PHUKET: Hope and nostalgia, vivid memories and plans for a bright future, words of inspiration and inside jokes, bright smiles and rivers of tears – all this was present in abundance during the British International School Phuket (BISP) Graduation Ceremony for the Class of 2014 on Tuesday, May 27.
Honored by the Governor of Phuket, Maitri Inthusut, British Honorary Consul in Phuket Martin Carpenter, representatives of the Ministry of Education, and a number of local VIPs – the ceremony saw 29 BISP students celebrate this important milestone in their young lives.
The inspirational keynote speech was delivered by BISP alumnae, Assistant Managing Director at Manmeebooks, Kim Chongsatitwatana. Her speech provided plenty of motivation, not only for the graduates, but for all the guests, parents and teachers who filled the school’s vast auditorium. Asking the students to keep their hearts open and warning them against arrogance, she used quotations from the likes of Cicero to convince the graduates to “make a difference” and work for social change.
But perhaps it was the speeches by the students themselves, namely the Head Boy and Girl students, Luke Phillips and Bao Han Tran Le, that won the audience’s warmest reception. Sharing common memories of campus life with their schoolmates, Luke and Bao touched the hearts of their friends while reminding them “not to lose themselves” in their constant strive to move forward.
And forward they will go. This year’s graduates will continue their education in universities around the globe – the UK, Sweden, Singapore, Korea, Australia, the US and elsewhere – in fields ranging from fashion design and hospitality management to psychology and bio-medicine.
Did their experiences at the school prepare them for grown-up life? For Luke Phillips the answer is yes. “The broad syllabus helps a lot. You take math, you take a foreign language, you take English and humanities, and it really helps you become a well-rounded individual,” he said.
His friend Bao Han Tran Le agreed, adding that being the Head Student was of great benefit too. “We had to be good role models for the younger kids, which taught us how to conduct ourselves, how to speak in public and more.”
The confidence with which she delivered her graduation speech proved she’s right, but is it enough to improve the world we live in? Cautious optimism best describes Bao Han’s reply.
“Changing the world is such a grandiose idea, I believe we should start by improving ourselves, and then our communities, which is at this time Phuket, and then Thailand and only then the world. But maybe 10 years down the line, you’ll see me changing the world,” she said, smiling.
However, it wasn’t the distant future that occupied the young minds the most that day, but rather the past memories of their school years.
“I’ve been here for 13 years, all of my schooling life,” said Luke, “This school is the only place I really know – so I’m excited to visit new places and explore new opportunities, but I’ll miss this familiarity,” he explained.
Both Luke and Bao Han didn’t spare kind words when talking about their BISP experience.
“From outside it looks like a really big school, but once you’re in, you understand that the small student-to-teacher ratio really helps you become an individual. You’re not just one of many in the class,” said Luke, while Bao added that the endless opportunities for personal development that the school provides is what makes it special.
On stage, prizes were awarded to the most hardworking of the IB students, including the Theory of Knowledge award for Liam Kealy, Extended Essay award for Nathanon Khanijow and Valedictorian award for Piers Grassman, among others. After the ceremony, food was served in the school hall and soon after, mortarboards flew high into the air. The BISP Graduation Ceremony has ended, but for the graduates, the future has only just begun.
— Maciek Klimowicz
‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people
On October 18, the ‘Always Smile Journey’ group and its partners will host an exhibition with plenty of fun activities at the Yak Yai Market, near Chalong Circle, in Phuket. This event was designed to raise funds to provide free English classes for underprivileged people on the island of Phuket on Saturdays and Sundays. The group does not accept donations but aims to raise money through the sales of the products available at the event.
From 2 pm to 8 pm, there will be a number of artists, musicians and performers who will keep the attendees entertained along the way. There will be a short film about His Majesty King Rama 9 as well as fun activities and games for kids and families, which are all free of charge.
The big bike crew is also a part of this event. They will ride a parade from Rawai Beach heading to the market and showcase their gorgeous two-wheel buddies.
