Monday morning was never the same

“You are 2 minutes late for our first class, minus 200 points from your quiz” was the first word I heard from Mr. Bruce Avasadanond, my new JM310 Editorial teacher. I thought to myself “this isn’t a really good way to start a class” and I remember being slightly caught off with how strict he was with the time and how much points I have lost in just a number of minutes. Everyone was already assigned to their new group and I was confused at first but luckily, my group member Sasipakorn Tongkamphong called me to where our group has settled.

It started with a quiz and then the fun part, class rules. I was aware of the class rules by my friends who had studied the course last semester, “You can’t wear any perfume to class, you need to always have your name tag, you can’t yawn or sneeze and there are about 7 pages of class rules to memorize!” said Nicharee Inoue. I recall thinking that she might be exaggerating, how could a person not yawn in class? Or sneeze? Still, I was quite skeptical about it as well as quite intimidated by the rules and the overwhelming class work. When the class rules are being distributed to everyone I then realize that this is actually real, everything my friend had told me is true. I carefully read the class rule while trying to absorb all the information, some I understand but some are really odd. I think Mr. Bruce notice that the majority of us are pretty lost with all the rules so he clarified some of the most question’s ones, the ‘not wearing any fragrance rules’. “Some people might be allergic to the fragrance, it can cause headaches, excessive sneezing and even rashes” explained Mr. Bruce “Some companies in the United States have a scent-free policy where you are not allowed to come to work with any fragrance”, this actually clarifies a lot but the no sneezing or yawning rule is still peculiar for me.

Many questions flew through my mind when the first class ended, will I be ready for the work I have to do or finish on time and what about my group work? I was quite worried but I remember talking to my friends and it helped, if they survived then I can. Luckily, I was always on time from that day which really amazed me because I am not an early bird and I really do cherish my sleeping time.

It was definitely one of the toughest class I have ever studied, but although I didn’t want to admit it in the first place, this class really helped me a lot. I was able to come out of my comfort zone and explore many more things out there that I never even noticed before. Mr. Bruce said that he would call for complaints every day while explaining that it is our right to be able to complain if there is a problem because we are the ones who are paying the tax. There were so many new things that I was assigned to do, sending an FOI request or doing an observation on strangers and investigating them.

Attending seminars is something that I have never really thought of doing until Mr. Bruce suggest us to do it for our extra credit, so I decided to give it a try. It was a lot of work I have to admit, but thanks to it, my listening and writing skills have improved drastically.

The group works are exhaustingly draining as to there is so much information to gather, I have worked on e-cigarette for my editorial and street racing for my feature/article. To my surprise, I was able to gain much more than I expected. I was finding sources to interview by trying to call the hospital, interviewed a policeman, looking up journals while making sure that everything is reliable and the most important part, writing.

I went through a frenzy of re-editing the article with my group members, for my first article, we edit it 3-4 times and changed the entire introduction and the concession according to Mr. Bruce comment and we were questioning if he was having a bad day. Those were some very late night work and I was getting really tired of it already. Eventually, we all managed to pull through and I was very happy with the work.

Working on my second article with my new group was also a good experience but way tougher, doing the group work while maintaining the tremendous amount of reading and assignments has definitely worn me out. However, I did learn a lot of interesting things during my second half of the semester. One of it is from our guest speaker from Thaipublica, Kamol Chavanwit or Khun ToomTum, is an investigative journalist who has been uncovering different scandals throughout the years. There were many shocking things that I learned from Khun Toomtum and how risky it is to be an investigative journalist. That is why the majority of people decided to distance themselves from this career path. But I was astonished by his passion despite being very dangerous and a lot of hard work but the drive to show people the truth is what kept him going. “Some of the stories we published are able to make a change and clear out the problem but some don’t, it is because us journalist doesn’t have the power or the authorities to solve things but our duty is to distribute the news and the truth to the people,” said Khun Toomtum.

This semester has been a whirlwind, I have never thought to become fond of this class but I did. And yes there are some things that I don’t really enjoy such as some of the class rules or being very early, but I do understand that coming late is not acceptable in the professional world. But I have gained much more and have the ability to do something out in the field, I have become less shy while presenting and actually got used to it and my writing skills have improved from the very first day. For Mr. Bruce who I thought was slightly mental at first has become someone I admire learning from. I used to think he will always be ferocious and I would be miserable while studying but in contrast, the atmosphere was actually very light, as long as we follow the rules of course. I remember being late for one of my assignments and he said with a smile to not to worry and that I could make it up with my next assignments, he even offered to help me look up some of the journals that I can’t access. Even though his comments for work can be harsh and brutal, he still encourages and compliments us which is what I like, especially the final presentation parties.

