Nations are defined by the values of their people

You may not realize it, but Thailand just got rebranded in a dark cave by twelve boys and their young football coach.

And it’s a wonderful thing.

Why “branding”? Because branding is simply bringing shared values to life.

Rather than the usual fare of elephants, cultural festivals, tempting cuisine and pristine seas, the world has been treated to an epic drama of human fortitude and challenges overcome.

After two decades of campaigns by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the “Amazing Thailand” slogan has finally been proven in the most heroic terms. The story of the lost boys, which gripped the emotions of people everywhere, and will not be forgotten soon.

Set against images of torrential rains, muddy water and deepening darkness, determined Thai rescue workers and volunteers from around the world worked around the clock to beat the odds and win.

Think about it. A rural football team of 12 scrappy boys almost upstaged the playoffs of the FIFA World Cup, which was running simultaneously. For 18 days, the Internet and television pumped this virtual experience into millions of homes and communities. Trump who?

By the time the Wild Boars emerged from the Tham Luang cave, the world saw Thailand in a new light: 

          Tolerance: In the far north, four nations meet. The borders are sometimes porous, immigrants often attend schools with native Thais and are given sanctuary in temples and communities… This stands is sharp contrast to the less tolerant nations in Europe or North America.

          Cooperation: More Thais travel abroad than ever before and thousands of foreigners are residents of the kingdom. International bonds are firmly established. No wonder so many dropped what they were doing and rallied to Thailand’s support.

          Joy in Unity: The most beautiful Thai smiles are not the ones you see in the luxury emporiums of Sukhumvit Road. They are worn by people united in common cause — regardless of wealth, position or the possibility of commercial gain.

          Courage: There was no greater example of courage than retired Thai Navy diver, Saman Gunan, who lost his life while preparing the tunnels for the boys’ evacuation. His personal sacrifice inspired the rescuers not to give up.

          Leadership: Narongsak Osotthanakorn, the tireless governor of Chiang Rai, marshalled resources for an impossibly complex operation involving police, military, government ministries and volunteer organizations. Multiple rescue options were considered and risks calculated. With only a small window of opportunity, his task force made the right decision.

          Mindfulness: Thailand is a largely Buddhist nation. The ability of many of the actors in this drama to keep their minds clear must surely come from the practice of meditation. We know the young coach, a former monk, helped his young charges stay calm during their long wait. The divers, as well, probably used breathing exercises to steady their nerves for their long journeys through the dark cave.

More stories will emerge in the coming days but none will alter the truth that we have witnessed


Nations are defined by the values of their people.



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