Famed forensic scientist Dr. Pornthip Rojanasunand joined the CRES in April 2010, becoming a key figure in the protests and their aftermath. One year later, she opens up about her thoughts on dharma, politics and her own path. 

The king has been my inspiration, since i was a kid. My parents taught me that if you see anything wrong, you can’t just let it go. You have to make it right.

At medical school I knew I couldn’t work within strict rules. I had to find a way to work independently. If I’m good at my job, I should have the right to be independent, right? Luckily, I mentioned this to a professor who told me my character was best suited for forensic medicine.

This job is about searching. I had no idea how much I would love it. Every time I touched putrid organs I thought, “Wow, this is what went on with that person.”

This job is also about bringing justice to the deceased. My analysis often reaches different conclusions from that of relatives or the police.

Death makes you reflect on what you wish to accomplish before you die. I learned that from the first dead body I saw.

When I moved from Phitsanulok to Bangkok, I discovered the difference between rural and metropolitan police. Police in the provinces don’t practice deception like the police in Bangkok.
As a professor, I took on my first high profile case, the murder of Jenjira, a medical student. The police relied on the suspect’s testimony, saying the girl had been killed at a hotel. I found evidence to the contrary, and the murderer later admitted he had killed her at her home.

This was my first conflict with the police, who thought that I just wanted to be famous. It goes on to this day. No National Police Chief has accepted me. But this case paved the way to create the Central Institute of Forensic Science Thailand.

I believe that dharma will protect me if I do the right thing. A monk told me, “This is not the thing that you want to do but you were destined to do it, so do your best.”

Hangthong Thammawattana’s murder was the case that affected me the most. I was sued for billions of baht and received threats, like, “Do you want to die like Hangthong?” I wasn’t afraid. My dad taught me to never fear when what you’re doing is the right thing.

My toughest cases are the ones related to the Southern insurgency. I feel pity for our nation. This massive budget pumped into the South could have ended the conflict in the first three years if we had a smart leader paying attention to this problem.

I see light at the end of the tunnel for the South, but don’t know when it will end. So many people benefit from this problem, both government officials and insurgents. It can only be solved by the justice system.

A year after the violence at the Red Shirt protests, I still blame the poor education in Thailand. It has taught people to cling to materialism and entertainment, not morality.
The investigation to find who is responsible for the violence at the protest is just a soap opera.
Politics are a business in Thailand. It’s hard to find a politician who puts people first.

Society is being destroyed by a lack of clear rules. But let’s not be too negative. Nothing bad lasts forever.

Don’t try to change politicians and elections. Money shows mercy to no one. It just makes people more stupid.

I wake up at 4:30am every day, or 4am if I am in the Southern provinces, which is usually two days a week. After I wake up I will pray to make myself calm, or refresh my mind with books.

My favorite hobby is writing. I think it keeps my mind sharp. I can’t write well if I’m in a bad mood.

If weren’t a doctor, I’d love to be a teacher. I want to teach kids to be like me, teach them to be strong and resist the vicious things in life.

Others might love sex or alcohol but I love to dress.
I have to pick my clothes in the evening. Otherwise I would end up going to work late because I can’t make a decision.

I am only strict with my daughter in the sense that she has to be a good person. I feel content that she’s interested in dharma because it will guide her to the right path.

All three institutes—nation, religion, monarchy—are have been sullied. But I am ready to make this country good again. I’m just waiting for more good people so that we can do it together.


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