Thailand’s heartfelt gratitude to the international effort that led to the rescue of 12 Thai teenage football players and their coach from a flooded cave in northern Thailand is reflected in the speed with which it has rushed into distribution a heart-felt ‘thank you’ video message to the world.
Not a glitzy, scripted production with endless speeches, but a direct, from-the-heart genuine, unequivocal ‘thank you’, from a country that has a long and proud history of rejecting outside interference and doing things its way.
Produced by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and simply titled ‘Thailand thanks the world for rescuing its children’, the 30-second long video clip starts with a description of the event, followed by English cave-diver Richard Stanton’s voice booming out from behind a weak, piddly beam of light onto the dazed, and temporarily blinded youth asking “how many are you?”.
Expressing the heartfelt thanks of the entire kingdom, the video highlights the achievement against all odds as a result of unified cooperation across international boundaries.
Concluding with ‘The World is One’, the clip ends with a young Thai woman waiing to unidentified people representing the faceless ten thousand plus people who participated in one of the world’s most daring, difficult, and successful search and rescue operations in history.
The simple, heart-felt message follows those last week by Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha, and Foreign Minister, Don Pramudwinai.
“The circumstance has clearly shown the power of unity in action, power of love and goodwill towards fellow men regardless of race and religious beliefs. I am pleased to extend the sincerest thanks and appreciation to all concerned and wishing them every success in the coming phases of this endeavour,’’ the King, penned in a three-paragraph official statement from the palace.
Acknowledging the public and private sector collaboration General Prayut Chan-o-cha extended his “sincere gratitude for the determination and sacrifice of all involved in this mission. including individual volunteers, government officials, private companies and the press for their assistance in sharing expertise, manpower and equipment, and also people around the world for their moral support throughout this ordeal.
“Although the mission has been accomplished, images of people from all walks of life coming together to lend their helping hands, regardless of race or religious belief, will remain with all of us forever,” the Prime Minister added.
Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai, the man whose office would have played a major role in reaching out to and coordinating international offers of assistance was equally effusive, saying that the remarkable success of the Thai cave rescue operation “was as a result of immense support from all sectors of the international community”.
Mr Pramudwinai added that the response by the international community also “demonstrates our [Thailand’s] soft power connectivity with the globe, aligning Thai humanity and benevolence with international perceptions”.
There is little doubt that the kingdom of Thailand is eternally grateful to the international community. There’s nothing like a potential large-scale humanitarian disaster for a country to see who its friends are, and Thailand found it had many.
When needed the Thailand government received the support it needed from outside of the country and from within. Its population galvanised and unified for one common goal. For one brief period ‘The World was One’ and Thailand was the one who brought it together.
Feature video naewna
- Thailand’s video thank-you to the world airs on CNN (The Nation)
- Thailand thanks foreign nations for lending hands in Tham Luang rescue (News Today) (video)
- Thai PM Prayut extends ‘sincerest gratitude’ to all involved in Thai cave rescue (The Straits Times)
He has spent extensive periods of time working in Africa and throughout Southeast Asia, with stints in the Middle East, the USA, and England.
He has covered major world events including Operation Desert Shield/ Storm, the 1991 pillage in Zaire, the 1994 Rwanda genocide, the 1999 East Timor independence unrest, the 2004 Asian tsunami, and the 2009, 2010, and 2014 Bangkok political protests.
In 1995 he was a Walkley Award finalist, the highest awards in Australian journalism, for his coverage of the 1995 Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) Ebola outbreak.
Prior to AEC News Today he was the deputy editor and Thailand and Greater Mekong Sub-region editor for The Establishment Post, predecessor of Asean Today.
In the mid-80s and early 90s he owned JLF Promotions, the largest above and below the line marketing and PR firm servicing the high-technology industry in Australia. It was sold in 1995.