A 96-year-old teacher who rejected offers of Bt 100 billion (about US$ 2.75 billion) to sell her tiny wooden school in the heart of Bangkok is the focus of 7-Eleven Thailand’s tear-jerking ‘sadvertisement’ for Thailand Teachers’ Day 2016.
The highly emotional and inspiring video by CP All, operators of the country’s more than 8,500 7-Eleven convenience stores and part of the Charoen Pokphand (CP) Group, was released on video-sharing website YouTube on January 12 and has so far been viewed more than 701,500 times.
Focusing on the life work of Mom Rajawongse Rujisamorn (MR) Rujisamorn Sukhsvasti and the encircled by towering Bangkok high-rise encircled Wannawit School on Sukhumvit Soi 8, the 7-Eleven Thailand 2016 Thailand Teachers’ Day ‘sadvertisement’ continues a tradition of similar productions in a style in which Thailand excels.
In addition to honouring the country’s teachers the nine-minute video, produced by CP All’s subsidiary MAM Heart production agency, also reinforces traditional Thai cultural values, as such ‘sadvertisements’ often do.
Held on January 16 annually Thailand Teachers’ Day (Wan Wai Khru) encourages students across the nation to pay homage to their teachers and professors. Students traditionally kneel before their tutors and flower offerings and thanks are given.
Believed to derive from ancient animistic beliefs influenced by the spread of Brahmanism from India, Thailand Teachers’ Day has long existed as a folk tradition, passed from generation to generation and designed to formalise the student-teacher relationship.
The ceremony is observed in all Thailand schools, to which many historic graduates return to acknowledge their past tutors. It is an important date in the Thai calendar and, every year, private companies, as well as government agencies, release advertisements for the highly emotional event.
The 7-Eleven Thailand Teachers’ Day video is one that is waited on with particular interest as it always generates strong emotions in those that see it.
While watching these sentimental ‘sadadvertisements’ are emotionally exhausting to some, it can simultaneously be quite uplifting.
Depicting true, inspirational stories, 7-Eleven’s Thailand Teachers’ Day ‘sadvertisements’ have aimed to highlight the dedication and commitment of teachers in Thailand give to their students since 2009.
The everlasting teacher
In its 2015 Thailand Teachers’ Day ‘sadvertisement’ the company focused on a medical school professor who throughout his career encouraged and supported his students.
Over the years the professor educates hundreds of doctors who subsequently help cure millions of people. As the professor takes his last breath his intention of continuing to educate past his death is revealed in a letter donating his body for medical research and training, well deserving the title of The Everlasting Teacher’.
|2015 Thailand Teachers’ Day – The Everlating Teacher|
A teacher never retires
In 2013 7-Eleven’s Thailand Teachers’ Day ‘sadvertisement’ focused on the violence that frequently erupted at the time between vocational school students on the streets of Bangkok, often resulting in injures and deaths in and outside of the groups of fighting students.
In A Teacher Never Retires both a student and teacher are depicted as being killed as a result of inter-school rivalry.
The problem of inter-school rivalry has been greatly reduced with since the 2014 Thailand coup with the military government adopting strict zero tolerance and harsh penalties for those involved in any occurrences.
|In 2013 the 7-Eleven Thailand Teachers’ Day ‘sadvertisement’ focused on the then frequent violent clashes between vocational school students which often ended in tragedy|
Thailand Teachers’ Day focus on Wannawit School
For its 2016 Thailand Teachers’ Day ‘sadvertisement’ the convenience store operators’ focus on Wannawit School comes at a time when the self-funded school is under increasing pressure from developers, who eye the school and its land as a virtual blue diamond of under-developed Bangkok real estate.
In the video Ms Sukhsvasti laughs at previous attempts by developers to buy the school.
“He asked for something that is impossible. We don’t sell the land, but he insisted on buying it. Isn’t that funny?” she laughs at the ridiculousness of the idea. If the school is closed down, where will the students go?
“Schools’ tuition fees around here are expensive. This is the only school that gives the learning opportunity to poor children. Money…it’s just a piece of paper, but children have hearts and souls. They need education and good guidance, she continues.
The school currently currently educates 514 students, charging primary school students just Bt1,702 ($ 47.09) per term and Bt 1,318 ($ 36.25) for those at secondary level. Pupils pay an extra Bt 600 ($ 16.50) every semester for computer classes; ridiculously low charges in comparison to others in the area, but for many parents a sum that is already a heavy financial burden.
In the 2106 Thailand Teachers’ Day ‘sadvertisement’ Ms Sukhsvasti says: “A good teacher… has to love students, be kind to them, teach them, guide them. You can’t solve problems and teach them with canes and sticks.
Of Thailand Teachers’ Day” she says the tradition is a meaningful day for students. It is a teacher’s job to make good students, teach them to be good, and give them education, don’t scold them, or hit them without any reasons” she advises.
The life-long dedication of Ms Sukhsvasti and the Wannawit School, along with the emotion-wrenching ‘sadvertisement’ by Thailand’s CP-All 7-Eleven are in our opinion therefore worthy of the Best of the AEC title.
- Schooled on traditional values (Bangkok Post)
- Wooden school in the concrete jungle (Bangkok Post)