Voice of Expat Living
July - August 2011 Issue
A BALANCING ACT
RP Ambassador Lacanlale on motherhood
PASSION FOR FASHION
Top Filipino designer makes waves in Bangkok
MAKING IT AS AN EXPAT
Thrill of the ‘Third Culture’ club
INSPIRATION Interview with Sen Francisco Pangilinan in BKK
Pornchai Pornsirigosol Former Board of Director of the Association of Thai Travel Agents, a man of first impressions. For more information please contact
Thai Sky Ntt Tours Co.,Ltd
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Directories Travels and Tours Dinero Tours and Trading Co. Ltd. 68n Soi Bo phitphimuk, Jakrawat Road, Sampanthawong Bangkok 10100 Tel. (662) 2222-611 22262-216 Mobile No. 081-867-8288 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Boutique Hotels Absolute Villas at Palm Grove Jomtien Pattaya, Thailand Tel. 66 38 709 444 www.absoluteresorts.com/ The Pavilions Phuket 31/1 Moo 6 Cherngtalay Thalang Phuket 83110 Thailand Tel. 66 76 317 600 Other phone: Fax: 66 76 317 601 Karma Samui Hotel Koh Samui, Thailand Telephone: 66 77 234 500 www.karmasamui.com/ Palm Springs Lodge and City Resort Chiang Mai, Thailand Tele. 66 53 308 555 www.palmspringslodge.com/ Atrium Boutique Hotel Bangkok, Thailand Tel. 66 2 690 2888 www.atriumboutique-th.com/ Hotel Bel Aire Princess Bangkok, Thailand Tel.66 2 2534300 www.bel-aireprincess.com/
Photo Studio Jose Tan Photography Studio 3/5 Ramkhamhaeng 164, Minburi, Bangkok 10510 Mobile No. 087-686-0796 Email: email@example.com Website: www.josesantiagotan.com Cargo Services Seabra International Movers and Logistics Co. Ltd. 39/1 Artnarong Road, Klongtoey, Klongtoey, Bangkok 10110 Thailand. Tel: (662) 672-7900 Fax: (662) 672-7380 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.sealitegroup.com/seabramovers For BALIK-BAYAN Shipment, please contact: Dennis Manalili mobile no. 081-933-6340 Restaurants Bourbon Street 29/4-6 Sukhumvit Soi 22 Klongtoey, Bangkok, Thailand 10110 Tel: 662-2590328-9 Larry’s Dive Bar & Grill 8 Sukhumvit Soi 22, Bangkok, Thailand 10110 Tel: 02-6634563 Ronny’s New York Pizza 20/10 Sukhumvit Soi 4 Bangkok Tel: 02-255 2626 The Circle Restaurant 20/27-29 Ruamrudee Village, Ploenchit Rd. Prathumwan, Wireless Rd. Bangkok Tel: 02-6508047
Restaurants Baan Khanitha Thai Cuisine 36/1 Sukhumvit 23, Khlong Tan Nuea, Vadhana Bangkok Tel. 02-2584181 www.baan-khanitha.com Pizzeria Limoncello 17 Sukhumvit 11, Khlong Tan Nuea, Vadhana Bangkok Tel. 02-6510707 www.zanottigroup.com Tha Phrachan Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang Phra Nakhon, Bangkok Tel. 089-7641703 Great American Rib Company Klongton, Klongtoey, 32 Sukhumvit Soi 36, Bangkok Tel. 02-661 3801 www.greatrib.com De-River-Re 219 Soi Charansanitwong 66/1, Bangkok Tel. 02-4229222 www.royalrivergroup.com La Table De Tee 69/5 Saladaeng Road, Silom, Bangrak, Bangkok 10500 Tel. 02 636 3220 Madam T. 128/46 Sukhumvit 23, Sukhumvit Road, Klongtoey Nua, Wattana, Bangkok 10110 Tel. 02 259 1127
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Editorial and Masthead
his August, EXL joins the whole Kingdom of Thailand in celebrating mother’s day on the occasion of Her Majesty, the Queen’s birthday.
