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Exclusive Interview: A Mother’s Love

By 7 August 2018 No Comments


There is a saying which goes, mother is the one who gives. Mother gave birth and life to you   

Waree Ponpaisan

“The mother who raised children to be super tough”

It is not uncommon for an heir to take over the rein of his own family business but it is certainly not easy to expand that family empire. Waree Ponpaisan is the mother who is well aware of this. That is why she has her own way of raising up her children, especially Prince – Wittawat Ponpaisan, her eldest son. Currently, he is the Vice President of Heritage Group which is Thailand’s leading natural food and drink producer and exporter. Their products include Blue Diamond’s almonds and almond milk, Nature’s Sensation’s nuts, dried fruits and organic fruit juices and healthy nuts and seeds snacks marketed under the brands Nut Walker and Sunkist.

Wittawat has been raised to be strong since young as Waree acknowledged that an immense tasks lied ahead. When asked her about how she raised her children, she replied without hesitation that she trained her children to be able to look after themselves since they were young.

Her children have had a freedom in decision-making. She averted from teaching by just telling them what they should or should not do. Instead, she let them do things on their own so they could get first-hand experience. When there was a failure, she would step in and gave them explanation.

“I look at myself and realise that when we are given the freedom, we are capable to do more than others. I raised my kids to be tough. Knowing that my eldest son would have to take over this big task in the future, I let him be himself and look after himself. He got green light in making decisions. I normally wouldn’t just tell him but I let him do things on his own so he would personally get real experience. Only when he failed, I would guide him. He was sent to study in the UK since he was 11. At that time I took him to scout around for good school with me. I let him talk to the headmasters and chose which school he wanted to attend. I went with him only once and after that he had to figure out how to get there on his own. He did everything by himself. I tried to take him to lots of places to expose him to different cultures. He grew up in the UK and he went to the university in the US. Afterwards, he lived in Japan and China. He got to learn various cultures and could speak several languages. At the same time, I also treat him like my buddy”. Wittawus who sat quietly this whole time suddenly opposed, “Mom is like my sister”. What he said clearly shows their close mother-son relationship. 

Waree added, “When people asked me how I raised my kids, I often told them that it’s more like my kids raised me. I worked hard and my kids were the ones who took care of my food and drove me to places. My son and daughter really did all that for me”. While the children studied overseas, parents had to work in Thailand. Despite living far apart, the Ponpaisan is a close-knitted family. Children got to return home every semester break. “I wouldn’t let them stay away for too long. I knew because I’ve been there before. I knew that when you let them be on their own for too long, they would eventually get used to it. I made sure they came back home every chance they have. That way, they would always yearn to come back to us. Don’t let them be completely on their own. This is what you have to know if you let your kids study overseas”.

Wittawus took us down the memory lane telling us about his childhood act of bravery. He said, “When I was a kid, I always ended up hurting myself”. Mother Waree added that he was prone to injuries including a cut on the eyebrow and getting drowned in the water twice. He was so naughty that he recklessly ran and when he reached a turning point, he lost control and fell into the canal. Another time at Pattaya Park, her naughty son sneaked away to get on a slider. When he fell into the pool, he just disappeared and drowned. All the body guards came to help looking for him. Wittawus gave us a lowdown pretty much like it happened yesterday. “Kids were not allowed to play a slider but I saw lots of people get on it so I wanted to try it too. I didn’t know how to swim then and I was so tiny. I tried standing on tiptoe in the pool to see if I could still hold my head above the water. I thought I could get away with it but it turned out when I fell into the water, I couldn’t remember anything. Next thing I knew, I was carried to the edge of the pool. I didn’t even know how I came out of the water”.

Even though Wittawus dreamt to be an architect when he was young, he chose to study Economics out of his commitment to family business which he had been mingled with since young. He earned a Master’s Degree from San Francisco University. “I didn’t study Business Management as I believe that studying Economics will enable us to see a bigger picture and let us understand how the country or government works. We would understand why they come to a certain decision. Why do banks come up with certain policies? These points of view wouldn’t be possible if I chose to study Business Management which would focus on how company runs and manages the operation. They would teach us what to do if we are faced with certain situation. In real life, we couldn’t use what we learned anyway because situations are not the same. We have to improvise according to situation at hand. They didn’t teach us what to do if situation varies or if what we learned doesn’t work. These kinds of thing we have to learn from experiences. After finishing my master’s degree, I went on to study Japanese and Chinese before coming back to work in Thailand.

In 2004 Wittawus started working for his family. He was lucky to have his mother as a mentor who taught him and set herself as an example for her son. 

