What is Matt?

Name: Matt Crook
Age: 30-ish
Nationality: British
Residence: London
Current job: Digital comms editor for the Campaign to Protect Rural England
Disclaimer: Anything posted on this blog is my own opinion.

Me in Dili

I'm on StumbleuponTwitterFlickRGoogle+DiggDeliciousYoutube, Last FM, LinkedIn and I have a portfolio of stories. Check me out on Flavors.me.

This blog: I use this blog to write about current affairs, predominantly with a focus on Southeast Asia, in particular Thailand, Indonesia and Timor-Leste, but there have been occasional meanderings into UK politics and protests as a result of my year in London. I tend to write about politics, humanitarian issues and pop culture, but I don't consider any topic out of bounds.

About me: I currently work for the Campaign to Protect Rural England. I previously worked for Plan International in various comms roles and in various places. 

My background is in journalism and I have extensive experience in Southeast Asia. I am a social media nut and am trying to push the boundaries of how digital media can be used in new and creative ways. If you want to know more about me in a professional sense, my LinkedIn profile is a good place to start.

Background: I read my BA (Hons) in Biblical Studies at the University of Sheffield and graduated in 2004. I wrote articles for the student newspaper and magazine. I worked in admin for the Home Office for six months after graduation and saved some money by DJing and organizing parties in Sheffield.

I have done work experience placements with The Wiltshire Times, The Bath Chronicle, and Exposed magazine.

For more than two years I called Bangkok my home. In Bangkok, for several months (until its closure) I worked as a sub editor and reporter for Business Day, a thrice-weekly business newspaper. More recently I worked as deputy content editor for an international company, Agoda. I lived in Phuket for one year and worked for the Phuket Gazette. I then moved to Dili, Timor-Leste, where I worked freelance, writing news and feature stories with a focus on development, politics and humanitarian issues. I have also reported from Bangladesh, Indonesia and Malaysia. Find more about my work here.

My work has been published by AFP, IRIN, Guardian, Observer, Reader's Digest, Monocle, Economist Intellignece Unit, Global Integrity and more and I have worked as a consultant for the United Nations, International Center for Journalists and International Labour Organisation. My accolades include building TimorToday.com and training Timorese journalists. If you want to see my work, it's all up on my portfolio of stories.

From 2010-2011 I studied my MA in Southeast Asian Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London before joining Plan International.

I'm also a fan of Bjork, drum n bass music and anime.

31 thoughts on “What is Matt?

  1. Had to write once again, I know you are planning to leave here; you and I know that you will miss it here. My first trip in 1990 was eventful of course but as I got to know friends and did business here the love for this nutty place never stopped haunting me. I grew up in idelic San Diego in a utopia called Del Mar. The beach never leaves you but the call of the Thai seemed stronger as the years went buy. I have an orchid farm here with a good Thai friend and oddly a dental implant company (yes weird), I know politicians, Royal family members, Hi So and police (weird) my wife I met in Star Bucks in San Diego she is Thai, it was not intentional for me to marry a Thai it just happened we have two kids and live on Suk. Soi 8 My office is on Silom one of my favorite Sois is Soi Convent. I remember you wrote about Patpong in one of your pieces, I agree with you it's so ho hum. It was not that way 15 or so years ago but that is another story best left unsaid. I normally do not like to be around other falong unless they have some experience here. Those grandpa types who paw there granddaughters down the street seem to repulse me but then there is this odd part of me that says, "I hope I still have urges at that age." Apologies I must be boring you to death, take care Mat. Todd

  2. Hi Matt, Just wanted you to know that your column is one of the reasons I nick the office's copy of the Guru every week.
    Your writing style is much better than another un-named writer whose articles monopolise most of that magazine. Keep up the good work!

  3. Hi matt, told you I'd visit. VERY COOL site. I'm happy to read someone else's writing that I like. You write well and you probably can write consistently. Why not blog full-time? You don't need much to pay for expenses in Thailand… I'm trying it. Currently have 4 blogs but might re-animate one of my old controversial sites that was fun too. It takes about 6 months to get up and running with a new topic – and even then, no guarantee you'll make bank, but I think you should try…

    Oh, and don't worry, I'm much more lost than you could ever be… Vern!

  4. Hi Matt
    I am trying to get into freelance writing myself…could you pretty please give me some advice on where and how to start? What kind of stories seem to be more popular with editors? Anything to watch out for?

