Obec probing band's tactics in funding trip

national March 29, 2014 00:00

By Supinda na Mahachai
The Nati

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The Office of Basic Education Commission (Obec) is looking into reports that members of a school brass band camped out overnight at a private company to pressure its owner to lend Bt3 million for their overseas music trip.

Members of the Satriwitthaya 2 School brass band received media coverage earlier this week because of their fierce determination to attend an overseas event, which saw them wait for Ichitan Group chairman Tan Passakornnatee from 8pm on March 23 until 5.30am the next morning. During that period, they played tunes and staged shows. In the end, Tan lent them Bt3.1 million. 
Obec secretary-general Api-chart Jeerawuth met with the school director Patcharapong Tri-tepha yesterday afternoon, in the wake of news reports. Before the students approached Tan, Patcha-rapong reportedly asked Obec for Bt9.4 million to fund the band’s trip to the Color Guard Nederland in the Netherlands. 
It is unclear at this stage what Patcharapong told Apichart. 
Patcharapong was scheduled to hold a press conference yesterday morning at the school to clarify the band’s actions but did not show up. 
School officials said Patchara-pong preferred to speak only after the band returned from their trip. 
According to the school, the band members should return to Thailand on April 2. 
On its website, Color Guard Nederland said the Thai band contacted it months ago asking to compete. The band consists of 53 marching members plus over 20 support staff. At Satriwitthaya 2 School records show the band has claimed several trophies. 
However, many people have said on social media that they do not approve of the band’s members approaching Tan. 
“Why do Thai children just know how to beg for money?” someone posted on a web board.

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