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FEB 2010

Innovation Norway Selling the Brand February 2010 • ScandAsia.No 1

2 ScandAsia.No • February 2010

Royal Visit to Malaysia The Crown Prince Couple will be visiting Kuala Lumpur from 8th - 10th March.

Your FREE Norwegian Magazine in Asia ScandAsia is the only magazine that covers all the Norwegian residents in South East Asia. We also publish a ScandAsia magazine for Sweden, Denmark and Finland.

Please sign up for Your own FREE copy: Publisher: Scandinavian Publishing Co., Ltd. 4/41-2 Ramintra Soi 14, Bangkok 10230, Thailand Tel. +66 2 943 7166-8, Fax: +66 2 943 7169 E-mail: Editor-in-Chief: Gregers A.W. Møller Advertising - Thailand: Finn Balslev Life style advertisements: Piyanan Kalikanon Nattapat Maesang

heir Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit are making an official visit to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 8th - 10th March inclusive. Their Royal Highnesses will be accompanied by a business delegation from Norway who will also be offered a series of business seminars organized by Innovation Norway. The business seminars will focus on the following sectors: Oil & Gas (organised by INTSOK, in co-operation with Innovation Norway, PETRONAS and PETRAD) 1. Solutions for Deepwater Developments and Stranded Gas 2. Technology and Methods for Improved Oil Recovery Aquaculture (in co-operation with Department of Fisheries Malaysia) Tunnel & Underground (organised by Norwegian Public Road Administration andNorwegian Tunneling Society) Defence Industry Seminar (organised by the Norwegian Defence and Security Industries Association) Programmes are subject to changes in the future. For more information/updates about the Norwegian Business Delegation to Malaysia, please check the Norwegian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.


In 2009 around the same time, the Royal Couple was on a visit to Mexico.

First MNBC Waterhole Great for Kids at Living Hope he first waterhole of 2010 was held at the Norwegian Ambassador Arild Braastad’s residence and as usual it turned out to be a great evening. Members and business partners enjoyed light refreshments and toasted to a successful start of the new year.


Graphic Designer: Disraporn Yatprom Distribution: Sopida Thaveesup Printing: Advanced Printing Services Co., Ltd.

More news and features here:

During the well attended evening at the residence of the Norwegian ambassador, HE Arild Braastad, MNBC president Oivind Bjorkhaug handed over to Living Hope founder Dr Peggy C. Wong, a check of RM45,000 from MNBC to build an education resource centre for Orang Asli children in Pahang. February 2010 • ScandAsia.No 3

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Innovation Norway: Profiling Norway as a Brand Ole Johan Sandvær is Innovation Norway’s Regional Director South & Southeast Asia, UAE and South Africa with his office in Singapore. ScandAsia got in touch with the busy director to talk to him about Innovation Norway and himself. By Rikke Bjerge Johansen Photographer (incl. the cover): Rune Kr. Ellingsen (

le Johan Sandvær has been Innovation Norway’s Regional Director since January 2008, based in Singapore, where Innovation Norway shares offices with the Royal Norwegian Embassy at the top floor of the Hong Leong Building in down town Singapore. From this impressive location, Ole Johan Sandvær has been directing the activities of Innovation Norway in South Asia, South East Asia, UAE and Africa. At first sight, this job could seem like a gigantic career step forward for Ole Sandvær, who prior to this was head of the district office of Innovation Norway in Buskerud and Vestfold counties. But when you look closer you find, that actually this job back home in Norway that was the odd one in Ole Sandvær’s mostly international career since he graduated with a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering from NTH, Trondheim back in 1979. “My first posting abroad came when I joined Scancem International and headed cement plants in Ghana and Bangladesh. Before that, I had worked with Algea - in the seaweed and kelp industry and in the pulp and paper industry as operations manager for Norske Skog Follum,” Ole Johan Sandvær tells. From Scancem he moved to Singapore for his first posting here. “One of the Norwegian pioneers when it comes to setting up manufacturing operations abroad was Lai Berg and his company Kenmore International. They established manufacturing in Singapore as early as 1971. I was their Regional Director Asia between 1995 and 1999, based in Singapore. During that period we shifted production from Singapore to China and partly to our JV in India,” Ole Sandvær recalls. His current posting in Singapore is - compared to most other Norwegian businessmen living in here untraditional in that his wife decided not to move with him. “My job involves extensive travelling, and so it is not very family friendly,” he explains. “Therefore my wife decided to stay behind and keep her job as


nurse in an administrative position in Norway, allowing me to pursue this interesting challenge for some 3 years. I’m in Norway for meetings now and then – and she comes down here a few times a year, and this works fine for a limited period,” he adds.

Promoting Norway If living in Singapore is nothing new to Ole Johan Sandvær, then working for Innovation Norway abroad is actually not new either. “I joined Norwegian Trade Council in 2000 as head of their Tokyo office and I stayed there till 2004. That was when the big merger happened and we became part of Innovation Norway. This new organisation replaced four major existing organisations: The Norwegian Tourist Board, the Norwegian Trade Council, The Norwegian Industrial and Regional Development Fund (SND) and the Government Consultative Office for Inventors (SVO),” he explains. The vision was to streamline Norway’s governmental agencies involved in innovation, internationalization and profiling, and to make it easier for companies to make use of services rendered by these former organisations. The aim has been to establish an unbroken link between a local company in Norway and international markets. “And so far we should be proud of what we have achieved,” Ole Johan Sandvær adds.. Until end of 2009, Innovation Norway was fully owned by The Norwegian Ministry of Trade and Industry. But with effect from January 1 this year, Norwegian County Councils have taken a 49% share. “We see this as a positive move in order to link us even closer to what’s going on at a regional level in Norway,” Sandvær comments. “Our role is to promote nationwide industrial development profitable to both the business economy and Norway’s national economy, and to help release the potential of different districts and regions by contributing towards innovation, internationalization and promotion. Within Norway, Innovation Norway now has offices in all counties in the country, and abroad the organisa-

tion has offices in more than 30 countries worldwide.”

Broad spectrum of services Innovation Norway’s offices abroad support Norwegian companies in entering international markets; finding partners, providing market information, product benchmarking, technology transfer, etc. Profiling Norway as a technology nation, a supplier of high quality products in key sectors like seafood, and promoting Norway as a preferred tourist destination are important tasks. “To do all this, we are setting up seminars and conferences, we participate in trade and tourism exhibitions, we set up meetings with potential clients or cooperation partners and we link Norwegian universities and R&D institutions and experts to their international counterparts.” “Our extensive networks within many different sectors or towards governmental offices, which Innovation Norway has built up over the years, is there for Norwegian companies to use. The fact that we in most countries are located at the Norwegian embassies, helps us build such networks more easily, as we get access to people and institutions at a level we only could dream of if that diplomatic connection was not there,” he adds.

Early contact a benefit Sharing his experience from his many years as an advisor to Norwegian companies abroad, Ole Johan Sandvær says the companies should not hesitate to contact Innovation Norway at an early stage as soon as they have made their first plans. “Typically, companies come to us with all types of questions or requests. But sometimes the companies would probably have benefited from coming to us at an earlier stage than they do,” he says. “That often relates to matters like selection of partner or market strategy, and often on matters related to business culture. It is easy to make the wrong step if you haven’t taken sufficient time to learn about the market, potential partners or the local business culture before you step into new business.”

February 2010 • ScandAsia.No 5

Normanns-Forbundet: 25 Years and Still Going Strong NormannsForbundet was founded in Thailand in 1985 as the only kind of Norwegian networking in Bangkok. Now, times have changed and fewer attend the networking with NormannsForbundet. However, a group of persistent Norwegians still meet up every month for dinner, a chat and a speech by the Speaker of the Month. By Rikke Bjerge Johansen

he first Tuesday in every month is marked with a cross in the mind of many Norwegians. It means that it’s time for the monthly gathering for Normanns-Forbundet (NF) in Bangkok. The number of attendants varies, but usually it’s around 20 Norwegians including a group from Pattaya. Anyone can join the monthly meetings, not only members of NF, which are currently 32 paying members. The meetings take place in different places. This evening’s meeting takes place in one of the more regular venues, the German restaurant Bei Otto on Sukhumvit soi 20. Because of Christmas and New Year’s holiday, only 10 people have shown up, but the atmosphere is still in top, and during dinner it is obvious that the guys have known each other for years. The talk and food is good and after dinner it’s time for this month’s interesting Norwegian speaker. Tonight it is the Norwegian Jan Olav Aamlid who became a millionaire by collecting coins.


