The other night, I had a surprise phone call from one of my friends. I was a bit shocked because he is usually busy and rarely calls anyone during the night. But tonight he called me! It could only mean that he is in trouble or needed me to help with something quite serious. He asked me to go and see him. I quickly grabbed my bike keys and set off.
I met up with him at the Internet cafe in Paknam market, where he always hangs out during the night. When I arrived, I spotted that there was something strange happening there. It was very weird that all of my friends were outside instead of sitting in front of the computer playing the popular online game, Ragnarok. They weren’t normally like this. I quickly parked my bike and went to sit down with my friends and asked them what was going on.
I soon found out what had happened. They told me that there was a new law that came out not long ago. It said that Internet caf?s aren’t allowed to open after 10pm. That itself wasn’t a big problem because they could just go to their friend’s house to play. But, it wasn’t only that, the government also ordered Ragnarok’s Thailand server to shutdown at 10pm as well.
Lucky for me that I wasn’t that much into the game so the situation didn’t really affect me directly. But these friends of mine were addicted to Ragnarok. They usually played all night without taking a break. It was a part of their life. They told me what they thought about what the government was doing.
“I think closing all the Internet caf?s and shutting down the server at 10pm is totally unfair for the daytime workers such as adults. There aren’t only teenagers playing Ragnarok. There are adults too! Did the government think about this? Also, if I wer one of the students who really liked to play Ragnarok, I might skip classes or not go to school just to come to play it during the daytime.
“Anyway by closing everything at 10pm, what about those kids that always play it late at night? What will they do instead? Do you really think they will just go home to sleep? They might turn to something else which might cause more problems such as drugs, gambling, motorcycle racing.
“I know that there were some unpleasant things that happened such as kids stealing their parents’ money just to get their level higher and some users buying really rare items from other players for thousands of baht. I understand that it’s these kinds of things that they shouldn’t be doing but it’s really not the game’s fault. It’s the users! Instead of banning the game, why don’t they just find ways to stop these kinds of things?”
I asked my friends what they were planning to do next. Some of them said they would go to the karaoke bar to have some fun. Then one of them said that he would try and learn some Korean. I was puzzled and asked him why? He said that even though the government could shut the server down here in Thailand, they couldn’t do that to the Ragnarok servers in Korea and Japan. He said he would work out how to play on their servers! Then another friend said he would try some other online games like Diablo.
I think the government always does things back to front. Instead of trying to take fun activities away from us every time, they should be giving us things we can do that can help us relax after a hard day of studying or work. Paknam city has no basketball courts, football pitches or youth clubs. I think that the government should be more understanding towards teenagers and their needs. They should talk about it with us instead of going ahead and doing it their way.