We Need To Learn From The Thailand Cave Incident

We Need To Learn From The Thailand Cave Incident

Do not be reckless, and do not take things for granted.


Unless you have been living under a rock, you would know about the Tham Luang cave rescue by now. On June 23, 2018, 12 boys, members of a junior football (soccer) team were trapped in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Thailand after their coach Ekapol Chantawong led them in to explore it. All 12 of the boys and their coach were rescued, but it came at the expense of rescue worker Saman Kunan's life.

There are a few lessons to be learned from this: never take anything or anyone for granted, and do not engage in overly reckless behavior like exploring a cave with fluctuating water levels.

This football team was reportedly looking to celebrate the 17th birthday of one of the players and they decided to spelunk this cave. Shortly after they entered it, a squall came on. A downpour of heavy rain partially flooded the cave and trapped the boys and Chantawong inside it. They were forced to venture deeper into the cave to avoid rising water levels.

The authorities reported the team and their coach missing after a ranger of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation discovered their gear at the entrance to the cave. Thai Navy SEALs were summoned to the cave to begin a rescue attempt. They were joined by cave diving experts and members of the United States Indo-Pacific Command. They executed the rescue with extreme difficulty due to continuous rain further flooding the cave.

On July 2 at 22:00, the rescue workers discovered all 13 victims alive deep inside the cave. They cleared the area quickly due to the high probability of monsoon rains flooding the cave throughout October. Over the course of several days, a group of divers escorted each of the boys out of the cave, providing them with face masks and using a rope line.

On July 10, all of the boys were rescued along with Chantawong. The remaining rescue workers had difficulty escaping due to the water levels rising after they had previously dropped, but they managed to make it out.

Unfortunately, one rescue worker, 38-year-old Saman Kunan, died of asphyxiation trying to bring the boys supplies on July 6. He ran out of air underwater while swimming through a narrow passageway. His diving partner brought him to the surface, but he was dead on arrival and he could not be resuscitated.

There is a huge lesson to be learned from this. One should never engage in an overly reckless behavior. Exploring a cave that has water flowing into it is an example of this, especially when you have young boys who do not have their parents with them.

Additionally, this incident should be a reminder to everyone that they should not take the people they love for granted. You never know when someone may die. It could be today or tomorrow that you lose a loved one. Situations like the Tham Luang Nang Nonincident are certainly rare, but your friends and family could still be dead before you know it.

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Korea's Plastic Surgery Culture

It's not a vanity- it's a way of survival.

Hailed by countless multi-story buildings advertising "harmless" procedures resulting in flawless facial features as well as perfectly proportioned bodies and bombarded with promises of a "much better life," a walk through Apgujeong in Gangnam, Seoul, will appease any doubts about South Korea's famed plastic surgery culture. Yes. Culture. Though plastic surgery may merely seem to be a vanity, in South Korea, it reflects a phenomenon that has resulted from competitiveness that is deeply ingrained in its society.

As statistics show that one in five women in Seoul have had plastic surgery and nearly fifty percent of women as well as fifteen percent of men have undergone some form of cosmetic procedure, it is no surprise that South Korea is considered the "plastic surgery capital of the world". Among the most popular procedures are double eyelid surgery, v-line jaw reduction, epicanthoplasty (eye widening surgery), rhinoplasty (nose jobs) and forehead augmentations.There are many reasons as to why plastic surgery has become so commonplace in Korea, but one of the main reasons is pure competition.

Korea is among the most academically strenuous nations today. Even from a young age, students are exposed to a highly competitive learning environment where every point counts. In addition to an eight hour school day, most enroll in hagwon, private academic after-school classes, which add another two to three hours of studying. Furthermore, students do not get to throw their books down and forget about school until the following Monday, for even after five rigorous days of work, work and more work, there are still half-days of school on Saturdays. Such behavior can also be attributed to "competitive parenting", an idea that Shin Dong Pyo, the head of an English hagwon, describes in the following scenario: "You see your neighbor’s kid speak better English than your kid, and you try to figure out what kind of English program he is getting and what kind of kindergarten he is attending.You have figured it out, and you send your kid to the same kindergarten," which of course, adds to the tensions of academic competition and rigor. All of this studying eventually leads to a single college entrance exam called suneung, a test that students have essentially slaved all of their childhood for, a test that will determine not only their college, but also, as most people perceive, their future.

But that is not where it ends. Let's say you got into the first college of your choice, have successfully graduated, and are now looking for a highly esteemed, highly desired job. You would think you have great chances. After all, you did graduate from a top university with top marks and flying colors... but then again, so have all the other applicants. Thus, you need every edge you can get, anything to convince employers that you are better than everyone else, despite being on equal ground. That is where plastic surgery comes in. Employers will often ask applicants to hand in a picture along with his or her resumes or CV's. When two applicants are both equally qualified for the job, the more attractive applicant is likely to be chosen. The cutting truth is, South Korea has a very high population density but is limited in desirable jobs. So, no matter how "qualified" you may be, there is no guarantee that you can make it to where you want to be.

