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a publication of CanCham Thailand

July-August-September 2020 Issue

Sustainable Partner

Platinum Partners

Gold Partners


A WORLD OF OPPORTUNITY Blanche Boucher is headed to McGill University to study Cognitive Science. Like many of her peers in the Class of 2020, she received multiple offers to top universities. From sports to community service, she took every opportunity to feed her passions and develop world-class skills whilst at Bangkok Patana. Congratulations Blanche!

University Offers 2020

Read more about Blanche and the stories behind our university offers

See the full list of university offers to the Class of 2020

Give your child a world of opportunity at Bangkok Patana School admissions@patana.ac.th www.patana.ac.th Tel: +66 (0) 2785 2200 Bangkok Patana is a not-for-profit IB World SChool accredited by CIS 2 July-August-September 2020


CanCham Board Members & Advisors 2019-2020 Patron: H.E. Dr. Sarah Taylor Canadian Ambassador to Thailand Executive Board: Derek van Pelt President David Beckstead Vice President Dean Outerson Vice President Dan McKay Treasurer Sunny Patel Secretary Robert Candelino Director John Casella Director Surachit Chanovan Director Michael Currie Director Amelie Desjardins Director Ron Livingston Director Natasak Rodjanapiches Director John Stevens Director Embassy Representative Sanjeev Chowdhury Advisors: Yvonne Chin Caroline Kwan Daniel Lin Marisha Shibuya Lynn Tastan Francis Zimmerman Executive Director Jen Meckhayai

President’s MESSAGE An organization like CanCham is only as good as its members. And the members it attracts can only be as good as the value the organization provides them. Each of us has their own story about why they joined CanCham, and why they continue to participate in the organization. For some it may be primarily social. For others, entirely business. Some of you may still be members simply through inertia and you’re not really sure what you’re getting out of the whole thing. Regardless of the reasons that you first joined, CanCham must continue to adapt to serve your needs. The Chamber has undergone many shifts over the years, swinging from wildly social to overly business-like and back. We’ve fluctuated between hundreds of members to scraping by with fewer than a hundred. We’ve gone from generously donating millions of baht to local causes to being on financial life-support and back to stability. With your participation, support and spirit, CanCham Thailand has the opportunity to reach new levels of success in order to support its mission - and yours. So, why are you here? I hope that you’ll read a little more about my journey in the following pages, but something that wasn’t mentioned in the article is about how I feel a debt of gratitude to Canada. My childhood wasn’t all sunshine and roses, but, on the balance, it was pretty good. Among other things, I grew up in a safe city, with clean air, safe drinking water, great schooling, incredible local and national parks, as well as the pride of being from a country that could hold its own on the world stage as a standard bearer for impartiality, equality, evenhandedness and peacekeeping. For me, my service to CanCham is done with the hope that I can return back to Canada even a fraction of what Canada has given to me. Each of the stories you might tell will be different, but in sum, these stories of purpose inform us about what our CanCham community is here for. These stories will inform where we go next as an organization, as businesses and as individuals.

CanCham Thailand 139 Pan Road, Sethiwan Tower 9th floor, Bangkok 10500 Tel: +66(0) 2266-6085-6 Fax: +66(0) 2266-6087 Email: info@canchamthailand.org Website: www.canchamthailand.org

I would like to close this letter by asking you to share your story with me. I’d love to hear from you at derek@stonelotus.asia. Why are you here?

Derek van Pelt President | CanCham Thailand

Publication Design: Publisher / Advertising Finn Balslev, Marketing Director Tel: +66(0) 2943-7166 MB: +66(0) 81 866 2577 Email: finn@scandmedia.com Design: Disraporn Yatprom Email: disraporn@scandmedia.com

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Catching up with CanCham president Derek van Pelt

V

oyageur recently sat down with incoming CanCham president Derek van Pelt to find out a little about his life, what brought him to Thailand, his involvement with the Chamber and his plans for CanCham moving forward, especially during the COVID-19 crisis. In mid-April, Derek made history by becoming the first Chamber president elected through a digital AGM as the COVID-19 crisis prevented CanCham from holding its usual in-person AGM. Derek was born in southern Ontario, but at a young age his family moved up to Sudbury, where they lived for about seven years. Then the family moved to Yorkton, Saskatchewan, where he went to junior high and high school. His early desire to get out and see the world led him to enroll at Ambassador University, a small liberal arts college in Big Sandy, Texas, where he studied Management Information Systems. In 1997, he followed fellow-Canadian and Ambassador University graduate Daniel Fraser to Thailand to work at Chitralada Palace for a project under the support of Princess Sirindhorn. When his time at the Palace was up two years later, he decided to take a year and explore Thailand, excited about traveling the country and exploring some of its more remote corners. Coincidentally, Dan Fraser had returned to Thailand with his high-school friend Scott Coates to start local destination management

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company Smiling Albino. Derek later became a formal advisor and investor in this travel company, a relationship he maintains to this day. Early jobs included working for TravelGuide.com, and then, as Thailand is renowned for being a silver manufacturing and handicrafts centre, he found himself exporting silver back to a partner in Toronto. This arrangement eventually came to an end and Derek then partnered with a Swedish friend who had a growing export company called Reptile Asia which needed more manpower at the time. The company was mostly involved in trading - selling everything from handicrafts, belts, calculators, scooters, laser pointers and yoyos (much of the merchandise was manufactured in Taiwan and Thai traders brought it here by the container where it would be repackaged and shipped to Europe). Derek was responsible for doing the sourcing and buying in Thailand while his Swedish partner looked after sales and marketing in Europe from his base just north of Stockholm. Derek’s partner eventually sought a return to the Land of Smiles and so bought him out of his half of the company. Shortly after that he set up Siam Wheels, a custom big bike company - the idea being to make big bikes available on contract to people operating in Thailand or those based in the region who came and went. One unforeseen challenge to the initial strategy was that


everyone very quickly wanted to go on motorcycle tours and Derek ended up running a motorcycle touring company which, being a new father to his son Xander, he didn’t have any interest in doing. The economics also changed: when Derek started the company there was a heavy tax on imported bikes but then the Thai government incentivized the local manufacturing of big bikes and the financial considerations of contracting a bike through Siam Wheels vs buying a bike personally changed. After the birth of his second son, Dylan, and shutting Siam Wheels down, Derek then took a turn representing Travertures (MyMedHoliday.com) in dealing with Thailand-based agencies and partners, where he was responsible for preparing/delivering presentations and closing deals for the company and its media properties. This included meetings with high-level government and corporate officials to communicate value offerings of the company making sure stakeholders remained satisfied with the deliverables. Derek has always been struck by wanderlust, some if his adventures include cycling from Lhasa to Kathmandu via Everest Base Camp over 21 days, cycling the French and Italian Alps as well as along the Dalmatian coast to Dubrovnik, hiking the West Coast Trail and even playing hockey in Pyongyang, North Korea. He has Chernobyl marked as the next stop on his bucket list. Serendipity stepped in and a few years back he joined outgoing CanCham President John Stevens and CanCham Treasurer Dan McKay as a partner at Stonelotus Ventures. Derek and John had known each other for years, both having arrived in the Kingdom within weeks of each other in 1997, but they had never worked together. Derek calls the opportunity to work with Stonelotus a fortuitous one because of the way it allows him to work with like-minded people. “When you trust someone’s decision-making process and motives it’s very easy to get along with those people,” he says.

