11 July 2024

Thai PBS Online reported yesterday (Friday) that Mr. Paiboon Sudlapa, 72, has been accepted as a full-time undergraduate student of graphic and information design at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences of Bansomdejchaopraya Rajabhat University. He will be spending four years studying to graduate with a bachelor’s degree.

He said he was happy and was warmly welcomed by his classmates, who looked after him even when he went to the washroom on orientation day.

Smiling broadly, he said “I want them to relax and they can call me ‘Phi’ (brother), but they all opt to call me ‘Loong’ (uncle) instead.”

Mr. Paiboon’s family fully support his desire to study as they think it is good for him to live life with a purpose.

“I always think that I should do something and not just walk around” he said.

He is confident that he will be spending four successful years at the college, considering he has been through the hardship and fun of 45 years of life experience in the United States.

“This will be my last career and I intend to live and die with it” Mr. Paiboon said.

Mr. Paiboon was a fighter pilot who participated in the 1990 Gulf War. He has been passionate about art and design since his childhood. He said that, when he was younger, he studied architecture, but later withdrew to go to Thammasat University, after which he went the United States and spent two years out of work because of his poor English skills.

In order to survive, Mr. Paiboon decided to become an aviation trainee and later became a fighter pilot who participated in the Persian Gulf War campaigns. His impressive performance led to him being offered work as an undercover agent, but he chose to be a commercial pilot instead.

While working as a pilot, he had a conversation with a Thai student passenger, who was preparing to study infographic design in the United States, and he became interested. So Mr. Paiboon decided to pursue the subject when his career as a pilot ended.

Along with the study, Mr. Paiboon has been able to put his old architectural skills to use, being hired to design using AutoCAD software. He was reported to be in good health except for an eyesight problem, which comes with the age.