News reports from Thailand can reflect on all kinds of things related to politics, lifestyles, entertainment, crime and more. Sometimes, though, there are reports that are rather difficult to comprehend. Here we list two that we saw over the past week. We felt we needed more information to make these curiosities comprehensible.
The air force looked like it had lost another plane when we read this headline at Khaosod: “Pilot Ejects Over Loei, Severely Injured by Fall.” Confirming that, the story told us that:
Squadron Leader Sukothai Somsrisai was found in a rubber plantation in Loei city at about 11am after he ejected from the Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet, which had taken off from Udon Thani province. He was hospitalized for his injuries and remained in critical condition.
But then this:
The jet’s other pilot, Puri Julapallop, landed the plane safely after the accident at an air base….
Okay…. so what has gone on here? The air force has asked for people not to speculate or to talk about the non-crash.
The next story was of religion. Not about the high-profile raid on a middle-class temple by thousands of police and soldiers, but about Thai bureaucrats using religious teachings in their work. We don’t religiously read World Religion News, but this headline jumped out at us: “Thai Officials Using Jehovah’s Witnesses Publications To Address Social Issues.” It begins:
This year marks three years since Thai Government officials started using publications by Jehovah’s Witnesses as part of the national initiative to educate the public officials on how to address some key social issues. These issues include prevention of domestic violence, effective parenting, and improving physical and mental health.
The report claims that these publications are being used in “over 8,700 regional Community Learning Centers that are spread across the country.”
Remarkably, the report cites the “director of CDLC in Nakhon Nayok province Chaiwat Saengsri,” who says the “goal of the Jehovah’s Witnesses is very clear and aims at helping the people and communities get to know their Creator.” He then adds that this “is the same goal that CDLC has…”.
As we understand it, every Jehovah Witness is an evangelist, and that their goal is conversion to their religion. They believe that “the destruction of the present world system at Armageddon is imminent, and that the establishment of God’s kingdom over the earth is the only solution for all problems faced by humanity…”. They reject militarism, “do not work in industries associated with the military, do not serve in the armed services, and refuse national military service…”.
Back in Nakhon Nayok, Chaiwat requested more support from the Jehovah’s Witnesses. He wanted:
their publications available during the SMART Leader seminar. This seminar seeks to bring together 20 instructors and 100 community leaders from 28 provinces, who will receive training on community building and leadership.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses in Thailand are reportedly “happy to know that community leaders are making such good use of the Bible-based advice found in our publications.”
We find it just a little odd.
But then its also odd to see thousands of police and troops raiding exceedingly wealthy temples where senior monks are accused of numerous and major crimes. And that comes after yet another state intervention in managing the monkhood, reverting power to a monarch with a checkered past.