Bangkok Post's "Person of the Year"
- Published: 26/12/2011 at 11:56 AM
- Online news:
If you were a volunteer, the Person of the Year is you! – and the thousands of others who gave their time to help others during the year's natural disasters.
Volunteers and staff from Unilever Thailand pack relief bags at the Thai-Japanese stadium in Din Daeng. THITI WANNAMONTHA
Our 'Person of the Year': It's you!
Came the floods, came the people. We salute the good samaritans of Thai society
At first, it was not easy for us to pick our "Person of the Year" for 2011, but a real white knight, or rather white knights, emerged when we looked back at the recent flood crisis.
As the unprecedented floods spread far and wide across the lower northern and Central Plains provinces, including parts of Bangkok, bewildered and grief-stricken citizens looked to the authorities for help as their homes, possessions and livelihoods vanished amid swirling, filthy waters. That help was often inefficient and slow, and sometimes non-existent.
Government assistance was often slow and inefficient.
Enter the white knights. Tens of thousands of people from all walks of life flocked to offer their help to flood victims and let them know they were not alone.
In numerous stirring scenes of compassion, crowds of people gathered to fill sandbags for floodwalls while a vast army of citizens packed untold numbers of bags with relief supplies, and showing amazing stamina in braving the floods day in and day out to distribute food and other essentials to the flood victims. In a break from the tradition of choosing one person, we select them – The Volunteers, Jit Arsa – as the Bangkok Post's "Person of the Year 2011".
After the government opened its Flood Relief Operations Command at Don Mueang airport on Oct 8 and Thammasat University opened its Rangsit Campus as an evacuation centre a day later, the phenomenal volunteer spirit exploded into action.
People persuaded parents, children, friends, colleagues and anyone with time to spare, whether Thai or foreigner, to volunteer to help flood victims and evacuees. The good samaritan spirit spread to many flood relief centres wherever they could be set up.
Civic-minded businesses, and there were many of them, turned over their staff and premises to help through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) scheme.
When the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration wanted volunteers to build a 6km sandbag dyke along Khlong Hok Wa Sai Lang in Sai Mai district to hold back northern runoff from the Rangsit area, many private companies mobilised their staff.
Teens from schools and universities flocked to Suvarnabhumi Airport to pack sandbags. Others gathered at Don Mueang Airport to join several military units packing relief bags and making effective micro-organism (EM) balls to treat stagnant water.
These scenes were witnessed all over the city and surrounding provinces.
Even flood victims, helpless to help themselves, turned to helping others.
Many others worked behind the scenes, using social networks like websites, Facebook, and Twitter to send out vital information, especially cries for assistance from flood victims or people living in threatened areas.
They played a key role in organising volunteers – where, when and how. Because of them, the volunteer army was able to work more efficiently.
Prinya Thaewanarumitkul, vice-rector for student affairs at Thammasat University, said the Thai volunteer spirit was last seen in such force seven years ago in the Boxing Day tsunami.
In the wake of that catastrophe, vast numbers of volunteers gave unstintingly of their time and resources.
Although the death toll from the tsunami in Thailand soared above 5,000, the physical effects were limited to the six Andaman provinces. This year's flood crisis, while much less deadly in terms of loss of life, was more geographically widespread. It hit 28 provinces, including in and around Bangkok. Consequently, the role of volunteers was much greater.
"The volunteer spirit that we see in each crisis is an asset in our society," Dr Prinya says.
"We can keep up the volunteer spirit even during ordinary times, We can offer acts of kindness to people around us, such as to our family members and colleagues."