Stonelotus is a venture capital firm that invests in and has equity in a variety of companies, primarily in Thailand, and the near abroad. The firm looks for companies that can take the knowledge and experience that Stonelotus has to through contacts, tools, perspective and even funding, allowing entrepreneurs to achieve scale in their businesses. The company typically looks for a three to five-year time horizon. Current investments include one of the largest cacao plantations in the world, a few hours outside of Bogota, Colombia and the getfresh chain of restaurants that many of you will be familiar with in Bangkok. Back to the Chamber, Derek first got involved with CanCham in the late 1990s while seeking out fellow Canadians based in the Kingdom. Back then, the Chamber was more noted for its social gatherings than its business focus. The Chamber started to get more formal and business-like in the early 2000s before swinging back to what Derek says is a good mix of both today. Derek got busy with life and drifted away from the Chamber until roughly 2004 when Smiling Albino started to become more active as a member and Derek was one of their three representatives. He stayed as a regular member for a number of years, joining the board at the behest of then Chamber president John Casella in 2010. Derek recalls: “It was rewarding to be able to participate and give back to the Canadian community. The more involved I became, the more enjoyment I got out of it, and the closer I got to other people in the Chamber.” What does Derek enjoy about his role with the Chamber? “I like solving problems and analyzing situations and coming up with solutions, and I enjoy helping other people find success. I never went into the Chamber thinking ‘What’s in it for me?’ I have always looked at it as we are all in this together and what do the people around me need? How can I put Continued on page 6 July-August-September 2020

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people together to find what they are looking for? How do we improve the world we live in, and make it a better place? I believe that one of the best ways to do that is through commerce.” What about the challenges that lie ahead? “I know that it won’t be all sunshine and roses. I am fully aware of the hard work that lies ahead, but I am fortunate to have the board and Executive Director Jen Meckhayai and the CanCham office staff to work with and we are thankful for the strong support we have from the Canadian embassy. As a Chamber, we need to make sure we are constantly relevant for our members and if not then we need to adjust course.” How do we best deal with the COVID-19 situation? “We need to get through it with great creativity and determination and I think it’s a great opportunity for us to revisit what we do, why we do it and how we do it. I think there’s also a lot of soul searching going on right now and I don’t think that’s a bad thing.” “But COVID-19 does not change CanCham’s mandate which is threefold: 1.) to support Canadian business interests in Thailand; 2.) to support Thais and Thai businesses who want to do business with Canadian companies, and 3.) to be a pillar of the Canadian social community in Thailand and to support Thai charities as best as we can.” What about the complaint that the Chamber doesn’t have enough value for its members? “If all you do is send in your membership dues, and don’t get involved in any of the events or initiatives of the Chamber, then the value of the Chamber will be very low for you. But we do add a lot value for our members who become involved, especially through our networking events – and now webinars. “We also have a strong voice within the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce in Thailand (JFCCT) as Ron Livingston serves as the JFCCT’s vice-chair and John Casella serves as the JFCCT’s Treasurer. And the Thai government does listen to recommendations from the JFCCT.” 6 July-August-September 2020

What are your goals as Chamber President? “I would like to promote ‘Brand Canada’ as Canada has a tremendous reputation in the world for things such as fairness, equality, peacekeeping, food safety, education, and environmental protection and awareness. These are all tremendous strengths that Canada has that we don’t leverage enough internationally. We need to encourage Canadian companies and companies with Canadian content operating here to wave the Canadian flag and take advantage of the halo effect that Canadian content should provide. We need to band together to tell the Canadian story. When you think of German products you tend to think of reliability, engineering, and precision, and with Japanese products, much the same. But Canadian companies also need to tell their story. For example: most of the Lays potato chips in Thailand came from potatoes grown in PEI. We need to be touting that and Lays should be advertising that on their chip bags because Canada should mean something to the Thai consumer. I’d like to kick this off by having a Brand Canada roundtable event with stakeholders once we are able to hold group events again. “I’d also like to make a little shift in how the organization functions from just being based on social and business activities. We need to be story tellers, we need to be selling Brand Canada and sharing the stories of our members, so we need to have more of a media focus.” Derek has served as vice-president for past presidents Peter van Haren, Ron Livingston and John Stevens so he has been well-groomed for his new role. And the Stonelotus office is in the same building (Sethiwan Tower) as the Chamber, so if he needs to discuss matters with Chamber Executive Director Jen Meckhayai, he just needs to take the elevator down a few floors. Derek literally faces a pandemic of issues moving forward, but the board and the Chamber at whole are very confident that he is up to the task. He has an expression he likes to use, “a rising tide lifts all boats”, we are hoping for the Bay of Fundy.


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The Hidden Hawaii of Canada: Vancouver Island By Tom Goodall-Halliwell Photography by Kat Craats British Columbia is the westernmost of the 10 Canadian provinces and has some of the most beautiful natural terrain in the world. With over 8,000 snowcapped mountains, 150 million acres of forest, and almost 30,000 kilometres of coastline (ten times as much as Thailand!) British Columbia really has it all. One of the most spectacular places is Vancouver Island, located at the southwestern tip of the province. This island has world-class surfing, skiing, hiking, whale watching, and hosts the province’s capital city Victoria. Known as the “Hawaii of Canada”, it has one of the warmest climates in the country and is able to grow crops such as olives and lemons. It contains over 120 provincial parks and three of BC’s seven national parks. One of these, Pacific Rim National Park, is also a UNESCO World Heritage site and features the country’s best surf spots and incredible old growth forest. With a population of less than a million people spread out over 31,000 square kilometers, Vancouver Island is an amazing place to see scenery, explore new activities, and get away from the hustle of the big city. Visitors to Vancouver Island either fly into Victoria International Airport or take a scenic 1.5 hour ferry trip from Vancouver to arrive in the island’s largest city - and provincial capital - Victoria. Here there are hundreds of restaurants, bars, clubs, hotels, and activities in the downtown area. You can rent scooters to travel to more far-reaching places, such as Dallas Road, a nearby beach with an excellent view of the Olympic Mountains. If you wish to stay closer to the downtown core, have breakfast at one of the many amazing restaurants in North America’s brunch capital. Afterwards, you can go indoor rock climbing, axe throwing, visit the BC Museum, legislature buildings, or simply walk around the downtown core. Despite its small size, Victoria is one of Canada’s major tech capitals, and its nightlife is vibrant and exciting. There is always a concert, party, or event at one of the many venues, and the many small, unique local bars all showcase different themes and vibes. Although Victoria is a fantastic city, you will not want to spend more than a few days here because you will be too anxious to explore the rest of the island. Vancouver Island’s west coast is wild and unpopulated, but there are well maintained roads that can take you to most places. 8 July-August-September 2020

Tofino is world renowned for its massive, sandy beaches and year-round consistent surfing. This small town is nestled at the end of a five-hour drive through old growth forest, with trees over 1,600 years old. Visitors drive past Kennedy Lake - the largest lake on Vancouver Island - with crystal clear water that is great for swimming, boating, and fishing. In Tofino, lies a plethora of high quality Airbnbs, many beachfront resorts and several hostels. It is known as a getaway for several celebrities, including Chris Hemsworth, Neil Patrick Harris, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and was visited by Prince William and Kate Middleton on

Botanical Beach, Juan de Fuca Provincial Park


Cox Bay Point, Tofino

their honeymoon. A short drive out of Tofino is the longest beach in Canada, aptly named Long Beach. Here you can have a campfire, watch surfers, or try surfing yourself. Black bears are common in this area but don’t be afraid, they rarely attack humans, so enjoy watching them from a distance. If wildlife watching is your thing, join a whale watching tour to see native orcas, humpbacks, and grey whales. If you’ve had your fill of the beach and want to see the mountains, head to Strathcona Provincial Park.

The park contains Mt. Washington, the largest ski resort on the island, and is a two-hour drive from Tofino or three-hour drive from Victoria. Pick up some rental skis and try skiing, or rent snowshoes and hike through the hundreds of trails in Strathcona. For the more adventurous travellers, try hiking the world famous West Coast Trail on the southwest coast of Vancouver Island. This 75km trail requires you to undergo grueling hiking, steep ladders, and extreme weather conditions, but rewards you with some of the most beautiful ocean scenery, and wildlife experiences. All in all, Vancouver Island has something for everyone, and is one of the most incredible places in the world. There are very few places that you can go surfing and skiing in the same weekend, but “The Island” as it is known locally, is one of them. Adventurous travellers are overwhelmed by the quantity and quality of hiking trails, surfing beaches, and snowy mountains. For the more leisurely traveler, there are hundreds of amazing resorts, restaurants and spas. It is truly the perfect place for anyone looking to get away and experience Canada.

