Thailand VASE trip cancelled

By: Hanna Nam, News Writer

Protesters_on_motorcycles_in_Bangkok,_1_December_2013Two days before departure threatening protests in Thailand brought the Thailand VASE trip to a standstill and shocked the students on the team.

This was the first VASE trip to be canceled and impacted the students and the teachers. The main reason for the cancelation was the rigorous situation in Thailand.

Mrs. Choe, the Thailand trip leader, explained the situation, “The protesters [in Thailand] feel that the Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is very corrupt. Her brother, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was really corrupt. He was convicted in court and sentenced in prison for two years.” She continued, “He fled to a foreign country to avoid the jail sentence. Now she wants to bring him back to Thailand. That is when everything started.”

Due to the continuing revolts and violent demonstrations, the Thailand trip was cancelled on Jan. 23, just two days before the departure. As shocking as this news was, the students and teachers were startled.

Junior Lynn Sung remarked, “When I heard that it [Thailand VASE trip] got canceled two days before the trip, I was really upset,” She continued, “I already packed my clothes, and bought bags I would bring. But it got canceled.”

Other students, such as Freshman Euna Chang expressed emotions towards losing a rewarding opportunity, “I feel really upset. I have been training for the Thailand VASE trip for so long, but it makes me feel sad that I can’t go.”

Haley Park said, “I was so sad because I was waiting for the Thailand trip for about a month.”

“We had to build relationships with our teammates and come up with activities for kids in Thailand,” Lynn recalled, “Because the VASE trip got canceled, we had to finish our planning and wrap it up somehow.”

Despite this shocking news, safety was the first concern for the students and teachers.

Eric Kim commented that he didn’t feel excited at all when he heard the news. Adding, “it was unsafe for us to go, so there was no other way.” Safety was the first priority for the students of the trip.

Mr. Osborn, a trip chaperone replied, “It was a good decision,” When reflecting upon the trip cancellation, he said, “ We never want to put our kids into any kind of danger. But again, it was disappointing that we didn’t get to go after all the preparation that we did.”

Alternatively, students were given an opportunity to join the Indonesia Sports VASE trip.

Mr. Osborn added, “They were given the option to get a refund or to be shifted over to the Indonesian trip in the spring.”

However, due to hasty changes in the plan, some of the members did not join the Indonesia trip. Lynn mentioned, “Only the girls are joining the Indonesia trip. The junior girls are going on the sports camp, where the other freshmen girls are going on the other one.”

As VASE trips end in March, students look forward to next year’s opportunity to return to Thailand.

Janice Min has a positive lookout, “I am thinking about rejoining the Thailand trip next year. I wasn’t able to do what I prepared for, and I was already trained so I will be more prepared.”

Freshmen Euna Chang said, “I would most likely go if the situation changes.”

Mrs. Choe said that future Thailand trips would “hopefully” happen. “They really appreciate us coming,” stressed Mrs. Choe. “Many of the schools in Thailand are finding out about our group and requesting our group. We are highly in demand.”