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March 18, 1962 - Image 14

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1962-03-18
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:. ._ .
:
::.

A Thai Student Relates

Too

Jraizei

When T
By SARITDJIDET SOMBATPANIT

171Q11and

Perhaps the University Shoi
Find a Better Academic Clin
By MICHAEL HAR AB

DEDICATION--On the occasion that members of the Peace Corps who trained
on our campus left Ann Arbor for their duties in Thailand, I would like
to contribute these Thai folk tales as a dedication to the daughters and sons
of the United States ... who will be half the world away from home to
share their knowledge and skills with my countrymen.

1 The Pasak River in northern Thailand

ONCE UPON A TIME in the royal king-
dom of Siam, when people were so
afraid of their king that they called him
the 'God Over My Head,' there lived a
'very clever and daring boy who had out-
witted everyone in the whole land-except
the king.
The king, hearing of the boy's shrewd-
ness, mounted his horse and off he rode
to the boy's house.
"Are you Sri Tanonchai?"commanded
the king, still on the horse.
"Yes, sir, I am," answered the boy not
knowing that the man he was speaking to
was the king. "I've outwitted everyone in
the whole land, all except the king," he
boasted.
"What would you do, should you meet
him?" asked the 'God Over My Head.'
"I'll try to see if he is as clever as I
am. Then I'll learn if I'm the cleverest
boy in the world."
"Maybe your head will go off your
tiny shoulders before you come to know
that. But you haven't met me either, so
why don't you practice with me first?
Then you'll be able to do better with the
king. For neither the king nor I myself
am cleverer than the other."
Then the king gave him a challenge:
"Now, Sri Tanonchai, try to persuade me
to get into that water. That would be
more than enough for your first trial."
"Oh, no, I don't think I could make you
get into that water at all. If I were going
to make you get out of it; that would be
another matter."
Triumphantly, the king smiled and
quick as a wink plunged himself into the
water.
"Now, my boy, prove what you've al-
ready said. or your head will be cut off at
once. I am none other than the king him-
self."
"Oh, your majesty, I don't think there
is any need for me to prove that, since
I've already proved that I could make
you get into that water. Wasn't that your
desire?"
Blushing in shame and anger, the king
climbed out of the water. But before he
spoke a fine idea came into his head. He

smiled a winning smile in his heart, and
said to the boy:
"Sri Tanonchai, my good boy, you've
won me today. Why shouldn't I give a
big dinner in your honor. Come to my
palace just before dusk tomorrow and
have dinner with me. won't you?" Then
off the king rode into the woods.
Being somewhat afraid of what he had
done to the king that day, Sri Tanon-
chai kept thinking what would happen
to him at the king's dinner.
"But I must go," he resolved.
'UST AFTER sunset the next day, Sri
Tanonchai arrived at the king's palace.
"How's the curry?" the king asked him,
in the presence of the lords and ladies.
"Not so bad, your majesty," answered
the boy. "But what curry is it?"
"Chicken curry. Is it good?"
"Very, very delicious, your majesty."
"Now, Sri," the king shouted, "I've won
you,"$
"But we aren't playing any game, are
we, your majesty?"
"You're right. But you've proved you
didn't know what you ate was vulture
curry. I know it, so you're no better than
I am-at least today."
Then the king, the queen and all lords
and ladies, burst into laughter until tears
ran down their cheeks.
Sri Tanonchai, still witty in spite of
his shame, contrived a trick to put equal
shame upon the king. He challenged:
"Your majesty has beaten me. But
I'm a fast writer. How would you like to
beat me?"
"I'm a fast writer, too," replied the
kinz. "Let's try it tomorrow."
The next day, long before it was time
to start, Sri Tanonchai arrived early at
the palace. He secretly replaced the king's
pencil with another he brought along
with him.
Then the king arrived.
"Are you ready, my boy? Let's start."
"As you please, your majesty."
After writing for a few minutes the king
felt his pencil did not write well enough,
and dipped it into his mouth to moisten

At that moment, Sri Tanonchai shouted
aloud, with a feeling of great triumph:
"What's your majesty doing? Eating
rooster dung?" The pencil which Sri sub-
stituted for the king was made of rooster
dung.
Then the boy laughed a good laugh.
"Sena," commanded the king angrily,
turning to one of his ministers, "Banish
this boy at once to a deserted island-
forever!"
"'Please," pleaded Sri Tanonchai, "Be-
fore I die, may I ask for your mercy?"
"Speak out at once, if you have any-
thing to say."
"Before I die let me have these two
things: an iron cage, made so that it
looks like a palace, and one of your suits,
so that I may die in luxury."
"Your wish will be fulfilled," said the
king.
vPIE ISLAND to which Sri was ban-
ished was small, and the tide rose
higher and higher.
"I will surely be drowned-I shall
surely die this time," he thought soberly.
But soon he saw a Chinese junk sailing
toward the island. Immediately he put on
the king's garment and confined himself
in-the iron palace. He shouted and waved
for help from the junk, which was loaded
with valuable goods from China.
The captain of the junk asked Sri
what his troubles were.
"The Siamese people want me to be
king," the boy answered. "They have
dressed me in this fine royal robe. But
I don't want to be king."
"How stupid! Why not?" replied the
captain and crew.
"I just don't like to be king."
"Then stay home. Why are you here on
the island?"
"They knew I didn't want to be king
and were afraid of my escape, so they
put me in this iron cage. They'll return
to take me into the palace very soon."
"How I should like to have such an
opportunity!" remarked the captain.
"Would you give me that junk and
cargo of yours, if I should make you
kine?" asked Sri._
"Of course I would. But do you mean
it?"

