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  • Annette Nguyen (Ngoc-Huyen)

Coronavirus and my thesis

Updated: Nov 4, 2021

Nititorn Sura-bundith from IMICS program whose nickname is Beer talked about his thesis experience during Coronavirus pandemic.

Beer’s thesis aims to analyse the narratives presented in Melayu Patani local museums in deep South Thailand and their role in being a space for Melayu Patani people.

Melayu Patani is an ethno-national group of people who have been struggling to maintain their nation and identity during the process of nation-building in Thailand and have been subjected to the process of cultural assimilation and violent armed conflicts for over half of the last century. The role of museums and their exhibitions have been appraised in being the platform to recall their imaginary nation and to bargain with the Thai hegemony.

Passed the proposal defense in early May, Beer planned to finish final thesis defense in the end of July 2020. For implementing his research as proposed, he adopted different methods including archival research, observation, focus group discussions, and in-depth interviews which require field trip to the South of Thailand where is politically unstable and dangerous to travelers. However, as a journalist with venturous blood in his veins, Beer didn’t see travelling to South Thailand as a challenge.

Not until Coronavirus came and hit the world hard, did Beer realize he could not be able to even flight back home in Bangkok. Friends and teachers suggested him to change his methodology and stay in Taiwan to finish his thesis. Beer was struggling between the choices of seeking an easy way out or remaining loyal to his initial intention.

“I’m talking about the people and their lives so I need to see their lives and the museum so I need to go back no matter what happen,” Beer thought and he fought hard with his own self to look for all the possible ways to go to the field.

He finally made it as his application for the flight was finally approved by the Thai Representative Office in Taiwan. Beer had abided a total 28 days of quarantine plus self-health management time, spent 10 days with his family and 2 weeks in the field. Beer’s lucky that Taiwan opens its arms to welcome back current international students.

Even though Beer came back to Taipei in the second half of July and his final defense would be postponed, he’s proud that he has collected all the necessary data and didn’t let the virus influence his research.

“I should say thanks to Covid-19 as it makes me stronger and makes me fight for the things that I intended to do, to be.”

We wish Beer a successful final defense and a brilliant future!

While asking if he had any advice to ones who’re going to write their theses, Beer was modest to say he didn’t dare to suggest, but he would recommend other students to spend at least 1 hour per day consistently for working on the thesis, and not to forget to eat good food and do exercises because these can really help, especially in the hard time.

“Importantly, do not feel hopeless with yourself and say thank you to yourself for what you have done with thesis each day,” he added.

Author: Annette Nguyen Ngoc Huyen/ IMICS

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