Why young coach of Thai boys trapped in cave is a true hero

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 July, 2018, 9:33pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 25 July, 2018, 9:33pm

I refer to the dramatic search and rescue effort for a young Thai soccer team and their coach who were stranded in a flooded cave for more than two weeks (“How a 25-year-old monk kept the Thai cave boys alive – and won the hearts of their parents”, July 9).

I was deeply touched to read of the rescue, which was nothing short of a miracle. And most touching of all was reading about the bravery and stoicism of the only adult in the group, Ekapol Chanthawong, the 25-year-old assistant coach of the Wild Boars team and a former monk.

He was among the weakest in the group when rescued, in part because he had given the boys his share of the limited food they had with them in the early days. He also taught the boys how to meditate to take their minds off hunger, and how to conserve their energy.

While Ekapol drew criticism from some quarters for having led the team into the cave in the first place, when he should have known better, the boys’ parents never blamed him.

Thai cave boys prepare to ordain as Buddhist novices

“If he hadn’t gone with them, what would have happened to my child?” the mother of one of the Wild Boars told a Thai TV network earlier. “When he comes out, we have to heal his heart. My dear Ek, I would never blame you.”

I agree. If Ekapol hadn’t been with the boys, their survival would certainly have been uncertain. I am sure he must have blamed himself for the ordeal and been racked with guilt. Instead of chiding and blaming the coach, we should thank him for having kept up the boys’ spirits and hopes. He is a hero.

Charlotte Kwan, Tseung Kwan O