And in time with opening of classes in international schools all over the kingdom, Tim Johnson shares his experiences with his students on the benefits they get from music education in “Music for life”. Not too far away, in a small village in Japan, Jennifer Yamamoto speaks about the “Thrill of the ‘Third Culture’ club” – the confusions in culture and language that make an expat life a challenge and an adventure! And in honor of all mothers among the expat community, EXL does an exclusive feature on Philippine Ambassador Linglingay F. Lacanlale in “A balancing act”. And so much more! Enjoy the many and varied voices of our expats in this issue. We hope for EXL to be a constant companion for you as you find your way around the Kingdom of Thailand! Sawasdee! Heather Craig Associate Editor
Table of contents 04 Editorial 05-06 Icon Spreading Inspiration
Interview with Sen Francisco Pangilinan in BKK
MAKING IT AS AN EXPAT Thrill of the ‘Third Culture’ club An expat shares her experience learning and living a third culture in Bangkok and in Japan.
EXL EXCLUSIVE A Balancing Act: RP ambassador Lacanlale on motherhood
Find your way in the world French national Jean Charles Salvin shares an innovative idea he started with one page on Facebook, which is now set to conquer the rest of the countries in the world.
07 08 09 10
Music for life A professional musician and music educator for over 35 years, American Tim Johnson tells the reasons why “a world without music would be a pretty boring one”.
11-12 In Focus
“Fashion is my passion” Top Filipino designer makes waves in Bkk
7 Steps to Financial Renewal (Part 1) Are we ignoring opportunities that may help us realize our financial dreams?
14 My Tags
Filipinas join ‘The Power to be Strong’ campaign
You can download an e-version of our magazine at www.exlmagazine.com www.exlmagazine.com
Voice of Expat Living
July - August 2011 Issue
Editor-in-Chief Cynthia Francis Associate Editor Heather Craig Consultant/Adviser Percy Roxas Contributing Editors Ces Orquiola Hedda Tan Rolly Obedencio Cheri Yamaguchi Researcher Tracy Diaz Photographer Jose Tan http://www.josesantiagotan.com Art Consultant Atthasith Khupratakul Accounting Pravit Consultant Corp Co,. Ltd. 61 Soi Pracha-au-tid 5, Soi Prachaau-tid Road, Sigun District, Don Muang, Bangkok 10210 Legal Consultant Well-Versed Law Office Ltd. Chayucd (Sombat) Chotviriyakul Managing Director / Attorney at Law 184/49 Forum Tower 14th Floor, Rachadapisek Road, Huaykwang, Bangkok 10310 EXL Magazine is published monthly by: EXL Creative Co., Ltd. 3/5 Ramkamhaeng 164, Sukaphibal 3, Bangkok, Thailand 10510 Visit us at www.exlmagazine.com Follow us at www.twitter.com/exlmagazine Be our friend at www.facebook.com/exlmagazine Views and opinions expressed in the article herein by individual writers and contributors do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the editorial staff and management of either the EXL Magazine or Siam Pinoy Co. Ltd. An invitation to our readers We welcome articles, news, story ideas and/or photographs from our readers. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and to email@example.com.Your submissions are subject to approval by the EXL editorial team.
EXL July - August 2011 | 4
story by Ces Orquoila
enator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan is on fire, and he hopes that Filipino expats will catch it and bring it back home with them. On a recent trip to Bangkok, Senator Kiko, or Khun Kiko as we shall refer to him here, graciously sat with us despite a full schedule of plant visits, irrigation systems and agri-industrial meetings and exchanges. Heading the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Khun Kiko met with his local counterparts and was given a tour of Thailand’s major economic agriculture and fishery sources. He was accompanied by former committee chairperson, Senator Sergio Osmena.
photos by Zrs Gamboa
Bright eyed and bushytailed, Khun Kiko is no newbie to politics or the senate; this will have been his third term. He talks up a storm of ideas this rainy night on how the Philippines can create a dynamic and attractive economy so that expats can look forward to going home. His youthful mien and quick smile masks a steel trap mind, cast iron will and and unquenchable desire to transform the Philippines into the economic powerhouse he envisions it to be. And he wants it done soon. Q : You did your Masters of Science in Public Management at Harvard ?
A : Yes, I lived overseas for a year. I was in Boston, a twelve hour time difference. You get homesick, you adjust to the culture; so I know what it’s like. I missed the Philippines. I played Joey Ayala’s ‘Walang Hanggang Paalam’ (Endless Farewells) everyday going to school. It spoke of an impossible love. Of course I was there for only a year, but I promised myself: I’m gonna study, I’m gonna learn, acquire all the things I need, and I’m going back home to apply whatever I learn. Q : What can we (expats) do to help the Philippines?
