Imagine a young, beautiful teenager, well-protected by
her family comprising of doctors at CMU’s Faculty of Agriculture, being
offered a scholarship at the Lester B. Pearson United World College in
the winner of the 2004 Yamaha Music Contest, played Chopin in a way which
would have had Chopin blush! Anand is a student at CMU at the faculty of
Janepicha Cheva-Isarakul, better know as ‘Bambi’,
became one of 200 students from 80 countries, and finalized her Bachelor’s
degree at Lester Pearson College after two years. “I obviously went
through culture shock, when I found myself coming from Thailand to a
first-world country. It was challenging, but I could handle it, as I was
prepared to adjust”, said Bambi.
brought all this talent together on one stage and filled the room twice in
Being a top student, she was offered an additional year
as a volunteer, but this time in Uganda, in the middle of the Dark African
continent. Along with four other fellow students from four different
countries, she accepted the offer, rented a house, and instantly became a
teacher and constructor. “That was obviously my next culture shock, but
with Uganda being a third-world country, the impact on me was more severe,
and I was struggling in the beginning to find my way around. It was heart
breaking and shocking to see those people being happy with the circumstances
life has to offer for them, and for the first time in my life I saw how
‘real life’ can be,” said Bambi.
She struggled not only with being named ‘Mzungo’ (a
white person, the equivalent of ‘Farang’ in Thailand), she also found it
quite disturbing being harassed by some of the male inhabitants of the
village, who apparently found her an attractive young girl. “This quieted
down after a short period, especially if people realized that I was there to
assist and help them, by teaching young kids the English language,
mathematics and other useful stuff, and by being a hands-on person,
constructing walls, sweeping floors, and cleaning rubbish bins,” she
laughed. They soon got used to each other, and the little dark skinned
children were literally hanging on Bambi’s arms and legs, and soon treated
her as being one of their family.
Her Ugandan time came to a scheduled end after eight
months, and Bambi returned to Chiang Mai, to briefly catch up with her
family, before moving on to Missouri, USA, to continue her studies.
Not wasting any time, and still having Uganda in the back
of her mind, she thought about how to raise funds for ‘her’ children
back there. The venue was found quickly after receiving a very special offer
from Gong Dee’s Khun Vichit, and by contacting her old friends, these days
spread over all major universities in Chiang Mai, and a program full of
musical highlights was adapted, developed and practiced, and the evening was
set for a double performance with the enthusiastic students and their
In his address, Honorary German Consul, Hagen Dirksen,
said that if he would have a say, he would make all of the evenings’
participants UN ambassadors. The recent AIDS World Conference in Bangkok had
shown that the world has become a very small and extremely interconnected
place, and that Bambi’s effort is highly commendable.
The program itself showed a great variety of music and
dance, with performances ranging from soloists to group activities, and from
classical Vivaldi violin pieces to Al Jarreau’s laid back and smooth jazz
Both the afternoon and evening shows were sold out, and
Bambi, with tears in her eyes, was overwhelmed by the response and support
she had received for this event.
The music we enjoyed that evening was, in some cases, much more
professional than what we hear in local restaurants and hotel bars, and the
enthusiasm of the students, as well as their interaction with the audience,
was a very refreshing experience. A sensational evening which certainly
deserves a ’10 out of 10'.
the second show with VIPs and all participants.