Opinion: Deputy education minister going after children’s book latest sign of lack of intellectual capital

The times may be changing but some dinosaurs do not want to go extinct. And this cornered animal is doing everything it can to stay alive – using every tool at its disposal.

Case in point: The latest idiotic outburst from Deputy Education Minister Kalaya Sophonpanich who is now going after pro-democracy cartoons that are not even part of the school curriculum. Just cartoons on sale to the general public.

As if the deputy minister does not have anything else better to do.

Have you seen the latest PISA score for Thai students? What about the outdated education system, the abuses in schools, the high level of inequality in the quality of schooling and the shortage of teachers in rural areas?

Kalaya said Monday that she was “extremely worried” about children’s storybooks and graphical cartoons that tell and depict stories of pro-democracy protesters and what they are fighting for.

The deputy minister said their contents were “provoking”, “distorted, “brainwashing” and “creating hatred.”

She said children are unable to differentiate between fact and fiction and allowing them to read these books could lead to future problems.

She wanted parents, teachers and the general population to look at the facts and condemns violence.

All parents, she said, should disapprove of the creation of distorted content that is misleading the youth.

She said she believe in the right to information but the content creators must not have any malicious intent to distort the facts and create hatred within the Thai society and she urged these “ill-intended” people to stop their actions.

She then ordered for the setting up of a special team to investigate the publication and the authors of the books to find out their intention. If their intention is to brainwash and incite protests, the investigation will be handed over to the police for prosecution.

Really?

Some of the damaging things these stories are telling the youth (insert sarcasm) is that people go to protests because they want society to know that everyone is equal.

Another one depicts a story of students wishing for teachers to not oppress them in school.

The graphic cartoon tells the stories of pro-democracy protest leaders that came out to ask for the rewriting of the junta drafted constitution and reformation of the royal institution.

Parents should leave their kids out of their personal politics because children should be able to think and choose for themselves.

However, to say that such cartoons are inciting violence and brainwashing children is way overboard.

In a democratic and modern society, parents can choose whether they want to buy them for their kids and they can also explain to their children about the content.

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