SEB Private Banking Stronger in Asia February 2010 â€˘ ScandAsia.Se 1
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Grand Opening of Joint Swedish Trade Office in Singapore By Joakim Persson
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everal Swedish trade agencies, the fully state owned trade Swedish Export Credit Corporation as well as the Swedish Trade Council (party owned by the Swedish government), jointly cut the ribbon to their trade office in Singapore on 12 December 2009. In a unique collaboration between the Swedish Trade, the Embassy of Sweden and the Swedish Export Credit Corporation (abbreviated SEK in Swedish) a Swedish business hub was thereby founded. SEK and the Business Support Office of the Swedish Trade Council share their new office in the same office building where the Swedish embassy is based. The intention is to offer other Swedish companies the opportunity to move into the premises as well.
Ambassador, Swedish Trade and SEK The inauguration was led by the Swedish Trade Council’s Executive Director, Mr Ulf Berg along with the Ambassador of Sweden, Mr Pär Ahlberger, and President Peter Yngwe of SEK. Among the guests were business leaders and representatives from the local Swedish colony. 70-80 of Singapore’s most important corporate clients enjoyed a Swedish Christmas when the opening ceremony was followed by dinner and a traditional Lucia celebration. SEK’s services include export credits, lending, structured financing, project financing, leasing, capital market products, financial advisory services, and much more. The Swedish Trade Council (which promotes the development of trade and industry and international competitiveness) has been present in Singapore since January 2008 as part of the ASEAN hub.
Helped 15 new companies in 2 years “During these two years the number of Swedish-related companies has increased in the country from 160 to about 200, of which 15 have been established with the assistance of the Swedish Trade Council,” says Knut Ngo, consultant at Swedish Trade, Singapore. “Thanks to this new office we are able to offer Swedish companies establishing themselves in Singapore with a flexible solution to have an office. The Business Support Office means a ‘plug-and-play’ platform with a fully functioning infrastructure and administrative support for newly established businesses in order to get going and dealing with the market.” Singapore constitutes the fifth largest Asian country for Swedish export. “Some of the sectors we find to be of interest for Swedish businesses are biomedicine, environmental engineering as well as information and communication technologies. Great R&D opportunities can be found here.”
Cutting the ribbon to the new office is from left to right Mr Quek, Ambassador, Peter Yngwe, President SEK, Ulf Berg, President STC, Pär Ahlberger, Ambassador.
Swedish Trade Council (STC) staff at the opening left to right: Mattias Bergman, Vice President Asia, Charlotte Rylme, Head of ASEAN, Trade Commissioner Malaysia & Thailand, Ulf Berg, President, Knut Ngo, Consultant, Katinka Palmgren, kommunikationschef.
Having a good time at the inauguration ceremony is left to right: Carl Engelberth, Executive Director SEK, Esther Lim, Commercial Officer Embassy of Sweden and Knut Ngo, Consultant February 2010 • ScandAsia.Se 3
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SEB Private Banking Stronger in Asia Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB) Private Banking is growing in Asia and with the new skilled expert Anders Ng on the team they have strengthened their exclusive position on the Asian market. By Sarah Mia Haagerup Photos by Disraporn Yatprom
e are definitely here to stay and will continue to grow, says Jens Mansson, General Manager at SEB Private Banking in Singapore. Like many other companies SEB was affected by the financial crisis. However, already in the second half of 2009 SEB saw a turnaround. “Things started to flatten out and even pick up again. All in all 2009 was not such a bad year,” says Jens Mansson who joined SEB Singapore only one year ago in the middle of the global financial meltdown.
