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Regent’s students in groundbreaking Round Square service trip on Koh Phi Phi

Asian U holds Soonthorn Phu Memorial Day

Regent’s students in groundbreaking Round Square service trip on Koh Phi Phi

Part 1 - Baan Koh Phi Phi School

The anti-drug parade.

The tsunami memorial service.

Baan Koh Phi Phi students join in the drama.

Girish Balakrishnan, Year 13
From June 20 - 27 a group of fourteen students, two Gap Year students and two teachers from the Regent’s School, together with two associate staff members from Italy, embarked on a Round Square service trip to Koh Phi Phi that would have a profound impact their lives. The week’s focus and theme was ‘IDEALS into action: Now and Into the Future’ which meant that throughout the week the IDEALS of Round Square that the Regent’s School is proud to believe in were put into practice through the service we provided at the local schools and in the two communities.
Our two main objectives were to further help the Baan Koh Phi Phi School, which is our sister school, and to establish a similar relationship with the Baan Laem Tong Bay School, which is a school situated in a community on the opposite side of the island.
As soon as we arrived at Krabi we were received by Ms. Sophia and Mr. Eddie Buranakul, representatives of the Fahdiow Foundation, a firmly established organization that works in the Koh Phi Phi region. They briefed us on some of the challenges that we would face whilst working with the two contrasting communities on the island and gave us the essential background knowledge necessary to initiate our service projects.
Brimming with energy and enthusiasm we ventured to the first school on our agenda, the Baan Koh Phi Phi School, where we were split into three ensemble groups that we were to work in for the rest of the week. Arguably the most important aspect of such a service trip is the friendships built between our students and the children at the local school and in this school, our students used a variety of rhythm and drama based games to interact with the younger children of the school and develop a sense of friendship and trust. When this bond had been created and both groups of students became one, we started our service projects, which included making a Round Square Garden for the school, clearing the grounds of the Tsunami Memorial Garden and Batik making.
All these activities proved to be much more demanding than we first anticipated them to be, but the rewarding feeling at the end of each project and the friendships that developed during the course of these activities were enough motivation to keep us working.
Another major problem that we had to tackle during our stay there was that of the increasing prevalence of drugs on the island. Through talking to the Head teacher, Khun Weerawat, and the children we learnt that a lot of tourists use harmful drugs on the island and so there is a high chance that the children at the school may be exposed to these unknowingly. To raise awareness of this issue, the children of the Baan Koh Phi Phi School staged a “Say No to Drugs” parade that marched through the island. At the end of this parade students from the Regent’s School put on a short drama performance highlighting the message of the parade. Without a doubt, this caught the eyes of everyone on the island and, hopefully, it would have had a positive impact for the children of the school.
During the evenings, the boys of The Regent’s School engaged themselves in games of beach football with members of the local community, and what was truly amazing was that even though we were playing against them, by the end of the games we became rather good friends with them! And by the way, the won every time!
We also found time to present some books, donated by Regent’s School, as an addition to their library stock. On the final day of the first part of the trip, we had a barbeque at the school and the children of the school put on some splendid dance and fire shows for us before we had to say our goodbyes to the local community and continue our adventure.
As a well deserved break from all our hard work at the previous school, we visited a variety of bays and islands including Maya Bay, Monkey Bay and Bamboo Island where we snorkeled and socialized for the whole day. By the end of the day, we became a much closer group of students as we all got to become good friends with each other.
The next morning we made our way to the Tsunami Memorial Garden to provide a memorial service in remembrance of those who perished on December 26th 2004. The theme of this service was “Out of the Darkness: Into the Light” and each of the three ensemble groups performed a piece of drama, poetry or music in accordance with the theme of the service. A very sad morning it was, as we remembered not only those whose names were engraved on the stone of the Garden, but also those who have perished unnamed and unrecognized. When we returned to school, this same memorial service was given to all the other students of the school in an attempt to make them remember and think about the tsunami and its many victims.

Joyce and Leah make new friends.

Street drama was a feature of the anti-drug parade.

A percussion group.

The group outside Koh Phi Phi School.

Asian U holds Soonthorn Phu Memorial Day

Asian U college students perform a Soonthorn Phu skit.

Students recite poetry in memory of Soonthorn Phu.

Susan Joyce
June 26 is the anniversary of the birth of one of Thailand’s favourite poets. Soonthorn Phu was born in the fifth year of the reign of King Rama I, and his father was a native of Muang Klaeng in Rayong Province.
On 26 June 2007, the pupils of the College at Asian U celebrated the poet with an afternoon of activities.
They set up stalls to demonstrate their skills at classical handicrafts, using flowers and local materials. Some of the students played Thai instruments and gave a recital of tuneful Thai classical music. Some of the boys had Thai hobby-horses made from bamboo and banana stems. Others showed their skills walking on upside-down coconut shells threaded with string. The pupils were joined by Asian U students and staff.
In the auditorium the youngsters performed Thai dance, recited prose and poetry by Praya Sri Soonthorn Phu. The attached photos show some of the activities.

Making music in memory of a great poet.