mess out of it. Let boys grow their hair long and all they will ever care about is their hair style. This is just sad, considering a lot of men would start going bald in their 30s, or even their 20s for some, which means they would only have a few years of having the hairstyle they really want.

In conclusion, I'd like to say two things: I'm glad I'm not a guy and I'm so relieved school is over.

Napamon Roongwitoo

Former Guru section Editor

Former Guru Editor. She writes various lifestyle articles and columns.

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