His Excellency General Pichitr Kullavanijaya is one of the most highly respected people in the Kingdom of Thailand, a man who has dedicated his life to the country and to the soul of Muaythai.
An accomplished individual, his education has spanned continents, beginning at U.S. Military Academy (West Point), U.S.A. (1958), and continuing with Army Command and General Staff College, Royal Thai Army (1965) and the National Defence College (1985). In his younger years he was known as “Big Tiger”, a nickname he earned in the army as a first rate competitor in the ring.
With his wealth of experience, his choice of dedicating himself to help the children of Thailand is a welcome service. Besides being the Honourary President of the World Muaythai Council (WMC) and the International Federation of Muaythai Amateur (IFMA), he is also the President and founder of the “Muaythai Against Drugs Campaign”, which has taken children from the street and through the cultural and life values which are at the heart of Muaythai, has helped to give a new sense of purpose and belonging to these youth.
In honour of his 80th birthday, a children’s day was organized at one of his project sites this past weekend in Ram Intra, Bangkok. Over 600 children came together to perform for His Excellency’s birthday. Accompanying him was his wife, Colonel Khunying Vimol Kullavanijaya, who is also a familiar sight at youth events. Despite his busy schedule, it is one of the General’s priorities to visit the project sites every Saturday morning, following the well-being and the progress made by the children and teaching them himself about values and traditions of the sport and art they practice.
The WMC and IFMA were represented by Dr. Sakchye Tapsuwan and Stephan Fox, as well as the head of social projects, Samara Yawnghwe. Watching the children joke with one another, eating food and snacks, practising their routines and getting ready to perform was a special privilege. The excitement of each group of children, with their chosen costumes and the routines which demonstrated all they had been learning, made it a day to remember. Adding to the excitement, it was also one of the selection days for the upcoming Prince’s Cup Muaythai Festival, a three day event to be held from the 25th-27th of July.
As this week draws to a close, for the sake of General Pichitr Kullavanijaya, who has traveled the world to take part in Muaythai charity projects, it is high time for the Muaythai world to say: Thank you General! We all wish you a happy birthday, with many more wonderful birthdays to come.
*Stay tuned for photos next week!