Remember the 12-year old stateless ethnic Shan boy, Hmong Thongdee, who was crowned the champion of Japanese paper plane throwing contest in 2009.
He is now a 19-year old student of Mathayom 4 at a school in Chiang Mai. He is also taking course in non-formal education in Nongkham with his own funding. On top of that he is a drone instructor of Drone and Small Radio-Controlled Planes Sports Association. But he still remains a stateless person.
Hmong won the Thai paper plane throwing contest championship in the under 12-year old category organized by the National Metallurgical Technology Centre of the Ministry of Science and Technology in 2008. The victory earned him the right to represent Thailand in the Japanese paper plane throwing contest in 2009.
Hmong became a headline news when the Interior Ministry then ruled that he could leave the country but could not come back because of his stateless status. The case went to the Administrative Court. But before the court made the ruling, the interior minister then stepped in and granted him the permit to join the contest.
Recently, Dr Arthit Ourairat, rector of Rangsit University, wrote in his Facebook page offering a scholarship for Hmong to study at the engineering college in aircraft maintenance engineering, aircraft maintenance technology or mechanical engineering.
The surprise offer from Dr Arthit thrilled the young man who tried countless times to contact the generous rector to express his heart-felt thanks, but without success.
Nevertheless, Hmong is due to show up at Rangsit University to discuss with authorities concerned about his enrollment at the university.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)