A : You should have a plan of coming home. You’re already helping the
INSPIRATION Interview with Sen Francisco Pangilinan in BKK
5 | EXL July - August 2011
country, obviously, but you are also learning here. Once you’ve learned things, I dare say come back home and apply what you’ve learned to bring the country to the next level. Filipinos overseas have never been more connected to the motherland than today since this migration. Stay connected and be aware of what’s happening; awareness is the first step to being involved. If there is an opportunity for our countrymen to come home, they will.
be an aquamarine resource power, not just in the region, but the entire world. Potential.
A : There a re a lot of engine drivers – agriculture is definitely one of them. Then we have services and tourism. We are only getting 3 million visitors, Thailand gets 50 million. OFWs remit 18 billion dollars is, that’s the same amount that Thailand gets as revenue from tourism. The Philippines has so much in terms of natural wonders. We have so much to offer yet we are doing very little. There’s this huge potential in terms of agriculture. We have the most diverse aquamarine ecosystem in the entire planet. The most bio diverse. In the news last month, scientists from a California-based university discovered thirteen new species of aquamarine life in the Philippines. So there’s your natural wonder. We can
Q : In your sphere of influence, how do you get people to change?
Q : Do you think agriculture will attract expats?
Q : What does the country need?
A : Inspiration. Our people are creative, talented , and persevering. If inspired there is nothing we cannot hurdle. There are so many reasons to be hopeful. Change is inevitable, the challenge to the leadership is to make it sooner; to push for the changes we want to have happen, to support programs that could usher in change.
A : It starts with what you can do for yourself, by walking the talk. When I ran for senator my slogan was “Kumilos Kasama si Kiko!” (Act With Kiko). I challenged our citizens to do their share. It’s Active Citizenship. Or People Power if you will. The fact that you are publishing this magazine, from the private sector, is your way of addressing your concerns, as a Filipino community. You’re moving the community towards a new direction precisely because you want to do your share. So the challenge now, is bringing people power to the next level, by inspiring people to act.
When people tell me things can’t be done to effect change, I refuse to take no for an answer. There is always hope and there are always means. There will always be people who are opposed to change. I owe it to our people to find other ways. Obviously you have to risk, to dare. Walang short cut (take no shortcuts).
Q : Message to Filipino expats in Thailand?
A : Let’s manage expectations. Change is not going to happen overnight. Thailand did not reach its status in six years. It may take us fifteen to twenty years but we have to do what we need to do now. Do what you have to do while you are away, but don’t lose sight of that plan of coming back home, and don’t blame kababayans who are leaving; they leave because they want something better. And rightly so! Take every opportunity to know, learn about, and participate in what is happening back home through blogs and posting comments on Internet news sites. That’s part of being involved. This is the challenge to leadership, to inspire the country, and ultimately to have expats come home, sooner than later.
EXL July - August 2011 | 6
MAKING IT AS AN
Thrill of the ‘Third Culture’ Club by Ces Orquiola
ennifer’s hands trembled as she nervously sipped hot tea from a cup that someone had brought her that cold winter morning in her Japanese village. It wasn’t just the weather that made even her head shake as she stood outside her home; it was also the the camera crew from Channel 11 that was getting ready to film her, the small crowd of villagers and onlookers that had gathered to watch, and one sheet of paper lying close by from which she was to read her speech. The young Filipina from Pampanga, in the Philippines, had just spent three years in Thailand where her husband was based, and was now back ‘home’ in Japan taking up advanced language lessons. Her language school was small and seemingly insignificant but someone from the press got wind that a Filipina had written a compelling piece about third culture living and had written her speech in perfect, formal Japanese. Perhaps that feat was such a rare or difficult achievement that the local cable station wanted to broadcast Jennifer reading her speech on the evening news, acknowledging her story as well as her language skills. By now the TV crew was ready and their anchor person made proper introductions. The onlookers fell silent as Jennifer calmed her nerves and smiled at her motely audience. Taking a deep breath, she be-
gan reading her piece: I got married in 2003, Pampanga, the Philippines, moved to Japan in 2004, and gave birth to my daughter in 2005. I was raised in the tropics and had difficulty adjusting to Japan’s cold winters. Just when I got used to living in Japan, my husband was transferred to Thailand. Having lived in three countries made me aware of how tough and exciting it is to experience three different cultures. First, there was the language barrier. Let me begin with Japanese. Just when you think everybody spoke the same book-based Nihongo you get hit with words that had the same sound but with different meanings. In college I learned the word ‘Aho Ka!’ meant ‘You’re stupid!’. It’s not nice, but in my husband’s province, ‘A Ho Ka’ means ‘Really?’ using a particular tone. The wrong intonation can get you into trouble sometimes. As for the Thai language; I got lost one day when I said ‘Sukhumvit Soi 20’ the wrong way. I learned that ‘Soi 20’ sounds a lot like ‘Soi 40’. Pinching your nose to get the tonal sound will do the trick. Then there are the greetings. Japan is so a lot like the Philippines in that both have different greetings for different times of the day. For instance ‘Ohayo’ and ‘Magandang umaga’ are used in the