A great resource to the team SEB Private Banking is constantly looking for new ways to improve their services and to attract more clients. Recently SEB managed to recruit Anders Ng, who was representing Nordea’s private banking business in Asia before he was recruited by SEB. 38-year old Anders Ng born and raised in Sweden, speaks Chinese and has a lot of experience with the Asian market after working in Singapore for 5 years and before that in Hong Kong for 8 years. “I appreciate his manners, his personality, his experience and track record. He can definitely bring “SEB without a doubt is the organisation to be with,” says Anders Ng.
i Nu ävenika! r e m Norda
something good and resourceful to our business, such as knowledge and new clients,” says Jens Mansson. “His competence underlines that he is at home in both Northern Europe and in Asia. Anders is one of a kind.” By bringing Anders Ng to their team of financial advisors Jens Mansson hopes to further strengthen SEB’s role as the strongest Scandinavian player in the field of private banking in Asia. “The experience that Anders represents isn’t easy to find in the region. He has such a large network making this a crucial recruitment,” Jens Mansson adds. To Anders Ng the decision to join SEB was not difficult. “SEB without a doubt is the organisation to be with. The bank is continuingly growing and making further investments in this region,” Anders Ng says. SEB will focus on bringing other skilled bankers to the Asian branch in Singapore. Above all Jens Mansson wants to hire expertise that represents SEB’s broad clientele.
“All in all 2009 was not such a bad year,” says Jens Mansson.
“We want to look more like our clients” “I want SEB to look more like our clients,” says Jens Mansson. “The idea behind making our team more diverse is to provide a basis for a more confident relationship between the client and the bank.” SEB has a pretty unique position as the only Scandinavian bank with a fully fledged private banking branch in Singapore, which makes them able to provide a better and more personal service for Swedish, Norwegian, Danish and Finnish individuals in Asia. SEB Private Banking is also present in other international locations in Luxembourg and Switzerland, where mortgages in France, UK, Spain and Sweden are offered in addition to wealth structuring advice for private individuals.
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För abonnemang kontakta SVT World:s kundtjänst: ConNova TVX, +46 (0)141 - 20 39 10, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.connova.se February 2010 • ScandAsia.Se 5
New Ways to Reach Out Göran Wiking is the new priest on Pasir Panjang Road. Göran is focused on reaching out to people and is not afraid of experimenting. Through the years many Swedes have “abandoned” the church so now it’s time to go out and meet them in the city, says Göran. By Sarah Mia Haagerup he 1st of September 2009 the Swedish Church in Singapore welcomed 52-year old Göran Wiking as their new priest. Göran, who is also a trained telecommunication engineer, is an experienced priest and has worked many years for the Church of Sweden first in Malaysia and then later in Hong Kong. In Singapore Göran has a liberty which is rare. He doesn’t have superiors breathing down his necks and he doesn’t feel threatened when trying new things. “It’s a bit of an experimental workshop here. And if we are successful maybe pretty much the same thing could be done in Malmö or in Lund”, says Göran.
Reaching out with ÂFikaÊ “We can see that people are no longer coming to church as much as they used to and therefore we will go to them”, says Göran. “I think we have to reach out to meet up with people also outside the church. If it means working in a non-traditional way, then that’s what we must do”, says Göran. In his efforts to more of the many Swedes living in Singapore, Göran has started cooperating with a local café owner on Arab Street. The café ‘Fika’, which sells Swedish delicacies such as apple cake and Swedish pancakes, is owned by a local Singaporean woman married to a Swedish man. On the last Tuesday of every month the Swedish Church will have a cosy and relaxed gathering here. There will be served Swedish cinnamon rolls and people can 6 ScandAsia.Se • February 2010
come as they please. Everybody is welcome. “We can no longer just have the Sunday 11 o’clock-people-come-tochurch-stand-up-sit-down-routine. We have to try new ways also”, says Göran.
Started in Malaysia Göran started working as a priest in 1988 in KL, Malaysia and spent the next 5 years working in the country as a priest. Obstacles concerning the renewal of his work permit made him leave the country in 1993. Back then getting a work permit for any
“We can no longer just have the Sunday 11 o’clock-peoplecome-to-churchstand-up-sit-down routine. We have to try new ways also”. Göran Wiking.
kind of Christian work was just very difficult, Göran explains. Unlike Singapore, Malaysia didn’t give much space for the church, Göran says. There was this mindset of pushing down the church and of constraining the church’s influence, continuingly reducing the Christian public holidays, as one example. But “in Singapore it’s not like that and that’s nice”, Göran says. Göran left Malaysia in 1995 and returned to his home country Sweden. Here, he finished his doctor’s degree in Theology but he was still dreaming of going out again.
mental refugees. We really fled”, he says.
