From our global reporters
It was immediately clear to Sam and Jessy that Yvonne Bohwongprasert is passionate about her work as a journalist – be it covering sports, travel, or social issues.
By day two, Samantha Davin and Jessy Dahl were interviewing like real professionals. Here are excerpts from their very interesting discussion with one of our top feature writers. She has a lot of good advice for wannabe writers.
Yvonne Bohwongprasert has a very animated speaker style. Here she answers a question from Sam. Photo: Jessy Dahl
A writer’s passion
“Don’t be afraid to raise awareness. That is our duty as writers.”
“Each story should be something special. Enjoy it. Be passionate about it. Learn from it.”
“Don’t settle for the norm.”
“There are two sides to every story.”
“Remember to love yourself. Just remember that you can change people if you can change yourself.”
“And always remember to stand up for what you think is right. That is the most important. Be flexible enough to listen to what other people have to say.”
It should be clear that Bonny (Yvonne Bohwongprasert) is passionate about her work as a journalist – be it covering sports, travel, or social issues, a particular favourite of hers.
Yvonne travelled throughout the world during her days as a travel writer, but her real interest is writing about social issues. That's Cappadocia and its volcanic mountain caves that sheltered early Christians in Turkey. Photo: Yvonne Bohwongprasert
She became a journalist at 28 and she has been working at the Bangkok Post for over 15 years.
She did not aim to be a journalist; in fact, she attended university as a psychology major, and had jobs ranging from a babysitter to a receptionist. And, although she never liked to read as a child, she said she used to love watching the news. This, she believes, is what inspired her to become what she is today.
Here are some excerpts from our conversation with her.
Jessy: Is there a standard way of writing or do you just use your passion/personality when writing a story?
Bonny: It depends on the type of writing. If its just hard news, like you see on the front page and in section 1, it is just who, what, where, when, why, and that is all you cover. The Bangkok Post doesn’t have too much colour in its hard news stories. In features, you have more freedom to play with your words and you have more flexibility.
Jessy: What does it take to become a good writer?
Bonny: You are never really good. There is always something that you have to learn. One story might come out really well, and you think that you did a good job, but another story might not be as good. The important thing is to have that learning spirit in you. You always have to be open to suggestions and criticism. That is very difficult to do as a writer.
Sam: What was your favourite country to visit when you worked in the travel section?
Bonny: People expect me to say Europe, but can you believe that it was Pakistan? I was impressed when I went there eight years ago. First, because there was no pretence. They just acted the way they were. You got to really meet the people on the streets, because there are no other places to actually take you to [laughs]. There are no malls like in Dubai or beautiful museums like in Europe where everybody is in a suit. I just like that the essence of the country was so raw. You can relate to the people there and the hospitality was great. This was one of the only travel stories that I was truly inspired to write. Other places were okay, but its nothing like when you are attached to the people, the culture, the food.
Mission accomplished, anohter interview completed. That's Jessy on the left, next Yvonne and then Sam.
Jessy: Do you feel as if you belong here now?
Bonny: It’s an institution. The camaraderie here is great; it’s what gets people going. Everybody here is just like family. I can’t say that for every section though. The members of our section have known each other for more than seven years.
Sam: Do you have any additional advice?
Bonny: Just try to enjoy yourself in life, no matter what is happening. Being a writer, you learn from the criticism you receive from others. I have found that the most difficult times are the times in which I learned the most.
excerpt – a part of a longer speech, song, text, etc. บทคัดย่อ
feature – (in newspapers, on television, etc.) a special article or programme about somebody/something สารคดีพิเศษ
wannabe – a person who wants to be famous or successful like someone else they admire คนที่ปรารถนาจะเป็นแบบผู้อื่น
passion – a strong enthusiasm or interest ความชื่นชม หลงใหล
awareness – the state of knowing about something การรับรู้, การทราบ
settle for – to accept someone or something that is not exactly what you wanted because you cannot have what you wanted ยอมรับ
normal – typical, usual or ordinary; what you would expect ภาวะปกติ
flexible – able to change to suit new conditions or situations เปลี่ยนแปลงได้,แก้ได้
journalist – a person who writes news stories or articles for a newspaper or magazine or broadcasts them on radio or television ผู้สื่อข่าว
issue – a problem that needs to be considered ประเด็น
favourite – something you like the best of all similar things ที่ชอบมาก,ที่โปรดปราน
shelter – to give protection from bad weather, danger, attack, etc.
aim – to have as your purpose or goal มีเป้าหมาย มีจุดมุ่งหมาย
babysitter – a person who takes care of babies or children while their parents are away from home and is usually paid to do this พี่เลี้ยงเด็ก
receptionist – a person whose job is to deal with people arriving at or telephoning a hotel, an office building, a doctor's surgery, etc. พนักงานต้อนรับ
inspire – to give people a particular feeling or a desire to do somethng จุดประกาย
personality – the part of a person that makes them behave in a particular way in social situations, e.g., in friendly or unfriendly way, or in a confident or shy way บุคลิกลักษณะ ลักษณะเฉพาะตน
criticism – comments that show that you think something is wrong or bad การวิจารณ์
impressed – admiring someone or something very much because of an unusually good quality or achievement ประทับใจ
pretence – the act of behaving in a particular way, in order to make other people believe something that is not true พฤติกรรมที่ไม่จริงใจ
museum – a building where objects of historical, scientific or artistic interest are kept พิพิธภัณฑ์
essence – the most important part of something, usually the part that gives it its general character แก่น
raw – in its natural state; not yet changed, used or made into something else ดิบ
relate to – to be connected with something/somebody; to refer to something/somebody เชื่อมโยงกับ
hospitality – friendly and generous behaviour towards visitors and guests, intended to make them feel welcome การให้การต้อนรับด้วยความยินดี
mission – an important piece of work that a person or a group of people has been given to do ภาระกิจ หน้าที่
accomplish - to finish something successfully or to achieve something ทำสำเร็จ
institution – an important tradition or system upon which society is based สถาบัน
camaraderie – a feeling of friendship and trust among people who work or spend a lot of time together ความเป็นมิตร, ความสัมพันธ์ที่ดี
Latest stories in this category:
- Learning Thai with Post Today (Archive)
- Helping your Child with their Learning: Ten Simple Tips
- Wind storm batters Satreeprasertsin School in Trat
- From teacher to farmer (updated with slideshow)
- Nine-year-old speaking champion
- Storycorps: An endless supply of listening/reading material
- I don’t speak Thai (But I try!)
- The mobile Bangkok Post