Students who have pierced ears and visible tattoos will no longer be accepted at public vocational schools in Bangkok and surrounding areas from the next academic year.
The National Human Rights Commission is concerned that this will exclude some students from studying, which is necessary to improve their lives. If anything being barred could create a disaffected anti-establishment underclass. This is almost definitely not the intention of the education authorities. Would it not be better to be inclusive, rather than exclusive?
The secretary of the Association of Private Technological and Vocational Education Colleges, Adisorn Sinprasong, stated that students with large ear piercings would have to remove them and restore their ears to normal. Also, students with visible tattoos would have to study in evening classes.
Adisorn went on to say that the vocational colleges in Bangkok and the surrounding areas have agreed measures to maintain the schools good appearance and also it encourages wider employment opportunities to discourage getting tattooed. Basically, it seems they aim to maintain control of the younger generation that are rebelling against established authority, but also help young people to look publically acceptable. Tattoos are becoming increasingly popular with young Thai people, who have many interesting inked designs that express their feelings. In the UK and USA similar teenage revolutions occurred in the 1970’s with the rise of Punk music. It didn’t last too long before the kids were under control again. Now in the UK kids cannot go more than a few metres from their homes before parents and public opinion has a nervous breakdown, their individuality has been severely subdued in order that those in power stay in power and any sign of anarchy is squashed. The problem with tattoos as an expression of teenage angst is that when you grow up, you still have them! They are pretty much permanent.
Tattoos and piercings are often associated with anti-social behaviour. Stop kids having tattoos and piercings and then they will all behave themselves right? Not necessarily so. The students that have tattoos are making a statement, they don’t fit in with the norm, but still feel the human need to fit in somewhere. That’s the issue that needs to be addressed.
It is true to say that many companies will not employ students with tattoos and large ear piercings.
Big agencies and international businesses have strict rules about this. As touched on before, it is assumed all people with tattoos engage in anti-social behaviour and violence. When a guy or girl with tattoos is highlighted in the press as a criminal or drug user etc it is easy to create stereotypes.
Admittedly, you may be statistically more likely to break the law if you have tattoos, so if you want you or your kids to be good worker bees, don’t dance out of line!
Many people have tattoos for a variety of reasons. It could be simply cosmetic, to cover a scar up or for spiritual reasons or because you belong to a bike gang. It doesn’t automatically make you a bad person if you have tattoos or large piercings, but there are some seriously bad people who do have tattoos, so everyone is the same right?
Most successful criminals wear very smart clothes, so you don’t realise they are rotten! We are also affected by others opinions of us, a person’s actions can often reflect the thoughts of others, especially when directed at a young and impressionable people.
Phatharapong Wongporn, the head of a Panyapiwat Institute of Student Management, said he was satisfied with the policy. “As a father, I conceive tattoos as a symbol of disobedience.” He said.
For now youngsters with tattoos and piercings are accepted in Pattaya, where there is a far more liberal mind set.
Maybe someone should set up a ‘Student’s Ink’ Vocational College and University in Pattaya, where students are judged on their ability and motivation, not what they look like!