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Tea Money For Entering At A School


kriswillems
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Ok, first of all, this post is not only about language, it's also a way the write off some frustration : sorry for that.

If you want to skip the emotional part, please continue reading at : ->

My Son, is about 2.6 years old and on Saturday he went to do his entrance test in what many consider to be the best catholic boys-school in Sri Racha. At home we speak 3 languages (with Thai as most important language). My son is developing as a normal boy. His motoric and analytical skills are good to excellent. But when it come to speaking Thai language, he's probably a bit behind compared to his Thai friends (which is probably to blame on his farang dad).

Just before the exam everyone was given a paper on which we had to fill how much money we wanted to donate to the school. Nobody ever mentioned the donations until the exam day. I filled in 10000B, because I think it's a nice amount. More than that doesn't seem fair because I didn't want to give them the impression that we wanted to buy our way in.

Anyway, we knew the entrance test would not be easy. He did great in all test except the language test.... he was shy and didn't want to talk much (even not about the things he knew for sure). And than this happened:

The teacher told my wife that the amount of money we wanted to "donate" was small and that most people gave more money (30,000 or more). She said the school needed money for a new building. Then she explained that the chance to pass the test doesn't only depend on the ability of our child. She explained how every 1000 baht was equivalent to a score or X points. Just after my son finished the rather disappointing language test, she asked again if we wanted to raise our donation. My wife passed than question on to me - I said "no".

Now that was a hard decision! The are so many factors to take into account: my own values, the future of our son, the fact that we live in a different country with different rules. The consequences of this decision can be huge (both financially, practically and for the future of my son). 2 days later I still can't sleep.

-> My wife told me the "donation money" or tea money you pay to enter a school is called "pay djia". That words sounds very Chinese to me. How do you write that in Thai? Is it a Chinese word? And is the word reserved for the tea money you pay in this situation or is it just a general word for tea money?

Edited by kriswillems
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Perhaps there are two phrases to refer to the sum of money you have to pay.

ค่าน้ำชา( pronounced as ka nam cha) or ค่าแป๊ะเจี๊ยะ(ka pair jia)

ค่า means pay ; payment; charge; fee

น้ำชา means tea.

แป๊ะ means an elderly chinese man.

เจี๊ยะ( a Taechew term) means to eat.

You mentioned the school was known as/ founded by Catholic. But why a Catholic institution followed the Chinese way ?

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Given the world your son will live in, it would be a terrible mistake not to give him genuine bi-lingual ability. There is, as far as I know, both from my own less than successful efforts not using this method, and from observing others who have used this method successfully, exactly ONE way to do this. One parent (you, in this case) must always speak to your son in English and respond only to English by him. You must NOT mix this with Thai. You must not respond to his Thai. (Speaking Thai to other family members is not a problem, just to him). Your spouse MUST do the same in Thai. If there's a third language involved, very honestly, I don't know what to do about that.

Catholic schools have been collecting tea money since at least the time my first wife was enrolled at Sacred Heart Convent, Khlong Teuy, 60 years ago. This "everything is for sale" (traffic infractions, places at school, grades, you name it) aspect of Thai culture is maybe the most difficult aspect of living in Thailand for me, especially since it is always done "off the books" and therefore an obvious source of corruption.

I apologize for ranting off topic here. The first paragraph is something of a "cause" for me because of my own failure in this regard.

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เป๊ะเจี๊ยะ

ค่าน้ำร้อนน้ำชา

ค่ากินเปล่า

I personally call it เก๋าเจี๊ยะ, money for เก๋าเจ้ง people :bah:

Does it happen to be Assum... something school?

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Kriswillems,

Would you feel better if I tell you that 20 years ago, I had to pay for my kids to study at Assumption school 25,000 baht each? It's not the same school and not so good as the one in SriRacha, if I can tell. I heard that most people thought at least you should donate 50,000 baht to make sure that your kid can study in this school, well, in case his test score is not too bad. But if he is really outstanding, 10,000 baht might be considerable. You might have to pay more if your boy couldn't pass the test and you really want your boy to study here, then that time you might need more than 100,000 baht to be able to get into this school, no kidding.

