Opportunity Lost for Thai Gifted Children and Their Country
=============================================== Yesterday, I wrote a blog namely "An Art of Saying No" in the Professional Life sub-group. After I finished it, I recalled one story and I would like to share it with you.
When my family and I firstly arrived at the US. We had a female Thai neighbor. She was a PhD student in education. Her specialty was a studying of gifted children. She was a lovely, young woman who loved children and loved to work for and with them.
In that time, NB was around two and a half years old. Our lovely neighbor told us that we could leave NB with her at her place some times when both of us were busy.
So, she had some chances to babysit NB during those years. One day, she told us that " P'A.T., NB has everything for a gifted child". We were surprised a bit while she explained why she came up with that statement/conclusion. She said; "He had talent in math, which is the most crucial. He played with things systematically and arythmatically. Like, when an ordinary child at his age plays with leaves, he/she rips leaves off with no patterns. But, for him, he rips it off in patterns mostly with an alternating fashion. He can concentrate on doing things for a very long period of time sometimes more than an hour. He also has great fine motor movements. His hand-eye co-ordination is just beyond his age."
In that time, NB was not three years old yet.... So, we listened, kept in minds, and watched him more carefully.
Few months later, we bought a small upright piano for my wife... She also said that it might be close to a good time to teach NB how to play piano. But I didn't think that she would expect much about her piano lessons for NB.
I was flat wrong. My wife firstly put stickers on the piano keys (e.g. 1-5 representing musical notes). Then she wrote those numbers on real piano musical notes accordingly. Few days later, NB could play the piano using that "analog translation".... With my wife's great astonishment, she taught him how to read the real musical notes and took the stickers off from the piano keys. Not for long could he play piano with reading real musical notes.
After that, he picked up almost everything in his paths; reading, math, and sports. Of course, everytime when we saw NB growing up with these kinds of exceptional talents, I also thought about her, our lovely neighbor.
Let's go back to her then.
She also got a scholarship from the Royal Thai Government to pursue her PhD in the US. So, few years later, she was graduated and went back to Thailand to teach at her Alma Mater.
We're still in touch... Sometimes, I called her or e-mailed asking her for her expert opinions about how to taking care of these kids.... She always gave us great suggestions, always....
I'm a research bug. So I always asked her about her current research or initiatives on her extremely interesting expertise (at least for me). I was dissappointed a bit knowing that she wasn't doing anything about it much....
In her institution, it had a great demonstration school. Within this school, there were tons of smart, smart kids (they should be, because most of their parents held PhD or MD degrees.). But she had no chances to participate and exercised her specialty.....
She was appointed to work as an instructor... Well, it looked like a T.A. to me rather than an instructor. She took care of secretary jobs in departmental meetings, and that's about it!!
I felt very sorry for her, and, more importantly, for those gifted kids whose had lost great chances to be discovered and polished properly to be our "fine gems"....
You may not agree with me that one smart adult could "lift" a weight of 1,000 people in his/her society on his/her single shoulder. Yet one truly smart guy could singlehandedly "lift" more than 100,000 people, and one true genious could "lift" the entire humanity to another leap with a significant level for generations.
Well, you could see it by yourself that how we, the Thai, had used our own human resources extravagantly.... And, you may have known now how we had lost opportunity by this kind of approaches.
Could we afford to lose more than this, just to merely survive? ===============================================
================================= Note: My life has been intertwined with works and many others. New responsibility has emerged, resulting less and less time for my ordinary life. Although, a love to write is still intact... But having less time is related to having less imagination.... Therefore, I could not come up with new writings for quite some times.
It might be a good time for me to leave this forum for moment.... Please take it as Mr. A.T. is having a sabbactatical leave or something like that....
As noted above, my love to write is still the same... and will not be changed. Sometimes somehow, I hope I could come back and give some thoughts in this blog once more.
Cheers, Mr. A.T. June 6th, 2008
My pen-name in Pantip is amatuer translator. Actually, I'm a lousy translator with lame translation. My pen-name is somewhat misleading, I have no background in linguistics what-so-ever. Anyway I love to read, write and communicate with people...
Reading is my most favorite hobby. I read everything from shopping bags to articles in theoretical physics. I do research and teaching for my living. So, reading, writing, thinking and doing research works are my everyday routine.
I would like to define myself as a person who is accepting new ideas and adopting those into my way of life.
I believe in power of knowledge/education. I think every society can be a better society with knowledge. Ignorance can be dispelled by it. Humanity can live sustainably and harmoniously with each other along with its biosphere with understandings in the nature surrounding it.
Apart from my philosophical thoughts reflecting who I am, I can tell you something I like or love in particular;
I love dogs.... Particularly, labradore retrievers.... One day, I would like to spend my time and life with them as a big part of my family.
Zhuge Liang is my hero. With his wisdom and faithfulness, he led a tiny army to a mighty and formidable kingdom. He left his humble residence with a hope to come back. But, sadly, he had never returned and died far far away from home in a horse carriage in a battle field. If I could choose where I would, I would say where-ever my lovely wife was nearby.
I value happiness and my family as my first priority. My profession and my philosophy come in the second. Pursuit in wealth has never been in my desire.
I'm glad to be your friend, and look forward to seeing you around krub.