Emma Is Ready to Conquer the World ScandAsia.dk
Coming Events Viking Wheelers Khao Yai Ride Date: 11-14 August 2011
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The annual Viking Wheelers Khao Yai Tour will be held from 11 to 14 August 2011 organized by Morten Luxhoi and Mads Tranum. Khao Yai is located 150 km north of Bangkok. The rural area outside the national park is ideal for biking. If you are a biking traveler, send email to email@example.com. Tour details will be announced at www.vikingwheelers.com.
Swedish Pea Soup Dinner
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Please sign up for your own FREE copy: www.scandasia.com Publisher: Scandinavian Publishing Co., Ltd. 4/41-2 Ramintra Soi 14, Bangkok 10230, Thailand Tel. +66 2 943 7166-8, Fax: +66 2 943 7169 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Editor-in-Chief: Gregers A.W. Møller email@example.com Advertising: Finn Balslev firstname.lastname@example.org Piyanan Kalikanon email@example.com Nattapat Maesang firstname.lastname@example.org Graphic Designer: Supphathada Numamnuay email@example.com Distribution: Pimjai Chaimongkol firstname.lastname@example.org Printing: Lake & Foundtain Printing Co., Ltd.
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Nordic Chamber Seminar with Tom Sørensen Date: 23 August 2011 The Nordic Chambers in Thailand invite you to Breakfast Seminar with Tom Sørensen from Grant Thorton. Tom joined Grant Thornton in 2003 and has now been recruiting personnel for over twenty years in Asia, Europe and Africa. His extensive network in the Thai and international business community comes from living and working over 15 years in Thailand. If you interesting to join the breakfast seminar, please contact email@example.com. More detail will be announced at www.dancham.or.th.
Date: 25 August 2011 Location: Le Fenix Hotel by Accor The Swedish Pea Soup Dinner is organized by ThaiSwedish Chamber of Commerce on 25 August 2011 at Le Fenix Hotel by Accor, Sukhumvit 11. It is a great opportunity to meet your Swedish friends in Bangkok after coming back from summer season. Pea soup (ärtsoppa in Swedish) is more than the food - it is a traditional activity in Sweden where people gather to eat and talk. More details will be announced at www.swecham.com. or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nordic Young Professionals Networking Date: 26 August 2011 Location: Le Fenix Hotel by Accor Get ready for the Nordic Young Professionals Networking which is a perfect forum to meet other Nordic people working, studying or just staying in Thailand. Especially for newcomers. Free flow of wine, beer, Vodka and tapas buffet from 19.00 to 22.00 hrs on 26 August 2011 at Le Fenix Hotel by Accor. This is an event you don’t want to miss! RSVP $ info please call 02 305 4000 or send email to FB@lefenix-sukhumvit.com.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED BY SCANDINAVIAN SOCIETY
Hua Hin Ladies Luncheon in June Text and photo by the Hua Hin Ladies
une 1, 2011 some of the players at Banyan Golf Club forgot, for a moment all about the game, when 25 ladies arrived for a lunch at the Club. The ladies minds were not on the game, but on each other and a delicious lunch in beautiful surroundings. The event was organized by Beate Cecilie Stampe Rasmussen, who welcomed. “It’s amazed me every time, this many ladies joints. And I am so pleased to see that everybody is talking and new contexts arise. It’s also wonderful to see how we begin to meet for a quick cup of coffee in town or can get help by just asking around outside these luncheon.” If you live in Hua Hin and want to join the ladies lunch, please email to email@example.com
1. Beate Cecilie Stampe Rasmussen 2. Mai Brith Sørensen 3. Ladies enjoyed the luncheon together
Nordic Networking with Colliers International
he Nordic Chamber of Commerce in Thailand organized the networking night on 16 June 2011 at the Westin Grand Sukhumvit. About 150 guests braved the pouring rain and showed up. At 19.00 pm, the Executive Director of Thai-Swedish Chamber of Commerce, Peter Bjork held the opening speech thanking all the guest for coming and Colliers International for sponsoring the networking event. Mr. Antony Picon, the Associate Director for Research of Colliers International then gave an overview of the Condominium Market in Bangkok and the Hua Hin, Cha-am and Pranburi Residential Market. The evening was also the final networking event for Executive Director of Danish-Thai Chamber of Commerce, Katrine Praest. At 20.15 pm, Mr. Peter called for two lucky draws of free accommodation at Hua Hin Blue Lagoon. The first prize went to Mr. Dennis Pawlek and another prize was Mr. Sutti Manokitjarunman.
1. From left: Mr. Pheeraphon Nonthasoot, Executive Vice President of Grande Asset & Property PCL and Mr. Peter Bjork, Executive Director of Thai-Swedish Chamber of Commerce. 2. Mr. Jakob Bojsen and Ms. Katrine Praest. 3. Mr. Dennis Pawlek (right), Managing Director of Bangkok Practice. 6 ScandAsia.Thailand • July 2011
4. Mr. Sutti Manokitjarunman (right), Managing Director & General Manager of Electrolux Thailand. 5. Group photos with the VIP’s of the Networking event. 6. The participants listening to the speaker.
Swedish Midsummer in Bangkok
n Saturday 18 June, the Thai-Swedish Chamber of Commerce organized the annual Swedish Midsummer Party at Rembrandt Hotel. About 70 people celebrated the Midsummer party together. The guests enjoyed the midsummer menu, wine, beers and of course snaps. During the luncheon, the quests also sang traditional songs along with the snaps. The girls made the wreath for children and others in the party which took place in a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere. The highlight activity was that everyone would dance around the midsummer pole. Guests all joined hands and danced around the pole singing the midsummer song next to the pool. It was especially funny when eventually they started doing a strange dance, jumping around like small frogs. Not only the children!
1. From Left: Mr. Goran Ehren, Mrs. Agneta Bekassy, Mr. Bengt Juhlin and his friend. 2. Eric Hallin, Rembrandt Hotel, with Josephine and Hakan Alm. 3. Dancing around the midsummer pole. 4. Guest in the party
Norwegian Midsummer Party in Pattaya
t the Norwegian Church in Pattaya on 23 June 2011, about 100 people gathered to celebrate the traditional Midsummer Party 2011. The weather was perfect for BBQ buffet. Before lining up to enjoy the grilled delicacies, the participants first sang a few midsummer songs together. Later, there was more entertainment as the two musician of the evening played guitar and accordion while the guest was having dinner. It seemed like the kids were having great fun grilling sausage around the campfire. They were excited and laughed out loud. It was a delightful party where everyone shared happiness together in the warm atmosphere of the Church.
1. Friendly ladies from the church. 2. The two musicians. 3. Hans Konrad Nyvoll (third from left) and his chorus. 4. Kids had grilling sausage around the campfire. 5. Guests enjoyed BBQ buffet. 6. They are very big Norwegian family.
July 2011 â€˘ ScandAsia.Thailand 7
ScandAsia News Brief
Klas Molin Appointed Swedish Ambassador to Thailand
las Molin has been appointed as the new Swedish Ambassador to the Kingdom of Thailand. He is to replace Lennart Linnér, who left Bangkok several weeks ago to take up his new post as the Swedish Ambassador to the Republic of the Philippines, as the head of the mission in South-East Asia. Molin has been head of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs Department for Asia and the Pacific Region since 2006. He has previously served at the embassies in Bangkok and Washington and at the Permanent Mission of Sweden to the United Nations in New York. Molin is to hand over his credentials to the Thai authorities in August 2011.
Flying T Superkids to Bangkok Festival
he Flying Superkids will soon fly from Denmark to work their magic at the Bangkok’s International Festival of Dance & Music set to be held on 30 September and 1 October at the Thailand Cultural Centre. The festival is Thailand’s largest performing arts festival which will feature over 1000 performing artists from around the world during its five or six-week season. The Flying Superkids consists young high-spirited gymnasts from Denmark. Aged as young as seven years, they never fail to impress and put a smile on the faces of adults and children worldwide with their gymnastic skills, and their harmony in singing and dancing. Besides the flying Superkids, other performers at the festival include the Swan Lake On Ice, the Vienne Boy’s Choir, The Marriage of Figaro and The Ballet Nacional Espana. There will be free shuttle buses from the Thailand Cultural Centre MRT station from 17.30 to 19.00 on the performance dates offered to the public.
8 ScandAsia.Thailand • July 2011
Norwegian Set to Launch Cheap Flights to Bangkok B
udget airlines company, Norwegian, has confirmed that they have in plans to launch direct flights from Scandinavia to Bangkok, and from Stockholm to New York, by the end of 2012 or beginning of 2013. The company plans to operate three to five flights per-week to the U.S. east coast destination, which has become increasingly popular among Swedes keen to exploit the weak dollar to meet their shopping needs. “We are going to maintain our cut price profile even on the long distance flights,” said Åsa Larsson was reported saying on the website, forecasting that tickets to New York will be sold from around 2,500 kronor ($420). Sweden’s largest airport operator, Swedavia released figures recently showing that demand for flights to New York had reached record levels and invited more actors to take advantage of the city’s renewed popularity. On 26 May, Norwegian announced that it had signed an agreement to buy three 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft. The firm has a prior agreement to lease another two planes.
