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2009-04-30

Runnaway Jong  

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Just a few minutes ago, i received a phone call from my staff in Phetchabun. She told me that one of our kids had ran away. It was none of the usual suspects, instead its Jong.

What happened was hilarious. The kids were all tasked to do their revisions and study prior to the new term and my staff was tutoring all the kids. So this girl who had never been good at math was asked to recite the multiplication table.... and she just could not get it.

And today she ran home to tell her mom that she wanted to work in the fields and does not want to study anymore.

This is hilarious but also just as disturbing as we do see a trend among the streetkids to take a shortcut in life when they are faced with challenges. :)

Lets see how the next few days go :)

2009-04-28

Songkran @ Pattaya (Part 2)  

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Group photo at Million Year Stone Park & Crocodile Farm


Jetty From Pattaya To Koh Larn

Group Photo On Th Ferry

Koh Larn Island Jetty

Director playing with sand on koh larn
Sisters (Nuu & Kita) playing

Nong Plaa

Children at work !

Jai deep in thoughts

Group picture at Underwater World Pattaya

StreetKids ! 2009

Giant fish !!


Underwater world

Underwater World Touch Pool

Snacking .....ice cream :)

Meal time :)

A picture with the staff
The "afro" head night !

The final day at Pattaya Water Park

Taking a jump !

Thailand to speed up repatriation of Hmongs : FM  

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By Supalak Ganjanakhundee
The Nation
Luang Prabang
Published on March 26, 2009



Thailand will today repatriate 350 Hmong refugees from Phetchabun to Laos, speeding up the repatriation of the remaining 5,500 by the end of this year, Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya said yesterday.

The minister discussed the repatriation plan with his Lao counterpart Thongloun Sisoulith during a meeting of the Thai-Lao Joint Commission (JC) in the ancient city of Luang Prabang.

The deportation was made on a voluntary basis and outsiders can monitor the whereabouts and wellbeing of the Hmong in Laos, Kasit said.

Laos has prepared areas for the returnees in Vientiane province's Ban Pha Lak with pieces of land for residents and farming, said Thongloun.

If Thailand can repatriate all remaining Hmong refugees this year, Laos is ready in terms of budget and resources to take them back, he said.

After the JC meeting, Kasit handed over assistance funds of Bt 1.5 million to Thongloun to support a public health service in Pha Lak for the Hmong.

Thailand has already deported 2,057 Hmong to Laos since May 2007 after having sheltered some 8,000 ethnic minorities since late 2004.

The two ministers also discussed a so-called roadmap for Hmong repatriation during the JC meeting, Thongloun said.

Thailand's Internal Security Operation Command (Isoc), which takes care of the Hmong in Phetchabun's Ban Huay Nam Khao, is likely to run of out budget by September this year. Kasit said his government would allocate more funds for the Isoc if the repatriation could not be completed in time.

For another group of some 150 Hmong currently detained in Nong Khai's detention centre who want to resettle in third countries, Kasit said he would invite representatives from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States to consult on a possible resettlement plan.

However, first the 150 Hmong would be repatriated to Laos. The resettlement program would then begin, following agreement between Vientiane and the third countries, he said.

The JC meeting also discussed the progress of the land boundary demarcation, of which 676 out of 702 kilometres have been demarcated already. The remainder would be worked out by the end of this year, Kasit said.

The water boundary of 1,108 km, mostly along the Mekong River, would be demarcated by next year, he said.

The government would propose parliamentary approval for the demarcation negotiation framework this week, enabling the Joint Boundary Committee to achieve the task soon, he added.

2009-04-23

STK Outing : Splashing Good Time  

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We have just completed our songkran 2009 streetkids outing. The kids enjoyed themselves thoroughly.... with the highlight being the last day where they went to a water park where they had unlimited plays on the big slides (similar to the old big splash).

For those who have missed this.... you just have to wait for next year *grinz*

This is what we did for the 6 days.

Day 1 :
The children embarked on a 8 hour journey to reach bangkok airport. This is the first time they ever seen an airplane, and they were getting so excited that ben had to get them to sit down when the truck was moving.

This was also the first day where they learn how to use a cash card to purchase food at the food courts.

Day 2 :
This was the very first time in the children's lives that they see the blue seas for themselves. Many commented how delicious the water was... as it was salty *grinz*

They played for the entire morning in the waters and even had a go on the speedboat and riding on the banana boat which they went into a frenzy.

Later in the day, we visited the underwater world where the children came up close and personal with the marine life... touchponds, sharks, big fishes, eels..... etc etc


Day 3 :
On the 3rd day, the kids took a ferry for the first time, getting so excited. But the excitement did not last for too long as they soon got motion sickness :)


Again the motion sickness wore out when they arrived at the island where they got to play on white sandy beaches and got smoulded with white powder from the party goers.

Day 4 :
On the 4th day, we attempted to head out to the crocodile farm, however was caught in a massive jam for more than 2 hours (on a 200m stretch of road)... before we finally gave up and turned around.

The children were happy returning back to the resort and spending some 5 hours soaking in the swimming pool (till their palms turned wrinkly and white)

Day 5 :
We got the kids up early that morning to bring them to crocodile farm and stone park. This place was more like a zoo where there were also tigers, elephants and rare birds. The kids were all running around the enclosures and trying to tease the crocodiles.....



The final highlight was the pattaya water park where they spent the entire afternoon playing on the water slides....agian and again... and again... and again..... it was simply amazing how kids can be so entertained by such simple things for so long.

Day 6 :
A final day of good byes to our volunteers before heading back to Phetchabun. The entire team reached safely at 10pm back in the village


*more pictures will follow once i get an CF card reader :)

2009-04-16

Blogging At Airport  

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After a nice 3 weeks in Singapore, I'm now again on my way back to Thailand. These 3 weeks has been a great time for me, a time for me to recuperate(from my strained back from Project LIVES) and a time to meet the groups which i've not managed to meet up the last few rounds.

Anyway, now I'm stuck in the depature lounge waiting for my badly delayed flight to finally decide to take off.... budget airlines and it quirks with the entire check in system crashing just before i managed to get my tickets.

Once i touch down I'll be joined by ben and the gang to bring the streetkids to Pattaya for a splashing good time - Songkran (Thai new year celebrated by splashing water unwary strangers *grin*) All the streetkids for the first time will get to visit bangkok & pattaya as part of their educational exposure programe :)

Looking ahead, today will be a day of travelling and fun with more than 20 people in tow. From the STK children to the staff to the volunteers, its going to be exciting bringing those kiddos to see the vast blue sea for the first time.

So I'll continue blogging after I get back to Phetchabun from Pattaya. :)

2009-04-13

Situation In Bangkok  

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The situation in Thailand seems to be escalating and now its starting to be marked by bloodshed in Bangkok.

Protests have now spread to the major cities in Thailand in the form of a traffic blockade.

These traffic blockades may affect RADION's humanitarian relief work we require these transportation channels to send food to the needy areas.

Excerpt from Bangkok Post

Roads, railways, bridges blocked in response to crackdown

Published: 13/04/2009 at 12:00 AM
Newspaper section: News

Red shirt protesters have blocked major roads, railways and bridges, and surrounded city halls in several provinces in response to the government crackdown on the group.

Red-shirt protesters can be seen my many up-country towns as well as Bangkok.

After police arrested a red shirt leader and the government closed the DStation TV satellite signal, which broadcasts messages to the group's supporters, the red shirts retaliated in many provinces.

United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship leader Arisman Pongruangrong, who led red shirt protesters in the storming of the Asean summit venue in Pattaya on Saturday, was arrested in Bangkok yesterday morning.

Also yesterday, the government cut the satellite signal of DStation, the UDD station which broadcasts ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra's video talks and phone-ins.

The two steps prompted an angry reaction by reds in the provinces. DStation resumed broadcast about an hour later.

In Chiang Mai, about 3,000 red shirt protesters led by the Rak Chiang Mai 51 group blocked the main road linking Chiang Mai and Lamphun province.

In Chiang Rai's Muang district, about 500 protesters blocked traffic at Mae Korn intersection, barring vehicles from entering or leaving Chiang Rai.

In Lampang, about 200 protesters blocked the Lampang-Phrae road in front of Lampang city hall, paralysing traffic.

In Phitsanulok, protesters surrounded the province's city hall.

In the northeastern province of Udon Thani, the stronghold of another red shirt leader, Kwanchai Phraiphana, about 2,500 red shirt protesters rallied in front of the province's city hall.

In Lamphun, hundreds of red shirt protesters blocked a railway line forcing the cancellation of train services passing through the northern province.

In Ubon Ratchathani, protesters laid siege to the city hall and blocked Chayangkoon road, the province's main road, as well as other major roads leading to Bangkok.

Six military companies and an anti-riot police company were ordered to stand by to quell possible violence.

In Nakhon Ratchasima, Mittraphap highway, the main highway from Bangkok to the northeastern provinces, was also blocked.

In Nong Khai, traffic on the road leading to the first Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge was blocked by 300 red shirt protesters. They left one lane open for traffic.

About 200 police and volunteers held back the protesters about 50 metres away from the Thai-Lao border checkpoint.

In Mukdahan, where the second Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge is located, 200 protesters blocked the bridge for hours before agreeing to move their rally to Mukdahan city hall.

Police pleaded with them to refrain from causing difficulties to tourists.

In the eastern province of Chanthaburi, 400 red shirt protesters blocked highway 317 linking Chanthaburi and Sa Kaeo province in Pong Namron district.