morning, while ‘Konnichiwa’ and ‘Magandang hapon’ are for the afternoons. It is so much easier in Thailand though, you only have to remember ‘Sawasdee ka/krap ‘and you’re done! Third, let me tell you about garbage segregation systems. In the Philippines, garbage is segregated as being either biodegradable or non-biodegradable. In Thailand, at least where I lived, we were advised against garbage segregation at home because some one’s job depended on it. In Japan, even the tiniest part of water bottle is segregated by material; caps are not just caps, these are classified as plastic or aluminum; also bottles are segregated as either plastic or glass while labels are torn off and segregated as either plastic or paper. Lastly, I learned how Japanese people respond to calamities with grace. Their discipline in the face of difficulty was praised by most countries around the world; hopefully everyone will learn from them. Their training starts at a very young age, pre-schoolers are taught to form lines and wait for others even during earthquake and fire drills. Children’s’ personal affairs are set aside and they are taught to be polite even when angry during group activities. With all these cultural differences, one thing remains a shared universal trait: the love and care for one’s family. Thank you.”
Jennifer Yamamoto with her Japanese ‘sensei’
MOTHER’S DAY EXCLUSIVE
A BALANCING ACT Sidebar:
RP ambassador Lacanlale on motherhood EXL catches up with Philippine Ambassador Linglingay F. Lacanlale as the Kingdom of Thailand celebrates the Queen’s birthday and mother’s day. Q : How do you balance the two – holding high posts in the foreign service and motherhood?
A : It’s been a lot of sacrifices. It’s not been easy. But my husband and I have been fortunate that we have been together in ALL my postings. So when I was recalled to the home office after a tour of duty, there was always one parent with the children. So there was always someone to provide parental guidance. Also, my husband and I, we both know our priorities. My postings have been limited to only a few – New York, Vienna and now, Bangkok. We were thinking of the children. We didn’t want to move too much. For children growing up, it is essential that they have some sort of permanency, at least for an extended period of time. For them to grow roots and have friends. So the few posts that I have had provided them with some sense of home. The third, of course is, I have a very supportive husband. That’s actually my number one factor – my husband has been supportive of my career, from the very beginning. My husband was my mentor, reviewing me on which courses and subjects will be taken up on the examinations (for foreign service) and fortunately, I passed. And again, because I wanted stability, I didn’t want to move from one career to another, so it lessened my choices. And that left me free to focus some part of my time with my family. Q : Where are your children based at present?
A : They’re all in the U.S. They live in New Jersey. Two of my children came here (to Thailand) and stayed for two weeks with us. We took them to Koh Samui and Koh Panga. They liked it. I hope my two other children will also be able to come visit. But it all depends on their schedule. My first son is getting married in September. And they plan to come here for their honeymoon, and to the Philippines sometime in January. Q : Is there a special memory you have of mother’s day?
A : There was a time when they forgot. I was waiting for them to remember, and the day was nearly over www.exlmagazine.com
and they haven’t greeted me yet for mother’s day, so finally, finally, I had to say it. I asked, “Do you realize that it’s mother’s day and you forgot to greet me?” So all of them felt so guilty. But you know, to me, when you are able to talk to your children, everyday is a special occasion. Anytime, really. The one who remembers mother’s day most is my husband. Q : What’s your first impression of mother’s day, as it is celebrated in Thailand?
A : Well here, they have the queen, who is the symbol and the mother to all of Thailand. It goes beyond your immediate mother, or your grandmother. It was a new thing for me. Here, it has to do with somebody higher. It is somebody that you admire of the Thai people, that they have this symbol. That they have one who protects them, provides things for them as a mother should. Q : As an expat mom, what would you say is the greatest advantage of children growing up abroad?
A : They have less of our baggage. They don’t have the biases we have. They are more open –minded, more adventurous, they are more into trying new things. They don’t have the stereotyping that we do because when we were growing up, it was a different society altogether. So that is the advantage of being exposed to different cultures. It’s like they are not afraid. They have more confidence in themselves and in dealing with other people of different backgrounds. Q : What is your message for mother’s day?