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ScandAsia News Brief Medarbejder, der skal sikre korrekt udbetaling af danske sociale ydelser Jobbet kort Den Danske Ambassade i Bangkok har i samarbejde med Pensionsstyrelsen en nyoprettet stilling som lokalansat kontrolmedarbejder til besættelse 1. november 2011. Beskrivelse Arbejdsopgaverne består i at søge efter information om modtagere af danske sociale ydelser, primært dansk pension, i Thailand. Du skal bl.a. undersøge, om modtagerne af danske sociale ydelser har andre indtægter fra lønarbejde eller egen virksomhed, eller om personerne bor sammen med andre på bopælsadressen. Oplysningerne skal primært indhentes fra pensionisterne selv eller fra de tilgængelige thailandske registre, som for eksempel tinglysningsregister, cpr.register, husregistre-ringsregister og lignende. Udgangspunktet er, at oplysningerne kan indhentes fra Bangkok, men begrænset rejseaktivitet kan ikke udelukkes. Dit arbejde foregår i et meget tæt samarbejde med Pensionsstyrelsen i Danmark. Stillingen er tidsbegrænset til 2 år. Arbejdstiden er 37 timer om ugen. Du vil blive ansat efter thailandsk overenskomst og arbejdsret. Kvalifikationer • Da stillingen omfatter en del skriftlig korrespondance med både thailandske og danske myndigheder skal du kunne tale og skrive både Thai og dansk flydende. • Du skal have et godt kendskab til thailandske samfundsforhold. • Du skal være dygtig til at bruge it-systemer og internettet. • Du skal kunne arbejde systematisk. • Du skal være initiativrig. • Du skal kunne arbejde effektivt og selvstændigt og løse dine opgaver på egen hånd. Ansættelsessted Den Danske Ambassade i Bangkok. Forventet tiltrædelse 1.november 2011. Ansættelsen kræver sikkerhedsgodkendelse fra de danske myndigheder. Ansøgning Vi beder om en målrettet ansøgning, der også bør indeholde oplysninger om uddannelse, tidligere arbejde, kvalifikationer, sprogkundskaber, referencer m.v. Vedhæftning af CV alene betragtes ikke som en ansøgning. Ansøgning bedes sendt til firstname.lastname@example.org. Samtaler forventes gennemført 30. - 31. august og 1. september 2011 på ambassaden i Bangkok. Ansøgningsfrist 19. august 2011. Ligestilling Ambassaden og Pensionsstyrelsen ønsker at fremme ligestilling og mangfoldighed. Derfor opfordres alle kvalificerede og interesserede uanset alder, køn, religion og etnisk tilhørsforhold til at søge stillingen. Kontakt Vil du vide mere om arbejdet, kan du ringe til kontorchef Christian Svendsen, Pensionsstyrelsen på tlf. +45 40 63 61 90 / +45 33 95 51 70, souschef Bente From på tlf. +45 33 95 50 05 eller konsul Tove Wihlborg-Andersen på ambassaden tlf. +66 2 343 1112. Om os Du kan læse mere om den danske ambassade i Bangkok på www.ambbangkok.um.dk Pensionsstyrelsen er en styrelse under Beskæftigelsesministeriet. Styrelsen arbejder med lovgivningen om bl.a. folkepension, førtidspension og efterløn. Styrelsen behandler konkrete sager om dansk pension til borgere i udlandet og har også en række kontrolopgaver forbundet med udbetaling af sociale ydelser. Du kan læse mere om Pensionsstyrelsen på www.penst.dk
10 ScandAsia.Thailand • July 2011
Immigrants Rushed to Apply Before Stricter Rules Took Effect
itizens from most OECD countries are now exempt from tougher Danish immigration test, but others must pay more. The new rules that came into effect on 1 July, have not been retroactively applied, meaning applications handed in before the July 1 deadline were treated according to rules at the time. Åge Kramp, from Cityadvokaterne which is a law firm that provides legal aid in immigration law, told The Copenhagen Post that they have been quite busy trying to make as many applications as possible to the immigration service. “People don’t even know much more difficult the rules have become,” he said, adding that they handed in 26 applications the day before the rules changed. Some examples of the stricter rules for family reunification include increasing the compulsory four-year bank deposit from 63,000 kroner to 100,000 kroner, while the fee per application has been raised from 5,975 kroner to 7,775 kroner. Spouses wishing to join their family in Denmark now need to make two visits before being allowed to stay, while the compulsory immigration test has been made more difficult and applicants have to use their own resources to learn the material. Kramp outlined a list of other details that have made the process of moving to Denmark more expensive and difficult, but highlights the increased difficulty of the tests as the main stumbling block facing foreigners wishing to bring their families to the country.
New Executive Director of Dancham
anish Thai Chamber of Commerce has announced Ms. Savija Pannark Korslund as its new Executive Director following the resignation of Ms. Katrine Praest, the chamber’s current Executive Director. She will take up the position starting 1 August 2011. Ms. Savija Pannark Korslund is Thai but holds Danish nationality, and thus speaks both languages. Currently she is the Administrative Officer at the Department of Economics and Statistics of the Danish Immigration Service. Prior to that, she was the Senior Visa Officer at the Royal Danish Embassy and Junior Assistant at PricewaterhouseCoopers, in Bangkok. Ms. Savija Pannark Korslund has a BSc in Economics and Business from Aarhus University, and MA in Labour Economics and Human Resource from Chulalongkorn University. “We look forward to have Savija joining our dynamic team at the Chamber,” says President of Danish-Thai Chamber of Commerce Peter E. Romhild. “We are confident that we can continue and further expand our activities to the benefit of our members. At the same time I would like to thank Katrine for her efforts and energy as Executive Director at the Chamber, and we wish her all the best in her future endeavors,” Mr. Romhild adds. In a statement on the website of the Chamber, Ms. Savija says that she feels highly motivated and is looking forward to be working as the Executive Director of the chamber. “It is my ambition to continue the great traditions of the Chamber and to serve our members and the Bangkok community in the best possible way,” she says.
Scania Bus Celebrates its 100th Anniversary in Thailand
cania Bus held a grand celebration for its 100th Anniversary here in Thailand. The event was held at the Impact Exhibition and Convention Center on 15 June 2011. Minister Counselor of the Swedish Embassy in Bangkok Mr. Christoffer Berg was present at the event joined by Scania’s dealers and customers from nations such as Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore and Thailand. As part of the programme of the event, Scania Touring Coach and the first Scania Ethanol Bus in Thailand were also introduced to the guests present. The ethanol bus being mobile on the streets of Bangkok would serve a demonstration project to increase awareness of environmentally friendly fuels.
Elephant Calf Saved Helle Deleuran, the Danish caretaker of a three-year-old elephant in Hua Hin called Songkran, succeeded in her attempt to find 1 million Thai Baht to save the baby elephant from being sold into the tourism industry. Songkran can now stay at The Hutsadin Elephant Foundation in Hua Hin where she has been charming visitors since April 2010.
ongkran had been rejected by her mother at birth. Her stay at The Hutsadin Elephant Foundation had done her good, but the contract between the foundation and Songkran’s owner was soon to expire. The owner had made it quite clear that if the foundation did not pay her price, she would be sold off to the highest bidder in the tourism trade or other lucrative business. At three years of age, she would get a high price. Female elephants are generally able to be sold at a higher price than males due to their ability to reproduce. They are also
much calmer than the males making them easier to handle. “Someone just had to raise the money,” says Helle Deleuran about her self-imposed responsibility. Three Danish companies, KVIK kitchen, Replica Design and Oriental Invest, chipped in generously to help save the young elephant. Helle received 450.000 baht from an Australian-Thai family. The Foundation had already paid 200.000 baht as a downpayment to give Helle more time to find the rest of the money. Finally, she made the 1 million baht goal! The Hutsadin Elephant Foundation is a home for elephants and always in need of donations to cover their costs. If you are in Hua Hin, treat yourself to a visit to the foundation. The Hutsadin Elephant Foundation 176 Moo, Hua Hin Nongplub Rd. Prachuabkhirikhan 77110 Tel.: 032827100 Website: www.hutsadin.org
July 2011 • ScandAsia.Thailand 11
Ready to Conquer Thai-Swedish Emma Johansson seems like a girl who can do everything she wants. She loves to go to school. What annoys her most is if something interrupts her studies such as the big red-shirt riots last year. She is most happy when active. She plays soccer in her spare time and this summer holiday she will go to Oxford University on a two weeks study program. And she is only 15 years old. By Soffi Chanchira Larsen
Emma with her dad Eric Johansson, owner of Maxxi in Hua Hin.
mma chose to live with her Swedish father when her parents separated six years ago. Most of the time, Emma is happy with that decision. “I miss my mother when I see my friends going shopping or doing something with their mothers,” she tells. But it is only for a short time, because her Dad is both of a Mum and a Dad to her - as well as her best friend. “I can talk to my dad about everything, from school issues to girls stuff,” she says. Emma Johansson still has this childish softness and innocence over her face, lifted by her light skin and covered by a caramel hair tone. It is clear that she is a look kreung.
People are interesting In her 15 year life Emma Johansson has lived several places. She was born in Sweden but moved with her mother and father to Thailand when she was three years old. Before settling in Bangkok, they had lived in Pattaya and Hua Hin the latest place, where her father now 12 ScandAsia.Thailand • July 2011
has his company. The company that Emma one day will in heritage. “It is not certain that it is what I want. I do not like the idea of something handed without having done anything for it. I better like the idea that you build your own, like my dad did with his company,” she says. Beside business and economics, what also rocks Emma world is psychology, and in the future she would like to do further studies in psychology to use it in business. “It is interesting to see how people reacts to one and another,” she says. While sitting in the chair her hands moves energetic while she tell, some times she places them between her knees and you recognizes the teenager in the very mature girl. Emma can easily imagine her self take over the company. She was often with her dad at work since when she was a little girl. But she would not sit in the waiting room for him so she always followed him around or was given a task. Then she dreamt that someday she would have her own company. With all
these plans she seems to be way ahead of her time making her impatient. “I can’t wait to grow up!” She sights.
“To be in company with adults taught me to be forward and not afraid to speak out,” Emma says.
Independent Emma is already very independent for a girl in her age. She takes care of her self when her dad is at his business in Hua Hin for several days. She and her dad prefers it that way, without a nanny or a maid. Last year she attended a study program on the Internet. A program that required her independence, and learned her a lot more discipline than the teenager already had. “I had to control/take care of my own learning, as when to get homework done. I had to be very focused, and that was tough. But I learned to be discipline,” she tells enthusiastic. Much of her maturity is due to her upbringing as a only child where she had to spend a lot of her time with adults, her father, his working colleagues or his friends, she would always follow him more rather than her mother.
Emma talks fast and fluently English. She also speaks fluently Swedish but her Thai is not as perfect. She speaks mostly Swedish or English with her dad and English at school, so the Thai language is not used much. But she also feels herself as being more Swedish than Thai. “I am Thai outside but Swedish inside,” she says. Today she still keeps in contact with friends in Sweden and once a year she spends about a month there, often for Christmas. It is likely that she would move to live in Sweden in her future. Even though Emma is older for her age and well considered her dreams are still like many teenagers, that is to have a house, a husband and family, “like a typical American family,” as she calls it. But before that she would like to explore the world.
