Q & A interview: Khunying Pornthip Rojanasunan


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Q & A interview: Khunying Pornthip Rojanasunan

  1. 1. A life of a forensic pathologist Sundhika Chagsudulya Most people recognize Khunying Pornthip Rojanasunan by her unique hair and fashion style; however, her life is much more interesting than her appearance. For more than twenty years, she has been working as a forensic pathologist, a specially trained physician who examines dead bodies by finding the cause of death. She currently holds the position of director at the Central Institute of Forensic Science Thailand (CIFS); the institute that is responsible for scientific and medical evidence investigation to support legal cases. How did you start working in the field of forensic science, was forensic pathology your dream career? Actually, I had no dream career. It could be anything that related to science. But if you asked what I really liked, I liked art and I wanted to be an interior designer. However, at that time, I was a straight A student, so I chose to study medicine. After I entered medical school, I still wanted to be independent, so I decided to major in forensic science. This was not because I liked it but because it was the field that was compatible with my happiness and appearance. As a director of CIFS, can you describe the organization’s goals? In the past, there was no official organization that was responsible for forensic science. Therefore, there was no standard in which forensic pathologists could follow. After receiving this position, I want to have a chance to solve problems related to justice system, especially in the forensic science investigation, and to administer an organization that is neutral and that the public can trust. Have you ever faced with any supernatural phenomenon during your career? Not in the form of spirits of death, but it felt like there was a hidden force kept pushing me forward. Every time I came to a dead end in cases, there was something that helped me found the way to close the cases. Besides, I believe that there is always a supernatural and sacred power that protects a person who has determination and faith in doing good things.
  2. 2. After working as a forensic pathologist for many years, do you think that you have accomplished your career path? I don’t know that I have accomplished my career path or not. However, after receiving the honorable title, ‘Khunying,’ from H.M.K. Bhumibol Adulyadej, I feel more confident in myself that if I walk on the path of the Buddhism precepts, do my best, and have strong determination toward this country, I will be successful and be proud of myself. What are your views toward forensic science in the present day? Firstly, most of the forensic science officers are neither doing their jobs with love and faith nor understanding; they lack motivation. In this age of materialism, a lot of people seek only benefits out of their jobs. They don’t value what they do. In contrast, forensic science has intangible value, which is why it doesn’t get much attention from many sectors. Nevertheless, I think it’s challenging because it becomes a strong motivation for me to pursue my work without concerning about money or reputation, and to see how long I can survive in this position. Do you have anything to say to the authorities that are responsible for forensic science? First, the main organizations that are responsible for forensic science: The Royal Thai Police and Ministry of Public Health, should reconsider the current ideals and emphasize the importance of forensic science in society. Mainly, I want them to seek the true reasons that problems occur, not just try to find ways to solve the outcomes of those problems. Secondly, the government, for the last ten years, has emphasized the need to solve the economic situation but has failed to consider the need to improve the quality of lives. At present, many politicians keep altering laws for their own benefits. Thus, I believe that the government should be more careful with the action it chooses to take. Does the political situation affect your career? At first, I didn’t think that politics is related to my career; nevertheless, after working for a while, I have found that the power of change is dependent on the political system not on the government agency system. Therefore, it means that I have to improve the justice system through the political system when I have a chance to do so. What are your views toward the current political situation? Thai politics has been created on a weak foundation. There are still many Thai citizens that have poor education and thus, don’t realize the full role of politicians. They simply see politicians as powerful people. The politicians, on the other hand, only seek to use their positions for their own benefits and fail to make contribution to the country. If the politicians would realize their potential and put their positions to good use, Thailand would become a much better place. As I have seen today, there are only two people, Mr. Apisit Vejjajiva and Mr. Chuan Leekpai, who understand and know how to use their power and authority in the right way. Therefore, the current political situation is hard to solve and develop since the two sides; the politicians and the public, have problems with each other. Moreover, as we are now aware, the public are also separated into the yellow shirts and the red shirts. Eventually, I think it depends on the fate of the country since the two sides cannot seem to reach a mutual agreement.