After posting up the documentary Buffalo Girls it reminded me of this old National Geographic one.
This documentary follows two boys in the same fashion as in Buffalo Girls with Phet and Stam.
I have to say that I don’t agree with how the documentary portrays the parents part in sending the children to the boxing camps.
I’ve spoken to some people in the past and they seem to be under the impression that the children are forced to fight for money while their parents reap the rewards.
This if far from the truth. If all the family are able bodied then generally all will be trying to make ends meet. There isn’t really much to do out in the sticks other than farming, cooking or the odd driving job.
Schools are not free in Thailand either so most can’t afford to continue with education past that of primary school.
Thai children have a great deal of respect for their elders; something which at times seems to be lost in the western world. The children want to help their mother and father as much as they can.
The boxing camps take the children under their wings, looking after them to the best of their ability. They do not pay to stay at the camps or pay for food, the gym will take a percentage of their earnings while the rest is their own and will often be sent home to help the family.
Muay Thai is a way out of poverty for many of the young Thai children, it’s their chance to earn the money needed to take care of their families, to look after those who looked after them. It is their chance of stardom.