It is not certain that it is what I want. I do not like the idea of something handed without having done anything for it. I better like the idea that you build your own, like my dad did with his company. Emma and Bobby
July 2011 • ScandAsia.Thailand 13
Revolutionary Back from Sweden Hopes for Change O
Since the early 1970’s, Boonsong Chaletorn has fought for change in Thailand. As a young man, he joined the student movement against dictatorship. He survived the right wing crackdown on communists by fleeing into the jungle. After many years living in Sweden, Boonsong has now returned to Thailand where he - once again - has joined the political scene to fight for a more just Thailand. By Katrine Bach Sigvardt and Steen Poulin Nielsen
14 ScandAsia.Thailand • July 2011
n 14 October 1973, Boonsong and his peers made headlines worldwide, when 13 of them were arrested during a violent demonstration in Bangkok. They were in jail for a week, but were eventually released because of the mass protests their arrest had caused. Once freed, Boonsong went back and rejoined the student movement. He spent a lot of time helping out workers and farmers, but three years later, the students were once again in the centre of the public eye. On 6 October 1976, there was a coup d’état and the military, along with the extreme right wing, came to power. They killed almost 500 people in the process, and Boonsong had to flee. Along with 5000 other students, he left Bangkok and joined the Communist Party in the Thai jungle. During the years he spent there, he was part of the Communists’ struggle against the government, and although he never actually fought them, he used his writing and communication skills to write articles instead. After a while he was granted amnesty and was able to return to Bangkok where he worked as a journalist at different magazines and newspapers. After a year, he went abroad - first to England to study English, and then his Swedish adventure began. That was in the early eighties, and except for a short stay in Boston, Sweden has been his home ever since. That is, until now. Now, a man on a mission, he is back in Thailand.
Swedish welfare state The Swedish socialism and welfare state astounded Boonsong from the minute he arrived in Scandinavia. Coming from a country where those with opinions that went against the government were forced to flee and go into hiding, he saw a world were everyone was cared for and entitled to their own beliefs. He was fascinated.
Boonsong learnt Swedish and became interested in Swedish literature. He started teaching Thai at a language school in Stockholm, and over the years, he has translated several Swedish books into Thai. Among his translations are children’s classics, such as Pippi Longstocking, The Brothers Lionheart, and Nils Karlsson Pyssling. His own favorite, however, is a book by Ivar Lo-Johansson. He was a Swedish socialist, who came from a working class family, and did not have much of an education. But, according to Boonsong, he wanted to be something in society. He then became a writer, and the book that Boonsong translated was mainly about his life and the working class struggle. It left him feeling inspired. “All the time that I stayed in Sweden I kept thinking ‘How can we do that in Thailand? How can we make Thailand a welfare state?’” As a part time university professor, Boonsong has studied as well as written books about the Swedish welfare state, and he uses his expertise and knowledge to teach at Ramkhamheng University in Bangkok. His most recent book, “Welfare State Sweden”, became an instant success and the 3000 first edition copies were out of stock within a week after they had been put on the shelves. “People often ask me if we can really create a welfare state in Thailand. They argue that Scandinavia has the best welfare states in the world because their populations are so small. There are only about nine million people in Sweden. In Thailand, we have 65 million. That’s a lot!” “I say we have to think about it differently. If Denmark which has six million people can do like this, then 65 million people in Thailand have to do it five or ten times better than them,” he says and adds that a lot of welfare can be financed by the money now lost in corruption.
The run for local election After more than 30 years abroad, Boonsong has moved back to Thai-
m ge in Thailand land to try to implement a Scandinavian inspired welfare state in Thailand. A way for him to do that was to become involved in local politics, and last year he decided to run as a candidate for local assembly election. “I want bring welfare to Thailand, but I will start at a local level. The candidates promise and talk about simple things like the streets, the playgrounds, and how to get rid of mosquitoes. I did like them, but tried to involve the locals more. I was out from 6 o’clock in the morning and walked the streets and markets. Talked to the people and listened to their wishes and their hopes”, Boongsong says. Eventually he did not manage to win the seat he was aiming for. He had no chance to match the money and other resources that the big parties spend to win the votes. But he is very proud that he managed to get 5000 votes compared to the 15000 votes gained by the Pua Thai party. Boonsong is now looking for a good team to join when the Mayor of Bangkok will be elected in two years. In the meantime he is having a more academic approach to politics and he finds great pleasure telling the students at Ramkhamhaeng University about his experience living in the welfare state of Sweden.
The coming parliament election Boonsong sees the election for the parliament as a question if the Thai people want Thaksin back in Thai politics or not. The two large parties, the Pua Thai and the Democrat Party has different plans for the country and a huge number of small parties are only awaiting who of the two big ones winning the election. Then the small parties will try to get as much influence when offering their support to the winning party. Poverty and ownership of land is two of the main issues for Boonsong. “When 10% of the population owns 90% of the land, there is something wrong. In Thailand you
can own land without any other purpose than as an investment and you will not get taxed. I think that the parliament should buy back land from the big landowners and create a sort of bank for the land offering the farm workers to buy their own piece of land”, Boonsong says. According to Boonsong, welfare is on everybody’s lips at the moment, but he feels that it has become a term that is thrown around lightly by politicians in order to get more votes. “If you read the newspaper, most party in Thailand promises to give welfare to the people. But it is not quite right. They think in the wrong way. They think welfare state means giving everything to the people for free - the bus, the train, water, electricity. That is not the way it works in Sweden. In Scandinavia the voting is free. People think freely when they decide who they vote for but in Thailand they do not. Sometimes the candidates use a lot of money to buy the votes. In Thailand, when someone has won the election, you always have to ask one more question: How did you win it?”
Plan of action Boonsong has been fighting for change in Thailand since he was very young. In the 70s, his struggle got him arrested and forced him to flee, and he spent the last 30 years thinking about how to make Thailand the best that it can be. Boonsong is no longer a young man. He is 58 years old, and a father of two daughters who are still in Sweden. Even they realize how much it means to their father to promote changes for better for Thailand. “When I told them I was going back to Thailand, my youngest daughter said to me: ‘I have a dream, and I hope one day I will be able to live it. Right now, Dad, you can do what you dream, and I am happy that you have the chance.’ It was very touching. She knows that this is what I have always wanted,” he says.
People often ask me if we can really create a welfare state in Thailand. They argue that Scandinavia has the best welfare states in the world because their populations are so small. There are only about nine million people in Sweden. In Thailand, we have 65 million. That’s a lot!
July 2011 • ScandAsia.Thailand 15
Tragedy Made Her a Darunida Kristin Madsen is real fighter. When her Danish father suddenly died, she almost gave up. But now she is stronger than ever and determined to fight her way back to the top. By Soffi Chanchira Larsen
arunida Kristin Madsen is less than 150 cm tall, has long, black hair and narrow eyes. She looks like most Asians. Sitting in the hotels chair where she works as a marketing manager her every move is considered and modest and her words are well thought out. In her heart Darunida is more Indonesian and Scandinavian than Thai. Although she likes Thailand and the culture, there are several things that does not go along well with her personality. She believes she have more in common with the scandinavian lifestyle. “Sometimes the Thais are too traditional and conservative, I am open minded,” she says.
Left Indonesia in a rush During most of Darunida’s childhood her father was working offshore, one month home and two month offshore. The months where her dad was at home, or when he came home for small breaks in between, are the moments that she cherishes the most. There were no one else she was more close to, always daddy’s girl. When she moved to Thailand as fifteen year old it was the intention to stay closer to her parents, who had moved to Thailand. She stayed in Indonesia to study and lived with her aunt. But the distance was too long and she made up her mind to leave even when the sudden decision was not a good idea according to her family, who wanted her to stay and study in Indonesia.
Dangerous snake bite When tragedy hits you the same question always pops up; is there a purpose or at deeper meaning to why it just strucked you. When it strucked Darunida, she woke up from a life where it was only about surviving. Short after Darunida changed Indonesia for Thailand her mother got bid by a poisonous snake and got very ill. Darunida had to leave all her dreams for more than a year, to take care of her mother and younger brother. “It was hard to let everything go but it was better than loosing the only mother I had,” she says. When she came to Thailand she could not a word Thai. But the days 16 ScandAsia.Thailand • July 2011
and night by her mothers hospital bed side she spend time watching Thai soap operas and learned the language. When her mother got well it was too late for her to apply for school in Australia. She then rushed to apply at an international school in Bangkok. She became the oldest in her class.
Father died of cancer But her endurance was to be tried even further. In 2009 her father was diagnosed with cancer.
“It was a shock and I did not want to believe that it was terminal cancer,” she says. At that time she had started at the university and was preparing for her exams, while her father went to Denmark to get treatment. One day the phone rang from the hospital in Denmark. Her father had past away. “That means that he is not here anymore,” she thought and fled to her friends house to grief. She did not pass her exams and had to stop at the university.
Stronger Person I had a mental breakdown. In a short time I suddenly had to take things seriously so I grew up fast
You can easily call Darunida Kristin Madsen a multinational. Her father was half Danish and Indonesian. Her mother is Thai, but she was born and lived most of her life in Indonesia - until the family moved to Malaysia for some years.
She then faced a difficult time. Money was short, her stable life had turned upside down, and she was on her own. She had not thought much about the future. Suddenly reality hit her in the face. “I had a mental breakdown. In a short time I suddenly had to take things serious so I grew up fast,” she says, smiling carefully.
“I am not giving up!” But Darunida did not accepted a defeat. Instead she uses the hard times to overcome obstacles in her
life and work today. “My dad is the reason why I’m here and I am not going to give up,” she says thinking back. She started working at the hotel and worked hard to get promoted. She also got job offers at the same time that she turned down. It was a stressful period. “I was afraid I wouldn’t get the job so I pushed my self hard,” she says with a sigh. And that is how she overcomes hard times today, by working hard.
All planned out Darunida wont let it be a disadvantage not to have an diploma from the university or let it get in her way. She believes the word of the sociologist Max Webber: “You do not have to stay in the class you are born in, you always have the effort to move foreword.” she says and continues. ”I am young, there is a lot of opportunities.” However Darunida has not given up the idea to graduate one day from the university but time is not
right. Now she will work and study in her free time. In her mind she has her carrier well planned out, step by step for many years ahead and she knows what she wants. Thailand may not be her home country forever. It might be The Big Apple, New York or a place in Europe. In Darunida’s dreams that is the optimal place to fulfill her dream of being the manager of her own hotel. But first she will go to Australia to be better and more experienced and practise her skills in marketing.
July 2011 • ScandAsia.Thailand 17
Phraya Vasuthep: The Good Danish So Major General Gustav Schau started in 1897 building up the Royal Thai Provincial Gendarmerie - an elite military police force under Interior Minister Prince Damrong. Rajanuphab. When he retired in 1915 this force had secured law and order in all corners of the Kingdom of Siam. By Flemming Winther Nielsen
Gustav Schau around 1901. He holds in this picture the rank of Colonel and has among his distinctions the Danish Knight Order puinned close to his heart as was the tradition.
