by Derek Franklin
Christmas in Thailand seems to be getting more popular each year. In many shops, bars and restaurants there are more lights, bigger trees and louder carols blaring out of sound systems.
The Father Ray Foundation hosted a party for all the children, students, workers and volunteers, totaling more than 800 people. This was the first such large party, and its aim was to unite the children and students together as one big family, recognize their hard work and give them a party they would never forget.
The theme was ‘70’s Disco,’ and as most children and students attending the event were not born in the 1970’s there was a lot of confusion when the young children saw their teachers dressed in the fashion of three decades ago.
Thanks to a generous benefactor, who donated funds to be used specifically for a Christmas party, the children sat down for a Chinese banquet while being entertained by many different acts. The food was superb and the children were amazed at just how much of it there was, yet no matter how many dishes appeared not a single grain of rice was wasted.
The choir from the Vocational School for People with Disabilities performed a wonderful selection of traditional Christmas carols. This was followed by the teenagers from the Special Needs Center whose performance saw the audience jumping to their feet and dancing along.
The audience were once again on their feet when Miss Apple, former student from the School for the Blind, took the stage to perform a few numbers. The young blind students immediately recognized the song and they too were on their feet dancing along.
Highlight of the evening was when the foreign volunteers climbed onto the stage to perform a medley of hits from the 1970’s. As the volunteers finished their last dance, and the sounds of the Village People’s hit YMCA faded away, the ringing of bells saw the arrival Santa Claus.
Most young children came running forward, all wanting to shake the hand of Santa, but there were just as many who had never met the big man in the red suit and they ran away screaming. That was until the volunteers started throwing candy from the stage, and then they soon came running back.
The children left with full bellies, armfuls of gifts and smiles on their faces, all looking forward to next Christmas.