You canâ€™t save the world but you can make a difference! ScandAsia.dk
Christmas – Charity
“But when you give to the poor or the needy, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing” (Matthew 6:3). This instruction can be read both the Bible and in the Koran (about Zakat -tithe).
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once carried out research in Al Samra, a big well-off village of mostly market traders, situated in the desert 40 kilometers from Khartoum, Sudan. One day I was invited or requested for lunch by the leadership, a group of three distinguished old men. We talked about how this community dealt with social- and family problems. Then I asked them: “But what do you do in this land of pride and honor if a family simply have no money, no means to buy cloth and the most basic foodstuff for the children”. The chairman answered: “We will discuss the situation openly, only us three, no other people, men or women or even children present. If the reason is for example serious illness or very bad luck we will help. From time to time we collect tithe from the well-off families. Now we will take some of this money, put them in a small pocket of cotton, and in the middle of the night one of us will place the money under the door to the house in trouble and give a little push so that the cotton pocket will land well inside. Then, when the family find the money next morning, the pocket is received as a blessing from Allah our Lord”. I could only accept the explanation but promised myself to check on the reality of this custom around where my work took me. I then realized that it was in fact a general practice and that it worked in all closely knitted communities but not much in Khartoum.
Allah donated, period? Then you can leave the case face value if you wish: Allah donated, period, but: Shortly before my departure from Sudan the three stoic old men invited me for lunch again. There I confessed my controlling their secret ‘money under the door’ method. They laughed with their faces all wrinkles. Then they ‘confessed’ too. The earthly rationale behind the method is of course to avoid trouble and fighting in the community; if you have an overdog (the donator) and an underdog (the receiver) and the handover of money is taking place in public, “you sow the seeds of hatred in the receiver’s hart, the hatred of the debt of gratitude. Furthermore the risk is that you make a haughty character out of the donator. A person believing so much in his own goodness, that he cannot see his own faults”. In his book: ‘Down and Out in Paris and London’ George Orwell put it this way: “A man receiving charity practically always hates his benefactor – it is a fixed characteristic of human nature…”
Handbooks for decent living Both in the Bible and in the Koran there are so many wise commandments regarding how to live a fruitful life in decency - if you have a wish so to do of course - and both books are using both carrot and stick in order to get us to act accordingly. Matthew 6.1.2. is saying that if you publish your good deeds in the Synagogue and in the street you have got your reward already and can expect nothing more from the Almighty. This said and quoted it is up to every one of us to decide how we want to handle our crosscultural Giving here in Asia, not much doubt about the need. Cash transfer is quite easy, but for example transfer of technology and equipment cannot be done in anonymity, I suppose. I have seen this problem handled in Africa by engaging the excellent principle of joint venture aid. May your God be with you.
Piyanan Kalikanon firstname.lastname@example.org Nattapat Maesang email@example.com Graphic Designer : Supphathada Numamnuay firstname.lastname@example.org Distribution : Wanvisa Rattanaburi email@example.com Printing : Lake & Foundtain Printing Co., Ltd.
Daily news and features here: www.scandasia.com Front cover image courtesy of Jan Mouritsen
Flemming Winther Nielsen is Senior Lecturer (retired) DSH. DK. M.Sc.soc. (Aalborg University). The author has working and research experience from the Sudan, Zambia, Portugal and Thailand. See also: Winther, Flemming (1986): ‘ALLAH’S VEJ - og vores’. Odense Universitetsbibliotek.
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8 Coming Events 10 Past Events 16 News Brief 20 You can’t save the world but you can make a difference!
Two Danish volunteers experience the lives of less fortunate people in Nongkhai By Kim Birkkjaer Lund
22 Dr. Surapong on Thai-Sweden relations
Quotes of Dr. Surapong Tovichakchaikul, Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs, from the Thai Sweden Review Magazine
24 Friendship, freedom and trade 25 Interview with the Danish Prime Minister 26 Design for change
Report from the 9th ASEM Meeting in Vientiane, Laos By Kim Birkkjaer Lund By Kim Birkkjaer Lund
Interview with Danish award-winning designer Timothy Jacob Jensen By Sippachai Kunnuwong
28 How do you celebrate Christmas in Asia? 30 Let’s make Christmas Hearts together 32 Fact finding in Myanmar with TSCC 34 EAC Fund supports heritage preservation 36 Skiing 1000km in Thailand for charity 37 Lieutenant – Colonel August Theodor Frederic Kools (1867 – 1911) 42 Irresistible Agneta 44 Great food Great people 46 Launch of Hogane – quality synthetic rattan furniture at affordable price 48 Hotel News Update 50 Sudoku & Rice Porridge (Risengrød) Seven prominent Scandinavians share their plans for Christmas this year
By Gregers Moller
Thai Swedish Chamber of Commerce made a trip to learn about business opportunities in Myanmar By Kim Birkkjaer Lund
EAC to support work of SSS to renovate the Danish graves in Thailand By Flemming Winther Nielsen
Three Norwegians did a ski run from Chiang Mai to Bangkok for charity By Rose Jensen
Historical article By Flemming Winther Nielsen
Interview with lively Swedish lady Agneta Bekassy de Bekas By Kim Birkkjaer Lund
Interview with owners of Danish Café Europa restaurant in Krabi By Dennis Krog
recipe By Gregers Moller
Christmas Celebration at Norwegian Seamen’s Church in Pattaya Date: 24 December 2012 Location: Norwegian Seamen’s Church in Pattaya -162/50 Moo 10, Thappraya rd., Soi 7 Jomtien, Banglamung Chonburi 20260 Norwegian Seaman’s Church in Pattaya is holding Thailand’s biggest Norwegian Christmas celebration on December 24. Interested readers are suggested to make a reservation soon at firstname.lastname@example.org as seats are limited to 160 people. It’s THB 1,000 per person, THB 500 for children between 5 and 12, and free of charge for children under five years old. You can make the payment upon arrival. For more information, visit www.sjomannskirken.no/pattaya
Christmas Dinner with Nordmenn in Hua Hin Date: 24 December 2012 at 7.00pm Location: “Hua Hin Miss You” restaurant in soi 80 Nordmenn in Hua Hin is inviting its members to a Christmas Dinner at Hua Hin Miss You restaurant. A 650-baht ticket includes Christmas dinner, one beer or a glass of wine and a dessert. You can buy tickets at the restaurant. For binding reservations, contact email@example.com
Sydictive Element Dance Music Festival 2012 Date: 30 – 31 December 2012 Location: Surin Beach, Phuket The Sydictive Element Dance Music Festival 2012 in Phuket will bring excitement to Thailand’s dance music scene with international DJs line-up including Sky Blu from the popular electro-pop group LMFAO, Dash Berlin, Tiga and etc. According to the organiser, the festival will incorporate much of the latest technology integrated with explosive peaks for the ultimate theatrical shows synchronized directly with the ongoing sounds from the celebrity DJs. There will be two main stages at the nonstop 48-hour party event for party goers to enjoy two different ambiences in the same area; Mountain stage and Ocean stage. To meet different needs, there will be four separate zones for different types of tickets including General Admission zone, deluxe zone, VIP Island zone and private party zones with floating villas. A night market is located relatively close to the party beach offering variety of foods and activities for participants to enjoy. Interested people can book at a ticket at www.thaiticketmajor.com For more information, visit www.facebook.com/sydictiveelement
TSCC Monthly Networking Date: 10 January 2012 Location: Huntsman’s Pub at the Landmark Bangkok Sponsored by the University of Borås, the next Thai-Sweden Chamber of Commerce (TSCC) networking event will be held on January 10. It’s a good opportunity for participants to network, catch up on the latest news, and meet business associates and friends. It’s THB 500 per person for non-members who require an invitation from TSCC members. THB 100 per person for students/alumni. Participants can pay on arrival to the TSCC representatives at the Huntsman’s Pub. For more information, visit www.swecham.com
Admundsen Cup Date: 19 January 2012 Location: Please check ScandAsia.com for updates The Scandinavian Society Siam (SSS)’s golf tournament in 2013 will kick off with the traditional Dr. Amundsens Cup which again will be hosted by TetraPak. Interested people are suggested to check the upcoming event page on ScandAsia.com for updates. To sign up, visit www.zabaigolf.com 8 ScandAsia.Thailand • December 2012
Danish SKOV held open house for DanCham’s members By Savija Pannark Korslund
anish supplier of climate control technology for farms Skov Asia invited members and friends of the Danish-Thai Chamber of Commerce (DanCham) to an Open House event at its new office on Sukhumvit 71 road in Bangkok on 25 October 2012. More than 30 members and friends gathered and were warmly welcomed by Mr. Thomas Orthaus Hansen, Managing Director, SKOV ASIA LTD. The evening started with a short presentation about the SKOV Company, which highlighted that SKOV has production departments in Thailand, China and Cambodia. Though SKOV believes in the importance of maintaining a solid home market where it has a full operation in Denmark, it was well highlighted that 90 percent of turnover comes from the export markets. In 2012 SKOV A/S was nominated for “growth company of the year within agriculture and foods sector” (in Danish:”Årets Vækst Virksomhed indenfor Landbrug & Fødevarer”). SKOV A/S was ranked the top 4 and in celebration of this fine achievement, a short video presentation had been made and was shown to the participants at the event.
Field trip to Royal Copenhagen Thailand By Savija Pannark Korslund
he Danish-Thai Chamber of Commerce (DanCham) arranged a small trip for its members and friends of the Chamber to visit Royal Copenhagen’s production facilities in Saraburi on 26 October 2012. On arrival at Royal Copenhagen, participants were welcomed by the Managing Director, Mr. Mogen Hansen, and the New Product Development Manager, Mr. John Frank Jørgensen. A short video presentation about the company was shown while participants enjoying coffee and cake served in Royal Copenhagen’s own collections. The participants then were split into small groups, taking a tour in the production department and learning to paint the popular products of Royal Copenhagen, the Blue Fluted Mega, Thermal mug. Royal Copenhagen started their production in Thailand in 2003 with only 10 artists and a couple of management staff from Denmark. The plan was initially to only do decoration in Thailand. The company has now expanded to include over 350 employees in Thailand and today it not only creates the decoration on products but also produces collections for Royal Copenhagen which are then exported to Denmark, Korea, Japan and Taiwan. After the tour, participants were treated to lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant nearby. The prize for the winner of the most beautiful painting on the Blue Fluted Mega, Thermal mug, at the workshop went to Ms. Annelies Haverkamp from Novo Nordisk. The prize was a beautiful Blue Fluted MegaOval Dish (Fish dish). 10 ScandAsia.Thailand • December 2012
Nordics gain knowledge on Social Media Marketing
embers of Nordic Chambers of Commerce in Thailand gathered at the Sheraton Grande Hotel, Bangkok for a breakfast seminar on Social Media Marketing on 16 October 2012. The topic of this seminar was originally Online Marketing and E-commerce but was slightly changed to Social Media Marketing to better cover the intended content. Mr. Peter Bjork, Executive Director of the Thai-Swedish Chamber of Commerce, on behalf of all Nordic Chambers, warmly welcomed all guests and the speaker of the day, Mr. Carl Heaton. Mr. Heaton is the founder of Web CoursesBangkok and a User Experience (UX) consultant for the United Nations. He started the seminar by asking the attendees about their knowledge of online marketing, and the seminar continued with good energy and a vibrant communication between the speaker and the attendees till the end. Mr. Heaton began the presentation by demonstrating the fast growing trend of the usage of social media compared to website media for marketing purposes. The fact that consumers tend to be influenced by gregarious instinct was also pointed out. Mr. Heaton said that “context is King”, rather than “content”, which is important for social media marketing. He also underlined the importance of being “open” and “friendly” and said that you have to know the specific goals and objectives. “Consistency” was also another key word of the day. You need to be constantly in touch with your target groups and engage them to share and recommend your products as much as possible.