Chairman and Missionary

NF Background

For an outsider, the first thought that could come in mind might be that Normanns-Forbundet (NF) is probably all about heavy beer drinking when the Norwegian expat men meet up for an an NF event. However, that is certainly not the case. The living proof is the Chairman himself, Dag Johannessen. He arranges the monthly events, including the speakers, and he is working in Bangkok as a missionary. Since he very rarely enjoys a cold beer, he has completely other reasons for being active in the NF. “It’s a nice opportunity to meet, eat and chat. It’s a good way to share experiences too. We are all in the same situation being Norwegians staying abroad. Therefore, I think it’s good to have these events since we share the same cultural background in a foreign country,” Dag Johannessen says. He has been in Thailand for 11 years and is a Regional representative for Norwegian Mission Society and its 19 employees. He got elected as a Chairman for NF four years ago and is still going strong. “I really enjoy the fact that we have interesting people talking, like the ambassador. We also had the Thai politician Kraisak Chonowan who spoke for 40 people on Labour Day about Labor rights in Thailand. One night we had both the adventurer Ragnar Torstvedt and Jo Nesbo, the famous author,” Dag tells.

The story of NF goes all the way back to 1875 when the Norwegians started to immigrate to America. Around 30 percent of the whole country left up until the 1930s. It means that the number of members in Normanns-Forbundet in America is more than 1 million. Pretty amazing since the whole population of Norway is 4,5 mio. Even though there are currently just 32 members in Thailand, they are still some of the most active members outside America. In 1985 the NF-division in Bangkok was founded by Harald Engelsen, who got asked directly by NF in Norway if he wanted to start NF up in Thailand. So he did and when he died in 1990, Kristian Bø took over and implemented the regular, monthly Tuesday meetings, which he still attends. “We used to be around 5060 people attending the meetings, which was often held at the Admiral Pub,” Kristian Bø remembers. Dag explains adds: “NormannsForbundet used to be the only Norwegian networking event in Bangkok which meant that everybody attended. Now, we have more specific groups, for example one for Norwegian expat women. Also, the number of attendants went down after the Norwegian church moved from Bangkok to Pattaya where they are very socially active as well. Well, well, I think it’s only good with

6 ScandAsia.No • February 2010

Normanns-Forbundet is always actively involved with the 17 Mai procession in Bangkok.

different options,” he says. “I could look at the numbers and be depressed by the decreased attendants. Or I can choose to think that it is still nice even though we are fewer people.”

Big National Celebration One of the highlights for NF and Dag is Norway’s Constitution Day the 17th May where NormannsForbundet is playing a big role in organizing the whole day with visit to the Embassy, a march in national costumes, food and games. “Last year more than 200 people attended, families, children. Also, our annual Christmas party is well-attended as well. It tells me we still have a function here and as long as that is the case, we will continue being active with NormannsForbundet here in Bangkok,” Dag Johannesen promises.

Andreas du Plessis de Richelieu:

The Admiral Who In books and articles, Richelieu has largely been portrayed as either white or black, as an untouchable icon or as an unscrupulous capitalist. We tend to judge the past with the lenses of today, based on our current world view. That is of course not right; we have to describe the man and the circumstances from the perspective of his period on earth, and what was regarded as reasonable and honorable in his days. I have tried to add some human touches to the conventional image of the Admiral. By Flemming Winther Nielsen Photos Siranath Boonpattanaporn

eflecting on the proud and stormy word ‘Admiral,’ I come to think of Lord Horatio Nelson of Trafalgar, British First Sea Lord Jellicoe of World War 1, Karl Doenitz, The German Grand Admiral, Master of the submarines and also the Dane Andreas du Plessis de Richelieu (1852-1932), Admiral, Minister of the Marine and Commander-in-Chief of the Siamese Navy. Three of these old salts commanded real fleets; hundreds of cannon with which they sank the enemy’s ships, and Lord Nelson fought on although he lost an arm and an eye. On the other hand, in 1893 when Richelieu was superintendent of the Marine, and Commodore, he had a few, in fact only four very old warships bought seemingly second hand in France in 1865 and no longer capable of sending any enemy to the bottom of any sea. There was also a newer one, also bought second hand, since the Spanish Navy did not want to receive it. Nevertheless, there was one very modern vessel, the new Royal Yacht Maha Chakri equipped with many state of the art guns. Unfortunately the lo-


cal officers of Maha Chakri had not yet been instructed in how to fire them.

Paknam incident When France instigated ‘gunboat diplomacy’ against Siam in 1893, and it came to bloody skirmishes, the result was almost given beforehand. In what has been named the ‘Paknam incident’ two state of the art French gunboats, ‘Inconstante’ and ‘Comete,’ on the 13th of July simply forced their way from the Bay of Siam up Chao Phraya River to Bangkok. The battle lasted less than an hour. The batteries of the Chula Chom Klao fort, then and now, guarding the mouth of the river tried in vain to offer resistance, but the almost medieval muzzle cannons and guns did the French no harm and the ancient fortifications were laid in ruins, many marines were killed. The Danish commander survived. A few kilometers upstream between Phra Samut Chedi and Paknam (Samut Prakan) Richelieu had established a blocking of the river using derelict ships and dynamite. Behind this waited the Siamese battleships but they were no match

Old grenade

Cannon from 1789, used until 1893. 2 ScandAsia.Th • February 2010

Went Ashore forbad Richelieu to engage the Maha Chakri, especially manned by foreign officers, knowing well that in case of the sinking of one of the French gunboats, France would have an excellent excuse to occupy the whole country. The reason for the ‘gun-boat diplomacy’ was that France demanded huge areas to the East of the Mekong River currently occupied by Siamese; they got them. With the King, Richelieu thereafter, still in a minor scale, worked on modernizing the fleet. In 1897 he was appointed Rear-Admiral, then Deputy C-in-C 1899 and C-inC 1901. Finally, Admiral En Suite in 1902. This last title was given him as a sort of farewell present by the King.

In that year Richelieu had a serious bout of malaria and, his Danish wife and children leaving a bit earlier, left Siam where he had served since 1875. He left with a huge fortune achieved via his private enterprises (which will be covered in article 2), and was furthermore bestowed with Court Nobility Titles, countless Siamese, Danish, French, Russian, Greek and other orders, medals and precious gifts plus a high pension. King Chulalongkorn and members of the Royal family saw him off to Singapore onboard the Royal Yacht ‘Maha Chakri’.

RichelieuÊs background Andreas was born on February 24th 1852 in Loejt Kirkeby, Southern Jylland where his father was

Admiral Richelieu in a Siamese nobleman’s dress at the Bangpain Palace in 1890. Richelieu had at this point advanced to Vice Admiral and second in command of the Royal Thai Navy. In the book “Admiralen, Kongen og Kaptajnen” by Aldo Eggers-Lura, the captions says that his willingness to adapt the local culture was appreciated by most Thais but made the British look down on him. Vicker Armstrong gun on lavet, range 4000 meters, calibre 57 millimeters.

for the modern French vessels, they sailed through the blockade and caused severe damage to the Siamese ships, many men were lost. Walter Christmas, a Danish Captain in the Siamese Navy in 1893, and in charge on the occasion, described the situation as follows: “but just a hodgepodge of hopeless ships, useless guns, and incompetent crews, commanded by men who, however stout and resourceful in other fields, for the most part were without knowledge in military skills”. (Christmas (1894) From ‘Thai-Dan-

ish Relations’ (1980), p. 128, published by the Royal Danish Ministry of Education). Christmas himself fired his cannon four times, when he tried to fire the fifth time it collapsed. At that time at least 25 Danish Navy-Officers served in the Siamese Navy, plus some from other nations. From Copenhagen they were forbidden to participate in any fighting with the French, but they nevertheless did so. King Chulalongkorn, the patron and friend behind Richelieu wisely

