Beautiful music by a Myanmar student violinist soothes the AIT campus
By Kanda Yaemboonruang
If the weather allows, in the early evening, Myanmar student Swun Wunna Htet will pack his violin box in his bicycle basket and ride the AIT fountain lake, a place that he has chosen as the outdoor stage to showcase his musical talent.
He started performing in public when the coronavirus forced the closure of the campus in March. For more than six months has been playing the violin at the lake and some other places around the campus. Now, the soothing sound of his violin is a common tune to AITians. His rhythm drifts through the wind and invites people to gather for his music.
“I am one of the international students who decided not to go back to my home country because I feel safe here. But life during the campus closure situation was not easy. Everywhere I turned, there was only silence, and sometimes it made me feel depressed. The only thing that kept me sane was my violin. I always play it in my room, and it helps me a lot. At that time, I thought everyone here must have been going through the same experience as me. So, I decided to do something that I had never done before, and that was playing the violin in public! And it happened 6 months ago,” Swun explained.
Swun Wunna Htet is a master’s student in Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems (RS-GIS) at the School of Engineering and Technology. He learned to play the violin when he was 10 years old at a primary school in Myanmar, and he has been playing the violin now for over ten years. The violin has become his twin. He takes it everywhere, but before AIT it was only him and his family who enjoyed his music.
Swun said that he was shy to play in front of people, but the COVID-19 situation changed his attitude. He realized that music could release him from the current situation and homesickness, and thought it could help others in AIT to get through this uncertain time as well. So he started to play his violin at the lake, one of the main focal points for people to gather on campus.
“The environment around the fountain area is so romantic. I can listen to the birds sing when I am playing my violin. Some animals walk past me, and there are big trees that provide shade under the hot sun. I fell in love the first time I was here, so I have been returning to this spot and playing my violin every day,” Swun said.
“After a while, people started gathering around me, listening to my music. I have gained more audiences, some of whom are not AITians. They come from Thammasat University next door to AIT, and they say that they followed the sound in the wind! This has helped grow my confidence. Sometimes I go to other places on campus and to Thammasat University. I feel much happier when I know that my music can give some happiness to others. It is not just a hobby – it has become much more than that.”
Now that the raining season is upon us, and it has become difficult to play outdoors, Swun says he is focusing on his research project. But whenever time allows and the weather permits, campus onlookers can see him at his favorite spots playing his melodies.
“My favorite is a Chinese song called ‘Zui Meng’ which means ‘a Drunken Dream.’” My audiences are diverse so I try to practice more songs from different cultures. Now, I am practicing a Thai song from the movie ‘Friend Zone,’ and I hope I can play this song for everyone very soon,” he said, ending the conversation with something for all AItians to look forward to.