TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A team of three teenage Buddhist monks won a Speed Drifters e-sports event in Thailand on Monday (Aug. 19), sparking controversy over whether it was appropriate to wear orange robes to the competition, Coconuts Bangkok reports.
The three novice monks hail from Balee Sathit Suksa, a Buddhist school in northern Thailand. They were not the only religious students competing in the racing game contests held on the Khon Kaen University campus, but they were certainly the best players, drawing both plaudits and criticism in the event.
“The novices wanted to try entering the competition, so we gave them that opportunity. We didn’t expect to actually win,” Kokkiad Chaisamchareonlap, an academic coordinator at the school, told Coconuts Bangkok.
However, not everyone is happy for the robed champions. Some on social media are criticizing them for wearing their Buddhist garb during the competition, seemingly contradicting the strict abstention a Buddhist monk should follow.
Kokkiad thinks otherwise, saying “The novices are just children. Like other people their age they need to grow, develop their skills and explore their interests.”
“We wanted to give the students an opportunity. A lot of them don’t have that, coming from poor families or broken homes,” Kokkiad added.
The young monks receive religious education for 20 hours a week at Balee Sathit Suksa, while the rest of the time is devoted to normal studies, including computer lessons, where the three novices were first exposed to e-sports. Kokkiad said that they trained themselves in their spare time and should not be attacked for their devotion.
Novice monks awarded after winning Speed Drifters e-sports competition (Facebook photo)