Within 4 months, BNK48’s “Koisuru Fortune Cookie” has hit 100 million views on YouTube.It was so popular that even those who are not familiar with Idol’s cultures have heard and known “Cherprang Areekul”. This 21 year-old girl, who is assigned to be a ‘captain’, and the members have very tight work schedules while they still have classes to attend. Life as an idol is not easy and the road to fame is not always a bed of roses.
“An opportunity to be a member of BNK48 was not easy to get. We have to tell ourselves that we are doing what we love to do and we are also helping introduce a new concept to Thailand’s music industry. We have become popular faster than we had thought. It was because there have been AKB48 fan base in Thailand already. In comparison, AKB48 took 5 – 6 years to become well-known. We are a younger sister group based on AKB48’s format which was new in Thailand since no one had ever done this before. We are ordinary people that have no outstanding skill or ability to shine alone. On the other hand, when we get together as a group, we can produce something and that’s our pride.”
With this song with over 100 million views that makes most of Thai people enjoy singing and dancing to, Cherprang would have to work hard while studying her beloved subject, science, at Mahidol University International College. (She’s an undergraduate student majoring in Chemistry and Physics.) Although she has been working and studying hard but ‘Captain Cher’ say she will do her best to make her dreams as an idol and a scientist come true.
“I was raised in a very ordinary way.” She told us with her bright tone at night because she just finished her schedule of receiving an award in the name of BNK48.
“I studied in Thai schools all along, following the system like others without knowing what I liked or what I wanted to be. I was so lucky that I had a conversation with my mom and she told me that she, as well, didn’t know what she liked even she got a Bachelor’s Degree.
So in high school, I decided to attended an alternative school because I did want to figure myself out. During grade 7 – 12, I studied at Roong Aroon School because I liked the concept of it which emphasized the study of what could be applied in real live and not to study to pass tests. It opened up many opportunities for me to experiment on a lot of things.”
From a student that had no favorite subject – the new atmosphere at a new school that opened for thoughts and experiments – not only she has found what she likes but also knows what she wants to be in the future.
“I prefer science to other subjects because I feel like I’m more fluent in numbers and sciences than in arts. More importantly, I have been inspired by my teachers to even be a teacher and a scientist. I do enjoy experiments and hands-on experiences.”
Scientist Idol of BNK48 also tells us that to know what she likes, sets her life’s compass and go all out towards that direction enables her to keep going through exhaustion and obstacles along her ways.
“In my opinion, I feel like I’m not as exhausted as other friends who passed very difficult entrance exams but cannot figure themselves out. And when they started studying in universities, they found out that they did not like it at all. I think the topic you will study at university should be the one that you have been searching for all of your life or what you decide to live with for you rest of your life. That’s why I’m not tired about studying at university. It does not mean that I’m not focus on studying or doing tests but because I commit to study at this international college.”
Capt.Cher defines herself as a person who cannot stay still or idle because she has been attending school’s activities along with studying since she was young.
“I always try not to let any opportunity slip. I was a cheerleader when I was young. Actually, I was not good at dancing but my friends always chose me as a cheerleader or drum major every year. It had slowly shaped me into a person who could not stay inactive. I loved observing things around me. I wanted to know what people are doing. Sometimes I wanted to join them too. However, when a university life started, there were fewer activities because it was not a familiar community and social. I still could not stay still so I started looking for things to do. That was the starting point of cosplaying, which led me to be more conscious of beauty and appearances. I started doing make ups. I used to wear a pair of auntie’s glasses. During my second and third year at university, I helped my professor do some researches in labs and after that I joined BNK48. I’m a person that cannot do one thing at a time.”
After recalling all of the activities that she has done outside her classroom, she said that the benefit she has get from them is that it has laid the foundation of who she is right now.
“Everything that I’ve done, whether I wanted to do it or not. It helped me get more different experiences than others. I learned behind-the-scene works. I was in a team that prepped an event at Mahidol’s ceremony hall. It turns out to be that now I can somewhat help people behind the scene who work with us. It’s like back then I used to learn behind-the-scene works and now I am also learning onstage works. I think activities beyond the classroom give you some practical skills by hands-on experiences and cannot be taught.
Science has implanted an idea of always experiment on me. It is a positive force that keep pushing me to seize almost every opportunities that are handed to me. That is what science teaches me.”
Since she has been with Science for many years, she notices the importance of STEM, a term that stands for 4 subjects which are Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. They are predicted to be the most significant subjects in 21st Century, by education societies.
“I was lucky to be able to learn from teachers that could make hard topics easy to understand, resulting in making my early experience in Science fun. Right now, I think that our country still lack of STEM personnels who could communicate with youth. If there is a cleaver teacher that does not know how to communicate, students might not understand what he teaches and might not enjoy it. However, in the past, I met teachers that were ready to teach, had their wills to make conclusions for student and would try their best to digest informations into easier forms for their students. Nowadays, there are a lot of kids and teenagers who like to play games, I look at it as a benefit because they have passion about games, they might want to know how they are produced or how to make a game that could attract people globally. Some might even get inspired to study about it. For example, I have a friend that is really good at computers, today has been an application developer since he was at university. He is the same age as me but he owns a company with millions baht of income and invitations for educational speeches. It all came from his passion and his joy in what he loves to do. If we spend our time doing with what we love to do, it could help us reach to the top of our goals.”
English Translation:CherSubs Faceboook Page