Wai Kruu day always makes me feel a bit awkward. American antimonarchical sensibilities and a Western understanding of democracy leave me with the solid maxim I bow down to no man – and obversely no one bows down to me. So when students adopt a prayerful pose at my feet … well, it’s unusual. The love is real — there is a respect and affection between teachers and students that is superior to anything I’ve seen in American schools — but its display on Wai Kruu day is scripted and choreographed by teachers and acted-out by students. There’s a reason why my Wai Kruu day photos show none of the bowing-down-and-offering-flowers ceremony: I was way too uncomfortable to take pictures.
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