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Kids’ Corner

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:
Sailors work, play with Thai children

ISR P.T.A. says thanks

Planning for the Pothisamphan annual school fair day is well in hand

Asian UST welcomes Supreme Patriarch

Sailors work, play with Thai children

Thai student cares for U.S. sailor

by JO1 Joseph E. Krypel, CARAT Public Affairs

Active duty and Reserve Sailors from two Reserve frigates teamed to refresh the faces of a local school and its children during Cooperative Afloat Readiness and Training, an annual exercise in the Western Pacific.

More than 20 CARAT Sailors, including some Reservists, responded to the call for volunteers. Weathered buildings at Ban Thunk Khom School needed painting. The Sailors gave the school’s water house, which contains the children’s drinking water, and the open-air cafeteria a facelift.

“We like very much the help of the U.S. Navy,” said school principal Mr. Suchard. “This is such a positive experience for the children and teachers alike. It provides new motivation for learning about how people, regardless of language, offer their hands to help one another.”

Getting a little help from a little friend

Most of the school’s 161 students come from families earning what equates to $100 U.S. a month.

“The children do not get much, but I think they will always remember the men of the U.S. Navy that played with them and made their school a nicer place to be,” Suchard said.

By the day’s end, the work was done and a soccer game broke out between the Sailors and students. The groups chatted about cultural differences and life in the Navy.

DC1 Mike J. Caplinger, one of 12 reservists from San Diego, Calif., serving aboard USS Curts, (FFG 38) said he volunteered his free time to help the children have a better-looking school.

While skeptical as to how the entire project was going to work out, Caplinger didn’t really interact with the students at the school at first. But, as it turned out, his skepticism turned to utter enjoyment.

“I saw one boy in particular watching me a lot. He kind of peeked around every corner I was working, so once I was done, I grabbed a small balsa wood model plane we had brought and offered to show him how to put it together.”

Caplinger said that’s a treasured memory he’ll take back to his home in San Diego, Calif.

“The little guy kind of just clung to me from there, it was the most special feeling a person could imagine. We played with the plane awhile, then I noticed the table we were sitting at had a checkerboard. All I could think was ‘wow, wouldn’t it be cool to teach the little guy checkers’, but we didn’t have any game pieces.”

Evidently this didn’t seem to be a problem for the student.

“I guess he knew what I was thinking, and started picking up small stones and placing them on the board. I nearly started to tear up. I mean, here I was thinking of what my ‘standards’ were, and the little boy grabbed what was available to play with.”

The youngster’s resourcefulness amazed the U.S. Navy Reservist. The little guy noticed a scrape on the Caplinger’s knee and ran off to get a bandage.

“Can you believe that? He was worried about my leg being hurt instead of just playing. He was genuinely concerned.”

While the Sailors and children alike enjoyed their time together, the day had to return to schooling at some point. So, the children returned to their books, and the good-will ambassadors of the U.S. Navy continued their learning experience by traveling to the nearby town of Ban Aum Pao to visit the Nong Nooch Tropical Garden.

The visit to Nong Nooch enlightened the Americans on the traditions, plants and animals of the Thai Kingdom and it’s children, whom the Sailors were so willing to help.

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ISR P.T.A. says thanks

On behalf of the ISR Parent Teacher Association we would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to the following teachers who are leaving to take up teaching posts elsewhere in Thailand and in other countries:

Elmarie Lee, Jenny Stead, Lani Becker, Ceri Davies, Vivian Farrand, Mary-Jean Newman, David Newman, Patricia Holden, Rachael Sparrow, Ken Shultz, Catherine Hadden, Naomi Rangi, Richard Rangi, John Anyan, Khun Jum Anyan, Khun Benjawan, Michael Bryson, Richard McDonald, Robert Tandy-Smith, Sarah Tandy-Smith, Simon Hunt, Peter Stead, Johnathan Parkin and Dr Douglas Smith.

We wish you all the very best of luck for the future. We will miss you all.

