PHOTO: Thai PBS
Nine years ago young Mong Thongdee was a smart 12 year old kid living in northern Thailand with a special skill. He was an expert at making, and flying, paper planes. His story, and his battle to go over seas to represent Thailand, made headlines when it was found that he was just one of thousands of stateless people. This week his story has emerged again with some new hope.
Mong Thongdee’s hopes of getting Thai citizenship are one step closer as he has now received three letters of certification which are crucial in proving his contributions to Thai society. Thai PBS have taken on his case and helped to support his latest bid for citizenship.
Mong, who is now 21, was born to a family of Myanmar migrants, gained national attention back in 2009 when he became a national paper plane champion before winning the third place at an international competition in Japan the same year. At the height of his fame, he was promised Thai citizenship by politicians and bureaucrats but nothing came about. Promises, promises.
Mong has spoken to Thai PBS and told them that he has received letters of certification from Thai PBS managing director Associate Professor Vilasinee Pipitkul, Abhisivit Vejjajiva (who was the Thai PM in 2009), and Khunying Kalaya Sophonpanich, minister of science and technology at the time.
Mong said he was encouraged after having received the three letters of certification, but he wasn’t sure whether they would be acceptable or not by the Interior Ministry. He added that he was awaiting a formal letter from the Ministry of Science and Technology which would carry the most weight because it was the ministry which sponsored his visit to Japan to enter the international competition back in 2009.
To qualify for Thai citizenship, Mong needs to demonstrate that he has done good deeds and made contributions to the country. Thai PBS say that Mong has assisted with the public broadcaster’s training course in drone photography and in using drones to take aerial pictures for its drone competitions.
A young Mong Thongdee with Abhisivij Vejjajiva, Thai PM back in 2009
SOURCES: Thai PBS
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