Huge event catering for up to 10,000 people to celebrate a Thai miracle that the world has made its own. It’s a good news story for Thailand and the World

Thailand will enjoy a huge international celebration next month to thank all the rescuers involved in retrieving the world boar soccer squad for Tham Luang cave in July. The huge event in Chiang Rai will see tents decorated with murals depicting Thai history and tradition but it will also have an international or ‘one world’ message through music. Thai authorities have also announced plans to turn the Tham Luang cave, where the rescue mission that made the world hold its breath took place, into an interactive museum to recount the the story. In the meantime Hollywood film producers are already working on number of films.

Thailand celebrates the Thai Luang cave rescue of the Thai boys soccer team
A September celebration is planned to thank all those who took part in the miracle rescue of the Thai ‘wild boars’ soccer team in July. Tham Luang cave is to be developed as a unique tourist attraction and museum for visitors and museum, the Thai Tourist Authority has confirmed.

The event in Chiang Rai which will feature a contribution from Thailand’s King and is in the final stages of preparation. It is expected that up to 10,000 people will attend with 6,000 invited guests from Thailand and around the world. The Thai government’s handling of the incident has been universally praised and the cave rescue is not very much associated with Thailand in the consciousness of people around the world. Google searches and trends regarding Thailand now lead with the miracle and the keywords ‘Thai cave’.

Cave at the centre of Thai boys rescue now has huge significance

The rescue of the Wild Boars soccer team has caused Tham Luang cave to make headlines around the world. It was at the centre of an epic rescue effort that involved dozens of divers and hundreds of other rescue workers of multiple nationalities. However, the cultural significance of the cave to the local community seems to have been lost on numerous reports on the operation. It certainly meaningful when one recalls that hours before the announcement that the boys were alive that stunned the world, things looked increasingly hopeless.

Local legend could be a powerful draw for Thai rescue cave attraction

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, legend has it that the cave is the resting place of a princess who killed herself after her lover, a stable boy, was killed by her father who naturally loathed the reunion. The myth gives the cave its name as its full name Tham Luang Nang Non is translated as the great cave of the sleeping lady, and the water flowing through the cave is rumored to be her blood. But such details are not going be left out again as the cave is now the centerpiece of several great plans proposed by the Thai government and Hollywood filmmakers that want to put its newfound reputation to good use.

Thailand’s tourism authority confirms it will be a tourist attraction

Taking advantage of the global attention that Tham Luang cave has received during and after the dramatic escape and the potential rise in the number of visitors to the region, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has announced that it intends to turn the 10-km limestone cave into a tourist attraction. Narongsak Osottanakorn, Head of the rescue mission, said that the area would become a living museum where the course of the mission as well as stories of despair, hope and heroism that insiders lived through will be recounted to visitors. For now, the cave is off-limits to the public but Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha has said that safety measures will be taken to protect visitors who wish to visit the famous cave once it is deemed safe.

Tham Luang cave a positive story of Thailand, Thai people and world co-operation

The Tham Luang cave story and rescue hit a nerve when the news reached the world that the Thai school boys were alive. It was a stunning announcement that took many people around te world by surprise.The involvement of foreigners, notably the two British cave divers who found the boys, who are not even professionals, gives the story added meaning. The tragedy of the ex Thai navy seal, who volunteered to help, makes the story a very poignant one for Thai people who have a heightened sense of national consciousness and sense of belonging to each other.

An authentic story of inspiration and legend

Around the world, it is not uncommon for places associated with great tragedy and suffering to become huge tourist draws. Of course would be wrong to heighten the significance of the venue with false hyperbole. Many of the world’s greatest tourist attractions are places that recorded history and in most cases, are scenes of massive devastation and human misery. Tham Luang cave, where a miracle rather than a catastrophe occured witnessed by the world in the age of social media, is a story of ordinary people doing the extraordinary, of Thai people working with foreigners but also a story of Thai heroes in the context of an ancient Thai legend. One of the striking features of the story so far is the selfless way all involved have behaved. This authenticity has been preserved carried forward by the handling of the boys after their rescue and restrained media intrusion.

Hollywood film impresarios vying for the right angle

Unsurprisingly, a lot of Hollywood film producers are also competing with each for the rights to make a feature film about the rescue effort. The most active player of them is Michael Scott, the co-founder of Pure Flix Entertainment that is behind the Christian inspirational ‘God’s Not Dead’ series. He and his team are recently reported to be in Thailand, preparing for a film adaptation plan. ‘We realized that this would make an incredibly inspiring movie,’ Mr. Scott said. His project is likely to revolve around the heroism and bravery of the two British divers who discovered the boys. Mr. Scott also added that the film project was personal to him as his Thai wife had spent her childhood with Saman Gunan, the former Thai Navy Seal member and the only diver to die during the mission. Mr. Scott didn’t hesitate to speak his mind when asked whether it was insensitive to produce a film about the mission while the rescued boys were barely out of the hospital. ‘There’s going to be other production companies coming in so we have to act pretty quickly,’he said. There is a lot of truth in Mr. Scott’s remark.

LA film company wants to make film focused on Thai characters

Ivanhoe Pictures, a motion picture and television production company based in Los Angeles, said that it had been officially chosen by the Thai government develop a film based on the cave rescue. It also revealed that the film might be directed by Jon Chu, director of ‘Now You See Me 2’ and the upcoming ‘Crazy Rich Asians’.

Contrary to Mr. Scott’s potential approach, Mr. Chu made it clear that his film would put emphasis on Thai characters. ‘I refuse to let Hollywood #whitewashout the Thai Cave rescue story!’ he wrote on Twitter.

Past films on world events have had mixed results

Thought nobody was caught off guard by the speed at which the rescue was exploited by Hollywood, people can’t help criticizing the move to adapt a tragedy into a big screen production while the horrible memories and experiences are still fresh. Nevertheless, it should be noted that there are a large number of films that are produced not long after the true events or disasters on which there are based happened, and that they are variously received by fans and critics.

The 2016 ‘Patriots Day’ that focused on the police search for the attackers right after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing ignited angry fan reaction, especially from people living in Boston. On the other hand, the 2017 ‘Stronger’ that told the story of Jeff Bauman, who lost his legs in the bombing, made a more favorable impression on movie-goers and also scored well with the critics. But the best cautionary tale is ‘The 33,’ a film based on the 2010 mining disaster in Chile. It received mixed reviews from critics and was a box office disaster.