Penulis: KITI NEWS

  • Thai cave: Shrines and pipes at cavern entrance a mute testament to a drama which gripped the world

    Thai cave: Shrines and pipes at cavern entrance a mute testament to a drama which gripped the world


    thailand drama

    Near the mouth of the Thai cave where the Wild Boars soccer team was trapped are two small shrines where locals prayed to the rain god Phra Pirun.

    Perhaps those prayers were answered, as hours after the last team members were rescued, the heavens opened and the monsoonal rains thundered down.

    It was the heaviest downpour in a week.
    It no longer mattered, as all 12 boys and the coach were finally safe in hospital, where they will remain in quarantine for about a week.

    The rescue teams are still packing up after their mammoth task to pull the boys out.

    Most of the diving gear is still there.
    There’s still a lot of activity at the cave site.

    The media was allowed a look at the entrance for the first time this morning, before authorities quickly revoked that right when they realised the area would soon be swarmed.

    They walked us down to the vast entrance to the cave through ankle-deep water.
    The entrance to the 10-kilometre cave system is gigantic, with stalactites hanging down.

    From there you start entering further up the mountain to where they all were, 4km in.

    A row of tents stands nearby, each belonging to a group of divers and each filled with dozens of oxygen tanks.
    A whiteboard shows what is presumably a timetable for divers to enter and leave the cave.

    You get a sense of how many pumps and pipes went into the mountains, with pipes going everywhere.
    There are pumps inside and outside, and another one further up, with an estimated 250 million litres of water removed from the cave since the start of rescue efforts.

    One of the pumps is still furiously chugging away.
    There are still many police and soldiers around but the divers — of whom there were more than a 100 at peak time — have all gone, presumably to finally get some rest.

  • Coach Ek the Unlikely Stateless Hero of Thai Cave Drama

    Coach Ek the Unlikely Stateless Hero of Thai Cave Drama


    thailand drama

    Mae Sai, Thailand: Schooled as a monk and now hailed a hero, football coach Ekkapol Chantawong is one of several stateless members of the “Wild Boars”, a team whose survival after days trapped in a flooded Thai cave fixated a country that does not recognise them as citizens.
    Coach Ek, the 25-year-ancient who was among the last to emerge from the cave on Tuesday, has been lauded for keeping the the young footballers – aged 11-16 – cool as starvation loomed in the dark.

    He was the only adult with the boys when they entered the cave on June 23 until they were found nine days later by British divers on a muddy bank deep inside the cave complex.
    As he awaited his turn to undertake the perilous exit from the Tham Luang complex, Thais on the outside celebrated him as a modest, devout and duty-bound member of the Mae Sai community.
    “From all the parents, please take care of all the children. Don’t blame yourself,” said a letter to him from the boys’ relatives released July 7.

    In answer he scrawled a note apologising to the parents, and vowing to take “the very best care of the kids.”

    The touching note won the hearts of the Thai public – a group to which he is yet to officially belong.

    The UNHCR says Thailand is home to around 480,000 stateless people.

    Many are from nomadic hill tribes and other ethnic groups who have for centuries lived around Mae Sai, the heart of ‘Golden Triangle’ – a lawless wedge of land bisecting Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and China.

    – ‘No nationality. No country’ –

    Among the stateless are Ek and three of the boys who were trapped in the cave alongside him – Dul, Mark and Tee – the founder of the Wild Boars club Nopparat Khanthavong told AFP.

    “To get nationality is the largest hope for the boys… in the past these boys have problems travelling to play matches outside of Chiang Rai,” he added, because of travel restrictions that accompanies their lack of status.

    Without passports they are unlikely to be able to take up the invite from Manchester United FC to visit next season.

    “They also can’t become professional football players because they don’t have the (right) status,” he said, adding the process has begun to try to get them nationality.

    There are hopes the boys’ ordeal will lead to a change of policy.

    “The issue of the boys in the cave should give Thailand a wake up call… to grant the stateless nationality,” said Pornpen Khongkachonkiet of Amnesty International Thailand.

    Coach Ek, who is ethnic Tai Lue, is yet to give his version of the remarkable events of the last few weeks.

    A novice monk for several years from the age of 10, Ek left the Buddhist clergy before becoming a full monk in order to look after his grandmother in Mae Sai.

    He later became a coach with the Wild Boars.

    He is fond of meditation, trekking and the outdoors life, according to monk Ekkapol Chutinaro who roomed with his namesake as a novice.

    “We would trek to the jungle, he would always bring a thumb-sized parcel chilli paste and sticky rice and we