“When I tagged along my mom to work, for example, to a meeting, I would observe what my mom did, put myself in her shoes and asked myself what I’d do in this scenario. I’d find room for improvement. I’d also put myself in the other party’s shoes asking myself what I would do if I were them. I’d imagine what I’d say in a meeting, how to go about things which may not be favourable to us, how to beat around the bush or how to turn down an offer. When I observed my mom, I remembered her every strategy which might come in handy one day”. His mother said, “I was lucky that I get to travel a lot since when he was still a student. Whether in the UK or US, I’d let him fly to see me at work or to the exhibitions. That way, he’d be surrounded by the best people in the industry and he could learn from them from listening to our talk and discussion. He got a chance to be acquainted with those successful people so he was lucky to learn it the right way with the right people in real situations.

This mother and son do not only get along well in the line of work but they also share common passion in other things; travel and arts. Both like to checkout art galleries, architectures, castles, palaces and nature. They love to help out other people as well in the fields that they are interested in. His mother tends to go for social and agriculture contribution to better the livelihood of the people. Wittawus is more into providing educational assistance to the underprivileged children as he hopes that these children would grow up to be a knowledgeable and quality individual in the society.

“All my children are kind and helpful. They like to make merit for the common good. They like to put the needs of others before their own just like me. It’s pretty much like cloning because I’ve always taught them to walk in the way of the Buddhism since they were young. When Prince turned 20, he flew back to for ordination when no one told him to. He did what he should do. He is a capable person with determination. If he couldn’t run our business and expand it, I don’t think I could enjoy my life after retirement and live the life I have now. I quitted going into the office at 49 and let him work while watching out for him. He earned his master’s degree at 21 because he took bachelor and master programmes simultaneously. I think he did his best at that time because he also earned scholarship and finish them with honours”. Seeing that his mother spoke of him with great appreciation, Wittawus said shyly that, “I’m a lazy person so I just wanted to get it over with thinking that working would be more interesting. Apparently, what I was wrong (laughed). My mom impresses me in every way. She brought us all up the best way possible. She was a successful business woman. She taught us well, sent us to good schools and taught us to be a good person”.

“I’m a fighter who never gives up easily and if my kids said I raised them the best, I’m okay with that”. The mother who has been the wind beneath the wings of this successful entrepreneur wrapped up our conversation with a victorious smile.

Her children are all kind-hearted and love to help others. Taking over the way their mother think, both like to do good deeds for the common good and are unselfish.

Saraichatt Kunjara Jirapaet

“My Kid always come first”

With her enthusiasm and eloquence, Ning – Saraichatt Kunjara Jirapaet has enjoyed the limelight as Thailand’s in-demand mistress of ceremony. Off-stage, Ning is a mother of a teenage daughter, Bella – Kunjaree Jirapaet. You might wonder what kind of mother she is or how she could impeccably juggle her role as a mother and an emcee without flaw. Her work always runs smoothly while she manages to be there for her child always. Today she is willing to spare some time off from her busy schedule to answer some of our questions.

“I’m a perfectionist mom. I know everything but sometimes theories alone wouldn’t do. Each child is individual in nature. I took care of myself really well but I gave birth to a colic baby (uncontrollable and excessive crying which often shows up when a baby is 2 or 3 weeks old). She suffered from baby blues (postnatal depression) symptoms for almost 2 months. When Bella was 1 month old, she lost 15 kgs. I think you just can’t raise your kid exactly by the book. It needs getting to know your baby well. Would you believe it that I hardly picked up the book since I gave birth to Bella. Before that I always did everything by the book. Everything has to be done exactly as guided by the book. When I actually had my own baby, I cut myself some slack.

No book can ever get you ready enough for this new role of mother. It’s a whole new world which you need to learn new things every day. Usually Ning is a hyperactive person so when she take things slower, it takes some getting used to. “When Bella was just born, I had to stay home every single day and I couldn’t adjust myself to this new pace. It took me 3 months and things were getting better and I’ve become happy again. Wherever I go, I take my girl with me. I took her to my work place because it was my intention to raise my kid on my own. I believe this is every mother’s dream. We don’t want to see our kid getting attached to someone else. I chose to look after her by myself even though it might be tiring and stressful. What I get in return is happiness, intimacy and bonding.

I believe this is every mother’s dream. We don’t want to see our kid getting attached to someone else. I chose to look after her by myself even though it might be tiring and stressful. What I get in return is happiness, intimacy and bonding.

