The annual military conscription process in Thailand saw an array of diverse individuals apply for voluntary enlistment this year, including monks and master’s degree holders. Army deputy spokeswoman Major General Sirichan Ngathong revealed that by Sunday night, a total of 25,100 men had applied. The draft, which took a short break for the Songkran Festival, resumed enlistment and will continue until Thursday in the 1st, 2nd, and 4th Army regions.
Among the noteworthy volunteers was a monk who reported for the draft at an army conscription unit in the Wang Chin district of Phrae province. According to Major Gen Sirichan, some interesting educational backgrounds of the conscripts came to light during the conscription process:
- 22 volunteers held a bachelor’s degree and showed an intention to complete the full two-year military service term.
- 19 bachelor’s degree holders who, after drawing a red card during the draft process and being conscripted, chose to complete two-year service instead of seeking a reduction to one year.
- 23 master’s degree holders applied for voluntary enlistment.
- 27 monks, who were exempted from military service, requested to participate in the draft process. Among them were six high-ranking monks and others with varying levels of Dhamma Study.
Individuals from a wide range of occupations applied for enlistment, which Major Gen Sirichan said might indicate that they have learned about the army’s intention to improve the conscription system. The support and care provided by the army for draftees could also be a motivation for applicants to waive their right to reduce their time in service.
As the draft continues across various Army regions, these unique enlistment applications showcase the diversity among Thai men who have chosen to join the ranks, motivated by the belief in the value of military service and the support provided by the army during their time in service.