Vol. VI No. 3 - Tuesday March 13, - March 19, 2007
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ACADEMIA NUTS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Ratanon Puttaviriya plays his Senoir Recital at Payap

The Price of a poor career choice

At a glance: Chiang Mai University

Ratanon Puttaviriya plays his Senoir Recital at Payap

Jan Verwers
Being the son of a piano teacher, Ratanon Puttaviriya (1985) must have been ‘in touch’ with the piano ever since his early years. But only when he finished high school at the age of 17 this instrument really caught him. He auditioned at the Music Department of Payap and became a student of Ajarn Bennett Lerner. Tonight, this part of his education as a concert pianist was completed with his Senior Recital.

Ratanon thrilled the audience at his recent piano recital at Payab

Obb, as those around him lovingly call him, apparently decided that he did not want to spare himself for the occasion. Not only were all the pieces on his program well-known, -both a clever and a dangerous choice-, but they also required without exception the utmost of both the technique and the musicality of the performer. Considering the fact that he seriously studied the piano for only 4 or 5 years, his achievements this evening were impressive. Nerves played up at the start of Mozart’s Piano sonata in C Major, but that did not spoil the rendition. Bach’s beautiful and often heard Chaconne followed. This composition was written by the composer for Solo violin, but has been transcribed for several other instruments, like organ and guitar. And for piano, notably by the Italian musician Ferruccio Busoni, whose transcription was on the program of this recital.

The proud teacher Bennett Lerner presents Ratanon his Senior certificate

After the intermission followed one of Chopin’s masterpieces, the Ballade No.1 in G minor, once called “the Odyssey of Chopin’s soul”. Ratanon gave us a beautiful view on this musical legend. The Nocturne Op.48, No.1, also written by Chopin, showed us the pianists’ romantic side.
The recital was ended by the notoriously difficult “La Campanella” from Franz Liszt.
The audience rewarded Ratanon with a well-earned long ovation. His teacher, Ajarn Bennett, presented him with his Senior Certificate and with flowers. After which a floral flood almost submerged the happy musician. Convinced that it still is a long way to the international concert platforms, Ratanon is considering continuing his studies at one of the famous conservatoria in Europe. We, his Chiang Mai fans, beg him not to forget us.


The Price of a poor career choice

Jon Hartmann,
Career Counselor,
Prem Tinsulanonda International School Chiangmai

The problem with choosing a career is the same problem one has when first choosing who to have relationships with. Both choices come at an age where one lacks knowledge and experience and are prone to making big errors of judgment. If one wishes to enroll at a College/University for the year after High School graduation, then the decision of which College /university must be made before Christmas of your Senior year. Working backwards much thought and careful planning must have taken place in grade11 to enable educated choices to be made. This means important life changing decisions are made at 16 years of age.
The other more important decision of what subject or career to major in needs the most careful consideration particularly if one goes to the UK or Australia. At least with the USA system, one has a year of generic subjects before having to choose a major. However top students doing the IB Diploma, AP subjects or Higher A levels can gain advanced standing and miss a large part of the first year in the USA. Decisions are so important yet the reality is many students just don’t know what to do.
Parents can play a critical role here. Typically parents will want their son/daughter to study a prestigious course from their life-experience like Medicine, Law or Engineering. They will not know about the bright new careers spawned by new technology. An animation artist, a web designer or a human resources specialist would mean very little to many parents unless they are in a new field. Yet the way work is changing suggests that many of the jobs the children of today will do will be like these new careers. Nearly all the growth in the job market is in the service industries which require people who can communicate, are flexible and can work in a team.
What if you choose the wrong career and end up in an area you don’t like, doing something you do not enjoy? Statistics show that this wrong choice will be a very expensive mistake for you and your family. The personal cost to your self-esteem and happiness will be considerable. Spending every day employed doing something you do not like will change your personality. Alternatively, look at the vibrancy and energy of those doing what they love! Going to work every day is a pleasure for them. So the HUMAN Cost is considerable.
The financial cost is equally damaging. The stories I have heard of Doctors giving up in their 30’s, enrolling in ART School and finally feeling liberated are inspirational but think of the financial cost. They have paid up to $250,000 for their medical degree. Their presence at medical school kept someone else out who may have made an excellent doctor while meanwhile they trained in a profession they were not suited for. The cost to the country is enormous and must be Billions of Baht in wasted courses every year. Tom Payne who is pioneering the Career Liftoff Interest Inventory in Thailand mentions that so many Thai graduates only discover what they want to do when they are 30. Before this they took the advice of parents and teachers who acted with “kind hearted bias” that never explored the interest or values of the student but concentrated purely on their academic ability.
Being a Career Counsellor at an International school I daily see students who are confused, stressed and uncertain where to go and what to do. I attempt in my job to help these students with aptitude tests, personality profiling, goal setting, College- University information and finally decision making. It is not always easy but for many students it is their first step into the adult world of choice and self determination. In Australia they appointed Career counselors to all schools when youth unemployment reached high levels and generally this initiative has paid off handsomely. All students and many adults need Career counseling too and thankfully there are private organizations as well as much “do it yourself” programmes on the internet. The one I recommend for grades 10 to 12 is www.myroad.com which specializes in the USA system but helps students focus career choices anywhere.
Alongside getting married then, choosing your career is one of the most important things you will ever do. You will need all the help you can get to make a wise choice but like a marriage, it may not be perfect but if you make the right choice for you, happiness and self fulfillment will come your way. The country will save money and what you give back to society will be much greater.


At a glance: Chiang Mai University

Situated in the northwest area of the city and founded in 1964 Chiang Mai University is considered one of Thailand’s most prestigious institutions of higher education with some 25,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Its main campus is located at the foot of Doi Suthep, and CMU buildings can be seen all the way up to Suandok Gate at the west end of the city’s center. CMU, as it is referred to locally have a teaching staff numbering 2,165 supported by an administrative staff totaling 8,549. Their library includes over 856,000 books, of which more than 260,000 are in English and other foreign languages, 500 Thai journals, 700 foreign journals and numerous audio-visual resources. The Northern Thai Information Service is located on the fourth floor of the Library building. It is the repository for historical publications and printed material relating to the 17 provinces in Northern Thailand, and their culturally similar neighbors: the Shan State in Myanmar, Yunnan Province in Southwest China and Northern Laos. The Bibliography Compilation Service, which includes bibliographic records of Lanna studies, is available for faculty staff, researchers and students. For more information check out their website in English: http:// www.cmu.ac.th/main_Eng.htm



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