my first time to see and touch

Owing to this painted handkerchief , I had the opportunity to see and touch the original Magsaysay award’s medal ….. The first time ever in my life… The medal is so breathtakingly beautiful.

Several weeks ago, I had to prepare the art kits and some modeled pictures for my lesson to teach the children in one local community on how to paint a handkerchief using pastel colours. In order to demonstrate to my students the technique, methods and the end result, I used colour crayons to draw a picture on the handkerchief, a picture of someone truly special, with an inspiring story of a role model for the children.






Many of us may remember an event dating back almost a year ago when a Thai lady was honoured by the Magsaysay Foundation with the award of 2009 (Asian equivalent of the Nobel Peace Prize) for her placing pharmaceutical rigor at the service of poor patients through her untiring and fearless dedication to producing much-needed generic drugs in Thailand and elsewhere in the world. Her success not only brings back happiness and good health to people with desperate health diseases but also inspires hope and the determination to live to many others. On the other hand, her humanitarian work and her endless fight for affordable drugs to needed patients intensify the hatred aimed at her by those greedy multinational drug manufacturers. Every step along her journey is filled with risks and dangers but she has never wavered or given in to despair and defeat. She finds a great joy in the simplicity of life in Africa, a continent that many turn away from because of the hardship and the lack of life’s amenities. She vows to carry on with this journey until the last day of her life.

I wanted to tell her admirable and remarkable, though unconventional life to my students in our painting lesson. Let’s see if our viewers could find any resemblance of my drawing to the most famous pharmacist. I love drawing and painting although I must admit no one seems to recognize the drawing of the person whom I intend him/ her to be. Well, I guess it is the thought that counts…. Wouldn’t you agree my readers?.........

After the fun and successful lesson with the children, a thought came to my mind…. Should I contact the lady whose picture is on this colourful handkerchief?, Where is she now?..... , I went straight to my computer and started writing an email to her, not pausing for a second for the fear of changing my mind and feel embarrassed about wanting to give her this handkerchief…. I did not hear from her for a long time…… until one bright day… an email popped on my computer’s screen with a short message from Dr. Krisana Kraisintu that she was in Africa and would soon come home to Bangkok. I waited for her return. Another email informed me that she would be back the following week and invited me for a coffee at one of her favourite trendy coffee shops in Bangkok.

I was very excited. I found a beautiful wrapping paper and bag to put the handkerchiefs. It is my humble present to congratulate her on receiving the 2009 Magsaysay award for Public Service. When the day came, I felt so nervous and unsure what I should say to her, would she like my present or would she find it cheap and worthless?!... The handkerchief is made of white cotton and the drawing is so common……. I felt petrified….. God helps me please!.. Well, I reigned in my fear, beefed up my courage and told myself to be brave…. it is not often that anyone would have this golden opportunity to meet the world’s famous pharmacist in person. .... I must just get on with what I want to say to her.

Once we met, I greeted her and rushed to say before I dared not that, “Ajarn krub (teacher in Thai language), I bring a small present for you today, I made it myself, it is a wiping cloth made of soft cotton for cleaning the computer screen, I drew your picture on it, it is clean and ironed.” Her response was, “ Oh, it is truly lovely. I like it very much. The picture of me looks very cute. It is a shame to use it to clean the computer. I would rather keep it, perhaps I would put it in a picture frame to show to my family.” I felt hugely relieved that Dr. Krisana liked the handkerchief and really found it pleasant. I was very happy. (Why did I not have enough courage to tell her that it was a handkerchief?!?!)

Our conversation followed. I conveyed my belated congratulation and that of my family on her receiving the 2009 Magsaysay Award for Public Service and asked about her health, her work and her trip to Africa. She told me that, “My traveling life has not changed my dear.. I still walk, drive myself and meet the same old challenges that my life and work present to my path. It is life and I must live it to the full with determination and hope.” I really respect her and her wisdom so I said, “ Ajarn krub, you always have my moral support and best wishes. I was over the moon when I heard from the media that you’ve been honoured with the Magsaysay Award. I first learned about this Award 30 years ago when I was a little boy but I’ve never seen it. What does the medal look like, does it have an inscription on it? May you grant me the pleasure of having a look at your medal?”

Dr. Krisana immediately replied, “Of course, Khun KiBangkok. I will show it to you. It is in my car. I took the medal to Samui Island, my hometown so that my mother could see it. I only returned from Samui yesterday”.


I was very surprised to see the size of the medal, “Oh.. Wow!.... It is so big, incredibly beautiful. Please allow me take photos to show to my students and people I know.”

It was the first time in my life to see and touch Magsaysay Award’s medal, such a wonderful feeling.

The medal is relatively big, made of gold, with a diameter of 10 cms, weighs around the weight of 2- 3 eggs.

The name of the Founder:

The Ramon Magsaysay Award was created in 1957, the year the Philippines lost in a plane crash a President who was well-loved for his simplicity and humility, his passion for justice, particularly for the poor, and his advancement of human dignity. Among the many friends and admirers of the late President around the world were the Rockefeller brothers. With the concurrence of the Philippine government, the trustees of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF) established the Award to honor his memory and perpetuate his example of integrity in public service and pragmatic idealism within a democratic society.

The Ramon Magsaysay Award is given to persons - regardless of race, nationality, creed or gender - who address issues of human development in Asia with courage and creativity, and in doing so have made contributions which have transformed their societies for the better. The Award is given in six categories: government service; public service; community leadership; journalism, literature and creative communication arts; peace and international understanding; and emergent leadership.

In continuing to recognize individuals and organizations who address these issues with extraordinary vigor, integrity and selflessness, the RMAF seeks to honor the legacy of President Ramon Magsaysay and to place living examples of inspiring leadership and service before the public. From them, present and future generations may draw courage, challenge, and hope.

For more information on the list of Thai citizens who have received this award, please see





Certificate cover






It is a marvelous feeling to see with my own eyes and touch the medal with my hand, the international award for humanity, how incredible!

{xtypo_quote}Despite the beauty and the value of the Magsaysay’s medal, its worthiness, in fact, lies in the purity and beauty of the heart of this special lady, Dr. Krisana Kraisintu, the medicine maker of the poor. {/xtypo_quote}

Many Thais send their respect and best wishes to her every day. May she find blessing and joy in the pursuit of her dream, the dream to help poor people gain the most access to medicines, her dream for the patients to have the right to live on an equal basis with everyone else in our world.

Original article from :
Translated by the Krisana fan club



Bibliography in English

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