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Muat Thai

In: People

Submitted By rbruvik
Words 1131
Pages 5
Ryan Bruvik
October 8, 2014
Faith and Values
Professor Mann

Muay Thai In this essay I will discuss why 20,000 Thai children (under the age of 15) participating in Muay Thai, for prize money, is unethical from utilitarian and deontological perspectives. Muay Thai is defined as “a martial art developed in Thailand in which blows may be struck with the fists, elbows, knees, and shins” (Collins Dictionary). It is a male combat sport much like boxing that lasts five three-minute rounds and has been apart of the Thai culture for over 700 years (Marantz 2013). This paper will explain both sides of the argument for and against this ethical dilemma. From a Utilitarian perspective I would like to discuss how underage children participating in Muay Thai for money does not provide the greatest benefit for the greatest number currently or in the future. The major problem with Utilitarianism is that we do not know the future, as it is unpredictable. The main Utilitarian argument for children fighting is the income from fighting (win or lose) that helps support the children’s families in Thailand and serves as a mean to escape poverty (Marantz 2013). It also helps boost the economy through things such as tourism and gambling. These examples show that children fighters can bring a lot of good for a great number of people; however this might not necessarily be the greatest good.
The major cons of Muay Thai include parents strictly relying on their underage children for income and pressuring them to win for additional income (Marantz 2013). Many times families will bet on their son to double the earnings, which adds more pressure to the children to not only compete, but win (Moore 2014). Muay Thai also stands as a barrier between children and education (Phunyanuch 74). Instead of focusing on an education, many young boxers go through rigorous training for potential future prize money (Marantz 2013). “These boys and girls are all under 15, many as young as seven. Despite their youth, they follow an intense training regimen, running in the morning and exercising during the day” (Moore 2014). With all of this training at such a young age it is easy to see how these children drift away from education and focus on their boxing.
Reports have shown the danger of Muay Thai through brain injuries and memory loss, comparatively including those that are caused by auto accidents, falls, and assaults (Marantz 2013). “A team of researchers recently did a study on Thailand’s child boxers, giving brain scans to 100 young pugilists. To their horror, scientists noted the brains looked like they belonged to car accident victims. They also observed large amounts of iron, indicative of cerebral hemorrhages” (Moore 2014). The greatest good for the greatest number is not additional income for families and boosting the Thailand economy through gambling and tourism. It should be the physical and emotional protection of over 20,000 Thai children and sustainability of their well-being and future. From a Deontological perspective I will discuss the ethics of this dilemma based on absolute moral rules. The divine command ethics can be argued for the pros of children boxing and more specifically the fifth commandment. If the parents are relying on their son’s prize money from fighting then it is the child’s moral responsibility to honor thy father and thy mother as it states in the bible. One of the problems with deontology is that it does not consider extreme circumstances. For example, if an entire family is about to starve to death and their underage son fights for money to buy them food, then it may be morally acceptable.
However, in almost every other circumstance, children fighting for money is wrong and inhumane (Phunyanuch 74). Divine command ethics would state that this breaks the second of the two great commandments, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Mathew 22:39). The Thai boxers would most likely not be kicking and punching themselves unconscious without any protective equipment, so why are they doing it to others? This is not how they would want to be treated so they are breaking God’s rule and commandment.
This style of boxing can also be considered child labor and a violation of human rights (Phunyanuch 74). According to the Child Labour Protection Act of 1998 - Section 44, “A boss shall be prohibited from employing a child under the age of fifteen years as an employee” (International Labour Organization). The parents/coaches are more or less the employers of these children. Not only are the Thai children too young to work, but also they are essentially fighting for free as the profits go to the families/coaches. “ It’s not unknown for kids to have seizures in the middle of the ring or vomit in the middle of a fight. Sometimes, they’re forced to keep on going even if they’re begging their coaches to throw in the towel” (Moore 2014). It seems as the children are being exploited for their talents and do not have much of a choice but to fight. This violates the Child Labour Protection Act of 1998 as well as the official rules of Muay Thai. Rule 8.1 states the boxer’s eligibility - no physical disability and at least 15 years old (Muay Thai Rules). This is not a black and white issue but contains many gray areas like all ethical issues. By breaking down these gray areas and arguing each side of this ethical dilemma through utilitarian and deontological points of view, it is clear that it is unethical. From a utilitarian perspective the greater good for the greater number is too help sustain a future for these children by taking them out of training and into the classroom. From a deontological perspective many rules are broken that violate Child Labour Protection Act, God’s word, and the official Muay Thai rules. Therefore, through the ethical analysis of underage fighting for prize money in Thailand, it is morally wrong.

Works Cited
Matthew. King James Bible Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Oct. 2014.
Moore, Nolan. "The Child Fighters Of Thailand." KnowledgeNuts. N.p., 27 Jan. 2014. Web. 07 Oct. 2014.
"Muay Thai." Collins Dictionary. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Oct. 2014.
"Muay Thai Rules." Muay Thai Fighting. N.p., 17 Feb. 2008. Web. 7 Oct. 2014.
Pattanotai, Phunyanuch. "Children and Boxing in Thailand: Preserving National Heritage vs. Exploiting National Future." Children and Boxing in Thailand: Preserving National Heritage vs. Exploiting National Future 50th ser. 6.7 (2009): n. pag. David Publishing. Web. 7 Oct. 2014.
|, Steve Marantz. "Young Fighters Exposed To exploitation." ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, 05 Nov. 2013. Web. 07 Oct. 2014.
"Thailand Labour Protection Act, 1998." International Labour Organization. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Oct. 2014.

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