Tom Goodall-Halliwell Tom is a Business Student from the University of Victoria on an internship with CanCham Thailand.

CragX Indoor Climbing Gym July-August-September 2020

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Post COVID-19: What Should We Expect? By Greg Beatty, J.D., Business Development Consultant

COVID-19 has disrupted everything with whiplash effect. The science is unsettled, there’s no single approach by governments, and news coverage is schizophrenic. Let’s examine what is expected for society, community, family and personally.

Working Definitions A prediction offers a statement of what will happen in the future based on an inference of events or knowledge. An expectation has something added to the prediction: a state of readiness, a mindset, for an event about to happen. In the case of the current pandemic, determining expectations and personal reactions is akin to the seven stages of grief: shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, testing, and acceptance.

The Wizards To consider what lies ahead, and to fast track to the acceptance stage, we reached out to thought leaders around the world, including a former Deputy Director at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with a Harvard PhD, an entrepreneur developing software for a global real estate online platform and virtual ecosystem, a UK-based food and hospitality expert advising leading hotel chains for post COVID-19 readiness, and a Thailand-based Buddhist professor with extensive scholarly credentials. We’ve selected the most interesting range of expectations and add our personal expectations. Here’s what we might expect.

Society: Expect our Rights to be Re-set Governments knew that a global pandemic was possible, but there was no readiness. The proverbial phrase: This was not a black swan; it was a gray rhino. Governments reacted postpartum with a comprehensive business shutdown instead of targeted protection to those most vulnerable. They mandated restrictive policies to flatten the curve, some more draconian than others. Collectively, they appear to try an economic solution to a health problem. Taking a broad view, think about the choice we have in front of us. Which would you rather: • Go back to business-as-usual (more deaths, especially amongst the elderly and vulnerable; and fear of social engagements until heard immunity is achieved) • Lock-down for all until we have a vaccine (with 10 July-August-September 2020

economic catastrophe) • Asian-style tracking (mass government surveillance, as started by China, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan) Expect governments to drive us to the third option. We’ll slide right into a new regime of mass government surveillance. We´ll thank our authorities for it! They´ll present it as having our cake (health security) and eating it too (less economic disruption). The strategy, quite possibly, is a temporary lockdown with two purposes: • let fear extend • prepare the systems for mass surveillance Initially, reports focused on the daily COVID-19 death totals without detailing demographic breakdown. Without information there is no insight, only fear. The lockdown in varying degrees will remain until Big Brother 1.0 – not the vaccine - is ready. Expect Big Brother to come faster than the vaccine. This is what makes the authorities comfortable with putting in place mechanisms to address a V-shaped recession: it is "fundable" for some months through bailouts of corporates and workers alike. Then mass surveillance begins, and we will move into a different socio-political arrangement. It’s Orwell wrapped in Kafka inside John Le Carre. Security above everything. And hierarchy as a way of delivering it. For those still skeptical, we share with you what is already happening in Europe. Spain and other countries in the European Union have restricted freedom of movement of its citizens to one kilometer from home. Further, there are more than ten additional restrictions on movement, most of which carry a minimum fine of 1,500 Euros per act. For those fortunate to have a second home for vacation, travel between residences is another fine of 1,500 Euros. Celebrations are forbidden too. Each person in attendance is subject to a fine of 10, 400 Euros. Fines are issued on the spot. Recipients are advised to remain courteous with the administering official or receive an additional 1,500 Euro fine. The granularity of restrictions rises to a black comedy. Picture this: a family of four is not allowed to venture out for a neighborhood stroll. Only one parent with the kids per time out, and the venture must fit one of the five designated time blocks based on age group. After being locked up in the same home for hours, husband


and wife cannot stroll together, though neither may complain about that.

are maximized. Marketing campaigns can emphasize exclusivity and all things local.

At the end of April, nearly 800,000 citizens were sanctioned and nearly 7,000 detained. Kafkaesque bureaucracy is not only a precursor of what is possible, it’s expected because, it’s already here. If this is happening in Europe, normally a beacon for progressive thinking on human rights, then expect other countries to overdetermine and overreach with their health surveillance regulations.

Family: What’s for Dinner?

In sum, expect privacy and personal movement rights to be re-set.

Community: Moving In, Out, and Around To continue with a movement theme, let’s examine expectations for movement from one community to another and movement within a community.

All Real Estate is local. Real estate transactions have come to a standstill while social distancing in place. Once social distancing subsides, real estate professionals expect a spike in transactions. Work from home policies and the economic impact on personal budgets are triggers for relocation. Buyers and sellers expect better online content to confidently qualify properties. Digitization of real property assets for virtual viewings with 3D immersion with near-online gaming quality is emerging in the industry. Transactions will still require a site visit; however, the number of site visits will be reduced. Buyers will ask, Do you have a 3D immersion before I visit?

Restaurants are about neighborhood. Restaurants give neighborhoods identity. Unfortunately, many restaurants will not sustain the economic fallout. Further, as business resumes, social distancing requirements have dealt business plans a Mike Tyson punch in the face. Despite a shrinking market, restaurants will need to stand out even more to attract customers. All restauranteurs will try to solve this problem: How to continue to deliver a memorable dining experience? Restauranteurs will pivot to different business models, from remodeling interiors for private seating rooms to grab-and-go and click-and collect. Industry insiders expect restaurants to strengthen customer relationships. There are stories of the symbiotic bond between restaurants and the community. Communities are supporting their local restaurants by ordering take-out, purchasing vouchers and buying fruits and vegetables direct from the restaurant instead of the big chain grocery stores. Imagine shorter menus, but menus mapped to customer feedback, a previously neglected area. McDonald’s will be a guiding model, with its finite menu and lean supply chain. Costs remain low, food waste is minimized, and local supplier relationships

What’s for dinner? is the most commonly asked question. Cooking at home will be more commonplace for safety and budget reasons. Whether kitchens will be newly stocked with pots and pans and appliances is a matter of individual culinary enthusiasm. Andrea Stewart, an international food consultant, expects to see a rebirth in catering. Hosts will want to create memorable dining experiences at home without the stress of cooking. Catering can meet a range of budgets and formats, with options ranging from pre-cooked meal drop-offs to private chefs who will cook with flair on premises.

Personally: Less is Fine Personally, I’ve enjoyed less consumption during the lockdown. Dividing my consumption into what is essential, and what is lifestyle, we’ve learned to purchase only what we need and enjoy life just the same. Less is not more, but less is fine. Not everyone is aligned on desires or affordability for consumption, but if everyone is more prudent, then globally, it would lead to a more sustainable economy on a planet with finite resources.

Conclusions COVID-19 brings revolutionary change, comprehensive and dramatic. What we expect from governments and how we expect to interact with others as we produce and consume gives rise to existential considerations. Expectations do not imply that we want certain things to happen, only that we think something will happen and then be ready for it. Expectations don’t provide answers, but they lead us to focus on the right questions. Buddhist Philosophy Professor Frank Hoffman says, “We need questions to make our lives meaningful”. Unprecedented times require pause as to how we give meaning to our lives. Privacy, security and community relationships are important issues. Larger issues are at stake too. Will we, for example, be conditioned to accept large numbers of deaths in order to sustain some level of economic success? To what degree is the over 60 generation fundable or expendable? This article first appeared in the Bangkok Post Market Place as part of the regular Human Resource Watch series edited by Dataconsult operators of Thailand Regional Forum.

Greg Beatty Bio Greg is Canadian with a US law degree. He has worked in Asia for several multinational companies and law firms. He is member of the Advisory Council of Thailand Regional Forum (gregfieldbeatty@gmail.com). July-August-September 2020

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Tim Hortons’ successful Thailand launch Tim Hortons is proud to be serve communities across Canada and the world. And we are proud to finally be serving customers here in Thailand. Following our launch at Samyan Mitrtown in January we are now operating five restaurants in key locations across Bangkok, including: Abdulrahim Place, Ploenchit Center, SEACON Srinakarin, SEACON Bangkae with two additional stores opening very soon at The Mall Ngamwongwan and The PARQ Complex in July and August, respectively. The Tim Hortons branded restaurant is developed and operated exclusively by WeEat Company Limited, here in Thailand. We reached an agreement with our franchisor Restaurant Brands International (RBI) in mid-2019 having initiated the negotiation process in late 2017.