mortal creatures had lived in peace and
great joy.
Then one day, just before nightfall, the
chief of all goddesses' challenged the
chief of all gods:
"You men are proud of your strength
and wisdom. Look down upon us. What do
you think of women?"
"Well, they're pretty . . . ," came -the
reply.
"Is that what you men think? We want
to prove that women are just as good as
men are."
"How can we prove it? What would you
suggest?"
"Well, let's each build a castle, of solid
stone. We'll begin right after the sun
sets and whoever. finished by sunrise willwn Th t il pr v - ic ae te -
win. That will prove which are better-
gods or goddesses."
Thus soon after sunset they started to
build two castles-all of solid stone.
It was growing darker and darker, and
the sky was beautiful with millions of
brilliant stars.
"Who are down there working?" the
stars asked one another, curiously.
"It's the gods and goddesses them-
selves," one star said.
"But what are they doing? I_ had no
idea that a god had to work," remarked
a neighboring star.
"That's right. Stars and gods don't
have to work," a drowsy star commented
and went to sleep.
OWN ON THE EARTH, the gods and
goddesses were racing against time.
It was almost midnight, yet not half of
the work had been done.
"How can we finish our castle before
dawn?" a goddess asked. We have only
six more hours to work."
It was about midnight, but no sooner
had the clock struck 12 than a bright
light shown on the eastern horizon. It
was the midnight sun! The occurrence
was the idea of the clever chief goddess,
who placed a lighted lamp on top of a
huge tree.
"It's dawn now. Let's stop," ordered the
the chief god.
All the gods stopped building their
castle, according to the agreement. They
all complained, however, that -the sun
rose too early that morning.

Downtown Ann Arbor

HE SIMMERING SPECULATION ex-
isting in sociology-oriented circles.-
which theorizes that Ann Arbor is slowly
being consumed by the Detroit metro-
politan complex-should raise important
questions for both the city of Ann Arbor
and the University itself:
Does Ann Arbor still provide the re-
quired academic climate for the Univer-
sity? If so, is: it likely that Ann Arbor
will continue to provide this climate? If
not, should the University move?
True, this is not a question to be taken
lightly-nor facetiously. Staggering as the
prospect may be, it's a valid consideration.
Just as Prof. Kenneth Boulding of the
economics department suggests that it
would be, cheaper in the long run to
simply move Berlin-lock, stock and bar-
rel-to somewhere in West Germany. so
it might be better in the long run to
relocate the University somewhere else
in Michigan.
The University was never intended to
exist in the environs of Detroit. It did,
for a time, when it was first established.
But as 'soon as possible it was moved, by
the early patrons and founders, to Ann
Arbor.
Ann Arbor was then a small, quiet and
pleasant village, growing to a degree, but
nothing spectacular. It was removed from
the hustle-bustle of Detroit, and yet the
biq city was still accessible.
The University could well have been
located in Detroit, in the center of ac-
tivity, in the middle of a growing me-
tropolis. But it was placed in Ann Arbor,

has thrived in an unhurried atmosphere,
free from petty but necessary restrictions
and regulations. In short, the University
has never been regimented to the slight-
est degree.- and future regimentation
might be a nemisis.
Regimentation has already come to
Ann Arbor. "Walk" and . "Don't Walk"
lights are of paramount . importance;
civil defense has become crucial; petty
parking regulations keep the auto owner
moving his car every few hours; absent-
minded jaywalking is strictly verboten;
bicycles cannot be ridden here and can-
not be parked there; all bikes must have
licenses, lights and horns. The list could
go on and on, to'include night parking
regulations, one-way streets, no left turns
and zoning regulations.
This is not to imply that these little
regulations aren't necessary; they are.
But the reason they are is that Ann
Arbor is growing into a metropolis-
or a metropolis is growing into it.
Then, too, in Ann Arbor the University
faces the problem of confinement. There's
a finite amount of snace on campus and
it's fast being used un. This lads to the
necessity of establishing some facilities
on North Campus, a bit remote, or at
Duvhorn. evpn more remote.
The University's campus, in its tradi-
tional sense, is a mockery. it's crowded in
by stores, private dwellings and parking
structures. There's nothing graceful or
relaxed about it. Rather, it has become a
pile of buildings that aren't very relaxed
at all.
That's not a description of a campus.
but rather a crowded city-not the pic-
ture originally conceived for the Univer-
sifv. at any rate.
There isn't much room left to grow
in the vicinity -of the central camous.
Parking structures are isin un from the.
midst of a shady residential section.
University departments are renovating
old houses. In short, the -campus is be-
coming a conglomeration of makeshift
structures-both because there is little or
no money available and no place to spend
it.
It would take more money than any-'
one- will put up to overhaul the campus
and plan it right again. The University
has just grown too big for its space.