She might be petite but you’d better believe it that she breastfed Bella for her first whole year. “It was also my intention to breastfeed the baby myself. Bella wouldn’t take a bottle so I took her with me everywhere. That’s why we are so close. She might not be able to recall those moments but she felt my closeness and my touches. Because I took her with me all the time, that makes her a flexible girl. That was what the doctor told me and I think that’s true. Bella is a good girl and always in a good mood.

As Bella grew, Ning started hiring a nanny to help her out. However, she was still the one to pick up and send Bella to school as well as take Bella to bed. “Most of the time I was the one to send Bella to school and take her to bed. Every night I read her bedtime stories until she could read it herself. Basically, I did everything which a mother is supposed to do for her first 10 years. My style is not hitting a kid. I talk to her with reasons but when situation calls, I could be very strict. I would give her a serious lecture in order to keep her at bay. If she get scolded, she’ll know that she has no other choice but to do it my way. I think in every family, there must be at least one person that could keep a kid under control or a kid may think that she will get whatever she wants if she behaves in a certain way”.

Ning told us, “When Bella did something wrong, I’d reprimand and give her an explanation. If she got cranky and kept crying, I’d let her cry until she was tired of it. Then I’ll teach her again. I think it’d be no use to talk with reasons when a kid was still angry. I’ll be the main person taking care of Bella because Boat (Jamorn Jirapaet) is working and is free only on Saturday and Sunday to spend quality time with her. He’ll give her moral support while playing with her. We agree that we won’t resort to hitting as a way to discipline our kid. We only discipline her with reasons”.

One of Ning’s techniques is “Parenting driven by happiness”. Everything that she gives to Bella must be something that brings happiness to her. “I send her to the school in the neighbourhood because I don’t want to get tired from commuting to and from school. Luckily, there’s an international school right up her alley. Only 5 minute away from her home. Bella is happy and there are friends stopping by to play with her. I’m not the kind of mom who stresses on academic achievement. I let her learn by playing and extracurricular activities. I let her have a ballet and piano lessons since young. I constantly asked if she likes it. If she says no, I wouldn’t force her to continue. If she likes it, I’ll fully support her. When she turns 7, she took up ballet and jazz dance. She attended a dance competition and won prizes in national and international arenas”.

Recently, Bella just bagged home the second winner prize from a solo jazz dance competition of youngsters aged not over 9 years old, the consolation prize from a classic ballet competition of kids aged 9 or younger and another consolation prize from Perth Dance Festival 2016 in the category of jazz duo dance for kids aged 9 or younger. These prizes effortlessly brought pride to the mother.   

“Every time Bella joined a competition, I’ll put on her makeup, do her hair and dress her up. Then I’ll always go to the venue to root for her. I must admit that it breaks my heart to see her cry when she’s defeated. Dancing is a skill that teaches her in many ways. It lures her away from gadgets because she has these solo and team dance activities which are great for discipline, unity and sporty spirits. Winning or losing and all those prizes are not as important as her development. Personally, I think being a winner and a loser gives her an immune letting her learn by mistakes. Accepting that you are defeated is in a way a victory because you win your own self. If you know how to be a good winner and a good loser, you are immune to the feeling of disappointment which is inevitable for everyone. In the future, there are love hurts and all things that could let you down. Every game, there are both winner and loser.”

Ning admits that she’s lucky to be able to find things that her baby girl has a passion for so she could support her all the way. As for parents who are still fumbling along trying to find what is right for their offspring, there is no need to be stressed out. Simply observe what it is that makes you children happy and gradually give them more of that. Having her own child makes Ning take care of herself more. She does not want to be a burden for her child and would like to spend a long time with them. Though juggling career and a motherhood is a challenge, Ning gets a hang of it. She revealed, “My kid maybe my first priority but we need to give ourselves some time too. When I’m an emcee on stage is when I could really be with my own self giving full concentration to my work. These moments are the time that I could truly relax”.

I let her have a ballet and piano lessons since young. I constantly asked if she likes it. If she said no, I wouldn’t have forced her to continue. If she liked it, I’d fully support her.”

Aujchara Chuengcharoensukying

“The mother of a top actress”

At Power fashion shoot today, Aokbab – Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying, cool china-dolled faced actress of the “Bad Genius” fame has come with her mother, Aoi – Audchara Chuengcharoensukying who confessed nervously that she had never been interviewed before. As a good daughter, Aokbab came to sit beside her to cheer her up and before she knew it, her mom unearthed all her mischievous pranks.

