1. Please introduce yourself.
Well, according to my passport, my name is Thanapat Bekanan. However, everyone knows me as Dean in which I always prefer. As is generally known, Thai people have a proclivity for calling each other by nick names, rather than their first or last names. Thus, I think we’d better go with the flow.
2. What are you doing now?
I’ve literally been struggling to survive an MPhil in International Relations at Oxford University since October 2016 but I am doing well.
3. When did you start learning in Heathfield?
It was a long time ago that’s for sure. I wish I could remember. It was probably around 2006.
4. What things remind you when you think of Heathfield?
There are a few things which remind me of Heathfield. One of which is Christmas time. I’ve been in Britain for almost 5 years now. Every single winter, when December approaches, I always think of Heathfield as the Christmas parties at the school were the most unforgettable memories I have.
5. Please tell me what is the best experiences that you got from Heathfield.
My best experiences I got from Heathfield could be considered as the worst experiences back then for a 12-15-year-old boy. The person who’s responsible for this is Mr. Steve, the current Headmaster at Heathfield. I had Mr. Steve as my homeroom teacher, English teacher, P.E teacher, Homework club teacher, and football club’s coach. From this, you can guess how often we encountered each other. One of the worst things I felt back then is Mr. Steve’s chant about the importance of ‘reading’.
I can remember vividly the way he asked me every single morning whether I did independent reading the night before I came to class. I remember asking him, ‘Mr. Steve, what’s the point of reading all these books? I don’t understand a word.’ He always replied me with, more or less, similar explanations, ‘If you keep reading, you will be absorbed with all the usages and vocabulary. Do not use English-Thai dictionary, use English-English dictionary to find out all these words.’
Apart from his chant about reading, there were many lectures about the importance of reading and reading skills in generally. As a 12….or even 14 year old boy back then, I didn’t understand what he meant. However, what he said bore fruit after I got out from Heathfiled. I started to follow his advice about reading. I started by reading subjects which I’ve always been interested in: politics and history. Reading these 2 topics in English have become one of my hobbies. This asset of knowing the importance of reading from Mr.Steve (Mr. O’Connor) has helped me to go through all the difficulties of studying at both the universities in Thailand and Britain.
One last thing about the best experience I learned from Heathfield is Mr. Steve’s lectures (especially for me) about ‘attitude’. I always got told off by every single teacher I knew of at Heathfield. Well, looking back then, it was…..kind of…..understandable given how mischievous I was, to put it in a polite way.
To be honest, my attitude hasn’t changed that much. However, the way I behave and act has definitely changed because of his advice about responsibility.
6. What is your plan for the future?
My plan for the future is to work as a lecturer. And If I have a chance, I will go into politics.
7. As a Heathfield alumni member, are there any “words of advice” to Heathfield pupils who want to be successful like you?
Thank you for saying that I am ‘successful’. I’m flattered but I wouldn’t go that far. My true goal is far from complete.
My first advice for students at Heathfield is not to be like me when I was at school.
My second advice is for you all to do as much reading as you can because it will broaden your horizons about the world.
My third bit of advice is don’t believe everything you read, but question everything and do your own research about it.
My fourth bit of advice is to be critical of the society you live in- ‘is this the right way that we should go about it?’, ‘how can we make it better?’
My fifth bit of advice for you all is to be world citizens- think about what’s going on in other parts of the world in terms of inequality, justice, education, well-being of less fortunate people, not just pop culture (Korean drama and singers).
‘……Be prepared to fail as well as succeed. Because it is failure not success that defines character'’
------ a former British Prime Minister