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The growth in the coffee industry in Thailand has hit a major inflection point in terms of growth in the last five-six years with significant room to grow in the years to come. Despite the growth, there is still a lack of variety in terms of experience and offerings in the market from international players and we thought it was time for those living in Thailand to experience something new and unique, yet relevant. We quickly fell in love with the Tim Hortons brand in all aspects – the outstanding beverages, baked goods and food products, the charming experience, the exceptional Canadian hospitality and the community spirit shown across all the stores around the world. We felt confident that the iconic Canadian brand will win Thai hearts the same way it won Canadian hearts: one coffee, one serving at a time.


Not only do we want to bring great Tim Hortons products to the Thai market but we also want to do something else Tim Hortons is known for – give back to the community. Working with the community is more important than ever in these difficult circumstances. Health and safety concerns for our customers and staff are a priority. We have implemented the strictest safety measures including compulsory use of PPE throughout all stores, acrylic screens at service stations, social distancing measures, and staff washing their hands every half hour.

Not only do we want to bring great Tim Hortons products to the Thai market but we also want to do something else Tim Hortons is known for – give back to the community.

We have also participated in trying to improve our community where we can. Prior to the launch, we sponsored ice rink time for Ryan Straschnitzki, a survivor of the tragic Humboldt bus crash accident in 2018, his first time back on the ice after he underwent a major surgery here in Thailand. Throughout the on-going COVID crisis, we have also actively provided support where we can for frontline workers by providing them with food and coffee daily from our stores. We look forward to welcoming everyone into our stores —- safely of course — so that we can provide them with the best we have to offer. We will also continue to commit ourselves to the betterment of the Thai community we serve, and we are grateful for all that the Thai community has given us. Hope to see you all soon.

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Have drone will travel Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), now universally called “drones”, were first developed by the U.S. military in 1916 during World War I. For years, these contraptions required expert skill to fly and had to be quite large to carry photographic equipment. But with the advent of electronics miniaturization driven partly by mobile telephones, in the 21st century, civilians¬— both hobbyists and professionals alike—use the technology to easily capture a bird's-eye view angle of the world. This is game-changing democratization of cinematic photography. Even tourists on holiday are now able to create breathtaking, cinematic footage without requiring a professional crew or access to a helicopter. Now a mature industry, there are drones available for virtually every conceivable niche use, including for photography, racing, confined space inspection, thermal inspection, agricultural spraying, surveillance, and drone delivery. Our company performs a range of commercial services, but for this article we will focus on consumer uses.

Tourists now often travel with drones, publishing the footage on their social media or vlogs (video blogs), both for commercial and amateur purposes. In Thailand, there are plenty of photogenic locations suitable for drones such as the seaside, mountain ranges, waterfalls, temples, and other natural and cultural sites.

Drones aimed at the consumer market continue to become yet more affordable and capable, which leads to increased demand, which is expected by market analysts to increase 20% annually until at least 2024. Hotels and resorts of course use consumer-level drones to publicize their services for marketing purposes through websites, online advertisements, and by using social media as well.

With this great power comes the responsibility to use this technology safely. Just like operating a car or firearm, they can bring the operator great joy and convenience, but they can also put others’ lives and property at risk if not used responsibly.

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If you have a drone in your possession, it is mandatory to register your drone and the pilot with the


Artist’s concept of package delivery drones over a future Bangkok skyline (Courtesy Fling).

Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT). You must also register your remote control with the Office of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC). These steps normally take at least four weeks. To individually register with CAAT, you must fill out a registration request form through the website, submit a self-declaration, a copy of your ID card, and a copy of your house registration. (Foreigners can use a passport copy with a visa stamped). You must include a photo of the drone that clearly shows the serial number. Drones are required to have third-party insurance with coverage of at least one million baht. In the case of a business (or “juristic person”) registering the drone, a copy of the company affidavit, a self-declaration, a copy of ID card, the pilot’s house registration, a copy of the 3rd-party liability insurance policy (min. 1 million baht), and photos of the drone with the serial number visible all must be submitted. More information can be found at https:// uav.caat.or.th/. For registration with the NBTC, you must complete their form and submit your original ID card. (Foreigners can use their original passports). A photo of the drone with the serial number, and the drone's sales receipt or tax invoice must be sent into the NBTC. In

Michael Currie Chairman, Fling Company, Limited (Thailand)

the case of retail stores, they must fill out the form and submit it along with the owner's ID card, company registration, the drone’s photo with the serial number, and a list of drones. More information can be found at www.nbtc.go.th. Even after your drone has been registered, to legally operate a drone in Thailand, you must also follow many rules and regulations to follow. For example, you are not allowed to fly a drone at an altitude of more than 90 meters, after sunset, or over people or buildings. There are also many restricted zones in Thailand where you are not allowed to fly a drone at all without special permission. Such exclusion zones include within 9 kilometres of any airport or helipad, within 19 kilometres of Victory Monument (the “VTR-1” Bangkok exclusion zone), and many large airspace blocks reserved for military use. To check before flying if you are in restricted airspace, you can check by using a free mobile application for Android phones produced by my company Fling called Fly here – Thailand. If you have any questions about using drones safely in Thailand, for fun or for business purposes, please feel free to contact Fling at https://fling.asia/. Let us fly drones safely and legally together.

Nontaly Jacky Aksornthung Chief Commercial Officer, Fling Company, Limited (Thailand)

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In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity By: John Evans, Managing Director Paulo Guedes Moreau, Research Analyst Tractus Asia Ltd.

On January 13, Thailand became the first country to confirm a case of COVID-19 outside of China. By midMarch, most Asian nations had begun to implement strict lockdown measures to slow the viral outbreak. As illustrated in figure 1, it appears Asia has done a good job of flattening the curve with ASEAN in good shape overall. As the virus hits mid-curve, what should Canadian firms do? From a business perspective, one should be thinking about on which markets to focus after this pandemic. Canadian companies will be well-served by re-examining global opportunities as Canada shifts away from China due to ongoing diplomatic turmoil and disruptions in the supply chain brought on by COVID-19. New markets will most likely be in other parts of Asia, particularly in ASEAN countries like Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam where they have already flattened the curve and are getting back to the “new normal”. Canada is a net merchandise importer with the world with total bilateral trade surpassing C$ 1.19 Trillion in 2019. The U.S. remains Canada’s top trade partner accounting for over 60% of Canada’s bilateral merchandise trade. In Asia, China maintained its spot

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as Canada’s 2nd largest partner accounting for over 8% bilateral trade in 2019 despite the diplomatic tensions emanating from the controversial Huawei extradition case. The arrest of Ms. Meng in December 2018 resulted in a series of Chinese retaliatory trade measures aimed at Canada’s most valuable domestic agricultural exports. In 2018, Canada’s total agricultural exports amounted to C$ 65.4 Billion of which C$ 10.2 Billion was imported by China. A year later, China nearly halved its Canadian agricultural imports to C$ 6.3 Billion with the hardest hit exports being Canadian vegetable products like canola, soya beans and cereals. Five months into 2020, Sino-Canadian relations do not show signs of improvement. This was evidenced by the Chinese Consulate’s slamming response to Albertan Premier Kenney after his recent criticism of China’s handling of the COVID-19 outbreak and containment. Further uncertainty is looming as the delivery of the highly anticipated ruling on Ms. Meng is due by the end of May. The souring of Canada-China relations provides challenges for Canadian businesses, yet as the wise Sun Tzu once said, “in the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.”