In 2003, ten years after leaving Malaysia, he got a phone call from the headquarters in Uppsala about a vacant job as priest in Hong Kong but Göran felt he was done with Asia. “The separation from Malaysia was so painful and I didn’t want to get tangled up in problems with my work permit again”, Göran explains. He ended up sending an application anyway and got the job.
A new life in Singapore
Pollution in Hong Kong In Hong Kong he worked as a port chaplain and taught at a theological high school for two years. He would have stayed even longer if it had not been for the interesting Indonesian woman Diana, whom he met only two days after his arrival in Hong Kong. The two courted for a few months after which Göran proposed. But when Diana got pregnant Göran started seriously worrying about the city’s pollution. In Hong Kong the government was aware of the problems with pollution so it had placed around 13 air pollution measuring devices all around the city which you could access online. The devices were always in amber or red. On top of that Göran had heard
Göran and Diana Wiking in front of the new Swedish café “Fika” on Arab Street, where he is organizing a Swedish get-together every last Tuesday of the month. The café ‘Fika’ which is owned by a Singaporean woman married to a Swedish man serves Swedish delicacies such as apple cake and Swedish pancakes,. that new research proved air pollution to be much more vicious than previously estimated. Seriously concerned for his future child’s wellbeing, Göran asked a Swedish pediatrician friend for advice.
His friend clearly stated that, with the high level of pollution in mind, raising children in Hong Kong was a bad idea. So Göran and Diana bit the bullet and said goodbye to Hong Kong. “We became environ-
Göran and his wife Diana found refuge in Sweden and soon had their second child Frances. But the Swedish family idyll was abruptly interrupted when Göran once again got a phone call from the headquarters in Uppsala. They offered him a position in Singapore as the new port chaplain and he answered back that he would talk with his wife Diana. It didn’t take them long to decide and already next morning Göran gladly accepted the offer. They then sold their house in Sweden and moved to Singapore to start a new life under the baking tropical sun. Meanwhile settling down in Singapore doesn’t seem to have taken its toll on the small family. Considering that both Göran and Diana are very open-minded and happy people you get to understand why. Since Göran started as the new priest he has been very focused on reaching out to people and not only to the Swedish community. Everybody is welcome in the Swedish Church and if the locals want to visit and participate in the church events then they are most welcome he says.
February 2010 • ScandAsia.Se 7
Development Project Results in
Travelling Exhibition By Joakim Persson Photos by Lina Sporrong he travelling exhibition “Stories of the Mekong” opened in Hanoi in November 2009 at the Museum of Ethnography as a result of five years of work initiated and funded by Swedish Sida. It will continue to be shown in museums also in Laos and Cambodia before reaching Stockholm in December 2011. The exhibition is based on stories told by people along the Mekong River, highlighting ordinary people whose voices bear witness to traditions under threat and their livelihood but also about new perspectives and a willingness to change. The National Museums of World Culture in Gothenburg was assigned by Sida in 2005 to initiate and develop a regional cooperation program for museums and other cultural heritage institutions in Southeast Asia. “When Sida suggested that we should develop regional partnerships within culture, we were seen as a natural Swedish partner,” says the museum’s project leader, Mr Karl Magnusson, who is very glad and proud over what has been achieved. “In 2004 we were given funds
for a pilot study with the assignment to investigate the possibilities to create a network of museums in Southeast Asia focusing on promote poverty alleviation and human rights.” This lead to the creation of MuSEA, Cultural Heritage for Sustainable Development - a program of museum cooperation in Southeast Asia, with continued support granted from Sida until 2010. The MuSEA network intends to make the museum and other cultural heritage institutions relevant actors in the main purpose of the development cooperation: Providing people with the tools and opportunities to improve their life conditions. MuSEA assumes that access to own cultural heritage and history
gives the individual a voice and a possibility to make a change and participate in society. Access creates insight and contributes to increased tolerance, and is thus essential for a democratic social development. Cultural freedom is regarded a necessary prerequisite for sustainable development; reflected in Sida’s work through Sweden’s Policy for Global Development. “Museums cannot build wells or roads,” says Karl Magnusson. “In a broader perspective of poverty aiming at the individual and groups’ possibilities to affect their own life conditions in a direction of their own choice museums have extensive opportunities to create and illustrate choices though.” “Museums to a large extent decide whose history is worth preserving and highlighting within a society. We have utilized this position of power by focusing attention on perspectives such as ethnicity, gender and age and illustrating what the challenges and opportunities globalization mean for people along the Mekong. He points out the importance of the exhibition both as a goal and a means in their work where they have been able to exemplify the theoretical perspectives processed
