The 12 Thai soccer gamers rescued from a collapse July opened an exhibit about their rescue final week, held a Q&A with the press, appeared as company of honour at a banquet for 10,000 and toured Thailand’s Royal Palace — everywhere in the course of three days.
The boys additionally crawled by means of a duplicate of the cave the place they spent two weeks huddled collectively.
Thailand initially mentioned the boys would undergo a six-month psychological monitoring interval, however the authorities has thrust them again into the highlight simply two months after their ordeal.
And specialists say the federal government and the king are desirous to capitalize on the feel-good story now, no matter whether or not the youngsters are ready.
Final week’s “United as One” media blitz was sponsored by Thailand’s new monarch, King Maha Vajiralongkorn, and the nation’s unelected authorities, a navy junta that seized energy in 2014 and has but to declare an election.
Thailand professional Kevin Hewiston says the federal government wants the publicity forward of an anticipated election that it hopes to win.
“That is nearly a chance that the navy junta can’t resist,” mentioned Hewiston, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Up to date Asia and a retired political science professor.
“It does appear to be that is being manipulated by the navy for its personal functions, but in addition for selling the present king.”
The junta has repeatedly delayed plans to carry an election, and the brand new king isn’t practically as well-liked as his late father, Hewiston mentioned.
“It makes him look good, [and] it makes the junta look good,” Hewiston advised International Information from Australia. “This is a chance to bolster a excellent news story for the junta internationally, which then makes them seem extra reliable inside Thailand.”
The junta has additionally tried to make use of the cave story to distract from speak of an election, in response to Amy L. Freedman, a political science professor at Columbia College’s Weatherhead East Asia Institute.
“This can be a navy regime, and any PR that they’ll use to fabricate one thing that exhibits their credibility and their legitimacy, I believe they’re going to do,” Freedman advised International Information.
WATCH BELOW: Thai cave boys speak about miracle rescue after leaving hospital in July
Hewiston says the junta has been attempting to place itself to win the eventual election, by silencing opposition and selling itself by means of the media. The junta has mentioned the election will are available in late February, however no concrete date has been set.
“The junta is campaigning fairly onerous on the election path when no different celebration is allowed to marketing campaign for the time being, so that is one other option to marketing campaign,” he mentioned.
Thailand has additionally celebrated different elements of the July rescue. It hailed a number of overseas rescue divers as heroes, ordered a museum constructed in regards to the occasion, and made a nationwide hero out of Samarn Kunan, the previous Navy SEAL who died through the restoration operation.
The boys are being shepherded round by two authorities committees that management entry to them. They’re scheduled to talk to the press once more on Sept. 15-16.
The boys have been permitted to reply questions on the opening of the cave rescue exhibit final Wednesday. When requested how they have been doing, at the very least 5 of them delivered variations of the identical reply: “My life is similar, however extra individuals are approaching me.”
Lt. Gen. Werachon Sukondhapatipak mentioned all press questions are screened “to make sure there aren’t any violations of their rights by an over-inquisitive media,” in response to the Bangkok Submit.
The boys additionally posed final week with an enormous portrait of the king.
“The picture that appeared within the Thai media was one in all these youngsters — a few of whom are nonetheless not Thai residents — earlier than an enormous image of the king, and the very first thing that they’re doing is thanking the king for his efforts,” Hewiston mentioned.
“This is a chance for the palace PR machine to get to work and try to construct a world profile for him.”
The Wild Boars additionally appeared in public in early August, when all however one in all them attended a ceremony to change into Buddhist monks. They mentioned the gesture was to present thanks for his or her return and to pay tribute to the rescuer who died.
WATCH BELOW: Thai cave survivors to change into Buddhist monks
The Thai authorities mentioned after the rescue that the boys, who’re between the ages of 11 and 16, can be monitored for six months for indicators of psychological trauma.
“The boys want to return to their regular life, to their each day routines, with the intention to absolutely respect that the risk is over,” Dr. Andrea Danese, of the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience in London, advised Reuters in July.
Danese recommended that as much as 20 per cent of the boys would possibly develop longer-term psychiatric problems corresponding to melancholy, nervousness and post-traumatic stress dysfunction because of the incident.
The boys are additionally susceptible to struggling withdrawal, in response to Dr. Paul Auberbach, of the Division of Emergency Drugs at Stanford College’s medical faculty.
“On the intense facet, it’s predictable that not all can be adversely affected – maybe solely a few third of them – and in these instances only some would possibly require skilled psychological or psychiatric intervention,” he advised The Related Press in August.
One boy skipped the Buddhist ceremony in August, however all have been current finally week’s occasions.
A bunch of Chilean miners who went by means of an identical ordeal in 2010 warned the boys in regards to the temporary fame they’d encounter after their rescue.
“Nearly each miner has psychological points,” foreman Luis Urzua, 62, advised Reuters in July.
“They don’t sleep or really feel nicely. It’s not well-known in Chile however they’re in despair.”
Urzua’s fellow miner, Jorge Galleguillos, mentioned he was invited to Hollywood, the Vatican, Israel and the Chilean presidential palace after the rescue.
“Within the second, everyone seems to be speaking about you – within the press, on tv you’re entrance web page information in every single place –after which … nothing,” he mentioned.
“So many guarantees have been made to us after which we have been deserted. Now we’re forgotten. I hope the identical doesn’t occur to them.”
— With information from the Related Press and Reuters
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