Dr. Porntip – a true Thai hero

It’s so refreshing to hear about popular people in positions of influence who are actually doing useful and interesting things, rare as that is. Dr. Porntip Rojanasunan is the head medical examiner in Thailand – consummately professional, brutally honest, and wonderfully irreverent. She has had huge amounts of work to do lately – from the government’s murderous “war on drugs” that killed 2,500 people without trial, to the government’s inept handling of unrest in the deep south, to the tsunamis. Every step of the way she winds up dealing with irritations ranging from publicy-seeking incompetents like the prime minister’s wife, who showed up at a temple with reporters in tow to “help identify bodies” (she must have brushed up on her forensic skills while looking for her stolen purse), to death threats from police covering up their murders.

The SF Chronicle had a great article about her this week – the full text is attached below. One interesting point was how she complained about the poor state of Thailand’s forensic capabilities that made it necessary to send DNA samples to China for testing. The Ministry of Health had announced this week that all the identification would be done in Thailand within a month (a typically idiotic Thaksin-like promise made by his lapdog Sudarat, the Minister of Health). Just today, they retracted that and admitted the DNA testing would be done in China. Not because Thailand was unprepared like Dr. Porntip points out, but as a “gesture to acknowledge China

20 Comments so far

  1. Ben Harris (unregistered) on January 7th, 2005 @ 6:31 pm

    She’s cool.

  2. Carl (unregistered) on January 8th, 2005 @ 12:51 am

    You should also post that wild photo of her, as included in the San Francisco Chronicle. Wild! Style! Punk!

  3. scuba (unregistered) on January 8th, 2005 @ 10:18 am

    Good idea, except I’m a tech moron – I’ll need to ask someone how to post pictures!

  4. lynn (unregistered) on January 8th, 2005 @ 3:19 pm

    Great article; thanks for posting, Scuba. Dr. Porntip came to give a Forensics lecture for my Pathology class once. Not only was she an awesome teacher, but she literally had the attention of every single last student in the room. Now that takes talent. ;)

    As for her role in Thai society, I think that she has done SO much to help develop Forensic Science in Thailand. Critics who are too busy criticizing her hair and way of dress should focus more on the groundbreaking things that she has done for science in Thailand.

  5. nash (unregistered) on January 8th, 2005 @ 3:55 pm

    Thanks to you all, for this great write up. I’m here to try to post a pic of Dr.Porntip which I found in local news web site, Manager Online.


    Hope it works! It’s my first time here. I found out abou this place from Lynn’s personal blog!

  6. nash (unregistered) on January 8th, 2005 @ 4:06 pm


    All right. I went to see some formatting rules at the Wiki sand box. Mind if I try again?

    {{image class=”center” alt=”Dr. Porntip’s pic” title=”An Image Link” url=”http://11news1.com/asp-bin/Image.aspx?ID=240727″ link=”RecentChanges”}}

    My apologies in advance if this doesn’t work. I won’t cause any more damages to your blog! Yeah, Right!

    Sigh….never mind. Just cut and paste to see her pix, then!

  7. him (unregistered) on January 8th, 2005 @ 10:31 pm

    Cut n paste phobics can click here to see her. She does have the best hair.

  8. nash (unregistered) on January 9th, 2005 @ 1:24 am

    Thanks, him. You’re the savior!

  9. Cog (unregistered) on January 10th, 2005 @ 11:21 pm

    Whoa! She needs to ease up on the formaldehyde…
    (obligatory smart ass comment)

  10. simi (unregistered) on August 31st, 2005 @ 5:48 pm


    i have been trying to contact Dr Potntip…if you know how could you let me know


  11. Ben Harris (unregistered) on September 1st, 2005 @ 2:42 pm

    You might try going through police. I think she’s still working for them. Does anyone have any leads on contacting Dr Porntip?

  12. Jack (unregistered) on September 5th, 2005 @ 7:06 pm

    This might be a bit off the topic, but I really wanna know how will I start my own topic here at this blog, …. well that’s because I’ve been reading others for ages and just want to share my experiences too..



  13. Mark Fell (unregistered) on November 29th, 2005 @ 10:54 pm

    I took some great pictures of Dr. Porntip at the Wat Yan Yao in the aftermath of the Tsunami. I was in Phang Nga at the Temple. What is the “easiest way” to post pictures to this string of correspondence?

  14. brian (unregistered) on November 30th, 2005 @ 4:17 pm

    Dr. Porntip is intelligent and forthcoming–something the Thai govt can’t stand in its citizens.

  15. Ritesh Thapa (unregistered) on December 1st, 2005 @ 1:23 am

    Well done. Dr. Porntip.

  16. kirtipal subedi (unregistered) on December 2nd, 2005 @ 3:03 pm

    this is vrey good article.

  17. Rika (unregistered) on January 13th, 2006 @ 11:30 am

    Thanks for this artical,I saw on like it in the San Francisco Chronicle.Of my heros for her work.
    This artical will help alot on a paper I have to do about some one famouse.(Famouse to me at leastlolz)

  18. Kitjar Sukjaidee (unregistered) on January 16th, 2006 @ 12:33 pm

    Khunying Porntip is a very cool personality. I admire her strengths and her outlook in life. Perhaps, only if more Thais could be like Khunying! Chaiyo!

  19. Julia Nine Anthonis (unregistered) on February 8th, 2006 @ 5:26 am

    after watching an Australian broadcast of a NatGeo documentary on Dr Porntip and her amazing work, I am such a big fan of hers!!! She is such an interesting and awesome person. i wish her all the best in the future.

  20. Lasik (unregistered) on February 22nd, 2006 @ 4:04 am

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