“By choosing what to highlight in history, museums can facilitate social change and help in the struggle to alleviate poverty,” says Karl Magnusson - the man behind the project. 8 ScandAsia.Se • February 2010
in workshops and seminars while it is at the same time a concrete result of their collaboration. For the practical work in putting the exhibition together the Swedish set designer Lina Sporrong, with background from unconventional projects within museums, was brought on as someone who could contribute with new ideas. “The exhibition’s nine stories all have different themes with very personal voices. There is a strong focus on the people and their fears and wishes for the future. Then the photographer has been given a prominent part, so each story has a large photo, from the Mekong River and then a background picture.” There are stories about a Buddhist ceremony, about mobile technology changing rural life, modern fishing farms threatening Mekong’s sensitive ecosystem etc. “I think it has been an excellent project which has given a lot of value for those parties involved. Especially about networking they could learn from each other,” says the designer who also got a chance to join field trips in the delta coinciding with workshops “We can already conclude that we have succeeded well with our assignment to contribute to increased collaboration between the museums in Southeast Asia. This will clearly continue once the financing from Sida has ceased, says Karl Magnusson who also plans for a conference on constructive cultural cooperation within development aid coinciding with the arrival of the expo to Stockholm.
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
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.
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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.
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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%.
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More information, Please contact Sunrise Tropical Resort Tel: +66 (0) 7581 9418-20 Moblie : + 66 (0) 1979-6299 www.sunrisetropical.com 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 resortâ€™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 â€˘ 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 www.vikingwheelers.com 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 www.vikingwheelers.com
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: http://scandasia.com/gallery/main. 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 email@example.com 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
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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 www.X2residences.com
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, www.gjdasia.com 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 www.damask.dk. For more information about Georg Jensen Damask in Asia, please contact: Ms Andrea Tan, firstname.lastname@example.org, +65 6513 9522 MJ Management Pte Ltd 168 Robinson Road #02-01 Capital Tower Singapore 068912
SCANDINAVIAN SHOPPE Special offer:
* 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 - email@example.com
‘Gamle Ole’ Vintage Cheese
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 Birgitâ€™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 â€œinterior 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. â€œThere were just too many complaints and I felt I couldnâ€™tâ€™ answer for itâ€?, 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 â€˜Inside Livingâ€™ 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 â€˜Inside Livingâ€™ 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 shouldnâ€™t miss it for the world.
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February 2010 â€˘ ScandAsia.Sg 3
Why isnâ€™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 TripAdvisor.com 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€˘ 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.Se 9
Help Making the World Less Volunteering is much about opening your mind to different ways of life, says Swedish man Sven Mauleon, who in 2001 cofounded the very successful volunteer organization OpenmindProjects.
Sven Mauleon has build up his organization OpenmindProjects on the simple belief that IT can and will be a very good help for poor people, when there are limited teaching and learning resources. With the help of a steady flow of volunteers, he is bring this belief out to the villages in Isan. the kids to learn English by themselves. At the same time the computers would widen their horizon and introduce the kids to the world outside and teach them that there is another future then the one in the village where job opportunities are very limited. After spending some time in Isan, Sven met a young curious and talented Isan student, Thaweesilp “Toto” Lunchaiyapha, who is from a poor Isan village himself. By working and paying for his own studies Toto had managed to learn how to use computers, and had gotten quite good at it as well. The two began a close cooperation and started developing OpenmindProjects. Toto would use his skills to create the website while Sven would write the content. The idea after this was to invite volunteers to come teach the kids in the villages. Inspired by other volunteer organizations such as Cross-Cultural Solutions (CSS), OpenmindProjects was launched in 2001. Attracting volunteers turned out to be a painless task since volunteering is becoming an increasingly popular way to travel.
