Friday, July 24, 2015

The Statement from a Blank Paper


Dear Gen.Prayuth Chan-Ocha,

Having written nothing but my name, surname and student number on the paper, I decided to submit it for the Civic Duty subject’s midterm exam.
I did not submit this blank paper to the exam scorers. On the contrary, I submitted this blank paper to you, Gen.Prayuth Chan-Ocha, the leader of Thailand’s junta.

This blank paper represents my sentiment of disapproval of the subject, which was forced into the curriculum of Thailand’s education system by your junta government.
The Civic Duty subject is nothing but a form of propaganda: it forces only one set of “true” values down the students’ throats, promotes intolerance towards criticisms against the government, and condemn free speech as unnecessary.

I clearly remember how one question in the exam denounced the anti-junta student activists who were arrested and jailed, stating that they are undermining Thai values.
I was paralyzed, unable to force myself to write pro-junta statements on the paper.
I couldn’t force myself to answer the question that insulted my friends that were held captive in jail for more than ten days.

Your junta government tries to become the dictator of morality by imposing the ‘12 values of Thai people’ to teach people rights and wrongs.
I wonder how such an unrighteous leader could consider himself as the holy bishop of the country, forcing students to unwillingly swallow those values of his.

I therefore refuse to take the exam on this propaganda subject in order to condemn the government’s effort to dictate the values of the society.
I strongly believe that I am not the only one who suffers from the agony of thoughts suppression even though I am the only one who stands to oppose this unjust subject.
The message of my civil disobedience is short and succinct:
“I do not accept the tyrannical dictator of morality”

My civil disobedience has been decided not impulsively, but rather carefully and conscientiously. I am therefore willing to fail this exam unconditionally. I respect my teachers who have been open-minded and willing to exchange opinions with me on several subjects. Hence, this act of mine is not to cause hatred and conflict, but to express my thoughts and disapproval of this propaganda subject.

I must confess that I initially thought of taking this exam normally, writing statements that are against my ideology in order to pass the exam. Nevertheless, I could not betray my own belief and the belief of those who had signed the petition in my campaign to oppose the junta-imposed '12 values of Thai people'. Finally, I decided to commit this act of civil disobedience, and write this statement in order to declare my thoughts and determination.

Yours Sincerely,
Nattanan Warintarawet

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