Inside the fortress as it looks today. February 2010 • ScandAsia.Th 3

Admiral Andreas du Plessis de Richelieu ...continued from the previous page. Vicar (pastor). The family originated from France, immigrated to Norway around 1670, and sometime later settled in Denmark. There seems to be no evidence that the family was related to the original and famous bearer of the name, Cardinal de Richelieu (1585-1642). We next meet Andreas as a pupil of Roskilde Cathedral School in 1864. In the schools register his father is there mentioned as “the deceased Vicar Louis du Plessis de Richelieu, the Parish of St. Thomas.” Andreas’ father died on St. Thomas, a Danish colony on an island in The West Indies, in 1859, seemingly alone, after staying there less than one and a half years and only 38 years old. It is known that the Danish islands were often used as last retreat for troubled careers. It would be interesting to know what happened to the rest of Andreas family and how this influenced his extraordinary life. Later, Andreas Richelieu went sailing in the Merchant Marine. He became Lieutenant of the Reserve in the Danish Marine, where he earned his Ship Master Certificate. In 1875, aged 23 years old, after talks with his superiors, he was granted an audience by King Christian IX

Left: Remains of fortifications on mangrove island off Phra Samut Chedi. Right: Samut Prakan (Paknam) across the river.

This portrait in full uniform of Admiral Richelieu was published in the booklet “Thai Danish Relations Through Four Centuries” printed on the occasion of the State Visit to Thailand of HM Queen Margrethe II in February 2001. The caption in the book mentions Admiral Richelieu’s Thai name Phraya Cholayuthyothin which he was given when elevated to nobility by HM King Rama V.

in Copenhagen. The young man’s wish was a Letter of Introduction to the Siamese King Chulalongkorn, Rama V, who had ascended the throne in 1868 when only 15 years old. Andreas had visited Siam and Bangkok in the course of his work in the Merchant Marine, was attracted to Siam, and saw the possibilities for

4 ScandAsia.Th • February 2010

himself there. By this act, he really took his life and destiny in his own hands, and equipped with his certificates and the personal introduction to King Chulalongkorn, he sailed off to Siam via Singapore. There, with the assistance of the Danish Consul Koebke, he was granted an audience on April 3rd 1875.

This was a meeting of two young men of approximately the same age; both of them ‘stand alone’ characters and able to look one another in the eye, being of almost the same height. That Richelieu did not tower over his counterpart, was and is not without significant importance in Siam/Thailand. Although cast in a relationship of Patron and client, there are strong indications that a friendship developed between the two, and a bond of absolute loyalty on Richelieu’s part as well. A few weeks after the audience, he was hired as Captain-Lieutenant and offered a position as Second in Command of one of the Navy’s ships. This offer he turned down and asked for a command of his own. He succeeded and was given the command over HSMS ‘Regent’, bound for an inspection tour of the Western coast of Siam bordering the Andaman Sea, with the main town being Phuket. However, he only spent some of his energy on Navy matters.

Ready for business It is possible, also given the size of the Thai navy, that his duties were not onerous, so during his years in Siam, Richelieu also established a railway line, a tramline in Bangkok, an electricity plant and more. But first and foremost he established a very lucrative business relationship with H.N. Andersen of Andersen & Co., later to be known as EAC. These activities will be dealt with in Article 2.

Chaw-ka-cher Tropicana Lanta oh Lanta has many beautiful sandy beaches, breathtaking surrounding small islands, stunning scenery and rich culture, making Koh Lanta a dream destination. ‘Chaw-ka-cher Tropicana Lanta’ is a beautiful resort named after the twelfth letter of the Thai alphabet which means ‘Big tree’ that provides shade from the sun, and during your stay you will be able to find true relaxation. The resort is within walking distance from the refreshing sea breeze, warm sun and gentle waves of ‘Pra Ae beach’. The resort was designed by award winning Southern Thai Architect ‘Pan Yah’, incorporating traditional Thai high tip roof houses. The stylish interiors feature naked cement textured walls,


6 ScandAsia.Th • February 2010

fine local fabrics and is decorated with hardwood furniture. Each villa is set in the midst of a lush landscaped, shady tropical garden, capturing the essence of a rainforest and each evening, we light lanterns in the gardens to make dinning with us magical and romantic. The night sky is full of twinkling stars and can be observed from your terrace or open roofless bathroom as you shower under the moonlight. Visitors can explore Koh Lanta’s natural beauty and experience the laid back and tranquil atmosphere of this charming island. You will be truly comfortable at ‘Char-ka-cher Tropicana Lanta Resort’ where everything will be taken care of to ensure that your stay is filled with happiness and sweet dreams.

We offer with great value either during For High Season (1 Nov 2009-19 Dec 2009, 11 Jan 2010-30 Apr 2010) - 4 day 3 night package - 5 day 4 night package For more information, please contact: Sales and Reservation Office: 247/1 M. 2, Aonang, Muang Krabi 81000 Tel. +66 (0) 7563 7970, +66 (0) 8 1895 9718 E-mail: Resort : 352 M.2, Saladan, Koh lanta, Krabi 81150 Tel. +66 (0) 75 667 122 – 4 www.ChawKaCherResort.Com

The Moroccan Dream Getaway ome celebrate your love by strolling along the shores of Pranburi beach. Let the breathtaking views and enchanting décor of Villa Maroc Resort bring you to your fantasy world where memories are created for a lifetime. Villa Maroc is the perfect setting for an intimate wedding party, honeymoon or private getaway. Book the “Moroccan Dream Getaway” package which includes a 2 night’s stay in a luxurious Pool Court room for THB 21,500*, or upgrade


to a breathtaking Pool Villa for THB 32,500*. The “Moroccan Dream Getaway” package comes with a sumptuous in-room breakfast so that you never have to leave the privacy of your room, a romantic candle-lit dinner with a complimentary bottle of wine, a 45 minutes Cleansing Hammam couples’ treatment and an additional 30% discount good towards other rejuvenating spa treatments. This package is available from now until April 30th, 2010. Reservation is subject to availability. Please call 032 630 771 or email at *Remark: Prices are inclusive of service charge and VAT.

Magical Honeymoon

Sunrise Tropical Resort, an exclusive resort on Railay East Beach, Krabi, offers 3 Days, 2 Nights at only 19,999 Baht per couple. Package valid until 19 April 2010. The accomodation will be in Tropical Villa Plus and the room will be incl. complimentary fruit platter, small bouquet of roses, round trip transfer from / to Krabi Airport by private a/c coach. A long tail boat one day excursion tour to Phi Phi Island. Furthermore, meals are included (set menu: a. Breakfast (2), b. Lunch (1), c. Dinner (1)) and one facial treatment at Arunburkfa Spa for couple. When you don’t want to leave there is an Extend Night Discount of 10%.

Summer Special 2010 20 April 2010 – 31 October 2010, 3 Nights per room Tropical Villa THB 8,200, Tropical Villa Plus Junior THB 8,950 Tropical Villa Plus THB 11,200

More information, Please contact Sunrise Tropical Resort Tel: +66 (0) 7581 9418-20 Moblie : + 66 (0) 1979-6299 February 2010 • ScandAsia.Th 7

Dream Island for Slow The Surin islands north of Phuket is well-known heaven for its beautiful marine life in the Andaman sea. Lesser known is a rare beauty emerging closer to the mainland; Koh Prathong - the island of the golden Buddha. A wild and frightened survivor of the devastating tsunami five years ago, Koh Prathong is slowly growing up like a young teenager, not yet aware of her rare, natural beauty. Text and photos: Disraporn Yatprom

ashed over by the Tsunami on 26 December 2004, Koh Prathong has today fully recovered with plenty of interesting forest types like dark green mangrove forest on the east cost, dusty green coastal forest on the west coast and in the middle a beautiful Savannah with rare, wild orchids clinging to the special trees and red, insect-eating plants scattered on the ground under the short, silky grass. To maintain the natural forests on Koh Prathong as well as to protect against commercial exploitation, the Royal Thai Forestry Department has joined hands with the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the local people on Koh Prathong to protect and preserve all their valuable natural resources while developing eco-tourism in order to increase


8 ScandAsia.Th • February 2010

the sustainable income to the local population.

