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Xenophobia At Dept. Of Education


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Background.

1. A leukgrung was prevented from a competition last week in Suratthani. An inter-provincial English competition. He was stopped in his tracks, while there, and stated that due to his last name being a falang name, he could not compete. The rules state that he must be in an EP program to compete with EP students. Not compete in a ESC or Mini Ep. He is in the latter two.

2. Since he is in a Mini Ep or ESC, then he can compete within the Thai program.

3. But as ESC and Mini EP is considered a Thai program, again, refused, as he must have a Thai surname.

This boy is screwed on both ends.

My son was going to compete in a future event. His teacher simply stated that he could not, unless he was in an EP program. As a leukrung with a farang surname, he could not compete in ANY of the events.

The rules come from BKK. I had to battle with the school to get a copy of the rules.

Sorry, it is in Thai. The jest of it is that leukreungs are mentioned and prevented from competing. 2.3 megabyte pdf file. Sorry, 3 pages are sideways. Look at the last page, where it says GIFTED.

depedu.pdf

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A recent inter-school speech competition here in Chiang Rai also banned leukrung from entering, must be quite a new rule though as previous years they allowed leukrung. Wonder if this happens in any other countries around the world? whistling.gif

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I could understand it more if it was about a leuk krung that lived outside Thailand and who did not go to school in Thailand or entered the program's it was about. Because it could be frustrating if someone who lived in an native English speaking country before to win it all.

But just excluding leuk krungs because they are leuk krung is not fair. Especially if they have always lived in Thailand and follow the same education. The fact that his father speaks english is then an advantage but othes could have the same advantage if they study more.

Just to clarify what i said before.

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We have students at our school who are 100% Thai--both parents are Thai. They were either born in another country, or went there as an infant. They are completely fluent in English. They are in our bilingual program to learn Thai. They can speak Thai to varying degrees, but can't read or write Thai.

Could they be permitted to enter a competition? Is it fair.

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We have students at our school who are 100% Thai--both parents are Thai. They were either born in another country, or went there as an infant. They are completely fluent in English. They are in our bilingual program to learn Thai. They can speak Thai to varying degrees, but can't read or write Thai.

Could they be permitted to enter a competition? Is it fair.

That is the point i was trying to make in my second post. I would say not fair. But if it is xenofobia then they can enter because they are Thai and it looks good if they win.

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My daughter had a similar experience years ago when she was in Prathom 6 (now at uni).

Her school entered her for an English speech competition and she put a lot of effort into the preparation and practice. When she got there, it was suddenly discovered that the contest was only for Mathayom level students. It wasn't in the original rules or the school wouldn't have sent her. She was in a Thai school, no English program or anything, and she really did make a big effort with it. That was one of the very few instances of discrimination she's run into in her life.

The funny thing was that afterwards her school asked if we could officially change her first name from Mary. They didn't seem worried about the surname. But she rejected that idea herself.

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I find it hard to believe that the word "Leukkrueng" is being used for our kids.Doesn't it mean "half-breed"?

If so just another brick in the wall, like some people calling foreigners" Baksida."

Miss Thailand was made by a German father, how could she win a Miss Thailand competition? Being a Leukkrueng..........

Even kids of Filipinos can't compete in speech competitions against kids from the regular program. They're somewhere in the middle of being "native English" and I don't know what.

What I don't (and don't want to) understand is the obvious problem having a foreign sounding surname.

What does the different surname have to do with a child born and raised in Thailand?

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction."

A.E.----- wai.gif

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Makes sense to me, in that it's not fair for a native English speaker, to compete with non native speakers in an English competition. Think about if the shoe was on the other foot, if you were living in your home country, and your kid studied really really hard for a Chinese competition. Then some kid who has a Chinese father, goes in and cruises to victory without even really having to study.

How they make the differentiation is upto the Competition Organisers.

They might choose to make the differentiation between "leuk kreung" and "full Thai", or they might make it based on "Native" vs "Non Native" speaker. Which they choose, might be because of the additional work required to separate the two, or it might simply be based on which one they are likely to receive complaints about from other competitors/parents.

