The board of Ramkhamhaeng University said the school will investigate photos of the freshman initiation activities by the student group “Ram Langsuan,” after photos of young students engaged in alleged abuse were heavily criticized online.
Facebook page Anti-Sotus, which is a group that is against freshman initiation rituals (called “hazing” in the U.S. or “rub nong” in Thai) shared photos of the questionable activities. Among those are young students rolling around in mud and sand, brushing their teeth with chili paste and painfully sitting on their toes.
In one photo, a shirtless male student was being stepped on by an older man. There is a hint of what looks like a machete at the top of the photo.
Rub nong is a tradition adopted by many universities in Thailand, especially government schools. Universities like Thammasat and Kasetsart organize official, supervised rub nong activities for freshmen, but often times, things get out of control as students organize beach trips and conduct their own unsanctioned activities.
The university said that that it would take two days to investigate the alleged hazing ritual. However, he assured the public that the students did not ask the University for permission before holding this activity, Kapook reported.
The senior students of the group, who are not identified, responded to the public’s criticism that the freshmen were just “acting,” and that they were just having fun.
Meanwhile, the photo that shows a senior stepping on a freshman was taken when they tried to teach the younger students “a lesson that when they encounter an armed enemy, they should not fight back because they’d die,” according to Thairath.
Also, they said brushing teeth with chilli paste and egg is a mind test for the freshmen.
Abusive hazing rituals make headlines in the local media every year. Some Thais look at them as a “tradition” that must be followed, while others object to the initiations. Two years ago, a 16-year-old boy was dumped at the hospital, where he later died, after participating in a beachside hazing ritual. In the same year, a female student at Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University reported a sadistic candlewax burning tradition.