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CU-TU Unity Match 2024: Tradition Meets Modernity in Debate Over Phra Kieo Coronet’s Parade

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On a day that promised unity through sport, the CU-TU Unity Football Match held on March 31, 2024, found an unexpected protagonist in its midst: the venerable Phra Kieo coronet, an emblem of Chulalongkorn University’s proud heritage. This inaugural event, birthed from the collaborative spirits of Thammasat University Student Union (TUSU) and the Student Government of Chulalongkorn University (SGCU), was more than just a game; it was a bridge built of mutual respect and camaraderie, aiming to fortify the bonds between these prestigious institutions. Mimicking the spirit of the Traditional Football Match that has been a fixture since 1934, this new addition to the university calendar brought with it not only the thrill of competition but also an opportunity to celebrate a shared history.

The tension that unfurled over social media, however, was not over the football or the friendly rivalry, but over a parade that featured the Phra Kieo coronet being transported atop a golf cart — a modern twist that sparked a fierce debate across the nation. The coronet, a symbol steeped in royal tradition, once graced the heads of Thai princes and princesses and was bestowed upon Chulalongkorn University by King Rama VI in homage to his father, King Chulalongkorn, Rama V. Its presence on a palanquin carried by 50 students in the opening parade has been a reiteration of respect and tradition, making its new mode of transport a hot topic of discussion.

Voices rose from all corners of society. Nantiwat Samart, a revered former secretary-general to the foreign affairs minister, among others, voiced his disapproval, emphasizing the sanctity of the Phra Kieo as a royal object that traditionally demands a certain level of ceremonial respect. The reaction highlighted a broader dialogue about respect, tradition, and modernization within the context of university life and beyond.

In an interesting counterpoint, Puangthong Pawakapan, a respected lecturer from Chulalongkorn’s Faculty of Political Science, offered a perspective that lit the event in a different hue. She viewed the procession of the Phra Kieo on an electric car, surrounded by symbolic academic artefacts, not as a breach of respect but as a meaningful metaphor for progress. In her eyes, the university was embracing change while staying true to its mission — an act of moving sturdily into the future without forsaking its illustrious past.

This symbolic gesture ignited conversations about tradition and transformation — a dialogue that is ever pertinent in the fast-paced modern world. Puangthong’s encouragement for the acceptance of new ideas proposed by the younger generation is a timely reminder of the importance of evolving narratives within institutions steeped in history.

The CU-TU Unity Football Match of 2024, therefore, became much more than an athletic competition. It became a stage for a larger discussion about respect, modernity, and the ways in which we honor our past while looking squarely into the future. As the dust settles on this incident, one thing remains clear: the spirit of unity and progress championed by both universities promises to guide them as they navigate the evolving landscapes of education, tradition, and societal expectations. And perhaps, in that spirit, we find the true essence of the CU-TU Unity Football Match — a celebration of coming together, of understanding, and of looking forward, together.


  1. TraditionsAdvocate April 2, 2024

    Using a golf cart for the Phra Kieo coronet is a clear sign of disrespect. Traditions are there for a reason; they connect us with our history and roots. We shouldn’t be so quick to abandon them for the sake of ‘modernity’.

    • ModernMind123 April 2, 2024

      I think the point was to show that traditions can evolve with society. Using an electric car is both practical and environmentally friendly. It’s 2024, not 1924. We need to adapt to the times.

      • TraditionsAdvocate April 2, 2024

        Adapting to times doesn’t mean we throw away what defines us. It’s about finding a balance, sure, but some things should remain sacred.

    • HistoryBuff76 April 2, 2024

      But hasn’t every tradition started somewhere? Maybe this will be viewed as a beloved tradition a hundred years from now. Change is the only constant.

  2. FuturistFaye April 2, 2024

    Absolutely love this modern twist! It’s refreshing to see institutions not just stuck in the past but moving forward. It’s important to honor our history, but not at the cost of progress.

    • EcoWarrior April 2, 2024

      Exactly! Plus, using an electric car sends a strong message about environmental responsibility. It’s a small but significant step towards sustainability.

  3. SoccerFan88 April 2, 2024

    Anyone else think the real issue is being overshadowed by this debate? The Unity Football Match was meant to bring students together, not divide them over how an object is paraded around.

    • PeaceMaker April 2, 2024

      Spot on! The whole point was unity and camaraderie. This argument is just distracting from the event’s true purpose and the strong message of coming together.

  4. RoyalWatcher April 2, 2024

    I get both sides of the argument, but I can’t help but feel that some traditions should be immune to change, especially when they are tied to our nation’s royalty and history.

    • InnovatorIan April 2, 2024

      Respectfully disagree. Even royal traditions have evolved over the centuries. It’s about the sentiment and respect, not the specifics of the tradition itself.

      • RoyalWatcher April 2, 2024

        It’s a fair point. I suppose my view is more about the ceremony and respect tied to the tradition rather than the mechanism of its execution.

  5. GreenGen April 2, 2024

    Let’s talk more about the electric car idea. It’s a step in the right direction for sustainability. More events should think about the environmental impact of their activities.

    • TraditionsAdvocate April 2, 2024

      While I stand by the importance of tradition, I do agree that considering environmental impact is crucial. Maybe there’s a way to honor both?

  6. DebateClubPrez April 2, 2024

    This situation is a perfect example of the ongoing struggle between tradition and modernity. It’s not just about a coronet on a golf cart; it’s about how we navigate change while respecting our past.

    • PhilosopherPhil April 2, 2024

      Indeed, it’s a nuanced debate. Respecting tradition while embracing change is a delicate balance that often reflects the values of a society at a given time.

  7. UndergradTom April 2, 2024

    Honestly, wasn’t the game more important? Why are we getting hung up on how a piece of metal is transported? The match brought us together, and that’s what counts.

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