However in saying that, I'd still feel gutted if it was my kid who wasn't able to compete.

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I find it hard to believe that the word "Leukkrueng" is being used for our kids.Doesn't it mean "half-breed"?

"half breed" is a derogatory term used to describe intermarried north American Indians. "leuk kreung" doesn't translate as this. It translates as "half child" because the children are half Thai and half foreign. it isn't derogatory or insulting to Thai parents of leuk kreungs I know. Translating it as "half breed" is an attempt to be insulting; however, this isn't insulting as it merely reflects the ignorance of the speaker.

Edited by Loaded
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Fair points.

When I asked the school admin if this was fair, she gave me the answer I was expecting. "Oh, this is Thailand".

I said, well, is it right? It is a racist policy.

Oh now, the dumb b$tch said, we no hab racist here, but not school policy. Bkk policy.....

When I told her that my son is Thai, she looked completely dumbfounded. Almost as if she did not think of that.

Truly sad state of affairs.

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The big prize will be when our children graduate from school and the job will require that be able to communicate

in both languages. I don't think international companies are interested in the purity of the job candidate. They will

ask are you Thai and are legally allowed to work here and what are your job skills. At least the luk Krueng will be able to

speak in both languages while the 100% thai will smile and say something cute in tinglish.

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I find it hard to believe that the word "Leukkrueng" is being used for our kids.Doesn't it mean "half-breed"?

"half breed" is a derogatory term used to describe intermarried north American Indians. "leuk kreung" doesn't translate as this. It translates as "half child" because the children are half Thai and half foreign. it isn't derogatory or insulting to Thai parents of leuk kreungs I know. Translating it as "half breed" is an attempt to be insulting; however, this isn't insulting as it merely reflects the ignorance of the speaker.

So it's ok to Insult north American Indians?

In my book half breed is used to describe a certain kind of animals.

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Better the girl write a letter to the competition organisers apologising for not competing as she realises she is simply much better in english than any "Thai" student could ever be, and it simply wouldn't be fairlaugh.png

What is silly is that I've found kids with a native english speaking parent are not necessarily much better than others, as quite often they don't live with this parent or the parent also speaks Thai to the kid.

My son is much more fluent than his class mates but he does not necessarily do better with reading / writing (he's new to my EP), coming from the Thai program.

Another thing is that these speech competition are often rote remembered speeches - the kids often don't even know what they are saying! I saw this in our kindy EP, one child was sprouting on about the "self-sacrifices" their parents make for them. sheesh....

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Here is my translation of the relevant section from the document posted in the OP:

2.1 Categories of competitors

Category 1. Students at schools under the OBEC [Office of the Basic Education Commission]. Includes students in Prathom 1 to Mathayom 3 at schools under the OBEC.

Category 2. Students at schools not under the OBEC (i.e. OPEC [Office of the Private Education Commission] schools). Includes students in Prathom 1 to Mathayom 6.

Category 3. Students enrolled in English programs. Includes students in Prathom 1 to Mathayom 6 in schools under OBEC and OPEC who are studying in EP/MEP programs, students studying in "gifted" English classrooms, students who have studied or lived in an English speaking country for more than four months, and students whose mother, father, or legal guardian is a foreigner.

A few points:

1. There's nothing anywhere in the document regarding students' surnames.

2. The word "luuk-kreung" is likewise nowhere to be found; in an official context such as this it would be quite offensive, hence the wording "students whose mother, father, or legal guardian is a foreigner".

3. It seems there would be nothing stopping the student in question from competing as a "category 3" student. (According to the rules, schools may send three category 1 students--one each from P. 1-3, P. 4-6, and M. 1-3, one category 2 student, and one category 3 student to the competition.)

4. I wonder if students whose mother or father is Burmese would be forced to enter under category 3.

Edited by Peppy
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A few points:

2. The word "luuk-kreung" is likewise nowhere to be found; in an official context such as this it would be quite offensive, hence the wording "students whose mother, father, or legal guardian is a foreigner"

Or it could be that the expression leuk kreung is too informal for official documents.

