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MILITARY CORPORAL PUNISHMENT

Video clips: Thailand

Soldier caning

With comments by C. Farrell



Group caning of Thai soldiers: three clips.

CLIP 1 OF 3


Here we see seven Thai army lads receiving one stroke of the cane each, outdoors, in front of a seated audience of some of their peers.



    The sergeant administering the cane is holding some paperwork, possibly a list of defaulters. This is clearly a proper discipline session and not some kind of initiation game. At the same time, it is obviously not a tremendously serious affair, and procedures are rather informal: there is no standing to attention or saluting. Each offender comes forward briskly and accepts his whack with good humour.


    The strokes are applied to the seat of the PE shorts or, in one case, camouflage fatigues. In every case, the recipient folds his arms in front of him as he stands to receive punishment, just as is the usual custom at Thai schools. Most of the offenders are seen to clutch their buttocks immediately after receiving the stroke.

    The instrument used appears to be a bamboo stick. The unwisdom of this choice becomes clear when at one point the end breaks off, demonstrating that bamboo is too stiff and brittle for this purpose. Rattan, tougher and more flexible, is what punishment canes should always be made of. Since rattan comes from that part of the world, and rattan canes are used a lot in Thai schools, it is surprising that nobody has bothered to procure one in the present instance.

    It is not known how "official" or "legal" this caning is. Thailand has compulsory military service, so these may well be conscripts. There are lots of clips on YouTube showing Thai army recruits undergoing all sorts of physical rigours, so they are probably not going to complain about one quick whack with a bamboo rod, even if it is not laid down as an official procedure.

    The atmosphere among the watching comrades seems calm and neutral, but there is a slight ripple of amusement when the cane breaks.


HERE IS THE CLIP:


CLIP 2 OF 3


Here is another group punishment of seven Thai soldiers. The similarity with the previous clip perhaps suggests that this is a standard procedure: once again, each culprit comes forward, stands with arms folded, and receives one solid whack on the seat while his comrades are gathered to watch.

    Again the implement used is a rigid stick rather than a proper whippy rattan, which would probably hurt more.

    The atmosphere is neutral, relaxed and matter-of-fact, and the punishments are clearly not terribly serious. Most of these lads are in their army fatigues; a couple are in casual wear.

    In the case of the last one to be dealt with, the operator's aim is careless, and the stroke lands a little too high, causing the recipient to clutch the upper part of his buttocks and the small of the back in pain as he walks away.


HERE IS THE CLIP:


CLIP 3 OF 3

In this 5-minute clip the soldiers being disciplined are again wearing their fatigues, but the procedure is more serious and more formal than in the first two clips. The recipients have to bend over a sort of low wall in a garden, and the strokes are hard and clearly very painful. The implement used is a long rigid stick, not a proper rattan cane. The administrator wears a red armband which possibly signifies that he is a member of the military police. Two soldiers are punished, taking it in turns to receive a couple of whacks each time. The first lad receives 15 strokes altogether, and the second 11 strokes. There is much moaning and writhing and clutching of buttocks.

HERE IS THE CLIP:




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