From intimate interviews to deep dives on topics we were personally passionate about, here are the stories we were most proud of in 2018.

Each year we ask our staff writers to talk about their favorite stories of the year.

ICYMI: Our Favorites of 2017 and 2016, and our year end coverage

Teeranai Charuvastra

33 Hours of Defiance: The Thai Airmen Who Resisted an Empire

There seems to be a pervasive misunderstanding among some expats that Thais “invited” the Japanese army into their country and willingly joined hands with the Axis power during World War II. This narrative falls apart under the weight of historical evidence on the various acts of resistance against the occupiers, especially this hopeless battle at the little-remembered outset of the invasion in an unremarkable bay.

Asaree Thaitrakulpanich

Go Deep With Thailand’s 1st Female Undersea Relic Hunter

One dives to the ocean floor to look for centuries-old shipwrecks, another boils delectable gaeng bon curry. Whether it was the first Thai woman to become an underwater archaeologist or the fourth-grade graduate who earned a Michelin star, both Jo and Auntie Banyen – relatively unknown to the public – showed Thai women making waves in 2018. They stood out for me, as reporting them required consuming amazing food and throwing up in the Gulf of Thailand.

Chayanit Itthipongmaetee

Send in the Queens: Thai Queer Culture Gets Drag Makeover
From left, drag queens Morrigan, Amadiva, Jaja and Meannie Minaj in Siam Square.

It took almost a decade for RuPaul’s Drag Race to pull into Bangkok and brighten the LGBT scene even more. It was my privilege to interview some of the queens, follow them for weeks to their performances and discover who they really are beneath the wigs, hip pads and corsets.

More or less I hope this article helped improve understanding of these entertainers who don’t just play the clown, but are full of charisma, uniqueness, talent and nerve.

Pravit Rojanaphruk

Opinion: Understanding the Rogue Thai Army
Apirat Kongsompong arrives at a news conference Wednesday at the army headquarters in Bangkok.
Apirat Kongsompong arrives at a news conference Wednesday at the army headquarters in Bangkok.

Thais may finally get to vote on Feb. 24, but junta leader Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha will remain in power until the moment the newly elected parliament starts its first day of work. No one knows what may happen between now and then. It would be naive to say military coups will be a thing of the past. Thus the need to understand the rogue army generals and my reason for choosing this opinion piece as my favorite of 2018.
It won’t be outdated anytime soon, unfortunately.

Lobsang Dundup Sherpa Subirana

Far From Belfast, Gaelic Football Keeps Their Irish Up
Top: Lauren Magee, left, Dublin and the 2017 team, in action against Sinead Aherne, Dublin and the 2016 team, during the exhibition match March 17 at the Chulalongkorn University Stadium. Photo: Ladies Gaelic Football / Facebook
Top: Lauren Magee, left, Dublin and the 2017 team, in action against Sinead Aherne, Dublin and the 2016 team, during the exhibition match March 17 at the Chulalongkorn University Stadium. Photo: Ladies Gaelic Football / Facebook

What initially seemed a standard event review uncovered a thriving Irish subculture in Thailand that unites the country’s diaspora through their national sport. Interviews with the players, organizers and supporters of Bangkok’s Gaelic football community revealed how much the sporting association means to the lives of the ever-traveling Irish outside Eire – not just in Thailand, but worldwide.

Jintamas Saksornchai

The Secret Suffering of Toxic Thai Med Schools
New students of Siriraj’s medical school participate the 2012 welcome event. Photo: Matichon
New students of Siriraj’s medical school participate the 2012 welcome event. Photo: Matichon

The medical community is secluded and clouded by its prestigious social stature, but behind it lie some dark matters rarely discussed in the open. News of doctors and medical students committing suicide are not uncommon, but less has been discussed of what could be done about it. One can speculate on the high pressure and out-of-reach, inhuman expectations placed upon their performance, which has led many into depression, but I hope this article painted a clearer picture of what they go through to be able to become doctors and satisfy that standard, from within their community and society as a whole.

Todd Ruiz

From the Editor: 10 Ways Thai Media Can Fail Less

Though less fun than chasing down Slav libertines claiming dirt on Trump or as gratifying as being on the cave rescue scene, unpacking a topic that haunts my days and nights – in handy listicle form, nonetheless – was most cathartic.