Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Thailand Is A Good Marching Country

Different countries have very different abilities to march. Soldiers in Europe are great at it, great attitude and precision; soldiers in Africa, South America and the Middle East don’t seem to get it; Asia is a mixed bag. America? Our combat-soldiers line up ok but then they tend to stroll insouciantly. That’s ok, when they get where they’re going they do a great job. Marines are a different story, they march as beautifully as any troops in the world.

Thai soldiers are great at it. There’s a huge parade for the King’s birthday every year, and it’s a beautiful thing to watch, with companies representing each of the Thai armed forces wearing ceremonial uniforms, great pomp and circumstance.

You know those stationary sentries who guard important sites? Like that famous place in England where the changing of the guard is a big tourist attraction? They do that great in Thailand too. It’s a high point of a visit to Wat Pra Kaew, the old Royal Palace complex with the most elaborate temples around. The ceremonial guards stand as still and serene as cigar store Indians. A perfect presentation.

I’ve seen the ceremonial guards outside the Royal Palace in Malaysia, they stand around like bored teenagers, fidgeting. They did the day that I was there anyway.

I attribute this Thai ability to the great pride that all Thais take in their country, their culture and their King. This is a great place, and Thai people know it.


Anonymous said...

insouciantly means?

I've heard this one in person from the great pontificate[or] himself and even before the input from his personal experience in Asia. What was it, Brits? Germans? French?

Smurf it out.

Anonymous said...

Check out "Ninja Melk" by Ryan Higa and Sean Fujiyashi on Youtube. Higaniga is the guys page. I think they is from Hawaii.

fred c said...

It means casually, a little carelessly, not really thinking about it . . . it's from the French.