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Home > Living > People > #NoFilter: in conversation with educational influencer Sirawit ‘Ice’ Ittisoponpisan
#NoFilter: in conversation with educational influencer Sirawit ‘Ice’ Ittisoponpisan

Bangkok’s cultural scene never fails to impress us with its new talents and thought-provoking arts. The city has become a hot haven for dynamic up-and-coming artists, welcoming innovative ideas and talents with open arms. Dedicated to all these creatives in town, this series explores the journey and the edgy personalities of some of the most notable rising stars in the country.

All of us love scrolling through social media, spending hours laughing over funny videos and memes. While it’s what we count on for all sources of entertainment to uplift our mood, social media is also one of the top platforms where we can acquire new knowledge outside of the classroom. Especially on Tiktok, countless educational clips and stories are bidding for a space on our feeds. We’ve seen a growing number of educational content creators in Thailand, but it’s none other than Ice Sirawit and his engaging content have grabbed our attention.

A lecturer at Prince of Songkla University and a Tiktok star who captivates the followers with his brilliance and charm, Ice Sirawit has developed an enthusiasm for science at a young age. With the great support he received from his parents, he went on to become a Thai government scholar and later a master’s and PhD graduate in Bioinformatics from Imperial College of London. He is not only teaching classes but also spreading general knowledge about science and the English language in the digital world. Aside from this incredible profile, his passion for science didn’t just stop there.

Last year, he was selected as a representative from Thailand to take part in the Famelab International 2021. It’s the world’s greatest science communication competition that aims to find the best science communicator. Thanks to what he’s been doing as an influencer, his impressive performance led him to become the Audience Winner and the first-ever competitor from Thailand to claim the title. He already has over two million followers on TikTok, but that achievement has surely brought him to the new height of popularity. He hopes to reach three million followers and make it big with his Youtube channel in the near future, and we’re lucky to have a chance to sit down with him for a chat.

Read on for our exclusive interview with the educational influencer, covering things from his passion for science, his journey as a TikTok content creator, and many more.

Describe yourself in 3 words.

Smart, charismatic, and mysterious in a way that attracts people because I don’t usually reveal all about myself.

What do you like about being an educational content creator? How did you get into it?

It started back in 2020 when Covid-19 began and Thailand had its very first lockdown. I was staying alone in Hat Yai, but my family was in Bangkok and Ratchaburi so we’re quite far apart from each other. I turned to TikTok just like everyone else did as a means to relieve stress as well as entertain and keep myself distracted. That’s also the time when I heard about #tiktokuni, it’s an edutainment campaign that aims to promote people to share educational content on their platform. The top creator from each month will be rewarded with various prizes. Initially, I was very reluctant to join the competition because I wasn’t confident in my communication skills. However, I saw it as an opportunity to improve my teaching techniques and master my soft skills, so I decided to take on this challenge. I produced a bunch of content related to the English language and the relevant tips and tricks from the start and that’s how people recognise me as an English Language teacher. But the focus wasn’t just only the language itself, I later introduced a whole lot of general knowledge-based content to make my channel more diverse as well. As time passed, my channel started to grow and I just kept the momentum going until today.

Being a content creator is no different from being an influencer. Everyone listens to you and it’ll bring impact to the society and whatever cause that you believe in. That’s a huge benefit that I get from being an educational teacher. I’m not teaching just my students or a small group of people, but also everybody that is watching me. Moreover, I can spread the word about what I think people should know and my opinions about what is right or wrong, and it’s something that I really love about this role.

If you were not a content creator or lecturer, what would you be?

I think I would want to fulfil my childhood dream of becoming a professional ballroom dancer. I was introduced to ballroom dancing by my mom back in my early days. Soon after I joined the dance school, I practised very hard for the national competition but I did terribly as a rookie competitor [laughs]. I was inspired by the stunning moves from the strong and talented competitors and really wanted to be able to do that. However, I had to set that dream aside after I moved to middle school because my parents wanted me to focus on my studies. Fortunately, I had the chance to return to the dance floor when I was studying in the UK. I took the advantage of that to attend countless practice sessions and eventually became the captain of the dance club and brought numerous achievements to the university. That was of course a proud moment for me and I still wish that I have the chance to continue even though I’m already back in Thailand or if I’m not a teacher.

