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Charunee Vongkaluang


Hello hello, greetings from Thailand to all members and sponsors of the IRG.
This year it’s a very special year. So please join me celebrating that 50th Anniversary of IRG meeting, and wishing our favorite organization the very good stride for numbers of years to come. I was very excited when Alan ask me to write my bio for his newsletter and I hope that what I am going to write will be of some interest to whoever reading.

Roots and Education

I was born in Bangkok in 1943, at that time Thailand was entering the final stage of World War II. I was told that the city was always blackout during the night and people were hearing the sound of sirens together with air-raid bombing. As the youngest child of the family I followed my father who was the governor to many provinces in the Northeast. At the age of 10 I returned to Bangkok entering Rajini School which was established by the Queen of King Rama V, (Rajini in Thai means the Queen). In 1959 I undertook Pre-University School before taking a 5 years course at Kasetsart University in 1961. I received my B.Sc. in Entomology in 1966. The most memorable and great honors I had while I was the student at Kasetsart University were to receive the “Gold Medal – Women’s Badminton team“ and “B.Sc. Certificate“ from the hand of the late King Rama IX.

Career

After graduation I got a job as entomologist at Wood Research Institute, Royal Forest Department. In 1970 I was awarded the Colombo Scholarship to study at University of Reading for a MSc. in the Technology of Crop Protection.
After coming back to work at Royal Forest Department for two years I received a research assistantship from Department of Entomology of North Carolina State University. Dr. Harry B Moore was my Advisor. As for my thesis, “Old house borer“ was the name of the wood borer I worked on for 3 years for my Ph.D.  
After my return to Thailand, in 1978 I took responsibility for the “biology of wood destroying organisms“, and that was the start of my involvement in Wood Protection. As my Institution had a very close cooperation with the BAM in Berlin, I was lucky to have the opportunity to meet with many famous names in termite and wood protection of Germany, including Professor Gunther Becker, Professor Walter Liese, Professor Hubert Willeitner, and others in the field.
Because of the nature of my job, I also had a chance to meet and have a long conversation with Mr. Ron Cockcroft together with his wife, Marianne.

IRG

That opportunity turned out to be the door for me to enter into IRG family. My first IRG was way back at IRG13 in Cesme, Turkey in 1982 following by IRG14 in Surfers Paradise, Australia. After that I tried to attend IRG meetings as often as I was able. Altogether I have since attended more than 30 IRG meetings. I was among the RCA recipients at the IRG22 meeting in Kyoto, Japan in 1991.  And, it is my understanding that I am currently one of the ten oldest members of IRG.  During each IRG meeting I enjoy meeting new friends, reuniting with old friends and sharing our experience within the group.

Many people asked me why I haven’t organized an IRG meeting in Thailand? The answer is, unfortunately, that the wood protection business in Thailand is not big enough to get appropriate sponsors to run a smooth meeting even though we really welcome all our good friends to our land “Thailand – The Land of Smile“.

Family and Future

Currently, I am fully retired from the administration position in Royal Forest Department but still hold a position as Consultant on projects in relation to termites and wood protection, particularly on the on-going field trials.
I am now living a happy life with my family, my 94 year old healthy sister, our two daughters, Alisa, a television programmer and Aruna, a commercial airline pilot. 

And, of course, with my all time sweetheart, Isara.

 

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