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8/29/11 1:57 PM December 2012 • ScandAsia.Thailand 11
Norwegian ladies lunch trip
ll the ladies from the association Nordmenn i Hua Hin got an invitation for the Ladylunch on 20 October 2012, where they had to sign up for the day. The trip was a surprise, so nobody knew where they were going. 20 ladies met at the Hua Hin train station at noon and got picked up by minivans and were taken up north to Hua Hin Soi 6 and continued up to the mountains. Little did these women know, as the trip was a surprise, they were heading for Korsor Resort and Spa. Korsor is a tranquil and majestic place featuring a dam which is surrounded by cozy huts. The ladies enjoyed lovely Thai food specially prepared for them. With such a serene ambiance, the ladies chatted and laughed with each other while relaxing in this gorgeous location. After a day of renewed friendship and fellowship, the ladies had a tasty ice cream treat, which was the perfect finish to a remarkable day that they seemed to enjoy themselves.
Swedes gain insight on Business Intelligence By Puri Yuki
n 24 October 2012, the Thai-Swedish Chamber of Commerce organized a Business Intelligence (BI) seminar at Oakwood Residence in Bangkok. The main speaker at the event was Mr. Filip Ekstrand from the Swedish firm Advince. Mr. Ekstrand is a BI expert with 25 years of management consulting experience, mostly for multinational firms and Private Equity houses. The seminar started with an introduction by Håkan Arm, board member of the chamber. Mr. Ekstrand then shared some of his BI experience from multinational firms. Mr. Ekstrand espoused definitions of BI from different points of view and deliberated on how to harness the power of BI, as well as how to avoid potential pitfalls. Mr. Ekstrand said that well-designed, user-friendly BI applications can deliver a competitive advantage. Hence, it is imperative that BI initiatives need to start with business objectives and target the most important and relevant business issues. Mr. Ekstrand explained that the objectives and targeted issues must align with company strategy and that managers must continuously test. In addition, in order to avoid failing in BI, he emphasized that one should not try to design a company’s BI packages as “The Mother of All Systems”. The Seminar ended with a Q&A section which was full of interesting questions from participants. Sponsored by Oakwood Residence, wine, beer and soft drinks were available for guests to enjoy. 12 ScandAsia.Thailand • December 2012
Swedes monthly gathering at Huntsman Pub By Sippachai Kunnuwong
et again it was time for Swedes to gather at their usual venue Huntsman’s Pub at the Landmark Bangkok on 4 October 2012. This time, approximately 30 members and Thai friends participated in the networking evening. Many Master’s Degree students from Sweden were amongst the attendants this evening. The event was sponsored by Swedish Scania, an international company with a presence in more than 100 countries. Scania started in Thailand with trucks in 1986 and busses in 1987 via an importer called Forefront (Thailand) Co., Ltd. In 2000, Scania established a wholly-owned subsidiary in Thailand. Khun Vichai Jirathiyut, the Managing Director of Scania, gave a short presentation about the company and thanked all participants for joining the event. After the speech from Khun Vichai, participants enjoyed eating their Swedish dish ‘Pyttipanna’.
December 2012 • ScandAsia.Thailand 13
One speedy night in Bangkok By Rose Jensen
he Nordic Young Professionals (NYP) Entrepreneurial Night & Mini Speed Networking event was held at the TenFace Boutique Hotel in Bangkok on 2 November 2012. The evening was a great success which was marked with a large number of enthusiastic participants including a mix of NYPs, Thais and other nationalities. At the event, free beer from Carlsberg was available for guests to enjoy. Delicious appetizers and impressive buffet were sponsored by Tenface. On the evening, two speakers were invited to give a speech about their experiences in entrepreneurship; Mr. Steve Cheah and Mr. Jakob Lykkegaard Pedersen. Mr. Steve Cheah, the host of Global Entrepreneurship in Thailand (GEW), spoke about how the organization aims at promoting and inspiring entrepreneurship. Mr. Jakob Lykkegaard Pedersen, who is an innovative young Danish entrepreneur, then gave his opinion on different opportunities and pitfalls when building up and developing a business. In return for their contributions, both speakers received dining vouchers at the Italian restaurant JoJo, sponsored by St. Regis. Approximately 100 participants then joined the mini speed networking. After that, a lucky draw took place where lucky winners went home with gifts sponsored by Admirals Pub & Restaurant, Hotel Mermaid, Culture One, gFour Wines, Impressions, Phothalai Leisure Park, Italasia, ScandAsia, Stoli and TenFace. Among those attending the event were the NYP committee members including Ms. Caroline Vamnes, Ms. Ditte Rosenquist, Ms. Jiraya Chanchon, Mr. Johan Davidsson and Ms. Rose Jensen. For more information, check out www.dancham.or.th/and Facebook page and www.facebook.com/NYPThailand
Successful Swedish Golf Day
he Swedish Golf Day, held at The Vintage Club in Bangkok on 10 November 2012, was a huge success as over 50 players turning up for the tournament. The main sponsors included Nordea, Volvo, Oakwood, SAS, Capaciton, and the Thai Swedish Chamber of Commerce. The A-group was won by Kristian Wensell, followed by Amstein Rustberggard. The B-Group was won by Fredrik Bergman followed by Christer Holmvall and the C-group was won by Helena Ahola. For the 2-man best ball, the winner was the team consisting of Erik Dahlstrom and Fredrik Widell. Next competition is the SSS tournament which will be held at Subhapruek Golf Club on the 8 December 2012, which is the final one in 2012.
14 ScandAsia.Thailand â€˘ December 2012
Norway to fund Myanmar’s expanding power needs
orway is to contribute a USD850,000 technical assistance grant in cooperation with the Asian Development Bank to help update Myanmar’s 30-year-old electricity law as part of initial steps towards meeting the nation’s expanding power needs, reports the Myanmar Times. Norway’s foreign affairs minister, Mr Espen Barth Eide, said recently during his third visit to the country that the grant would help bring the country’s law up to international standards. The minister made the remarks when discussing the Myanmar Tourism Master Plan at the Myanmar Tourism Federation office in Yangon on 5 November 2012. “Development cannot be achieved without access to electricity. Having an updated electricity law, putting it into practice and conducting initial capacity building on the principles of electricity regulation are essential for the development of Myanmar’s power sector, and an important contribution to the development of Myanmar’s economy and the welfare of its people,” he told participants. The drafting of the legislation and related rules and regulations will be carried out by the Ministry of Electric Power in conjunction with other government departments, the private sector, civil society, parliamentarians, and development partners, with completion targeted for June 2014. According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Norwegian grant will be used to help update Myanmar’s 1984 electricity law.
Norway and Denmark establish diplomatic mission in Myanmar
orway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and Denmark’s Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt opened a joint diplomatic office in Yangon on 4 November 2012 to strengthen diplomatic presence. Stoltenberg was quoted as saying that Norwegian companies can now invest in Myanmar as the economic sanctions against Myanmar have been lifted, while Myanmar Minister at the President’s Office U Aung Min said the friendship between Myanmar and Norway would flourish in all sectors, reports New Light of Myanmar. Schmidt said that the establishment of the Danish Embassy in Yangon will open a new chapter between Myanmar and Denmark to strengthen bilateral friendship, while U Aung Min expressed hope that the MyanmarDenmark friendship would develop in all sectors. The two prime ministers traveled to Nay Pyi Taw and separately met Aung San Suu Kyi, chairperson of the Committee for Rule of Law and Tranquility of the House of Representatives (Lower House) and leader of the National League for Democracy. Myanmar’s President U Thein Sein and Speaker of the Lower House U Shwe Mann had also met Norwegian Prime Minister Stoltenberg in the new capital on 3 November 2012, a day before U Thein Sein headed for AsiaEurope Meeting in Laos on 4 November 2012.
Norwegian elected as President of the World Blind Union
r. Arnt Holte was elected as President of the World Blind Union (WBU) on the first day of the WBUs 8th General Assembly in Bangkok on 12 November 2012. Having worked as First Vice President of the WBU since 2008, he is now a leader for 285 million blind and partially sighted people worldwide. “I feel first of all humility, but fighting spirit,” says the recently inaugurated president of the WBU. The Norwegian embassy in Bangkok hosted a reception to congratulate Mr. Holte on his election. Arnt Holte is 53 years old, originally from Trondheim, but lives in Oslo. Arnt has been blind all his life. He has worked for the Norwegian Association of the Blind since 2002, first as head of the International Department, and from 2006 also as Assistant Secretary General. He was also an employee of the Blind from 1983 to 1994. WBU was founded in 1984, representing 285 million blind and partially sighted persons in 190 member countries and is “the blinds’ vote” against governments and international bodies. 16 ScandAsia.Thailand • December 2012
Filipino and Thai workers “invade” Greenland
“The number draws attention because of the high unemployment rate among unskilled Greenlanders,” says Jess G. Berthelsen, chairman of the Greenland Workers Union (SIK). According to SIK, the Philippines and Thais wages are in line with SIK’s minimum wages but they work six or seven days a week and with shifting working hours without compensation.
Smear campaign Partner of Hotel Hans Egede Carl Juhl warns against what he calls a ‘smear campaign’ against Asian working in Greenland. He fears his employees can be victims of persecution and harassment. “Please show me one hotel anywhere in the world without Asians employees. This is not a special Greenland phenomena, Asians work in hotels everywhere,” Says Carl Juhl.
No lack of good labour
oreign workers have become a major issue in Greenland. Latest example is the numbers of Philippines and Thais cleaning, cooking and serving in the hospitality business. Since 1 January 2011, 81 Philippines and 39 Thais have been granted work permits in Greenland. The number may seem small but being a nation with only 57,000 inhabitants and an unem-
ployment rate at eight percent, the employment of Asians in hotels and restaurants has raised attention.
60 percent Asians At the four-star luxury hotel Hans Egede, the largest private-owned hotel in the capital Nuuk, sixty percent of the staff in house-keeping are Asians.
At the west coast of Greenland the likewise fourstar hotel Actic has chosen another approach to solve their need for employees. If they can’t find locals with the needed skills they train them themselves. “We have decided to invest in the local labour force,” tells managing director Erik Bjerregaard. He doesn’t comment on how other Hotels run their businesses, but pinpoints that Hotel Actic has no problem finding good local labour.
December 2012 • ScandAsia.Thailand 17
Swede 1st runner-up at Manhunt International 2012 in Bangkok
he 16th Manhunt International male beauty pageant was held in Bangkok on 9 November 2012. The 29-year-old Philippines’ representative, June Macasaet, was crowned the winner. Sweden’s Peter Bo Jonsson has won the second place and a representative from Denmark was named Mr. Friendship. Macau’s Martin Wang placed 2nd runnerup while Puerto Rico’s Jimmy Perez placed 3rd runner-up and Singapore’s Jason Chee placed 4th runner-up respectively. According to Globalbeauties.com, Macasaet’s victory over crowd-favorite Jonsson was a tight one - only 1 point separated the winner from the 1st runner-up. An engineering student of Uppsala University, Jonsson had stated in an interview that he would focus completely on studying if he did not win the title. “I’m writing my master thesis in engineering right now so I’m planning to get a technical master grade and a bachelor grade in economics next year,” said Jonsson. Special awards were also handed out for
Best in National Costume (Hongkong), Face of the Year (Puerto Rico), Best Runway (Latvia), Urban Male Award (Philippines’ June Macasaet), Best Physique (Macau), Mr. Personality (Bahamas), Mr. Photogenic (India) and the two fasttrack-to-Top-15-honors of Mr. Internet Popular-
ity won by Singapore and Mr. Friendship taken by Denmark. Said to be the first male model contest in Singapore when it started in 1987, Manhunt became international in 1993, when contestants from 25 countries joined the competition.
