17 years of adventure, and he's still relishing it - Feb 12, 2009 (ST)

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The Straits Times / The Business Times News On SPH

17 years of adventure, and he's still relishing it

Dodging bullets and scaling mountains are no obstacle to a good story for Journalist of the Year Nirmal Ghosh.

By Tan Weizhen
Feb 12, 2009
The Straits Times

YESTERDAY morning, senior correspondent Nirmal Ghosh, 49, scored an exclusive interview with Thailand's new Prime Minister.

Hours later, he was on a plane to Singapore to pick up the Journalist of the Year award.

It was all in a day's work for Mr Ghosh, for whom dodging bullets and scaling mountains are no obstacle to a good story.

He has been in face-offs with hostile villagers in southern Thailand. He has heard bullets whizz past his head in a midnight crossfire between pro-government supporters and protesters in Bangkok.

And he has scaled 4,000m to the top of a melting glacier to see at first-hand the effects of global warming - climate change is a pet topic of his.

It has been 17 years of adventure and he is not done yet.

For him, journalism is more than just a job. He is on the alert all the time, and willing to put his personal safety on the line.

'Danger is part of the job, I can't avoid it being in the field,' he said.

Once, while in southern Thailand and trying to expose a possible military cover-up in the death of a village's Islamic leader, he stayed put outside a village until its people agreed to talk.

'Yes, there was strife and unrest, but I had come a long way and resolved to find out what happened,' said the former president of the Foreign Correspondents Club in Thailand.

His focus and his attention to detail have stood him in good stead.

He said: 'In this job, you can't afford to lose a moment or a quote. And it's always important to understand what is happening, and to be willing to get your feet wet.'

Mr Ghosh joined The Straits Times in 1994 from The Business Times, and has since served in its various bureaus, including those in Manila, New Delhi and now, Bangkok.

His ethos?

'I keep myself open-minded and without prejudice, to go out there and capture events as they unfold,' he said.