DUke with Ambassador

A number of thoughts came to my mind when I stood on the stage of the Memorial Hall, but all of them faded to the back of my head once an applauding noise with a combination of cheering sound erupted from a crowd of parents, siblings, friends and teachers. It was in the afternoon on Thursday the 30th of June 2011. The graduation ceremony of the Class of 2011. In that moment, none of us was aware of what was waiting for us in the future to come. We were unprepared, unexperienced, but satisfied. Looking back on the moment we thought we had everything in our hand, it was truthfully a good feeling.

Reality rushed in after our Senior trip to the South of Thailand. Friends were leaving, separating all around the globe, and we knew then that the Class of 2011 would never be the same. Not everyone of us would ever be together again. It was a temporary feeling of loneliness, but the one that would keep coming back even 2 years later.

Many people would describe my first year in the University College of London (UCL) as a biochemist as ordinary. No particular clubs and societies had my attention. As a Thai-passport holder in the UK, I am automatically registered with a society which looks over Thai students in the UK. This society is the oldest student society ever created. It was originally founded by King Rama VI himself with the aim of uniting Thai students studying in the UK. Since then, it has been 113 years. It is known as the “Samaggi Samagom”.

My leading role had not been seen until I was in my second year, when I was elected as President of the University College of London Thai Society. On the other hand, it was back then considered as a burden, rather then a privilege, to take up the position. I had learned a great deal within 1 academic year. New friends made, and at the same time some turned to be acquaintances. The path was rough and painful at times. In the end, with all the support from all around, my team and I have pushed the UCL Thai Society to the very top of UK leading societies.

I thought my leading career had come to an end once I passed on my position, during which Samaggi Samagom has reached its lowest. It has been looked upon as a political practice base, is uninterested and is thought of negatively by new generations of students. This once a royal and honored society is failing. I felt I could change it. I envisaged that I would restore its glory. I had a dream.

With great help from seniors and friends, I was officially elected President of Samaggi Samagom on the 31st of October 2013. The path I walked until I have become the person with power has been the greatest life lesson. Friends could turn enemies, hard-earned trust could be ruined with a slightest act, and the feeling of security is never permanent. Being the person with highest authority any Thai student in the UK could achieve has made me more humble than ever. I have met and acquainted with people whose experience and knowledge have far exceeded mine. This rare opportunity has provided me with chances of learning and listening from various groups of people with different perspectives. Nothing is certain at the moment, that is clear. But what I can guarantee from my modest life journey is that this will mark a new beginning of a promising future. For me, for my team and for everyone whose trust has been placed upon my shoulders.

 

Duke Yeh

Class of 2011