All I can say is "suck it up". I had already been through this experience with exactly the same question you have right now.

แป๊ะ means an elderly chinese man.

เจี๊ยะ( a Taechew term) means to eat.

แป๊ะ in this context is not the same one which means "uncle" in Chinese. This word is the same word as "white", it means "gratuitous"

เจี๊ย means edible, meal, food.

แป๊ะเจี๊ย - เงินกินเปล่า (premium). I don't think it's the same as "tea money". "tea money" is the money you pay for some special service or "bribe".

Edited by yoot
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It is a personal choice really. I would not do it. My daughter will go to Chinese temple school near by. I will teach her English myself and the school will give her some Chinese. That should be enough to give her a head start.

Dr.Puey once wrote a letter called "From Womb to Tomb" or จากครรภ์มารดาถึงเชิงตะกอน describing how the state supposed to be taking care of its people from birth to death.

In reality, it is more like corruption from womb to tomb. Paying “special” money to doctor to get special care during baby delivery, paying for a place in school and for a job. Not to mention unnecessary expensive medical bill for things you can get for free, special expensive formula milk that some how has become norm. etc.

The word come from Chinese, 白吃。

白 bái​​ แปะ free

吃 chī เจื่ยะ eat

My dictionary yeild two result.

1. verb To eat without paying.

2. verb To eat without getting the desired result.

The second meaning is more like it, I think.

Edited by anchan42
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What sort of example would it be setting for your children to be blackmailed into giving their future school (or administrators) money, What sort of ethical standards would they be teaching your children.

If a school wants to be private and charge a fee then that is exactly what they should do.

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คุณ anchan42

เป๊ะเจี๊ยะ ตามจีนแต้จิ๋ว หรือว่า แป๊ะเจี๊ย ตามพจนานุกรมไทย มาจากภาษาจีน 白食 ไม่ใช่ 白吃. ความหมายที่ได้เลยอาจจะไม่ตรงกันเท่าไหร่ เพราะ 白食 นี่แปลตามพจนานุกรมคือ กินเปล่า ขณะที่ 白吃 น่าจะเป็นคำสมัยใหม่ เพราะในพจนานุกรมทั่วไป ไม่เคยเห็นคำนี้ แม้แต่ของอ.เธียรชัย ก็ไม่มีคำนี้

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คุณ anchan42

เป๊ะเจี๊ยะ ตามจีนแต้จิ๋ว หรือว่า แป๊ะเจี๊ย ตามพจนานุกรมไทย มาจากภาษาจีน 白食 ไม่ใช่ 白吃. ความหมายที่ได้เลยอาจจะไม่ตรงกันเท่าไหร่ เพราะ 白食 นี่แปลตามพจนานุกรมคือ กินเปล่า ขณะที่ 白吃 น่าจะเป็นคำสมัยใหม่ เพราะในพจนานุกรมทั่วไป ไม่เคยเห็นคำนี้ แม้แต่ของอ.เธียรชัย ก็ไม่มีคำนี้

เอ้าเรอะ ขอบคุณครับ น่าจะเป็นอย่างคุณว่าเพราะตรวจสอบกับดิกจีนแล้ว 白吃 กลับแปลว่า 吃别人的东西不付钱 หรือกินแล้วไม่จ่าย

ขณะที่ 白食 แปลว่าของกินฟรีหรือของฟรี

白吃 น่าจะเป็นคำที่ใช้กันทั่วไปเพราะได้ยินค่อยข้างบ่อย วันก่อนคุยกันคนจีนเรื่องฟิลม์เขาก็ว่า 让他白吃豆腐

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Given the world your son will live in, it would be a terrible mistake not to give him genuine bi-lingual ability. There is, as far as I know, both from my own less than successful efforts not using this method, and from observing others who have used this method successfully, exactly ONE way to do this. One parent (you, in this case) must always speak to your son in English and respond only to English by him. You must NOT mix this with Thai. You must not respond to his Thai. (Speaking Thai to other family members is not a problem, just to him). Your spouse MUST do the same in Thai. If there's a third language involved, very honestly, I don't know what to do about that.