18 ScandAsia.Thailand • July 2011
The bloody riots In 1889 the Chinese in Bangkok involved themselves in gang wars. The fighting for ‘territory’ and power between rival Secret Societies continued for many days and became a nuisance and disturbed the order of the whole town. Dealing with this became the first of many occasions where Gustav Schau, Captain of The Royal Guard, had to show firmness and loyalty to his masters, the King and Prince Damrong. He was ordered to intervene with as much force as necessary. Commodore Richelieu brought 400 marines and Captain Schau 300 soldiers; they closed in on Sampeng (Chinatown) and attacked. “The Thais attacked the populations as lions…..Any Chinese who offered resistance was killed. Many jumped into the canals and were shot in the water”, writes the contemporary Danish officer Walter Christmas Moller in his account of the incident. “Hundreds of people were arrested, some then beheaded, some flogged and then released. Those arrested were bunched two to five by knotting their long pigtails together and then taken to Richelieus arsenal” (Kaarsted p. 41, Christmas p. 147, my transl.).
Gustav remained a bachelor all his life, no children known. Born in 1859 the boy was sent to the respected boarding school ‘Soroe Akademi’ in 1869. According to the protocols from there his academic achievements were not brilliant, maybe no wonder with such a background, but his two years older brother Valdemar, also ‘Soraner’, later became lawyer and finally judge of The Supreme Court in Copenhagen. Gustav left school in April 1876 and went to the army as infantryman. With the rank of Second-lieutenant he was demobilized late in 1884 and sailed directly out to Siam. When the young naval lieutenant Andreas Richelieu arrived in Thailand 1875 he was equipped with a recommendation from the Danish king (read article Scandasia Magazine, Febr. 2010); an understanding between the Siamese and the Danish Royal House was emerging. Later, some young Siamese royals got their military training in Denmark. Danish officers were more or less handpicked for jobs in Siam with governmental blessing. Not so for Gustav Schau. According to the sources he simply showed up in Bangkok as a private person and asked for a job.
A family wiped out
The road to success
Denmark lost the final war to the Prussians in 1864 and that had a thorough impact on the Danish society as a whole. Also mentally the country was in a state of depression and the army stripped of any glory, no longer a place to pursue a brilliant career. Many emigrated, especially from Nord-Schleswig, now German soil. Some captains, ships and seamen from there ended up in Bangkok and were registered in Consul Koebkes big protocol. Gustav Schaus father, Major Ernst Frederik Schau, lost his five brothers in the wars of 1848-50, during the years thereafter and in 1864, all of them were officers. Finally he himself fell at Dybboel, 18th of April 1864, 38 years old. His mother lived as a widow until 1899.
There is a popular version or myth of how the Second-Lieutenant of the Danish infantry got a job. Prince Damrong, at that time Commander of The Royal Body Guard, claimed that one day early in 1885, after the parade, a young and tall, blond youth dressed in civil clothes, introduced himself and his military credentials there and then – and asked for an assignment in the Siamese Army. Prince Damrong was, according to his own statement, most impressed by the young man and hired him on the spot; to be enlisted in the guard as instructor and drill master. Nevertheless the archives show, that Schau was first employed by Commodore Richelieu as lieutenant in the marine infantry. After a short period he was then transferred to
oldier of Fortune the army, specifically The Royal Body Guard as it was named. Schau remained an officer of the army all his time in Siam, whereas his successor and other Danish officers were enrolled ‘only’ in the gendarmerie. He established a close relationship with Prince Damrong and was promoted, first to captain and then major. In this position he was in charge of drilling and also chief of the school for non-commissioned officers. Finally he was appointed General Quarter Master. In all his tasks he showed a highly developed organizational talent and a not so common appetite for work. It was therefore no coincidence or a result of patronage that he, in 1897, was asked to form and implement a police force in Bangkok and a provincial gendarmerie. He accepted to create the gendarmerie but not the police force; from a tactical point of view that was maybe an unwise decision.
The Gendarmerie ‘The Royal Siamese Gendarmerie’ was then officially established as a provincial military police force. The man behind the construction was the now Minister of the Interior, same Prince Damrong. The idea was to create a ‘Flying Corps’ of elite gendarmes lead by Danish officers and with garrisons spread around in the unruly country. Of course the construction in itself was politically sensitive. I know of no other country where it, over time, was accepted that foreigners were in control of an armed corps of say 9.000 men with power over life and death. Furthermore, the ambition among the leading figures in Siam was to create a nation state led by educated Siamese from the ‘patrician’ families or from the royal family itself; thereby they in fact undermined the position of the corps they had founded. After King Chulalongkorn’s (Rama V) death the process was fuelled by strong nationalistic sentiments. Prince Damrong (1862 - 1943) was a half brother of King Chulalongkorn and his nearest allied. Through more than 30 years he
Gustav Schau in full uniform as head of the provincial gendarmerie force. The photo is from a Thai language website describing his career here: www.saranitet.police.go.th/BossRTP/BossRTP5.html
influenced directly the course of the country. Also his ultimate goal was to create a unified nation state anchored around the throne and the absolute monarchy. Next to the Siamese themselves, Siam was back then a patchwork of Chinese immigrants, tribes and more or less independent fiefdoms. Lawlessness reigned; no police existed in the provinces. Main problems were cattle- and timber theft, murders and robberies carried out by gangs of highwaymen controlling whole towns and provinces, making commuting and trade almost impossible. Furthermore massive illegal opium trade, although this was a government monopoly. Life came at an extremely cheap price.
The Grand Palace had to show that it was the only executive power in control everywhere. In 1894 Damrong was appointed to the key post as Minister of the Interior; over some years he modernized the provincial administrative system and the governors lost their autonomy, now taking orders directly from Bangkok. The Prince was a loyal friend and master for Gustav Schau. The Prince was in high esteem both among friends and foes, both for being a strong willed but also modest and highly intelligent man. He was very often ‘The doer’ in implementing the King’s programs. Schau started with 250 men and one station. When he had built up the corps to his and Prince Dam-
rongs satisfaction, it consisted of around 9.500 gendarmes, Siamese and Danish officers, deployed at 400 stations and sub-stations. There is no need to go into the structure and daily work of the corps. Erik Seidenfaden has described this in his book, worth reading for all Nordic people in Thailand. Seidenfaden is quite frank in giving his views on also daily Siamese life, culture and behavior. The reader can then judge whether anything has changed! But Gustav Schau had found his niche in life. He became most respected for his organizational talents, insight, fairness and restless energy. Many local Siamese noncommissioned officers had a portrait of him hanging in their private homes. Schau never spared himself; he often went on, also unexpected, inspections – on foot, on horseback or by the gendarmerie river steamer. The stations were often placed at riverbanks and there was a saying: ‘Always keep good order, suddenly Phraya Vasuthiep will turn round the corner’. A Phraya is a high nobleman’s title and Vasuthiep means ‘The one who possess the power of the God Vishnu’. In 1909 came the final promotion to major-general and since he was also the director-general of the administration, he had a good grip on his organization, which, on its peak, really was an elite corps bringing order about, so that it became possible to live in peace and travel without the risk of being killed by highwaymen, robbed of money and belongings, or have your cattle stolen.
Departure When king Chulalongkorn died in 1910 the pressure on the foreigners in Siam started to mount. Many of the King’s sons had received military or civil education in Europe; they were most eager to take over. Prince Damrong meanwhile did not find the time ripe and persuaded Schau to stay on for some more years.
July 2011 • ScandAsia.Thailand 19
At the height of the force there were 400 stations like this spread all over the Kingdom. Major Erik Seidenfaden is seen on the staircase. Left: One of the gendarmes with a captured criminal. Notice the bare feet which was standard uniform for the private gendarmes. The personal tensions between the Danish officers and Siamese officials grew. The governors for example were often of royal blood and disliked the foreigners. This was according to various sources also because of different attitudes towards the privates in the army and the population as such. The Siamese officers and governors were feared, branded arrogant and mostly incompetent. The Danes were accused of being too cordial or ‘democratic’ towards ordinary people. In 1915 Prince Damrong was forced out of office and Gustav Schau wisely resigned. His last comments to Erik Seidenfaden were: “When I’m gone the gendarmerie will be radically transformed. All what I have built up these 18 years, will be torn down. My work has been all in vain” (my translation). The Danish officers stayed on under a new leader and restricted conditions until 1926, when they were all laid off without further notice. Maybe the Danish participation 20 ScandAsia.Thailand • July 2011
in the whole project should have been brought to an end with MajorGeneral Schaus departure. Back in Copenhagen and with a reasonable pension from the government of Siam, Schau was appointed member of the board of Directors of EAC. With his knowledge and experience he was worth his seat but he can hardly have invested a fortune; during his time in Siam he had obtained no concessions at had not participated in the various businesses, but the gendarmerie had been most important for EAC. The gendarmes and the Danish officers were providing the necessary peace and stability, to secure operations in as far a place as Phrae and secure a river transport line of more than 850 kilometers. Besides being a Siamese nobleman, Gustav Schau was bestowed with numerous Danish and Siamese Royal orders and decorations. He died in 1919, 60 years old.
When Family Family ties are of the essence as all Asians know and many foreigners have come to appreciate. Children look to their parents for love and care, adolescents look to their parents as confidantes and adults look to their family for guidance and honest advise. This importance of your family risks, however to remain but a distant dream if daily work constraints are not well balanced with quality time with the family. By Kristene Silva Marie Photos by Photostock and LEGO
22 ScandAsia.Thailand â€˘ July 2011
s the basic institution and key to the structure of society, a family is one of the most important parts of a human life. It represents the cultures, beliefs and the outcome of all individual characteristics. However, with the increasing amount of work pressure and time restraints casts on families these days, it robs not only quality time and conversations with each other, but also simple things such as homecooked food or card games after dinner. Time is the problem. Most adults in a family, although realising
it, are in denial about how their dedication and amount of time spent at work may take a toll on their relationship with their family. Instead of resorting to staying home during the weekends, one way to re-establish the family ties is to go out and have fun together, maybe on a trip or excursion. There are many activities a family can indulge in to not only have fun, but also to reconnect with each other through laughter and excitement. A trip to the zoo, screaming on rides in the theme park or just getting the thrill out of bus-hopping together is some activities that can ease the mind and maintain the fo-
Comes First cus on the importance of family ties. There are also many celebrations that can come in disguise of an excuse to take your family out for a treat, such as New Year’s, Valentine’s, Father’s Day and Mother’s Day, not including birthdays and other cultural festivals. These serve as perfect occasions to just get away from the fuss and chaos of work and office regularity. After a weekend of adrenaline rush together, not only will you feel a renewed bond with the members of your family, you would also have a rejuvenated spirit to go to work knowing that there is always next week of fun to look forward to.