Aibel moving 2,000 FTEs to Thailand
orwegian Aibel has decided to move the construction of the biggest module of their Troll A project from their yard in Norway to their yard in Thailand. The 4,500 ton module represents 2,000 full-time equivalents and is part of a 2.7 billion NOK contract with Statoil to upgrade their Troll A platform with three new modules with a total weight of 6.800 ton. It was Aibel’s intension to build all three modules in Norway and have the steelwork delivered from subcontractors in Poland. The decision to move the construction is due to full order books at Aibel’s Polish subcontractors. Aibel’s yard in Laem Chabang proved their ability to deliver the right quality at the right time, when they delivered two major modules with a combined weight of 6,500 ton to Aibel’s Gudrun project in October this year, says shipyard director Bjørn Tollefsen. “Although we are moving construction work to Thailand, it is fully up to be done by the yard in Haugesund.” He is supported by Momir Repaja, head of the engineers club at Aibel. “We had not consented to the transfer of the construction of the Troll module to Thailand if it had cost Norwegian jobs.” He adds that the model for division of labour between Thailand and Norway on the Gudrun project worked well. “By dividing the task between our two yards, we utilize the capacity of both yards during busy times.” The Troll A platform produces gas worth 250 million NOK a day, making in Norways main money machine. 18 ScandAsia.Thailand • December 2012
Thailand encourages its labour to pick berries in Scandinavia
Finnish Embassy granted funds for local cooperation
he Embassy of Finland in Thailand has granted funds to six local organisations in total of 188,000 euros to help develop the projects concerning human rights advocacy and peace and reconciliation processes. Fund for local cooperation (FLC) is a mean for diplomatic missions carrying out development cooperation to promote activities of local civil society, stated in a press release. Eligible partners for FLC are for example local non-governmental organisations, universities and other educational and research institutions, independent media, foundations and religious communities. This year, altogether 23 interesting project proposals from Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar were sent to the Embassy but only 6 proposals were selected. Most of the projects being granted are responded by the current strategy of funds for local cooperation (FLC). The programme supports two projects in each country.
hai Labour Minister Padermchai Sasomsap has encouraged Thai labours to work in the Scandinavian countries during their berry harvesting season, assuring approximately 100,000 baht monthly income. Padermchai has disclosed Labour Ministry’s annual performance in which sending Thai labours to work abroad has become one of the Ministry’s main strategies. According to the Minister, 60,000 Thais are registered to be working as berry-pickers in the Scandinavian countries. “In Sweden, Thai labours are being sought-after because they are hard-working and honest. Thus, we should continue to expand the relationship and job opportunities in the country,” says the Minister. The Minister also stated that the Ministry’s strict regulations to prevent unfair treatment from recruitment agencies will assure Thai labours that they will be looked after.
Finnish Embassy supports a campaign to fight violence
overnment agencies in three southern border provinces organized ‘One Voice to End Violence against Women and Children’ campaign at Prince of Songkla University, Pattani campus, on 17-18 November 2012. Funded by the Embassy of Finland, European Union and other government agencies, the 2-day campaign was aimed at highlighting the importance of the upcoming International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on November 25, reports Manager.co.th. More than 600 participants attended a variety of activities on both dates, with the highlights, ‘Women are the driving force behind the development of a sustainable peace processes’ discussion, and “Women give voice to end violence and discrimination in areas of southern frontier’ seminar. Women Strive for Peace’ group also submitted proposals and suggestions on the violence-against-women plight to the government. December 2012 • ScandAsia.Thailand 19
You can’t save the but you can make a
Katrine and Kia became volunteers through the Danish Volunteer Aid agency, which refers volunteers to eight different project in Thailand. Five of the projects are run by the Good Shepherd Sisters. Katrine and Kia have paid approximately 16.000 DKR for air ticket, insurance, vaccination and fee to Volunteer Aid. http://www.volunteeraid.dk
20 ScandAsia.Thailand • December 2012
The Good Shepherd Sisters in Nongkhai, have accompanied the poor, offering opportunities by which people can help themselves, for the past 31 years. Village Outreach Program A holistic approach to healing... and a holistic approach to living. • Advocacy and transportation • Milk for children age 0-2 • Teaching home care nursing • Support to relatives raising children who have lost their parents • House renovation and construction • Micro-finance for home enterprises
Hands of Hope Dignified employment for those living with HIV/Aids Garden of Friendship • Nursing and hospice care • Long term and emergency accommodation for outcasts Contact: Good Shepherd Sisters, 916 Prachak Rd, Nong Khai, Tel. +66 042 411861, email@example.com
world difference! Children infected with HIV, adults with Aids and families affected by HIV/Aids, have been part of Kia’s and Katrine’s everyday life for the last four months. They are volunteers at the Good Shepherd’s centre in Nong Khai. By Kim Birkkjaer Lund Photo by Jan Mouritsen
chose to be a volunteer for my own benefit, for personal growth and I wanted to become part of Thai society. Don’t fool yourself to believe you can save the world but you can make a difference in someone’s life.” The words belong to 26-yearold Katrine Uhrskov Larsen. She is a graduate pedagog and has chosen to leave job, family and friends for half a year to experience the life of less fortunate people: Poor families infected with HIV in Isaan - the Northeastern part of Thailand - at the Good Shepherd Friendship Centre. Katrine is one of two Danish volunteers at the centre. The other, 24 year old Kia Elten Madsen, chose to be a volunteer to get some practical experience in her otherwise very theoretical education in health science. “I had just finished my bachelor and wanted a break to work practical with health as a volunteer before I start at my master’s degree. Organization is part of my degree program, so I find it interesting to see how the Good Shepherds have built their organization and how it works.”
Unprejudiced nuns None of the two young women knew the Good Shepherd Sisters before they came to Thailand and they aren’t religious either. They both
the patients,” Kia tells. Katrine has learned that to make a difference, you’ve got to give attention to the needs of the patients and to take initiatives to do activities. “We have a young man with TB of the brain at the centre. He has a tendency to just sleep all day. I decided to acquire a ball and started to play ball with him, and he is actually very good at it. Initiatives benefit the outcome for both patients and volunteers,” says Katrine.
Sharing life and death
chose the Good Shepherd because the period of 6 months suited them. Formal religion fills almost nothing in their everyday work. “I had expected they would be stricter, not recognise gays and condemn sex outside marriage, but they are much unprejudiced. Here you are accepted as the person you are,” says Katrine. They have been invited to a few Christian ceremonies but not pressured to attend. So far they have chosen to take part, mostly out of curiosity, and it has been appreciated as a sign of having open minds by the nuns.
No specific duties Kia and Katrine work in separated week shifts. One week in a Good Shepherd income generating project – ‘Hands of Hope’ and then one a week in the Good Shepherd’s Care Centre. “Most patients at the Care Centre are transferred from hospitals. They may have been treated for TB and when moved to the Care Centre, we start the HIV medication and observe if the medication causes any complication,” says Katrine. “When we first came it was a bit frustrating because we didn’t have specific duties. It was difficult to see how we could be useful, but then you realise how important it is just being present and available to
Those weeks where they work in “Hands of Hope” they either participate in the production which generates an income for 37 women and men, accompany people to hospitals for examinations or visit families in some of the 58 villages in the outreach program. Meeting families in the villages has made a huge impression on Kia. “The love I have met from people who don’t know me is amazing. They invite us into their homes and though they are unbelievably poor, they offer you whatever they have.” To Katrine the death of a female patient at the Care Centre has made the greatest impression. “She just gave up and stopped taking her medicine and died a few days later at the hospital,” Katrine tells. None of them had experienced death before. “Just a week before, she had been sitting here in her wheelchair playing dominoes with me, and now she was dead,” Kia says Her death and funeral were very different from anything the two Danish girls ever had experienced before. “The funeral was surreal to us, because we didn’t understand what was going on. We were served soft drinks and the deceased’s daughter and mother smiled and seemed happy. Then they poured gasoline on the deceased, set her on fire and pushed her into a crematorium. And finally they threw out candy, as we do at last day of school back home. It was a very special experience.” Their English speaking supervisor was sick at the time and not able to
attend the funeral and explain what was happening. She has subsequently explained the Buddhist rites for Kia and Katrine ensuring that they understand that every bit of a Thai funeral has an explanation.
English for children Every second Saturday the volunteers teach the children affiliated with the project English. 85 children are part of the project because someone in their family is infected by HIV. 29 of them are infected themselves. Because the project covers a large geographic area, not all of them are able to attend the learning programme each time. “Each volunteer has their own group of children, which forms a very close relationship with the children. We teach by playing, making it a very different experience for the children than their usual school day,” says Katrine.
An evolving experience
Neither Kia nor Katrine are young globetrotters. It is their first time in Asia and both anticipate living their lives in Denmark, though Kia is considering doing a semester of her master’s degree in Australia. “I don’t think I will be a volunteer again, but I will for sure recommend others to do so. It is a very special and evolving experience. And I do want to come back to Nong Khai to visit the project,” says Katrine. They both find that being a volunteer has changed them. The difference in mentality between Thais and Danes has required Katrine to break down some barriers. “At home, the individual is most important, while here the community is the main thing. Keeping to yourself and keeping distance from others are not considered positive here. It has been a challenge to be so open and intimate as people are here,” Katrine admits. Kia believes that being a volunteer has made her less materialistic. “Right now I think my vision of the world has changed a lot. I hope that it is a lasting change, which will keep when I return to Denmark.”
December 2012 • ScandAsia.Thailand 21
Dr. Surapong on Thai-Swedish relations The Thai Sweden Review Magazine of Thai-Sweden Chamber of Commerce (TSCC) has recently published the rare Q&A interview with Dr. Surapong Tovichakchaikul, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, in its November 2012 issue.
ccording to the article, the Minister says that the Ministry is working on having Thai citizens exempted from visa to the Schengen area and that he appreciates Sweden’s support on this. Dr. Surapong also reveals that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra recently assigned him to act as a coordinator to work with concerned agencies to improve regulation – including visa or stay and work permits – to help facilitate foreign businesses and investment in Thailand. Some of his quotes published in the article are featured here.
Visa free travel to Schengen “Thailand has unilaterally granted visa exemption and visa on arrival for short-term stay in Thailand for EU citizens. We, therefore, hope that holders of Thai ordinary passports would be exempted from Schengen visa requirements and have approached our relevant EU partners to consider this.” “We hope the Schengen members will see the benefit of easing travel requirements for Thai business people and Thai tourists by waiving Schengen visa requirements. We are appreciative that Sweden supports
the waiving of visa requirements for Thais which is crucial because every member of the Schengen area will have a say on this matter.”
Regulations hampering business As for the issue concerning foreign business people doing business in Thailand, the minister shares how the government plans to facilitate foreign businesses. “The Government is well aware of some inconveniences faced by foreign business people wishing to do business in Thailand. The Prime Minister herself has recently assigned me to act as a coordinator to work with concerned agencies to improve regulatory regimes whether they are visa or stay and work permits - and help facilitate foreign businesses and investment in our country. “The issue you raise was indeed one of the issues addressed in a meeting on 25 October 2012 that we had with relevant authorities, namely the Ministry of Interior, Immigration Bureau, Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau and especially the Ministry of Labour (MOL). As the issue on a work permit requirement for a short-time
22 ScandAsia.Thailand • December 2012
business visitor is governed by the Working of Aliens Act B.E. 2551 (2008), the Department of Employment of MOL, who is the sole agency responsible for this area, has proposed to seek legal advice from the Council of State on how to resolve this impediment to the business environment in Thailand.” “In the meantime, there is an exception to the regulation which means that a work permit is not required for business visitors who need to enter Thailand to conduct necessary and urgent business for a period of not exceeding 15 days. However, they have to inform MOL of the purpose by fax or at the MOL counter which opens 24 hours at the Suvarnabhumi Airport.”
Joint Plan of Action Regarding a renewed Thai-Sweden Joint Plan of Action (JPOA), Dr. Surapong says that he has discussed the importance of the new JPOA with Sweden’s Minister Carl Bildt during his visit to Thailand in April this year. “The Thai side has finished reviewing the first Draft of JPOA and sent it to the Swedish side. We expect to receive comments from the Swedish side soon,” he says.
