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Salient. Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 26, No. 5. Monday, April 29, 1963

Thai University Is Very Formal

page 5

Thai University Is Very Formal

No shorts, slacks, beards or any other sort of intellectual irritant can be seen in a Thai university. What a formal world I come from!

It is a real difficulty to generalise about student life in Thailand. We all have different ideas and approaches to the same thing. This is simply because we were not brought up all in exactly the same way. However, generalise we must.

As active as any good citizen can be, Thai students seek to engage themselves with Government programmes and criticise the Government constructively if necessary. They make themselves very helpful to the community by participating in various programmes of local development initiated by the Government for general reconstruction and rehabilitation such as road construction.

Newspapers, radio and even television popularise such schemes. Furthermore, students try to behave and act at all times as a guiding instrument for the public in achieving the goal which our Government alms at, namely the happiness and harmony of the people.

Suchart Prasithrathsin. in his second year at Victoria, is an active member of the International Club. This is the second in a series of articles contributed by Plan students.

It is undeniable that they take part in political controversies from time to time, but they have the sense to stop too, knowing that the Government is trying to do the best it can with all available means. With this in mind, students try to co-operate and help the Government in any way they can, and at the same time refrain from criticising the Government unconstructively.

Generally, university students can be classified into three groups: Intelligent, average, and below average. However, Thammasat University, one of the five universities in Bangkok and from which I came, is a bit different from the others. This is because it has, instead, three classes of students according to their academic merit, finance and popularity in the sporting world.

Any student can distinguish himself for herself, for that matter) by either being at the top of the class or being a keen sportsman, or both.

Sports are very popular among the students of both sexes because they are encouraged by the various departments on one hand and by the enthusiasm of the students themselves on the other. Quite often there are inter-department sports meetings and inter-varsity matches which help to strengthen the friendship among the students of various universities and help them to know their counterparts better.

We have quite a few traditional football matches every year. Gate-takings are usually heavy, and attendance is not restricted to students. The traditional match is very well known to the public and it is an important sports event for the students themselves as the royal trophy is at stake. Long before the important date, students of the two universities prepare and equip themselves for the big event by designing their various processions and bands for the pre-match parade.

Most popular sport at Thai universities is soccer, followed by basketball, rugby, badminton, rowing and so on. Thai rugby teams have played against New Zealand Navy crews from visiting ships like the Royalist. However, other essentially national sports such as cricket are unknown among us. This may be because Thailand was never colonised. The most popular national sport is, of course, Thai boxing.

Study in a Thai university is as hard as anywhere, although there are always some exceptions. Seven subjects or more are taken in a year. The students belong to their own departments. They usually study every subject (prescribed) in their faculty. Students are supposed to pass all the subjects to gain their degrees. However only a few exceptional students do pass all their subjects yearly throughout the four-year course. Speaking from my own experience of Thammasat University I would say the knowledge of the average Thai student seems to me to be less competent than that of New Zealand students.

But they possess a wider general knowledge. Political Science students, for example, study Political Science, International Law, Geopolitics, Economics, Social Etiquette, Civil and Commercial Codes and Modern History. We study in this system because we believe we cannot be good citizens and specialists if we do not have various fields of knowledge as a background. Anybody who wants to specialise in a certain field after this preliminary start can do so either by attempting Master or Doctorate degrees or, better still, going abroad.