Near, and long term, opportunities are most likely to be found in ASEAN. With bilateral merchandise trade surpassing C$ 27 Billion in 2019, ASEAN would be Canada’s 6th largest partner if it was considered a single country. In 2019, Canada imported over C$ 20 Billion worth of goods from ASEAN, while Canada’s domestic merchandise exports to ASEAN declined to just over C$ 6.4 Billion, an overall drop of 3.1% from 2018’s domestic exports. Nevertheless, one should

not be discouraged by this slight drop in exports; as depicted in figure 2. The largest declines were commodity driven such as mineral products, wood pulp and paper which tend to be a bit more volatile as economies move through cycles. It is more important to focus on trends developing in two segments: (1) Machinery and mechanical appliances; and, (2) The Agro-food chain. Canadian machinery and mechanical exports to ASEAN (HS Chapters 84 and 85) achieved the C$ 1 Billion mark in 2019, a C$ 237 Million increase from the previous year. During the same year, domestic agricultural exports to ASEAN (HS Chapters 1 to 24) reached C$ 2 Billion, up by 12% from last year. It is also important to highlight the 15% increase in prepared food stuffs and beverages (HS Chapters 16-24) as this may serve as an opportunity for Canadian businesses in the Agro-food chain. Across the agro-food chain from commodities to retail, to logistics or cold chain management, there are tremendous opportunities throughout the ASEAN markets to bring in not only Canadian products but also food processing solutions. In order to capitalize on the ASEAN opportunity post-pandemic, Canadian firms must recognize that the days of large-scale production plants supplying global demand are waning. Over the last 10 years, the dominate supply chain strategy was based on a “China plus 1 in ASEAN” where sales and distribution offices were set up in Singapore to sell into the region. However, a new strategy trend is swiftly supplanting the older model with companies placing smaller operations in near market locations. This trend will likely translate into Canadian companies doing less exporting back to Canada, and more investing in ASEAN for ASEAN markets. A wise strategy would be to focus on setting up sales and distribution offices outside of Singapore and in ASEAN member countries. The post-COVID world will see a more regionalized approach to trade and investment to mitigate the risk of singular production concentration. This regionalization shift will integrate new technologies to increase efficiency and productivity through robotics, AI and automation and certainly play a greater role in location decisions.

John Evans, Managing Director (john.evans@tractus-asia.com)

Paulo Guedes Moreau, Research Analyst (paulo.guedes@tractus-asia.com)

Tractus Asia (www.tractus-asia.com) is a leading Pan-Asian strategy advisory and consulting firm, we help executives make informed decisions to achieve their business goals and objectives in Asia.

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Celebrating Smiling Albino’s 20th Anniversary Twenty years. Two decades. A monumental anniversary for any company. The year 2020 that marks that milestone for the luxury adventure travel gurus at Smiling Albino. A travel company which got started to challenge the conventions of what travel is, and has since become one of the industry’s premier names in Southeast Asia. It’s a bit ironic that such a monumental anniversary is celebrated during the time when the world shuts down and tourism virtually ceases. But these resilient folks are using it as a time to reset, preparing to be ready more than ever when travel resumes to showcase their amazing experiences in Southeast Asia to guests from here and around the world. Founded in 2000 by two Canadians, Daniel Fraser (present CEO) and Scott Coates who left the company in 2013, Smiling Albino started by offering grassroots, off-the-beaten-path experiences in Thailand, namely Bangkok, Chiang Rai and the Golden Triangle in the north, and Krabi in the south. For several years

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Dan and Scott were a two-man show, simultaneously traveling the country creating experiences, running the operations, and hosting guests alongside local guides. The focus since day one has been to experience Southeast Asia like a local with seamless comfort. These adventures are tailored to private guests, not large groups, and deliver a level of value and access that travelers could not accomplish on their own. “On many of our trips we bring guests over for drinks in our friend’s art studio in a little hilltop community in the Golden Triangle, or we invite local families to join us for boat rides and BBQ’s on the Mekong River where few others ever travel to. Our guests felt connected right from day one. There were no tour buses, flags, or name lists. This felt real and fun, like an adventure is supposed to be!” Smiling Albino’s local and safe and fun approach appealed to the middle class and upper-middle-class


travelers and families from Canada, USA, UK, and beyond. Soon they were upgrading simpler hotels around the region and clearly offering a unique blend of high-class service, authentic adventure, and comfortable luxury.

the lives of the team. We worked together on ways to provide a meaningful guest experience in their city or region, and how to do it differently. This became part of the company DNA and absolutely contributed to our successful expansion.”

Pursuing this niche as a boutique operator contributed to Smiling Albino being able to build close relationships across Southeast Asia that is seldom achieved by large multinational travel firms catering to broader masses. “A major upside for us is that we got to know local people in the small communities,” says Dan. “We built relationships that are personal, authentic, and still standing to this day.”

Unanticipated luxury, crafted through creativity and exploration, is what the company is most known for. One example is a recent one-off experience in Northern Thailand. “After an afternoon hiking in the lush jungle, we arrived with our guests at a remote jungle village. Waiting for us were showers, towels, robes, and slippers - all pre-arranged by Smiling Albino. Once the guests were cleaned up from the hike, we led them to a natural hot spring converted into an in-ground hot tub where guides were waiting to serve them Gin & Tonics, followed by hot tub time, and the highlight: Thai massage that we’d arranged by inviting several masseuses from the nearest town out for the occasion. “The moment was so unexpected and the guest’s favourite memory is the relaxation and 5-star treatment the received in the middle of the jungle. Those are the moments you never forget,” says Dan.

Between 2006-2010. the company began offering similar experiences in Cambodia and Vietnam and Nepal, and then Laos and Myanmar. This growth was fueled by happy customers asking for trips beyond Thailand. But Smiling Albino didn’t take the growth opportunities lightly and wanted to ensure that they were true to their mission to truly add value to their new destinations, or not do them at all. “The mission of finding new partners was a process of relationship building. We got to know future partners well, and we wanted to understand their hopes and dreams. We created a vision for what Smiling Albino was about and how this type of tourism could transform the guest experience, and thus transform

Beyond crafting memorable moments, Smiling Albino is conscious about its impact on the locals they interact with all over the region. “We communicate and work with local villagers and entrepreneurs to ensure that any effect on the local environment is July-August-September 2020

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positive. We aim to support the villages by having conversations to see what they need and how to contribute. We ensure that we’re never exploiting locals for the benefits of an overseas guest. The benefits have to be mutual. This is really important to us,” says Danielle Dranoff, Head of Marketing & Product for Smiling Albino.

experiences are not your average day out. Hidden villages, alleyways you never knew existed, and fun twists on traditional favorites. They’re also a great way to support local businesses. “These are day trips for the Thailand residents who feel like they’ve seen it all. We love showing people the Bangkok you never knew that you never knew!”

As they continue into their 20th year amidst a pandemic, Smiling Albino is looking forward. They are excited about what travel in a new world means. In addition to planning for the return of international guests, the company has recently launched a set of travel experiences geared to Thailand locals and expats. “We are excited to share our knowledge and expertise with our local community.” And these

Learn more about their new experiences at blog. smilingalbino.com/local or by contacting them at mahouts@smilingalbino.com.

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Jonathan Dumont Expert Linux & Ethical Hacker JDumont Consulting

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Rajiv Parrab CEO at A & II Group Garrick Pold Head of Asia Supply Chain Management Maersk Thailand Scot Thom Founder Digital Export Development

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Where Do We Go From Here? By Scott Coates

The Scene Chin resting in her palm, a weary-looking snack vendor is stationed curbside near Bangkok’s Wat Pho, waiting to sell kanom klok (small gelatin coconut puddings) to someone, anyone who may pass by. Energy running low while cycling the city’s eerily empty streets one early May morning, I stop and tuck in to an order of her sweets and we sit in (distanced) silence for a few moments. She then asks “When do you think the tourists will return?” “All bets are off at this point,” I reply. Her barely present smile disappears and we both stare into the distance. Reality is, no one knows when tourism will return, in what form, here or abroad. Since moving to Thailand in 1999 to co-found specialty luxury travel company Smiling Albino with fellow Canadian Daniel Fraser, my life and livelihood

has been firmly rooted in travel. First as a co-owner, then transitioning to become Director of People Development with one of Asia’s leading destination management companies, EXO Travel, overseeing HR and Training needs for our 950 team members across 10 Asian countries. Over these two-decades, travel, for many, has become less of a luxury and more of a piece of who they are. In some respects, seen as a required part of life by many. According to the World Tourism Organization, more than 10% of the global economy is now reliant upon tourism. These numbers increase dramatically in Thailand, where 20% of GDP is attributed to travel, with a record 39.8-million international arrivals in 2019 according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

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And the mix has radically changed with Chinese nationals comprising 40% of the kingdom’s visitors pre-COVID (BC), tripling in just a few years. Until March 2020 that was, when global travel screeched to a halt due to the COVID-19 outbreak. And now as we wait for borders to open, flights to resume, and behavioral restrictions to ease, one wonders, what will travel look like when it starts again and where do we go from here in a post-COVID world (PC)? Perhaps something had to give one way or another. How long can unbridled tourism growth continue before the sites people come to experience are no longer worth visiting by virtue of the sheer numbers at them? Bangkok’s Grand Palace is typically filled to its fortifying walls with tourists, Angkor’s temples have become overrun and world-famous beaches are dotted with trash. One way or another, it’s time to recalibrate.