Rich in rare birds Birdwatchers will find several rare species of kingfishers, egrets, herons and even horn bills, which on Koh Prathong are far less timid than their cousins in the jungles on the mainland. A research conducted by the Bird Conservation Society of Thailand recently found that Koh Prathong has at least 137 different bird species. However, Oriental Pied Hornbill seems to be the most interesting for bird watchers since Oriental Pied Hornbill is otherwise only found in Khao Yai or Kang Krajarn. Sea eagles circling over the island is also a majestic and common sight. Along the forest line, there is also an abundance of natural resources

fascinating for tourists to explore. A visit to the Tung Dap Village where one of the farmers is breeding the “Dendrobium cruentum” species of orchids is also popular among the mostly nature loving visitors.

Sand and Rock The beaches of Koh Prathong may look similar to the beaches elsewhere in Thailand. Only if you look carefully you’ll see different footsteps of rare sea animals that let you imagine what kind of animal left those footstep behind. In November and December the sea turtles will crawl up on the beach to lay there eggs. A walk on the beach in the sunrise at 5.30 will reveal the characteristic broad and shuffled tracks leading from the sea up to the pitch where they have laid their eggs and back out into the sea again. Previously, the villagers earned

Speed Lovers beach and play hide and seek with the waves washing over them.

The local people There are only four small villages on Koh Prathong; Baan Pak-Jok, Baan Paeyoy, Baan Tung-Dap, and Baan Kah-Ra. Ethnically, 70% of population are ethnically a tribe called Morgan, with the rest being immigrated Chinese from Hainan. Fishery is the main occupation for local people on Koh Prathong. In ancient times, zink and other metals were extracted and traded. Before the Tsunami, about 1000 people lived in Baan Pakjok village. Even though Lion Club helped build 150 houses to replace the ones destroyed by the disaster, only 50 local people live there today. The rest are too scared to return and have settled elsewhere. To make good use of the houses built by Lions Club, the few local people now offer the uninhabited homes as home-stays for visiting tourists to generate a small income for their family. Kanitha, an elderly woman who survived from Tsunami, describes vividly how she heard a loud, thundering noise on the day the Tsunami hit. She thought it was a bomb exploding at a pier nearby. Then she saw her two horses screaming and the big wave coming gushing at her. She and her horses floated together until the water receded. She feels lucky that she and her husband are still alive but she lost one of her horses by that big wave.

Golden Buddha Resort

their income from concessions on collecting turtle eggs. But as turtle eggs became a rare commodity, the government and Conservation Authority today have extensive turtle conservation projects and build turtle breeding farm instead of hunting them at sea. Other tracks on the beach are from monitor lizards hunting the crabs that live in abundance on the

Golden Budha resort is the best resort on Koh Prathong. A resort that was previously located here before the Tsunami has disappeared without a trace. The Golden Buddha Beach Resort that has replaced it extends along the Andaman Sea facing the setting sun. Each beach house is uniquely designed and comfortably sleeps between 2 and 6 people. The resort has a total of 25 private houses. Some are located tugged in among the tall pine trees, some are beach front houses with sea view, peace, and total privacy. Each beach house is fully equipped except for TV and electricity. The houses are supplied with electricity from a generator between 17:00 and 23:00. After that the electricity is turned off except

at the resort’s restaurant where the dinner buffet is being served. Apart from Golden Buddha Resort one small resort with few guests are found. But in Baan Pakjok there are several home-stays that are built in the style of a traditional Morgan house which are offered at a low rate for eco-tourist. Koh Prathong is good place for people who want to get away from tension at work, newlywed couples on their honeymoon, naturists enjoying the 10 km long deserted beach, eco-tourists exploring the rare fauna and wildlife - or even heart broken people who need time to recover from their loss. Although there are small shops in the local villages, it is a good idea to bring a torchlight as the light is turned off at 23.00, sun lotion, bugs prevention lotion for the little black beach flies that emerges when the sun has set and the rare mosquito, good book(s), snacks to keep you from being hungry between restaurant opening hours, common pills and whatever medication you may need.

Activities Koh Prathong is for outdoor loving, low speed people. You can go for long walks, go snorkeling, go on a boat trip to dive on a reef, or just relax. The internet is slow or sometimes off which is good for having a relaxed time without any technology. Even the mobile phone is slow speed. At Koh Prathong you can stay on your porch and read a book and suddenly look up to find rare birds

flying over your head - no need to go on deep jungle trekking trips, just sit still and don't blink.

How to go there By road from Bangkok, take Route 4, passing Prachuab Khirikan, Chumporn, and Ranong, to take the boat from the Kuraburi harbour. The boat is about 1 hour and 10 minutes. For more information: Tourism Authority Thailand, District 4 South Tel. 0-7621-1036, 0-7621-2216, 0-7621-7138 Golden Budha Resort / Ms Tanya: Tel. 081 892 2208, 081 919 5228 Pak-Jok Home Stay / Ms Lamyong: Tel. 087-281-1360 Tung-Dap Home Stay / Mr. Thep: Tel. 087-993-4331

February 2010 • ScandAsia.Th 9

The Viking Wheelers Great Ride from Prachuabkirikhan On 4 December a team of 13 Viking Wheelers started out on their annual marathon cycling tour, this year a distance of about 425 km from Prachuab Khiri Khan to Surat Thani. By Henrik Friis and Hans Henrik Melchior he team consisted of President Henrik Friis, Bent Laasholdt, Morten Luxhoi, Mads Tranum Nielsen, Claus Bergenfelt, Jan Peter Jensen, Finn Soerensen, Matthew Pearson, Kenn Lauritsen and Hans Henrik Melchior. Flying in from Denmark to join this event were Jesper Madsen, a friend of Morten and Mads, who joined this annual event for the third time, and Poul-Erik and Kirsten Ring, good friends of Henrik Friis.


After an about 4 hours drive from Bangkok the team arrived in Prachuab Khiri Khan where it enjoyed a lunch at a restaurant at the beach just south of the city. During the lunch a lone British cyclist passed the restaurant and stopped to find out who the guys in red and white were. When he asked, the Vikings proudly told him that they were just about to start a tour going all the way down to Surat Thani. He then announced that he had left Chiang Mai a week earlier and was on his way to Kuala Lumpur. Although clearly not impressed by the plans of the Vikings, he did cheer the team from the balcony of his hotel when they passed about half an hour later!

33 km warm-up ride The Friday ride was a “warm up” ride of about 33 km to the cosy Jack’s Beach Resort north of Thap Sakae. At the beginning of the ride the team’s flying President, Henrik Friis, assumed the temporary role of air traffic controller, stopping all incoming and outgoing flights in the local international airport, so the Vikings could safely cross the runway. Apart from a short stint on HW 4 the rest of the ride was on small country roads, along the beach and

10 ScandAsia.Th • February 2010

through plantations, soybean fields, cattle farms and small villages down to the resort, which is located right at the beach. Before the start of the Saturday ride, the local Village Headman arrived at the resort and, duly impressed by the handsome Vikings in their red and white jerseys, he invited the team to participate in a ceremony at the pier, just about to commence, releasing into the ocean about a million scrimps, on the occasion of H.M. the King’s birthday, and the Vikings happily complied. One of the Vikings was, however, so unlucky to drop his plastic bag with about 1,000 scrimps, which obviously did not make it back to the ocean. Nobody, except maybe for the scrimps, seemed to care about this mishap.

dogs, which, unfortunately, were not scared by Mads in his frightening outfit with horns sticking out of his helmet, and instead started chasing Mads, who did get scared and in his efforts to evade the pack rode over a sharp edge and got a flat tyre. Anyway, the team was in high spirits when it arrived at Baan Maprao Resort, located on a fantastic beach. This was the second time the team visited this resort, as the riders also stayed here when they were on the Tour de Thailand in 2004. Before and after the dinner Mads and his guitar entertained the group by singing popular Danish “viser” by i.e. Shubidua, Kim Larsen, Lasse and Mathilde, something he was much better at than chasing dogs.