A : Mothers are very special. For the children, I say that they should always be grateful that they have a mother because sometimes we take for granted what our mothers do for us. We expect them to do things for us, but we mothers do them because we love our children. Being a mother is a god-given opportunity; being able to care for another human being, as a mother does to a child. And I think that with that nurturing and caring attitude, we have that innate love to care for people other than ourselves.
A woman of achievement, a woman of substance, Philippine Ambassador Linglingay F. Lacanlale is a source of inspiration to all members of the Filipino community in Thailand today. The distinguished ambassador, since assuming her position in June last year, has proven to one and all that she is approachable, open, compassionate, and even down-toearth, making all the Filipinos in Thailand proud of her. Ambassador Lacanlale graduated with a B.S. Foreign Service from the University of the Philippines in 1969 and went on to finish her M.A. in Diplomacy and World Affairs at Occidental College in Los Angeles, California in 1973. A veteran career diplomat, she has held the following posts: Second Secretary then First Secretary of the Philippine Mission to the United Nations, New York, USA (1985-1986); First Secretary and Consul General then Counselor and Consul General, Vienna, Austria (1986- 1993); Deputy’s Permanent Representative and Minister, Philippine Missions to the United Nations, New York, USA (1997-1999); and Consul General of the Philippine Consulate General, New York, USA (1999-2003). Prior to her appointment as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Philippine Embassy, Bangkok, Thailand, she was Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Philippine Embassy, Vienna, Austria and Non-Resident Ambassador to Croatia, Slovenia and Slovakia (2006-2010). Ambassador Lacanlale has been honored with awards such as Grand Decoration of Honour in Gold with Sash for Services to the Republic of Austria (2010); Presidential Award - Order of Lakandula (Rank of Commander) in 2008; and the Soroptimist International Award of Public Service in 2004. The ambassador is married to Dr. Agerico O. Lacanlale, a retired United Nations official. They have four children. EXL July - August 2011 | 8
FIND YOUR WAY
IN THE WORLD story be Hedda Tan photo by Zrs Gamboa
ean Charles Salvin shares an innovative idea he started with one page on Facebook, which is now set to conquer the rest of the countries in the world. With more than 750 million users (70% of which is outside the United States), Facebook has not only made it easier, cheaper and more convenient to communicate with friends and family. It has also become a playground for innovative ideas which could earn the owners money, popularity in the world wide web, or drive traffic to one’s site or page (sometimes up to millions overnight). One idea that has potential to reach millions worldwide is Jean Charles Salvin’s “Find Your Way in the World” project. While in Singapore working as a business analyst for trade finance in the banking industry, JC (as he is sometimes fondly called by friends), and his business partner, Arnaud Belhamou (SEO Marketing Manager at age 25), another French from Antilles, thought of starting the Find Your
9 | EXL July - August 2011
Way in Singapore page on Facebook. A month later, Find Your Way in the World came about. And within less than a year, JC and his colleagues created all the other pages for Find You Way for other countries. A French national, Jean Charles is already a seasoned traveler at age 28. He is acutely aware of the challenges that go with say finding a room in Singapore that will not cost you half of your life savings if you do not know Singapore very well. The same is true if you were looking for a reasonably priced restaurant in Bangkok that serves authentic international cuisine. The Find You Way pages he started on Facebook is his answer to challenges such as these. At first, JC tried sending out emails to incite interest from people, but he found out that nothing beats Facebook when it comes to viral marketing. “People find the Find Your Room in Singapore and Hongkong pages very useful because rooms there are very expensive and it’s hard to find a good area to stay in if you are not from these places”, JC explains. What makes this project more significant than most other ideas, however, is that it is driven by the desire to share information for free, and part of the revenue gained from it would be used for charity projects and to provide education opportunities. One idea Jean Charles has for a charity project would be to hold an event in Singapore or in Bangkok, and then donate the proceeds to an old school in Nepal, for example, to buy much needed school supplies. Then photos of the students receiv-
ing the items could be published on Facebook for donors to see. “Then people could really see that their money has been used for something good (and not just to buy something expensive for those who organized the event).” “Anyone can start a business in Facebook, and it will all depend on the people around you and if they like your concept. Doing this for money is important for me to survive”, says Find Your Way’s CEO, “but that’s not the main target. I could keep it for my own personal project.” Future plans for Find Your Way is to find administrators in each of the other countries for which a page has been created for this project, to establish contacts with more key agents in the social media industry, and to link up with other people who find his ideas on his pages useful. In the meantime, JC communicates and connects with the rest of his network around the world from the comforts of his condo in Bangkok. Thanks to the wonders of technology, it has become possible for him to skype, chat, send emails and/or messages from Facebook, broadcast an update on his YouTube page - all while in his pajamas. So for EXL readers out there who also nurture a nugget of an idea, Jean Charles has this to say: “Start as soon as you can! And I would advise anybody who starts their own project online to ‘really listen to the crowd’. Find out what people like and what they don’t like. It is also very important to read a lot on the subject. And then, present your idea and listen for feedback.”
