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Last farewell to veteran journalist Yuwadee

Mourners bid their last farewell to former Bangkok Post reporter Yuwadee Tunyasiri at Wat Sommanat on Sunday. (Photos by Apichit Jinakul)

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Relatives, friends and colleagues packed Wat Sommanat to bid farewell on Sunday to well-respected former journalist Yuwadee Tunyasiri who died recently at age 71.

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Farewell to 'Bangkok Post' veteran journalist Yuwadee

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Reporters and other mourners bid farewell on Sunday to well-respected former journalist Yuwadee Tunyasiri who died recently at age 71.

Her relatives, friends and colleagues packed Wat Sommanat for the royally-sponsored cremation, presided over by Privy Councillor Gen Surayud Chulanont, to pay their final respects to the former Bangkok Post reporter.

Among distinguished guests attending the cremation were Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam and politicians including Abhisit Vejjajiva and Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan.

An image of former Bangkok Post reporter Yuwadee Tunyasiri is placed at the cremation at Wat Sommanat on Sunday.

Yuwadee died peacefully on March 10 at Phramongkutklao Hospital where she was receiving treatment for abdominal bleeding.

She is survived by her husband, former permanent secretary for defence Gen Sirichai, and one son.

"She abruptly left me and our son. But it was a departure in which she was happy in everything and without pain," Gen Sirichai wrote on the commemoration cremation book distributed to the guests at the ceremony.

"I was happy to be by her side until her final words," added her husband to whom she was with for 45 years.

Regarded as the doyenne of Thai politics, Yuwadee, widely known as "Jae Yu", had a career spanning almost 50 years and had met 20 prime ministers.

She was known for her outspokenness and respected for her unfailing professional integrity and commitment.

A graduate in journalism from Thammasat University, Yuwadee later admitted that the idea of pursuing a career as a reporter initially had not crossed her mind, and that her family wanted her to work as a government official.

"It may have been predestined. I never thought of becoming a reporter, but I still managed to make it as a professional reporter," Yuwadee once told fellow journalists.

Yuwadee started out at the now defunct Bangkok World newspaper before working at the Post as a reporter based at Government House. When she retired at 60, she got a contract to continue to work as a freelance reporter for several more years.

As a veteran Post reporter, Yuwadee contributed tirelessly to the newspaper. She was never afraid to make her point with editors, and directed tough questions to political leaders.

"This career allows us to be informed of the news before others are. I am a straightforward person and want the people to know as much as I do," she once said.

In an unfortunate twist at the end of her career, Yuwadee was denied entry to Government House three months ago, where she had worked for more than three decades, after the government toughened regulations on media reporters. Journalists who have no accreditation documents from their employers are no longer permitted into the building.

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