A tribute to Kant Makarujetimond

Rotary Peace Fellow Class VII, 2008-2010 ICU Tokyo, Japan

Rotary Peace Fellow Classes VI and VII from the International Christian University (ICU) in Tokyo, Japan express profound sadness over the news of the sudden passing of Kant Makarujetimond (Krongchai “Joy” Inthasuwan), on 12 February 2021.

Kant left behind family in Thailand, colleagues, and friends around the world who were shocked and saddened by her death. Most of us at ICU knew her as “Joy” or “Krongchai” (she later changed her name to “Kant”). We treasure memories of Kant’s big smile, humour, and warm friendship. She was the most loving human being who lived true to her Buddhist beliefs, accepting of everyone, judging no one.

Kant’s thoughtful kindness was felt across the ICU community and by her Rotary counselor’s family with whom she bonded and stayed in touch, even after the completion of her Master’s Degree in Peace Studies from ICU in 2010. She was a scholar and a true humanitarian who dedicated her professional life to serving others.  

Kant has left a huge legacy of personal and professional achievements. We count ourselves blessed to have been part of her life, and that, even for a few years, we were given the chance to bask in the beauty of her radiant soul. Rest in peace, Kant, our dearest friend.

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“Kant is one of the most amazing humans I have met. We bonded together immediately after we met in Tokyo in 2008 to pursue our respective Master’s under the Rotary Peace Fellowship. Ten years later, we had a conversation when we recalled that period. I told her it is impressive how it defined our lives to which she replied ‘Agree! Such a short time we spent – only two years – but I love you for the rest of my life’. I am certain many of us felt the same way in our dealings with Kant….She always had a beautiful smile on her face: contagious, comforting. And she was a total hugger. We became best friends and confidants. She was always the most trustworthy person who gave great advice. At times we felt so close that we joked it was like meeting a twin soul who was born on the other side of the globe. We were happy and we knew it. I cannot think of you with sorrow, my dear friend. I think of you with gratitude – with gratitude to the universe for allowing me to share parts of our lives together. Even now, I can feel you. I know you are here. Looking at us, loving us, smiling at us. Hugging us. Love you forever my friend. You live in our hearts. We shall meet again. Our energies will.” 

– Jorge Pastor Meruvia, Class VII

“What comes to mind when I think of Kant/Joy is smiles, laughter, hugs, humility, and a dedication to service, where payment was the happiness brought to others. May her love and light shine on through us. I remember Kant’s frequent emphasis on happiness, wanting all to be happy, wanting to bring happiness to those she worked with. I remember the way she valued inclusion, and her desire to lift the stigma of shame associated with HIV.  I remember her desire to be respectful to all. For example, Kant laughingly told a story about her time at a village where she once ate insects that had been specially prepared for her, even if she did not like them, in order to show respect and gratitude to her hosts. I remember her respect for leaders who wanted to serve. I think of her as embodying simplicity, comfort, and practicality in her dress – no need for fuss or artificiality, no need to pretend to be anyone she wasn’t. I remember her as always friendly and warm. I remember her moved to tears by stories of kindness and compassion.”

– Jenny Devlin, Class VII

“I have been trying to write a few words about wonderful Joy. And each time I retreated. I ended up remembering a beautiful soul that reminded me of exceptional memories. Not forgetting her is a love that is bound through one of the memories when I was leaving Tokyo. She arranged transportation for me on a rainy day by requesting Papa (the host family) to drop me off at the station with my luggage. She was the last person with whom I met while leaving Tokyo. Shared jokes, flirted with her as usual, hugged and reminded her of the vested spirit in her name. What a great friend that has always sparked through her fragrance of affection and love. Oh Joy, you are an irreparable loss and irretrievably precious asset that made us all sad. I pray to God Almighty to bless you with heaven and grant your family, friends, and loved ones patience. You will be remembered not once but forever.”

– Tauqeer Hussain Sargana, Class VII

“When I found out Joy had passed away, I stopped breathing for a few seconds….. Not just because of disbelief, but the reality that the world has lost someone as precious as her. I remember the last time I saw her in 2016 in Bangkok and scolding her for not keeping in touch or replying to my messages to meet all those times I had passed through Bangkok before then – all she did was come around the table, hug me and say “I missed you too, Morgan-san”. How could I possibly stay angry with her??!! That epitomises Joy in my mind – a caring, wonderful, comforting, kind-hearted soul, always positive and ready with an uplifting word. My life has been blessed to have met and known her, and it was an honour to have been able to call her my friend. May her beautiful soul rest in eternal peace.”

– Morgan Pillay, Class VII 

“It broke my heart to hear about Krongchai’s passing. She was one of my dearest friends from the Rotary Peace Fellowship. Every time we met, whether it was when we were both students at ICU, or afterwards, when we were both working in Bangkok, we spent hours talking and laughing. Krongchai was a literal joy to be with, true to her name. No words can describe the love and comfort she brought. I will never forget how, every time I was about to say grace before our meal together, she would try to distract me by laughingly praying with me saying ‘Dear God, dear Buddha, thank you that we are eating together again…’ We had a lot of good memories together. I wish we could’ve made more. Krongchai/Kant will always be in my heart.”

– Angeli Mendoza, Class VI

“It was a very sad day Joy, getting the heartbreaking news of your passing on. You were a dear friend and a blessing to many. Your serene demeanor and the ability to remain calm even in times of pressure is the very definition of peacebuilding and conflict transformation. Your great contributions to peace and community development in Thailand will remain a testimony of the kind of person you were. Your legacy will live forever. To your family and relatives, I pray that God gives them strength during this difficult time. Gone too soon dear friend, may you dance with the angels in eternal peace. “

– Emmanuel Mutisya (Kenya), Class VI

*Several other Rotary Peace Fellow alumni have passed away in recent months and have been remembered and honored by their friends, colleagues, and classmates in various ways. Our hearts go out to others who have experienced this loss.