Last Thursday was Scout Day at the school. I never knew how prevalent it was until I came here. To be honest, I didn’t even fathom Thailand having something like that. You see it all the time in America, but not a whole lot in other places; yet, I know they’re out there.
Every Thursday is Scout Day at our school. Kids and teachers dress in uniforms, say their speeches, salutes, and participate in activities for one class period. It’s interesting how much time they put in.
This past Thursday was different since it was completely dedicated to Scouting activities. There was a five kilometers trek to temples and activities to earn their next level. The older kids participated in the extensive hike along the river to pray at the temple. Along the way, there were activity stations which enriched their minds. According to Teacher Sadie, at one station students stuck their hands into dirt filled with worms and unknown objects and had to guess what they were touching.
When I heard we had to walk five kilometers with the kids I immediately dreaded the day. There was no way in hell it was going to work with my grade. One of them would run into the street and get hit.
Fortunately, we got a bus for the day and headed out on our own little adventure. The kids were excited. Each one was grinning from ear to ear as they trekked toward the bus with their huge backpacks and scout uniforms on.
The first stop for us was a temple in Bang Rachan. Outside, there was an open area were we set up stations. Kids practiced their drills before splitting up into girls and boys. Each group had three stations.
Teacher Mon, Bow, and I were at the scarf tying station. We went through the steps on how to properly fold and tie it around their necks. The kids were so cute. They tried to keep up, but you could tell it was hard for them.
Not only did we have the ones from the MEP (English Intensive) section, we also had students from the regular side of school. When we taught them I felt bad, because I didn’t understand Thai nor speak it so I wasn’t much help. I felt like I had my head up my ass the entire time. I knew somewhat what was going on but didn’t at the same time. Everything was done in Thai, so I was lost.
The kids from the regular side were sweet for the most part but very messy. They were a bit off, yet seemed eager to be there. I guess I’m partial to my kids, because… well, they’re my kids haha.
After the stations, we ate lunch and ventured inside the temple. Teacher Joyce stayed behind since she’s Christian. She claimed she was uneasy praying, but when I got in there wasn’t really praying. I mean, yes, the kids went to pray, but for the most part people were free to walk and ponder at the amazing artwork and sculptures.
I respect that she wasn’t disrespectful about any of it. I’ve seem too many people go overboard, but at the same time I also see how much she’s missing. You can see and learn so much about their culture. She’s constantly talks how we have to understand the “Thai Way.” Isn’t this part of the “Thai Way”?
While in the temple, I decided to look around with the kids. Each one was eager to show me the statues. It was something I hadn’t seen as well, and they wanted to share it with me. At one statue, they all got worried. Some of them even ran to me asking what’s wrong, because the statue was missing. They utterly freaked out. I guess I haven’t had the mindset of a child for quite some time now. They were both worried and curious.
Music, one of my favorites, talked about the statues; their colors, size, beauty, etc. Him, along with all the others, make me proud when they use what I’ve taught them. They’re always eager to try new things. Well… for the most part.
We did, unfortunately, come across a small Buddha statue with its head cut off, and the kids freaked out. It made me remember what a friend of mine said about giving someone only the head of a Buddha; it was basically a disgrace to the religion.
After looking around, we boarded the bus and headed over to the Bang Rachan Hero Monument. The 11 men featured in the statue hold a great importance for Thailand; especially in Singburi as it’s believed they fought the battle here.
During the mid 18th Century, Thailand was invaded by Burmese soldiers. They quickly covered the lands of Thailand, but were stopped in Singburi by a small village. The village was so tiny that it was believed there was no chance they could fend themselves or deter the soldiers. They proved otherwise with the leadership of those 11 men.
While there, we took a photo with the monument and visited the museum. It was quite fascinating. I wish there was more than just a few information panels translated into English.
During the battle, few soldiers wore proper material, they rode water buffalo, and there was only a small wooden fort between them and the army. The fort was attacked eight times, and on the last one they were finally defeated due to lack of people. The museum displayed some of the artifacts such as weapo7ns, pottery, and such. We were walking so fast there wasn’t enough time to take it all in.
Earlier, when we were waiting for everyone at the monument, we saw a collection of animals: chickens, swans, and turtles. Kids named each one, how many there were, and their colors. I was swimming in happiness. It also helped we were currently talking about animals in class. Now, if they can get the entire sentence structure down to describe the animals that would be amazing!
While we were done for the day with Primary 1, the day was far from over. We still had to come back for Primary 6’s fire that night.
All of Primary 6 and their parents gathered for the fire and overnight party. We didn’t have to stay, but we at least got to watch some of the dancing. There were interesting shows and storytelling acts; which are a major part of Thai culture. If they can dance and tell a story, they will do so!
Lloyd and I thought it was kind of funny. A lot of kids were dressed up as Native Americans. We were waiting to see cowboys come out next.
It wasn’t until they started dancing that Teacher Rung said they represented the Zulu Tribe in Africa… We all laughed. Of course, Lloyd said if they wanted accuracy, the women shouldn’t be wearing tops until they’re married haha.
It’s funny to see how other cultures perceive our own cultures.
At one point during the festivities, Teachers and parents joined in the dance around the fire. It was awkward and weird. I didn’t know how they did all of the hand gestures. I looked like a complete and utter fool.
Overall, it was a neat experience and something which I think the kids liked and will remember for years to come.