It was here in Bangkok where we forged our friendship... 2001...

Webowner's words...

It was quite amazing how big an impact the camp had on me. It generated a train of thoughts which had never dawned on me before, and really steered my goals of life in a totally different direction. This impressive force that I am talking about is the 3rd Asia-Europe Youth Camp, based on a theme of addressing issues on the disabled people in Thailand, and also in Asia and Europe.

When I first signed up for the camp, I did not have a clear goal of what I wanted to achieve after the whole camp, and I certainly did not expect that I will actually gain a new set of paradigm in life.

I submitted my application because at that point of time, this youth camp appears to me as a once-in-a-lifetime chance to get to mingle around with youth volunteers that come from so many different countries in the regions of Asia and Europe, and to stay together for a period of 14 days. That was why when I departed from Singapore to Bangkok where the 3rd Asia-Europe Youth Camp was held, all I had with me was a hope, a hope of getting to know more friends and get to learn more about all these various countries where the participants come from.

That wish of mine had been fulfilled, for one thing that is definite.

The first week of the camp had been spent on various seminars, discussions within the three divided working groups, and project visits. It did not take long before all the participants became close friends as we shared a lot of ideas and we voiced out our thoughts about prevailing issues and situations of the disabled people in our own countries and in Bangkok. It was really a very enriching experience. Understanding the fact that we all came from different background and society, we learnt to be receptive of each other's ideas and to be accommodating at certain times as well. In fact, all these are done so naturally and undeliberately that it did not appear to be a difficulty at all. There was even one day when participants were supposed to present their own organisation, situation of disabled people in our country and a cultural night when we put on representative traditional costumes. All of us enjoyed a lot that day, and some of the participants even brought along with them local delicacies from their own countries. What an international feast!

The second week was another fulfilling week. We went to the school or institution of our choice in small groups of four. The school I went to is a school for the deaf, and for three days, we spent time there getting to know how the lessons in the school are conducted, learning about the facilities in school, and also helped the teachers for some classes, eg. the art lessons and the physical education classes. We also picked up quite a number of Thai sign languages! The three days of visits, though short, had exposed us to many issues, especially the problems the deaf community faced in Thailand, prompting us to relate back to the possible problems the deaf community in our own countries might face. On various occasions, what we saw invoked more in-depth questions to surface and created more issues for discussions and for us to think over. It was saddening at times when we realised that many problems cannot be resolved in a short period of time. But it was fortunate that we all encouraged each other along the way, and provided the mental support for us to embark on what we deemed correct to do, to serve and be strong in doing so.

Even though I'm back in Singapore now, the presence of the bond that we have developed during that 2 weeks was still deeply felt, because deep in our heart, we know we share a common goal. To know that there is somebody out there who shares the same ideal is definitely most encouraging to all volunteers.

The following are the photos taken during this marvelous camp...

Please click on the thumbnails to see the actual size photo.
Our presentation of the youth organisation we are representingDawned in traditional costumesHelping the kindergarten children in art class
Photo of my favourite classLearning about where we belongEnjoying the sun at Bangsaan beach
Outside my room with SujaParty in Alex's roomParty in Alex's room 2
All dressed up in traditional costumesTrying out each other's costumesIn the ancient city
Oh dear! What are we doing?Our last night togetherGame session
Game session 2Having a chatting session before we partAt the airport
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