“I have 3 kids; Aomsin – the eldest girl, Anueng – the middle boy and Aokbab – the youngest girl. Aokbab got this nickname because she was born on the World Inventor’s Day and her dad is a civil engineer while her sister was named Aomsin because she was conceived when I won the lottery”. Aoi started with a fun story of A family. She even traced back to her husband’s name, Auan. At this point when all the parents’ named are fully revealed, Aokbab cheekily said her friends would surely tease her with parents’ names. However, she detested but her mom went on to tell us that, “Aokbab is the youngest who loves to be pampered by everyone. She’s the big bully in the family who was quite possessive of things especially food. Too bad I forgot to bring that photo which captured Aokbab sleeping with some corns stuck on her lips”.

Aokbab got this nickname because she was born on the World Inventor’s Day and her dad is a civil engineer

These days Aoi is still worried about Aokbab. If she has gone out to work and has not returned, she could not go to bed. When she goes overseas, she will send Line message from time to time to let her mom know where she is and what she is doing.

Aoi laughed and told us how she brought up her kids. She said she single-handedly raised them but she is not a single mom. “We are the family that works for the government. Most of the time, her dad was sent to work in another province and she had to take charge of raising children. When I had my first child, I hired a nanny but that nanny stole things from the house and left Aomsin behind. From that day onwards, she had enough with nanny”. 

“Since I was pregnant with my first kid, I used parental guidebook written by Chanika Tuchinda. She is committed to doing the best things possible to bring up her 3 children. “Of all the kids, the boy is the toughest. Aokbab is not.

When asked about how to handle 3 children at the same age range, Aoi said at the front of her home, there was a star gooseberry tree which she often used its branch to subdue their naughtiness. 

“In our family, we had this rule for punishment. When they misbehaved, they would be caned by the number of their age. Mostly, Aokbab followed her brother and get punished. One time, they secretly went to play in the canal at the back of the village. The neighbour told me because there was one kid almost died drowning. Luckily, that kid was saved by an adult. I was so mad then and about to hit them. However, they turned up scruffy and all so I let them change first. The three of them were very cunning cushioning their bum with newspapers. I hit them without knowing as they pretended to be hurt. Usually, I hit them both on their bum and their thighs. Later my husband caught on because the newspaper cushion was too thick”. She recalled and laughed.

All her children have all grown up. Her little girl successfully earned a degree and she is now enjoying an advance in her career which makes her very proud.

“These days Aoi is still worried about Aokbab. If she has gone out to work and has not returned, she could not go to bed. When she goes overseas, she will send Line message from time to time to let her mom know where she is and what she is doing. I still remember the day I went to the screening of “Bad Genius” with my husband. I told him that I’ve never thought our kid would come this far. Since the first day that she could earn her income, she would give it to me. She never uses it. I’m keeping it for her and never uses it as well. I always think it’s my duty to raise our children and send them to good school and now all of them graduated”.

Aoi reiterated that no matter how grown up her children might be, in her eyes, they would always be young kids. “For Aokbab, I’m really worried as she is quite a responsible kid. I just want her to do something that she’s happy with and I’ll always support her. If she has a problem or there’s a bad publicity about her, she’ll ask whether I think that the report is true. I’d tell her that I trust her. What is important is that she has to come up straight with me at all times”. As a mother of top actress, Aoi said that at first she is not accustomed to all those stare when she goes out with her daughter. “Now I’m okay with it. When fans came up to greet her and ask to take a photo with her, I’d step back”.   

Panida Iemsirinoppakul

Chuenjai Bhumiratna

Lots of people know “Tukta – Panida Iemsirinoppakul” through her literary works which are brimming with warmth. Some know her as the significant other of “Boy – Trai Bhumiratna”, some know her as a mother of the most cheerful little girl, Chuenjai Bhumiratna.  

It does not matter how you come to know her. The matter is that everything that comes into her life is what makes her who she is today. We will introduce you to this pretty woman whose life has changed drastically now that she has turned into a mother. She dedicates herself to her small family which everyone in her family is high on love and happiness.

After cherishing their sweet 9-year romance, Boy and Tukta decided to start a new family together. Both were never one of those couples who properly planned out when to have their child. They let everything take its natural course. A little girl who was happy with the present and the near future which was not hard to imagine how it would turn out grew up and became a mother. From there, everything was anew and her views of the world has changed.

“Motherhood is a whole new world for me. I couldn’t even imagine even if I tried to. I read books to get a better idea because whatever I do, I need to have that picture in my head first. Then I would find a way to adapt and see which part that is really me. I read loads and loads of books. I tried harder than when I was studying for an exam. (laughed) I knew everything inside out. I knew what kind of development my baby would have at that certain week. Basically, I was one of those new moms in the making. Whatever they say was good, I’d do it. When I look back on it now, I realise that all those good things I did for the baby were actually good things for me myself. But I never really did them before because of the lack of inspiration. Then came the baby and it was that inspiration that was never there. So off you went and did them all”.