Please tell us a little about your achievement in the FameLab International 2021.

I heard about competition when I was still studying in the UK. I have a great interest in science communication, but I wasn’t that confident about my communication skills back then. So I thought that I would come back to it only after I’ve improved my capability. Thanks to Tiktok, I finally made a decision to compete because it could be another challenge for me to prove myself that I can be a good science communicator and I wanted to take my role as a content creator to the next level. I started by competing in the national competition first before being selected as Thailand’s representative. The international competition took place a few months later but I missed the chance to travel to the UK due to the previous lockdown. Every round was held online and it was fun yet very intense. I ranked in the top ten and eventually gain the majority voted to become the Audience Winner. Plus, I was also the first-ever winner from Thailand, too.

The hardest thing about this competition was actually to be brave enough to participate in the competition. It required lots of gut and courage to make the first step, and the moment you didn’t have faith in yourself, you’re already shutting the door that might lead you to success.

Why do you think you were selected as the Audience Winner?

In my perspective, I was able to connect with the audience who was watching online and that gave me the power to secure the majority vote. The follower base that I’ve accumulated from my channel also gave me a competitive advantage over the competitors. But the main focus was on the ability to present yourself with confidence as well as engage with the audience and keep them with you. And the skills that I’ve learnt from being a Tiktok content creator benefited me significantly in this case.

 

What was the most memorable thing about taking part in this competition?

I would say that it’s the time that I got to meet the competitors who were the representatives from other parts of the globe. Regardless of their background, everyone was just perfect in their own way. They’re amazing, talented, charismatic, and could communicate competently. I was able to explore different dimensions of perfection through the lens of the competition and that was an incredible experience to remember.

Name the last TV show you binge-watched.

Game of Thrones.

If you could only choose one movie to watch for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Jurassic World. Dinosaurs are one of my childhood fantasies and obsessions and it’s definitely the movie that I would never get bored of watching.

 

What is an Instagram account you’re currently obsessed with?

@dancesport.inspiration. It reminds me of the good times when I was competing in the UK, and watching these clips feels like I’m mentally dancing along even though I’m not on the dance floor.

What are you currently reading?

Yoichi Ito’s Talk in 1 Minute. I’m a big fan of self-development books and this is also what I recommend my students to read.

 

If you were to write an autobiography, what would the title be?

Mad world. Because of Covid-19, it feels like we’re living in the world of madness now. It’ll be like a memoir of my time living and surviving the crazy stuff as well as going through challenges and adventures in life [laughs].

 

What is your catchphrase or life motto?

Anything is possible if you believe in yourself.

What’s a wardrobe staple everyone should own?

Cosy pyjamas are what I think everyone should have. At the end of the day, everyone just wants to relax and recharge themselves so getting a good one really helps.

 

Name 3 essential items you like to always carry in your bag.
  1. Power bank
  2. Lip balm. I naturally have a dry lip so it’s a must for me.
  3. Alcohol spray
Your favourite spot in Bangkok?

The Siam area. It’s my favourite hangout spot with my family and I’m very fond of this place ever since I was a teenager.

What is the best thing about this city?

Food is absolutely the best thing when you think of Bangkok. You can the one of the best foods in the world here, and that’s one of the main reasons why people from all around are here for. Whether it’s street food or exotic food, it doesn’t disappoint you at all.

Lastly, a word of advice for aspiring content creators:

I think that grit is one of the qualities that you need to possess if you want to become a content creator. No matter how difficult things are, you need to believe and push yourself to go the extra mile. You won’t able to see the expected results overnight, but never lose hope and keep persevering. Besides, it’s crucial to always monitor the performance of your shared content. If you realize that something that you’re doing is not something of the audience’s interest or making an impact, then take a step back to do a little tweaking so that you know what’s the root cause of the problem. Make it a habit to listen to your followers’ feedback as well because it’s going to help you so much in terms of your content presentation, growth journey and even business.

 

#NoFilter: in conversation with educational influencer Sirawit ‘Ice’ Ittisoponpisan

Karatpetch Vattanapoon

As a culture enthusiast, Karatpetch loves to travel, learn new cultures and languages, and has great zealousness for food. She is also an amateur dancer of various styles. Watching sports, sightseeing, cooking, knitting and exploring beauty goodies are her moments of simple joy.

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