Fighter for social justice.
Wanida Tantiwittayapitak, or Mod, was born on 7 November 1955 to a Chinese-Thai family in Bangkok. She was part of the democratic movement and environmentalism since she was a student at Mahapruktharam Secondary School.
While in high school, she marched with demonstrators during the 14 October 1973 uprising to demand democracy and began to get exposed to social problems around her.
In 1974, she passed the entrance examination and enrolled as a student in the Faculty of Political Science, Thammasat University, and became part of the student movement to fight for democracy and social justice.
She also joined the "Kanmachon Band" ("Proletariat Band"), a major cultural front of the student and popular movements.
Prior to the massacre on 6 October 1976, she and her friends supported workers at the Hara jeans factory to strike and demand their rights. The strike lasted for five months. Eventually, the workers took over the factory and produced goods for sale by themselves.
While she was studying at Thammasat, the 6 October 1976 event erupted, and she was forced to flee to the jungle and join the communists in the South for four years and a couple of months in the Northeast. In 1981, she resumed her education at Thammasat for three years. Upon graduation, she applied for a job at Southeast Insurance and then worked as a tour guide for several years.
She began working for NGOs by joining the anti-nuclear arms movement and another initiative to bridge relations between Thailand and Lao PDR. During 1989-1990, she joined the Project for Ecological Recovery.
Her initial campaigns included protests against Kaeng Krung Dam, Kaeng Sue Ten Dam, and then Pak Mun Dam and later, she helped to found "Forum of the Poor" (later known as "Assembly of the Poor"), one of the biggest popular movements in Thailand. Her last position there was advisor to AOP.
Diagnosed with breast cancer since 2004, Wanida Tantiwittayapitak passed away on 6 December 2007 at Ramathibodi Hospital at the age of 52.
Thanks to the Komol Keemthong Foundation for the lecture and information.
Translated by Pipob Udomittipong