By Sarah Mia Haagerup
o bridge the ‘digital divide’ - that is the idea behind the eight year old volunteer organisation OpenmindProjects. Co-founder of OpenmindProjects and experienced international consultant, Sven Mauleon who was born and raised in Sweden, wanted to help poor village people in Thailand and the way to do so he thought was to give them the tools to learn for themselves. The catalyst behind it all was a conference in Spain about how to bridge the digital divide, e.g. the division between those people who can use computers and access the internet and those who can not. Sven came to the conclusion that IT would be a good tool in helping underprivileged village people with limited teaching and learning resources so he started looking into the possibilities of testing IT learning in poor villages in Thailand. Isan, which is the northeast region in Thailand by the Mekong River along the Lao border, was the first place he started.
Bridging the divide with IT Sven has spent most of his professional career abroad. In the late 1980s and early 1990s he lectured at Thammasath University teaching International Marketing. After this in the late 1990s he moved to Brussels and worked as head of a European consulting firm helping companies to cooperate in EU funded projects, primarily IT and healthcare projects. It was during this time that he was
The challenge of volunteering
introduced to the idea of bridging the digital divide. The idea led him back to Thailand where he wanted to see if he could start up his IT project. He bought a house by the Mekong River, gave up his flat in Brussels and started meeting with people to discuss his ideas on how to use computers to decrease the increasing knowledge gap. “I said to myself, that IT can and
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will be a very good help for poor people, when there are limited teaching and learning resources,” Sven says. Sven realized that one of the biggest problems in especially Lao and Isan villages was that most teachers who are supposed to teach English to the students hardly speak any English themselves. But with the help of computers he thought that maybe it was possible to motivate
Today OpenmindProjects is very different from when it was started about eight years ago. The organization now also focuses a lot on team teaching (which is when the volunteer teaches alongside a local teacher) and eco-tourism, where the idea is to train local people to make money out of tourism and at the same time protect nature. Since 2001, well over a 1000 volunteers from all over the world have visited OpenmindProjects and for every year the organization grows bigger. Last year Sven and Toto received about 220 volunteers, a number which is increasing steadily. The volunteers, young to old, stay between one and three months
Unequal “I said to myself, that IT can and will be a very good help for poor people, when there are limited teaching and learning resources.” and have the possibility of teaching in remote villages, schools and orphan homes. Besides projects in Thailand, OpenmindProjects now also invites volunteers to come to Laos, Cambodia and Nepal. But if you want to volunteer for OpenmindProjects you have to be a flexible, adaptable, independent and self confident person since a lot of the villages, where the volunteers have to live and work, are very re-
mote and primitive. This is why the volunteers have to stay at OpenmindProjects’ training center before they can go to the village. At the training camp the volunteers not only learn about the culture but they also get mentally prepared for life in the village. “Sometimes though, this is not enough. One thing is to hear it, another is to experience it. You don’t feel it until you are there,” says Sven. Some of the volunteers are unhappy but most blend in with the locals and do fine under the primitive conditions. And in case of any problems or emergencies the volunteers can call the head office day and night. In July a young girl who was teaching monks at a temple school in Krabi had an accident on her motorbike when she was on her way home from meeting friends. Luckily nothing seriously happened but she ended up at the hospital, where the monks came to visit her. But this
Co-teaching is when the foreign volunteer is teaching together with the local Thai teacher. This has turned out to be a very effective educational method. kinds of accidents only happen very rarely. In 2004, OpenmindProjects started supporting responsible ecotourism and community development projects in Laos and Thailand, to help local people and to protect nature and wildlife.
Furthermore OpenmindProjects has been recognized by UNESCO, recommended by CNN and Lonely Planet and in 2008 OpenmindProjects was invited as a finalist to the prestigious Stockholm Challenge, for its work on ICT for Development.
