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TEST YOURSELF: Getting creative with green space

Photo by Karnjana Karnjanatawe

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Pathum Thani destinations balance nature with fun

Test Yourself is where you can improve your reading skills. Whether it’s for tests like University Entrance Exams or IELTS and TOEFL, or even just for fun, these stories help you to read, understand and improve your English.

You can download a PDF of this story to be used in class or at home. Click the link below.

Read the following story by Karnjana Karnjanatawe from the Bangkok Post. Then, answer the questions that follow.

Green rice stalks slightly sway in the wind. A boy runs happily on a wooden walkway built above a paddy field. At the edge of the path, a group of teenagers are posing for selfies. They play with their hair and make sure a scarecrow and the green fields are included in the picture. The rice field is part of Thung Na Mon, a learning centre to promote the sufficiency economy model and Mon culture in Pathum Thani.

CULTURE AND FOOD

The farmland is located on the bank of the Bang Luang canal in Lat Lum Kaeo district. The field is part of a concept by Thanjira Ongartudomrat, a Mon descendant and farmer, who wants to turn her family's 12 rai plot of land into a tourist attraction. "I want people to learn more about Mon culture and to taste our food," she said.

The areas around the banks of the Chao Phraya River in Pathum Thani have been home to the Mon ethnic group for centuries. They still preserve their culture through their simple way of life.

Thanjira has made sure the place isn't only for herself but also for people in the community. They set up stalls to sell food, snacks or chemical-free fruits and vegetables. She also promotes organic farming and encourages visitors to wander around the farmland to see how the farmers grow herbs, vegetables and raise hens and ducks in the rice field.

"We grow what we want to eat in our farm without using chemicals. We live a simple life like our ancestors and I hope visitors will like this laid-back atmosphere," she said.

In addition to Thanjira’s delicious pad Thai, the seating area is cool. It’s a platform built over a fish pond with tables and cushions for people to sit on. An alternative is to sit with legs dangling over the pond. A clear table where you put your dish will let you see fish. It’s fun if you drop some rice in the water and see the fish rush to eat it.

Next to the food area is an orchard with guava and mango trees. Alongside is a small walkway with vegetables and herbs. Small huts have a set of tables and chairs so that people can sit near the waterway, and pedal boats are also available.

Standing tall at the end of the walkway is a lookout tower where one can have a bird's-eye view of the farmland and its surroundings. Visitors can stay here for a while to enjoy the breeze.

Thung Na Mon also has space to host workshops if a group of visitors want to learn how to make Mon-style paper garlands. The garlands are used to decorate homes and temples during Songkran and Khao Phansa. Mon costumes are also available for rent.

SUFFICIENCY ECONOMY

A short drive from Thung Na Mon is another farm attraction called Pin Fah Farm. The 40 rai site used to grow only rice before it was converted into an integrated farm based on the sufficiency economy philosophy of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

The project is run by Nopadol Laddayam and he refers to his family's farmland as Pin Fah Farm. The name is the combination of the names of his parents, Pinthong and Sifah. He has split the farm into zones including an area for selling plants, and for animals which are raised in their pens, including rabbits that kids can play with. There are also zones for eating and relaxing and the farm has a big fish pond and also pedal boats for visitors.

Outside of Lat Lum Kaeo, I also stopped by at several attractions in Sam Khok district like Talat Ing Nam Sam Khok, a cactus farm in Krathom Lung Chorn and an ancient kiln site.

However, Pumpkin Art Town is what I liked the most in Sam Khok. The riverfront project houses a lot of big trees and is a good idea for a family outing. It gives the feeling of a visit to a park but it also has choices of art and craft activities for kids. An outdoor playground is also available. Food and drinks are served in two restaurants and there is a river-view coffee shop.

Although my visit was short, I am impressed with the idea of having green space with creative activities. You can have fun with your kids, or just relax next to the Chao Phraya River with a cup of tea.

Section 1: Answer the following questions in the space provided.

1. How large is the Thung Na Mon land? .…………….

2. Mon people have lived in Pathum Thani for more than 100 years. True or false? …………….

3. The Mon people have a complex way of life. True or false? ……………..

4. You can rent traditional clothing at Thung Na Mon. True or false? …………….

5. How large is Pin Fah Farm? …………….

6. Pin Fah Farm sells rabbits. True or false? …………..

7. What did the writer drink at Pumpkin Art Town? ……………. 

8. Both Thung Na Mon and Pin Fah Farm have pedal boats. True or false? …………….

.

Section 2: Write the noun form of the following words in the space provided.

9.  promote ……… 10. grow ……… 11. clear ………. 12. available ………. 13. relax ……….

.

Section 3: Read the following passage. Then, fill in the blanks with the correct words from the choices given.

Thanjira also …14… a yellow savoury crepe with sautéed shrimp, bean sprouts and vegetables. She assures that the food is …15… . One of the …16… dishes that she wants her visitors to try is a set of Mon-style khao chae (rice served with salted eggs, sweet fish, …17… vegetables and a spicy mango salad). Most of the …18… for the meal are found in Thung Na Mon such as salted duck eggs, mango and vegetables. The set is …19… during the weekend and holidays.

14. A. adverts ___B. advertises ___C. advertising

15. A. second rate ___B. second to none ___C. secondary

16. A. highest ___B. high ___C. highlight

17  A. pickled ___B. picked ___C. pocked

18. A. parts ___B. ingredients ___C. dishes

19. A. available ___B. avail ___C. availability

.

Section 4: Find words that match the following definitions.

20. having enough of something and not more than you need ……………

21. a model of a person dressed in old clothes and put in a field to scare birds ……………

22. relating to a group of people of the same race ……………

23. a field of fruit trees  ……………

24. a set of beliefs or ideas …………

.

.

Answers: 1. 12 rai. 2. true. 3. false. 4. true. 5. 40 rai. 6. false. 7. tea. 8. true. 

9. promoter/promotion. 10. growth. 11. clarity. 12. availability. 13. relaxation.

14. b. 15. b. 16. c. 17. a. 18. b. 19. a. 

20. sufficiency. 21. scarecrow. 22. ethnic. 23. orchard. 24. philosophy.

SCORE 21-24: Excellent! 17-20: Good.   13-16: Fair.   12 or fewer: You'll do better next time!

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