The Hope Healthier travel everywhere. For far too long, the basics like soap in toilets and kitchens have simply not been present. Let’s hope the hand washing continues, and a general consciousness of cleanliness remains front of mind, resulting in healthier travelers and communities PC. Secondary sites will gain traction and become sought after. Instead of just saying they want to ‘get off the beaten path’, travelers will actually mean it, and seek out lesser-known destinations, spreading their growing numbers across greater distances. Doing so will also help better disperse tourism dollars into

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more hands, improving livelihoods and helping to curb over-tourism. Private experiences become the norm, rather than the ever-popular group bus tour. This will help reduce the mass onslaught of people at any one place, while employing more locals as guides, drivers, hoteliers, hosts and cooks at any one time. Yes trips will cost a bit more, but not that much, and the benefit to local economies will be considerable. This should also reduce tourism ‘leakage’, which is the percentage of traveler’s funds that leave a host country, usually as a result of an over-reliance on foreign-based/ owned tour companies, hotel chains, etc. Land-based journeys grow in popularity, with travelers opting to travel by car or train, rather than always flying point-to-point. This will force travelers to ‘slow down’, rushing to less ‘must see sites’ in a single trip, instead, spending more time at fewer locations, gaining a greater understanding of where they are and the people that call it home. Doing so will create a stronger connection to the destination, while partially avoiding airports, which are bound to become more cumbersome and time-consuming than they already were BC. End of the buffet. Yes it’s sometimes nice to enjoy one of 30 dishes for your meal, but these ever-too-present restaurant features result in weight gain and more importantly, a massive waste of food. Instead, we’ll see a move towards a la carte meals prepared with care, a focus on food safety, and a greater emphasis on local ingredients and dishes. Travel has


never been so delicious!

The Return When travel returns and what it looks like will be a balance between fear, regulations, economics and reality. Where these will converge remains to be seen. Domestic Tourism (July - Sept) will be the first to gain traction as countries gradually open their internal borders, travelers test the ‘new normal’, fear slowly subsides, and future outbreaks are hopefully few and much smaller than initial ones that got us here. Providing the above goes smoothly, Regional Tourism will follow (Oct - March 2021), with neighbouring nations (think Thailand-Cambodia-Vietnam) who feel they have the situation under control, forming travel-corridors, making travel almost as seamless as it was BC. Regulations will gradually ease and traveler confidence will build, paving the way for an eventual return of Overseas Travel. This next type of travel, which brings in the vast majority of tourism dollars, is going to take time (April 2021 onwards). Governments will look for countries that appear to have their outbreaks under control, and have statistics they can trust to back it up, before opening up and allowing flights. Quarantine going to/from destinations needs to be a thing of the past as the time involved to do so is often greater than actual holiday time and not practical. Air tickets will need to be affordable once again (no empty ‘distanced’ middle seat) along with readily available and inexpensive travel medical insurance to meet soon-coming PC requirements. And finally,

global unemployment numbers will need to be under control, enabling travelers to properly save for their dream trips abroad.

Moving Forward Do we need to have a cellophane barrier between diners? No. Will an open middle seat on aircraft really provide the distance required to prevent cross-contamination? No. Should a family that lives together be allowed to dine at the same table in a restaurant? Absolutely. Do I need to keep cleaning my hands so often? Yes, and use soap. The reality is, it’s likely a majority of the world’s population is going to contract COVID-19 in the next 12-months. It will have a very low fatality rate, most people won’t exhibit symptoms, some will have mild ones and a very few will require hospitalization. But the initial wave of fear and unknown we’re all currently experiencing will have to subside greatly before travel truly gets back to ‘normal’ and begins to resemble its BC-self. One thing’s for sure, locals are keen, growing desperate and waiting. I nod a smile to the sweets vendor as I mount my bicycle. She squeaks out the beginnings of a smile, but it’s a far cry from those that have made Thailand and its residents so famous to visitors from around the world.

Scott Coates serves as Director of People Development with EXO Travel and maintains a travel podcast, www.talktravelasia.com

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Visiting Canada’s Capital

Photo: https://www. britannica.com/place/ Ottawa

By Azana Hyder

Interested in traveling to Canada? From the stunning Rocky Mountains in the West Coast, to Niagara Falls in Ontario, to the Bay of Fundy on the East Coast, Canada is spoilt with natural beauties from coast to coast to coast. In 2018, close to 20,000 Thai citizens visited Canada. When traveling to Canada, most Thais tend to visit the West Coast, especially the province of British Colombia due its mountainous backdrop and generally warmer weather. However, along with Canada’s scenic views, the country offers many other landmarks that are worth exploring. Canadian cities are safe, friendly, and often less crowded and less overwhelming than larger American cities, thus easier for tourists to navigate. Canada’s capital city, Ottawa, is the perfect destination for an informative visit to learn more about the country’s history and political culture. Parliament Hill is a classic destination for all visitors. Historically many tours have been offered for the public to have an inside look at where government representatives convene, debate, and pass laws. Unfortunately for the time being the Parliament buildings are undergoing a major reconstruction project and are currently closed to the public. However, this doesn’t mean you should cross this classic location off your 26 July-August-September 2020

Photo: https://www. lrostaffing.com/best-50winter-events-activitiesottawa/

list. On the contrary, brand new tours are being organized, including an inside view at the temporary new House of Commons. During the summer months, there is also a beautiful light show on Parliament Hill showcasing Canada’s history. This is a great opportunity to enjoy an educational yet fun activity. Furthermore, Ottawa’s Rideau Canal can be enjoyed year around. In the summer, the canal is the perfect location to embark on a beautiful boat ride along the city. Alternatively, in the winter, the Rideau Canal becomes the world’s largest skating rink with 7.8 kilometers of ice to skate on. Don’t let the cold scare you – with a thick jacket, appropriate layers of clothing, a pair of gloves, and a warm hat, tourists from all around the world learn to embrace Canadian winters. While skating (or walking if you prefer) on


In 2019, a new light-rail transit (LRT) system opened in Ottawa, to facilitate travel across the city. Overall, Ottawa is quite easy to navigate, especially if you stay in the downtown core, most places are accessible by a short walk or short bus ride using the local bus transportation system. The majority of essential landmarks including Parliament Hill, the Rideau Canal, the Byward Market (with many small shops and restaurants), and the National Art Gallery are all within walking distance from each other. Given the condensed nature of most of the important viewing sites, there are plenty of hotel and Airbnb options located in the downtown core.

the Canal, there are little huts offering some warm Canadian treats – including hot chocolates with marshmallows and “beavertails.” Beavertails, a staple Canadian treat, are a deep-fried, donut-like dessert normally topped with sugar and cinnamon. Whether you decide to visit in the summer or winter, the Rideau Canal – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – is surely a must visit.

Canada is a large country with much ground to cover. Whether you decide to visit the West Coast, East Coast, or central Canada, you cannot go wrong, as there is natural and historical beauty to admire across the entire country.