Increase student exchange He also shares his view on the Swedish-Thai relations in the field of education. “We are happy to see more Swedish students studying in Thailand. However, since the end of 2011 when Sweden began to collect tuition fees from foreign students, we have seen a dramatic decline in the number of Thai students going to Sweden. We believe that this situation would improve and lead to greater exchanges between our peoples if the Swedish government grants more scholarships to Thai students in fields that Sweden has expertise such as science and technology, alternative energy, and design.” Dr. Surapong says that Thailand and Sweden have long enjoyed close and cordial bilateral relations, where the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is constantly engaged in dialogue with the Swedish Embassy in Bangkok and the Thai embassy in Stockholm works closely with the Swedish Foreign Ministry. “At the multilateral level, Thailand and Sweden also enjoy great cooperation and mutual support. For example, both sides have exchanged votes in various UN elections,” he says.
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Friendship, freedom and trade While most Scandinavian media had their eyes on the American presidential election, European and Asian leaders gathered in Vientiane in Laos for the 9th Asem Summit on 5 - 6 November 2012. By Kim Birkkjaer Lund
or two days Vientiane, the otherwise relaxed capital of Laos, was hosting 11 head of states and 21 heads of government plus ministers, ambassadors and representatives of the press from all parts of the world. The occasion was the 9th Asem summit. Daily life was put on hold, schools and businesses were closed, while conveys of limousines with police escorts drove through streets closed for other traffic. A new 24,900sqm Convention Centre (ICC), funded by the Chinese government with a price tag of 450 million Yang (USD 80 million), has been built for the summit. The Wattay International Airport has been enlarged and 50 luxury villas have been built on the riverbanks of Mekong to accommodate the Asian and European leaders. 102 families have been moved to make space for the Lao and Chinese joint venture which has built the 50 villas as the first step in a USD 180-million plan expected to be completed by 2021.
Sweden’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt
First Chinese - Norwegian contact in two years For Norway and Stoltenberg the 9th Asem summit was a debut. In his speech at the opening ceremony, Stoltenberg praised Asia as a driving force in global economy and underlined Norway’s confidence in the Asian economies by mention, that the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund has invested about 80 billion US dollars in Asian equities and fixed income holdings. Stoltenberg used the summit to meet with Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao. A meeting which made headline in many media as it was the first official contact between China and Norway in two years. Norway has been put ice by China since the pro-democracy dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded with the Nobel Peace Price in 2010. Stoltenberg also met with the Philippine’s President Benigno S. Aquino. Aquino informed Stoltenberg of the recent signing of the 2012 Framework Agreement on
A new Convention Centre (ICC), funded by the Chinese government 24 ScandAsia.Thailand • December 2012
the Bangsamoro. They furthermore tackled the strengthening of bilateral maritime and labour cooperation. Stoltenberg also met with Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and with Thailand’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. At the meeting with Najib, Stoltenberg offered to deliver Norwegian missiles for Royal Malaysian Navy and to provide Malaysia with the latest technology in oil and gas drilling. The Thai Prime Minister and Stoltenberg talked about resuming the negotiation on a free trade agreement between EFTA (Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein) and Thailand.
wish to promote mutual ties after a six years hiatus (since the military coup in 2006) of high-level discussions. When meeting with Thein Sein, President of Myanmar, Katainen expressed Finland’s interest in discussing ways of enhancing cooperation, developing the activities of civil society and increasing democratic dialogue in Myanmar. “Based on our own experience, I underlined that inclusive and open education is a key element of a well-functioning, modern society respecting human rights,” said Prime Minister Katainen in Laos.
Education key to modern society
Sweden’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt is a veteran in Asian – European cooperation. The 9th summit in Laos was Carl Bildt’s 5th Summit. Rather unconventional Bildt had chosen to make freedom of the internet to his main agenda at the summit. “Sweden raised the issue of internet freedom and security. Internet freedom has received increasing attention and becoming a topic of discussion in a number of Asian countries. That’s why we believe it is important to put these issues on the agenda,” says Mr. Bildt Carl Bildt has previously mentioned Myanmar, Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand as countries that have more or less elaborate restrictions to the freedom of and the freedom on the net and named China among the world leaders in the area of controlling and restricting the internet. Before Bildt left Vientiane he visited the Scandinavian Bakery and being a diligent twitter he posted a recommendation: “Next time you pass by Vientiane, don’t miss the Scandinavian Bakery!”
The Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen had two busy days in Vientiane. On the sideline he met with Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, South Korean Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Thailand’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Thein Sein, President of Myanmar. South Korea and Finland signed a preliminary deal in May in Finland to expand cooperation in the nuclear energy field and the two PMs used the occasion to discourse further cooperation. Dung and Katainen talked about strengthen the ties of friendship, trade and economic cooperation. Furthermore, they agreed to organize activities to mark the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Vietnam and Finland next year. The Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra assured Katainen of Thailand’s political and economic stability. Both PMs expressed their
Interview with the Danish Prime Minister In an exclusive interview with ScandAsia the Danish PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt tells about her visit to Myanmar and her agenda at the Asem summit. By Kim Birkkjaer Lund
What have been the main issue of your speeches at the summit? I have talked about education. I have been appointed as education Champion by the UN and believe that Asia and Europe jointly can do a lot to improve education. Then I have talked about economy, especially green economy,
where I drew the attention to the Global Green Growth Forum (3GF) which we established together with Korea, proving that just two countries bilateral can create something that can have a huge impact on green economy. And finally I have talked about piracy. It is an issue where both Europe and Asia have large interest.
Piracy impede our trading but most importantly it causes human disaster for the victims, so I have raised the issue as a theme of common interest.
You met with Lee Hsien Loong, Singaporean Prime Minister yesterday. What was the theme of your meeting? An increasing partnership and cooperation with Singapore. Both Singapore and Denmark are trading nations and maritime nations, so we have a lot in common and a lot we can achieve together. We recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to cooperate on maritime issues with Singapore. I used the occasion to confirm that Denmark are dedicated to cooperation with Singapore and to tell that Denmark strongly supports a free trade agreement between Singapore and EU and a agreement had priority in our presidency of the EU.
Later today you are meeting with Myanmar President U Thein Sein. What is the headline for the meeting? I visited Myanmar before going to the Asem summit, but we didn’t have time for meeting while I was in Myanmar. Now fortunately we meet here. My message is simple: We recognize the political changes towards democracy in Myanmar and are prepared for next steep in our cooperation with Myanmar. Myanmar should know that they can count on Denmark and that we will be present in Myanmar. That’s why we have opened a small diplomatic mission in Myanmar and I visited the country two days ago being the first Danish Prime Minister to visit the country.
You inaugurated the mission together with Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg Sunday. Why did Denmark choose to open a joint mission with Norway?
It’s quite natural for the Nordic countries to work together on a mission like this. We have discussed joint mission in the Nordic Council and agreed on more joint diplomatic missions. The Nordic countries have a lot in common and share views on many subject. We disagree on very few issues, so it makes sense to join with Norway on representation in Myanmar and if the Swedes want to join they will be very welcome as well.
Even Myanmar has made great progress towards democracy, there still are huge unsolved problems concerning human rights as the persecution of the Rohingyas. Do you intend to raise the Rohingya issue at the meeting with the Myanmar President? I have raised the issue when speaking with Myanmar’s ministers and also when speaking with Aung San Suu Kyi. It is an issue that concerns those I have talked with as well as it concerns us. We have to use dialogue to constantly push the development of human rights, freedom of press and the protection of minorities.
Europe is hit by crisis and we want to develop our relations with Asia, which still has growth, but opposite China and to some degree Japan we also want to interfere with the way they govern their countries. Does our desire to interfere harm the Danish business community? No it doesn’t. Having educational and cultural relations as well as political dialogue and trade and business relation is all part of a circle where the various relationships strengthen the overall relationship. By having a wide variety of relationships with a country, it becomes much easier to explain our views.
December 2012 • ScandAsia.Thailand 25
Design for change “W Denmark’s awardwinning designer Timothy Jacob Jensen considers opening a design studio to help educate young designers in Thailand. By Sippachai Kunnuwong
hen you’re from the country and you make it big in the city, they say you’re lucky,” said chief designer and CEO of Denmark’s leading design studio, Timothy Jacob Jensen. But his long list of works – products, architectures, graphics and so on – have proved that it took more than just sheer lucks or a family’s heritage to influence design industry around the world with that ‘simple, sleek, Scandinavian’ touch. A son of Danish renowned designer Jacob Jensen, Timothy is now sharing his fortune of knowledge to young designers across the continents. In August this year, he
opened a sister studio in Shanghai on the grounds of Shanghai Institute of Visual Art and he’s aiming to do the same in Thailand. ScandAsia catches up with Jensen while he is on a trip in Bangkok to launch the new products he collaborated with Toshiba – the smart televisions ‘RW1T’ series – and right before he meets local investors and universities, possibly partners for his project to uplift Thailand through designs.
Tell me about your plan to open a design studio in Thailand. Well, we’re investigating the opportunity, if we can find the right partners in Thailand to open up – yes, we would like to do that.
Is it a private design studio for yourself? What’s the purpose of it?
The purpose, as we’ve done in Shanghai recently, is not to exploit the brain or cheap labour but to make an educational profitable exchange programme. So our plan is to set up a studio in Thailand with Thai partners, where we will further educate young Thai designers. But not so much as a lecture or school but as a real studio. We want to bring in young Thai designers so they can learn some more and help raise the living standard in Thailand.
Who will be the customers? We would serve probably Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. There will be all kinds of clients. It could be products, architecture, graphics, and serial manufacture – it could be anything because we pretty much cover everything. But to bring young Thai designers into our team, they have to be bachelor’s degree students. Otherwise, we can’t use them and give them our guidance. We don’t guide them only theoretically but handson: ‘You have to meet the deadline, you have to meet the budget and we’re going to deliver!’ It has to be world-class.
Why did you choose Thailand? For various reasons, first of all, I love this country. I first came to this country in 1989 as a bag-pack tourist and I felt in love with it, the people, the Buddhism, the food, the ecstatics. It’s wonderful! And of course as I was told that people here are wealthier, everybody wants what the American have in the 50s, what we (the Danish) had in the 60s, what the Japanese had in the 70s and so forth. The economy is growing and I want to contribute. Of course, I have to make money to pay salary. But my main purpose here is that I want to make beauty and lift a living standard of this country. It’s totally legitimate for all of us in this planet to have as good life as I had when I grew up in the 60s. We want to give our kids a better life and more opportunities than we had ourselves. So that’s what this project is about. 26 ScandAsia.Thailand • December 2012
How can the project benefit Thai design industry or Thai society as a whole? We would create a curriculum for our programme but together with the Thai design scenes. We’re going to do the right thing. And with our methods and history, I think we can contribute to make Thai design even better, help the young generation of Thai designers to have broader outlook, to make a better product. For Thai industry, they sell more products, people pay more taxes, and you lift up the society.
Can young designers from other countries join the programme as well? Yes, we would have an international team but we want to build up with a Thai educational partner, Thai universities offering design courses, a
programme where young designers come to work with us for a year or two and then they become masters under Jacob Jensen. It is about people from this region but if there’s a young man from Sweden who wants to be here for a year, he can also do that.
When will it open? Maybe never. It depends. I’ll only do it if I have an educational partner and a local investor and myself. (Jensen held an exclusive business event to meet business delegates on 8 November 2012). If Thailand is ready for that and they like us, we can put it together maybe next year.
The purpose is not to exploit the brain or cheap labour but to make an educational profitable exchange programme. Our plan is to set up a studio in Thailand with Thai partners, where we will further educate young Thai designers.
Will there be similar studios opening in other countries in the future? We’re considering Mumbai and Capetown our next destinations.
• • • •
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How do you celebrate in Asia?
