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Vol. XIII No.8 - Sunday April 20, 2014 - Saturday May 3, 2014


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Update by Saichon Paewsoongnern
 
 
 
Education
 

Boarding as an anthropological field

Visiting anthropological student researcher Nina Kaae chatting with students.

By Nina Kaae, MA student in educational anthropology, Aarhus University, Denmark
Told in two parts by Nina, this is the first of two parts on her fieldwork in Chiang Mai.
In spring 2013 I was told by Aarhus University to find a site for my anthropological fieldwork for the fall semester. It could be anywhere in the world, anywhere I could spend three to four months in research. At the time I was working on an exam paper about globalisation and global citizenship. I was inspired and keen to find a place where I could learn more about these topics. Since education has been a big part of my professional life I thought an international school would be a great fieldwork site – people from many different places gathered at one place; a meeting point between national and global, global citizenship as an educational goal, and the main focus group being children and young people.
A friend of mine, a Canadian who was teaching at The International People’s College in Denmark had visited the Prem Tinsulanonda International School last year and recommended the school to me.  As Prem seemed to be just what I was looking for I contacted the school through Principal Stephen Mcllroy and Director of Boarding Linda Buck and four months later I was on my way to Thailand.
For four months I lived in the Prem boarding community while doing anthropological fieldwork, researching how global citizenship comes into play at the school. As a fairly well travelled Dane, I am aware that I viewed Prem thought my own cultural glasses. Had someone else been here instead of me they might have observed something different.
“Immigrants” and “expat children” are relatively recent terms in the schools I had been teaching at in Denmark, so the intercultural dimension at Prem was new and exciting. I wondered what daily life at school and in boarding would be like with children from all over the world. What connected them? Which cultural differences even mattered in an international school?
I spent lots of time observing the students and talking to them about their daily life at school, where they were from and what their future plans were. I participated in many lessons and the morning assembles, and attended special celebrations, but primarily examined boarding routines. I learned a lot about what boarding life at Prem was like – but I am sure I could learn more if I could have stayed longer! As an anthropologist it is important to know and to understand the people around you, and that is what I tried to do.
Using a large world map, a box of pins and a roll of red thread, I asked each boarding student to put a pin in the country that they were from, and that those who had parents from different countries to put a pin in both countries and connect them with the red thread. However it did not take me long to figure out that the task of pinning the country “you are from” was not as easy has I had imagined it to be. A lot of the students did not know where to place their pin or pins.
For the students from Korea, Japan, Bhutan and China, born and raised in one country, the task was easily completed, and the students with parents from two different countries also managed the task, but then it seemed to get more difficult.
A student asked me: “Are you asking which country I was born in or which countries I have lived in?” Another student knew he was from a city in the USA, but he did not know how to find it on the map. Another student helped him by using Google maps to find the right place for his pin. I don’t think I have ever seen a Danish student using Google maps to find out where they are from, so anthropologically this was a great experience.
Several other students were completely bewildered as to where they should place their pins.
Where do you put your pin if you have lived in eight different countries and both of your parents are a mix of two or several nationalities? Where are you really from if your parents are from different counties but you have never lived in either of those countries? Where are you from if all family members were born in different countries and you have lived in four different countries? Where are you from if can can’t remember the order of the countries you lived in, because the list is so long?
Each conversation about pinning the map made me more aware of the diversity among the children. I was keen to know more.
The second part of Nina’s story on Third Culture kids will be in the next issue.


ASEAN visit for Payap

Members of the Faculty of Science and Faculty of Social Sciences of Payap University organized a trip to Laos and Vietnam last month to study “Management education and culture of ASEAN”.


Biogents donates mosquito traps to Mae Hong Son school

A small school in Huay Haeng, about one hour from the Thom Lod cave in Mae Hong Son Province is made up of children from different hilltribes including Hmong, Pa- O Shan and others. The school has suffered severely from mosquito problems so through Mark Isenstadt of Vector Collector, German mosquito trap maker Biogents donated several traps to the school for use in the boys and girls dormitories. Included in the donation were solar power panels and accessories. The school master, K. Pimook, who has taught at the school for more than 20 years was very excited by the new project. Mark will visit the school periodically to check on and maintain the traps throughout the year. Children from the school are seen here with one the traps, it is hoped it will help reduce the incidence of dengue fever from mosquitoes.


Success on and off the field for hill tribe kids

Jenny Morgan, who has worked tirelessly to raise funds for the Hill Tribe Fund with Choo and Chai.

By Richard Lockwood
As well as doing so well on the field with the boys winning the Plate competition and the girls winning the hearts of players and audience alike, the 2014 Chiang Mai Sixes was a wonderful week for all the children supported by the Hill Tribe Fund. Many generous donations were received during the week that will make sure the children can be looked after for another year and to continue with their education whether at school or college. Six children live at home with coach Chris Dodd and his wife Toy while several others are also supported while they continue to live with their families
Money is raised throughout the year with fund-raisers held in Bankstown in Sydney and in Ios in Greece so that more than 300 000 Baht was raised by Jenny Morgan and her friends, Susie, Jacki and Ruth. All involved with the Hill Tribe Fund as well as the children themselves would like to say thank you for the marvellous generosity of all the players at the Sixes and from all the other sponsors around the world.
There were also several generous donations of cricket equipment and sports clothing as the photographs of the kids with Tokyo Dingbats and with Russell from Yarrambat demonstrate. Aree and Sangdao looked simply delightful dressed in their Taranaki Taverners’ blouses, while the junior cricket programs in Chiang Mai and Lamphun are also well supported. Every player who made nought is presented with a yellow plastic duck and required to pay a fine and a fantasy cricket competition raised 50 000 Baht as Jenny Morgan was once again at the heart of everything that the Chiang Mai Sixes stands for.
At the end of a marvellous week at the Chiang Mai Sixes, the future looks bright for the children who stole the show with their wonderful cricket skills and will their willingness to help the tournament in any way. As well as being the most talented young cricketer in Thailand, Bunchuai will soon be taking a Level II coaching course in Malaysia and he will become the head coach of his team. Chanchai, Cher and Choo are also training to become coaches and the boys will be attending college to learn other skills. Nok dreams of becoming a professional cricketer, while Aree and Sangdao are both hoping to become teachers in the future. The Hill Tribe Fund is helping to transform these children’s lives and it is hoped the good work can continue for many years to come.


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story] :

Boarding as an anthropological field

ASEAN visit for Payap

Biogents donates mosquito traps to Mae Hong Son school

Success on and off the field for hill tribe kids

 


 



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