LIFE story be Hedda Tan
T “There are many things in this world that I could live without. A world without music would be a pretty boring place.”
he importance and benefits of music education seems obvious to me. But then again, I have been a professional musician and music educator for over thirty five years. For the past ten years I have been living and working in Bangkok. My students, or “clients” as I like to call them (sounds less academic and stuffy) have been international superstars, Thai pop stars, Broadway performers, professional and amateur singers and musicians of all ages from all walks of life. It seems my clients come to study with me for many reasons. I had a businessman come to study singing with me because his wife was pregnant and his secret wish was to be able to sing lullabies to his baby. I had a mother of four come to study piano as therapy to help her concentrate and deal with the loss of a child. I currently have a student who does a lot of public speaking who came to study singing to help improve his speaking voice. I have children preparing for their schools musicals and talent contests. I have taught in America and Europe and I must admit that my clientele in Bangkok has been the most diverse. From international school students of all ages who come from all over the world to Thai students of all ages to Thai royalty. It really doesn’t matter to me if a client of mine is a beginner or a seasoned professional. What all of my clients have in common is the love and appreciation of music. I feel that my job is to keep that love of music alive and to deepen their appreciation for music. Only a small percentage of any teacher’s students will take up music as a profession. After studying any instrument, even if only for a brief time, a student will begin to understand what hard work,
discipline and talent it takes to become a virtuoso. I took tap dancing classes a few years ago because I was always fascinated by that style of dance. I thought that it was going to be easier than it was. So now whenever I see a tap dancer perform I have a deeper appreciation of what it takes to make it “look so easy” because I now understand the process. Studying music deepens our appreciation and joy for music and for the people who make it. When studying music of any musical genre we learn skills that we can use in our everyday work lives. Playing music improves our concentration, memory, and self expression. There are many scientific studies proving the benefits of a music education. One of my younger students who had studied with me for about a year recently had to stop her singing classes when her family moved from Thailand. Her mother asked her what she had gotten out of her voice lessons. She replied that studying singing and improving her singing abilities gave her more confidence to do anything in her life that she wanted to do. I can’t imagine a bigger compliment to receive as a teacher. Studying music is hard work and can be very frustrating at times. But there is great joy to experience when you start hearing improvement in your playing or singing. There are many things in this world that I could live without. A world without music would be a pretty boring place. Tim Johnson is currently on the faculty of Mahidol University and teaches private voice and piano in his private teaching studios in Bangkok. More information can be obtained by visiting his website www.tim-johnson. com
EXL July - August 2011 | 10
Fashion designer Len Nepomuceno makes waves in Bangkok! story by Hedda Tan photos on this page by Jose Tan
he has dressed ambassadors of China, Finland, Sweden and the United States. Fashion icon American Ambassador Kristie Kenney wears her! Len Nepomuceno, whose designs are creating a buzz in the fashion scene in Bangkok talks to EXL about family, work and Thailand. Q : When did you start to be interested in fashion designing?
A : I have been interested in design since I was a little girl. I have a collection of Barbie dolls that I dressed. I remember re-cutting and sewing back their dresses, then at the end of the day, I would line them up and show my family a mini-fashion show. Way back in high school, I was designing - ‘dictating to my classmates what to wear’ is more like it - weekend soirees and finally, when prom season comes, I think I designed most of their prom dresses. As a professional designer today, I was tasked to design dresses for Barbie for her 50 years celebration. My designs were sold at auction and was on exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. My classmates on the other hand, are still my clients. I do their weddings and their evening gowns. I have always been very passionate with fashion. As the saying goes, FASHION IS MY PASSION!
A : We have excellent design schools in Manila like the SOFA (School of Fashion and the Arts), College of St. Benilde, De La Salle, where experienced fashion designers are teachers themselves. They can be excellent teachers because what they teach you comes from the heart. But I would say that fashion education is best learned through experience. Hard work is a must, and the skill within is an exceptional tool for any aspiring designer. Q : How do Filipino designers stand in relation to designers all over the world? What is our edge and our uniqueness?