94 km to Chumporn 75 km to Baan Maprao Resort The day’s rid e was about 75 km to Baan Maprao Resort in Bang Saphan Noi, also along the beach and on small country roads, mostly pancake flat, except for a long hill a few kilometres before the end of the ride, which the organizers claimed was not there when they made the survey trip. During the ride Mads attempted to chase some stray

At 8 am sharp Sunday morning the brave Vikings commenced what would be the toughest ride so far during this year’s marathon, a ride of about 94 km to Chumporn. Although also this ride was on scenic country roads, there were plenty of rolling hills, some of them very challenging, but the Viking Wheelers had by now built up lots of strength, so all passed the test and were very happy and proud when they arrived

to Surat Thani in Chumporn in the mid-afternoon, looking forward to their evening dinner in the local KFC. Hans Henrik knew that Khun Vichien, the driver of the support van, is a keen cyclist longing to get in the saddle. So, after lunch HH gracefully offered to drive the van for the last 30 km and Vichien was very happy to get this opportunity to cycle this leg. Bent, feeling sorry that HH should be alone in the van, volunteered to keep him company, an offer which was accepted without hesitation. Monday was a day of rest in Chumporn, and several Wheelers used the opportunity to get their bicycles trimmed at the local Trek bicycle shop. During the waiting time they were seen roaming around the local water holes. The group also found time to plan for 2010, and as everyone were in good spirit it was decided to have 9 events next year including a week ride in the North Eastern part of Thailand. The completed plan will be posted on the Viking Wheelers website The Vikings assembled in the evening for a very nice Vietnamese/ Thai dinner followed by a pit stop at the local backpacker hangout to get some Viking neutralisers.Rumours have it that the President had

bought shares in this bar as he was seen running around behind the bar and instructing the staff. After neutralisers, the Vikings were ready for some more action, but soon realised that Chumporn is not the most active place in the world, so 2 of the senior Vikings, Bent Låsholdt and Mads Tranum formed a new band called the Viking Whistlers, and took over a local Karaoke Place and turned it into a Danish Music place, and songs could be heard in most of Chumporn, so don’t be surprised if you hear some local Thais whistling the tunes of a Kim Larsen melody next time you pass though the city.

88 km ride to Paknam Tuesday all Vikings were fresh and ready for takeoff at 8.00 hrs and, with the Flying President leading the way out of Chumporn, the Vikings embarked on the 88 km ride towards PN Seafood resort in Paknam. The first 20 km were up and down hills, and apparently a little too much for Mads, the Viking Whistler, as he lost the air at the first pit stop and was taken to the local hospital by his friend Morten. The hospital soon got him up again but apparently the nurses had heard that he could play music so they hooked February 2010 • ScandAsia.Th 11

him up to a heart monitor and sat all night and listened to the beat of his heart before he was released the next morning. The rest of the Vikings continued the trip, with regular up-dates from the hospital so they could conquer the hills up and down with relaxed minds. After 65 km lunch was at Ban Pak Tako beach, and Morten and Hans Henrik (who had gone to the hospital to lead Morten and the van with all the luggage back to the group) joined the lunch and rumors started circulating that the 2 gentlemen had slipped something into Mads’ coffee so they could avoid the hilly ride in the morning. After lunch the riders embarked on the remaining 23 km with a pit stop for the sissies 10 KM before final destination, which the front runners Claus, Matthew and Finn skipped. The President regretted he stopped there, as some of the Vikings before him had dug a hole and filled it with loose sand and gravel with the result he fell flat over on his bike and scraped his elbow and bent 2 -3 ribs. During the fall he also knocked all the air out of the lungs, and bystanders described the event as similar to a kangaroo jumping a ball that bursts when it lands on the floor. After the President was cleaned

up and new air pumped into the lungs all riders, including the flying President, continued to PN Seafood resort where cool beer awaited them upon arrival.

84 km to Roong Arun Resort Wednesday, the Vikings took off at 8.15 a.m. as they had to wait for Mads to return from the hospital. At arrival Mads took the wheel of the van and delegated the bicycle job to





the driver Vichien. The day’s ride was mostly on flat roads, and some of the Vikings picked up so much speed that they lost the way after 9.5 km and added an additional 6-7 km to the planned 84 km ride. Discussions are still ongoing on how to describe an asphalt road and a main road, but the organizers accepted the penalty of a round of beer in the evening, and to read a few Danish-English dictionaries and maps before next year’s ride. The weather gods had decided to change from cloudy to sunny and, although the roads were flat, the day became very hot, so the only female rider, Kirsten, gave up pulling the “turtles” (Viking Wheeler language for “slow riders”), and decided to join Mads in the van. According to Mads the gentlemen still on the road then reduced the speed so much that the van got over heated due to the slow driving. The group arrived safely at Roong Arun Resort after 84 km, and a delicious seafood lunch was served together with some cool beers. The Vikings had the resort for themselves and Kenn decided to be the manager and sell beer to late night beach visitors.

A total of 425 km Thursday started with breakfast cooked by the owner of the resort and the driver Montri, as the kitchen staff had reported sick. The entire team agreed that it was the best breakfast on the trip and Morten is now considering to extend the Khao Yai Van to include a kitchen so he can get home cooked breakfast in future, but he has not yet agreed the price for borrowing Henrik’s

12 ScandAsia.Th • February 2010

driver Montri as a cook. The team headed off at 8.00 hrs with the first 19 km on flat roads. The first pit stop was before the rolling hills started and apparently it had some effect on the President as he jumped into the bus with the excuse the ribs were hurting. The rest of the riders conquered the hills without problems and arrived at the last stop in record speed where they enjoyed a few refreshments before they proceeded for the last 10 km. The entire team arrived at the small Happy Inn Hotel, after a total 425 km ride, and after showers and a few beers the cars were packed and they headed off for the last joint lunch before going to the airport. Everyone looked happy but tired and was pleased that they could fly back to Bangkok instead of cycling.

Sorry You Missed The Trip?? If you regret that you did not - or could not - participate in this year’s Viking Wheeler’s Great Annual Tour, then consider going on your own, “in the wheel prints of the Viking Wheelers”. Every rider on the trip got detailed turn-by-turn description of the 425 km long trip and these documents are made available to interested individuals here if you would like to go on your own trip on all or part of the way. 1. Turn-by-turn excel sheet. 2. Day-by-day route maps The files also show what a huge amount of time and effort the organizers have put into preparing the trip! If interested, look up

The 90 Years Anniversary

Scandinavian Society Siam Text & Photos by Gregers Moller earls, feathers, dresses, smoking and red lipstick – and of course a Martini. The theme was 1920’s gala when Scandinavian Society Siam celebrated its 90 Year Anniversary. The Grand Ball took place on Saturday 30 January 2010 at the Dusit Thani Hotel. Former Chairman Steinar Paulsen was Master of Ceremony for the two hundred members who were all dressed up, and he guided the evening through its various phases. Special speakers of the evening were - apart from Chairwoman Dharmaporn ‘Eid’ Alexandersen former Chairman Vibeke Lyssand Leirvaag, Anders Lundquist, Poul Weber and Tom Sorensen. Free flow of champagne and delicious wine went well with the gala menu: Starter was Gravad Lax with sweet mustard sauce and seafood chowder. Then a refreshing sorbet before the main course: Roasted Australian Beef Tenderloin. Dessert was Three spices milk chocolate mousse and fresh fruit. After that, the bar was open. Well deserved praise for a fantastic arrangement rained on Eid Alexandersen and her Party Committee chairwoman Elina Koski for the extravagant party from the reception arrangement with 1920 photo opportunities to the cake cutting ceremony, complete with a sabre - which had earlier in the evening been swung by Jaana Kopra to ceremoniusly swoop open the first bottle of Champagne. The party was a great success - but would not have been possible without impressive sponsoring backing by prominent Scandinavian companies. In return their logos were clearly displayed all over the event and they deserved the gratitude which both the MC and the Chairwoman expressed from the podium. See one round of images uploaded in the Image Gallery here: php?g2_itemId=808 Anyone with more images, please register and upload for all to enjoy in subfolders in the gallery or elsewhere, like picasaweb and similar photo-pages, and paste the link to your images below as a comment. Thank you!