ScandAsia has asked seven prominent Scandinavians living in Asia how they plan to celebrate Christmas this year - and how they usually celebrate Christmas in Asia.
t is common for Nordic expats to have bad memories of their first Christmas in Asia. The special Christmas mood was not there. The calendar said 24 December, but the temperature and everything screams anything but Christmas. As time goes, most find ways to adjust their Christmas expectations to Asia and actually create new Christmas mood triggers. ScandAsia has asked seven prominent Scandinavians living in Asia how they plan to celebrate Christmas this year - and how they usually celebrate Christmas in Asia. Enjoy the reading. “God Jul!”
Multicultural Christmas – Divide and Conquer
Christian Overgaard is Chairman of Danish Chamber of Commerce in China (DCCC) Shanghai & SVP and Global Head of Heat Exchanger Business Danfoss. He has been living in Asia for over 10 years. He tells ScandAsia that he initially held home country Christmas family values and went to Denmark with his Chinese wife and two children. However, over the years, they now prefer the big family tour over summer in Denmark since the weather is better for them. Christian says that his wife’s family originates from the South of China and therefore gravitates towards Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Zhuhai. “We have been several times to the theme parks “Splendid China” and “Window of the world” in
Shenzhen among family friends. Other years in between, we spend Christmas in Bali, Singapore, and so on,” he says. Christian’s daughter likes the Danish Christmas tradition and food, so last year she went with him while his wife, son (he prefers Chinese food) and parents-in-law went to a Zhuhai Spa place for relaxing time with grandmother. “In China, Christmas planning always combines with Spring Festival planning - and lately also skiing planning for our family,” he says. This year they will again ‘divide and conquer’ due to his busy work schedule, but they will start the festive season with some family skiing in November/December. “For Christmas, my wife will go to the ancestral town of Chao Zhou with children and parents-inlaw for a week before I join them in Hong Kong. We have many friends in Hong Kong and like the Disney Land which is not too big for children aged 6-8 years,” says Christian. “Finally, for a family like ours Hong Kong always reminds us of the place where “East blends with West” in true yin-yang style - and that has probably become part of our multi-cultural Christmas values!” he adds.
Christmas in the air Axel Blom and his wife “Jak” will on Christmas Eve be on a plane on their way back from a meeting in Oslo. “It is not our dream solution,” Axel Blom admits. “But this year, it just cannot be helped.” Axel Blom, who is President of the Thai-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce and long- time resident of Thailand, usually alternates between celebrating Christmas in Bangkok or in Scandinavia, which means either Norway or Denmark. “When in Bangkok, we always celebrate Christmas Eve with a dinner with some friends. I am myself in charge of the roast crispy pork with brown potatos,” says Axel. “I know it is more Danish than Norwegian, but lutefisk is not my taste,” he laughs. “Every year, we also always buy a real Christmas tree from Villa Supermarket. The smell is so good. This year, we will check to see, what kind of trees IKEA will be selling. I want to see if the quality will be the same.” he says. 28 ScandAsia.Thailand • December 2012
First Christmas in Singapore His Excellency Mr. Tormod Cappelen Endresen, the new Norwegian Ambassador to Singapore, is looking forward to celebrating his first and rather unusual Christmas in Singapore. “I have spent a different way of celebrating Christmas whilst serving the military service. And what I like about a different celebration is that they are often the ones you remember the most. This year will also be an extra nice one as we are having family and friends visiting the town. In fact we are having about 15 guests from Norway coming down to Singapore for Christmas.” When asked about missing the traditional Norwegian Christmas preparations, Mr. Endresen said that there are many Norwegian community’s activities in Singapore. “There is the Julebasar at the Seamen’s Church and also Julebord (Christmas Parties) at this time of the year to attend. Pinnekjøtt is on the Christmas Eve menu for this year as we will be having it at the Norwegian Seamen’s Church. It will be nice with the Asian twist to it and I am looking forward to it,” said Mr. Endresen
Vietnamese inspired Danish Christmas home in Hanoi Emilie and Peter Hjortsoe moved to Hanoi in 2010 looking for new adventures away from home. Emilie Hjortsoe just started her own management consulting business this summer and she is looking forward to a quiet and calm Christmas with her husband Peter and 15-month old son Arthur. “Last year we went to Phu Quoc Island, but this year we are focusing on essential quality time in the family at home here in Hanoi”. Emilie Hjortsoe loves Hanoi around Christmas time, it’s a cosy and quiet time, she says. “Going to Denmark for Christmas can be rather rushed at times, this year we are looking for peace and time for a tranquil Christmas with the family, and that is what matters.” It remains to be seen if their Vietnamese oven can make for a happy Christmas duck to go with a Vietnamese inspired cabbage salad. “I am thinking some orange juice and nuts in a cold fresh cabbage salad this year,” she contemplates. The presents from family back in Denmark have already arrived and a wonderful plastic Christmas tree is ready for decorations. “I made Calendar presents for our son to open every day, they will be some decorations in there for the tree and we also got plenty of Danish nougat and marzipan for making confetti, it will be a first for our son – so we are going for the gold medal this year in confetti making”, she says laughing.
White New Year in Asia Snow will be central this year for the Ranta family. After five years in Singapore and two years in Hong Kong, the two sons Anselm, 9 and Amos, 7 are eager to get some experience with snow. Since there is hardly any guarantee for a white Christmas in their home town in southern Finland, they prefer to spend a few days skiing in Japan instead. A couple of years ago the family went skiing in Niseko, on Japan’s northern island, Hokkaido, but this year they plan to visit the small and cozy hot spring village Nozawa Onsen in Nagano. They go right after Christmas and spend New Year in Winterland. Christmas itself will however be celebrated at home in Singapore, together with good friends. “I think it is definitely possible to get into the right Christmas feeling here in Singapore,” says Helinä. She wants to make sure that the Christmas tree is up and ready by the Finnish Independence day, December 6. At 12 noon on December 24, Christmas peace is officially announced, and the Ranta’s try to have everything ready by then so they can relax and enjoy traditional food and drinks together.
Cooking up Christmas mood
Traditional Danish family Christmas in Singapore Ziegler, President Danish Business Association Singapore, celebrates a traditional Danish Christmas together with Children, ex-wife and Henrik’s mother, who comes visiting from Denmark. The Ziegler’s family has no trouble getting into the Christmas spirit in the heat of Singapore. The whole packet of Danish Christmas traditions secures the right spirit. “We have a totally traditional Danish Christmas dinner with Roast pork, duck, rice à l’impératrice and with a gift to the one who gets the whole almond hidden in the rice à l’impératrice. We dance around the Christmas tree and sing all the traditional Christmas carols. It is as traditional as it gets,” Henrik Ziegler tells.
Erik Dahlström, Regional Accounts Manager with Asian Tigers Transpo International Ltd. based in Bangkok gets into Christmas mood when cooking Christmas dinner with his friends from Sweden. “Our friends come out here a few weeks around Christmas every year. They have their own place, so they don’t stay with us, but on Christmas Eve they will typically come over quite early in the afternoon and then we start cooking together,” Erik says. The dinner is quite early, starting around 4 - 5 o’clock. Erik and his wife Nujeen have three children and the youngest is only four so it is better to start early. “After dinner one of us... I mean, when its dark, we all have to wait for Santa Claus to come out here all the way to Bangkok,” he quickly corrects himself. Christmas in the Dahlström home typically comes complete with a Christmas tree. Usually a plastic tree but maybe it will be a real tree this year.
December 2012 • ScandAsia.Thailand 29
Christmas Hearts together! Christmas is a time where children and grown ups should join around the dinner table to play with paper and glue in preparation of the upcoming celebrations. By Gregers Moller
hristmas Hearts as we know them today goes back to the world famous Danish author H.C. Andersen. It was he who made the very first heart which later in 1871 became a template of a Christmas heart. In Denmark a particular day has been announced “Christmas Heart Day” - the 23rd December where we should all cut and weave our hearts together.
Hearts are easy!
This woven Christmas heart is the believed to be produced by the author H.C. Andersen in 1860 or 1862 and is the World’s first Christmas heart.
30 ScandAsia.Thailand • December 2012
First you need to buy some glossy gift wrapping paper or other similar paper with different colour. If it has the size of A4, fold it down to A5 and fold it again down to A6. Cut it along the fold to A6 and you will have paper for one heart. But it will be the same colour. Therefore you have to do the same with an A4
sheet of different colour. Now you can make two hearts. Place a cup or glass at the notfolded edge and draw a half circle that you can cut after. Next, mark a line 4 cm from the opposite edge, the folded edge. Slice the hearts up in four strips from the folded edge and up to your line. Now you are ready to start weaving them together. Carefully insert the folded edge of one strip between the ‘loop’ of the other. The strip that just went between now goes around. It can not be over and under(!), it has to be around and between. Now start on the next strip. Do the opposite of last time: around, then between so you make a check pattern. Continue until all strips are woven. Once you get the hang of it, you can make unlimited number of variations.
December 2012 â€˘ ScandAsia.Thailand 31
Discussions with the Republic of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI)
Fact finding in Myanmar with TSCC A fantastic country and a great people which offers huge business opportunities in all sectors but also bigger than normal risks.Those are some of the conclusions from the Thai Swedish Chamber of Commerce fact finding trip to Myanmar. By Kim Birkkjaer Lund
hen is the right time to enter business in Myanmar? Foreign investors are queuing up for getting into business in Myanmar. Japan has been eager to get in with massive investments and China has been there for years. Has Swedish companies slept over when not a single Swedish company has own branch in Myanmar? The answer is as simple as it is short: No. And maybe it is still too soon, according to Peter Björk, Executive director for Thai-Sweden Chamber of Commerce (TSCC). “I am totally convinced, especially after this trip, that there is no need to rush. Actually we asked some of our speakers with Myanmar experience, if it still is too early to get in with investments,” says Peter Björk It was his second trip to Myanmar. He believes that it is wise to go there and makes contacts, but warns against being caught by the hype to be first. “A lot of things are still missing: Office spaces, homes for expats, infrastructure, banking and finance systems for overseas transactions, education systems just to mention some.”
Office prices doubled 10 persons representing a mix of small, medium and big companies, the Swedish Foreign Trade Association and TSCC participated in the fact finding tour. 32 ScandAsia.Thailand • December 2012
“You can have business seminars in Bangkok talking about doing business in Myanmar but it is quite different to actually be there and meet local business representatives.” Anthony Picon from Colliers told the participants that prices had more than doubled from 30 USD per square meter to 75 USD in a year, and he expected them to double once more to 150 USD as developers are holding back because of the uncertainty. “We were told that foreign companies will be allowed to lease on 50 years contracts with two time 10 years extension options but it is only expectations, no one knows for sure,” says Peter Björk.
No proper banking system One of the big obstacles for investments and business is the lack of a proper banking system for overseas payments. “The banking system isn’t up to standards making it difficult to transfer money in and out of the country in a proper manner. This is however set to be improved soon when new regulations for the banking sector will be launched.” There is also some reluctance. Local business has been protected against competition for 60 years, making some nervous for opening to much up. “They are welcoming foreign investments and they are open to
foreigners but at the same time they want to protect their own business,” tells Peter Björk.
Partners or even helpers Luc De Waegh was invited to speech and surprised with a very personal and committed speak on Myanmar’s sincerity in its wish for becoming a part of the world after years of isolation and their eagerness for development. It was a speech in line with the participant’s discussion on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as a part of the right investment strategy. “The CSR perspective seems to be as important for Myanmar as it is for our members. After Myanmar has been locked out from the world for decades, we have to see ourselves as partners and maybe even helpers who care about both the country and its people.”
A tangible offer Peter Björk considers the fact finding visit a great success. Several participants had separate meetings with either established partners, as the represents from Volvo who met with their local importer, others met with potential future partners. “I am convinced that we achieved our goals with this trip. We got firsthand knowledge and we made new contacts. We will certainly be back with more initiatives on Myanmar for our members.”
December 2012 â€˘ ScandAsia.Thailand 33
The renovated grave of Captain of The Royal Siamese Provincial Gendarmerie, Hans Marqvard Jensen at the Foreigners Cemetery in Chiang Mai.
