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Last Updated: Friday, 16 June 2006, 14:00 GMT 15:00 UK
Thai student: 'Pete' Deewongsa
My name is Rachanon Deewongsa, nicknamed Pete. I am 18 years old. My father is a cement company technician and my mother a housewife. I have one younger brother.

URBAN MIGRANT
Pete in a Bangkok street
Name: Rachanon "Pete" Deewongsa
Age: 18
Lives: Bangkok
Work: Footballer and student

I have just arrived in Bangkok to live and study but was born and grew up in the province of Saraburi. People there are laid back and love football. It is like a big family.

Mostly they work in a cement company or are construction sub-contractors. There are quite a few cement companies in my hometown. Not many people work in agriculture.

It is not far from Saraburi to Bangkok - I can easily make a day trip there and it is good that I can go back home to see my mum often.

A university staff coach saw me playing at home and helped me get a scholarship. About a dozen players won these scholarships. I did not tell my parents until I got the scholarship. They were surprised but very happy for me.

I want to play university football and study for a degree. It is boring at home as there are not many places to go for higher education and there is no subject I want to learn. If you go to a vocational school in my province you meet many student-gangsters. I do not want to fall in with them.

There should be more opportunities here - I want to study computers, not mechanics.

Big city move

My dad wants me to come here and learn to live alone, away from home. He left home when he was a young boy and also spent three years in Bangkok before moving to Saraburi.

Pete in his football kit
Pete won a football scholarship

My mum does not want me to leave home and wants me to study nearby. She worries that I will be distracted by new friends and the nightlife in the big city.

I am now staying in Bangkok with a good friend of my uncle. He left Saraburi and has been living in Bangkok almost 10 years. I am looking for a possible friend to share a place near the university.

I am budgeting to spend 100 baht [$2.60] per day, the cost of three meals and my bus fare to university. I do not go out at night or buy fancy clothes so it should be OK.

I will learn what life is about when I am away from my parents. Learning to do everything by myself and making new friends will be difficult. Here you see so many strangers and it takes time to get to know someone.

I will try to survive my four years here as I do not want to be a burden on my parents. My dad is the breadwinner for our family. I want to help him.

Interview and pictures by Somporn Panyastianpong




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