This is typical over-reaction. Would everyone have gotten in a twist if they had been dressed as Stalin and members of the NKVD? Are the Travelfishers here outraged at the treatment the Laos and Vietnamese communists have given to their opponents at the end of the war? How about the treatment meated out to the Hmong, the Bru, the Montagnards? How about the fact that those governments are closed, one party states which still to this day imprison without charge dissenters (which is the only way a one party state can survive)? The grotesque Nazi phenomenon was extinguished 70 years ago. Give it a rest. Diplomatic note? Come on. Maybe from the Germans or an actual holocaust survivor, I could understand - but for the rest of us, it was ancient history.
#2 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Hi again there MAC,
I think the point is that it highlights the genuine lack of World Geography and History being taught in Thai schools.
It may have been a bit of fun for the students', but surely a teacher should have checked this out.
I mean, it was a Catholic school, there are Western teachers there, didn't they say anything beforehand? It shows a lack of regard / consideration for anyone not Thai, as per usual. Not that that is all Thais, but seemingly the majority of them.
As for you stating Nazism having died out, try living in Britain, or Europe and then make that comment. I think you'll find plenty of 'white power' supporters kicking around.
#3 bedu has been a member since 27/1/2007. Posts: 58
This nazi thing in the Thai schools happens every few years. I think there's probably a bit of willful not seeing on the teacher's behalf.
There used to be a nazi themed restaurant in Bangkok -- it didn't last long but when it was shut down a lot of Thais were quoted as saying "Hey don't be so serious".
"As for you stating Nazism having died out, try living in Britain, or Europe and then make that comment. I think you'll find plenty of 'white power' supporters kicking around."
Well, I left Europe (to move here) in 2007. So unlesss things have changed radically in the last 4 years, it wasn't some sort of serious phenomenon then. Sure, there are fringe groups who harbor nostaligia for the Nazi (even some Russian ones - if that ain't irony I don't know what is), but they are not a serious threat, or even a small threat, to seize control of governments. Racist nutbags will always find an excuse, they don't need insane nazi dogma to power them.
"Hey don't be so serious".
Kind of my point. Don't be so serious. It's some kids playing dress up. If they had dressed up as Ghangis Khan would that be a big deal? How about Caligula? I mean, it's one thing to educate the kids about how the Nazis, Soviets, Maoists and Imperial Japanese (all equally hoffific I might add) but quite another to engage your consular concerning the stunt. It's a bunch of kids playing make up for Christ sakes.
#6 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
I think it depends on intent, and I seriously doubt these kids intended to be offensive or thought that this was anything other than silly and sanuk.
There was an old American TV show called "Laugh In" that used spoof imagery of a Nazi on a tiny tricycle as humor, and this was in the late 60's - early 70's. The film and play "The Producers" used a similar Nazi spoof humor. It was intended as farce.
Cultural ignorance thing sounds quite likely to me... my students at Mahidol university hadn't the faintest idea where Germany (or any other European country) was on the map. However cultural ignorance isn't confined to Thailand. How many people in the West know that the swastika symbol wasn't invented by the nazis?
I've a hunch that the Thais are aware of the Buddhist significance but know very little about what Hitler did during the second world war.
Strangely I was taught in my high school social studies class the origins of the Swastika. It makes for interesting conversation, but it's not really germain in the interpretation of the Nazi movement. There are big things - WW II, facism and communism - and then there are little things - religious symobology, it's origins and interpretations. I'm pretty sure that the Nazi movement and it's impact falls under big things that all schools should address, and the origins of the swastika falls under little things that some niche educational background would find important. Everyone will never know everything about everything, and schools have to pick and choose what to educate. In this sense, the criticism of the Thai educational system is valid. BUT, this particular event is not something to be getting in a twist about. I wonder in the west if a group of kids came to school for Halloween day dressed as Mao and Maoist how many people would be upset by that despite the fact that that is equally offensive? Or if in Germany for Fasching? The Nazi movement didn't really effect the Thais (they had the Imperial Japanese to deal with at the time) so it's not surprising they are not overly sensitive to it.
#9 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
I wasn't interpreting the nazi movement. Just commenting on the fact that every single photo in the link Tilapia posted has swastikas in it. Was just wondering what the children (and teachers) thought the significance of this symbol was. Charlie Chaplin and hello kitty next year.
I always pegged you as an American, and now you tell me you left Europe! Funny that.
Yes, of course I'm not serious, but someone could have mentioned something.
Kids playing dress up is okay, bit of fun, but a bit of consideration goes a long way.
My main point is that I think we should ALL learn World History so we all do not repeat mistakes of the past.
#11 bedu has been a member since 27/1/2007. Posts: 58
"Charlie Chaplin and hello kitty next year."
Indeed SBE, indeed. And Hello Kitty will be about as meaningful to those kids - which is both bad and good.
I am an American, but I left the US in 1985 and with the exception of a short two plus year stint I have stayed outside the US ever since. I lived for 18 years or so in Germany and another in Bosnia as well as some time in the Middle East and Africa. My son is German and I speak / read German and I suppose while I certainly have that American libertarian outlook on things, my other cultural outlooks have been strongly influenced by my time in both Germany and Africa.
#12 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957