EAC Fund Supports Heritage Preservation The EAC Foundation - the foundation of the East Asiatic Company - has donated 260.000 Thai Baht (50.000 DKK) - to support the work of the Heritage Section of Scandinavian Society Siam to renovate some of the graves of Danes buried in Thailand. By Flemming Winther Nielsen
he grave of the first Danish Consul to Thailand, Carl F. Koebke and his wife Bolette is in a historical sense one of the most important Danish graves in Thailand. The grave is located on the Christian Cemetery in Bangkok and one of the first graves to be identified as in need of renovation by the Heritage Section of the Scandinavian Society Siam. The headstone was tilting to the left and the inscription hardly readable. “We have now had the stone straightened up and the painted letters in bas relief refreshed both on the headstone and the plate,” says Flemming Winther Nielsen who is the head of the heritage section. The grave is now supported by a 15 cm layer of concrete to hinder further decay. The work has been possible because of the financial support received from The EAC Foundation - the foundation of East Asiatic Company in Denmark.
The headstone of Arne Sofus Gundersen before and after the renovation.
34 ScandAsia.Thailand • December 2012
The majority of the graves in need of restoration are located at the Christian Cemetery in Bangkok. But also outside Bangkok, several graves were identified as Danish heritage by the SSS Heritage Section. The monument in Phayao over Captain Hans Marqvard Jensen, who led Siamese troops in a battle that prevented the North of Siam to become part of Burma, is taken well care of by the Thai police. Less so with his grave, that was originally placed in Lampang, the city he defended, which has since been moved to Chiangmai. In Trang in the South of Thailand, two graves have been renovated with the support of the the EAC fund. One is the grave of Commander, Capt. F Haurowitz in Trang who drowned at the entrance to the harbour. Another is the grave of Colonel August Kolls who served in The Royal Siamese Provincial Military Police. In Muak Lek around 150 km north of Bangkok, a grave right next to the railway station bears witness to Danish
involvement in other aspects of the modernisation of the Kingdom. Here rests Knud Lyhne Rahbek an only 19 year old land surveyor. A Bodhi tree that undoubtedly has been planted at the same time as the burial had overgrown the grave, but the grave has now been cleaned up and painted. “When we - myself together with Claus Gundersen and Gregers Moller - applied for the support from The EAC Foundation, I was fairly optimistic that we could soon finish this task,” says Flemming Winther Nielsen. “But the task just keeps growing. One major frustration is, that the cemetery in Bangkok gets flooded every year. We have to push for the main caretaker - a committee under the British Consul - to lay down drain pipes so our limited funds are not wasted,” he says. So far, 80 graves mostly in the cemetery in Bangkok have been registered as worthy of preservation and close to 20 have by now already been renovated with the support of the EAC Foundation.
Flemming Winther Nielsen at the grave of Danish Consul, Captain Carl F. Koebke during a cemetery presentation walk for members of Scandinavian Society Siam on Saturday 3 November 2012.
Skiing 1000 km
in Thailand for charity By Rose Jensen
hree “crazy pensioners” - Karl Fred (Kalle) Kristensen and Kjell Isak Sunde from Norway and Peter from Sweden - started on 15 October 2012 on a ski run in Chiangrai in the far north of Thailand that over the next 18 days took them down through the northern and central provinces of Thailand, through the capital Bangkok and further down to the seaside city of Pattaya. A total of 1000 kilometers. On Friday 2 November, the tough Scandinavian skiers were greeted by over a hundred Norwegians as they rolled into Pattaya with Thai police escort on the last leg of their legendary trip. It is safe to say without any research that their feat is for sure the longest ski-trip ever in Thailand, possible also the only one ever undertaken in all of South East Asia. At least regarding the two Norwegians, who were using roller skis - while the third runner was skating on rollerblades. “The boys have been going faster than planned and the equipment worked out as well,” says Rediar who
was in charge of the equipment. The equipment held up pretty well all the way, and only Peter had to replace a wheel once. The team also avoided accidents, - barring one close encounter with some elephants! Kjell, who hadn’t seen Kalle for almost 10 years, found out about the “madness” and had travelled to Thailand to be part of it.
So, what was the reason for this madness? Kalle is a 67-year-old “young at heart” who has been roller-skiing in Thailand for the past eight years. Some may have seen him roller-skiing around in his former home-town, Jomtien, where pedestrians and cars alike would stop and stare at this strange “skiing man”. Ever since moving from Pattaya to Chiang Mai four years ago, Kalle Kristensen has nurtured his idea of roller-skiing from Chiang Rai back to Pattaya. At the same time, he could give back a little to the Thai society. The charity aim of the trip was to support education and specifically to support a local school in the small village of Mai Siwalai in Chiang Rai, which is in dire need of upgrading and fixes.
36 ScandAsia.Thailand • December 2012
Mai Siwalai is the small school that Kalle’s wife and most of her family members attended when they were children. The school is located near their home and also close to his heart. More desks and chairs, as well as a computer and perhaps a small library are some of the things the children at Mai Siwalai would greatly benefit from. Kalle is in no doubt that the best way of offering children the chance of a brighter future is through education.
Fantastic experience The three Scandinavians said it had been an exhausting trip, but at the same time a fantastic experience. In each and every district they were given a Thai police escort which ensured a safe and smooth passage through traffic. A lot of Thais also provided support by cheering them on, although they were puzzled as this was something they had never seen before and probably something to talk about for years to come.
Luxury Villas For Sales
38 ScandAsia.Thailand â€˘ December 2012
s you approach @AoNang Villas the first thing that strikes you is the 3 Metre high wall that surrounds the villas. Then you notice the outer detail of beautifully sculpted elephants decorating the outer wall. As you enter the gate, a guard salutes you with a smile. There is a bustle with activity on the site as currently two new villas are being build. The site is green and lush with flowers and plants but the thing that immediately catches your eye is the villas themselves. In front of you you have the majestic model villa build in modern thai style and with a private 10 m pool surrounded by the living room and bedrooms and a large pool deck. At a closer inspection you find three bedrooms in the villa all with bath rooms. All the rooms are overlooking the pool area and it is easy to see that attention to details and design have been of very high importance to the people behind the villas.
@AoNang Villas is a new project in AoNang, Krabi, which offers luxurious private pool villas for sale. It is located only 5 km from AoNang Beach and the crystal clear waters of the Andaman Sea. The villas are located in a quiet area of AoNang and nestled among the rubber trees and beautiful natural surroundings. It is an ideal place for people who love the peace and sounds of nature all the while still having all the amenities of AoNang, which include thai and western restaurants, shopping and leisure activities like scuba diving, snorkeling, golf, rock climbing and enjoyment at the beach. @AoNang Villas are dedicated to making sure that you have the best time when staying at the villa. You will have taxi service from and to AoNang Beach, 24 hour security, on-site restaurant, fitness center, playground for the kids and garden areas. @AoNang
Villas can also manage your villa when you are not there making sure the pool is cleaned, garden stays beautiful and villa is regularly cleaned. The team behind the villas can also manage renting out your villa when you are not there and so also making the villa a good investment opportunity. Krabi is the ideal location for people who want to live and enjoy a green destination and less overdeveloped area than e.g. Phuket and Pattaya. You will find an atmosphere of tranquility and harmony in Krabi that is hard to come by in other more crowded places. The officials in Krabi have announced a dedication to keeping Krabi green all the while making sure that you have all the basic necessities like an international hospital, good infrastructure and shopping malls. As we enjoy the day in @AoNang Villas we meet one of the first buy-
ers, a dane living in Bangkok, and he tells us that what attracted him to the project, besides the quality of construction and beauty of the villas, was that the project is dedicated to being Krabiâ€™s most environmentally friendly project. Also the potential of renting out the villa while not using it, with management of the villa be handled by the @AoNang Villas, was something that attracted him to buy. Also Krabi itself with is many opportunities for enjoyment like trekking, swimming, golfing and many other activities was more attractive than the more overcrowded and hectic places in other towns. @AoNang Villas is truly a remarkable project and it is clear that there is a dedication and passion for design behind the project - one that shines though for all people who are lucky enough to stay in one of the villas.
You can read more about @AoNang Villas and contact them on their website here: www.at-aonangvillas.com. December 2012 â€˘ ScandAsia.Thailand 39
Lieutenant–Colonel August Theodor Frederic Kolls (1867 -1911) Feared as a drillmaster, admired for his courage and determination By Flemming Winther Nielsen
or many years the most prominent relic on the desk of Colonel August Kolls was the polished skull of Ai Muang, the bandit and robber chief. He had been caught by Kolls, sentenced to death, and immediately beheaded by the executioner. After dark the ordinary gendarmes didn’t dare to enter the room, they were afraid of Ai Muang’s spirit. It is in no way possible for us today to imagine how life was lived in the countryside and jungles of Siam, around year 1900, complete lawlessness reigned; conditions were not for sissies or a weak-willed nature that is for sure.
The gendarmes in Denmark and Siam The Royal Siamese Gendarmerie was the first police corps in the Siamese provinces. It was established in 1897 after order by the absolute monarchy, represented by King Rama V (Chulalongkorn) and Prince Damrong, his brother. Before that lawlessness reigned in the countryside and the hand of the central power was not to be seen outside the provincial towns. The officers recruited were mostly Danish. It has not been discussed much, but there cannot be much doubt that the inspiration for the corps is also to be found in Denmark. Around this time Prime Minister J. B. S. Estrup headed the government in Copenhagen; he did so by using provisional laws since the majority in Parliament was against his ultra right wing ruling party, but he had the support of King Christian IX. On 27 October 1885, a provincial corps of Gendarmes was founded by Estrup, called ‘The Blue Gendarmes’ because of the color of their uniforms. Their organization and duties in the provinces were much the same as the later corps in Siam -although conditions were very different. Prince Damrong, Minister of the Interior, visited Denmark as early as
1891where there are all possibilities that he was informed about ‘The Blue Gendarmes’. King Chulalongkorn visited Europe and Demark 1897, only a few months after the start of EAC. More of his sons got their military training in Copenhagen. The relations between the two Royal Houses were most cordial. The Danish Commodore Richelieu in the Siamese Navy and H.N. Andersen had years earlier been instrumental in establishing the contact. It can be mentioned that some of the officers of the Siamese corps came from The Royal Danish Life Guard. They could not have been granted a leave without the King knowing; among them was Hans Marqvard Jensen, ‘The Hero of Lampang’. But a fantastic experiment it was: tall and slim young blond and blue eyed officers, from a totally different culture, transferred to the jungles of Siam working with short Siamese privates from the backwaters of Siam. Young men who had never in their life seen a ‘farang’ before and who were without any knowledge of military skills, many of them were not literate.
The Man from the Moon August Kolls was one of these ‘Men from the Moon’, tall, blond, sporting
Mrs. Arrunee, granddaugther of Colonel Kolls and her son Khun Pasu, both residents of Chiang Mai, but here by the cleaned memorial in Trang. The memorial will now be primed and coated in the original colors. 40 ScandAsia.Thailand • December 2012
Bumrung Kollasutr, the son of the colonel, standing by the original tombstone (no later than 1966).
an impressive moustache and with penetrating ice blue eyes that his gendarmes didn’t dare to meet. But in fact it started in the village of Pedersborg by Soroe the 23. July 1867. Here Maria Dorthea Wendt, married to farmer C.A.F. Kolls, brought a son to the world. He was baptized August Theodor Frederic but soon thereafter adopted by steam miller Kolls (his uncle we suppose) in Tappernoeje. Next we meet him as Second-lieutenant 1888. He arrived in Bangkok on 16 January 1890, where he was immediately promoted to Premier-Lieutenant. For years he worked in the army and in the Marine-infantry as instructor and a heavy handed drillmaster, feared by his soldiers. When the gendarmerie was founded he was hired and for many years headed the Gendarmerie station in Nakhon Ratchasima (Korat), where he, among other duties, trained and instructed the enrolled Danish officers. On16 October 1902, it was also his sad duty, as the liaison officer, to forward the detailed Death Certificate of Captain Hans Marqvard Jensen to the acting Danish Consul in Bangkok. Meanwhile, the most important task was to make the mountainous route from the southern plains to
the plateau of Korat safe for the merchants and their caravans. The mountains were in the hands of gangs relieving all travelers of their belongings. Kolls traced them down, he himself in front, an extremely easy target as he was. In a year or so he simply cleansed the mountains out, many dead and wounded on both sides. It was on such an expedition he learned that Ai Muang was that night sleeping with a mistress in a certain house – a traditional house, on piles. Kolls banged the floor from underneath and called for Ai Muang to come down and meet him. Ai Muang did, undoubtedly knowing that he had ran out of luck and life.
physical challenges he gave himself; extensive travelling in the jungle, drinking raw water and so on. He had more dysentery bouts. He was admitted to the Presbyterian Mission Hospital late June 2011 with yet another attack of dysentery. From that he died on 4 July 1911. He left a Siamese wife and two young sons, one of them being Charoen Kollasutr, who lived for many years in Chiang Mai. In Kolls’ family it has been a part
of the family saga for generations to tell that when King Rama VI heard about Kolls’ death he should have exclaimed with a sigh: “Now I have lost my right arm in the South”. On the memorial in Trang we read: ‘By the Gracious command of His Majesty the King of Siam this stone is erected in recognition of long and faithful services to the memory of Lieut. Col. Kolls born in Denmark 23rd July 1867 died in Trang 4th July 1911’.
