When it was time for Siriluck “View” Ritbua to study, she had to leave her home outside Hua Hin and carry her books and tablet computer to a jungle clearing where she could get internet service. There, she set everything up on a low table and shielded herself from the strong sun with another item she brought – an umbrella.
But when people got word of the high school senior’s inconvenient and uncomfortable setup this past weekend, local leaders leaped into action with a hard resolve to do something they could take credit for.
First up yesterday was Bangkok Hospital Hua Hin, which dispatched a team 30 kilometers to Siriluck’s Ban Huai Rae community to erect a large awning over the young, aspiring doctor’s cellular sweet spot. Media outlets were invited to watch local officials pack under the awning for a photo op, where hospital staff announced that 18-year-old Siriluck would be able to more conveniently jot down lecture notes on her tablet (won on a game show) without feeling so hot.
Not to be outdone, technicians from state-owned telecom TOT arrived to improve the free, barebones internet service provided by the government by dropping a 6-meter tower in the nearby foothills and upgrading some hardware.
It all happened after a TV crew got wind of Siriluck’s arrangement and paid her a visit. She complained that trying to study online from home – schools are closed due to COVID – was a flip of the coin compared to her peers who enjoyed reliable net access.
She was also visited at her home by teachers who declared Siriluck and her younger brother, despite their hardships, were “good students” with GPAs of 3.9.
Finally, after the last wais were exchanged and photo posed for, the day ended with TOT presenting the teen girl some internet sim cards to use, replacing her home’s solar cell batteries and installing direct net access.
To put a cherry on top, Siriluck was presented with another three tablet computers along with school stationary and scholarships, so no one would have to sit outside to learn while the pandemic keeps them off campus. All thanks to the power of the internet.
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