Our childhood idea of a hero is often a storybook image: a good-looking protagonist with magical superpowers and, more often than not, a head-turning outfit. But later on we come to realise that true heroism often has nothing to do with stunts or brave acts of derring-do. We learn that a hero is someone who is dedicated to making a positive difference—someone who is simply an inspiration to others.
As a part of Thailand Tatler’s 25th Silver Jubilee celebrations, we’ve decided to embark on a philanthropic journey centred on that very theme. Titled Thailand Tatler Heroes, our very first four-part TV series follows some of our favourite personalities as they embark on designated charity missions. We go behind the scenes as our celebrities take a big step outside their comfort zones, engage in new adventures and learn how they, too, can become heroes.
Mission 2: Music Academy
The second mission takes us to Yaowawit School in Phang Nga’s Kapong district, which was originally founded by German philanthropist Philipp Graf von Hardenberg to help the young victims of the tsunami in 2004. The boarding school now offers children from tough backgrounds a loving, second home and a truly holistic education with a government-approved Thai curriculum complemented by an emphasis on the English language, life skills and self-development. As well as learning about organic agriculture on its 192,000-square-metre farm, they are also trained in entrepreneurship as well as hospitality by professionals from the Marriott hotel group.
Our main sponsor and hero for this episode is Mercedes-Benz Thailand, which has also been one of the school’s benefactors for more than 12 years. As music plays an important role at the school, the company chose to embark on an inspirational mission based around a feel-good song. Coming with us to Kapong is a demo of a beautiful track titled Song of Love that our friends at Karma Sound Studio had composed for us—as well as other special surprises for the aspiring singers of Yaowawit.
The day starts with a vibrant talent show in search of a lucky group of young individuals before rising artist Fun Louise Williamson trains them in the school’s modest music room. With excitement in their eyes, these small, aspiring stars get their very first go at recording the song using professional equipment (the headphones are almost too big for some) and a sound engineer. “Music speaks to our heart and it’s amazing to see how much love the kids put into this project and what has come out of it. They’ve gone far beyond their own expectations and proved that you don’t have to be a superstar to create something big, that you can do anything if you are passionate enough,” says Frank Steinacher, Mercedes-Benz Thailand’s vice president of sales and marketing.
But we have more big reveals in store for them. When the following day arrives, the children are in awe the second they step into their music room—it’s been transformed into a soundproofed studio. Soon they are prancing around with excitement, and then, as they are taking in their new favourite place, we call in the next surprise—Thanida Thamwimon, or Da Endorphine, who is a judge on the current season of The Voice Thailand. Lots of squealing, hugging and singing commence, and despite her rock star look, Thanida is an absolute sweetheart. “It’s amazing how excited these kids are!” she laughs. “I didn’t expect them to know so many of my songs as well, considering how young they are.”
Thanida tells us that it was a quick yes for her when she was approached to become a part of the mission. “With my incredibly tight and exhausting schedule, their vibrancy and purity have definitely recharged my strength and energy,” she smiles. And it has also fulfilled an ambition of hers. “Ever since I’ve become Da Endorphine, my wish has always been to lend a helping hand to the young dreamers. A simple act of genuine encouragement can do wonders—and I would know, as I’ve been in the same position before,” she says. Like Yaowawit School and Mercedes-Benz Thailand, she believes that using music as a means to teach, develop and nurture children can give comparable results to the classroom. “And most importantly, it creates happiness.”
Tune into Thailand Tatler Heroes and follow our celebrities as they embark on charity missions. The show is scheduled to air on Channel 9 MCOT HD and Modernine TV between 10:40-11:30 pm every Saturday starting December 3.
Next mission (Part Three): Fields of Dream with Peach Pachara Chirathivat
Previous mission (Part One): Meeting Gentle Giants with Kanachai Bencharongkul, Khemupsorn Sirisukha, Pimdao Panichsamai, and Dr. Patarapol Maneeorn