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I find it hard to believe that the word "Leukkrueng" is being used for our kids.Doesn't it mean "half-breed"?

"half breed" is a derogatory term used to describe intermarried north American Indians. "leuk kreung" doesn't translate as this. It translates as "half child" because the children are half Thai and half foreign. it isn't derogatory or insulting to Thai parents of leuk kreungs I know. Translating it as "half breed" is an attempt to be insulting; however, this isn't insulting as it merely reflects the ignorance of the speaker.

So it's ok to Insult north American Indians?

Sometimes posts just leave me dumfounded.

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I find it hard to believe that the word "Leukkrueng" is being used for our kids.Doesn't it mean "half-breed"?

If so just another brick in the wall, like some people calling foreigners" Baksida."

Miss Thailand was made by a German father, how could she win a Miss Thailand competition? Being a Leukkrueng..........

Even kids of Filipinos can't compete in speech competitions against kids from the regular program. They're somewhere in the middle of being "native English" and I don't know what.

What I don't (and don't want to) understand is the obvious problem having a foreign sounding surname.

What does the different surname have to do with a child born and raised in Thailand?

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction."

A.E.----- wai.gif

What is wrong with that?

It is an Issan/Laos translation of Farang.

Farang comes from the ages old indo-persian word "Farangi"; which in turn translates to "foreigner".

Whilst I agree that xenophobia is present in Thai society, I don't think the language is intended to offend.

Edited by puchooay
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You could send a letter directly to the minister of education, or bring a complaint to the Ombudman or the Thai Human Rights Commission.

A letter to the minister might not get you an answer, but I found that when I contacted the minister it will be discussed at the ministery.

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Personally, I wouldn't let my daughter compete against Thais in an English speaking competition. I don't think that it is fair. I do agree that it shouldn't be based on being biracial/multi ethnic but rather based on native fluency. My daughters first language is English. We actually send her to Thai only program. We don't want bilingual or EP for her. We think that since we live here it is more important for her to have a greater eloquence in Thai. However, we only speak English at home and tutor in English at home. I would be more proud of her winning a Thai speech competition than an English one.

My wife and I both find the word ... offensive. It is not used to describe Japanese-Thai or Chinese Thai. Of course Thai people aren't going to find it offensive because it is there word. Just like using the N word in the US wasn't offensive to whites for centuries. Just because a people lack cultural awareness of others doesn't make it acceptable.

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Maybe we should have a Thai speaking contest.

Open only to Thai students who can prove they have a 2nd passport or at least one non-thai parent.

Those with 100% Thai parents will not be eligible.

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<p>

Category 3. Students enrolled in English programs. Includes students in Prathom 1 to Mathayom 6 in schools under OBEC and OPEC who are studying in EP/MEP programs, students studying in "gifted" English classrooms, students who have studied or lived in an English speaking country for more than four months, and students whose mother, father, or legal guardian is a foreigner.

What I resent here, and absolutely don't understand, is the assumption that all foreigners have an unfair advantage. In the meantime, it is easily possible that they speak Thai and German / French / Dutch etc. at home and English is just a foreign language and a school subject for them, just like for the Thais. I would totally understand that they want to exclude native speakers (and put them in a separate category), but not everyone who has white skin is a native speaker of English....

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I seem to remember a 1/2 Indo-Thai gal I once met referring to herself as Luk khreung, so as far I understand it, it can refer to Thai mixes other than with farang, although maybe need to ask a native Thai speaker to be sure.

Just asked some native Thai speakers, they all said the word is polite and can refer to any nationality mixed with Thai eg a child of a Japanese father and Thai mother is also called Luk Khreung.

Edited by katana
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The only people who think 'luk kreung' or 'farang' are offensive are foreigners who try to find western-conditioned and politically-correct meaning that doesn't exist.

If Thais dislike us as much as some farangs think, why do they pay us 2 - 3 times more than their own Thai teachers?

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