14 ScandAsia.Th • February 2010

Day Trip Sailing from Hua Hin to Dolphin Bay candAsia together with Peter Rehn invites you to a memorable Day Trip Sailing from Hua Hin to Dolphin Bay. You can drive with us from Bangkok to Hua Hin or you can meet up in Hua Hin on the pier. Details will be sent to all participants. The program on board is simple: Relax with a glass of wine, swim in nice crystal clear water and fish off the beautiful coast with National Park “Sam Roi Yod” with 300 mountains hilltops as fabulous background. If we are lucky, we will see the Irrawaddy and and IndoOcean Humpback dolphins. We will take off at 8.00 hrs. from Hua Hin and be back at 17.00 hrs. A Scandinavian lunch will be served on board (exclusive of alcohol beverage).


Day Trip Sailing with Peter’s yacht to Dolphin Bay, Hau Hin On Saturday, the 20th of March 2010 Price THB 1,850 / person **inclusive lunch **exclusive transportation from/to Bangkok Transportation: THB 400 / person Due to limited space if you plan to attend, we ask you to please sign up at or call Ms. Pimjai Chaimongkol at 02 943 7166 by Mach 12.

February 2010 • ScandAsia.Th 15

Astudo Hotel & Resort Group Launches X2 Residences Astudo Hotel Group, one of Thailand’s leading hotel and resort management companies, officially launched their latest project’X2 Residences’.


Residences - pronounced “cross too” - is a low rise, high design, gated luxury development offering a unique lifestyle opportunity. The first projects have been launched in 3 locations within Thailand, Kui Buri (Hua Hin), Koh Samui and Koh Kood. The residences offer luxury accommodation within a 5-star resort environment providing unlimited access to all X2 Resort facilities. A variety of residence types are on offer including 1 bedroom apartments and 1-3 bedroom fully equipped private pool villas. The villa and apartment constructions make use of the highest quality materials and are fully furnished with designer pieces hand picked by the owner himself Anthony McDonald. The lifestyle opportunity being offered by X2 is unlike any other residence projects within Thailand.

To complement the 5-star resort lifestyle, a MINI Copper has been incorporated into the launch package to add to the lifestyle experience termed the X2 Lifestyle Experience. This unique project offers the only opportunity in the world to own a residence in an accredited “Design Hotel”. The apartments and villas start from 4.5 million THB and range up to 44.4 million THB with up to 80% finance available and a 90 year lease or freehold option. The investment has no additional ownership costs and guarantees 5% return for 5 years through a rental management program provided by the X2 Resorts group.

Locations Each X2 Residence location is unique in all aspects - location, design, furnishings and atmosphere. X2 Residence in Kui Buri is a prestige project offering 25 private villas with a total value of 370 million THB. The total residence area is 6 Rai (9,600 square meters), consisting of pool, garden and beachfront villas with access to a restaurant, swimming pool, library, spa, fitness centre and meeting room. The project, characterized by the rock wall design, adjoins the existing 23 villa beachfront X2 Kui Buri Resort. Accordingly, the entire layout of the project is designed in conformity with the successful X2 design concept developed by renowned Thai architect Duangrit

16 ScandAsia.Th • February 2010

Bunnag. X2 Residences Koh Samui is the second of the 3 locations, offering 10 private villas with a total value of 250 million THB. As like the Kui Buri Residences, Samui Residences offers pool, garden, restaurant, swimming pool, library, spa, fitness centre and meeting room on 3 Rai (4,800 SQM) of land. The residence adjoins the existing X2 Samui resort with its 27 private villas. The design was developed by international architectural firm Steven J. Leach, Jr+Associates. The X2 Residences at Koh Kood offers a variety in room types with 9 apartments and 16 private pool villas with either pool side, garden or sea view option. The total value of the project amounts to 260 million THB. The total residence area is 6 Rai (9,600 square

meters), and offers the same facilities as the other X2 Residence projects with additional beach bar, dive centre, and games area. The design was inspired by natural camouflage and seasonal colours of the island to create an eco-residences development. X2 Koh Kood resort and residences was designed by international architectural firm Steven J. Leach, Jr.+Associates and will begin construction during 2010. Astudo Hotel & Resort Group plans to launch eleven X2 Residences Projects throughout South East Asia by the end of 2012. For more information about X2 Residence Projects please visit

Georg Jensen Damask Changes Representative Tablecloth, placemats and tablerunners as well as beautiful luxurious bed linen, terry and kitchen towels from Georg Jensen Damask will now become more widely available in Singapore - and soon also launched in other parts of Asia.

eorg Jensen Damask in November changed representative in Singapore from Danish Living to MJ Management Pte Ltd. The Danish luxury brand includes tablecloth, placemats and tablerunners as well as beautiful luxurious bed linen, terry and kitchen towels. The MJ Group celebrated the takeover with a reception on 14 November at its premises in Capital Tower on Robinson Road. Georg Jensen Damask is now the third brand under the MJ Group organization. The other brands are the luxury Danish audio visual brand Bang & Olufsen and the Danish designer furniture brand Fritz Hansen. "Georg Jensen Damask is known for generations of weaving tradition in Denmark," says Andrea Tan, MJ Group Marketing Executive. "We will now build its position in Singapore - and soon in other parts of Asia as well." "Very soon, will also be available online, so you will be able to shop and view our wide selection of Georg Jensen Damask products, view local store opening hours and check for news and updates," she adds.


Old Chinese Technique The art of Damask originated in China during the Han Dynasty and was used for producing colour-

ful, precious silk fabrics. The technique came to the Orient via the “Silk Road” and Damascus in Syria became the centre of the damask weaving technique. Traditionally, damask textiles were exclusive and considered only for the rich. Damask is characterised by dense, fine-threaded textiles where beautiful relief patterns are created by the alternating dominance of warp and weft. The pattern effect is

reinforced by the use of two different yarn colours. Explore the world of Georg Jensen Damask at For more information about Georg Jensen Damask in Asia, please contact: Ms Andrea Tan,, +65 6513 9522 MJ Management Pte Ltd 168 Robinson Road #02-01 Capital Tower Singapore 068912


* Scandinavian Shoppe 30 South Buona Vista Road How to get there? - MRT to Buona Vista. Bus no. 200 to Lor Sarhad. - MRT to Harbour Front / Vivo City. Bus no. 10, 30, 143 to Redwood West. Walk up South Buona Vista Road Tel:+65 6476 2575 -

‘Gamle Ole’ Vintage Cheese


45.65 pr/kg

February 2010 • ScandAsia.Sg 1

Clothes, Shoes, Jewellery and a Birgit Ziegler, a woman with a preference for Danish design It’s especially her Danish children’s shoes that are in high demand. Birgit is very focused on providing her costumers with great quality shoes avoiding all shoes with PVC – A plastic material feared to be dangerous to children and frequently found in cheap shoes.

It all started with children’s shoes but as time went on Birgit Ziegler’s business grew. Today the cheerful woman is the owner of three shops all selling interesting ‘must have’s from Denmark.

Dependent on tourists It was bit of a coincidence that let Birgit to open her first store. It started when Birgit went on a shopping spree to find shoes for her daughter Nicole who back then was only a baby. Birgit quickly realized that there were no quality shoes in Singapore for children only cheap plastic ones with blinking lights and crazy sounds.

By Sarah Mia Haagerup

here is a lot going on in ‘Ziegler Shoes’ when I step into the small shop located on the second floor in Tanglin Mall. Birgit who is wearing a pink loosefitting top approaches me with a big smile. “You must be from ScandAsia. Welcome. Give me just two minutes and I will be there”, she says and I find a good excuse for looking through all the beautiful clothes and shoes in the shop. Even though the shop is very small you can find roughly anything here from shining jewellery and stylish handbags to flashing summer sandals and smashing clothes and you can tell that Birgit has good taste. The best part however is that nearly all the items are from Denmark. The jewellery is from Denmark, the clothes from Danish brands like Saint Tropez and Vila while the shoes stand out by being from the shoe Mecca of Italy,

“I thought, well I’ll be damned! That’s not at all what I call good footwear like what I grew up with in Denmark. There must be a big market for this in Singapore”.


