Most members of the Thai football team rescued from the flooded Chaing Rai cave will have their heads shaved and be ordained in a Buddhist ceremony this week.
The 12 boys, aged 11 to 16, and their coach went into the caves on June 23 after practice and were trapped by rising monsoon floods.
The Wild Boars are enjoying their first few days home after being discharged from hospital but will have to live in a monastery for nine days before returning to normal life. It is a common rite in the Buddhist-majority country.
Coach Ekkapol Chantawong will be ordained as a monk. Despite leading the boys into danger, Ekkapol is credited with helping keep the boys calm, partly through Buddhist meditation, during their near-three weeks trapped inside the cave.
One of the boys, Adul Sam-on, will not join them as he is a Christian, the authorities said.
The military-controlled government is trying to keep a grip on how their story is depicted.
Culture Minister Vira Rojpochanarat said he would propose to the cabinet that a special committee be established to oversee the production of films and documentaries about their ordeal.
The Thailand Film Office regulates the production of films made in Thailand by foreign companies, including vetting scripts and issuing permits, but Vira said the committee would oversee content, licensing and the protection of the boys’ privacy.
Vira said five foreign film production companies had shown interest in making a movie or documentary and some had been to the caves for research.
Thai filmmakers were also showing interest but had not contacted the authorities, Vira said.
The Wild Boars told the media last week how, after 10 days trapped, they were astonished to see two British divers rising from the water and assuring them work was underway to rescue them.
“This has all the right elements,” Vira said. “If you talk about drama associated with filmmaking, it has everything. It has loss as well as jubilation. The content and story it has for filmmaking is very complete. Even if you don’t create additional drama, these events had every flavour.”
Murals and sculptures have already been commissioned with many focusing on Saman Gunan, the former Thai navy Seal who volunteered to help and died while diving on a mission to supply the cave with oxygen tanks. Saman is being treated as a national hero and has been praised repeatedly by the boys.
The boys have surprised everyone with their resilience. Picture credit: YouTube