October 2014

Regarding Life and Love - Janine Yasovant - Scene4 Magazine Special Issue - October 2014

Janine Yasovant
คลิกเพื่ออ่านบทความนี้ เป็นภาษาไทย

Rangsit Thongsamakr is a graduate physician from Prince of Songkla University which is the Government University in the South of Thailand. In my view he is an exemplary person who can manage work and hobby efficiently. As a freelance photographer, Rangsit and his team cooperated with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) by taking photos of interesting landscapes, people and Thai traditional activities. Apart from this, they also did fundraising campaigns to help victims from floods in many regions of Thailand.


Regarding Life and Love - Janine Yasovant - Scene4 Magazine Special Issue - October 2014


Regarding life and love, I am so proud that I had a chance to study in the university which has the emblem of His Royal Highness Prince Mahidol Songkla. His famous quote can be roughly translated as "We must think about personal interest as a secondary mission. The primary mission, however, is to think only about common interest. Fortune, wealth and honor will be yours if you can defend virtues of this profession." Another good quote from Prince Mahidol I would like to present is that
"I do not want you to be not only a doctor, but also I want you to be a man. True success is not in the learning but its application to benefit mankind."


Here is an interview between me and Doctor Rangsit. We talked mainly about his photography club re: Arts and Love


JY: I would like to know more about photography club you have led.


RT: In 1987 during the time of film cameras, I gathered some friends who loved to take photographs and founded a small photography group. The initial members comprised just 10 people. At that time we trained more new photographers and our group got bigger. Then we renamed our group to be "Photography Club of Nakorn Si Thammarat Province (PCNP)" I was selected as the club president.

Our club set up meetings frequently about various activities in the club including photography training, short trips, and a monthly handmade journal. I and my club were very happy about taking photos for Thai traditional merit events especially in the October Festival every year. We have a booth for taking vintage-style photos for customers. Everyone helps others enthusiastically and this is so enjoyable.


In the period of the digital camera, many old club members who still use film cameras stepped down from their role and a lot of digital photography groups joined our club. My website "" was created in 2007. At the present we have thousands of members. Every Friday night we have a meeting activity called KF3 or KFFF which stands for Krungshing Friday Foto Forum. During the meeting we discuss news about photography as well as give serious comments on some photos of our members present. Another great activity is small group training in which one trainer and a few students take a field trip together to take picture. This is much more effective than training with a bigger group.     


Regarding Life and Love - Janine Yasovant - Scene4 Magazine Special Issue - October 2014


The advice I usually gave to beginning photographers is to use photography for the greatest benefit of society. We have to be open-minded to let our photographs be used for free on some occasions. For the purpose of common interest, we can see that the majority of photographers agree with this and are willing to lend a hand. The photobook titled "Nakorn Si Thammarat" was a compilation from 31 photographers. They sent more than 10,000 pictures for the selection process. Another photobook which is not yet released is called "Pagoda: Dharma and world heritage". This time the number of photographers increased to 40 people. As usual, more than 10,000 of pictures are in the selection process for this book. They never ask or hope to get money from this because they think this is for the common interest.                                                                                                                                     




JY: Please tell me more about your work, personal issues, family and your impression on life.


RT: I finished my high school education from Benjamarachutit in 1978 and graduated as a physician in 1984. I repaid my scholarship tuition fee by working as a director at Mai Kaen Hospital in Pattani Province for one year and was transferred to Kok Pho Hospital in the same province for another year. After that I moved back to my hometown Nakorn Si Thammarat Province and worked as a director for Thasala Hospital for around 10 years, then I quit my work and started my own business.


As for my family life: I married Dr.Somporn, a nurse from Ramathibodi Hospital. We met when she went to repay her scholarship in Songkla Province. All my three children are in medical field. My eldest son is a pharmacist who graduated from Silpakorn University. He is now 27 years old. My second son is studying dentistry in his fourth year at Kon Kaen University and he is 22 years old. My youngest, my daughter, received an ODOS scholarship and is studying medicine in her first year at University of Auckland, New Zealand and now she is 20 years old.


Our family grew up with nature in the countryside. We saw forests and seas since we were young. Twice a year my family takes a tour together. We drive casually to many provinces in Thailand to observe and learn about people and their different ways of life. My children gained broader scope about people so they could develop leadership naturally.