Catholic schools have been collecting tea money since at least the time my first wife was enrolled at Sacred Heart Convent, Khlong Teuy, 60 years ago. This "everything is for sale" (traffic infractions, places at school, grades, you name it) aspect of Thai culture is maybe the most difficult aspect of living in Thailand for me, especially since it is always done "off the books" and therefore an obvious source of corruption.

I apologize for ranting off topic here. The first paragraph is something of a "cause" for me because of my own failure in this regard.

I am also one of those fools who didn't think when starting out with my son. We only speak Thai at home. My wife does not speak English, so it seemed the sensible thing to do. Of course, I am now kicking myself for not speaking to my son in English. He is at uni now but will be in the job market soon where English can mean the difference between a reasonably paid job or a very well paid one. So to repeat what Mike said, make sure you keep speaking to your child in English.

As to whether to pay the money, it is alright taking the moral high road, but do you have a real choice? Are there good alternative schools? If not, you may not have a real option. Don't forget its your son's future you are talking about, not yours. What happens if 15 years down the road he can't compete with the best because his education is lacking? You can't turn back the clock. Sorry, I didn't mean to lecture. :)

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I just want to drop a short message to tell that I've read all your answers and personal messages. They are of incredible value to me! Thanks again!

I will write a longer answer later about my experience with talking 3 languages at home. I don't have much time right now. Our situation is a bit more complicated because my native language is Dutch - a pretty useless language for Thailand.

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- Choosing which language to talk

My initial intention was to talk Dutch to our son. My wife talks Thai to him. My wife and I talk English together - or something that resembles English.

The children doctor told us that speaking many languages to our child before the age of 3 would slow down his language development. She said it was better to stick to Thai only, until our baby would be 3 years old. So, for a while I believed that talking Thai only was the best way to go. I did so for about 6 months. The problem is that I can't express my feelings in Thai like I can in Dutch, and I don't manage to talk baby language in Thai like I do in Dutch.

After getting some feedback from other Dutch-Thai couples I was told that it would be better to speak Dutch to my son and I did so since my son way about 6 months old.

When our son was 2 years old I did notice that his friends were slightly better in Thai than him. So, I was thinking the doctor was maybe right. I started to talk more Thai to him and I do notice that his Thai is now improving. His Dutch is still bad: he doesn't speak it - but he manages to understand most of what I say in Dutch.

Somehow we are hoping our son will pick up some English when my wife and I are talking English together. But this is not our primary goal.

So, now we are at the point that I've to decide how to go on: keep talking Thai to him, hoping that his Thai will improve further OR talk Dutch to him, which is useless for his life in Thailand. We expect that our future will in Thailand and we're not planning to go back to Europe. One last possibility is that I switch to English, but this might totally confuse my son and he'll learn to copy my rather bad English.

- Tea money in schools

Back to the school issue. I am kinda over it. Yesterday and today I went to look at other schools and I have found a school which looks more modern than our first choice. In this school also more children seem to pass the entrance test of the Thai government universities. There are also less students in one room. The school teaches partly in English. This school doesn't ask for tea money. Although the admission fee of the new school is a bit higher (about 30000 per term), the total cost is even lower, because there's no tea money.

I am very disappointed in the first school - which uses the word "catholic" in his name. As a former catholic, I can say that the practises of this school are completely the opposite of how a good catholic should behave.

I understand that a school with a huge number of candidates needs to organise tests or even a lottery and I was willing to accept the score we were given. But sending me home with the feeling that my child missed his chance because of a poor or stingy father was not a very nice thing to do - especially because I know children with worse results but more money and less values might be taking the place of my son.

Edited by kriswillems
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Kris, just a personal observation: your son will learn to speak Thai, slowly or quickly it is different for different kids - whether you speak to him in Thai or not. He will learn to speak Thai as a native simply because once he goes to school 90% of his daily input will be in Thai. Trust me, I saw the same thing with my son. Once he hit kindergarten his thai language skills started to outstrip mine. Even though my overall vocabulary and conceptual knowledge of the language is vastly greater than his, he can already converse with both his mum and his baby sister in Thai that I cannot fully understand (hugely depressing for me as a language learner).