A : Filipinos are very talented. Filipino designers are already carving their niche all over the world, winning international design competitions in America, Europe and Asia. Every year, we (the Fashion and Design Council of the Philippines) host a young designers competition and we send the winners to compete in Paris, Tokyo and Singapore. Filipino designers have won several titles on these competitions, by using indigenous fabrics such as pina, abaca, Mindanao silk and abel iloco, which
Q : Were your parents and family supportive of your interest in this industry? A : Yes, my whole family has always been very supportive of my profession. They have never missed any of my fashion shows, and they always have a copy of the newspapers and magazines that feature me and my work. Q : You went to New York to study to have a career in designing, would you say that is a must for any Filipino designer ; to study abroad? Len Nepomuceno 11 | EXL July - August 2011
Q : Who would you say is Len Nepomuceno, the person, as opposed to Len, the sought-after designer?
are all woven and manufactured in the Philippines.
Q : You are known to have dressed (and is still dressing) lady ambassadors in the Philippines, including American Ambassador to Thailand, Kristie Kenney. What is it that they love so much about your designs?
A : I have dressed Ambassadors of China, Finland, Sweden, and the United States, for their evening wear and affairs. My style is more of the elegant and sophisticated, classic but with a twist, fresh and never stiff. Pretty much like the ambassadors themselves.
A : Outside of work, I am a normal regular person you see on the streets. I am playful and happy and family-oriented. I’m very private, and I enjoy quality time with my family just having dinners-out or at home, having coffee and people-watching on my free time, or just watching TV. At work, I am very professional - I deal with clients, meet with my staff and manage my shop. I am very organized when it comes to work, and very passionate about my job as a designer. I live and breathe Fashion.
A : DRAPING is my specialty. I cut, drape, deconstruct and sew from the fitting form/mannequin. I work on tiny details that are usually the main focus of my designs. I like working with textured but not printed fabrics, my silhouettes are usually close to the body, but not tight fit. Just enough to exude sexiness to the female form.
Currently the Vice-President of FDCP (Fashion and Design Council of the Philippines) whose members include seasoned designers like Josie Natori, Rajo Laurel, Inno Sotto, Randy Ortiz, JC Buendia, Frederick Peralta, Jojie LLoren, Cesar Gaupo, Lulu Tan Gan and others, Len Nepomuceno is opening shop in Bangkok at 69/42 Perfect Place, Soi 18/3, 164 Ramkhamhaeng, Minburi, Bangkok, Thailand 10510. Tel. No. 083 443 3259
Q : What are the hallmarks of your designs?
Q : You are starting to grow your cli-
entele here in Bangkok. What are you excited about the Thai market and the clientele here?
A : I am very excited because Bangkok is a wonderful, lively place, they never run out of affairs to go to. Thai women are easy to dress, all the accessories are available here, styling will not be difficult. Also,I want to show Thailand what Filipino designers can offer. Q : What advise would you give to young people out there who are interested in following your career path?
A : They should have the passion for design, never stop learning about trends, be open to ideas and of course, overall, hard work is a must. Designing is not all glamour as it seems; it is all pure hard work from the design process to editing to constructing to finally manufacturing each and every piece. A part of yourself goes to the design, and at the end of the day, it’s the satisfaction you get when you see your clients happily wearing your creation. Fashion is a never-ending learning process.
EXL July - August 2011 | 12
7 Steps to
Financial Renewal by Rolly C. Obedencio
Are we ignoring opportunities that may help us realize our financial dreams? t this time of financial strain and global economic instability, have you planned your financial goals? How will you realize them? Are you letting opportunities slip away by focusing on non-essentials? Here are some steps to take to help you to reach the dreams you have for yourself and/or your family.
am a successful expat enjoying the company of family members, feeling the pleasant breeze as we sit around the family table in a terrace or portico of a plush mansion in the most beautiful place on earth”. Or “I am a highly sought-after speaker addressing an international convention, receiving plaques of appreciation for achievement in a charitable project”.
Define your dreams Identify a dream and set parameters that limit its characteristics, nature, value or priority. What is it that you want to accomplish in one or five years’ time? Is it a dream house, a luxury car, education for your kids, financial freedom, owning a business, more spare time, excellent health, world travel, balanced living, peace of mind, personal development, helping others or a charity, meeting new people, a comfortable retirement, or leaving a worthwhile legacy behind? Have you defined your dreams? Are these dreams explicit? Pause for about 10 minutes before proceeding to read the rest of this article to list your dreams according to their priority.
