Thai military cadets forced to smash smartphones after breaking 'no phone' rule
When Thai military cadets broke the 'no phone' rule in camp, they ended up having to smash their phones instead.
A video clip showed uniformed navel cadets being instructed to smash their phones at the Communications and Information Technology School.
The phones, which included iPhones and Samsung models, were smashed with a concrete block placed on the ground.
The video, titled Soldiers Must Endure, features the voice of the commanding officer, who does not appear on camera.
He says in the video: "You just bought this right? Expensive, eh?"
He also asks each trainee to state the brand of their phones before ordering them to "smash it".
The clip has since gone viral in Thailand on various social media platforms including Facebook and YouTube.
It is not known who took the video, which appears to have been taken with a camera phone.
Many thought that the military's punishment was unnecessarily harsh.
One user said that while it's good that the army takes its discipline seriously, they went "too far" to smash their phone.
"They should have just confiscated the phone," said the commenter on Facebook.
Others said that this incident reflects just how attached people are to their smart phones and social media.
They joked that this was a "form of torture in Thailand".
The Thai Navy said in a statement to The Bangkok Post that teachers had come up with an "honour system", where cadets who break the rule "destroy their phones voluntarily".
The statement said: "This 'honour system' was not recognised by the school and it was not school policy. Therefore, the school has ordered this form of punishment to stop."
A commentary in The Bangkok Post said a larger problem has been highlighted by this issue.
The editor said: "That a military school focusing on communications and information technology does not view mobile phones as learning tools, but obstacles that must be banned, says a lot about how much the military has to do to catch up with the world.
"In the military psyche, any noise cannot be tolerated because it means total obedience is not yet in place. To attain it, the bosses have every right to reprimand, scold, and dehumanise you if they detect signs of obedience. If the noise continues, it is only fair to smash it into total silence."
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In Singapore, the Ministry of Defence had a strict policy against camera phones from 2007 to 2012.
In 2012, Mindef announced that camera phones will be allowed in 14 army camps. These camps will have coloured zones that show where camera-equipped cellphones are allowed.
These phones are allowed in green zones, which include bunks. Red zones, where camera phones are not allowed, include unit operation rooms and offices with sensitive files.
Servicemen will have to deposit their phones in lockers before entering the red zone.
Sources: South China Morning Post, The Bangkok Post