*Google: ‘Gendarmer I Hobro’ (Henrik. S. Hansen) Literature: Rasmussen, A. Kann (1986): Danske i Siam 1858-1942. Seidenfaden, Erik v/Peder Joergensen (1999): ’ Det kongelige Siamesiske Provinsgendarmeri og dets danske Officerer’.
In the South Then, in 1908 August Kolls was transferred to the South, in 1909 promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel. Also here he found the ordinary robbers and highwaymen, but also some very disgusting elements among the public officials in the Southern provinces. When he exposed these people’s doings, they of course became his sworn enemies. It seems that the Colonel simply did what he found it right or necessary to do, without thinking much of the consequences or personal protection. That also goes for the
The memorial as it looked 2012 before renovating started. The original stone was later embedded in the memorial, as can be seen. December 2012 • ScandAsia.Thailand 41
Irresistible Agneta Teeming with energy, Agneta Bekassy de Bekas enjoys involving herself in more activities than most other people would dream of. By Kim Birkkjaer Lund
Itâ€™s a challenge to mix people and see if it works and I love to be a hostess and to meet new people.
42 ScandAsia.Thailand â€˘ December 2012
t’s Sunday morning. The time is a few minutes before 10 am and a motorbike taxi stops in front of The Rainbow Room in Sukhumvit Soi 38. An elegant woman jumps off with an attitude of a young girl and rushes inside. The elegant woman is Agneta Bekassy de Bekas. Three times each week she works as a volunteer in The Swedish School Association, teaching children the Swedish language. “I just have to do something,” she tells me when we meet inside minutes later. “I can’t just lie at the pool.” Agneta is teeming with energy. Even before my notebook is out of my bag she is telling me about the Swedish School Association, her friend’s new fashion company, about being a model again as a mature woman, her first encounter with Thailand and much more. Agneta moves fast and you better keep up with the pace if you don’t want to be left behind. “At the moment we teach here on Sundays and at three other international Schools during the week in the afternoons. We expect a fourth school to join soon.” The Swedish community in Bangkok is huge and fast growing. More than 4,000 Swedes are living in Bangkok, and many got children. “We got 23 children coming on Sundays in the age range from three to 12 years. I have the easy ones, the older children. I’m not that good with the smallest one,” Agneta confides. This Sunday, Agneta and her colleagues don’t know how many, if any, will attend class. It’s autumn vacation at the international schools and Tuesday is a national holiday in Thailand so many families are taking an extended weekend. But while we are talking, parents with children begin to arrive. The children start to play while their parents settle in the garden. It’s school – but with a touch of Sunday.
Living abroad Agneta was only 19 when she left Sweden with her first husband and since then the whole world has been her stage. Thailand has always had a special place in her heart. She was only 16 when she won a model competition and was asked about her dreams for the future. She answered: “I want to travel to Thailand and I want to have a big Old English Sheepdog.” She did travel to Thailand (and she also had the dog). She went first time in 1977 with her first husband and she immediately fell in love with the country. But it wasn’t Thailand that became her new resident country. Agneta and her second husband Stefan Bekassy de Bekas met in Zurich and Switzerland was their home for some 30 years. But throughout the years they have been regular visitors to Thailand.
Fashion conscious “Fashion has always been important for me. In Switzerland I had a firm selling high-end fashion items and during one of our visits to Thailand I found a beautiful collection named Khanitha which created silk dresses with a very European cut. For 10 years I had an amazing collaboration with the owner and founder of Khanitha - an absolutely fabulous Thai lady. Then her husband decided to enter the business and after four months there was no business anymore,” she said somewhat pointedly. While Agneta often experienced delays and delivery problems when dealing with Swedish fashion companies she never once experienced a delayed delivery from her Thai business partner. Fashion still has a huge space in Agneta’s life. She has been advising the US brand Marisa Baratelli, creating fabulous Thai silk dresses with the same style as the Khanitha brand. Agneta has also made reappearances as a model. Her friend Anika Julin has recently launched a new
fashion brand ByNika specialising in stylish beachwear which can be used not only on the beach but also on a Sunday morning in the Swedish school, as Agneta proves by wearing a kaftan from ByNika this morning. Anika asked Agneta to be a model for her new brand. Agneta not only agreed to be model but also provided her favourite photographer, American Daniel Herron, with whom she worked on other projects including the online magazine LASPLASH.com. “I was away from modelling for many years but then I was asked and it was fun so why not? Now I’m doing a fashion show as a model for International Women’s Club. I cannot get away from fashion.”
Both Swedish and international Even if Agneta left Sweden more than 35 years ago, being a Swede is still important for her. She founded the Switzerland branch of SWEA (Swedish Women’s Educational Association) and was its president for four years. She has also been president of the Bangkok branch for two years. “It’s so important for me to keep in touch with friends both in Sweden and in Switzerland. I visit Sweden at least once a year and then I got my hotel ‘business’,” she tells with a smile. An expression that covers the popularity a visit in Bangkok has among her European friends when winter hits Europe with darkness and below zero temperatures. But Agneta is not only Swedish; she is international as well. Recently she had a dinner party where they were 10 persons around the table representing eight nationalities. “That’s fun. It’s a challenge to mix people and see if it works and I love to be a hostess and to meet new people. It’s very easy to meet new people in Bangkok, especially farangs, because we need each other much more here.” To fulfil her need for meeting new interesting people she also
joined the International Women’s Club (IWC) in Bangkok. “Because IWC is so much bigger than SWEA, they offer more events and other kinds of events. Every month we have a ‘get to know you’ arrangement’ where we visit an embassy and hear about the country. It’s very educational.”
Daughter prefers Europe When Agneta and her husband moved to Thailand in 2006 the main reason was a wish to give their daughter Vanessa an opportunity to get to know her country and its culture. “When we didn’t get any children on our own, my husband and I decided to adopt. At that time we had a very good connection with the Red Cross in Thailand so we had the possibility to adopt a child there. Having a Thai-born child made us feel even closer to Thailand.” In Bangkok Vanessa went to St. Andrews International School which, according to Agneta, was very good for her. But being brought up in small idyllic village outside Zurich she soon found the noisy and crowded Bangkok unbearable. “She asked if she could go to boarding school in England and I really didn’t want her to go. But my husband went to boarding school himself so he said that it would be good for her and I had to give in. So she is a pupil at Trinity School, a boarding school in Devon, and she just loves it.” Their daughter choosing Europe for the time being hasn’t made the Bekassy’s consider leaving Thailand. “I think we are going to stay here for good. We sold everything we had in Switzerland and Sweden when we moved here. We maybe someday buy something in Hungary. My husband’s family are originally from Hungary. Both my daughter and I love horse riding and horse riding in Hungary is fantastic, so we maybe someday buy a small house there. But we will never leave Thailand.”
December 2012 • ScandAsia.Thailand 43
Great Food Great People In Krabi Town the Danish owned restaurant Café Europa has been serving its delicious food to the people in Krabi Province for the last 22 years. But the restaurant is much more than a place to eat, as the three owners and friends have become an institution in the local community. By Dennis Krog
t Café Europa in Krabi town you are met by a somewhat dark room with dim light. The tables are covered with checkered red tablecloths, which have a single candle light placed in the middle. The main color on the wooden furniture is a warm brown one, broken by the many legendary print commercials covering the walls. The restaurant itself is not big. The menu could have been – except from a few dishes – taking out of a Danish restaurant fifty years ago. In many ways it feels like you have taken the famous DeLorean car from the movies ‘Back to the future’ and set the date to take you back to the time where frikadeller (meat balls) and good old homemade Danish food was preferred over pizza and burgers. Here in these cozy surroundings you will find Finn, Henrik and Tip, the owners of a restaurant that has grown into an institution in Krabi town.
Founded 22 years ago The restaurant was founded 22 years ago by the now 66-year-old Finn Rasmussen who opened up Café Europa together with a friend in 1990. Finn had been visiting Thailand many times, before he decided to open up a restaurant in Krabi. “When traveling around out here I looked for places where I felt at home, and I just had a very good feeling about Krabi town. At that time it was just a nice small place with
44 ScandAsia.Thailand • December 2012
great people,” says Finn Rasmussen. One of the great people Finn met was the Thai lady Tip, who had a travel agency. Tip was dating another Dane, Henrik Enevoldsen and all three became friends. The friendship has grown along the years, and even as Henrik and Tip lived in Denmark the couple played a big role at Café Europa, giving advice and helping Finn when needed. In 1995 the business partner of Finn left Café Europa, and after running the place alone for three years Finn persuaded Henrik and Tip to join as partners in 1998. The couple accepted the offer and moved back to Krabi.
Homemade rye bread Finn, Henrik and Tip have themselves visited many Danish restaurants around the world, and many times they have been disappointed with the far from good interpretations of classic Danish dishes they have met. Their experiences have made them decide not to compromise with the food they make. “We want to serve a home cooked meal, and so we do. Our food not only looks home made. It is and tastes home made,” says Henrik Enevoldsen. And the owners are serious when they talk about food made by their own hands in their own kitchen. “I get up in the morning and bake our own rye bread for our open sandwiches (smoerrebroed, ed) and we also make our own liver pâté and rullepoelse (special Danish cold
cut, ed),” says Henrik Enevoldsen, pointing out some of the specialties, which also counts a special dressing. “The Thai guests always want to know the recipe of the garlic dressing, but that is our secret, but they are more than welcome to come here and taste it again and again,” says Henrik with a laugh.
Friends but not drinking buddies During a day at the restaurant you will see several Scandinavians and locals coming by for a bite to eat, but also to talk to the owners, who know almost everybody in the community. “Most of our guests come back again, and in many cases we become personal friends with them. That’s just the way it goes in a small place like this,” says Henrik. And the friendship with the guests is easy to recognize. During the interview one guy came to pick up a credit card, which was delivered to the restaurant from Denmark. Later a regular Danish guest showed up, which made Finn go to his room only to return carrying a lot of books, and the two friends started talking about the books as if they were having their own little book club. But the friendliness is not reserved for a small group of regulars, as it’s clear to see that it’s just the personality of Finn, Henrik and Tip to welcome everyone with a big smile, and if the guests want to talk, the Danish guys are more than willing
to, but the guests are still guests. ”We might have a beer in the evening when we have closed down, but we are running a serious business here where a nice friendly atmosphere and great food are the cornerstones, but if you are looking for drinking buddies then you have to look somewhere else,” says Henrik Enevoldsen.
