Plenty of good came out of cave save

Editorial | Mary Ma 11 Jul 2018

We were riveted by news of the rescue of the "Wild Boars" teens and their football coach in Thailand over the past few days, and for good reasons.

For it was a manifestation of the positive side of humanity that people share.

That should always be the case, except that lofty human causes aren't often accorded the weight they warrant when priority is given to other considerations.

In the daring rescue mission that gripped the world for more than two weeks, we saw no politics - only sacrifice.

A former Thai Navy SEAL diver, Saman Gunan, lost his life while making his way out of the treacherous network of narrow tunnels in the cavern where the young footballers and their coach had been trapped.

The 25-year-old coach may be criticized for taking the boys from different schools to explore the dangerous cave system in Chiang Rai province, which eventually landed them in the precarious situation that led to the multinationial rescue effort to free them from the muddy trap deep under a mountain.

But after the group of 13 resumed communications with the outside world it emerged the coach had done his best to teach the youngsters to survive isolation in darkness and hunger, until they were luckily found by two British divers flown into Thailand to assist in the rescue.

It has required expert knowledge and years of training to make the impossible possible.

For the teens, it must be their toughest survival lesson so far - a precious lesson they have learned the hard way - which I'm sure will stand them in good stead in their maturing process, although in hindsight it was a dangerous mistake they made.

Yes, everybody makes mistakes. What's important is that one learns from them.

Yesterday's successful rescue of the last ones from the Tham Luang cave wrapped Thailand in pride, making the Buddhist nation more united than before. It was also a good example of what multinational friendship can do for a good humanity cause.

That spirit of friendship is best illustrated by a cartoon created by Sisidea. Drawn by two Thai artists, the cartoon went viral in no time. For good reasons it has become popular so quickly. The cartoon depicts 13 wild boars swimming out of the underground tunnels along with animals, including a white elephant, horse, seals, frogs, lions, kangaroos, panda, crane, moose, tiger, eagle, etc.

While the boars refer to the footballers and their coach, the other animals stand for the Thai rescuers and volunteers from around the world.

Iron Man is also featured in it in a reference to SpaceX and Tesla boss Elon Musk, who's said to have gone to Chiang Rai to supply a specially designed capsule to rescue the boys.

Although Musk may be disappointed his capsule ended up not being used, he should be pleased to see himself depicted as Iron Man. It doesn't really matter if it was a stunt by Musk, the Thais are grateful to everyone who offered to help.

In celebrating the successful rescue, however, don't forget the ultimate sacrifice made by the 38-year-old Gunan. His body was repatriated to his home province of Roi Et, where he will receive a royal-sponsored funeral, according to media reports.

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