Dublin Literary Awards: Kan Jitpakdi-Ryu
Citylife has been hosting the northern chapter of the Junior Dublin Literary Awards for Thailand for 10 years. Each year we send letters out to as many schools as we can in the north asking Thai nationality students between the ages of 14-18 to send us an 800 word essay on a theme which changes annually. This year’s theme was World with No Boundaries. This month we are featuring the essay “World with No Boundary” by 17-year-old Kan Jitpakdi-Ryu, who came third place in the northern regional finals. The winners from central and southern regions competed in Bangkok last month, with the national winner being awarded two return plane tickets to attend the Senior Dublin Literary Awards Ceremony in Dublin, Ireland.
World With No Boundary
Everything was dead silent. Only the horse’s footstep could be heard through the far stretching field of North Carolina, and then followed the creaking sound of a ‘wooden wagon.’ Nearby a group of top-hat gentlemen stared at it, their eyes filled with tension. The men could not bring themselves to believe that this winged wagon was actually the first ever airplane. The futuristic, wooden contraption stopped and inside could be seen two young men. These two men were no engineers but high school dropouts. VROOM! The engine sneezed and little by little, a pair of front turbines spun fast then faster; the new king of the sky had awoken. The top hats watched in amazement as the king began to move with increasing speed then it nobly glided upwards, soaring through the sky. That moment the Wright brothers had broken down man’s limit. That minute the Wright brothers had proven endless possibilities. That day the Wright brothers had redefined “Boundary.”
According to the dictionary, a boundary is “a real or imagined line that marks the edge or limit of something.” As a kid, I thought that boundaries were the things that kept us from the dangers. However, nowadays I can see that boundaries are what keeping the ‘dangers’ from us. People are frightened by what they cannot understand by what they cannot see beyond their own personal boundary. But how can they be a positive thing?
I woke up late on a Saturday morning. Looking out the windows, I saw nothing but the normal weekend life. I continued on my daily routine- going to Cram School, having music lessons, etc. However that evening, while I was writing this essay, my mum called me to watch a movie. At first, I rejected the offer, but when I heard the movie’s name, “The Theory of Everything”, I could not resist. During the movie, Stephen Hawking says through his speech synthesizer. “There should be no boundaries to human endeavour. We are all different. However, bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there’s life, there is hope.” That night, I looked out the same windows, thinking about what Stephen had said. I closed my eyes and kept thinking, ‘We are all different.’ When I opened my eyes again what I saw was not the winter, breezy night time, but it was my own self… my own sparse reflection on the windows. What if this window is my boundary? I thought. I took a step back and my own reflection faded away. It was then I realized, the closer we are to our boundaries the clearer we can see ourselves. This sudden moment of clarity started me thinking about how our reflections would never be clear enough to tell us who we are or who we can be. What if this world has no boundaries? Then who are we? Who are you? … The answer is simple I guess. You can be whoever you choose to be.
So this brings me back to my first thoughts. What are boundaries really? Are they rules? Are they guidelines? Or are they targets? Going back to what Stephen said “However, bad life may seem, there is always something you can succeed at.” The word “bad” itself has a boundary in its meaning – it cannot be worse than “awful” or “dreadful”. Still everybody has different ideas of what the word “bad” looks like. We have different images hence “We are all different.” Likewise, the word “boundary” also has a boundary in its meaning. Every time I talk about boundary a picture of a fence or a wall pops up. Does that make the word ironically “bad” since the word is bounding you from thinking what it could be? You see, each of us has our own ‘boundaries’, when it comes to imagination.
During the time in 1900s, cars could rarely be seen on the street and the dream of human being able to walk on the sky was novelty. The Wright brothers who owned a bicycle business pushed their imaginations; they had a dream and made that dream come true. The Wright brothers, who dropped out of college made the fantasy becomes a reality. They were boundless, they let nothing stop them. This is my belief… By setting a boundary, you are limiting yourself to other possibilities. If one day a man has crossed his line, it is generally believed that he cannot cross the same line or go back ever again; that’s why people are afraid to cross their boundaries. They don’t want to make a mistake that they can’t undo. However, no matter whether those boundaries are real or imagined, only you can decide whether to cross them or not, but I believe you should! This world has no boundaries after all, but does yours?