Visit by Leonardo DiCaprio Next to the bar at the “Scandinavian Embassy in Krabi”, which Café Europa is called amongst the locals, you will find the hall of fame, with pictures of many famous people, who have visited the restaurant. Especially one
picture on the wall catches the eyes of most guests, as it shows Leonardo DiCaprio posing next to Tip. “They were filming the Beach down here in 1999, and the crew often ate here. Many times they ordered food for Leonardo DiCaprio and brought it back to his hotel,” says Finn. However, the famous actor wanted to visit the restaurant himself, which ended up with Leonardo walking into an almost full Café Europa one evening. “He just came in and ordered a lot of different food. It was so funny, no one even noticed him. One of our other guests that evening actually commented on DiCaprio being in
Krabi, but he didn’t notice Leonardo at the restaurant,” laughs Finn when telling the story. Although nobody noticed the famous actor in the restaurant, Henrik Enevoldsen panicked a little bit as they found out they didn’t have a camera to document the visit. “We borrowed a camera from one of our guests and Leonardo was happy to have his picture taken with Tip. Since then we have always had a camera behind the bar,” says Henrik.
Can’t leave his friends Café Europa has been a part of Finn’s life for many years now, but even though the Dane will turn 67 on his
next birthday, he is not planning to leave Café Europa soon. “We are all really good friends. Every Sunday I go to Henrik’s and Tip’s for a barbeque, and we go on vacation together. I am just not ready to quit yet,” says Finn and smile. But the 46-year-old Henrik knows that there will be a time, where they will have to consider the future of Café Europa. “I don’t think we could ever just close down this place. It’s an institution to both the Thai and Scandinavian societies here. The challenge will be to find someone who will continue to run the place in the spirit it is running now,” says Henrik.
December 2012 • ScandAsia.Thailand 45
Launch of Hogane - quality synthetic rattan furniture at affordable prices
n connection with the launch of Hogane Co., Ltd., a new brand of synthetic rattan outdoor furniture in Thailand, we took the opportunity to meet with owner and managing director Mr. Janeric Hogane for a brief talk. Janeric, a long term resident in Hua Hin, is the owner of The Cabinet Interior Design - a renowned kitchen and furniture manufacturer offering turnkey solutions to customers in and around Hua Hin, Bangkok as well as the Eastern Seaboard. Janeric says that he started Hogane Co., Ltd. because he saw a strong demand for high quality synthetic rattan furniture at affordable prices. “There is no lack of companies selling high quality synthetic rattan furniture in Thailand,” he says, “but the problem is that their prices are too high, often much more expensive than in Europe, even though the furniture often are produced in this region.” Hogane Co., Ltd. produces its new brand of outdoor furniture in Indonesia, a country well-known around the world for its high quality furniture manufacturing. All Hogane’s outdoor furniture is made of lightweight aluminum and high grade synthetic rattan. The current range includes lounge sets, coffee tables, dining tables and chairs, sun beds and bar stools, in various colors and designs. Janeric informs us that they are also able to produce customized designs, according to the customers’ specifications. “Synthetic rattan furniture, which
46 ScandAsia.Thailand • December 2012
is very popular in the west, is becoming increasingly popular also in Thailand, where previously Teak and other local hardwood furniture has been the natural choice for outdoor use,” Janeric explains. “Not only is synthetic rattan furniture modern and very stylish, but also extremely durable and can be left outside all year round without being effected by heavy rains or burning hot sun,” Janeric shows us some of the furniture on display at The Cabinet’s spacious showroom on Petchkasem road in Hua Hin and continues “These high quality synthetic rattan furniture are very light-weight, resistant to all weather conditions, doesn’t get bleached by the sun or damaged by rain, and perhaps best of all: requires no maintenance. Besides that they are environmentally friendly and the materials are all recyclable. There are so many great advantages with this new brand of furniture, I could go on forever,” Janeric says smiling. “It is truly a high-end product sold at very reasonable price.” The company targets both private homeowners as well as the commercial market, with special project prices when ordering larger quantities of furniture. Janeric welcomes everyone to visit The Cabinet’s showroom in Hua Hin to look at the new furniture on display. It is also possible to visit www. hogane.com for pictures, prices, and information on where else in Thailand you will find the furniture on display.
Regent Phuket Cape Panwa opens
with “a winter to remember”
For more information, contact 0 7620 0822 or visit www.regenthotels.com/phuket
pening its doors on 1 December 2012, Regent Phuket Cape Panwa is located in the secluded bay of Cape Panwa in Phuket with a private beach overlooking beautiful Andaman sea. Nevertheless, it is only 45-minute drive from the International airport, 15 minutes from Phuket Town and 30 minutes from Patong Beach. The resort consists of 35 Pool Villas with a 24-hour butler service, 48 Suites and 22 Pavilions. All rooms are equipped with iPad2, complementary internet, TV channels and a wide selection of movies. Facilities include four food & beverage outlets ranging from all day alfresco dining to fine dining restaurants, eight spa treatment rooms, pilates and yoga classes, tennis court, swimming pool, kids’ club and kids’ pool. Daily live entertainment is available at the lobby lounge. To welcome a winter season, Regent Phuket has recently launched a special promotional package “a winter to remember” where rates start from THB 8,550 per room per night. The package includes daily breakfast for two, complimentary use of iPad and Wi-Fi, complimentary local telephone calls, complimentary non-alcoholic mini-bar and four pieces of laundry or pressing daily, access to infinity-edge pool, private beach and Children’s Club. For a stay at Pool Villas, the package also includes complimentary alcoholic mini-bar, eight pieces of laundry or pressing daily, a 24-hour ‘butler at your service’ and access to the Regent Club, with complimentary breakfast, coffee and tea during the day plus evening cocktails. The promotion is valid from 1 December 2012 to 28 February 2013. Rates are subject to taxes and service charge. A minimum of 2 nights stay is required. Guests who book the package will also have a chance to win a two-night stay at any Regent Hotel and Resort and get double miles for Regent’s partner frequent flyer members.
Outrigger Phi Phi Island resort & spa opens
For more information, contact 0 7631 8230 or visit www.outrigger.com. 48 ScandAsia.Thailand • December 2012
utrigger Phi Phi Island resort & spa officially opened in November this year. Formerly known as the Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort and Spa, the resort is now managed by Outrigger Hotels and Resorts, the 65-year old Hawaii based company that continues to expand in Asia-Pacific from its regional headquarters in Phuket, Thailand. After taking over the 15-key 70-acer property, Outrigger has made improvements to the resort’s gym and food & beverage venues. The highlight of the improvement is, however, the addition of 44 new Deluxe Garden Bungalows. The new 53sqm Deluxe Garden Bungalows are located in clusters giving the atmosphere of a traditional Thai village. Inside, the interiors are contemporary with Thai touches. Each one features a walk-in wardrobe, a flat screen television, and iPod/iPhone docking station. A new executive chef with extensive luxury hotel experience has also been hired to implement a completely refreshed food and beverage offering. He will bring acclaimed culinary expertise in Thai, French, Italian and Japanese cuisine to Outrigger. The resort is located in peaceful area of northeast Phi Phi, offering the nature of 800-metre white sand beach and clear sea water. Guests can also enjoy activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, private boat excursions, fishing and a full spa treatment.
Ma Hotel Bangkok opens with introductory offers
For more information, contact 02 2345070 or visit www.mahotelbangkok.com email : firstname.lastname@example.org
B a g s væ r d k o s t s k o l e gymnasium tid til talent
a Hotel has recently opened in Silom-Surawong, the central business district of Bangkok. Conveniently located just five-minute walk from Silom road, the hotel is smart designed offering six room types ranging from a 20sqm superior to XL Suite with 68 sqm. Amenities in all room types include free Wi-Fi, electronic key card system, cable TV, bathroom amenities, hair dryer, in-room private safe, mini bar, coffee/tea maker with complimentary coffee and tea setup. For the Suite room types, guests can enjoy additional amenities including DVD player, printer and scanner, bathtub, bathrobe and slipper. Facilities in the hotel include swimming pool, roof top terrace/lounge, European style bakery and the main restaurant serving breakfast and lunch buffet with all day signature a la carte menu. Secured parking, Laundry service, tour service and transportation service are available for all guests. To celebrate the opening, the hotel offers a pre-opening promotion for a period of December 2012 where guests can enjoy 30 percent off the normal room rates. For a stay during Christmas and New Year (24 – 31 December 2012), a complimentary bottle of wine and welcome tapas will be offered to guests staying in Deluxe and Suite room types. Complimentary organic light soda and miniature puff pastry from Ma Bakery will be offered to guests staying in Superior and Superior Extra room types. If you miss the above offers, there’s another one called “Businessman Promotion” running from 1 January to 15 March 2013 where guests staying at the hotel can take advantage of a late check out until 4pm at free of charge. For any guests booking a roundtrip airport transfer with the hotel, a complimentary one-way airport transfer will be offered.
Spar 5 % på billeje i Danmark
- og få et sæ t fyrfads stager
Bagsværd kostskole & gymnasium (Bk) er en udviklingsorienteret og traditionsrig skole grundlagt i 1908. elever, der vælger en uddannelse hos os, siger ja til fællesskab, faglighed, seriøsitet og individuel talentudvikling. det vi på Bagsværd kostskole & gymnasium kalder for: tid til talent. vi tilbyder: • • • • • • •
dansk uddannelse med et internationalt præg grundskole, 10. kl., studentereksamen (stX) danmarks første femårig Biotek-uddannelse 8.kl.-3.g sport- og talentklasse fra 7. kl. mulighed for morgentræning tirsdage og torsdage aktiv brug af it og internet i undervisningen enkeltværelser til kostelever, lektiehjælp hver dag
Avis i Danmark tilbyder altid billige priser på billeje. Lige nu sparer du endda yderligere 5 % – og på udvalgte stationer får du også et sæt fyrfadsstager fra Royal Copenhagen med i købet.
Bestil på www.avis.dk/homeleave scan Qr koden og besøg vores hjemmeside www.bagkost.dk aldershvilevej 138 • dk-2880 • Bagsværd • telefon: +45 44980065 • e-mail: email@example.com
Rice Porridge (Risengrød)
By Gregers Moller
isengrød. It is simply not Christmas without it! I serve it for all our employees in ScandMedia at our year end party every year and they have come to expect it - although not really like it, I suspect. What they do like, though, is the hidden almond in the porridge and the gift that comes with finding it in your portion!
Ingredients: • 1 liter milk • ½ tsp salt • 110 gram rice (1 1/4 dl) (round grains preferrably) Cinnamon sugar mix: • Mix 4 tablespoons of sugar with 2 teaspoons of cinnamon powder. Almond: • Raw almond with brown shell on (or raw, white cashew nut).
I usually boil up the rice in plain water as the problem is that the milk may easily burn. When the water has boiled a few minutes, I pour in the milk and let it boil while stirring. Then I take it off the burner and pack it in my bed with a few blankets around it and leave it there for a few hours. At the same time I put an unpeeled almond in hot water.
Are you done?
hen you have completed the above puzzles, please send your solution by fax to +66 2 943 7169 or scan and email to puzzles@ scandasia.com. We will make a lucky draw among the correct answers. Five lucky winners will receive a ScandAsia polo shirt. Name:
Deadline for submitting your solution is 15 January 2013 50 ScandAsia.Thailand • December 2012
Before serving it, I bring it back on the stove and heat it up while stirring constantly. If it is too thick, I add extra milk. This is when you put in the white almond - the shell will by now be so weak that you can rub it off with your fingers - or one year I used a white, un-roasted cashew nut. It is served in noodle bowls. Sprinkle it on top with the cinnamon sugar. Some like a lump of butter in the middle. Whoever finds the almond in their portion wins a gift, that you must have prepared in advance.
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December 2012 edition of ScandAsia Thailand for expat Danish-Thai, Swedish-Thai, Norwegian-Thai and Finnish-Thai residents from Denmark, Swe...
Published on Dec 14, 2012
December 2012 edition of ScandAsia Thailand for expat Danish-Thai, Swedish-Thai, Norwegian-Thai and Finnish-Thai residents from Denmark, Swe...