July 2011 • ScandAsia.Thailand 23
Where to Eat?
Cooking Together Eating together as a family gathered around the table can be a hard challenge when having a busy life with children. But with a little effort, the dinner does not have to be a “shut-up-Daddy-is-tired” event.
hy not find a way to sit at the table where everybody can enjoy a good meal and spend time together at the same time? It is no secret that cooking together often brings double joy. First because it is, hopefully, fun and brings you together, secondly because you will enjoy this food you have prepared together afterwards. That itself will mysteriously make the food tastier. Here are some suggestions to ‘spice’ up the dinner table making it more fun for kids and adults.
By Soffi Chanchira Larsen
“Moo Kata” table BBQ
on’t play with your food” doesn’t apply when you’re eating Korean barbecue - known in Thai as Moo Kata - either in a street restaurant or in your own home. The pleasure is in placing and turning and fiddling with the thinly sliced pieces of meat on the table top grill - the Thai style is dome shaped with charcoal below in the middle and in the perimeter there is a moat filled with soup where you can enjoy boiling noodles and cabbage and where the fat from the grill to run into. The family chat runs freely when you all sit there fumbling with your chopsticks and, honestly, if you don’t get it on your shirt you’re not doing it right. This is primal, elemental, sensual eating.
Do it yourself Pizza
izza is a good dish to do with children, down to toddlers. It is easy to make and it does not require adults to be on the shoulders of the kids all the time. For the children this means in the end the creation of a very personalized pizza. You may use any kind of meat, but it is easy if you just to put on sausages, bacon, canned tuna and ham slices. They are already prepared so its just to put on the pizzas, and if one slips in the mouth, there is no big risk of food poisoning as with fresh meat.
24 ScandAsia.Thailand • July 2011
eking Duck is a family feast meal, something special, and not just some Asian burger and fries you eat in a rush. Only people, who think it’s called Beijing duck, would ever consider eating this dish alone. The essential ingredient is family. Especially eating the skin is fun. Take one of the very thin pancake/tortilla-like wrappers that you are served, place the wrapper in your hand or on your plate, and use the big spoon to smear on some sauce (not too much). Then put a nice, crispy piece of skin in the middle, plop some spring onion and cucumber on with your chopsticks. Roll the whole thing up and fold up the bottom to avoid spillage, and enjoy. The ingredients should poke out the open top, and you should be able to munch on the finished wrap with one hand, as you would a burrito. If you are not sure how to do all this, most waiters will be amused to show you.
Sunda Resort Krabi RELAX & ENJOY THE NATURE AT ITS BEST!!!!!
Come stay with us at Sunda Resort, where you will always be welcomed with a warm, friendly smile. You will experience nature at its best in the tranquil, garden setting and are just fews minute to beautiful Nopparat Thara beach. Make Sunda Resort your “Home Away From Home” and discover the true hospitality of Thailand - The Land of Smiles. Sunda Resort 19 Moo. 3, Ao-Nang, Muang Krabi 81000 Thailand Tel: +66 7566 1262-4, +66 89 230 9019 Fax: +66 7566 1266 E-mail: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.sundaresort.com
Feel Refreshed at Fineday
“Many a Fine Day” is what we would like you to experience here at Krabi Fineday Resort. We are located in the Aonang-Haad Noppharatthara area. Here you can enjoy nature at its best and fully appreciate the tranquility of life. All guestrooms are designed as Thai style cottages, nestled closely to the abundant nature, where the stunning landscape will remind you of a tropical garden. Krabi Fineday Resort 239 Moo 5, Aonang, Muang, Krabi 81000 Thailand Tel: +66 7566 1040-1 Fax: +66 7566 1042 E-mail: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org www.krabifinedayresort.com
What to Do?
Family Fun at Dreamworld During weekends or holidays, you may sometimes be in a dilemma of where you could spend quality and fun time with your family. Dreamworld is one option that offers a fun, thrilling and great time for a family to be together. By Kristene Silva Marie Photos by Soffi Chanchira Larsen
26 ScandAsia.Thailand • July 2011
ocated in the Northern outskirts of Greater Bangkok, the Dreamworld theme park provides a fantastical getaway where everything seems animated and unreal. Rides such as the Sky Coaster, Hurricane and Vikings, and even a 4-D adventure with Aliens are bound to kick-start an adrenaline rush that would last for quite a while. Apart from the dry theme park, rides such as the Grand Canyon, Super Splash and Bump Boat are located in the wet area of the theme park. At a reasonable price, you could get ticket to get a ride on everything Dreamworld has to offer. As part of the fantastical land Dreamworld provides, it also lets visitors “visit” the miniature structure of the various wonders of the world such as The Great Wall of China, Taj Mahal, Giza Pyramid, The Leaning Tower of Pisa and many more. Ingemar Svensson, 45, who is visiting from Sweden, took the opportunity of a holiday to spend time with his family in Dreamworld. He brought his wife, and their two children, along with his brother-in-law for a day out. After going on almost all the rides, Ingemar and his children, Matilda, 14 and Jonathan, 10, realised that they would like to visit the Snow Town. Although snow is not foreign to the family, they liked being able to enjoy it in a totally dif-
ferent continent. “It is funny to have snow in Bangkok but I miss it. They should provide better clothes though,” Jonathan said with a smile. Both Matilda and Jonathan decided that the Sky Coaster was their favourite ride and at the end of the day they were all just happy spending time with each other and having fun. The trip to Dreamworld would seem all the more attractive to visit as the package price to access the entire theme park would cost only 700 baht per person.
Cocohut Beach Resort & Spa
“Live with Nature, Party with the moon”
One of the most beautiful beach on Phangan island, and it’s just five minutes walk from Had Rin beach, Full Moon Party.
We provide varieties of accommodations. With nice private beach, you can really relax and enjoy the breeze. Let have fun!
Cocohut Beach Resort & Spa 130/20 Had Rin Nai, Sun set, Leela or Seekantang Beach, Moo 6 T. Bantai A.Koh Phangan Suratthani 84280 Thailand Tel. +66 (0) 77 375 368-9 Fax +66 (0) 77 375 368 www.cocohut.com Email : email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to Stay?
Horizon Karon Beach Resort Family Apartments with Two Bedrooms K
rabi Aquamarine Resort in Krabi is a brand new hotel located behind Nopparat Thara Beach, a 250m walk to the sea. The resort itself is well laidout and offers some of the only true family accommodation near to the Krabi Ao nang beach area. With its large pool and 1 - 2 bedroom apartments you have the luxury of space instead of being cramped in hotel rooms designed for 2 adults only. These Two Bedroom Family Unit is your “home away from home” room, with two bed rooms, separate bathtub, balcony and a mini kitchenette which is so nice for family stays. The restaurant offers a fusion of Thai and Western cuisine. The pool is just at your door step for you to play with the kids or just soak and enjoy sun bathing. These rooms are for family who would like to enjoy each passing day with their love ones... spending time together... relaxing together.... and rediscovering themselves together. Rates for these family units are only 3600 baht per day. Krabi Aquamarine Resort 169 Moo 3, Ao Nang (Nopparat Thara Beach) Krabi 81000
Angkhang Nature Resort
28 ScandAsia.Thailand • July 2011
he Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa on Phuket is raised slightly on the hillside a short distance above Karon Beach. Still, shops and restaurants are within easy walking distance, and the relaxed and quiet setting of the Beach is the preferred choice of families and couples. The resorts features Horizon Wing especially for families with children - with supervised Kids Club, playground and 2 swimming pools with swim-up pool bar. The Kids Club is where you can safely leave your kids from 09:00 - 18:00 if you need to do thing in private. The experienced staff arranges activities such as playing with toys or at the playground, sculpture painting, watching cartoon movies, and many more. Children are guaranteed to be kept active, while being given the opportunity to experience new activities in a safe environment. The age group for all programs is 4-12 years; younger children must be accompanied by an adult. The Kids Club has an air-conditioned indoor play room as well as an outdoor playground.
art of the Royal Angkhang Research Station, under the Royal Project Foundation, Angkhang Nature Resort offers comfortable chalet type accommodation, excellent views over the valley below and good food both international and Thai. An easy and fascinating 3 hour drive from Chiang Mai, close to the Burmese border, the mountain location, cool climate and the scenic beauty of the surrounding countryside make Angkang a great place to enjoy birdwatching, trekking, mountain-biking or the fresh mountain air. No special kids facilities at the resort, but the staff are friendly, there’s a video library, (TV and video players in the rooms) and you can hire bicycles from the hotel to ride around the extensive grounds at the The Royal Angkhang Research Station - the main local attraction. Set up in 1969 under the auspices of His Majesty King Bhumibol, it’s a research centre focusing on crop substitution to develop new crops for the Hill tribes, but it’s set out like a national park and has lots of different areas to explore like a national park. Kids love exploring the winding rock gardens, tasting varieties of fruit and generally just biking around the place. Remember to bring warmer clothing at night as it gets cool.
Cool Under Pressure
Boris Blobel, Hilton Hua Hin’s General Manager, is excited about his new job and the opportunity it brings to be at the centre of the fast developing image of Hua Hin. “I first visited Hua Hin in 2004 and found it very charming then, but also a bit dusty,” the lively 38 year old admits, flashing a charming, apologetic smile. By Gregers Moller Photos by Soffi Chanchira Larsen
oris Blobel, Hilton Hua Hin’s General Manager may be the new kid in town but it will not take long before he is among the inner circles of Hua Hin’s social network. Enjoying a light meal in the famous White Lotus Chinese restaurant on the top of Hilton Hua Hin, the newly appointed General Manager reveals that he is in fact already well acquainted with among others the Mayor of Hua Hin and the Police Commissioner for Hua Hin. It is also worth noticing, that when Boris Blobel talks about being involved in the local community, he speaks of the local Thai community before he expands the term to include also the many foreign local communities in Hua Hin. That sounds good for the Hilton Hua Hin, although some foreigners might find it difficult to accept that they are not his main focus.
dives on the Rangali Island. Prior to that, Blobel was he Director of Operations at the Conrad Shanghai and also held management positions with Hyatt Hotels in China and Germany. He has been working in Asia only 11 years and rising to General Manager at the age of only 38 is an impressive achievement. Since early age, Boris has always wanted to be a hotelier. As a 14 year old he signed himself up for the famous HOSTA Hotel Management School in Switzerland. Then later changed to Purdue University in the US where he graduated a BSc in Hospitality and Tourism Management. “I enjoy life as a hotelier. It is a life under a lot of pressure to perform and often with no possibility to make it better second time. Even at my level there is still pressure to perform,” he adds.
