Exhibition chronicles Tham Luang rescue

Exhibition chronicles Tham Luang rescue

Showcase about more than just stories and survival techniques

A schoolboy crawls through a recreation of the Tham Luang caves, currently on show at a Ministry of Culture exhibition. (Photos by Somchai Poomlard)
A schoolboy crawls through a recreation of the Tham Luang caves, currently on show at a Ministry of Culture exhibition. (Photos by Somchai Poomlard)

Supakorn Palawong, a 15-year-old student from Triam Udom Suksa school, said he was very impressed with an informative an exhibition held to shed light on how 12 teenage footballers and their coach from Moo Paa (Wild Boars) Academy football team became trapped inside a flooded cave and their subsequent rescue.

Titled "Tham Luang Incredible Mission: The Global Agenda", the exhibition features details, pictures and equipment from the world-renowned rescue operation which, despite all odds, saw a coalition of Thais and foreigners miraculously brought 12 boys and their coach to safety.

Supakorn said he came upon the exhibition -- held by the Ministry of Culture between Aug 22 and Sept 9 at Siam Paragon -- by chance.

He told the Bangkok Post that he understood more about the plight of the boys and their coach when they were trapped inside Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai's Mae Sai district, between June 23 and July 10.

He said he felt compassionate towards the boys and their coach, who must have suffered during the ordeal.

"I only went inside the replica briefly and felt the pressure of being trapped inside the cave. I can only imagine how they felt," he said.

The information he gained from the exhibition will come in handy, should he or other visitors become exposed to a similar scenario, added Supakorn.

Besides Mr Supakorn, Sajamon Penwijit, a 28-year-old housewife, said she had been following the news about the rescue operation since day one. As such, she felt the need to visit the exhibition.

"The exhibition is a great reminder of how Thais and people from around the world came together to see the mission through. It reminds us how compassionate we all can be," said Ms Sajamon.

The 'Tham Luang Incredible Mission' exhibition will run until Sept 9 at Siam Paragon.

Accompanying Ms Sajamon were her husband Sitipong, a 30-year-old state official, and their 9-month-old daughter. Mr Sitipong said he was the one who initiated this trip, adding that he wishes everyone would come and see it.

The exhibition also features those who were involved in the operation, how the mission unfolded, and geographical information of Tham Luang caves and the appropriate survival techniques -- spread across 7 zones.

At the exhibition, what seemed to impress the audiences the most was the second zone. Titled "Hours Passing, Lives at Stake", it gives visitors a hands-on experience of the "dark, narrow, meandering tunnels" inside the cave, while challenging them to find the way out with flashlights as their only help.

Another zone that attracted visitors' attention was zone 5 -- which was erected as a tribute for Saman "Ja Sam" Gunan, an ex-seal who lost his life during the mission -- where thank you notes for the fallen hero are featured alongside his statue.

The interactive exhibition, albeit small in size -- no longer than 4 store blocks in length -- attracts audiences all day long, both Thais and tourists alike.

The Ministry of Culture said the exhibition aims to showcase the cultural lessons learned from the operation, expose young Thais to the merits of the operation and to pay homage to the compassion and altruism shown by rescuers who came from all over the world.

After Bangkok, the exhibition will be held in four regions across the country.

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