Anyway, that is not my main point. This is: as you quite rightly say, you can express your emotions far better in Dutch than any other language. If you don't teach your son to converse with you in Dutch, how are you going to converse with him when life gets complicated (like when he's a teenager)? I'm sure your Thai is good (well, I know its better than mine :P), but forgive me if I suggest it'll never be THAT good (not as good or as natural as his, or as good or as natural as your Dutch).

I'm not so sure that Dutch is useless to his life in Thailand - I'd say its essential to his relationship with his father. As I said, this is a personal observation, but I think neglecting to teach him your native language may be something you will come to regret in later years. Whether you speak Thai or don't speak Thai to him now really isn't going to make a difference to his development in that language.

Best

Sw

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The children doctor told us that speaking many languages to our child before the age of 3 would slow down his language development. She said it was better to stick to Thai only, until our baby would be 3 years old.

Time to get a new doctor. The first sentence is patently untrue, and the science in fact shows the opposite. Multilingualism improves development in many areas, and certainly doesn't slow down language development in the long run and I suspect not even before age 3, where everything is still verbal. Literacy is perhaps a bigger hurdle, because it isn't a natural developmental process in the same way speaking is. I think this doctor lacks even a basic understanding of child language acquisition.

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I totally agree with Softwater and Rikker.

My father was a Chinese. I really wish he did speak more Chinese with me so I could communicate with him at a higher level.

His Thai was limited and my Chinese was next to non-existence at the time.

I intend to teach my daughter to speak English by simply talking to her in English. She is now 1.5 years old and she start speaking simple words in English like fish, dog, gecko, light, car, leaf, flower, bath, up, down, book, tiger, (ele)phant, b(all)oon, hot, hurt, nose, shoes etc. so far so good I would say.

She can also making signs for most of those.

Here is a list of books I plan to read. Some of them might help.

One Childhood Many Languages

One Parent One Language. An Interactional Approach

Listen to your Child. A Parent's Guide to Children's Language

A Parents' and Teachers' Guide to Bilingualism

Congrats on finding the right school.

Does it happen to be Dara... something? :):D

Edited by anchan42
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The children doctor told us that speaking many languages to our child before the age of 3 would slow down his language development. She said it was better to stick to Thai only, until our baby would be 3 years old.

Time to get a new doctor. The first sentence is patently untrue, and the science in fact shows the opposite. Multilingualism improves development in many areas, and certainly doesn't slow down language development in the long run and I suspect not even before age 3, where everything is still verbal. Literacy is perhaps a bigger hurdle, because it isn't a natural developmental process in the same way speaking is. I think this doctor lacks even a basic understanding of child language acquisition.

That confirms everything I've heard and seen about language and mental development. I once worked for a couple who managed a holiday hotel in Greece -- he was German, she was French, and they spoke to each other in English. They both spoke to their son in their native languages. After he had been at a local school for a year or so, the son had absorbed good Greek, so by the age of 6 he was thoroughly competent in English, French, German and Greek.

He was very smart -- at that same age, he could play chess to a level where he could hold his own with (casual playing) adults on the board.

The saying is, I believe, that children's brains are like sponges -- no matter what you present them with, they soak it all up.

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Does it happen to be Dara... something? :):D

Darasamutr

I know Darasamutr because my niece goes there and I go to pick her up sometimes. I think the school looks ok, but less good than Assumption.

The classrooms in Darasamutr are big (bigger than assumption) but have no airconditioning. I am not sure if this is a real disadvantage. I personally can work or think less good when I stay in a room without airconditioning, but my son has 50% Thai genes, so for him it might be different. The number of students in one class is high (40 people) in Darasamutr. Last year Darasamutr used a lottery combined with tea money. I don't know how that is supposed to work... but it sounds strange to me and it scares me.