February 2010 • ScandAsia.Se 11
Swedish Concert at Black Mountain Hua Hin Beautiful nature, great music and a beautiful idea was all combined when Robert Wells and his show Rhapsody in Rock visited Thailand for the first time at a big charity concert at the Black Mountain Golf Club in Hua Hin. By Niels C. Jenssen Photos by Chanjira Brennen
he famous Swedish pianist and entertainer Robert Wells performed on Saturday the 16th of January at a charity concert the Black Mountain Golf Club in Hua Hin. Robert Wells and his orchestra are used to be Asia and have preformed in both Shanghai and China before and latest at a big New Years Galla in Beijing. But it is the very first time they are performing in Thailand. “It is very special to be here. I fell very proud to be here. And I really want to come again because there are a lot of Swedish here and I have friends whom lives here,” says Robert Wells. About 1000 people had shown up to enjoy the world famous music of ABBA, Elton John and Gloria Gaynor and at same time support the charity foundation. Most of the guests this night were Scandinavian people living in Thailand, and most of them Swedish. This night they did not only have a good time out , they were also supporting a good course as the event was a charity concert in favor of the poor families in Thailand. “We always wanted to thank
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“I really want Thai stars to part of this. I am gonna buy a lot a DVDs and records now. It is such a good thing if we can combine our show with Thai stars,” Robert Wells. for the warm welcome we have been giving here in Thailand. And Black Mountain has always wanted to work with charity but this is the first time for us. But now we are thinking to make it yearly event,” says the General Manager at Black Mountain Golf Club, Harald Elisson. 1000 baht from each guest/ ticket goes directly to the Folk Arts and Crafts Works foundation. The Swedish musician Robert Wells was in the middle of the show playing piano and entertaining the happy audience. When Robert Wells did not sing himself different guest stars preform different songs among them the three female singers called the Vocalettes. The concert this night is indeed more than a band playing. Not less than 2 drummers, 3 guitar players, 3 violinists, 2 trombonists, 3 choir girls, and one saxophonist are entertaining the crowd together with Robert Wells. Tonight’s show are just like a home away from home for the
Swedish audience as the Robert Wells and most of the people in the orchestra is Swedish and Robert Wells are entertaining in Swedish language. To handle sound and light at the big show there are not less than ten people trying to make the concert just perfect. And it seems to work as the audience applause high and loud after every song. General Manger at the Black Mountain Club, Harald Elisson and Bandmanger Rolf Degerlund tells that not less than 55 crew people came one week earlier from Sweden and together with 120 local people from Thailand they have been preparing the concert all week. While the music rocks two big screens shows closeups of the musicians and poetic music videos. Through all the concert Robert Wells cheers up the crowd and tell them to stand up and clap or sing along with the music for example at the classic Elton John song “Take me to the pilot.” Guitar solos as well as blond Scandinavian female singers are a big part of the show. But next year there will maybe also be Thai artist in the show too. “I really want Thai stars to part of this. I am gonna buy a lot a DVDs and records now. It is such a good thing if we can combine our show with Thai stars,” says Robert Wells. The music varies from classic ballads, pop, rock and jazz - all in one amazing mix. Even though most of the guests are over 40 years and seated in blue plastic chairs surrounded by the black mountains in Hua Hin, the concert has the feel of European music festival. Smoke, fireworks and spotlights are making the stage look glamor-
Carina Johansson and her husband Åke Johansson visits Thailand for one month every year. They agree that the concert has been very good. “We have seen them in television before, but live is always a lot better. Svenskforeningen invited us by email and then we thought why not – it will be nice.”
ous and stylish and accompany the music in a fascinating way. In the middle of a song Robert Wells even uses his one foot to play the piano to big fun for the audience. “I am here for the audience one hundred percent,” says Robert Wells. And his has tried it all - his has played from 10 up to 70.000 people. In the pause of the two and a half hour concert there are several food stands selling everything that a concert guest wants ranging from cold beers to hot kebab sandwiches. Just after the pause the General Manager of the Black Mountain Golf Club, Harald Elisson, steps on to the scene and thanks all the guests to show up and support at the charity foundation.
