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Writer Seonai Gordon (centre) with friends on Phuket

Well-Known Phuket Writer Succumbs to TB

Friday, June 26, 2009
A SCOTTISH journalist who was well known in Phuket during her three years on the island has died after a long battle with tuberculosis.

Seonai Gordon, 47, died in her sleep in Brighton, England, where she moved in 2006 after living on Phuket and Koh Yao.

On Phuket, Seonai worked mainly with ArtAsia Press (now Dragon Art Media) and was known by many for her vivacious charm and outrageous sense of fun.

Within a month of moving to Phuket from Pattaya, where she worked for the Pattaya Today newspaper, Seonai had already assembled a large circle of friends and was usually the first to know about the happenings, creative scene and new adventures on the island.

Her writing work while on Phuket covered a range of topics, including an in-depth look at an elephant keeper (mahout), the unlikely presence of three "Wandergesellen" (wanderers from Europe) on Koh Yao Noi, and a wacky and revealing story about preparing for her marriage to a local Muslim.

Seonai previously worked in health care and after turning her career track to journalism she contributed to several publications in Britain and Thailand.

She first came to live in Thailand in the early 1990s to study Buddhism, and ever since she said that Thailand was her ''true'' home, returning several times for work and travel.

Fluent in Thai, she was married twice, both times to Thai men, and had one son, Ziyo with her first husband.

Seonai was first diagnosed with TB in Scotland in 1999, where she fully recovered after two weeks of treatment.

Living on Koh Yao Noi in 2005, the disease resurfaced and after more than a year of deteriorating health, her friends arranged for her return to Britain for treatment.

Living in Brighton, Seonai wrote a series of articles describing her life with TB for the British Tuberculosis Survival Project.

In one story she wrote, ''By far the darkest fear though is death. All my life I've been healthy, invincible even.

''But the TB experience brought the Grim Reaper to my door and he moved in. He followed me to the bedroom, the lounge, the kitchen and the bathroom.

''He slobbered, waiting for me to give in and he sat behind me when I watched TV. I cried during those days, boy did I cry.

''I started to makes plans for my son's future, to tell people that it may not be long. I looked up the history of famous writers who'd died of TB and I tried to imagine what it would feel like.

''Would I drown in my own blood when my lungs hemorrhaged, or would I die gasping for breath and going blue?

''So what's changed? I've decided not to give up that's what. The Reaper has gone now and I fill my life with sequins and pink!

''No more dark clothes, happy stuff and an enormous appreciation of life. Tiny things make me ecstatically happy, it's a natural high.''

Her son Ziyo is now staying with his father and Seonai's mother in England.

A memorial website is at

(See for the complete set of articles.)

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Comments have been disabled for this article.


Thank you PhuketWan for making this known to all. Seonai was fantastic... priceless. A joy to spend time with and she was a fighter. All my best wishes go to her family.

Posted by Duncan on June 26, 2009 09:24


i know her pretty well if anyone would like to know more about her life i can help. She was a good mother and daughter and as wife apart from her past experience.

Posted by wachira on December 15, 2010 16:03


Thank you very much for the kind words and regards towards my mother. I have only recently found this page and bthought myself to read it, I would like to ask if any paper copy's of these have been made as I would love to have one.

Posted by Ziyo Gordon on September 18, 2015 10:29

Editor Comment:

Thanks for your kind comments, but we are a save-trees online only publication, as most will be in the near future.

Sunday June 23, 2024
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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