Upon observing my three children, I am so proud of them for many reasons. When my first son was studying Pharmacy at Silpakorn University, he called me one day to say that he had to visit his sick friend who was admitted to the hospital and slept over there before his friend's mother arrived at the hospital. I felt happy that my son acknowledged the unhappiness of his friend and tried to take care of his friend as much as he could. My three children are outgoing and have a lot of friends

During summer holidays in the past, a lot of their friends came to visit our house in Nakorn Si Thammarat Province. Last year all 24 school classmates of my daughter came to our house to have a farewell party and sleep over for the last time before they went to study in different educational institutions.




JY: What are your principles of work?


RT: I try my best in everything. Try to decrease personal interest and help society as much as I can for the common benefit. I believe that everyone is in different social dimensions and we can do many good things to help our society to be better. At least we have to think positively and do the right thing. Then everything will be better eventually.        




JY: What is your general opinion about Thai society?


RT: From my experiences, there are three things in Thai society that should be corrected as soon as possible. First, some people are afraid to decide and do something on their own. Sometimes they prefer to follow someone's opinion even though it is wrong and ridiculous. They also do not dare to think out-of-the-box although this is the better way. Second, some people can think about many useful theories but they do not do anything practical in a real situation. Sometimes they take too much time to think and discard their own new idea intentionally. Sticking with old and obsolete ideas makes people think repetitively and their works lack innovation and variety. Finally, some people become keyboard warriors who cannot face other people in real life. They do not listen to better ideas from other people and argue with baseless reasons without respect for basic rights. In the end I wish people to keep their own rights and respect other people's rights as well so as to be more creative in their thinking.


JY: One last question, what would you like to tell us about a memorable and rewarding experience for you and your team that you do not want to forget? 


RT: I would call this story "Photographers who act as a group leader to help flood victims". It happened on 20 March 2011, but let me take you back to the end of 2010 first. At that time, Nakorn Si Thammarat Province was heavily flooded especially around the foothills Plain of Kao Luang Mountain. I was the leader who had to devise many strategies to help villagers. We set up mobile medical units to help people who could not receive help and supply from the authority due to some unknown mistakes in the help list. Lots of my club members were physicians, nurses, pharmacists and dentists. We accepted donations from the Krungshing website that I administered. We collected donations of over 45,000 Baht. The fundraising campaign was called "photographers help flood victims" There were three committee members who took care of this donation money. We moved to distant villages and our teams of photographers helped to pack food, medicine and clothing in bags in the pick-up trucks. We did this with service in mind and were very happy. After we traveled to distant villages for the fourth time, the water level decreased to the original level so our mission was successful. The remaining fund was around 25,000 Baht  


Three to four months later, on 20-22 March 2011, there was a heavy rainfall, more than 2,000 mm and it took only 7 days to devastate the area. Water from the Kao Luang and Kao Nan mountains flooded down to the Krung Ching Sub-district, Nopphitam District, Nakorn Si Thammarat Province. Landslides damaged all of the houses, roads, bridges, telephone lines, power lines and water supply pipes. Communication was entirely cut off.


The tour guide groups called "Tarzan" came to talk to me and their leader Tarzan Boy said that he will enter the Krung Ching area on foot. He managed to cross the wild river using rope and got a set of photos from the actual location. I immediately posted these photos on-line on my website and moved my team to Fhak Fa garden where I used to grow some trees long time ago. This place was used as a hub to coordinate with volunteers in the area. We cooked some instant noodles and shared with everyone there. Every day we had an adventure helping villagers and our voluntary medical staff moved on foot to the area.


I also used Facebook to spread news and contact Jiranan Pitpreecha (Jeed) and photography groups throughout Thailand. We received great cooperation. The photos of the damaged area were used in an exhibition called "Southern flood, Tears and Sympathy" at the Paragon department store. We used media such as TV and available means including photography groups in many provinces to fundraise for this campaign. This time the donation money was more than 2,500,000 Baht through the existing campaign "photographers help flood victims".


The volunteers observed the damages and helped to repair the mountain water supply system for 11 villages in the Krung Ching valley successfully. Later, government agencies and private organizations came to join our group.


This might be the first time that groups of photographers were the main leaders who helped victims of one of the largest natural disasters in the south of Thailand. Moreover, remaining funds can be used for other disasters in many areas such as floods in Bangkok and the central region of Thailand and floods in Mae Sot, Tak Province, Sangkhla Buri, Kanchanaburi Province, Sa Kaeo Province and wildfires in the Kaeng Krachan area.


It is critically important and fulfilling work.


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คลิกเพื่ออ่านบทความนี้ เป็นภาษาไทย

Scene4 Magazine: Janine Yasovant

Janine Yasovant is a writer in Chiang Mai, Thailand and a Senior Writer for Scene4.
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October 2014



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