Kerstin Berglund who lives in Thailand half of the year and the other half in Sweden are at the concert together with her friend Tuula Alsterjung who lives eight months a year in Thailand and four months in Gøteborg in Sweden. They both agree that the concert is quite simple fantastic. “It is the first time we see him live, we have tried to get tickets several times but never succeed. So we are happy to be here. The orchestra is fantastic and there is just such a nice atmosphere.”
Things that you did not know about Robert Wells • Among friends hi is sometimes known as Tiger Wells at the golf course • His biggest idol is the Danish Entertainer Victor Borge • He has been back musician for the Swedish folksinger Lill-Babs • His has been on tour with the Danish Rock-Mama Sanne Salomonsen
February 2010 • ScandAsia.Se 13
Swedish Floor Drains in Thailand As waterproofing and floor drain specialists in Thailand, Namtech not only manufactures their own special floor drains, the company also installs and repairs old floor drains, providing European standard waterproof protection, and protects against bad smells, insects, reptiles, and reverse water flows. By Gregers Moller
When not inventing floor drains or running his constructions business, Eric Johansson can always find time for his golf passion! f you look closely, many of the quality houses, which thousands of Swedes have bought in Thailand, have a special floor drain installed in the bath rooms, called Namtech. What the owner of the house or apartment probably doesn’t know, however, is that this water lock floor drain is actually designed and produced by a fellow Swede, Eric Johansson, who lives in Thailand just like themselves. “I designed the Namtech floor drain system because many Thai drains smell or leak. They are made of PVC pipes, which are very inflexible and lack proper water lock system.” “Today, we produce and sell about 12.000 Namtech floor drains per year,” says Eric Johansson, who moved here as early as 1992 and today has several business activities within construction and construction materials. “The majority of our Namtech floor drains are sold in Thailand, but we also have exports to Saudi Arabia, Germany, Singapore, Malaysia and Australia,” he adds. The system has been patented in Thailand but only the plastic part done in PP is manufactured in Thailand. The stainless steel cover is produced in China. Namtech’s own staff – Eric Jo-
hansson has eleven employees in the company – often make the installations themselves, but the system is not complicated, so other contractors can also do it. The drain is installed at the level of the main concrete slab between the two floors in combination with a watertight layer of waterproof seal-
cover can be placed on top, at the same level as the bathroom or floor tile. “The best way to install this drain is after the core structure has been completed, but already at the designing stage it wuld be wise to check if the technical drawings has the correct dimensions and place-
ant; this directs any excess water on the surface, via a sloped floor directly into the drain. If the locking ring is installed correctly there is no possibility of leakage in the surround of the drain. An insertion is made in the waterproof layer within the locking ring circle, and then this and the outer casement drain is fixed into the slab and connected with the drainage pipe. The inner drain unit – which has a handle for easy removal and cleaning – is then easily slotted inside, so that the steel rim and stainless steel
ment position,” Eric Johansson explains. “If the house is already build – or in case of a renovation of an older building – we can often remove the existing drain and replacing it with a Namtech floor drain , or place a special Namtech floor plug into the existing drain. Only in the worst cases do we sometimes have to cut through the slab,” he adds. “When I say that our floor drains negates the need for a P-trap and service ports in the ceiling below, I might be too technical for many, but
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everybody understands the benefit when I say that access to all serviceable parts is done from above and not below as standard drains,” Eric Johansson explains. One important detail is the reverse flow valve of the Namtech floor drain. This valve provides protection for the sistuation, you don’t want to imagine, when the pipes elsewhere in the building are blocked and other people’s waste water starts flowing back up into your bathroom. This valve also stops reverse air flow which will dry out the water trap and make it useless after a short period of time. “It is comon that traditional water locks rather quickly dry out and then the room is filled with the smell from inside the waste water pipes. The Namtech drain not only holds a considerable amount of water, it will also dry out musch slower because of this reverse flow valve,” Eric Johansson explains. “So if you don’t live in your house during the summer months or otherwise don’t stay in Thailand all year round, then you don’t need to worry that your house will smell like sewage when you come back again.”