Lessons From The Thailand Cave Rescue Mission

by Patrick Liew on August 27, 2018

Lessons From The Thailand Cave Rescue Mission

The world has been watching with bated breath as divers and other members of an international rescue team worked literally around the clock to rescue 12 boys and their 25-year old deputy coach.

They were trapped in the flooded Tham Luang cave complex in northern Thailand since 23 June 2018.

We rejoice with the coach and the boys, and their loved ones.

Congratulate Thailand for the successful rescue operation.

And salute members of the international rescue team who risk their lives and limbs to carry out the perilous operation.

We grieve for Saman Kunan, the ex-Thai navy Seal who sacrificed his life in the process of carrying out the mission.

Once again, this incident shows that there are good people who would support each other and offer needed assistance in times of need.

What can we learn from this incident?

1. Hope is part of the breakfast of winners.

Throughout the ordeal, the boys and their deputy coach stayed calm. They hung on to the belief that they would be rescued.

In the little notes that they wrote to their families, they demonstrated courage and conviction in returning home safely.

To succeed in life, you need to have dreams, hopes, and optimism.

These values are fuel to propel you farther and faster towards your desired destination.

2. Lead the way.

Success depends on great leadership and teamwork.

The entire rescue operation could not have been possible without the leadership of Narongsak Osatanakorn, the head of the joint command centre coordinating the operation and his team, comprising of people with different backgrounds, expertise and experiences.

The deputy coach, Ekapol Chantawong took responsibility and apologize for the ordeal.

He was known to have put interests of the boys before his own life by sharing his food and water with the boys.

If leaders are willing to die for a good cause and sacrifice their own comfort, safety and wellness to protect their people, they will earn the respect, trust, affection and loyalty of their people.

3. Life is a team sports.

There’s a Chinese saying that there’s no absolute certainty about winds and clouds. Similarly, life is unpredictable. (天有不测风云, 人有旦夕祸福).

Therefore, in the process of going through life, enlarge and entrench your circle of friendships.

Offer your support and help others, including positive, responsible, and deserving people.

You’ll never know when you need their assistance in the future.

4. Manage potential risks and liabilities.

While it’s important to live with a positive mental attitude, it’s also just as important to be mindful of potential minefields around and in front of you.

Ensure that anything that can go wrong will never go wrong.

To do that, you need to identify potential risks and liabilities and proactively prevent them from happening.

Prepare contingency plans to help you respond to any eventualities and contain resulting damages.

5. Take a plunge to live life.

The boys and their deputy coach were stuck on a ledge surrounded by water.

They knew oxygen levels were running low.

Forecast of heavy monsoon rain may cause water levels to rise and flood the cave.

If they wanted to live, they have to take the plunge and swim through dark and murky water for about 1.7 km to reach the third chamber, a safer area in the cave.

This experience depicts the lives of many people.

They are living on an uncomfortable ledge, stuck between death and a terrifying plunge to live a better life.

If they continue to live on the ledge, they may just be merely existing or worst, be a living dead.

At some point, they need to break away from their comfort zones, move to the edge, and take the plunge to freedom.

There are many more lessons that we can learn from this unfortunate experience.

May we learn from the incident and ensure that it will never happen again.

After watching how people from different parts of the world worked together on the rescue mission, it should reinforce our belief in humanity and hope for a better world.


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

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