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Life in Chiang Mai


The pride of Chiang Mai

By Paul Surtees
There is a widespread reaction, held by many kind-hearted people, of pity at the plight of those in a community who are unfortunate enough to be disabled. But a group of eight youngsters from the Sri Sangwan Chiang Mai School for disabled children has, by their achievement, changed that – instead, the people of Chiang Mai have every reason to feel deeply proud of them, and to laud their fantastically-successful efforts.

These cheerful students formed themselves into a performing group, called Wheelchair Dance. Yes, that’s right: they start out from being in wheelchairs. That fact itself gives us pause for thought, in admiration of their nothing-can-stop-us aspiration to reach beyond the bounds of what would normally be considered their physical limitations.

These days, the physically-handicapped are more positively described as differently-abled. Instead of us feeling sorry for what a differently-abled person can’t do, we should appreciate what in fact they can do. And this particular group of local youngsters has shown the way, and really done a lot!

They have worked hard and long to perfect a performance, and this careful preparation and rehearsal has not been without a few spills along the way. But, to their eternal credit, their individual courage and great team spirit has kept them going, striving to do the best they can in the circumstances. And their best is something very special.

Wheelies, handstands and other movements (far from easy if you have no legs, or cannot use your legs), accompanied by lively music, are all brought together in to a stunning performance; they have just won top place, against stiff competition, in this year’s “Thailand’s Got Talent” competition.

Their ambition, perseverance, courage and mutual support provide a shining example of just how much can be achieved – no matter what the difficulties along the way – by dedicated group efforts to achieve a common goal. As such, they are an inspiration to others, to the differently-abled and to indeed everybody else, as well.

These plucky young people, supported by their families and teachers, are to be applauded for having the vision to attempt something very difficult, and by their great efforts to have achieved it with honour.

May their dauntless dedication to achieving an ideal also be recognised, later on, when the time comes for them to later on seek rewarding jobs in the wider community. These inspiring local youngsters deserve no less.


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The pride of Chiang Mai