Plastic surgery has also become mainstream through constant advertising and promotion through social media as well as another significant source of influence: the entertainment industry. K-pop has become increasingly popular and the "idols" or Korean celebrities, have become the icons of perceived beauty. Most hold the standard of beauty to that of popular figures, many of whom received plastic surgery themselves. As Korea's entertainment industry continues to grow in popularity and pervade nearly every aspect of Korean popular culture, so does the appeal of plastic surgery.

Another point to consider is how plastic surgery continues to become increasingly affordable and sophisticated. Recent years have seen the rise of more and more plastic surgery clinics, inducing competition and resulting in less costly procedures. Sophistication and active practice have also contributed to easier and low risk surgeries. In fact, statistics show the cost of having plastic surgery in Korea is nearly thirty to fifty percent cheaper than in America. This is just one of the reasons why plastic surgery in Korea has attracted customers internationally.

Plastic surgery has become a definite part of Korean culture. It comes from a competitiveness etched into Korean society, resulting from factors such as population density and limited opportunities. However, as it becomes more mainstream, an arguably harmful sentiment does as well, that how others perceive you is more important than how you perceive yourself. That what matters is how you can get an edge to outdo all others, that the most important thing is what you can do to get into an esteemed college and obtain a respectable position in society, rather than looking for a college or job that is right for you. Korea's plastic surgery culture appears to reflect a generation of people who look to mold themselves into the ideal image of "success" or "excellence" that seeps through the pores of all aspects of society, rather than to mold society to fit a personal and genuine "greatness" and seek to portray one's inner beauty.

Cover Image Credit: blurbrain.com

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What's Happening Between India And Pakistan Can Be Solved With Communication

Rather than fighting against the terrorist groups, both countries are just fighting amongst themselves. This hurts the innocent citizens of each country more than the terrorists.


It is no secret that India and Pakistan have had tense relations for centuries. Ever since Pakistan had succeeded from India, these conflicts have existed. As the years of gone by, the strained relationships have remained but have gotten a little better. However, in February 2019 any bond that India and Pakistan had created has been sabotaged. For those of you who do not know, India and Pakistan's central conflict since the partition has been the fight over who gets the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Till this day there have been three wars that have been fought between India and Pakistan over the ownership of Jammu and Kashmir, the Indo-Pakistan War of 1947, Indo-Pakistan War of 1965 and the Kargil War of 1999.

Now with the events that are currently happening, both countries could be at the brink of another war.

On February 14, 2019, a suicide bomber who was carrying about 661 pounds of explosives crashed into the convoy of the Central Reserve Police Forces ( CRPF) in Pulwama, India. The suicide bomber had killed 41 people and injured many more. Jaish-e-Mohammed, a terrorist group in Pakistan, took responsibility for the attack and stated that its mission was to free Kashmir from India.

In response to the terrorist attack at Pulwama, India had done an airstrike on March 27, 2019. The airstrike is being celebrated by Indians and is being seen as one of the most efficient missions ever completed. Within 21 minutes, the Indian Air Force Mirage 2000 had dropped about 2204 pounds of bombs over Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist camps killing, according to Indian government sources, about 350 terrorists. (Pakistan has denied any casualties.) This is a good thing India has made the world a safer place. In the process, unfortunately, several civilians were killed, including one mother and her two children all because they lived in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The Pakistani government has responded to the airstrike by calling it "uncalled-for aggression." Pakistan has stated that India has violated the Line of Control. The Line of Control refers to the boundary that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan. While this line is not recognized as an international boundary, it is more of a de facto boundary. Using the claim that India has crossed the boundary, Pakistan is getting ready to give a "suitable response in self-defense." This is why there is the possibility of another war between Pakistan and India.

One thing to note is that both sides are ready for war.

Coming from an Indian community, I've been seeing and hearing a lot of pro-war comments, and after reading a lot of articles regarding the issue, it seems that on both sides there are people who are actively encouraging the war. Both countries have been out for each other ever since the partition, and now they both have a reason. But the problem with this war happening is that it would be pointless. Rather than fighting against the terrorist groups, both countries are just fighting amongst themselves. This hurts the innocent citizens of each country more than the terrorists. Lives of soldiers will be sacrificed for a war that does not have to take place. Instead, if both countries come together to fight the terrorists, it would make much more sense.

Let us all remember one thing, boundaries and nations are all human-made things. Before we are Indian or Pakistani or American, we are all human.

All of these wars that are going on with hundreds of thousands of lives put at stake are not worth it. All of these problems can be solved with clear communication and cooperation. We were placed on this Earth to make it a better place and to come together, not divide ourselves by nationalities, religions, skin color, caste or creed. Together we can achieve things that seem impossible, but that is only possible if we put behind these labels and divisions that we created.

As Dalai Lama has once stated, "Each of us must learn to work not just for oneself, one's own family or nation, but for the benefit of all humankind. Universal responsibility is the key to human survival. It is the best foundation for world peace."

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