Many thanks,

William Devonshire (Chairman)


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Planning for the Pothisamphan annual school fair day is well in hand

The final plans for the annual fair were put into place at the Pothisamphan School, with Suan Panomwatankul heading up the meeting. City officials were also present to give support to the fair which will take place on July 10.

This annual event raises funds for children who are unable to continue schooling due to financial hardship. The committee currently has 120 scholarships available at 1000 baht per child.

Many games and activities are planned for the day including a soccer match with the Media Association of Pattaya and schoolteachers in what has become a tradition for the Pothisamphan School for many years.

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Asian UST welcomes Supreme Patriarch

by Michael Catalanello

Thursday, June 21, 2001 was a day of great significance for people at Asian UST. The Supreme Patriarch of Thailand, Somdet Phra Yannasangvorn visited the University and bestowed his blessing upon them. At a brief, relatively subdued private ceremony held in the main lobby of the Academic building, vice chancellor, Dr. Viphandh briefed His Holiness on the history and progress of the new university. The Supreme Patriarch in return offered words of advice and encouragement for the university. The ceremony took place before an audience of about 150 faculty, staff, and students.

The Supreme Patriarch of Thailand, Somdet Phra Yannasangvorn received a warm welcome upon his arrival at Asian UST

All in attendance seemed aware of the importance of the occasion. The 88-year-old Supreme Patriarch, the most revered religious figure in Thailand, makes few public appearances. A bit of background is necessary, however, in order to appreciate the full significance of the occasion, the connection between the Supreme Patriarch and the university’s vice chancellor, and the role His Holiness played in providing the inspiration that led to the birth of this institution.

The story began about eighteen years ago, well before His Holiness was elevated to his current position of Supreme Patriarch. The university’s vice chancellor, Dr. Viphandh, at that time an employee in a family business, became a monk in accordance with Thai tradition. During the last three weeks he resided at the Buddhist Monastery at nearby Wat Yannasangvararam. His Holiness presided over the ceremony in which Dr. Viphandh was ordained a monk. Additionally, he was designated as Dr. Viphand’s mentor.

His Holiness the Supreme Patriarch casts a smile upon the Asian UST

Many reading these words are, no doubt, familiar with the modern complex of attractive buildings, beautiful landscaping, and paved roads that today comprise “Wat Yan,” located twenty kilometers east of Pattaya, on the road to U-tapao Airport. However, at the time of Dr. Viphandh’s ordination in 1983, the facilities bore little resemblance to those that exist on the site today. His Holiness had founded Wat Yan only seven years earlier. Consequently, things were spartan at best with no paved roads leading in and out of the compound.

The monks who reside at Wat Yan belong to the Theravada Dhammayuti lineage of the Thai Forest Tradition. The practices of this tradition center upon high discipline, with an emphasis upon the practice of meditation. The tradition also observes the practice of eating only one meal a day.

In recalling the days of his monkhood, Dr. Viphandh tells of rising in darkness with his fellow monks and traveling along narrow footpaths to receive morning alms in distant sparsely populated areas. His month at Wat Yan marked a crossroads in the life of the vice chancellor. He subsequently established himself as a successful entrepreneur, founding several businesses. He would never return to the role of mere employee.

His Holiness the Supreme Patriarch gives an audience to the students and faculty.

Some time later, Dr. Viphandh volunteered his services as secretary for an 850 million baht development project sponsored by His Holiness. It was a seventeen-storey outpatient building project associated with Chulalorngkorn Hospital. Dr. Viphandh recalls that the ambitious project seemed to him virtually unachievable at the time. His Holiness, however, with energy and determination, guided the project to fruition.

That experience of having achieved the seemingly impossible later provided Dr. Viphandh with the courage and inspiration to pursue his dream of establishing a University in Thailand built upon Western academic standards. Furthermore, it seems more than coincidental that the site of the University among the foothills of Chonburi Province is just a stone’s throw from the place where the paths of these two men first crossed eighteen years ago.

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