Azana Hyder is pursuing a Masters of Global Affairs at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. She holds a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Political Science and Ethics, Society, and Law from the University of Toronto. She is currently interning as a Project Coordinator with CanCham Thailand.

We print and ship from Bangkok Small print runs at attractive prices. Anything from banners to books. Delivered where you need it.

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If you are looking to explore another city in Ontario, Toronto is only a 5-hour drive or train ride away from. Trains between the two cities are readily available and easily accessible.

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Prestigious Lester B Pearson Scholarship Awarded to Bangkok Student

M

anintorn (Mars) Lomtakul, a student in Year 13 at Bangkok Patana School, has been awarded the prestigious Lester B Pearson scholarship to the University of Toronto. Only 37 or 38students are awarded this four-year, full scholarship each year; this year alone there were about 1900 nominations from around the world. This is the second time within three years that the scholarship has been awarded to a Bangkok Patana School student. “I am extremely honoured and humbled to receive such a prestigious scholarship. The Pearson Scholarship requires a school nomination and the completion of four essays ranging in length. Being heavily involved in school life through the Interact Club, teaching English at the Pong Ploy School, organising activities for the Thongbai Daycare children and being an event coordinator for the Youths for SDGs conference, I was able to combine my interest in reducing inequalities in my local community with my passion for studying and applying

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business theories. During the summer before Year 13, I also participated in the International Trade Challenge Asia Pacific Finals in Malaysia, which allowed me to showcase my critical thinking and business pitching skills in a competition setting,” said Mars. Janine Raftopoulos, Integrated Communications Advisor at the University of Toronto, said that Mars’ commitment to her community made an impact on her selection, “Our committee weighs many factors when assessing applications and awarding these scholarships. Some of these factors include academic performance, personal achievements, proven leadership, extra-curricular involvement, and contributions to the wider community. Manintorn is an exceptional student and we’re honored she has accepted our offer of admission and scholarship and wish her continued success.” Mars is excited about entering the Business Management co-op programme at the University


of Toronto’s Scarborough campus. “Business is interdisciplinary in nature and this will give me the flexibility and the necessary skills to pursue anything I want in the future. Having set up mini enterprises with my friends for Junior Enterprise and being the president of the Interact Club at Bangkok Patana for two years, I am inspired to be an entrepreneur and start my own business,” explained Mars, ““The Co-op programme allows me to work and study whilst I am at university. I am able to have three work terms as well as complete my studies in four years. This enables me to gain paid work experience and work with different companies in the fields that I am interested in. Not only does this give me valuable work experience at different companies, but I am also able to explore different functions of business in real-world settings before I graduate.” Bangkok Patana School’s robust Careers and University department has six counsellors to help students through the careers and university process. Over 80% of students receive offers to their first and second choice universities, which most often include top ranked and highly competitive programmes in Canadian, UK and US universities. Andrew Haughton has been a university counsellor at Bangkok Patana for nine years. “The Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship is one of the most prestigious and highly competitive merit-based awards in the world and only two students

under my wing have ever received it. The criteria are daunting: Demonstrate exceptional academic achievement and creativity and be a recognised leader within your school. Most students would give up at this point, but Mars didn’t,” he said. Andrew went on to commend Mars for her get-upand-go attitude. “Mars has a strong business head on her shoulders and a vibrant entrepreneurial streak running through her veins. Her enthusiasm for learning goes beyond the four walls of the classroom….Mars took the initiative to carry out several self-organised internships which included working at The Nation Multimedia group and at Dutch Milk. Through these placements, Mars has been able to see business theory applied to real world situations and allowed her to further develop her maturity and interpersonal skills. I believe she will use her strengths in Business and Marketing to promote ethical actions and engage in projects of global significance. Congratulations Mars!” After spending her 18 years in Thailand, Mars is expecting big changes living in Toronto. “…The city of Toronto is incredibly vibrant, multicultural and diverse. I hope to take advantage of the numerous networking activities and career development support that the University of Toronto offers. Moving to Toronto will definitely be a huge weather change but I am beyond excited to experience six-month-long winters!” she said. July-August-September 2020

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Across the Cancerous Sea: Your Doctor, Your Navigator I

n the same way that maps help seafarers to chart a course to their destination, the diagnosis and guidance from the medical staff at the Horizon Regional Cancer Center help patients to navigate the route back to good health. In the same way that maps help seafarers to chart a course to their destination, the diagnosis and guidance from the medical staff at the Horizon Regional Cancer Center help patients to navigate the route back to good health. “Every patient that comes is touched by pain and anxiety. We must imbue them with the confidence and hope to carry on, to keep fighting the cancer. One of the most valuable things we can offer them is our attentive and professional medical team.” Dr. Narongsak Kiatikajornthada, M.D., a hematologist-oncologist and co-director of the Horizon Regional Cancer Center, speaks of the role of the medical staff. With each case that is referred to the Horizon Regional Cancer Center physicians begin the process with a consultation. The illness, symptoms and comorbidities are discussed. “When referrals from other departments—such as lungs, gastro-intestinal, hepatology—reach us, we as a medical team will huddle together to discuss the treatment sequences and approaches to take. Some types of cancer might call for radiation therapy after the operation. Other

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cases might require a course of chemotherapy before or after,” Dr. Narongsak explains.

Working as a team to treat the individual “As a multidisciplinary team, we work collaboratively to achieve the best results for the patient. No matter where the cancer may occur in the body, we have the surgeons who are experts on those particular subspecialties. Our interventional radiologist are also highly skilled and experienced readers of x-rays, making for pinpoint accuracy in treatment.” Dr. Narongsak speaks of the comprehensive expertise available to the Horizon medical team. Distance is no barrier for treatment either. For example, in cases which require sending samples overseas for a genomic mutation testing, we do not stop at receiving the test result, but we also arrange for overseas experts to join in with the diagnostics and treatment planning discussion via teleconference. We do this regularly. It may seem counter-intuitive, but by going the extra mile to do what truly needs to be done to deliver truly personalized cancer treatment, we can actually save on unnecessary treatment costs.”

More than just treatment at Horizon Regional Cancer Center “The most advanced state-of-the-art medical equipment can be purchased on the open market. We are fully equipped in that aspect. But what is far harder


to assemble than a full suite of expensive equipment, are our highly professional and experienced medical staff, who truly complement each other as a team. Each of our patients are cared for by a team numbering ten or more,” Dr. Narongsak explains how the Horizon Regional Cancer Center stands out.

have no clear scientific evidence of success in treating cancer. Sometimes patients will even take them in secret, which can actually worsen their condition. The medicine that we prescribed are backed by clear scientific research, so I would strongly advice our patients to stick to the medicine that we prescribe.”

“Patient morale is extremely important to the success of treatment. The patient is always informed of diagnostic, test results, and chances of recovery by their personal physician at Horizon Regional Cancer Center. But sometimes the patient is not in a condition to receive this information, so in this instance we would inform their family instead. Together with the help of their family members, we will try to get this information across to the patient while maintaining their morale.” Dr. Narongsak on the importance of maintaining patient morale.