2 ScandAsia.Sg • February 2010

which I guess is okay seeing it’s Italy. A young girl named Amanda is serving the costumers. She moved here from Denmark with her parents about eight months ago and has been hired by Birgit to look after the shop. It’s her second day today but she seems to be doing quite well. For a second there it’s almost as if I am back in Denmark. After a little while Birgit is back a little less busy this time, still with a big warm-hearted smile on her face making you instantly feel at ease with her. Birgit has lived in Singapore with her husband for about 16 years and the Zieglers are therefore a wellknown name in the local community. Birgit’s husband Henrik is the managing director of Marel Food Systems - a large provider of food processing machines - while Birgit, who is trained in the shoe industry, runs her three shops ‘Ziegler Shoes’, ‘Boutique Nicole’ and ‘Inside Living’. All three shops with one thing in

common - a preference for Scandinavian design, most of all Danish.

Why Danish is the best “Denmark is pretty good at being ahead of things especially in terms of clothing. The quality of the clothes is good and the people behind the brands are good at trying new things”, Birgit says with a distinct Jutlandic accent. In Birgit’s boutiques you can find all the sizes you would find in a regular shop in Denmark but when she goes out purchasing items for her store the suppliers almost always assume that she only needs the small sizes since she is doing business in Asia, where most people are smaller than in Europe. But Birgit has a pretty good and broadly-based clientele, which requires her to provide lots of different sizes. Lots of her costumers are tourists mostly from Bangkok and in addition to that she gets a lot of costumers from Singapore, locals as well as foreigners.

Birgit had always wanted to open a shop and with her knowledge of the shoe industry it was an obvious choice to open her own shoe shop. So in 1996 she introduced the Singaporean’s to children’s shoes from Denmark and it was an instant success. As her clientele grew bigger and the need to expand became too big to ignore she decided to open her second store ‘Ziegler Shoes’. Unfortunately she chose to open four days before the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001 and therefore had a slow start because many tourists, in the wake of what had happened, were too terrified too fly. Seeing that Birgit is largely dependent on tourists, sales were also affected by the outbreak of SARS in 2002. “In situations like that we are very sensitive. When such things happen people don’t want to shop. They panic”, Birgit says. The recent financial crisis also

Romantic Interior Store took its toll because many foreigners left Singapore during this period. But with the support of Birgit’s local costumers there were no red lights flashing at any time.

Difficult Ă‚Inside LivingĂŠ In May 2007 Birgit took the plunge and decided to open an applied art and furniture store. She fell in love with a location in the shopping mall Cluny Court because the cosy and romantic settings reminded her of Denmark. Like her other two stores she wanted to sell Scandinavian design but it showed to be easier said than done since “interior stores demands much more work than a clothing storeâ€?, Birgit says. For one there was the hangup about the difference between the climate in Singapore and the climate in Scandinavia. Singapore has a much higher humidity and it resulted in a lot of complaints from the costumers because of cracked surfaces and things

like that. “There were just too many complaints and I felt I couldn’t’ answer for it�, she says. Second was the handling of goods, which turned out to be much more difficult than anticipated. All things considered there were too many problems so Birgit chose to terminate her lease even though she had found the perfect location. Many costumers were disappointed to hear the news since ‘Inside Living’ is the first of its kind in Singapore selling romantic style items from Danish designers such as Lene Bjerre, Villa Collection, Udesen DK and Nordal. Birgit will close down ‘Inside Living’ on the 1st of May and as a result she will have a closing-down sale in the weeks before. So if you have a preference for Scandinavian design like Birgit you shouldn’t miss it for the world.

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February 2010 â&#x20AC;˘ ScandAsia.Sg 3

Why isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t it cheaper than back home? 5. Check the electricity plug. You may require an adapter when you get it home. Get one included in the price. Further, make sure the item will recharge on your home country voltage without converters etc.

Scandinavians living in Singapore often have to advise visiting friends about some of the ground rules of shopping for electronics in Singapore. This list on covers the basics.

6. Ensure you have a world wide warranty. Many products are sold without warranties and can become a costly paper weight when you get them home. On any Chinese look-a-like products, ignore warranty promises, it will never happen.

1. Have a strong understanding of the product brand, model and price - otherwise you could pay twice what you would pay at home. 2. Before you start bargaining (at Sim Lim or Lucky Plaza you must bargain) - determine whether the deal includes GST. There will be assurances that you can make a claim at the airport but this does not always work. Understand the terms and conditions of the GST refund system before you assume you will get one. 3. Always determine whether it is a cash price or credit card price. Some vendors may charge up to 2% plus on a credit card transaction. If you are putting it on your credit card, know what your bank will slug you on conversion ie rate of the day plus a 1-3% conversion fee. It may add up to 5% to the cost which will kill the bargain.

4 ScandAsia.Sg â&#x20AC;˘ February 2010

7. Finally, have a strong understanding of the product - brand, model and price - other wise you could pay twice what you would pay at home..... and yes that is a repeat of the first point! 4. For a mobile phone, find out if it is unlocked - easiest way to guarantee is to put your foreign SIM in. This will also give you a chance to see if you like the display, touch etc and whether the default language is the one you need. For example, cheap Chinese look-a-like brands will not have the original makers software and are likely to have Chinese as the default language. That is, if you need menu and instructions in English not everything will be in English and every time you turn on the phone you will need to change the language option to English (ie always defaults to Chinese).

Bargaining tips Try a few stores to get a feel for the rock bottom price, if you think you have got the best price, see if you can negotiate for inclusion or deep discounts on some wanted accessories that usually have higher markups - for example, cameras may not come with memory cards. In one case a friend thought they got a great deal on a high end SLR only to find it did not include the lens!)

February 2010 • ScandAsia.No 7

The Norwegian Ambulating Pastor:

“I Am Just Doing Like As an ambulating Pastor in South East Asia, Svein Helge Rødahl is functioning I all the countries without its own Norwegian church in the region, namely Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Burma/Myanmar, Indonesia including Bali, East Timor, Brunei and the Philippines. And he is always looking for Norwegians, where ever they are, in jails, hospitals, bars or wherever. If you want to meet the Pastor, feel free to him an email or give him a call. By Bjarne Wildau

vein Helge Rødahl has taken South East Asia to his hearth. And the Norwegians in the region have done the same to their Pastor. Where there is a Norwegian in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Burma/ Myanmar, Indonesia (and Bali), East Timor, Brunei and the Philippines, you can sooner or later find the priest, who is travelling more than half of the year. Svein Helge Rødahl started to work for The Norwegian Church Abroad in New York in 2003. Almost five years later, when the Pastors visa to the states was close to expire, he had to look around for a new job elsewhere. He wasn’t ready for ordinary congregational work in Norway and liked working for Sjømannskirken.


150 days a year on the road “So I applied for - and got - the service as Ambulating Pastor in South East Asia for Sjømannskirken - The Norwegian Church Abroad.http:// Of course both my wife and I had to consider how it would be to have a job like this. 150 days on travel abroad can be heavy, but it was worth trying”, Svein Helge Rødahl says.

And he continues: “I have always liked to travel and to be able to visit South East Asia like this seemed both challenging and very interesting. It can be demanding to live and work this way, but it is also a great privilege.” “But, of course, to work in a suitcase as I am doing now, I surely can’t do it the rest of my working life”, adds the ambulating Pastor who share his base at Kråkerøy, Fredrikstad, Norway with his wife. She works as a teacher in Fredrikstad while her husband is travelling 2-3 weeks, followed by a couple of weeks at home and so on.

We want to be where the people are What is the most different in your ambulance job, compared with work8 ScandAsia.No • February 2010

ing in a regular church in Norway or abroad? “Well, when you are supposed to reach out to people in all kinds of situations it will be many places and many cases. I talk with people in bars, with or without “girls”, in jails, hospitals, in their homes, on the street (in the slums of Manila) and so on. Where Norwegians are the ambulating Pastor might show up! Like our Master, Jesus, we want to be were people are. I find that very meaningful. All churches have something to learn from that.

