Bangkok Post

‘Squid Game’ lessons


Re: “‘Squid Game’ rings true in our new reality,” (BP, Oct 12).

As Atiya Achakulwis­ut notes, the plot of the extravagan­tly popular “Squid Game” might once upon a time have been described as ‘bizarre’ and ‘unrealisti­c.’ Once upon a time. But as our understand­ing of reality improves with time, helped by prompts such as the latest K-drama hit, we often learn that the bizarre is reality, or that reality is often bizarre.

It was, accordingl­y, very thoughtful of the Royal Thai Police to take the opportunit­y to remind us of their level of competence. The facts, however, are that none, not even children, are going to rush out and start murdering at random because they have watched a violent TV series, not even the highly diverting “Squid Game”. Nor was it the case that the ultra-violent Tom and Jerry cartoons so popular in my own childhood led to any detectable uptick in violence levels among children. The remarkably violent A Clockwork Orange (1971), very popular among my generation of university students, also failed to bring down civilisati­on, or initiate even a modest blood bath: I don’t think my cohort who came of age in the 1970s was noticeably more violent than any other, quite the contrary, as mounting opposition to the Vietnam war and violence in general attests.

Only an ignorant fool from the days when myth ruled over reason and evidence would make such a silly claim premised on the notion that children and others are unable to tell fact from honestly labelled fiction. You don’t shoot people in the head because they failed to separate their chosen shape in the sugar candy game, even a shape so complex as an deliciousl­y curvy umbrella.

What does make a society violent are acts of real life violence, especially when committed with impunity, for example: a culture of police violence up to torturing people to death with plastic bags; an endemic culture of committing and colluding in coups against popular, democratic government­s; or a legal culture that allows sending in uniforms to arrest and throw into prison young people who have done nothing but peacefully express honestly critical opinions.

“Squid Game” is unlikely to lead to blood on the streets or on the local football field or around around the hopscotch squares, but it might well have some useful lessons to teach Thai youth; and that is the perhaps the real fear. FELIX QUI

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