I always discuss my works with my dad and told him everything about this JM310 class, after my last group presentation I remember talking to him while feeling very relieved that this was nearly over, he told me “You’ve got to admit, even though he is very tough but you need a teacher like this to keep you all working hard” and I couldn’t agree more.

“You all have survived,” Mr. Bruce.

Yes, we survived.

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My special opportunity : The UN visit

“We are definitely going to be late” Is what I thought while being on the bus on my way to the United Nation with 6 other friends with me. It was a rainy Monday morning, everyone was not fully awake while meeting up in front of the BJM office at 7 a.m. before getting on the van. There was a total of 3 van and I am in van number 2. Despite the dreary weather, I still look forward to going to the United Nation especially when Mr. Bruce said if we are early, we can go grab a nice hot coffee at the coffee shop before the seminar starts. That would have been great because me and the entire bus was sick and drinking something nice a warm will absolutely be delightful, but unfortunately that did not happened.

Monday morning while raining in the heart of Bangkok isn’t a great combination. The traffic was really bad while the driver decided not to go on the toll way when the BJM office told him to. We were quite worried because our schedule said we should arrive there by 9 a.m. but we ended up arriving at 10 a.m., 1 hour late!

I hurried out of the van while the rain still sprinkles outside, there was a big front gate with a female security guard. She was nice and smiled back when I told her we here for a field trip. I walked through the gate and saw a huge building inside, there were trees, fountains and security guards. I walked into a big modern glass building and met with the security check, just like in the airport. I was astonished at how spacious the place was, and I really like the way it was designed.

 

Once I entered the meeting room, it looked very professional with the white and brown color combination. I missed half of the first speaker’s lecture but still managed to listen to the second half which she focused on The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). ESCAP focused on sustainable development within the Asia-Pacific region which includes 3 important goals, Environment, Economic growth and Social equality. ESCAP is helping smaller countries in the region and act as their voice and try to balance the inclusive development agenda for the region.

Dr. Riccardo Mesiano was the second speaker, I like the way he talks and the style of his presentation, he knows what he is talking about yet he was able to deliver it in a more relaxed manner. He talks about the ‘Millennium Development Goals’ which originally has 8 goals when it first started back in 2000. In the year 2015 they added more goals which is a total of 17 goals in the name of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

“It’s not only important to get the GDP of the country to rise, but the workers condition and salary is important too” said Dr. Mesiano. That is why all of the goals are important and are linked together, when Dr. Mesiano asked everyone in the room what is the most important goal, nearly everyone answered quality education. As education is a foundation that could shape how that person is and most jobs these days require good education. However, in some countries there are still problems with gender equality and females are prohibited to do particular things such as election, can’t drive and countries such as Cambodia or India has a very low rate of women getting education. Not only with females but people in the LGBT community are facing problems as well. As stated above, all the goals goes together and not one can be left out.

One of the students ask about goal number 14 which is life below water, saying “apart from water pollution, isn’t the fisherman that catches the fish cause the population of the fish to decreased?” Dr. Mesiano explained that the problem with over fishing doesn’t rely on small fisherman because they have a certain capacity, but instead the big companies are the cause of the problems. “Most big companies fish in a not sustainable way, for example when they want to fish shrimps they would go out with big nets and they don’t only get the shrimps but they get everything else. This is why the resources disappear fast” stated Dr. Mesiano.

Within one day, or should I say half a day, I was able to gain so much and learn what I never knew about before. Some of the goals and topics are things that we I have studied such as the gender equality in Mr. Bruce class, even though Dr. Mesiano mostly focused on females but every gender in this world needs equality and the same human rights as everybody else. There’s so much information to explain that unfortunately the time ran out and Dr. Mesiano wasn’t able to finish his presentation. However, the knowledge that I have gained, the different perspective and question asked by the students is what important to me. I am glad to be able to have this opportunity and who knows in the future, I might decide to walk the same path as the speakers I have met on that day.