Hilton is the iconic centre of Hua Hin. It’s the biggest building in down town Hua Hin and the location
Boris Blobel comes from a job as Resort Manager of the Conrad Mal30 ScandAsia.Thailand • July 2011
It has taken Boris only 10 years rise to the position of GM. It is typical for Hilton, that they prefer to “grow their own managers” instead of headhunting them from some other hotel brand. But Bortis is not sure this will be able to hold as Hilton is growing very fast. Over the next few years some 50 new Hilton hotels are about to open at various destinations around the world.
The Hua Hin Icon
is unbeatable. From most of the rooms you find that classic Hua Hin view of the curving bay that accompanies most articles and websites about the charming little Royal Thai resort in the Gulf of Siam. The Northern Europeans are the largest group of guests at the Hua Hin Hilton. Within this group the top four are the Danes, the Finns, the Germans and the British. The Thais themselves are also a very large group of guests, especially during weekends. The Hilton also sees a lot of expats coming down from Bangkok who want to escape the daily life of the capital and get some fresh air. “For many of our guests, arriving Hilton Hua Hin is like coming home. One third of the staff has been here over ten years, so many will know you and greet you by your name. It feels great; the feling of being recognised and appreciated when you arrive after a long journey!” “This also makes it is important that we contantly and actively make improvements to the property so that when you come back you can see, that some things have improved.”
Ideal for families Boris says the hotel has become very popular for families. “One reason is our room design, which is ideal for families with separate rooms with a door between,” he explains. “Families also come here, because we have special activities for kids, outdoor as well as indoor, and we have babysitters available if Mom and Dad need a quiet dinner alone.” Speaking as a family man himself, moving to Hua Hin was also a much welcome opportunity for him and his wife to find a proper international school for his five year old daughter. She now attends the Yamsaard Hua Hin School in Soi 94.
Variety of food inhouse Families also eat more in-house than other guests. With five in-house dining venues, you find all the variety you need within the compound of the hotel. “The top quality of our kitchen is because it is under the control of our German chef,” Boris explains”. “The pricing on food is also reasonable. Not on street level, but
well below prices in Bangkok,” he adds. “Our bars are also great places to hang out no matter what you are in the mood for. If you just want a cold beer, go to the Beerhouse next to the hotel. Many are not aware of this, but this is actually part of the Hua Hin Hilton as well.” “If you want a bit more action, we have The Milestone where we always have a live Filipino band playing.” “The most recent addition is the Sky Bar right here on the balcony outside the White Lotus Chinese Restaurant. We have a a DJ playing the greatest funky music every night.” The Sky Bar is part of Hilton Hua Hin’s new innovative, vibrant, sexy image. “I like the word “sexy”. If the changes, that we are about to introduce, should be described with one word, that should be it - it holds a lot of the qualities, we are aiming at,” Boros Blobel says.
Excited about Hua Hin Boris Blobel is the fifth General Manager so far at the Hilton Hua Hin and every one of his predeces-
sors did something right to improve the hotel for his successors. Boris indicates that he also has things up his sleeve, that he would like to put in place as his legacy, but he stops short of elaborating. “Too many surprising changes too fast is not good for any organization,” he laughs. “My first visit to Hua Hin was in 2004,” Boris Blobel recalls. “I found Hua Hin very charming, but a bit dusty,” he admits, flashing a charming, apologetic smile. “But today, so much has already changed! And there is more to come,” he adds enthusiatic about the future of Hua Hin. “A lot is already happening, but there is more to come,” Blobel says. “I believe Hua Hin should be capable of hosting a maximum of 15 – 20 major events per year.” One major event is the Hua Hin Jazz festival 26 – 27 August. Other events are the Elephant Polo that has come to Hua Hin for the first time this year, then there is the Golf Asian Masters Tour, and the Vintage Car Parade, the list is longer, but these the ones that come to his mind as we speak.
YaiYa Boutique Resort Hua Hin Thailand
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July 2011 • ScandAsia.Thailand 31
Per Juel Andersen, Lee Paworn, called Dao and Sompit Nooporn, called Pornthip during ScandAsia’s visit to Daodokun. Photo: Jan Mouritsen.
Danish Thai Restaurant in Downtown Nongkhai D
aodokun is a Thai tree with bright yellow colors. It is also the name of a restaurant serving Danish and Thai food in Nongkhai, the charming border town on the brink of the Mekong River separating Laos and Thailand. Daodokun is located behind the public hospital on Kaew Worrawut Road, a parallel road to the main road running along the Mekong River. The restaurant is run by two two Thai friends, Lee Paworn, called Dao and Sompit Nooporn, called Pornthip. The choice of Danish food on the menu is a specialty because of Jes Per Juel Andersen, a silent partner in the restaurant and Dao’s boyfriend for the past five years.. “Actually, I have always had an interest in cooking Danish food even before I met Jes,” says Dao. “I worked in a few restaurants and met Pornthip who is good at the Danish meals, so I learned from her.” Today, Dao and Porntip are business partners and good friends running the cozy, homely restau-
Dao and Pornthip in the kitchen. Photo: Jan Mouritsen. 32 ScandAsia.Thailand • July 2011
By Kristene Silva Marie
rant-bar serving Thai and Danish food, and drinks for those who just want to relax. Jes is present everyday in the shop to show his support, relax and warmly welcome customers to the shop.
Back to Nongkhai Jes arrived in Thailand for the first time in 2001 to attend a friend’s birthday bash in Nongkhai. He stayed for three weeks before returning home to Denmark. However, when he visited again in 2005, he went to Pattaya instead. After a few days, he realised he did not like it there and decided to go to Nongkhai once more. This was when he made a decision to stay on. Back in Denmark, he has had jobs in various industries but the ones he regards as most significant are in restaurants such as Hviids Vinstue and Skindbuksen, located in the city of Copenhagen, where he worked for three years each. Due to his previous job, in a construction company, Jes had been required to deal with heavy loads which had lead to a slip-disc injury. This is one of the reasons that motivated him to move to Thailand as it is warmer and doesn’t put any strain on the injured area of his back.
Thai-Dansk Boutique By Kristene Silva Marie
hai-Dansk boutique is a shop selling clothes for women on the main street in Nongkhai. Behind the shop with the unusual name is Supalak Kaiphon, better known as Pam, and her Danish husband, Harald Clausen. Running the boutique hand-inhand, Pam and Harald have managed to keep their goods real and as trendy as possible. Harald comes from Denmark and has settled down in Nongkhai with Pam. He admits, that most of the shop management is handled by Pam. Having an accounting background, what Pam does today is quite different than what she is used to. Not only does she pick out the clothes that are to be showcased in the boutique, she also spends time designing accessories sold there to be mixed and matched with certain outfits.
She started designing them with nothing but the Internet to refer to and after two or more attempts, she is now able to make cute headbands and brooches for sale. She also personally picks out garments that she wishes to sell in the shop that match her liking and style. Harald moved to Thailand after his retirement in Denmark and decided to stay here. Although he has gone back to visit his family, he mentioned that he only stayed for a short period of time because he missed the weather in Thailand, saying that Denmark was too cold. Harald mentioned that he has been very happy living here as the
town is very peaceful and not overcrowded, and also adds that his wife makes him look forward to everyday. The signboard for the shop says Thai-Dansk and Pam commented on it saying that not only do locals visit the shop but foreigners, specifi-
cally Danish customers, would walk in to see what the shop had to offer. She said that though many new customers come to the shop, her initial customers were the ones that always came back to support her and her business.
Supalak ‘Pam’ Kaiphon and Harald Clausen. Photo: Jan Mouritsen.
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July 2011 • ScandAsia.Thailand 33
Georg Jensen of Ch
Founded in Denmark more than one hundred year ago on the creative vision of one man, the factory in Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand is now making the designs of Georg Jensen available to the global market. By Steen Poulin Nielsen
n 1904 Georg Jensen opened a small silver-smithy in Copenhagen and soon his design, founded in the Danish silversmith’s skill for refinement and organic splendour, was asked for by customers worldwide. The clean, timeless aesthetics of Georg Jensen have defined the master silver house now a globally renowned design phenomenon. The Dane Lars Rensch Nielsen is the General Manager of Georg Jensens factory in Chiang Mai. ”In 2004 I came to the company. At that time we had 160 people working, today we have 620. It has indeed been an interesting journey and I really like my job and my life up here,” Lars Rensch Nielsen says.
Christmas collectibles, watches, jewellery and silverware Georg Jensen is now owned by Axcell Group and is turning the Georg Jensen into a lifestyle and luxury brand without forgetting the classic handcrafted Scandinavian designs. The 620 employees in Thailand are manufacturing the jewelry in gold and silver while approximately 35 people in Denmark are making bowls and silver hollowware icons. Georg Jensen´s Christmas collectibles are manufactured in Denmark as about 90% of those products are sold in Denmark. Georg Jensen are selling products in steel like candle-holders, trays, jugs and tins manufactured for the company by suppliers in China. Watches are in the portfolio as well, manufactured in Schweitz. The idea behind Georg Jensens presence in Thailand was born back in the 90´s. The company found it difficult to maintain a profitable 34 ScandAsia.Thailand • July 2011
production while the sales grew. As many other companies Georg Jensen began to look for opportunities for production outside Europe. “The company narrowed the candidate countries down to Mexico, India, China and Thailand. Thailand was eventually chosen due to the good infrastructure, and the member of the board, Jens Werner, took a trip to Thailand looking for the right place to start,” Rensch Nielsen says. Jens Werner found a nice spot up in the North of Thailand, in the city of Chiang Mai. According to the General Manager, Jens Werner found it more attractive to be a major company in a smaller city than a minor company in Bangkok. But more importantly, Chiang Mai was chosen because of its long gold and silver smith traditions which had created a high level of craftmanship that Georg Jensen could build on. In 1998, Georg Jensen obtained its first BOI contract and the first overseas operation was a reality for the old Danish company. It was yet too early to do any manufacturing but in the year 2000 Morten Bjerg Christensen, a foreman from the Danish factory, arrived with a staff of five people starting the process of planning and setting up the production facility. This took about a year to complete.