    Thanks,

    Kate

  5. Thanks for the on-the-ground insight on the protests at Sanam Luang. The major newspapers (and therefore most ordinary folk reading them) seem a lot more worried about the event than the Thais actually there.

    BTW, I just visited Bath about a week ago. It's quite a lovely place. Man, I miss the English summer already – I'd prefer cold, endless drizzles over the sweltering heat here any day.

  6. Hey. I read in your column in one of the older issues of Guru (the first English publication I've read since I got here 2 weeks ago), and I just want to say that you write like a dream. I must commend you on the very insightful pieces on Thailand. I'm a writer myself and I'm just getting started on my Thailand adventure. I will definitely be adding your site to my blogroll. Keep the posts coming. :-D

  7. I found you from blog of my friend Matt who currently in Japan. I wanted to have a quick look. But once started, can't stop ;-) How long did you practise ? Your writing style is great and quick. Not only in Thailand but anywhere in the world, I'm confident that you will be the the famous writer soon. Your family will be very proud of you.
    Chok Dee na kab khun Matt ….

  8. Hi Matt – logged on here to find out what happened to you – miss your GURU musings – quite entertaining, thankyou, but now only once a month? Has Thai laziness permeated your outer shields like it has mine? ;-) I spend 9 months a year here in Pattaya coping with the lifestyle very well, but hail from Melbourne and wish you well on your visit there – don't forget to take your long-johns and overcoat at this time of year (additional items of clothing optional ;-) to help you cope with the Antarctic "sea breezes". Best wishes with your new efforts, and look forward to your next appearance in Guru.

  9. why you like to stay in Thailand? what is you love in Thailand? I ask you because some body stay for love in Thailand, some body stay for work, and …….

    So, I hope you like Thailand be Thai because Thailand be chamming. and 80% from people good heart. if have some one come Thailand. and you open heart, open eyes. you can see Thailand. and I can says. not have somewhere good more "Thailand" because Thailand have good king. and good people. and you thinking same me?

    miss you

  10. Hey Matt. You're the shittest writer I have ever, ever come across and are a running joke in my family who live in BKK. My sister called you out at Bed SUpper Club and I'd like to ram your skeg up your arse just for good measure. You're hopeless and a disgrace to journalists everywhere.

  11. Great site…i will take my time to read it all, meanwhile i will link to your site if thats ok with you. In april 2008 i will leave to Thailand for at least a year, hopefully to find any income there so i can stay…all 'TIPS' are welcome.
    Thanks

  12. hey matt when you planning to head off to jakkata and melbourn?? dont go just yet mate hang around thailand for awhile.. you doing a damn good job..

  13. I just discovered this site today and am making my way around all the great articles. Very cool blog and some great information through out.

  14. Glad that you finally made your way round to my blog. You know Golf will be ecstatic to get the comments, she gets so excited when people comment her recipes. I never realized you were such an accomplished writer. Please feel free to drop me an email sometime with any critique you have about the writing on Thailand Musings, I would love the feedback (if you have time of course).

  15. We love Bjork too.
    Only reason we came to your website was thru the 2thebigmango.com but that's Ok. That site is the best intro into what is happening up to the minute in BKK,
    Cheers

  16. Hey Matt,
    I've really enjoyed reading your blog – some interesting insights into the Bangkok life.

    -Emma (fellow ex-pat who inadvertently stumbled across your blog via the magic of Google)

  17. You really should stop writing and posting bad things about Bangkok or Thailand in general. Insulting certain people or customs can and will land you into a massive heap of trouble.

    For instance a table shaming gropers during a Festival seems like a damn good idea. They should allow people to throw rotten food at them as well.

    If you don't like where you are at then move on especially if your not originally from the Country.

    As for the working for the Plan why don't you Plan on going back to Britain and helping poor and homeless children there first.

    If Thai Police have been frequently searching you it is most likely that your no longer welcome in Thailand and that is their way of letting you know it.

  18. hey Matt,
    Hope, you're doing OK out there.
    I would like to get some advice from you about hosting a web – where and cost? I'm sure you still remember TimorToday.com. I'm learning building a website and if you can help me in this too. Just email me.
    Feel free to come back to Timor-Leste anytime. You're more than welcome!

    cheers
    Anibal

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