21.08.2011 - 28.08.2011
SUNDAY 21st AUGUST
The M1 Futsall team had training at school at 6am this morning and will have a second training session at 3pm this afternoon come rain or shine. Coming to school at such an early hour and doing futsall training would be anathema to any UK student but everyone in Isaan gets up between 4-5am anyway so it’s no hardship and Sunday is no day of rest here.
MONDAY 22nd AUGUST
A free day as usual today. It rained first thing and my hopes of washing some more laundry were dashed but it soon brightened up and I was able to do some though there were still grey clouds lurking in the sky. Having done the laundry I set up my laptop in an office in the building which can receive the school wi-fi and tried to catch up on emails etc.
In the afternoon the students involved with the various sports teams continued their practice and I went with Mr Kay and the senior Futsall team to play a practice match against Kut Don school. The other team looked a bit weedy and Sai Moon soon scored a goal but the other team were anything but weedy and soon equalised. A good game followed with Si Moon winning in the end but they will face tougher challenges when they go to Kalasin city on Wednesday.
On the way to Kut Don we stopped off in Non Kung Si where Mr Kay collected the team shirts for teach of the school teams. The shop was more of a workshop where sport and school clothing can be made up to any design desired. I took a photo of the work shop and one of the team receiving the shirts which are in my gallery. About 56 shirts were made which cost about 6700 baht.
TUESDAY 23rd AUGUST
No classes for the school today as it is a sort of rest day before the 3-day inter-school sports competition in Kalasin city starting tomorrow. The pétanque and Sepak Takraw teams practiced as did the junior Futsall team.
I went into Kranuan with Mr Noi for lunch and a visit to Tesco Lotus but his main objective was to go to the bank to pay the monthly instalment on his pick-up car.
WEDNESDAY 24TH AUGUST
An early start this morning for everyone taking part in the 3-day inter-schools sports competition in Kalasin city which starts today. We had to assemble at the school at 7am but it was another 40 minutes or so before we actually set off. I travelled with Mr Kay and the senior futsall team packed the back of his pick-up. I took a photo to show you how it can be done!
Ajarns Weang and Tuk also took some students in the back but the rest of the students travelled on the school bus/truck. Mr Kay was one of the last to leave Sai Moon and we had to go at top speed to get there for 9am.
Certain teachers from the various schools taking part had been given responsibility for organising one of the events. Mr Kay had responsibility for the Sepak Takraw event which included setting up the nets, the provision of the special woven ‘balls’, recording the scores and organising the teams and referees etc.
We managed to arrive just in time and the students set about installing the nets while staff from the Kalasin Administration Office were setting up tented awnings to provide much needed shade during the day.
The five sports being played in the competition were Sepak Takraw, Volleyball, Pétanque, Futsall and Badminton. All the sports apart from volleyball had junior (M1-M3) and senior teams (M4-M6) participating and some schools had more than one team in each age category. The last two sports took place at venues away from the main site which was at Rajamangala University of Technology, Kalasin city which is quite a large facility with tree-lined avenues and manicured ornamental bushes. A number of food and drink stalls had set up and there was a university canteen area a short walk away which is where I went with the senior Futsall team to have something to eat which consisted of some thin slices of rather gristly pork on top of rice with some slices of cucumber.
I busied myself taking photographs of the sports action and tried to capture something of the atmosphere. About 9.45 the Sai Moon school Director arrived and he asked me to join his for breakfast and I said yet thinking we would get something at one of the stalls and it would not take long. What a mistake! He took me to his car and we drove out of the university complex to an eating place down the road which was set amongst some nice trees. What the Director had not told me was that he was meeting up with five other Directors, his golf buddies mostly, and that we would be eating and drinking beer until midday. So this was how I came to miss the action on the first morning.
The rest of the day went well. Though Sai Moon faced some strong opposition some of the teams went through into the next round tomorrow. The only sport not played today was Futsall which begins tomorrow.
After a scorching hot cloudless day the heavens opened about 4.30pm very quickly the volleyballs, takraw and pétanque courts were awash. When it was time to go back to Sai Moon we all got wet rushing through the rain to the car. For me, that was unlucky because I had not been feeling quite 100% the last couple of days and the last thing I wanted was to get wet, sit for an hour in a car with a/c on to get home.
THURSDAY 24th AUGUST
Another early start for Kalasin city and the sports competition. After my uncomfortable journey back from Kalasin yesterday I felt the full force of my cold today and I took some meds I have but I still had to go to Kalasin.
The teams getting through this event will go forward to the regional event which takes place in Ubonratchathani and those that get through there will go forward to the national event in Buriram. Of course, all the Sai Moon teams want to get to Ubon and beyond but realise it is hard for them coming from a small school with a limited number of students good at sport. Furthermore, a few Sai Moon students played in more than one sport, three of the Futsall team also played in the Takraw team.
