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The Journey to Today

Each of us has different stories to tell. Here’s mine.

Throughout my life, I’ve always felt emotionally connected with digital art. Whether it’s taking photos or videos, I have always been that one kid that would capture everything and anything since a young age. I was born and raised in a not-so-small city known as Pathum Thani, not so far away from Bangkok.

After being admitted into Thailand’s most prestigious and most competitive secondary school, soon my life was filled with assignments, classes, and stuck in late night traffic jams. Waking up at 4am in the morning to go to school isn’t a normal life for a 13-year-old boy, nor is arriving back home at 8pm because of crazy traffic jams. I gave up almost everything I was passionate about to attend this school, yet my academic performance wasn’t that good.

Along with my younger sister and with support from our parents, we decided to continue our studies in Palmerston North, New Zealand. This was the first time we were separated from our parents, at the age of 12 and 14 respectively. It was tough making new friends and getting used to the new environment at first, but I knew that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and a life that a 13-year-old boy deserved, so I made the most out of it. I completed my year 10 study with many awards and achievements to take home.

I decided to pursue my NCEA studies in a larger city and get more out of this opportunity by moving to Dunedin. I attended John McGlashan College, starting in early 2012. Again, the environment there was fairly different, and the process of making new friends started all over again. Little did I know what is about to happen to me in Dunedin would forever change my life.

After graduating NCEA Level 1 with Merit, I wanted to change things a bit and continue my studies with a more challenging International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB). It was a small but talented group of students. I made friends for life at McGlashan and I am very thankful for that. In March 2013, along with the other five classmates, we launched a project to produce a newspaper for the school community called The McGlashan Messenger. Soon after, this project became the largest student-run project in the school. I knew I had the ability and the potential to create a significant impact on the school before I left, so I started another project, this time on a much larger scale.

In June 2013 I founded a non-profit youth filmmaker group called Shadowlight Studios. The group attracted over 50 students from different schools throughout Dunedin. We entered various filmmaking competitions, and made many short films and videos together. We also came first in the Gigatown Gigaschools Video Competition, organised by Chorus NZ. We received over $7,000 worth of prizes for the college, and 300,000 points towards Dunedin becoming the first city in the southern hemisphere with the fastest internet. Dunedin later became the first Gigatown.

But I wanted to make an impact on the community. Already with significant workload from undertaking other projects, and holding two prefect titles for the college, as well as being a head librarian, I launched a new project under Shadowlight Studios to produced a feature film and raised money for charities.

The project titled “Delinquent” is the largest project I have ever undertaken. It involved over 50 students, two years in the making, and countless late night meetings. In October 2014, Delinquent was released to the public, with a great turn out at the world premiere. We raised thousands of dollars for charities and featured in numerous news articles. It was a successful project and I couldn’t be any prouder.

Delinquent changed my life in so many different ways. I developed my leadership skills, management skills, and interpersonal skills. I also developed lots of technical skills within the creative industry and built valuable networks. This project earned me The Gaze Family Cup, one of the college’s premier awards, awarded to student students with significant contribution and service to the community, one of the biggest award I’ve received.

Not only that, but I was also a recipient of The McGlashan Challenge ring, a prestigious ring and a certificate awarded to students who planned and executed incredible challenges, while fundraising in the name of a charity of choice, as well as receiving a Cultural Blues award in arts, awarded to students who already hold a representative award at a national level.

I am now studying at The University of Auckland towards my Commerce and Property degree (BCom/BProp), majoring in Information Systems, and Marketing. Along with my studies, I also work as a freelance photographer, videographer, and web designer, as well as partially managing businesses at home in Thailand. On my 19th birthday, my parents gave me a unique present – a registered company for myself. The company named “The Koon Group Company Limited” is hopefully going to be the next big thing in my life, using the skills I have acquired throughout my past experiences.

One thing I learned in life which will always stick with me is to just “go for it” – do whatever you want to do, be who you want to be, life is too short to be anyone other than yourself.

Until next time,