TIE Trip – Chiang Mai (2017)
At Tedsaban School, the students study English as part of their curriculum. Hence, I found it easy to converse with the Thai students there. However, at the village school, the students were much less conversant when it came to the English Language. They were also younger in age. While it was harder to communicate with them, we did manage to engage the children through games.
During our visit at the Tedsaban School, we learnt that Thai students learn agriculture, farming, traditional Thai dancing and even Muay Thai in their curriculum. Otherwise, their school days are very similar to ours. Many Thai students will pursue careers based on the vocational subjects that they are good at. While I found that it was an eye-opening and novel experience watching my Thai buddies show me the mini-farms in school and also experience some of their vocational training, I reflected on our own education system and felt that I should not take my studies for granted as the Singaporean education system is of very high standard and allows me to widen my choice in the careers that I can pursue.
Lee Ying Jun, 2E1
The students in Tedsaban hosted us with plenty of activities. There were various stations manned by students with an assortment of activities ranging from Muay Thai try-outs, drumming on the Thai traditional drums to playing Thai instruments. In addition, we were served drinks that were brewed from the flowers grown in the school’s garden by the students. The drinks were pink, possibly because of the dye from the flower, and tasted good. We were also treated to fried crickets which was considered as a local delicacy. At first, we felt squeamish and did not dare to eat it. However, we realised we should not be rude and decline their offer and so, we ate the crickets. Surprisingly, the crickets tasted better than expected. They were marinated in Tom Yum sauce and had a crunchy taste to them. I am proud to be able to tell my friends that I have eaten crickets. It was definitely a very novel experience.
Ng Jing Wen, 2N2
Night Market Experience
When I was in Chiang Mai, I noticed that people do not go to shopping malls to purchase items. Instead, they go to markets (day or night markets) to purchase items ranging from daily necessities, fashion apparels to even pets. There is also a huge selection of markets that one can choose from to fulfill their needs. If one desires, one can even visit a market that specifically sells food or flowers.
Through my observation of how locals purchased items at the night market, I tried to bargain with the stall owners for the things I wanted to buy. I ended up saving $10 from the original cost price of the item after some negotiation. At first, I was a little hesitant to bargain for the items as I have never bargained for anything back home as prices in shops are mostly fixed. However, with the help from my friends, I successfully made a purchase after bargaining for an item. I learnt that it is part of the Thai culture to bargain for items before buying them. However, I also learnt to be mindful and not demand for a huge discount as that would be very unreasonable behaviour. It was definitely a unique experience for me.
Lau Shi Song, 2E2
City Tour Experience
The buildings in Chiang Mai are relatively shorter than the ones back home in Singapore. One unique observation I had made is that the temples are usually built such that they tower over the surrounding buildings. According to Thai culture, it is considered disrespectful if the residential or commercial buildings are built higher than the temples. I have also learnt that the Thai people are deeply religious and this is reflected even in the architecture of the buildings. There are many temples in Chiang Mai, far more than in Singapore. The temples are huge and the poor are given free food and even education in these temples.
Leong Hong Jun, 2T1