The Nation



Children's Day celebrated nationwide; PM apologises for not hosting events at Govt House

As parents and children nationwide yesterday celebrated National Children's Day with fun and games at state offices and other attractions, caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra apologised to children on her Facebook page for not hosting the celebration at Government House, saying it was out of concern for the safety and convenience of all.

Instead of visiting Government House, particularly to sit on the prime minister's chair as is the usual tradition, she said she hoped the children and their parents attend activities at other places.

She also urged parents to instil physical and mental immunity in their children, build positive discipline in them, help them keep up with the changes in the world and let them grow into good members of society in a friendly environment. She also repeated the motto for the celebrations: "Be grateful, know your duties, uphold discipline, help build the nation".

However, Parliament continued to host celebrations for the children with various activities, including a facility tour, Asean-themed games and lucky draws. The motto was: "Be responsible towards your duties, use IT creatively, be diligent in schooling and be prepared for the Asean Community".

The Education Ministry's celebrations at Sanam Seu Pa reportedly saw fewer attendees than in previous years. Caretaker Education Minister Chaturon Chaisang said that many people were probably not sure about safety and convenience to travel.

Fifth-grader Pairin Thinchuay, who came with her teacher and schoolmates, said this was the first time she had joined the Sanam Seu Pa fun activities and said that although this National Children's Day took place at a chaotic time, she didn't feel it was any less fun. Urging grown-ups not to fight each other, the girl said she wished the country was corruption-free and politicians acted as good examples for kids.

Meanwhile Army Commander-in-Chief General Prayut Chan-ocha joined senior officers in welcoming children and their parents at the celebrations at the King's Guard, 2nd Cavalry Division in the Sanam Pao area. Urging the kids to be good persons, be disciplined, perform their duties, and sacrifice for the majority, he told them not to fight each other because although they came from different parents and schools, they all were Thais who should also be loyal to the monarchy. He also urged the kids to convey the same message to their parents because the family and the country should be at peace.

The Rajdamnoen rally site of the anti-government protesters had its own celebrations entitled "Creating the nation's future at Rajadamnoen". Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban presented his motto for the occasion as "Think smart, love the country, love the nation, be honest and maintain Thai identity". Suthep also joined activities with the children, who were also keen on sitting on Suthep's chair, and gave autographs to their parents.

Elsewhere, the Chiang Mai Night Safari let children under 15 to get in free of charge to attend fun activities, including a singing contest for prizes worth Bt10,000 totally. All contestants would get a week-long free pass to the zoo, while Nakhon Ratchasima saw children enjoy weapons displays by the Army Region 2 and fun games such as paintball shooting and talent shows.

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