Red and black cards held the fate of more than 600 Pattaya-area men who lined up in Banglamung to see if they would be conscripted into Thailand’s military.
The Royal Thai Army and Navy sought 185 new cadets at their annual conscription event April 10 at Banglamung Community Center. All Thai male nationals at age 21 must submit themselves for the draft, although many are turned away for not meeting physical requirements, excused for educational reasons or dismissed due to too many applicants.
The men from Nongprue, Huay Yai, Nong Plalai, Khao Maikaew, Takientia, and Pong sub-districts excitedly completed applications, took blood tests and physicals, and were measured for height and weight. Sixty-four of the 628 applicants were disqualified for health reasons, 44 joined as volunteers and another 142 requested postponements due to educational or religious commitments.
Maj. Phanom Prayudram of the 14th Military Circle in Chonburi and officials from the Naval Recruit Training Center in Sattahip then screened the rest, seeking to fill 87 Army slots and 98 Navy billets.
The decision came down to a drawing of cards; red meant conscription and black excused them. Families cheered on the drawing much like a sporting event and, for many, a red card was welcomed.
Indian-Thai Mohammad Arif Aaram, a student at Thai ITOH Technology College, said he was delighted to pull a red card and carry out his responsibility for serving the nation. He challenged his younger classmates to step up next year and try their luck.