Ready for rare cancer

“Patients from the East tend to have the most difficulty in accepting the diagnosis and treatment plans. We sometimes have to find indirect ways of breaking the information to them. In cases where the patient has come to us with the cancer already at an advanced stage, the patient often doesn’t even want to know how much time they have left. Patients from western countries tend to be much more willing to accept the blunt truth, and will actually lose confidence in our treatment if we try to hide or varnish the truth. Dr. Narongsak also expressed his misgivings about alternative herbal remedies and the way that they can affect cancer treatment, as some patients opt to take herbal medicines in addition to the medication prescribed, often without the prior knowledge of their physicians. “Some of these herbal medicines

“The hardest types of cancer to cure are what we called “rare cancers”. These kinds of cancer are sometimes found in one in a million patients. They can occur in any part of the body, and often have no prior research or treatment standards for us to go on. When we encounter these rare cancers we are still able to provide treatment because we have our own research teams to go through all the scientific research and literature which may be relevant, along with the medical teams who are experienced and skilled enough to extrapolate and adapt towards successful treatment. “Every cancer patient that comes to Horizon Regional Cancer Center has already been through enough pain and suffering. We want to be the hope, the rock for them to hold onto. We wish to provide the most up-close care possible to allow them to return to a good quality life. To cure them and send them off on their way to a life that they can enjoy, that is our sincerest wish,” confides Dr. Narongsak. Horizon Regional Cancer Center Tel: +66 2011 2222 Location: Bumrungrad International Hospital (BIH) Building, 3rd floor

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On a Slippery, Sliding Slope and don’t blame Covid-19. By James Fraser & Paul Gambles

T

owards the end of March, the Thai government came up with what at first seemed like extraordinary measures to support businesses in Thailand across all sectors and sizes during Covid-19 disruption. In particular, this financial package was meant to help small to mid-sized companies (SME’s) impacted by Covid-19 such as those related to tourism, entertainment and retail businesses and their employees. Historically, the SME sector has had difficulty obtaining financing in Thailand, so proposals to suspend debt are of limited use for a sector that hasn’t been able to borrow. It might be more helpful if the government incentivized businesses towards successful implementation of work-at-home models and digitalization as well as standardized office hygiene. Businesses impacted indirectly by Covid-19 have seen falling customer numbers and lower revenue, particularly businesses which don’t have a meaningful digital distribution channel or an effective online sales strategy. This has been exacerbated by cash flow strains as clients have often looked to stretch credit terms and delay payments for goods or services. This double whammy has depleted the reserves of many SMEs whereas larger companies, who have access to lines of credit, have taken on more indebtedness. Businesses often struggle to obtain financing when they most need it because of the impact of an economic downturn on the banking sector. No one will be able to accurately predict how bad the situation might become for Thai banks - Asia Plus Securities (ASP), a Thai stockbroker, foresees a 32% drop in earnings for Siam Commercial (SCB) and Kasikorn Banks (KBANK) in 2020 compared to 2019. This could create additional challenges for businesses, especially as banks are already

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issuing forecasts of higher levels of non-performing-loans (NPL). This typically leads to even tighter lending conditions, especially as credit ratings agencies are forecasting record levels of corporate downgrades, which will make it more challenging and more expensive for listed companies to raise money through bond markets. Unless governments successfully step in to break this negative feedback loop, this can lead to a spiral of ever tighter credit conditions, until something breaks this vicious cycle. Many businesses that seek to restructure loans may argue that the effects of COVID 19 on the business constitute an “exceptional item” which can be added back into their projected earnings before interest, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) forecast which means lenders could, in line with Bank of Thailand standards, choose to disregard this impact on cashflow when measuring a company’s creditworthiness. However, this too could create uncertainty over adherence to debt covenants that might ultimately discourage banks or bond market investors from lending to Thai businesses. After years of ensuring Thai banks rigidly follow some of the strictest international lending standards and practices, the Bank of Thailand’s relaxed implementation to assist businesses during COVID may create problems that inhibit any subsequent recovery once business conditions normalize. External factors might create further challenges - after the 1997 Asian financial crisis, Thailand recovered because the baht had weakened precipitously against most major currencies creating a strong tailwind at a time when the global economy was still expanding but this time we may not see a significantly weaker baht and there’s no certainty about the direction of the global economy.


Many businesses that seek to restructure loans may argue that the effects of COVID 19 on the business constitute an “exceptional item”. Early evidence suggests that avoiding lost time on travelling to work, a quieter environment as well as more hygienic practices and time to set aside for exercise can make working at home more productive and healthier and encourage employee satisfaction. Many employees are now reported to prefer to work at home or closer to their home - working close to home was in trend prior to the emergence of Covid-19 partly because of the highly congested mass transit systems and unaffordable downtown property prices as well as improvements in technology that make work-at-home easier to achieve and more convenient. The work-at-home model is more attractive to engage senior employees who might not require a great deal of supervision and are used to self-empowerment. Businesses that permit greater use of work-at-home and understand the implementation and assessment of it will surely stand to attract a higher-grade of employee than those who continue to follow the traditional practices. A drop in office rentals could be a positive pay-off, except for the property sector! With the global population approaching 7.8 billion, there are good reasons to believe that there will be more new and deadly viruses - bats and other wild animals driven from their natural habitat have

caused numerous problems in the past (for example, between 1998 and 1999 the Nipah virus spread to humans from pigs by the fruit bat in Malaysia). There are also dangers from global research on deadly viruses as the world seeks to develop both cures as well as a stockpile of bioweapons. Some commentators believe that the virus may even prompt a greater awareness of the need to protect Earth or at least human life – and of course NASA has confirmed historic interaction with UFOs so maybe this could be a time to start looking for a ‘PLANet B’. When it comes to personal hygiene or social distancing old habits die hard, such as placing individual serving spoons into a shared food dish. These old habits are partly down to different upbringings and this may ultimately have more impact on health than biology. Similarly, businesses that remain in their ‘old-ways’ and fail to adapt to the bubbling trends of work-at-home and digitalization and don’t review their Business Continuity Plans are likely to be the ones who suffer rather than benefit from the lessons learned during COVID-19. It is now time to rethink, re-plan, and produce a series of strategic and contingent responses that will enable us all to put the COVID experience to good use. If not, it could be a long downward, slippery, sliding slope.

Paul Gambles, Managing Director MBMG Group is an advisory firm that assists expatriates and locals within the South East Asia Region with services ranging from Personal Advisory, Insurance Services, Private Equity, Accounting & Auditing, Legal Services, Property Solutions and Estate Planning.

For more information: Tel: +66 2665 2536 e-mail: info@mbmg-group.com Twitter: @MBMG_GROUP LinkedIn: mbmg-group Facebook: MBMGGroup Instagram: mbmg_group

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Buying a Condominium in Thailand Made Easy By Bill Gladstone Having lived as an expat in Thailand for years, I know how difficult it can be to purchase a condominium. For many of my friends, this is a regular topic of conversation and there are rarely any straightforward answers. Word of mouth often gets the best results, as often you need to know someone who knows someone to help you get this done. Finding a property is not as simple as contacting an agent hoping they will understand all your needs and represent your best interests. For example, I’ve seen the same condo unit listed with different agents, but at different prices. The fair market price is often hard to find. This on its own can be a big problem. After multiple rounds of tough negotiations on a condo unit in the Sathorn Road area, a colleague of mine needed a loan to complete the purchase. Unfortunately, the price he and the seller agreed upon was well above the loan value the lender was willing to give. Eventually, the deal fell through and he had to start searching for a home again. Now seems to be a good opportunity to buy as market prices are becoming more reasonable. With Covid-19 worries and a weak economy, I’ve heard that both developers and resellers are willing to be more reasonable on price as they have been sitting on unsold units for longer periods of time over the past few quarters. This is also a good time to look at 34 July-August-September 2020

refinancing if you already own a condo, as the banks are offering more attractive interest rates. Recently, one friend of mine from Hong Kong did really well by starting his search with the lender first. In his case, UOB Bank’s international mortgage team was able to take his information upfront and clearly explain what he would need to do to secure financing once he found a home he was happy with. Based on his financial status, they were able to advise how much he could borrow, what type of interest rate he could expect, and help him prepare some of the paperwork in advance. Armed with this knowledge, my friend was able to find a condo unit in the Sukhumvit area both he and his wife liked, agree on a fair price with the seller and close the transaction as painlessly as possible. My friend said that with few professional mortgage lenders available to expats in Thailand, having the financing in place in advance provided real peace of mind in concluding his purchase of his home. If you’re an expat living here or abroad, and are ready to buy a condo in Thailand, doing your homework in advance can really save you time, money and prevent disappointment. If you need any assistance in purchasing a residential condo in Thailand, we are very happy to refer you to a professional international mortgage team. And if you have a personal experience to share related to this topic please do not hesitate to send it to Jen Meckhayai, the Executive Director of CanCham Thailand at ed@canchamthailand.org.


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Profile for FlyingFarang

Voyageur, July-September 2020  

CanChamThailand's tri-monthly business magazine.

Voyageur, July-September 2020  

CanChamThailand's tri-monthly business magazine.

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