Thai teacher worshipping ceremony questioned for indoctrinating inequality.

As the teacher worshipping season approaches in Thailand, a group of Thai students led by renowned student activist Netiwit has proposed new ways of paying respect to teachers to replace the long-practised ceremony which glorifies the importance of hierarchy in Thai society. 
 
Last week, the group led by Netiwit Chotipatpaisan, a student activist who advocates Thai education reform, published a short film parody of the ‘Wai Khru’ ceremony, a ceremony where students pay respect to teachers by prostrating themselves before their teachers with a bouquet of flowers, incense and candles, and chanting a Pali song. 
 
 
Wai Khru ceremony Photo of Sittipong blog
 
The film says the ceremony which forces Thai students to prostrate before the teachers does not encourage freedom of thought. It stresses inequality in the student-teacher relationship and discourages students from expressing differing ideas in the classroom. 
 
“Prostration at the feet is used by people in eight religions to express the utmost respect. It symbolizes fear and acceptance of power-- the ultimate form of acceptance. This contradicts the principle of education where teachers and students should be able to equally exchange views with reason,” says the film.  
 
The video offers five parody alternatives. 
 
1 ‘Wai nam’, a word play between paying respect and swimming (wai nam).
2 ‘Wai wan’,a word play between paying respect to teachers and to whales (wan). 
3 ‘Wai!!! Khru,’ a wordplay that makes joke of the exclamation of transgenders (Waii!).
4 The Japanese way of ‘wai khru’, a gesture of greeting to teachers instead of prostration.
5 Thai beauty of wai khru, a normal wai to teachers. 
 
The ‘Wai Khru’ ceremony, according to the Office of the Royal Society Dictionary, is a ceremony where students pay respect to their teachers to become their students. This ceremony is usually held on a Thursday in June. 
 
 

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