Opposing the decision The people in Georg Jensen back in Copenhagen were not too pleased with the boards decision to outsource production to Thailand. They believed that it would be impossible to maintain the high quality of the handcrafted jewellery. The discussion went on for quite some time until Jens Werner finally called for a big meeting.
“Jens Werner collected a number of products manufactured in both Denmark and Thailand, he placed all of them on one table, and asked the critics to sort out the products. To tell which of them were done in Thailand. They could not and that was the end of the discussion,” Lars Rensch Nielsen says.
The wheels start turning The first Georg Jensen products to be manufactured in Thailand was the Heritage jewellery. These collections are some most popular Georg Jensen jewellery collections and at the same time not a too complicated design to produce. According to the General Manager it went very well and the company decided to buy more land for building purpose to secure a future growth. In May 2004 the new factory was build. “Today, the factory employes 624 people,” Lars Rensch Nielsen says.
Respect local culture ”As a Danish company operating in Thailand we need to respect the culture here. We do have our own house temple and have five ceremonies per year keeping the ghosts friendly. Before we start working in a new building monks will arrive blessing the building,” the General Manager says. The company has decided to implement most of the Danish rules and regulations. When the smoking ban was due in Denmark, they banned smoking in the factory in Chiang Mai and build a sala for the smokers. The regular working week in Thailand is a six days week with 50 hours. At Georg Jensen it is a five days week with 40 hours. There is a
library at the site and Georg Jensen spends 5000 Baht per month to buy new books. The workers get six sets of uniforms per-year for free, two daily meals for free and health insurance covering for them, their children and parents. Every year there will be safety days educating the staff how to prevent accidents at the factory.
Annual Sports Day and popular Children’s Day The annual Sports Day is another regular non-working day in the company, all the staff participates. To engage the female workers in sport, the company calls for an Aerobic instructor three times per-week. “At our Children's Day we want to do something for a village in our area, the criteria is that one of our employees has grown up in the village. We will arrive in about 30 trucks loaded with toothbrushes, towels, pencils, paper, ice and candy.” “We will distribute the goods to the people and in every village we have this tradition of implementing a solar panel at the school providing light so the school can teach both early morning and late afternoon,” Lars Rench Nielsen says. Georg Jensen participates in the ”To Be Number One" project, which aims to promote the prevention of and solutions to drug problems. Random drug tests are carried out in the factory and the General Manager tells, that four serious cases of drug addiction have been found during the eight years. The company pays for full-time treatment while paying the employee in full, and securing the employee’s job at the company after treatment.
Lead time and stock reduction Nielsen tells, that before the beginning of the financial crisis in 2009, most production facilities was looking for huge series to optimize the production. ”After the crisis there is no such thing as a huge series. Now it is all about optimize lead time and reduce stock. First, I was thinking that we did what we could in this matter as our figures were quite similar to the competition, but when we looked into it, we found a number of ways to improve,” he says. One of Lars Rensch Nielsen’s tasks in Thailand has been to optimise the production - both in term of production time, cost and quality. Without compromising the high quality standards of Georg Jensen, the jewelry has to be produced in a competitive way. That means that the lead time from a customer orders a product to the customer receives the product has been reduced extensively. The same goes for the production cost. Also the scrap percent - the number of products not meeting our quality standards - has decreased. “The competencies of the Thai goldsmiths are outstanding. They are really good at what they do. And the attitude is also in a special league. They take so much pride in their job,” Lars Rensch Nielsen states.
Above: Lars Rensch Nielsen, General Manager of Georg Jensen in Thailand, To the left: Stages in the production. Far left, bottom: One of Georg Jensen’s highly talented silversmiths at work.
wind is insufficient source in Chiang Mai. Solar Panels are not cost effective at the moment so instead, the company in 2009 decided to plant trees. The company calculated CO2 emission and planted 13.700 trees. Another working day turned into a team building even planting the trees in the mountains where local farmers will take care of the trees.
Staff work ethics When asked about the difference working with Thais compared to Danes, Lars Rensch Nielsen point out that Thais seems a bit more appreciative when it comes to work. The sickleave is below one percent every year. Another difference is Thai approach to pension savings. Georg Jensen just introduced pension scheme as part of the employee benefit package. ”If you ask Thais if they will like money now or having a pension plan, more than 90% of them will go for money now. We were only able to push the pension plan through because we did so instead of an increase of the salary,” Lars Rensch Nielsen says.
The Thai workshop has made a decision to be CO2 neutral. According to the General Manager, the main concern is the electricity and he looked into ways to supply the electricity. Wind power is out as the July 2011 • ScandAsia.Thailand 35
Hans Henrik Melchior 50 Years with EAC Hans Henrik Melchior celebrates on 1 August his 50 years anniversary working for the EAC group. In an article in ØK Bladet in June, Hans Henrik Melchior recalls some highlights from his many years with the company.
n 1 August 1961 I entered for the first time the famous EAC building in Holbergsgade in Copenhagen through its main entrance. I was hoping this was to be the beginning of a long career in the EAC,” he writes. And that hope has indeed been fulfilled. “Initially I was attached to the prunes department and started my career by spilling water all over the day’s mail when sealing the envelopes at the end of my first day.” In early 1962 this department was closed and Hans Henrik Melchior was transferred to the grains and cattle feeds department, where then head of department Peter Madsen welcomed him with the angry outburst “I don’t want all those kids". In those days the Head Office in Copenhagen was manned mostly by very senior Managers, who had
Hans Henrik Melchior on his way to Koh Samui sometime in the mid 1970’s as supervisor for Thai Coconut Industries. returned to Copenhagen after long services overseas, and very young apprentices. Despite this very warm welcome Hans Henrik established a good relationship with Peder Madsen. “I remember him as a quite a character with a fantastic temper but also as a wonderful human being. This was a trading business, mainly based on taking “long” or “short” positions, hoping that prices would move in the right direction, and I remember that he had a sign on the wall behind his chair saying 'Don’t look back!'."
Hides and skin in Africa “My first job overseas was in our hides and skins company in Bujumbura (Burundi), where I was trained before being sent to Butare in southern Rwanda to replace the head of the buying station there while he was on vacation. From there I was off to Kigali, where I worked hard from seven in the morning to nine in the evening at the coffee mill -
36 ScandAsia.Thailand • July 2011
and I had only water supply in my apartment between nine and eleven in the morning.” Then back to the company in Bujumbura to replace Arne Oxfeldt while he was on vacation. “One day, shortly before I was to leave for Monrovia, we caught a man who had delivered some hides and cheated with the receipt,” Hans Henrik recalls. “I took him to the police station and explained the case to the local police officer using my very poor French language skills. He told me that we should come back 14 days later, as there would then be a judge present, who could decide the case. This would be impossible for me as, at that time, I would be in Monrovia, so I decided to let the criminal “off the hook” and we set off together. After about half a minute the officer came running after us and yelled "Arrêtez, arrêtez! Il doit d'abord être battus!" which meant something like "Wait, wait, we have to beat him first!”. In Monrovia Hans Henrik Melchior was initially appointed head of the purchasing department of the Liberian Produce Marketing Corporation, a joint venture between EAC and the Liberian Government, and later took over the export function and the import and distribution of rice. “My best memory from my time in Liberia was the amazing unity that existed between us, not only in LPMC but also in general in the Scandinavian colony. I remember one particular incident when we were in the process of loading a ship which had to sail at eleven o´clock that evening. As, at the ten
o´clock knocking-off time, they had not completed the loading we had a problem. We could get the stevedores onboard the ship to continue working, and also the forklift drivers. But the team of workers, employed by the port to attach the slings to the pallets on the pier, would not work, so Jens Svennevig and I took over this job and got everything on board in time”.
Next stop:Thailand! “In 1972 my time in Africa came to an end - or so I thought - and I moved to Bangkok, where the Company initially put me in charge of the import administration department and later appointed me as head of the export department, project business as well as supervision of Chantaboon Rubber Estate and TCI (Thai Coconut Industries) with factories in Bandon and on Koh Samui.” “During this time we managed to sell the first Cimbria rice dryers in Thailand. We also sold Chantaboon Rubber Estate and closed the TCI plant on Koh Samui.” It was also during this time that Hans Henrik Melchior in 1974 met his wife Montha. They were married in 1977.
Indonesia and then 10 years in Denmark. “In 1976, I was transferred to PT Danmotors Vespa Indonesia in Jakarta where I stayed for two years. During this period Danmotors sponsored a tour of Indonesia with exhibition matches featuring the top Danish and Indonesian badminton players, who were then world-
Hans Henrik Melchior celebrates on 1 August his 50 years anniversary working for the EAC Group.
champions and I headed the project team organizing these events.” “In 1978 I was asked to go to Kano in Nigeria and, as neither my wife nor I had any appetite for this, I was transferred back to Copenhagen to be Marketing Supervisor in the shipping department.” “Having never worked neither with shipping nor with marketing, I was of course the right man for this task!” Hans Henrik Melchior jokes. It took ten years before Hans Henrik Melchior was again assigned an overseas position - this time in Los Angeles with EAC’s shipping line between the US West Coast and the Far East. As Hans Henrik had family there, he had a great time there.
part of the project team working on the sale of EAC’s Industrial Ingredients business to Brenntag. After this transaction was completed he was employed as head of the holding company EAC had established in Thailand to manage its investment in Thai Poly Acrylics Public Company Ltd., which was not sold to Brenntag.
Founding of Viking Wheelers
Last stop: Bangkok “In 1992 I got my last transfer – this time back to Bangkok. After a short time in the shipping department I was assigned to my favorite job as Company Secretary.” “Already during the last half of the 1990’s we started the extensive structural changes necessary to shape the Company to meet future challenges and to convert it from a conglomerate of highly diversified businesses to focus on its main competency of distributing industrial ingredients. I was deeply involved in
these tasks and worked closely with local Management as well as Management in Copenhagen on the big projects related to the de-listing of EACT from the stock exchange of
Thailand, the changes in the capital and ownership structure and adjustments to Thailand’s new Foreign Business Act.” Hans Henrik Melchior was also
Apart from his active participation in many DanCham functions Hans Henrik Melchior is best known in the Nordic community in Thailand for his engagement with the Nordic bicycle team, The Viking Wheelers. He established this team in 2004 and was its leader until 2009, when he handed over the reins to its present President, Henrik Friis. The team is still very active with 4-5 weekend tours every year as well as its one week bicycle crusades in December every year, during which the Viking Wheelers do rides of about 500 km in many areas of Thailand.
