I met Bubbles, The Head of English for Wat Methungkarawas School at 8am on Saturday morning, drove the short distance to a nearby school and prepared for the start of the competition. We had a briefing and I can honestly say I had NO idea what was going on as it was all in Thai… I was just the token white person!
My judging team consisted of myself, Bubbles and the head of Anaban Lampang (next province on the way to Chang Mai) We had the biggest group. The competition started and I was actually surprised at how well some of them spoke. Saying that, they had no doubt been drilling the speech for weeks!!
Was only around 2 hours long and there was a tie break at the end between two girls. They both did their speech again again and there was one clear winner. You can imagine my confusion when neither of them did but came 2nd and 3rd!!
Apparently there was a mistake but its quite a big mistake as 1st place goes through to the next round in Bangkok with a 2000 bhat prize, 2nd gets 1000 and 3rd gets 300. Quite a lot of money in Thailand!!I hadn’t quite worked out what had happened when a boy came up to me…. ‘What’s wrong with my sister??? Why did she not win?? Tell me’ (turns out he was the bother of the girl who that should have won! I said that she did very well and she has a great grasp of English…. ‘So why you not make her win?! I want to know so she wins next time!’ Ummmmm……. T.I.T! (This is Thailand- Told you I use it a lot!!!)
After the competition I was ushered into a car and taken out to lunch by the director of the school along with most of the senior teachers. It is the first time I have spent any non working time with the teachers and they were taking full advantage! Unlike everyone else I got my food ordered for me…. and I got 2 dishes instead of one so I could try it. One dish…noodles- very nice and I thought I was doing very well with the chopsticks (which I can use to eat most things bar noodles) however the Thai teachers thought it was hilarious!
Next dish…. WOW ive never almost thrown up at the table before…. I like a lot of food but there are certain things I cant eat… Nuts, mushrooms, prawns or fish and (what I found out on Saturday) sweet sweet pork (cant remember the name) and this dish had the lot!!!!!! I tried to eat but couldn’t actually manage it…. and it didn’t help that instead of water I was given the sweetest Ice tea I have ever had!!
After lunch I thought it was home time as I was quite tired but I soon noticed the car was driving in the opposite direction…. ‘We are going to Surin’s friends house!’ Surin is the sub director of my school. So we ended up in a really beautiful wooden house in probably the most rural place I have been so far! Out came water, dragon fruit, nuts, crisps, noodles, chicken, mushrooms (AH!) and then Leo beer…. and lots of it!!!
After about 8 big bottles between the 4 of us, we got back in the car and drove to another place inside town, we had a beer then was off to another place as the boys wanted to watch football (Thailand vs palistine) Then came dinner…. Catfish. And I actually slightly enjoyed it… slightly! A few more beers and we were joined by Eden, Johan and Eion. Was nice to chat to the teachers out of school and me and Surin had a good chat about celtic and rangers (just when you think u get away from the SPL!!!) as he is a celtic fan and has a strip! HA!
We eventually left the teachers at 8…. 8 hours after the competition finished!!
Hard work being a judge!!!!