Marywit

The school we're going to choose is Marywit. It's 20 kms driving for us. The English teachers are Philippinos. In every classroom there's one Philippino teacher and one Thai teacher. They are not native speakers but I am willing to accept that considering the budget I can spend on my son's education.

The rooms at Marywit were very big, all new, very clean and had air-conditioning. The bathrooms were very clean and modern. Children behaved respectful (which is important for me). We were personally guided around. The playground looked modern and clean. The sports infrastructure was good but less good than at assumption. All students (100%) that finished ม.6 could enter a government university and this for already 4 years.

The admission is about 30000B per term (which is not cheap for us!). If we send our child at least 3 months to the nursery (at 5000B per month) over there we don't have to pay the entrance fee for anubaan of 20000B. I call it entrance fee and not tea money, because they were very open about it and it's the same for everyone.

Best burapha

I also had a look at Best burapha in Pattaya - a not too expensive school with 80% farang children. They teach 60% in English and 40% in Thai. Most of the children talked English on the playground. The school looked dirty and old. There were only about 25 students in a classroom, but the rooms were small. The students behaved not very respectful. But what shocked me the most were some of the parents that came to get their children... they looked so rough... like the type you'll find in the bars of Pattaya.

Edited by kriswillems
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A couple of relevant pages, both from the same website (sounds like a lot of us have this issue in common).

Do multilingual children have language delay?

Top 10 Reasons your children aren't speaking your language

Edited by dobadoy
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Suppose that there's no relation between a bilingual education and a possible language delay.

Then the question remains: what is causing the delay with my son .... and should I be worried?

My son is 2 years and 8 months old. He talks using words rather than sentences. The sentences he makes are short and or the sentence construction is not good. If I compare his language with some of his friends, I think he's a few months behind. (The fact he did not very well at the test was not directly related to the his language skill, but more to his shyness. At home he would have answered most, if not all of the questions.)

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I raised three kids, all bilingually (although I made the mistake of speaking to them and responding to them in both English and Thai and so their ability in Thai was limited (they were raised in the US)). Initially they were behind their peers in language, but this disappeared when they got into school. And, as someone pointed out earlier, the advantage of having their brains "wired up" bilingually was permanent. When they got into Spanish in High School they couldn't understand why it was so difficult for their peers while it was so easy for them. And I think it helped prepare them better for a world that has, even in the space of their adult lifetimes (the oldest is 40), become much, much smaller.

Therefore, in my view, the costs of teaching a child more than one language are very short term but the benefits last a lifetime. And, if the child in question is being raised in Thailand, the benefit of mastering either English or Chinese can only continue to grow during his/her lifetime.

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Suppose that there's no relation between a bilingual education and a possible language delay.

Then the question remains: what is causing the delay with my son .... and should I be worried?

My son is 2 years and 8 months old. He talks using words rather than sentences. The sentences he makes are short and or the sentence construction is not good. If I compare his language with some of his friends, I think he's a few months behind. (The fact he did not very well at the test was not directly related to the his language skill, but more to his shyness. At home he would have answered most, if not all of the questions.)

It's too early to tell. There ain't a specialist worth his salt ('cept in LOS) that would diagnose a problem at such an early age, unless your kids shows some kind of abnormal shyness or other social skills deficiency (and the shyness at speaking in front of strangers does not qualify - what kind of crazy society gives 2 & 3 yr old kids tests <deleted>!). Kids language development goes at different rates, but you'll find by the time he's five he'll be no different from other kids (unless some doctor or teacher stigmatises the poor lad with being 'different' and he gets into a spiral of low self-confidence).

I got a friend who had similar worries to you, turned out his kind had some kind of mild autism - oddly common in Thailand - but like I said there were other indicators apart from development of language to do with social skills. Anyway, the reason I mention it is he spent a small fortune vistitng every specialist in the book in BKK, and his verdict was they all had a different story and none of them could back it up with convincing evidence (hot air technically known as 'theory'). So I'm just sort of saying don't go down that route.

