Friday, October 28, 2011

Thai Draft

Thailand has the draft and a professional army. ALL men at the age of 21 must participate in the draft process – zero exceptions according to my office. They pick a card out of a container and if they get a black card they are free, but if it is a red one then they must serve for 2 years. Getting a red card is very unpopular, as you can imagine. If a young man is interested in the military he would try to enlist. Try is the word, because they don’t take everyone. The professional army is highly selective. The young man in the white shirt, the one not smiling, just got drafted. The other young man, his brother, just got back from serving 2 years. This family is 2 for 2. The parents have a string ceremony, notice the wrists, and a party where guests bring baht in an envelope to give to the family in honor of the occasion. Serving in the Thai army is dangerous if they get posted in the far south due to terrorist activity, otherwise it is a peaceful tour of duty. Seems like a very fair system.

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