Right to Play for Peace and Development

Right to Play is working toimprove the lives of children in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the world by using the power of sport and play for development, health and peace.
They use sports, physical activity and play to attain specific development and peace objectives, including the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). They believe they cancreate a healthier and safer world through the power of sport and play.Currently, Right To Play has programs in the following countries:
Benin, Botswana, Burundi, China, Ethiopia, Ghana, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Pakistan, Palestinian Territories (West Bank and Gaza), Peru, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda and the United Arab Emirates.

They work towards inclusion and give children a chance to become constructive participants in society, regardless of gender, disability, ethnicity, social background or religion. A team of top athletes from more than 40 countries support Right to Play. As role models, these athletes inspire children and raise awareness about Right To Play internationally. Right To Play uses sport and play programs to promote opportunities for development, teach life skills and health education and build stronger, more peaceful communities. To do this, Right To Play trains local Coaches to run programs, thereby creating the foundation in a community for regular and long-term sport and play programming and for individual and community leadership. Right To Play also uses sport and play to mobilize and educate communities around key health issues to support national health objectives, in particular HIV and AIDS prevention and awareness and vaccination campaigns.

The Red Ball is the symbol and logo for Right to Play. Right To Play’s philosophy “LOOK AFTER YOURSELF, LOOK AFTER ONE ANOTHER” is written on the Red Ball. This philosophy embodies the ideas of looking after ones own bodies and well-being, as well as advocating teamwork and cooperation in looking after one another.

These videos feature a refugee camp on the border of Thai and Myanmar. Since more than half of the refugees are children, these sports programs become an important part of the children’s lives and uplifting their spirits.

PART 1

PART 2

Thai Perception of Neighboring Countries

Thais idealize Japanese, Korean and Chinese countries. Just look around your local shopping center and you’ll see all sorts of Japanese eateries. Japanese cartoons and anime are staples in every young Thai person’s childhood. Korean pop culture, TV shows and celebrities have infiltrated into Thailand and are very popular amongst young and old alike. Finally, Chinese culture is the grandfather culture to which many Thais are strongly connected to. Large parts of the Thai population still celebrate Chinese holidays and practice Chinese rituals and traditions. Many foods in Thailand are Chinese or influenced by Chinese cooking, such as dim sum and rice noodles.

In contrast to the Korean, Chinese and Japanese cultures which are highly respected by the majority of Thais, many Thais have negative viewpoints of countries closely neighboring them. Poorer countries which have struggling economies like Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar are looked down on. The culture of these countries is seen as inferior to Thai culture and not held in high regard like Korean, Chinese or Japanese cultures. Malaysia is the only country which borders Thailand that escapes these inconceived notions and is seen more as an equal to Thailand.

It’s hard to believe that in all the years that I have visited Thailand and been living here, I’ve rarely stepped foot in Thailand’s neighboring countries. My family is originally from the south of Thailand, so I have been to Malaysia’s interior and some border towns a few times. I once went to Cambodia to help a friend do a visa run and the experience was not very pleasant. I also ventured into a Myanmar border town near Three Pagoda’s Pass once for an eye opening experience.

Aside from Malaysia, I have not ventured far into any of Thailand’s neighboring countries. I think that the reason is mostly because none of my family wanted to travel in Laos, Cambodia or Myanmar. It is common for Thais to travel all over Thailand before considering travelling in any of those countries. Many people prefer to visit Hong Kong or Singapore for a short holiday and spend their time spending lots of money in modernized settings. For those with more time and more money, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the US are more desirable destinations. 

I’ve met many foreigners who have travelled to Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia more than I have even though they’ve been in Thailand for only a few years. Perhaps farangs are more adventurous and ready to “rough it” than Thais are or perhaps they are not held back by their negative impressions of these developing countries. I hope that in the future I find a travel partner who wished to visit one of Thailand’s neighboring countries with me, but somehow I don’t think it will be one of my relatives.

Boundaries of Thailand

Boundaries

Thailand is country in Southeast Asia which shared boundaries with Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia Myanmar. Thailand is also within 100 km of China and Vietnam, although they do not share any borders. Some of Thailand’s boundaries follow natural barriers, such as the Mekong River, Gulf of Thailand and Andaman Sea. In most cases, the borders have been set and agreed upon since the late 19thcentury based on treaties withthe colonial powers occupying neighboring countries. However, some boundaries are still under dispute, especially along Thailand’s eastern borders with Laos and Cambodia.

Land Boundaries

Total: 4,863 km

Border countries: Myanmar 1,800 km, Laos 1,754 km, Cambodia 803 km, Malaysia 506 km

Coastline

Total: 3,219 km

Disputes

Cambodia – Dispute over Prasat Preah Vihear. The case was submitted to the International Court of Justice, which ruled in favor of Cambodia in 1962.

Laos – Some islets of the Mekong create unclear borders. The borders marked by the Mekong change with the river. At high water levels, the center of the current is the border, while during periods of low water levels, all islands, mudbanks, sandbanks and rocks that are revealed belong to Laos.

Malaysia – Most boundary disputes are handled cooperatively, however, 1 km at the mounth of the Golok River is in question.

Myanmar – Many conflicts along the Thai-Myanmar border arise due to conflicts over ethnic rebels, refugees and illegal drug trade.