Just wait and see how he gets on and don't stress about it (else you'll stress him about it and make it worse). Unless you think there are other behavioural problems, my guess is he's just taking his own damned good time about it. And rightly so. What's the rush? All these damned tests (my own kids had to go through it too) are plain ridiculous.

All the above IMHO, natch'. :)

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Just to add to dobadoy's post,

testing of early years children is just pointless. The right way to asses a child's development is through observation in a structured play environment over a fairly lengthy period (days and weeks not hours or minutes) and even then, what you may regard as being 'behind' or 'ahead of' other children is, also, not entirely useful. Children develop different skills at different speeds and in their own timeframe.

I don't think it's possible to define your child as being a couple of months behind others. There will more than likely be other skills he/she is developing whilst others are more noticeably developing language skills. My ex g/f here in the UK is an early years specialist, she runs a childrens centre in London, and is constantly dealing with concerned parents with similar questions to your own.

The child's not even three years old! Let him enjoy life and learning, don't put any pressure on him, don't worry and don't even look at the test results, they're next to meaningless.

:)

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My daughter is three this month. I'm not sure she speaks in complete sentences either, words and phrases more like it. My son was faster - I can remember him using conditionals by the time he was three. So my own experience would agree with other posters - children at this age are growing so rapidly there is little point in comparisons. My two kids couldn't be more different in terms of development, emotions, appetites, sleep patterns and indeed, language use.

Edited by SoftWater
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From a book I recently read,

If we divided language development into somewhat arbitrary stages, like Syllable Babbling, Gibberish Babbling, One-Word utterances, and Two Word Strings, the next stage would have to be called All hel_l Breaks Loose.

I bet that there will be a day that you wish he stop talking just for 10 minutes.

That's exactly what happened to my sister and brother. Their children developed at different speed but they all finally reached all hel_l breaks loose stage.

:)

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^that reminds me of the old parenting joke:

you spend the first few years teaching your kids to walk and talk, and the rest of your life telling them to sit down and shut up! :D

'

[edit: oops, sorry Mike, I was replying to Anchan, you beat me to it!!]

Edited by SoftWater
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Thanks to all for your reply.

Probably I worry too much. Thinking back to my old school reports I also always got the remark "Kris doesn't talk" or "Kris is too quiet". Maybe my son is a bit like me. I also notice he's very good in solving logical problems (puzzles with many pieces) and maybe in this area he's a few months ahead of his friends.

The test at the school took about 5 minutes and costed 500B. Children of 2 years old can be moody or shy at certain moments and if such a moment happens to be within those 5 minutes they will decide you're not qualified to study in that school unless you're willing to show them money. Another factor is that some children are older than 3 years when doing to test while others are just 2.5 years old. It's not very fair to compare those children.

Anyway, the first test results are back. My neighbour is the owner of a nursery in Sri Racha. She said that only the children with the highest donations passed the test. The most smart boy of the nursery (his parents are both doctors) didn't pass too although his parents were convinced he answered every question, except one, correctly. These parents (both Thai people) didn't want to pay much tea money although they are rich. They are pretty upset.

I don't like to say it - and first I even didn't want to believe it - but the horror stories you hear about corruption when entering Thai schools are probably true. You'll have to ทำใจ when your children are about that age.

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If that's how they decide which children should attend the school then it's not a good school.

It doesn't matter how nice the buildings are (I'm not surprised they look nice with all that tea money!).

The children may be well behaved but not necessarily well educated. If only the children of parents willing to pay the most are accepted then why have a test? They'll be stinging them again further down the line and, in my opinion, your child would not necessarily benefit from being educated by people motivated by 'donations'.

In the UK there is competition for places at schools that are perceived to be better, especially catholic schools, I'm not sure if there are actual envelopes changing hands but there's definitely some 'ah well the church needs some new windows/chairs/roof tiles' etc. and 'of course the children would benefit from some more computers/books/day trips' and plenty of 'yes father I'll see what I can do' in reply. mad.gif

I find it sickening that they play on the natural desires of parents who want the best for their children, and then don't give it to them!

I hope you find a genuinely good school for your boy.

Biff

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