Lofty medical ambitions
Most children have happy childhoods. But for Thundron Parkminakom and his older half-brother, growing up was an ordeal.
Their parents abandoned them when Thundron was 10, leaving the boys to take care of themselves in a remote village in Si Sa Ket province. Unlike others in a similar plight, however, they resisted the impulse to turn to drugs. With his strong willpower and determination to overcome adversity, he finally put his unhappy childhood behind him and began to turn his life around.
His wish was to study in a specialist field in order to secure his career path. His academic efforts were good enough for him to study medicine. But such courses are expensive and a lack of financial support put the medical profession out of his reach.
Fortunately there was an alternative and while he would never become a doctor, he could become a registered nurse. To that end, he enrolled in a course to become a registered nurse at Khon Kaen University.
But university courses are very costly and he soon found himself trying to acquire financial support through a government loan scheme.
In 2011, through Khon Kaen University, Thundron was selected for a Bangkok Post Foundation scholarship. He graduated and became a registered nurse. Now, at the age of 24, he is working in the Monks’ Medical Ward of Sri Nakarin Khon Kaen Hospital.
“I am most grateful to the Bangkok Post Foundation,” he says. He stressed that it was not just the funding that he appreciated. He also found the attention, concern, interest in his academic achievements, recommendations and general follow-up to be valuable.
“I felt as though I suddenly had parental support,” he says.
“Being able to take care of monks is a religious blessing. Once the monks are able to return to their temples, they can perform their Buddhist duties”
When asked why he had opted to work at the Monks’ Medical Ward, Thundron says: “Being able to take care of monks is a religious blessing. Once the monks are well taken care of and able to return to their temples, they can perform their Buddhist duties. Thailand is a Buddhist country and monks, through their sermons and actions, encourage people to behave well and adopt good causes”.
The Bangkok Post Foundation provides scholarships to the less fortunate in society without asking for anything in return, he says. He added that he would like to do the same and give something back to society by providing voluntary nursing care to monks in remote parts of the Northeast.
Life is full of responsibilities. Thundron is now taking care of his “aunt mother” who has returned from Pattaya. He also cares for his older half-brother who is suffering from drug addiction and whose engineering studies ended when he was expelled during his second year at university.
Thundron is proof that a troubled childhood is not a barrier to eventual success.