As of late, the importance of regulated haircuts for students has become a contentious topic in Thailand. Some people, especially the older generation, think that it’s beneficial for students to get haircuts, because it would make them less interested in their beauty. Moreover, elderly people claim that students should only pay attention to their education. While some other people argue that this act disregards student’s liberties. Although I am able to understand both viewpoints, I am more inclined to agree with the latter notion.
Thailand has always been a country with rigorous traditions and strict disciplines, so it is of no surprise that, whether it be in temples, homes or schools, we have many rules to abide by. In the past, despite the dissatisfaction of students towards such haircuts, most chose to hold back and live with it. But as times change, the new generation have their own thoughts and tend to be more outspoken, meaning that many are now raising the issue that students have to get haircuts in specific styles that align with school regulations. Furthermore, if they break these rules, teachers usually cut students’ hair arbitrarily, resulting in lasting embarrassment.
Consequently, a number of people are considering the possibility of such operations being withdrawn. Recently, one student raised awareness for this problem by sitting beside a board on which was written, “This student breaks the school rules by wearing her hair below her ears and by having bangs. These actions destroy the identity of Thai students. Please punish this student.” She intentionally let passersby cut her hair to observe their reactions and raise awareness for this problem. This performance art proved to be effective, influencing students all over the country as well as like-minded adults. They gave their opinions through social media, such as facebook and twitter. Most students asserted that they have the right to autonomy and that getting their haircut does not affect their study performance.
In my opinion, this rule should be retracted or improved to be more flexible for students so that they have their rightful liberties. However, this is only one example of cultural problems in Thailand. To overcome such difficulties, I think we should step out of the traditional framework of ideas and welcome change into our country. This is not to say that we should abandon our culture but rather that we should learn to adapt it in accordance with our more modern moral standards and move away from our out-of-date traditions. As for the meaningful traditions, it is my firm belief that they should be preserved and maintained. In this way, Thailand will be able to develop and still preserve the worthy heritage for descendants.
Written by Kaimuk Lhuengwongpaisarn, 16