You can read the full story here: http://bit.ly/tOJVDJ
volunteer – someone who is not paid for the work that they do อาสาสมัคร
staff – all the workers employed by a person or organisation considered as a group คณะผู้ทำงาน, คนงาน
relief – help; assistance การช่วยให้พ้นภัย
salute – to express praise of support for a person สรรเสริญ
good samaritan – a person who gives help and sympathy to people who need it ผู้มีจิตใจเมตตากรุณา
pick – to choose เลือก
white knight – a hero; a person who comes into to save others from a difficult situation บุคคลช่วยผู้อื่นให้พ้นจากสถานการณ์อันเลวร้าย
emerge – to appear ปรากฏออกมา
crisis – a situation that has reached and extremely difficult or dangerous point ช่วงวิกฤต
unprecedented – never having happened before ที่ไม่เคยเกิดขึ้นมาก่อน
bewildered – confused and not certain what to do งุนงงอย่างที่สุด
grief-stricken – feeling extremely sad because of something that has happened, especially the death of somebody หดหู่ใจ, เสียใจ, สลดใจ, เศร้าโศก
citizen – someone who has the right to live permanently in a particular country พลเมือง
authorities – people who have the power to make decisions or enforce the law เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
possessions – things owned ทรัพย์สมบัติ
livelihood – (the way someone earns) the money people need to pay for food, a place to live, clothing, etc การดำรงชีวิต, การครองชีพ
vanish – to disappear or stop being present or existing, especially in a sudden, surprising way หายไป
amid – in the middle of; at the same time as ท่ามกลาง, ระหว่าง
swirling – moving quickly in circles หมุนวนอย่างเร็ว
filthy – very dirty สกปรกที่สุด
inefficient – not doing a job well and not making the best use of time, money, energy, etc ซึ่งไร้ประสิทธิภาพ
non-existent – not existing; not real
all walks of life – all parts of society , e.g., rich, poor, educated , uneducated, rural, city
flock – to go someone in large numbers; to gather together in large numbers แห่กันไป
victim – someone who has been affected by a bad situation, such as a disaster, illness or an accident เหยื่อผู้เคราะห์ร้าย
numerous – many มากมาย
stirring – causing strong feelings; exciting stirring
compassion – a strong feeling of sympathy and sadness for the suffering or bad luck of others and a wish to help them ความเห็นใจ, ความรู้สึกเศร้าใจไปกับความทุกข์ของผู้อื่น
vast – extremely large in area, size, amount, etc. กว้างใหญ่, มหาศาล
pack – to put things into a container บรรจุ, ใส่หีบห่อ, เก็บของใส่กระเป๋า
untold – so great in amount or level that it can not be measured or expressed in words ซึ่งไม่สามารถนับได้
stamina – the physical or mental strength that enables you to do something difficult for long periods of time ความทรหด,ความแข็งแรง,ความแข็งแกร่ง
brave – to deal with an unpleasant or difficult situation in order to achieve something กล้าที่จะเผชิญกับ
distribute – to give something such as food, clothes or money to a group of people แจกจ่าย
essentials – basics; things that are necessary สิ่งจำเป็น
tradition – a very old custom, belief, or story ประเพณี, ขนบธรรมเนียม
Flood Relief Operations Centre (Froc) – the government's centre for assisting flood victims ศูนย์ปฎิบัติการช่วยเหลือผู้ประสบอุทกภัย(ศปภ)
campus – the buildings of a university or college and the land around them พื้นที่ที่เป็นที่ตั้งของมหาวิทยาลัย
phenomenal – very great or impressive พิเศษ, ยอดเยี่ยม
persuade – to make someone agree to do something by giving them reasons why they should โน้มน้าวใจ เกลี้ยกล่อม
colleague – someone who works in the same organisation or department as you do เพื่อนร่วมงาน
spare – to prevent someone from having to experience something unpleasant ยกโทษให้,อภัยโทษ
evacuee – a person who leaves a place of danger ผู้อพยพ
civic-minded – wanting to do things for the good of society
premises – the buildings and land that a business or organisation uses ที่ดินและสิ่งปลูกสร้าง
scheme – a plan that is developed by a government or large organisation in order to provide a particular service for people แผนการ โครงการ
Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) – the local government of Bangkok กรุงเทพมหานคร
dyke – a wall built to prevent the sea, river of flood water from covering an area เขื่อนกั้นน้ำ
run-off – rain, water or other liquid that runs off land into streams and rivers น้ำหลาก
mobilise – to organise a group of people to do something ระดมกำลัง
treat – to put a substance is put in/on something, for example in order to preserve or clean it
stagnant – (of water or air) not moving and therefore smells unpleasant นิ่ง, น้ำทรง
witness – to see something happen – มองเห็น, เป็นพยาน
surrounding – all around a place บริเวณรอบๆ
behind the scenes – secretly rather than publicly โดยไม่เปิดเผย
vital – extremely important; necessary for the success or continued existence of something จำเป็นสำหรับชีวิต; สำคัญมาก
threatened – at risk; in danger ตกอยู่ในความเสี่ยง
key – very important ที่สำคัญ
play a role – to carry out a particular function or duty มีบทบาท
rector – the person in charge in some universities, schools, colleges and universities อธิการบดี
in the wake of – happening after an event or as a result of it สืบเนื่องมาจาก
catastrophe – an extremely damaging event เหตุร้ายกาจม ความหายนะ
unstintingly – given or giving generously ทุ่มเท
resources – things such as money, workers and equipment that can be used to help achieve something ทรัพยากร
death toll – the number of people killed ยอดผู้เสียชีวิต
soar – to rise very quickly to a high level มีความหวังสูง,พุ่งพรวดขึ้น
widespread – happening or existing in many places, or affecting many people อย่างแพร่หลาย
consequently – as a result; therefore ดังนั้น
asset – a thing of value สิ่งที่มีคุณค่า
ordinary – not unusual or different in any way ธรรมดา, ปกติ
About the author
- Writer: Terry Fredrickson
Position: Education Marketing and Support Manager