HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Kids Only nominated for Thai TV award

FERC delivers benefit gala proceeds

Payap University students develop keyless motorcycle starting

Prem students achieve mindfulness through meditation

PM Thaksin Shinawatra grants Student Loans Fund

Kids Only nominated for Thai TV award

Ankana Intapan, CBN Siam and Staff Reporters

Kids Only, the top quality children’s TV program produced in Chiang Mai by CBN Siam has been nominated as one of the contenders in the Children and Youth category for the 19th Golden TV Awards in Bangkok.

The program’s five talented co-hosts — Tan, Nan, Champ, Sarah and Pun Pun.

This year’s awards ceremony is scheduled to be broadcast live on April 9 at 10.10 p.m. on Channel 5, which unfortunately could be a trifle late in the evening for general children’s viewing. The Golden TV Awards are sponsored by Chomrong Songserm Torathat, the Jomnong Rangsikul Foundation and the Thai Cultural Center.

Under the supervision of CBN senior producer Somporn Moolsan, Kids Only strives to inspire Thai youth to be part of the world of imagination and creativity, to put no boundary on learning. The program’s five talented co-hosts — Tan, Nan, Champ, Sarah and Pun Pun — lead young viewers on weekly adventures through specially tailored segments.

CBN Siam’s Kids Only is a 30-minute “magazine format” television program airing Wednesdays from 5.30-6 p.m. on Channel 11. For more information contact Ankana Intapan at 0 5326 2940.

FERC delivers benefit gala proceeds

Scott Jones
Photos: Becky Lomax

After their successful 6th Annual Benefit Gala on February 19, 2005 at Baan Wongmalee which raised half a million baht, members of FERC (Foundation for the Education of Rural Children) delivered 87,700 baht to Nampu Thai School outside of Lamphun.

Frank Weicks and Dave Holowaty hand out 1000 baht notes to each child at Nampu Thai School which was then transferred to the school administration.

43,000 baht covers one-year scholarships for 43 children, many of whom have lost their parents to AIDS. 44,700 baht will be used to upgrade their library with new books, a computer and educational software. The additional funds raised at the Gala are now being used to build a new septic system and toilets, expanded the canteen and provide furniture for Srinehru Hmong School high on Doi Sutep.

Children of Nampu Thai School outside Lamphun patiently wait until it is their turn.

After a meeting and lunch with teachers, administration and town officials, FERC members were treated to several performances by the school children: a traditional Thai drum group, a dance act and a singing group with a girl who had just won the Best Singer in Lamphun award. The children had been scheduled to perform at the Gala but unfortunately they got lost along the way and never made it to the event.

The singing group is led by a girl who had just won the Best Singer in Lamphun award.

Activities ended with a ceremony where each child received a 1,000 baht note which was then transferred to the school administration along with the other funds. Frank Weicks, Becky Lomax, Celeste Tolibas-Holland and Dave Holowaty enjoyed the beautiful day, the children’s shining faces, the music, dance and drumming, the ceremony and the food, while FERC board member Scott Jones, who started out following Frank’s truck to Lamphun, spent the day sweating with his dead motorcycle in a hot Carrefour parking lot and collecting material for another Life in the Laugh Lane column.

Payap University students develop keyless motorcycle starting

Staff Reporters

Motorbikes are started with a key, therefore the rider risks losing the key or the motorcycle if a fake or copied key is used.

Keyless motorcycles is an invention developed by using fingerprints to start the engine, rather than the key. The rider has to put a finger on a print-reading device that then checks its memory and if it matches, a micro controller will open the ignition circuit to start the machine. If it does not match, a theft protection device will sound the alarm. The information in the memory card can be changed, and additional users can be added or deleted via a keypad.

Payap University students develop hi-tech motorcycle started by using fingerprints.

Damrongkiart Keunkam and Jaran Kamweloh, computer science students at Payap University who developed the program, revealed that the achievement was a part of a computer project. The project supported students to apply what they had learned in practical examples.

In addition to the hi-tech motorbike device, the students of the computer science department have developed many other devices such as Zoo Smart Maps and e-commerce websites for Thai goods.

Prem students achieve mindfulness through meditation

David Michaels

Grade Nine students from the Prem Tinsulanonda International School visited Wat U-Mong in Chiang Mai for a day of education and meditation instruction. They were joined by students from Australia’s Kardinia International College, participating in Prem’s Visiting Schools Program.

Prem students prepare to meditate on their field trip to Wat U-Mong.

Upon arrival at Wat U-Mong, students were introduced to Phra Song Serm, the head monk. As everyone gathered in the shade outside the temple, Phra Song Serm spoke at length about some of the main principles of Buddhism. He gave an excellent background of the religion, and subsequently fielded questions from the students.

Students from Prem and Australia’s Kardinia International College meditate together at Wat U-Mong.

The highlight of the program came in the afternoon when Phra Song Serm provided an introduction to the art of meditation. He instructed the students on two types of meditation techniques - breathing and walking. Meditation, or mindfulness, involves focusing solely on one thing. As students walked, they thought only of the motion of their feet. In the breathing meditation exercise, participants concentrated on their body’s air flow to achieve a state of mindfulness. They meditated while sitting as well as standing.

According to Phra Song Serm, “Mindfulness is the tool to allow our minds to see things as they are.” When asked about the purpose of meditation, he replied that, among other things, it is a method of training ourselves to exercise self-control and attain peace.

By the end of the day, students may not have been on their way to monk-hood, but they certainly gained valuable exposure to a practice understood by relatively few people. In the oftentimes hectic rush of daily life, meditation may very well be the perfect tool to achieve a focused and positive escape.

PM Thaksin Shinawatra grants Student Loans Fund

Regales students with his childhood privations

Nopniwat Krailerg

PM Thaksin Shinawatra paid special attention to education, offering an educational opportunity authorizing a Student Loans Fund budget on the occasion of the seventh anniversary of Student Loans Fund. The PM encouraged students to apply for jobs at a fair to find work for the summer vacation. This celebration was organized in cooperation with government and almost one hundred private groups.

Students applying for jobs during the summer vacation.

The celebration took place from 15-16 March, at Chiang Mai University. The PM presided over the opening ceremony for the 3,000 participants of northern students and teachers.

The office of Student Loans Fund works under the Ministry of Finance. It was established in 1996 with the objective of providing equal chances of education for all. The Government supports impecunious youth to maintain their studies and to relieve their parent’s financial burdens with the fund. It has already distributed 100,000 million baht for 2.3 million students so far, successfully supporting the needy for more than four years.

PM Thaksin Shinawatra and Prof. Dr. Pongsak Angkasit, president of Chiang Mai University.

PM Thaksin said proudly, “What I’ve done indicates that I really pay attention to education, especially offering the opportunity to learn by authorizing the Student Loan Fund, and I will develop the fund to become an Income Contingent Loan (ICL). It is a loan combined with income in the future and I’d like to encourage all students by telling them that when I was young, I had to sell “slush puppies” after school, to relieve my parents’ burden. I sold lottery results and washed coffee cups in the morning. However, I enjoy working and studying while thinking all the time. Whoever is trying and suffering should see their troubles in a positive way and keep on studying because education can make us richer and more powerful.”