Marching band members apologise for their 'childish behaviour'

The Tivoli Boys Guard, a 46-boys marching band from Denmark.

A group of students representing the Satriwithaya 2 School marching band yesterday apologised for pushing a businessman to fund an overseas trip, while the angered school alumni launched a web page to oust the school director.

The band returned from attending a competition in the Netherlands on April 2.

At the conference, Mathayom 6 student Pawares Jenphumdech, who is part of the "Max Percussion Theatre" marching band, said they now realised that pushing Ichitan Group's Tan Passakornatee to pay Bt3.1 million (S$120,000) to cover their trip was very wrong. He said they only wanted their dream to compete at this event to come true, especially after they trained so hard for six months. Seeing that the school has become a target of heavy criticism after the group's move, he said he and his fellow band mates wanted to apologise.

Sunisa Sirisan, another band member, said the team was sorry for its action, adding that the move was very childish of them and that they failed to reflect on the consequences. She also urged the public to understand that the band only wanted to make a name for itself.

Pipat Thinphang-nga, another band member and school alumni, thanked the media for giving them a chance to explain themselves, adding that the group did not realise that their move to seek funding in the pursuit of a dream would affect the school's and the country's reputation.

"I'm sorry about the damage caused. Everyone in the band is unhappy. I cry every time I read the critical comments on Facebook. We did not kill anybody, nor did we break the law, yet society is treating us as if we are not Thai. I'm not good academically and wanted to bring fame to the school and Thai people via music. We didn't know that the result would be so bad. I understand that what we have done cannot be forgiven, but we would like to apologise and explain ourselves," he said.

Conductor Anusorn Pornneramit said the band also wanted to apologise to Tan for causing him problems and promised this would not happen again. He also called on Thai society and the school to forgive them, adding that the band were now praying for a miracle to take them to the United States to join a competition on Thursday - a hope that seems impossible due to the lack of funds. However, he said, the band would not resort to "borrow" any more money.

Meanwhile, Yada Mahanon, a representative of the school's alumni, said her group had set up a Facebook page to oust school director Pacharapong Trithepha. The page has so far gained 2,225 likes. She said the school director told her group on March 26 that he did not know of the band's "wrong move" to seek funds. However, an audio clip that surfaced on YouTube suggested otherwise.

Yada said her group has set up the page slamming the director because his action was immoral. The group will also hold an activity today to "symbolically" cleanse the school of the bad vibes resulting from the band's behaviour, she said, adding that the band would also perform.

She went on to say that the group was also planning to submit a petition to oust the school director at the relevant educational zone office later.