Attacked in the slum Please try to mention some of the worst situations caused by this sort of strange venues for your services. “It is always a rough experience to meet people in sorrow and grief. Trying to be of comfort and do something meaningful for people when they are suffering from sickness or have lost somebody they love is always a challenge. The jails in Asia are not a good place to be so it is always hard to meet people there – because I leave them as a free man and they might be there for a long time. The most dangerous and scary situation was when a mentally ill person attacked me in the slum of one of the big cities in my area. Mostly I feel very safe – and welcome”. What comes to your mind thinking about the positives you get from strange and different venues for your services? “It is amazing how people meet me with trust and openness – in all kinds of situations. That makes me humble and grateful. And as I said, travelling in South East Asia, with all the different people, cultures, religions, and so on, is a privilege and very interesting. To baptize children, or grown ups, is a great joy. To see how the holy sacrament gives people joy and hope is marvellous. I also see that it links the couples who are the parents of the children together in a very special way. It is very meaningful to be an Ambulating Pastor. I will also express my gratitude to the peoples in the Norwegian embassies – in Manila, Jakarta, Hanoi (and

Jesus” “My focus group is Norwegians, but we also serve other Scandinavians and people who are in one way or another connected to Norwegians or Scandinavians. So, please contact me and we find out if I can be of any help”

i Nu ävenika! r e m Norda

the consulate in HCMC) and Bangkok, they are of great help for me and me work. It is very good to cooperate with them - for the benefit of the Norwegians in this part of the world”.

The Pastor- The detective How do you find your places where you can meet your people? And can people contact you if they want you to their area? “It is always a detective work to find out where Norwegians have settled down. I work closely with the embassies and Norwegian companies to get information. But perhaps most important is the tips I get from ordinary Norwegians living in these countries and know about other Norwegians. People also send me messages through e-mails, sms and phone and ask me to come and visit”. Can you help other Scandinavians? “My focus group is Norwegians, but we also serve other Scandinavians and people who are in one way or another connected to Norwegians or Scandinavians. So, please contact me and we find out if I can be of any help”, says Svein Helge Rødahl. He plans to visit The Philippines, Bali and Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Burma/Myanmar, East-Timor and Shanghai (World

Expo) at least one time before the 2010 summer break. To be on “Standby by” as a part of your job. How does that work? “Standby is a part of the job and that can be challenging. But you get used to it. And it doesn’t mean that I have to be the one to travel on short notice every time. More that we as an organisation can respond and send the person(s) who is nearest and able to do what is necessary. What we can respond on is very different, from accidents where few Norwegians are afflicted to big disasters, like the tsunami five years ago.” “My latest standby phone call was last week, when a travel insurance company needed our support in an urgent matter in the Philippines. Through one of my good helpers, “kirketjenere”, in the Philippines we were able to help immediately,” the ambulating Pastor explains. asiasor Kontakt Ambulerende sjømannsprest Svein Helge Rødahl E-post: Tlf: + 47 41 41 19 31

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För abonnemang kontakta SVT World:s kundtjänst: ConNova TVX, +46 (0)141 - 20 39 10,, February 2010 • ScandAsia.No 9

Norwegian Distillery in Cambodia It comes as a surprise to most people that the OX/Gold distillery just outside Phnom Penh in Cambodia is established by a Norwegian. Soon the distillery of two brands of whiskey, a brandy and vodka, will introduce their own «Norwegian» Aquavit to the Far Eastern market. By Bjarne Wildau

make no sense to talk about beverage if you can’t taste it,” Andre Riise claims. Before the Norwegian steps up into the tuk tuk, he checks the advertisement board at the back of the tuk tuk. He has signed contracts with more than ten tuk tuk driver to advertise for OX-Gold beverage. But of course, those vehicles are never where he needs them to be. Some 15 minutes later we sit in the the Norwegian Restaurant and Guesthouse Nordic House and Andre Riise was right - they do have the OX-Gold brand. Mr. Riise pours us two glasses and takes his own drink down in one shot. “You surely like your own product”, I compliment him. And he is smiling back. “Of course I like it! You can’t run a distillery if you don’t drink the stuff your self!” When I ask him how much he drinks per week, the answer comes without any hesitation: “Approximately two bottles a week. Don’t forget that its very hot in Phnom Penh, you simply need to drink.” And there comes the smile and a charming laughter again.

It all started..

Andre Riise with some of the products under his fast expanding Ox-Gold brand name in Cambodia. An entirely new distillery is planned to open in the first quarter of 2013 and with an investment of 1.250.000 US $ the capacity will by 2015 be to 500.000 litres per year. ndre Riise is the Norwegian behind Asia's newest distillery, the OX/Gold distillery, which opened in September 2009. Originally an Internet designer, Anders Riise established the distillery together with a few Norwegian and Australian friends in the small tropical village Khtor, just outside Phnom Penh in Cambodia. At the moment the OX-Gold distillery is producing two brands of whiskey, a brandy and vodka. All together the Norwegian distillery taps more than 12.000 bottles a month, but the production will be more than double when a new pump will be installed. Thn the production will


rise to 30.000 bottles. Andre Riise has received quite a few requests from people in other parts of Asia where they can buy the bottles with the Cambodian motives and the Cambodia flag, but the domestic sales has been so successful, that export has never really been an issue, he explains. Soon, they will introduce two new products from the distillery, Norwegian Aquavit and Gin.

Talk is not enough We met outside the GYM Bar in Phnom Penh. From there we took a tuk tuk straight to The Nordic House close to The Riverfront. “They have our products. It

10 ScandAsia.No • February 2010

It all started in April 2008. Andre Riise had come to Phnom Penh and started the first negotiations with the government agencies. “From the very start I had two conditions. I would be able to use the national animal, The Ox in the name of our product, and I demanded that we would be aloved to use the Cambodian flag on our labels together with the Ox,” explains Andre Riise and at the same time he points to the label on one of the bottles. All the negotiations went well, despite the fact that even the tiniest favour normally cost money in Cambodia. “What I did from the very beginning was making a donation to a local hospital. 5000 US $ in cash. The donation came from my heart, but it surely helped our project,” Andre Riise says. After that he returned to Norway for two or three weeks. Then he returned to Cambodia and he has been here ever since. Andre Riise was from the beginning joined by to of his private friends. The Norwegian distiller Bent

Hansen with 35 years experience, and the Australian Mark Ridgeway, who is a Plummer and expert in breweries and distilleries. “I am a software engineer, but on top of that I do have many years of experience as a businessman, so we made a very good team from the very beginning”.

Up and running “The supplier told us that we needed at lest 750.000 US $ to make the distillery. We made it for 400.000 $, and even much better than the one they offered us at almost double the price. They told us it would take two year to get ready, - we made it in 13 months”, Andre Riise is laughing again. “The trick is to be there yourself,” he says. “You can’t run anything in this or in any other Asian country, if you aren’t there. I was here, Bent and Mark were here, and I am still here. During the building and installation period I was there all the time. That’s why we made it on time, and at almost half the normal price.” Only six months after the Grand opening, Andre Riise and his people have already four kinds of beverage on the market; two brands of whiskey, a brandy and vodka. “We have some very good products. We by 80.000 litres of water per month from the Cambodian Red Cross. We use the highest quality of products to produce beverage that doesn't give you the usual next-morning headache. People love our stuff, and we get more and more costumers every week.” Expanding Recently, Andre Riise and his partners opened up for new investors to sign on to an entirely new distillery, planned to open in the first quarter of 2013 which by 2015 will increase the capacity to 500.000 litres per year with an investment of 1.250.000 US $. “Until now we have been able to sell most of our beverage here in Cambodia. Brandy is the slowest thing here. We have the possibility to send all the brandy we can make to Vietnam. But it hasn’t been necessary yet. So we keep our beverage for the Cambodians, expats and tourists. But with the high quality we produce, the future have no limits to our success,” Andre Riise claims.


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ScandAsia Norway - February 2010  

ScandAsia Norway magazine for Norwegians living in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia.