(Update) Teaching Kindergartens in Thailand

In less than two weeks Dr. Warong's pilot project of teaching the kindergarten will kick off. The pressure is piling up. I am beginning to feel nervous and nauseated. Will this work out? Will it yield expected result? What if not?

Exactly on the first of November the class will start. Two groups of students will be the subject, one hour each. Two teachers including myself are also involved. 

A few days before the end of this month, I'll be getting a call. It will be from Dr. Warong and friends. He said he would like me and Ajarn Lloyd to be at the meeting with people involved in the project. If time permits, former Finance Minister Khun Korn will be present. Possibly, even Democrat Leader and former Prime Minister of Thailand Abhisit Vejjajiva will be there as well. If they cannot make it at the meeting, they will be present during the first few weeks of the project to observe.

Dr. Warong is really serious to build a strong foundation in Thailand when it comes to English. He doesn't have problems in other fields like engineering, medicine, etc. However, when it comes to language such as English, Thailand is trailing behind other ASEAN countries. He wants to move English from foreign language to second language in a few years. He wants to change the current trend. And with the advent of ASEAN and the stiff global competition for work, things including communication and language competitiveness gives someone an edge over the others.   

For years the government gives a rather more focus to university students. Since they are the ones who will be working in different fields when they graduate, they are being prioritized. If you noticed however, some graduates can't make a rather understandable sentence. They may be good in Thailand, but they won't make a difference if they work abroad, Dr. Warong said.

There is more to his plan than just the language. Ethics and protecting ones' rights are also on the list. He has quite a long list, actually. But I can't spill all the beans just yet. I'll let him do it when he's ready. Above all though, he believes everything should start at the early stage of education.

Thailand's first Miss Universe of 1965 shocks world with recent pic

When the photo of 67 year-old and former 1965 Miss Universe Apasra Hongsakula came out, everyone was doubtful. Could she be one and the same person? Did she really have a THB2.5 million anti-aging course. Many netizens asked. 

The former beauty queen who won the prestigious beauty pageant in 1965 still look amazing and, well, gorgeous. She could still pass a 20 something young lady according to some friends who saw the photo. It seems nothing has changed.

She just changed her hair from wavy to straight, said Apasara's manager. That made her look younger. 

Her manager also stressed out that Apasara didn't have an expensive rejuvenation therapies. 

Whatever the rumors are, Apasara is pretty. And that's a fact.

Cheers to 3 years

Just like everybody else we have our own share of ups and downs, shortcomings, and the like. We argue even without the slightest provocation, let the night greets the day without uttering a single word, and we literally make small things big. 

But we forgive, we talk, we understand, we respect, and we continue to love each other. I am proud to say we are surviving the days, months and years.

We are like kids. One minute we hate each other, the other we're so friends. 

Time flies so fast indeed as we are now in our 3rd year as a couple, as husband and wife, and as father and mother to our little bundle of joy.

There will be more problems along the way. Some of which will definitely test our hope and love for each other. Those could break or make us. I just hope the latter will overpower the former. Wink

On a serious note, we both made a vow before HIM that we will stay together, till death do us part. I am clinging on to that. I am holding to that promise. I hope you do the same.

Three years down, forever to go. I love you so much, Mommy!

Six Primary Schools Were Burned By Insurgents In The South

Everybody knows about the killings, bombings and burning of establishments in the deep south of Thailand. The news are always updated with the latest happenings in the troubled part of the country. But aside from the story my Thai friends told me; that the insurgents wish is to separate their area (Muslim) from the Kingdom, I have no idea exactly, in its deepest sense, the insurgents cause in their battle against the government. Is it really just religion?

What is happening in the deep south is really disturbing. The crimes don't just make the area dangerous. It also instill fear to the people including the most innocent ones - the children.

What saddens me the most is the fact that schools and teachers are currently singled out by the separatists. Yesterday (Sunday) alone, six public primary schools were set fire in Pattani province. According to a report by army spokesman Winthai Suwari, the attack was believed to be a retaliation for recent military operations.
A school in Pattani covered with fire and smoke (Photo by Abdullah Benyakart, Post Today) 

No casualties were reported as the attacks, as what they appeared to be, were aimed at destroying property.

This isn't the first time schools were targeted. Since the first semester of this year, there were reported attacks in Narathiwat province, with two schools set on fire in Sungai Padi district

Man has his PENIS cut off by angry mob after attempting to rape a teenage girl

I thought of making this blog dedicated to stories related to teaching, travels and information about Thailand. Keeping it as a "blog" without stories I have no knowledge about. Simply put, no post about news or anything similar. With that, people will distinguish me as a blogger and not a writer. Well, I clearly don't profess as the latter.

However, I can't keep myself from ignoring the video below. It's like someone is telling me to create a post about it - to let people know especially the rapists and those thinking of becoming one the repercussions of their actions.

Although it's no longer new to us that India has so many reported and non-reported cases of rape, this one is kind of new though. 

The incident happened in Ganganagar, India. The man, identified as 40 year-old Suresh Kumar, woke from his nightmare when an angry mob cut off his precious genitals after attempting to rape a teen girl. 

Local people heard the scream of a girl begging for help. They searched where the sound was coming from, and saw Kumar trying to abuse the girl. The furious mob took him to a butcher's shop, beat him with sticks for an hour, and later castrated him. 

People expressed that the man suffered less of what he was supposed to get, claiming that this kind of crime is the worst crime against humanity.

The girl is safe and is being counseled at the hospital. 

Thailand's Top 50 High Schools

Chulalongkorn and Mahidol are two of the most well-known universities in Thailand. These academic institutions receive widespread respect and admiration from local people on the basis of their quality, achievements, influence, reputation, etc. But did ever occur to you what are the top high schools in Thailand?

The following list of Thailand’s Top 50 high schools are based on 2012 successful admission to Thailand’s top universities, national O-net results and other official student academic achievement. The list includes both public and private high schools, but does not include international schools.
#49 Chalermkwansatree School M3 students (2013) and me

1. Mahidol Wittayanusorn School; Nakhorn Pathom
2. Triam Udom Suksa School; Bangkok
3. Suankularb Wittayalai School; Bangkok
4. Hatyaiwittayalai School; Songkhla
5. Samsen Wittayalai School; Bangkok
6. Bunyawat Witthayalai School; Lampang
7. Bodindecha (Sing Singhaseni) School; Bangkok
8. Patumwan Demonstration School; Bangkok
9. Debsirin School; Bangkok
10. Kanaratbumrung Yala; Yala
11. St. Gabriel’s College; Bangkok (Private)
12. Benjamarachutit School; Nakhorn Sri Thammarat
13. Satriwithaya School; Bangkok
14. Montfort College; Chiang Mai (Private)
15. Benjamarachutit School; Ubol Ratchathani
16. Satit Chiang Mai Demonstration School; Chiang Mai
17. Prince Royal’s College; Chiang Mai (Private)
18. Udon Pittayanukool; Udon Thani
19. Demonstration School of Prince of Songkhla; Songkhla
20. Satit Chulalongkorn Demonstration School; Bangkok
21. Yupparaj Wittayalai School; Chiang Mai
22. Sathya Sai School; Bangkok (Private)
23. Nakhon Sawan School; Nakhon Sawan
24. Mahawachirawut School; Songkhla
25. Dusitaram Secondary School; Bangkok
26. Kasetsart University Laboratory School; Bangkok
27. Suratthani School; Surat Thani
28. Khon Kaen Wittayayon School; Khon Kaen
29. Satriwitthaya 2 School; Bangkok
30. Piriyalai School; Phrae
31. Ratchasima Witthayalai; Nakhorn Ratchasima
32. Satit Demonstration School of Khon Kaen University; Khon Kaen
33. Prommanusorn School; Phetchaburi
34. Phuket Wittayalai School; Phuket
35. Princess Chulabhorn College; Trang
36. Samakkhi Wittayakhom School; Chiang Rai
37. Ratchaniwit Bang Kaeo School; Samut Prakarn
38. Yothinburana School; Bangkok
39. Benjamarachutit School; Ratchaburi
40. Bangkok Christian College; Bangkok (Private)
41. Chakkamkanatorn School; Lamphun
42. Nareerat School; Phrae
43. Suratpittaya School; Surat Thani
44. Suankularb Wittayalai Nonthaburi School; Nonthaburi
45. Kaen Nakhon Wittayalai School; Khon Kaen
46. Suranaree School; Nakhorn Ratchasima
47. Assumption College; Bangkok (Private)
48. Suksanari School; Bangkok
49. Chalermkwansatree School; Phitsanulok
50. Satit Prasarnmit Demonstration School; Bangkok

Is your school on the list?

The joy and pain of teaching in Thailand

We all have our own stories to tell. Some stories are better off forgetting as they caused us to lose trust and respect for the parties involved. They are the people who wronged, abused and attacked us in any way. The ones who took advantage of our weaknesses, and robbed us of opportunities.

However, there are also stories worth remembering as they helped us grow and continues to do so. They are the ones whom we can consider the wind beneath our wings in the Kingdom, for without them, we wouldn't be where we are now. They are the ones who continue to inspire and motivate us. The ones who never ceased to give us hope.

Get to know Jocelyn Guzman, a fellow Filipino who's about to celebrate her 10th year in the Kingdom. She gave thanks to the people who helped and guided her in her path.

It's October again and this month, I'm celebrating my 10th year in Thailand as an ESL Teacher. Working in a foreign land hasn't been that easy. It took me years and a lot of patience and hard work for to get settled not to mention the ocean of tears and heart breaking homesickness being away from home.
There were cold and lonely nights. There were uncountable nightmares and unbearable pains of getting sick but still had to get up the next day for another long day. I must be strong at all times to prove my worth as a teacher. I had to be a clown for sometimes, an actress, an acrobat, a dancer or any one that could give my students some sort of fun and encourage them to learn English in a fun and more relaxing way. I'm an artist so I can produce and design my own teaching aids and materials creatively.
In my journey, I've met a lot of people along the way. Bad and good people. From the South to the North, East to the West, I've experienced being discriminated over European Teachers and Native English Speakers. I'm not white. I'm Asian. I'm a Filipino. But discrimination never stopped me from doing good and proving myself to every school I've work with.
Modesty aside, I'm a licensed and professional teacher with Master's Degree and loads of training certificates to boast about. But in the Land of Smiles, the white people gets paid higher than me although some of them are just backpackers and no degree. Well, as years passed by, I got used to it, but still hoping and praying to get recognized and paid equally, not based on my race but by my performance.
From the good people I have met along my journey, I could mention a few. Pi Tuh and Pi Dek from Yala who took care of me in my first year of teaching in Thailand, Ajarn Am- Orn and Khun Charin who were so good to me during my stay in the deep South.(In Thailand, Pi is addressed to older people like brothers and sisters equivalent to Kuya and Ate to Philippines. Ajarn or Kru is addressed for teachers.)
Ms. Nok and Mr. Simon Jack of Arundel Language Institute were a couple, the owners of the agency, who made me feel like I'm one of them. No discrimination. They also treated the Filipino teachers as equal to Europeans and NES. Ms. Nok was not just my employer. She was a good friend and a confidant. No dull moment with her.
In Bangkok, I will never forget Khun Pii and Ajarn Lawrie of Ramkangheang Institute of Languages who were so supportive to all foreign teachers. Ajarn Jinthana and Ajarn Nudtanong of Nonthaburi Project deserved the praises of being accommodating, understanding and supportive to me. But among the good, there are better and there would always be the best.
In my current school, I found a new family. I have Apple, Suenead, Pam and Ou. They're my good friends. My younger sisters in Thailand. I remember the first time I came here, a very fine lady approached me and offered me a teaching job. I didn't have any plan of applying then because I was expecting to work with the agency that Nico, a good friend, was managing. But something came up so I called her up. But to my bad, they had already hired an Iranian Teacher.
Days passed by and I was already losing hope but I had nothing to do but knelt down and pray for miracles. Then I got a phone call that changed all my plans. It was Ajarn Orasri Sittichotti. She was an English Teacher in my school for nearly 37 years and was a French Teacher for 30 years. She was then the Head of the English Department.
I was hired in the school two years ago. And for two years, Ajarn Orasri was always by my side, to give moral support and to be an inspiration. Few months ago, she requested me to bring home the gold prize from the SKIT Competition. For a charming and lovely boss like her, who could day "No"? So I did. My MEP students brought home "gold" and a place from among 22 very good MEP schools in Bangkok. The very first gold that my department got from English Competitions.
My School Director and the rest of the Assistant Directors were so happy but of course, my boss. But this month, Ajarn Orasri is retiring. She loves traveling around the world. She's been to Japan, Korea, and China, India and other ASEAN Countries. She was in Europe for multiple times and her favorite country is France. After her retirement, she will visit India again for medication and sight-seeing. She will then enjoy her life to the fullest, stress-free, happy and worth-living.
It's heart-breaking and tear-jerking to see her leaving. She's a pillar to lean on, a true leader to follow. Soft-spoken, kind-hearted, positive thinker. She's a lady of few words, a woman of dignity and honor. She's never a boss. She's a sister and a true friend. Through her, I found a new family. She gave me a "home" when I had nowhere to go.
Because of her, I got a job and she's the reason why I stay. No matter how hard the works were, all was lightened and carried because of her. Her smiles, her words were worth-remembering and she's a very important person I can never forget for the rest of my life. She's a woman full of life.
I don't worry anyhow. Although Ajarn Orasri is leaving, I will be left in the hands of three equally good and kind superiors, Pa Tata, Pi Noi and Pi Uwan who never get bored of assisting and supervising me.I wish I could offer more to improve the skills of my students.God help me.
I have no idea how long I will stay in Thailand. Maybe a few more years then I will take another journey somewhere in this planet, to inspire, to give hope and maybe to leave a legacy in the hearts of the next generation, not forgetting the fact that in every teacher's life, there is always the joy and pains of teaching.
Jocelyn Guzman
Note: Blog and photo were lifted from ajarn.com

OFWs Could Soon Send Money To The Philippines Using Facebook Messenger

A day after I posted "6 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SENDING MONEY TO THE PHILIPPINES THRU CIMB'S SPEEDSEND," I came across an article about OFW's possible chance to send money to the Philippines using the controversial messaging application for Facebook (Facebook Messenger).

My excitement was heighten and I was already picturing the future.
Photo: Techcrunch
"Messenger’s payment option lets users send money in a message similar to how they can send a photo. Users can add a debit card in Messenger, or use one they already have on file with Facebook. An in-app pincode also exists for added security around payments," said the popular technology site techcrunch.

"All Facebook has to do is turn on the feature. The sender should then simply hit a button to initiate a payment, enter the amount, and send it. Facebook keeps the transaction private and doesn't publish anything about it to the News Feed," said Andrew Aude, a Stanford computer science student.

Techcrunch also revealed that it’s unclear whether Facebook will monetize Messenger by charging a small fee for money transfers, or offer the functionality for free to drive usage of its standalone chat app. That will be up to David Marcus, the new head of Messenger who was formerly the president of PayPal.

With about 30 million Filipinos working abroad it will be a humongous advantage which won't require our presence at the bank, and will certainly save us money, time and effort from traveling to the bank and back. I just hope they would be able to compete to other renowned services such as Paypal.

If this pushes through, Facebook Messenger payments could compete with Venmo, PayPal, Square Cash, and other peer-to-peer money transfer apps.

However, despite the publicity, Facebook refrained from giving any comments