July 2011 • ScandAsia.Thailand 37
Young Swedish Chef on Linus Gardhem had job offers from all over the world on his hand. Instead the 21 year old Swedish chef decided to follow his friend and former General Manager to an unpaid job on Koh Chang. By Thomas Lykke Pedersen
etting up an interview appointment with chef Linus Gardhem is very hard. The 21-year-old Swede seems to be working around the clock, seven days a week. For several months he has been focusing all his energy in setting up the kitchen at the Swedish owned WE restaurant on Koh Chang. But bringing his high standards and expectations to Thailand has been challenging to say the least.
Easy decision When Linus Gardhem received a phone call from his friend and former GeneralManager asking him to come to Koh Chang in Thailand he was not really surprised. “I knew he was going to Thailand to build up this project and I had told him to call me if he ever needed help. The only surprise was that he called me so soon,” Linus says. Before you knew it, Linus had quit his job in Gothenburg and jumped on a plane to Thailand to set up the WE restaurant. “When the call came it was an easy decision. I didn’t give it a second thought,” he says. Another thing that came easy to Linus at that time was saying goodbye to Sweden. A lot of stuff happened back home on the personal front and for Linus the time was just right to go. Work wise the timing was also right. “I worked a lot. A LOT. But still didn’t feel I was going anywhere,” he says. “Here, with all the responsibility I have, I learn a lot and grow as a chef as well as a person. The money will just have to wait for later,” he says. A remarkable view point for a man only 21 years of age. Especially when you add that his new job at WE is 100% commission based. “It gives me a lot of motivation to make this place run. I have a real goal, so I don’t mind not having time to go to the beach. Besides, I have my free accommodation and food and here on Koh Chang I really don’t need anything else,” Linus says.
Hard work In the middle of November Linus arrived and on the 25th he had his new menu ready. “I drove around all over the island exploring the beautiful places. I did all the calculations. How much for a dish, how much for the various ingredients and so on,” he says. But one thing was having the 38 ScandAsia.Thailand • July 2011
Koh Chang menu ready, another thing was how to actually get it done every night. With a kitchen equipped with only one microwave, one sandwich grill and three hot plates, creativity and the ability the keep ones cool is of the essence. “I’m very proud that we’re without a doubt the fastest place to get the food out. But if 20 people walk in at the same time, basically we’re screwed,” Linus says candidly. Before Linus’ arrival the WE restaurant only served Thai food because only Thais were there to make it. Today the Swede is still the only “farang” working in the kitchen and getting his Thai staff to understand the Western food is quite a challenge. “I may tell them how to make a burger and then show them 20 times, but still there’s no guarantee that they will cook the beef properly. It’s like having a three-year-old besides you. It’s very frustrating and at times you just want to run away screaming,” Linus says. But he immediately assures that it wont come to that. Right now the plan is to stick around for three years. And the reward for the hard work is already starting to show. “We get nothing but positive response on the food. The conditions in the kitchen are not easy, but we manage, and then it just feels that much better seeing happy customers,” Linus says.
Getting the name out On Koh Chang it is very hard to get all the ingredients he needs. And the supply may be different from day to day, which is something that has to be worked into the menu. Every day Linus has to go up the coast to get supplies or as he puts it “go to the
‘food Mafia’” where you need to ask the right man for the right stuff. “I would love to make a nice tenderloin steak, but that’s just not possible. In general the really fresh stuff is very hard to get, except for the fish that is. Sometimes they don’t have this - sometimes they don’t have that,” Linus says with a audible frustration in his voice. As of now, the biggest challenge, besides making the kitchen run smoothly, is getting the name and new concept of WE restaurant out to the visitors and permanent residents of the paradisical island in the South East of Thailand. Thus, flyers and banners have been distributed in big parts of the island. And the result is slowly showing. “In the first two months a lot has happened already. People are getting to know about our food. But there is no doubt that it’s going to take a lot of hard work to really make it,” Linus says.
No Swedish future? When Linus’ three years at Koh Chang are over, there is no telling where he will go. But most likely it will not be back to his home country. “I don’t know if I’m ever going back to Sweden. For me it’s just too boring and when you have the whole world in front of you - why should I go to Sweden?” he asks. Before coming to Koh Chang, he was talking to a restaurant in Dubai. Also two in the USA and one in the Caribbean had been in touch. “Those kind of job offers will be there in the future as well, I’m sure,” he says. “Right now, all I really need is a proper oven in my kitchen,” Linus laughs out.
Affiliated with RIS
July 2011 • ScandAsia.Thailand 39
The Power of Gratitude Thai children are from an early age taught to feel and express gratitude. Foreigners can learn from this. If you teach yourself how to feel and express gratitude it will change your life and the way people see you.
All public schools in Thailand have once year a “wai kru” day where the students get an opportunity to “wai” and show appreciation to their teachers. For foreign teachers this is often an awkward but also a surprisingly pleasant experience.
By Tara Patricia
eing thankful is an easy enough concept. Someone does something nice for you and you show gratitude toward them in return, right? We are taught this polite way of interaction as young children and as adults we understand its importance in life. We have all seen the physical effects a genuine “thank you” has on another person. But have you ever stopped to think about how being thankful affects you? Well science has…as a matter of fact researchers are beginning to look deeply into the very concept of gratitude and its affects on the human body. Scientists across the globe are now studying the correlations between health and the practice of gratitude. Their findings are remarkable. Researchers have shown that people who practice daily acts of gratitude or embrace a more thankful attitude, report fewer illnesses, have increased satisfaction and restful sleep, make quicker progress toward personal goals, and have higher levels of concentration, energy, and an over all more positive attitude regarding life. Scientists have linked this connection to the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the part of our nervous system responsible for emotions and different limbic structures in our brains which release our feel good chemicals like serotonin and dopamine. As a result, of these connections, maintaining an attitude of gratitude significantly improves our health, immunity, and over all sense of well being.
A form of meditation Adopting a thankful attitude in all aspects is, in reality, a meditation
on humanity. In living from a thankful based perspective, you will begin to shift your own interaction with your entire world. When you focus on gratitude you shift your energy from egoistic mind to spiritual connection. This shift then allows you to view even the hardest of events as having some level of good. There are however times in life you may be faced with seemingly insurmountable struggles. During these times, embracing gratitude is especially important even though it may be the furthest from your mind. Focusing on the struggle and allowing it to consume all your energy will only lead you downward.
How? So how do you embrace gratitude when facing some of life’s harder challenges? Accept the situation for was it is, a life teacher. We have all had that one hard teacher who will forever stick in our minds. We hated them while we had them. They were hard, they made us miserable, they pushed us to our breaking point, we feared them, and they called us to be much more than we ever believed we could be. Years after our experience with them, however we can look back and see how much we learned from them. We can see how their existence in our lives changed us forever. During times of struggle see your situation no longer as the enemy, but rather as a very hard teacher you can then thank for its presence in your life. By shifting your mind from me vs it to that of hard teacher/thankful student, you will shift your energy to a more positive space where resolution and healing can flow faster. When you are thankful you walk
40 ScandAsia.Thailand • July 2011
lighter, you live fuller, and you interact with a level of natural compassion. Living with gratitude as a daily practice reduces tension and stress while it simultaneously improves your health, mental functioning, and sense of excitement about life.
Where to begin? So how do you begin this shift to living a life of gratitude? First you can begin at the surface level by using everyday moments to give thanks. As you walk down the street feel gratitude for the life you see around you, or for the air conditioning in your office. Give thanks each time you step into your car or house. Say thank you for the running water each time you turn on the facet. Begin to thank all those around you for their presence in your life on a daily basis. Instead of having an idle mind use every spare moment to connect to gratitude. You can also begin to integrate gratitude deeper into your life by looking inward at yourself. Recognize areas in your life where you can adopt a more thankful approach. How would gratitude shift your energy in this situation? How would being thankful increase your acceptance of the situation and your involvement? What is the lesson in this situation and where can you become the thankful student?
Select a reminder You can also use a visual reminder to refocus yourself on gratitude if it helps. Find an object you see or hear many times a day. Perhaps it is a watch or a ring or your phone. If you spend a lot of time on the road, then you could pick red cars or pickup trucks. Maybe you have a grandfather clock or a bell that sounds each time the door opens.
Find something you can use as a refocusing object. When you have found your “focal object” make a mental note each time you see or hear it, to check in with where you are in your thoughts. Are you being grateful no matter what you are dealing with? If you have not, then simply utilize that moment to shift back to gratitude and congratulate yourself for your new awareness. If you do find you were in a thankful state then commend yourself and move on.
Listen to yourself You may also use your refocusing object to listen to your self talk. Are you getting caught up in complaining about a certain someone or situation? Are you judging yourself or perhaps someone else harshly? Is your self talk overwhelmed by struggle or uplifted by gratitude? By adopting an attitude of gratitude you will not only begin to see improvements in mind and health but you will begin to see the benefits cross over into your career and personal relationships as well. Living with a thankful heart and mind will shift your focus, improve your health, and help you reach your true potential.
Tara Patricia is the Author of The Road You Were Meant to Travel and speaker in the field of Self Transformation. She holds a Master in Psychology with Advanced Post Graduate Studies in Clinical and Neuropsychology. Tara has worked for many years with families and suicidal adolescents. To learn more, visit her at http://www.tarapatricia.com.
Lamp with cabbage (Norwegian national dish)
This dish is named the national dish of Norway. You may think of it as a Norwegian lasagna.
Ingredients for 4 pers.: • 1 ½ kg white Cabbage • 1 ½ kg Lamb/mutton steaks and pieces of rib • Salt • Pebber • 3 cups of water • Parsley to decorate • Wheat flour
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 August 2011 42 ScandAsia.Thailand • July 2011
Tip: Place big chunks of white bread on top of the pot if the smell is too strong, it will take some of the smell.
• Cut the cabbage into slices, not too coarse. Place lamb and cabbage in layers with cabbage on the bottom and as top layer in a pot. Put salt and pepper between the layers. Add water and let the whole thing cook on the stove until the meat is tender (easily 2 hours). If you like the sauce more thick you can add wheat flower between the layers. • Decorate with parsley on top before serving Fårikål. • Serve with boiled potatoes.