For me, it was interesting to see how Thais organise an event like this and one of the differences was the lack of an information/results board or tannoy which made it hard to know who had won what and where teams were in the standings. Each of the five teachers with responsibility for the five sports had a bound A4 file containing all the information needed for the event and where the scores were entered. I suppose this is a way of keeping the information together but it is not a way to communicate to the participants what is going on.
I was keen to see the senior Futsall team in action as I had promised them I would make a video of the game. What no one had told me until this morning was that the Futsall today is a knockout event so winning meant everything.
Our match was against Nong Kom Saeng. I won’t bore you with a blow by blow account of the game suffice to say that the other team were better at taking possession, passing and getting shots on goal. Shortly before the final whistle, when we are 3-0, we scored two goals and I really thought we might just equalise. But it was not to be and so Sai Moon were out of the competition.
FRIDAY 26th AUGUST
Back at the teacher’s house we have no water. I suppose this is where the tanks of water come in handy in our washroom, one for sluicing the squat loo and the other for scooping out to take a shower. There will be water to use while the tanks last though. The drilling that took place last week was to find a new water supply though I am not sure what the problem was with the existing supply.
Today was the last day of the sports competition and even those not taking part went to Kalasin to support the teams still in with a chance of going to Ubon. Gradually news came through that one of the badminton teams had won its way to Ubon, which was good news, now it was the turn of the Takraw and Pétanque teams to win their games.
If you have never seen takraw being played some of my photos in the gallery will give you an idea of what it is about. Basically, a woven plastic ‘ball’ is used and the idea is the same as in volleyball except that no hands are used, instead players use their feet, heads, bodies etc and players need excellent eye-feet coordination to play well. One shot often used is a scissor movement using one foot in such a way as to slam the ball downwards making it far harder for the other team to return. The sport is very popular in SE Asia and Thailand are the world champions.
I am not sure how Pétanque came to be so popular in Thailand but it may have been overspill from the French influence in neighbouring Laos. In any event, the sport is played in almost every school in Isaan. Sai Moon had several 3-person teams in this event and they all did well to get through the early rounds but luck can play a part in this game because it is played on a gravel and dirt surface and your boule could land on and be offset by a loose stone. Only two Sai Moon teams made it through to Ubon but that is certainly better than no teams at all!
One of the interesting players to see was the boy who I highlighted a couple of weeks ago when I told you about the Anti-drugs talk and how a boy called to the front had refused to take part in a game. Remember ? Well, this same boy is useless in English class because he never pays attention and refuses to keep his own textbook and more. But the good thing was to see him excel in Pétanque, something he really can do.
It was nearly 8pm when the last Sai Moon team finished playing Pétanque and as many students as possible were crammed onto the school bus/truck. I went back in Ajarn Cat’s car along with two students and Ajarn Yor. I was starving. The food offerings at the stalls during the competition mostly consisted of things like fishballs on sticks which are very iffy and taste of nothing anyway. As Ajarn Yor wanted to go to Tesco Lotus we went to the recently opened store in Kalasin city where I was given 30 minutes to get something to eat as no one else was hungry. In the food zone I went to the first restaurant I came to which offered Italian food. Looking at the menu I opted for Pork Lasagne since I was sure it would be heated from the freezer and I thought it would arrive quickly even so it took just over fifteen minutes for it to come. It was nothing like any lasagne I have ever eaten and most of the traditional ingredients seemed to be missing such as tomatoes, onions, garlic, basil, oregano and parmesan. There was one extremely thin layer of lasagne and something a bit like a béchamel sauce topping but flavourless. The dish didn’t really satisfy my hunger but there was no time to have anything else before continuing the journey back to Sai Moon.
SATURDAY 27th AUGUST
I thought it would be a quiet lazy day but it turned into quite the opposite. First, two M1 students came by wanting to use my laptop to play a game. I said ok as I had some washing and other chores to do for about an hour. Almost as soon as they left a couple of M4 students came to see me asking to see the video I made at Kalasin of the Futsall game. Well, one thing led to another and we watched the video and had a Leo beer with it.
More members of the team arrived later so we had a re-showing of this and other Kalasin videos I made and had some more beer. About 5pm their thoughts turned to food so two of them went off to the village to buy a couple of chickens and Bang, the team goalie who is also a good cook, went off to get all the ingredients for his boiled chicken which was very good and tasty. Soon after we had eaten everyone went home.
SUNDAY 28th AUGUST
The water supply came back fitfully today. It seems there is enough underground pressure to get the water up and into a domed concrete reservoir on stilts some fifty feet high which holds the water supply for the school.
I spent most of the day in between chores organising the photos from Kalasin and from the party last night. In the evening I joined Mr Yor on his motorbike going to Kham Yai where we, and Mr Hot who arrived separately, had some food with Ajarn Bui. It was nothing special, just more of the same that we normally have everyday.