When I look back on it now, I realise that all those good things I did for the baby were actually good things for me myself. But I never really did them before because of the lack of inspiration. Then came the baby and it was that inspiration that was never there. So off you went and did them all.

Tukta admitted that she used to had such fun with her work. She likes carbonated drinks. She dislikes exercises. Once she knew she was pregnant, she turned to exercise in the pool because she knew it was good for her baby. She went to yoga classes which she confessed she would never attend any if it was not for the baby. “I’m not the kind of person who exercises and my fave drinks are those canned soda. When I knew I was pregnant, I had to change my behaviour. There are many things that I still stick to even if I gave birth to my baby already like quitting soda. After giving a birth, I used to resume drinking soda but now I say goodbye to them for good”.

Tukta said with a chirpy voice when telling us how she came up with her baby’s name, Chuenjai, which is a simple name. “Actually I meant to give it another name but since my baby was born on Friday and I’m told one of the letters in that name is an inauspicious letter. I have another name in mind which is Chuenjai. So that has become both the first name and nickname of my baby”.

Since motherhood, Tukta admits that it has turned her world upside down. She has never been the same. “I used to be one of those people who never planned their future and I never thought of having babies. So when I actually got pregnant, I changed my views of everything. Living life to the extreme like I used to was not my choice. I was worried about my baby. Having a baby gradually changed me but those changes remains with me for good. They are all good changes too. Like I told you, it made me focus more about my own self and I started planning my life thoroughly. Knowing that I am the role model for my own baby, I want to do good and be good for the baby. I always believe that when you teach a kid, you need to be and do the things that you want your kid to be or do”. 

Tukta does not believe in punishing by hitting. She reprimands her child when it is time to do so. For example, when her child misbehaves or lacks of disciplines or manners. “Am I a strict mother? I’m quite so and Chuenjai can feel it when I’m not okay with what she did. You have to understand the nature of children. They have their own way of gauging our tolerance. They would know how far they could go. We too have to learn something from them. We must know how to discipline your children, the key is to take decisive actions. Sometimes you have to give them space so that they could learn how to negotiate. It would be worrisome if my child obeys every single thing we tell them to do. That’d be worrisome. (laughed) When she goes out into the world on her own, we’d worry if she’d give in to others when she was told to. That’s why I let her have a say sometime like when she chooses her dresses”.

Family is not where kids learn about the world. Kids also learn when they travel. The world is a big classroom for Chuenjai. This family is also known as travel family. “Chuenjai’s first trip took place when she was just 3 months old. Actually she wouldn’t know where she wemt when she was 3 months old. But the fun of the kids that young is a change of scenery. As parents, we love to take them to exciting places even if they might not be able to register anything. That’s okay too. Chuenjai started remembering what she saw and where she went when she turned 3 years old. She began to know how it felt to miss someone. When she grew up, she started feeling homesick and missing her toys which I think it was good. At least she learned about these feeling by her own experience. I believe that children learns best when they actually experience them. Just like when I taught her vocabulary about vegetables and fruits. With flashcards, she could only remember some. When I took her to the market to see the real thing showing her what the orange colour of a carrot is like. What is its texture?”

Tukta is a mother with positive thinking. She believes that everyone has a comfort zone. For the kids, it is their own home which is their personal realm that they feel comfortable in. They can sit, stand or sleep wherever they feel like. However, we cannot remain in our own comfort zone all the time. We need to go out and seek for new experiences. We need to meet and mingle with others in new environments. All these time they can always go back to their comfort zone when they are exhausted. Having her own kid may be her biggest change in life but Tukta never once let her motherhood encroach her sense of self. “My life has definitely changed when you are a mother. However, I wouldn’t let it lessen my sense of self. I still have lots of things I want to do. I never stop being myself but I’ll do what I want and do whatever that my role as a mother calls for simultaneously. I love writing so I still write these days. I may not be an executive editor like I used to be but it warms my heart to do the things that I have a passion for. My style of writing is travelogue but these days I tend to switch to writing about family things. This doesn’t mean I gave up my own style but it is just that my interests expand and I have more to share and write about. The road that I walk is still the same road but it’s wider”.

We must know how to discipline your children, the key is to take decisive actions. Sometimes you have to give them space so that they could learn how to negotiate. It would be worrisome if my child obeys every single thing we tell them to do.