Steve and Jemjahn go to Thailand, 2003


Home page

1. I Agreed to What?

2. Flight to Bangkok

3. Bangkok, at Last

4. The King's Birthday

5. Jem's Old Home in the Village

6. New Rice Storage House

7. Rice = Money

8. Mealtime

9. Jem's Family

10. Impressions of the Village

11. The Mall in Korat

12. Gordon and Pu

13. Pink Palace

14. Village Elementary School

15. Two Temples

16. Visiting Cousin Loy

17. Jem and Village Headman

18. Phimai

19. Back to Bangkok

20. Looking for Our Old House

21. Shopping

22. Thai People, My Impressions

23. Photography

24. Language

25. Flight Back Home

Kohn's Corner      

14. Village Elementary School

Outside the village, just a 5-minute walk from the house, was its elementary school. One morning Jem and I went there to see the children form up for class.

After giggling and running around in the large field in front of the school, the children gathered into a large formation, prompted by a whistle from a teacher, and organized by grades.

As Jem stood behind the children talking with a group of teachers, an older male teacher walked down the line of children, inspecting their fingernails. Some children got a crack on their hands with a ruler. They’d wince, and I felt like tackling the teacher.

Many of the children wore flip-flops. Some had no shoes at all. I didn’t see a single overweight child, nor an emaciated child, just slender active children. (The only overweight child I saw in the village was a teenage girl who worked in her parents' noodle shop.)

After the Thai flag was raised, the students sang and prayed, and one older boy at the head of the formation orated something, probably patriotic, from memory. Then the children filed into the building.

Jem and I were invited by the principal to go into the classrooms. We found the two we entered to be almost empty of supplies. I doubt there’s a single school in America as poorly provisioned as this one.

I was brought to a classroom with five computers, the only ones in the school, and of which the teacher was very proud. But the machines, donated by a business years ago, were old 486s capable of running only DOS, and only three even turned on. Back home I’ve got  plenty of spare parts and diagnostic programs. If only I’d known to bring them.

Thai children, at least rural Thai children, start life with a big educational strike against them.


next: Two Temples