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Thu 30 Mar 2017
Wai Khru Ceremony
Written by Gor   
Tuesday, 09 July 2002 00:00

The other day, a group of students at my college sat down on the hot ground in the sun and bowed down low to their teachers’ feet. I was sitting in the sun watching them with my friends. Those students came from different classes and different grades. Every class had sent one boy and one girl to be the representatives for all students in that class. It is the annual ceremony called "Wai Kru" which is done in every school, college and university in Thailand.

"Wai Kru" means "pay respect to the teacher" in Thai. It is the most important event to be held for every school at the start of the new academic year. It is always held on a Thursday but it doesn’t matter which Thursday of the month. The reason that the ceremony has to be on a Thursday is because we believe that Thursday is a special day for teachers.

Now let me tell you about the Wai Kru ceremony at my college. This was held in the playground where the sun was very strong. Before I went down I dressed myself properly. I tucked in my shirt and pulled up my tie. Luckily our uniform has long-sleeves to protect us from the sun. My class had to stand quite near the front, near all of the teachers, so we couldn’t really do anything naughty. The ceremony started when we sang the national anthem and after that the head boy led everyone to sing a song called Phra Khun Tee Sam which is about teachers. Next we sang our college song, BBC March and finally we were allowed to sit down.

All of the teachers in the college came to sit at tables at the front. When they were ready, the two students representing each classroom came to sit on the ground in front of their teachers. They then paid respect by presenting our teachers with flowers and going down onto the floor to do a krab, which is the most polite way to show respect. The three kinds of flowers they gave have a different meaning. Dok ma khue (eggplant flower) stands for respect. Ya praek (Bermuda grass) stands for patience or perseverance, and the last one, khao tok (popped rice) stands for discipline.

We were sitting in the hot sun for a long time and we were all sweaty but no one complained. I think it is because everyone knows how important the teachers are and that this is the time for us to thank our teachers. After every representative from each class had finished, we went back up to the classroom to meet our classroom teacher. Some of my friends went to wai in front of her again, but I didn’t. I wanted to do it but I was too shy to do it in front of my new friends.

I have seen in some Hollywood movies American teenagers acting very badly in the classroom. They shout and swear at their teachers and sometimes even hurt them. They don’t seem to have any respect or be grateful for the work their teacher does. I was shocked when I first saw that. I want to ask them to try to think about why their teachers teach and who they do it for. Trust me, it is for you not someone else. If you listen to the teachers and have respect for them, one day in the future you will be successful.

Finally, I want to say thank you to every teacher that has ever taught me, from kindergarten to high school. If I had been without even one of them, I might not have any of my present success. I also want to say thank you to every teacher in the world that do their best to support their students. Thank you very much. If I could I would prostrate myself in front of all of you.