Apply S.W.O.T. analysis to your dreams Where are you at and where are you headed? How you will get there and when and why do you want to do it? You are now ready to formulate your ‘mission statement’ using SWOT analysis. SWOT is an acronym for strength, weakness, opportunity and threat. What strengths do you have that can be used to achieve your dreams? What weaknesses can you improve on and transform immediately into strengths? Are there hidden or potential opportunities for growth this year that you’d like to explore? What are the things that pose as threats to you and hinder you from achieving your dreams? Why don’t you list your SWOT in the next 10 minutes before reading the next paragraph? Remember to write your mission statement as well. A mission statement is a written declaration of your core purpose and focus which normally remains unchanged. A mission is something to be accomplished whereas a vision is something to be pursued; cause and effect. An example of a mission statement might go like this: ‘My mission is to help raise the standard of living of my family in all aspects of life: mental, physical, emotional and spiritual by 31 December 2011’.
Visualize your dreams Do you have a clear, mental image of your dreams? Are they as vivid, detailed, and inspiring as a physical painting? Once your dreams are defined and listed according to their value and priority, your guiding question is ‘What do you want the picture to look like?’ Do you see it daily as you get up in the morning and go through your morning rituals? Are you aware of your dreams as you go to work, associate with people, teach your students, eat lunch, head home to a waiting dinner and then to bed, and even as you sleep? Pause for 2 to 5 minutes to visualize each dream and see how clear they are in your mind. Formulate a vision statement to assist you in visualizing each desire. For example ‘I 13 | EXL July - August 2011
larly. Set goals and you will find yourself busy achieving the life you envisioned. These are main activities that you need to sustain in order to achieve your vision. Specific goals read ‘I will receive 200,000 Baht each month’ instead of ‘I will receive a high income each month’. Measurable goals read ‘I will read one book or CD on finance each month’ instead of randomly picking up any book or CD to study any time you want. Attainable goals read ‘I will save 100 Baht per day for emergency expenses’ rather than ‘I will save money for emergencies’. Realistic goals read “apportion 10% of your income towards your nest egg and 10% of the same for an investment fund. This is more feasible than stashing away 50% or savings or investment, to the detriment of other family needs and priorities”. Timely goals not only set specific time frames but are also suitable to your circumstance. What is your time frame for short and long term goals? Take 10 minutes to scribble your ideas now before moving on to the next paragraph. Rolly Obedencio is an educator, speaker, business builder and community leader based in Bangkok. Next issue, his article focuses on the next steps towards attainment of goals: action planning and execution of plans.
Set S.M.A.R.T. objectives and goals Smart goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. South African financial expert Sean Henderson says goals motivate you to accomplish things regu-
Filipinas join ‘The Power to be Strong’ campaign
hotos and p ow Story Sn holas by Nic
n July 2, 2011, a group of fabulous Filipinas and their friends gathered together for an evening of fun, fashion and fundraising on behalf of “The Power To Be Strong” HIV Testing/Safer Sex Song and Music Video Campaign now reaching millions of people worldwide. The regularly-scheduled fundraising evenings are spearheaded by Filipinas living in Bangkok, Thailand, with different beneficiaries each time. Their events are called “Dress to Kill” and that they did. At Dress to Kill 4, the fashionistas gathered to save lives! “The Power To Be Strong” music video is reaching people in over 20 languages and the Tagalogsubtilted version of the music video is available for viewing and sharing by the over 23,000,000 Filipinos and Filipinas on Facebook at www.Face-
book.com/PowerToBeStrong. As singer/songwriter and founder of the campaign explains, “’The Power To Be Strong’ song and music video campaign has been created to reach millions of people around the world about the importance of voluntary HIV counseling & testing and increased adherence to safer sex, and to empower the valiant efforts of any organization or individual participating anywhere in the battle against HIV/AIDS.” He added, “Tragically, most people who are HIV positive learn they are because they become ill and seek medical attention way past the point at which medical interventions could have helped prevent illness to begin with. The key is for people who have HIV to know it, stop spreading it, and seek early intervention; and
for people who are HIV negative to confirm it and become further empowered to maintain or even increase their adherence to safer sex practices. Now, everybody can participate in the fight against HIV/AIDS by simply viewing and sharing the music video in the language of their choice.” Attendees were glued to the big screen TV as the Tagalog subtitles, translated by Iya Bayedbed and Lorna B. Coral, were projected during Snow’s live performance of the song. Funds from this evening have gone to empower the expansion of the World Tour of the campaign. Please view and share the video with a friend, and most importantly, “Get tested and live longer and be strong!”
Fr. Tamayo’s monthly page will be published nex issue.