munity, perhaps it would not be neces-
sary.
MOVING THE-UNIVERSITY to an-
other location is definitely complicated
by physical limitations. The idea of re-
placing the physical plant alone is stag-
gering, for, although the Ann Arbor plant
could undoubtedly be used by some other
group (such buildings would be in demand
in a growing metropolis), constructing a
similar plant would be a mammoth un-
dertaking.
I suggest, however, that it could be
done. All further capital- expenditurei
could be diverted to the new site, where-
ever it might be. Eventually every facility
on campus will have to be replaced, and
the replacement might as easily occur on
a new campus as this one.
Undoubtedly this would require moving
one school at a time, and perhaps even
duplicating curricula on the two cam-
puses for some years while the shift was
in process. For a time this would sky-
rocket expenses, but the long-run benefits
must he considered.
A shift to North Campus is not really
the answer. It is simply a delaving tactic.
Once the creeping metropolis has en-
gulfed Ann Arbor, it hasn't far nor long
to go before it swallows North Campus
too.
Instead, the University would have to
move far, far away from Ann Arbor-to
a frontier which is more remote now
than Ann Arbor was originally, to an
area where urbanization will be slow in
coming.
Another problem arises in persuading
personnel to make the change. Perhaps
this would be the most insurmountable of
all. People are naturally reluctant to do
much changing, much less lift firmly-
planted roots and transplanting them in
a strange community.
Finally, it must be asked where the
University would go.
Depending on the circumstances, there
are a number of places. If University
planners would decide it should lie on
the brink of a metropolitan area, easily
accessible to the conveniences of a city
yet removed from its hurly-burly, then
a Michigan city such as Niles present
itself. Here is a town, residential for the
most part, right on the edge of the world,
yet quiet and peaceful, unhurried and
thoughtful.
If the planners would decide on a spot
where the nearest metropolis will be a
long way off, the answer would be a city
like Cadillac, a resort town far up in
the peninsula. If they would seek a solid
community which isn't very close- to any-
city at all, perhaps they would settle on
Traverse City.
If they were interested in growing up
with the community-as they did with
Ann Arbor-they_ would likely turn to
Alpena, a growing little- city on Lake

Huron. But
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safely removed from the handicap of PERHAPS NOW, in 1962, it is hard to
urbanization, where it could establish and think of Ann Arbor as even approxi-
steep itself in an atmosphere all its own. mating Detroit, but in 1836 it was just
Detroit implored the University to move as hard to think of Detroit creeping any-
back. The people offered to donate land where near Ann Arbor.-
and buildings at one time and another. And this brings us to the main question:
But at each foray, University officials Should the University move to another-
shook their heads and delivered the same community? There is no easy answer.
reply: they wanted to be in a place where It must first be considered whether or
their physical plant could expand and not Ann Arbor still suits the University.
where their academic atmosphere would It cannot be denied that the city is now
be unconditioned by surrounding pres- undergoing a change. It's urbanizing,
sures of changing times, purely and simply. And from a purely
So, then Ann Arbor was right for ,the civic point of view, this is good.
University; perhaps it is still right even But is it also good for the University-
now. But will it be right 20 years from an institution which has heretofore
now? -thrived in an unhurried, unharried, un-
fettered, almost sleepy atmosphere, in-
THE UNIVERSITY has seemed to avoid dulging in the slow and thoughtful pro-
entanglement in metropoli. Perhaps cess of gathering knowledge?
this has not been a conscious effort, but Ann Arbor was once unhurried and un-
that's the way things have worked out. encumbered by little regimentations, but,
For example, witness the proposed al- as we have seen, it isn't any longer. The
liance with Wayne State University which tide has turned and the waves of urban-
fell through. ism are drawing near.
And there is something about the at- '-Along with the advance of urbanism,
mosphere on the campus which suggests creeping bureaucracy is slowly consum-
that perhaps such urban entanglements ing the campus both from within and
would not be beneficial. The University without. More and more University func-
tions are reduced to IBM cards. mimeo-
graph forms and punched tickets. Sim-
MICHAEL HARRAH is a night ilarly, more and more Ann Arbor func-
who s in tions are reduced to detachable stubs,
chrediorontheneDsailicense decals and traffic signs.
charge of the newspaper's cover- The former-University bureaucracy-
age of Uniersity affairs. He is a is perhaps a necessary evil. At any rate,
junior in the business administra- it would be hard to avoid. But the latter
tion school. -city bureaucracy-is not an integral
part of the University. In another com-

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