One of the highlights of the Always Smile Journey exhibition is the ‘Happening’ artists group, who will draw and paint a picture of the His Majesty King Rama 9 under the name ‘Street Art King Bhumibol’ on a 4×10 meter sign live at the event so the guests will experience this large-scale art in action. The Happening will also offer portrait sketching for the participants.
There will also be some western menus available at the event which will be donated to underprivileged children.
This free English class project has over seven years of experience through its cooperation working with individuals and other charity organizations. Throughout the years, the group visited several areas such as Ban Laem Hoy School, Ban Bopud School and Ban Angthong School in Samui, Surat Thani province, Ban Bueng Ao Oun School and Ban Kakoh Rayong, in Surin province, Jalae Village of Lahu (Muser) in Chiang Rai province, as well as community education centers in Siem Reap, Cambodia and in Luang Prabang, in Laos.
This event is a cooperation between several groups, including Happening, Yak Yai Market and Arrow Media, Tattoo artist group, Thonburi Art School Alumni, International School of Tourism, Suratthani Rajabhat University, big bike group from Phuket, artists/performers/musicians from many provinces as well as several businesses across Phuket.
21% of Thai teenagers are gambling
PHOTO: Gambling, local style, Rai Et, north-east Thailand – Pinterest
Early in October the Thai Health Promotion Foundation met to discuss the gambling situation in Thailand in 2019. Also present were the Centre for Gambling Studies, Stop Gambling Foundation and related groups.
The meeting was set up after a report revealed that more than half (57%) of the Thai population, or 30.42 million people, gamble. The director-general of the Centre for Gambling Studies at Chulalongkorn University shared the report, which was based on data from a survey of 44,050 people across 77 provinces.
The figure is an increase of 1.49 million people from 2017. While most Thai gamblers are of working age, 2.4% of the total were aged between 15-18 years. This means that 21% of that age group are gambling.
According to California’s Council on Problem Gambling, youth, like everyone else, gamble for many reasons, including entertainment; socialisation; competition; loneliness, and boredom; to get rich quick; to impress others; be the centre of attention; make new friends, and because winning provides an instant, temporary boost of confidence.
“The California Council on Problem Gambling lists depression as one reason youth turn to gambling, noting that depression can just as easily be an effect as a cause. This is especially important to note in a country like Thailand.”
In an article in The ASEAN Post, it was noted that in December 2017, Thailand’s Department of Mental Health (DMH) reported that an estimated one million teenagers are believed to suffer from depression, many of whom go untreated, with two million more are at risk, making upward of three million among a population of eight million teens then.
The DMH said that stress and anxiety may affect a student’s ability to concentrate and perform well at school, and they may show several warning signs, such as lack of attention, loss of interest in daily activities, lethargy, sadness, and sleeping issues.
“It is clear from studies that depression and gambling go hand-in-hand: the unfortunate case in Thailand is that it is affecting children too.”
SOURCE: The ASEAN Post
Professor: Military government too interested in tourism – not people’s welfare
A professor of Rangsit University has criticised the previous military government for focusing too much on tourism and not enough on the welfare of the Thai people. The professor was speaking at Chulalongkorn University at a seminar discussing street stalls and urban development.
She questioned the National Council for Peace and Order’s policy of clearing street vendors in all but a few areas such as Yaowarat and Khao San Road that mainly cater to tourists.
She claimed that the NCPO – in power since the coup of 2014 until this year’s election – was more interested in economic development through tourism than in the welfare of the public.
Having affordable street food options was not just about tourism, she said, it was vital for poor workers who have migrated from the countryside, adding that it was part of an informal rather than a formal economy.
“For years people had earned their living from selling goods and services, including food, on the streets.”
This in turn provided an affordable option to eat for workers who came to Bangkok on for large investment projects. The issue, she said, was not just about tourism but the wider economy that might benefit.
The professor noted that CNN had once called Bangkok the best place in the world for street food but this had changed with the sanitized food trucks that have appeared since stalls and vendors were banned from most areas.
The Thaiger notes that banning street vendors has divided the capital. Many are happy that the sidewalks are easier to navigate, but others – including tourists – have said that the lifeblood and character of the city has suffered.
SOURCE: Naew Na | ThaiVisa Forum
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