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Walun Ong for Sawasdee Magazine

Interview with Walun Apiratkasem

“The joyful voices and the smiles on my client’ face when they know that their visa has been granted is such greatest reward. Knowing that I have played a part in their happiness and perhaps able to make a change in their lives motivates me to work harder and do better”.

Walun Apiratkasem is a migration agent at Fenson & Co Lawyers. His commitment is to help clients walking the daunting and complex process of visa application so that they can legally live, work, and settle in their new lives in Australia. 

Please tell us about yourself?

Where should I begin? I was born in LA California, while my both parents studying their master’s degree. We then moved back to Thailand after they graduated,. When I was about 11 years old, our family migrated to Australia. I had a pretty average childhood in Australia. I studied at Bond University in the Gold Coast.

Who is your role model?

I have many, my parents, my bosses and my friends are my role models.

What do you do when you have time to relax?

I love hanging out with my friends, over a game of golf, a catch-up lunch, or going to movies. I also love listening to music, anything that is not too noisy. I’m surprisingly a sucker for sad love songs.

You spent some times in Japan, why did you go there and what did you do

I was teaching English in Japan for 2 years – it was one of the best life experiences working with wonderful colleagues and amazing students. I made lifelong friends.

As to why Japan?  My first experience with Japanese culture came in the form of a blue robotic cat – Doraemon. It’s the robot of 22nd century.  I will never forget the time when my grandpa took me to a video store for the first time and introduced me to the world of Doraemon. Together we watch the video for hours on end. My grandpa is no longer with me today, but I am reminded of him every time I watch Doraemon.  So I went there simply to see Doraemon’s world and experience the things I saw in my favorite anime in real life.

If my life were an adventure book, Japan’s chapter would be the happiest chapter in it. I really feel that I have grown in the 2 years. I have learned to be independent, learned that a smile is the best form of communication, and learned to adapt to a new culture. It was so great.  But like everything else in life, all good things must come to an end, my adventure in Japan ended on a high note and I am so grateful of that opportunity.

Your career as a migration agent, what are the most important relationships you have in your work?

I think there are three types of work relationships that are equally important and they are revolving around trust:

1) The relationship with my boss, at Fenson & Co Lawyers, my boss gives me an opportunity to grow, the freedom to participate, and shape how we do things at this law firm.

2) The relationship with my colleagues is a teamwork relationship. I trust my team. Many people tend to hoard tasks that they really should delegate. When I was younger, I might have loved gaining recognition from my work and believing my ego in telling me that I was the only one who can do it properly. I have learned that giving someone a sense of responsibility allow them to feel how important they are to the team, and that will in turn motivate them to get the task done right.

3) The relationship with my clients. Before I take on any case, one of the questions I always ask a client will be “Do you trust me?” If the answer is no, then most likely I won’t take on that case. It’s important that we both place our trust in each other in order to effectively and efficiently accomplish the client’s goals.

What has been your greatest reward since working in this business?

My greatest rewards are to hear the joyful voices and the smiles on my client’ face when they know that their visa has been granted. Knowing that I have played a part in their happiness and perhaps able to make a change in their lives motivates me to work harder and do better.

What keeps you motivated?

My ambition keeps me motivated. It’s a drive for me to move forward to reach my goal. I believe that without ambition, life is a ship without direction, drifting aimlessly over a vast sea.

What’s the best advice you have received and want to share?

There are two old Japanese proverbs that Doraemon has taught me “Shippai wa seikou no moto translates “Failure is the foundation of success” and Nanakorobi yaoki which means “Fall seven times, eighth time success.”

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

Probably studying another degree – perhaps an MBA or a Master of Law, specialising in Family law.