Local elections were never anything that generated much interest in my immediate surroundings growing up, as far as I can remember. In fact, I can only recall the slightest of details about one that went down when I was living in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas as a 6th grader. We were briefly told a few things about both candidates, I don’t even remember exactly what they were running for, and the only reason I remember this at all is because one of the candidates was named Tom Sawyer. (Now that I think about this I’m not even 100% sure this wasn’t a dream, or some fanciful mock-election activity concocted by our teachers. But I’m pretty sure it was real.) (For the record: BOOM!)
In any case, it’s been my experience that politics– or at least their biased presentation– has no place in American schools. I remember my US/World Government teacher getting hugely agitated when one of my classmates took a peek in her computer cabinet, discovered some John Kerry stickers, and proceeded to inform the class that “Ms. Schlacter’s a flaming liberal!!!” It’s a dirty game and its best to leave the children out of it, right?
Not so in Thailand. Last Sunday was the Mayoral Election, and the atmosphere was definitely present in the school. I suppose it’s worth re-iterating that our school is a Municipality school: we are government employees; our checks are signed by the mayor (which has, allegedly, been one of the reasons they’re so consistently late). Two weeks ago an awards assembly in the morning was interrupted when the mayor himself decided to drop by, speak charismatically to the kids, and distribute posters and literature amongst them. Speaking to the teachers at school, one definitely got the impression that they all felt a bit obligated to vote for the incumbent ‘because he was their boss’.
Last Wednesday, we were instructed to come to school wearing yellow (the King’s color, and not that of either candidate– the incumbent is green, his challenger pink, if you were wondering) so that we could walk around in the morning campaigning with the kids. This ended up being a 20-minute stroll around the block, with nary a soul to see all the fine posters the kids were holding, that canceled all our morning classes so I can’t say that I minded. I also don’t know what any of the posters said and no one could explain them, so I guess maybe it’s not fair to assume they partisan in any way. But through the sweltering heat it was a nice walk that resulted in a few nice pictures so here you go.
But first! An almost completed puzzle: