A Bachelor's degree in Thailand....
The Thai, these happy party people
If there is one thing that Thai people do not miss, it is the opportunity to celebrate or celebrate an important event, whether in public or with their families. For that, I must admit that they are champions.
Between the eccentricities of the Thai New Year "Songkran" in April and the lantern festival "Loy Kratong" in November, both of which are at the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of intensity, there is a whole series of festivals and celebrations in Thailand that are often rich in colour and that move the crowds of big days.... among these celebrations there is one that I did not know until then, and for good reason, it is quite familiar and you have to be directly concerned to go there.
There is no demonstration of strength, extravagance, eccentricity, no stupid music, no alcohol, it is in fact nothing more or less than a family accompaniment of his beloved son or daughter who has just completed an important stage in his young life and who will receive their graduation diploma from their faculty.
In fact, it is not even comparable to another celebration, nevertheless, it was the ideal opportunity for me to complete the section "Traditions and Culture of Thailand" of this site, because this is really typical.
As mentioned above, to get to this gigantic meeting you have to be directly involved. This was my case since my daughter-in-law Leck, who has been living under my roof for almost 18 years and whose entire education I have lived through, completed her four-year course of study at the Faculty of Science & Technology at Radjabhat University in Phuket.
Of all these young people during these four years some have thrown in the towel.... some, from the first year, others a little later for various reasons, but those who are celebrated today, are those who have managed to persevere, to go all the way and have the honour on this great day to be awarded their diploma by Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn himself, which, for a young Thai, but including (and especially) for the family is a great day and an extreme honor that will remain engraved in the heads forever.
This celebration is a little copied from what is being done in the United States, of course... but at least these young people feel proud and happy that day. In Europe all this does not exist and I find it very unfortunate.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator
The universities of Rajabaht (มหาวิทยาลัย ราชภัฏ, RTGS: Mahawitthayalai Ratchaphat) are one of Thailand's university systems.
These institutions were previously called "Rajabhat Institutes". In 2004, King Bhumibol Adulyadej collectively elevated them to the rank of universities.
Most provinces in Thailand have a Radjabaht University. Admission is a little easier than in public universities, but most of these institutions offer the possibility of obtaining degrees, some of which can lead to a doctorate.
The faculties that make up Radjabhat University in Phuket:
- The Faculty of Education
- The Faculty of Science and Technology
- The Faculty of Humanities and Social Science
- The Faculty of Management Science
- The Faculty of Agricultural Technology
Surat Thani the focal point of the southern Radjabaht universities
This huge graduation celebration, which takes place once a year and rewards students for their four years of work, takes place at Radjabhat University in Surat Thani, (260 km from Phuket).
It is the meeting point for all students from the south of the country who come from these universities:
- Nakhon Si Thammarat Rajabhat University
- Phuket Rajabhat University
- Songkhla Rajabhat University
- Surat Thani Rajabhat University
- Yala Rajabhat University
That's a lot of people, since each student is accompanied by several members of their family... starting with us, since we were also concerned... and there were five of us in total.
Until a few years ago, it was the King of Thailand himself who came to award the diploma, but nowadays, given his state of health and his advanced age, it is his son the Crown Prince who is in charge of this mission, this does not diminish the importance of the day, honour and pride for our young students.
For the young Thai people, being in front of their future king for a few seconds and receiving their diploma is an unforgettable moment that will remain engraved in their memory for many years to come.
In Phuket, the dress rehearsal
September 27, 2015: This ceremony is so important, the rules to follow are therefore very strict. You don't approach one of the members of the royal family like that, as you wish and in any way. Everything is meticulously prepared, orchestrated, directed, ordered. There is a way to appear before the king, a way to receive the precious document, a way to withdraw, without turning your back...
For this reason, our dear students gathered at Radjabhat University in Phuket (since my daughter-in-law was in Phuket) for a final dress rehearsal in the main hall, in order to be completely sure to do the right thing at the right time.
Parents are not invited to enter the main hall... the dress rehearsal takes place between people from the university: teachers, students concerned, and all the trainers, counsellors... anyway, the hall would not be big enough to accommodate everyone.
Since this is the last dress rehearsal, much like in the theatre, students will present themselves in "parade uniforms" which will also allow for final adjustments.
Girls must go through make-up artists and hairdressers specially designed for this purpose as if it were the big day.
All these little people must be impeccable without the slightest reproach. I know that all this may seem exaggerated, but Thai people still retain values and a sense of celebration that have long since disappeared in our so civilized countries...
Usually, I don't really like the make-up done for this kind of ceremony, but here I have to admit that my surprise was great and largely positive, having even difficulty recognizing my daughter-in-law so much I found her changed. She was as beautiful as an angel with her sweet eyes and her reserved and sober smile.
Meanwhile we parents had to wait outside for the dress rehearsal to take place. The hypercharged sky suddenly began to pour downpours of water, yes, we must not forget that we are in the middle of the monsoon season.... Too bad for the sellers of flower bouquets, dolls and other gadgets that parents buy for the occasion.
The big day in Surat Thani
Surat Thani is 250km from Phuket, it is not the end of the world or Thailand. Three hours of trouble-free driving take us to a small Thai hotel by the river and booked for a few weeks. The real small Thai hotel (60 rooms all the same) at 13 euros per night. At this price, breakfast is not included, but for the little story, the next morning 5 breakfasts are charged at less than 6€... we are already far from Phuket!
My daughters-in-law for a final touch --->>
29 September 2015: This is the big day.... Leck has an appointment at 6:00 at the makeup artist's. The hotel is 10 km from the university... I suggested that he order a taxi... that will never arrive. After 45 minutes Leck and her sister are still waiting at the bottom of the hotel, with a calm more than Olympian... I decide to take them both.
It was only a few minutes later, when I arrived on the spot and entered the Radjabhat University of Surat Thani, that I began to understand what was really happening there... and I realized that I was far, very far from being able to imagine such a scenario. I had no idea what I was going to see. It takes us almost an hour to cross this huge establishment, it is 7am, the cars are ass to ass, there are police everywhere, do you want some, here it is, it is quite simply the beginning of a big anguish...
Now we have to find the make-up artist... where can she be, where can we find her. On this one, I really can't do anything, I'm completely helpless. Leck spends long minutes on the phone trying to get an explanation of the location of her house. Finally, once we get out of this anthill, we go back in the opposite direction and finally find this make-up artist who is 4 km from the university....
I'm dropping off my two daughters and going back to the hotel to get my breakfast... it's 7:45.
Two hours later the phone rings... the facade renovation is finished, we have to pick them up and take them to Radjabhat. I come back for the second time to this university where the traffic has quadrupled... I'm starting to get scared... where will I find a place in this gigantic ant farm, I don't like big demonstrations, I'm served, it's absolute horror, but I can't go back, I have to be there with my whole family, and Leck would be miserable if I left...
Finally, after almost an hour, we manage to park about two kilometres away! Thousands of cars have arrived and are already well parked. As always on these occasions, everything goes smoothly, without the slightest irritation, without the slightest aggressiveness. The security service is impressive, the parking areas are marked and signposted, but everything is already full, not easy to find a place.
But as always, it's good child. It looks like a huge fair, an air show, an outdoor rock concert because so many people are moving in the same direction. I didn't expect that.
Above, the last photos before entering the large ceremony room....
The students, more than 1600, entered the main hall around 1pm... impeccable clothes and make-up, no cell phone, no jewellery, no necklace... nothing!
All this may sound draconian, but students know this and comply with the rule without hesitation.
Several hours of speeches, I suppose from both sides, and the future sovereign who appears around 7pm for this famous graduation ceremony so much awaited... at 9.30pm... Leck joins us at the end of university, exhausted, hungry....
It was a long day that she will not forget, but I felt happy.
When she got in the car, the first thing she did was to give me her diploma, which I discovered in the light of the ceiling lamp, and on top of that, she said to me out loud "Hiou Khao", ( I'm hungry!).
The greatest of moments
to be awarded their diplomas by the Crown Prince.