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Coming Events The Nordic Masters 2010 Date: SAT 20 November 2010
Your FREE ScandAsia Magazine in Thailand
Once again the Thai-Finnish Chamber of Commerce invites you and your friends to participate in its prestigious golf tournament “The Nordic Masters 2010”. It will be held on November 20th 2010 in the settings of one of Thailand’s top-class golf courses. Premium gifts and prizes await the participating golfer and teams. You can read more and register online at http://www.thaifin.or.th/events.php.
ScandAsia is the only magazine that covers all the Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish residents in Thailand. We also publish a ScandAsia magazine in China, Singapore and the rest of South East Asia.
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: Advanced Printing Services Co., Ltd.
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SSS Christmas Bazaar Location: British Club Backyard Date: SUN 28 November 2010 Scandinavian Society Siam (SSS) invites you to a traditional Scandinavian Bazaar, the real Scandinavian way in cooperation with different Scandinavian interest groups in Bangkok. Come and join fellow Scandinavians in celebrating Christmas in Scandinavian style. This year the venue will be The British Club’s backyard where is space for children to play around and adults to enjoy party and shopping. Any updated info will be put in www.scandasia.com.
DWN Christmaslunch and Christmas Tree Party Date: SAT 13 November 2010 and SUN 21 November 2010 Believe it or not - there is only 2 months to Christmas!!! Danish Womens Network will again this year join together for Christmaslunch and the Christmas tree party. Christmaslunch for adults will be held on Saturday, November 13th and the Christmas tree party for the whole family will be held on Sunday November 21st 2010. Location will be announced soon. Please contact Danish Women’s Network for further information at email@example.com.
Dancham Christmas Lunch Date: FRI 26 November 2010 Thai-Danish Chamber of Commerse (Dancham) members are invited to join on November 26 for the best Christmas Lunch in town! Don’t miss out on the annual Christmas Lunch where you can enjoy a traditional Danish Christmas Lunch buffet and free flow of beer and soft drinks. Bring your friends and colleagues for a fun and memorable afternoon! Book your seats now at www.dancham.or.th.
“Private Banking makes life easier.” The only Nordic Private Bank in Asia Paciﬁc. www.sebgroup.com/privatebanking Tel: +65 63570895 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 50 Raﬄes Place #36-01, Singapore Land Tower, Singapore 048623
The Japanese Team Won The Ambassador’s Cup 2010
n Saturday August 28, the Thai-Finnish Chamber of Commerce held their annual golf tournament, The Ambassador’s Cup, at the Lam Luk Ka golf course. The winners were Japanese, but a Scandinavian team ended as runners-up. 106 golfers representing countries like Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Thailand, and Japan participated in the yearly ‘Ambassador’s Cup’ at the Lam Luk Ka Golf & Country Club. It was a day of many happy and hard working golfers, who tried out their golf-skills on a beautiful, but wet, course. Danish Lars Londal, Londal Consulting and board member of the Thai-Finnish Chamber of Commerce, organized the event for the second time in a row. The format of the cup was Team Stable-Fore, so every team member had to do everything possible to make the entire team’s result as good as possible. Provided with tournament branded polo-shirts and ball markers, the many golfers started out warming up at the driving range. zThis resulted in a strong performance from the Japanese team ‘T-RAD’ that ended up winning ‘The Ambassador’s Cup 2010’. Runners-up was the Swedish team ‘The Dream Team’. A lot of small, built-in competitions were running during the tournament - types like: Longest drive, longest in two, nearest the pin, and so on. The following gala dinner was a great finish to the day. Here, Lars Londal ran a Raffle’s Draw, an auction, and a ‘blind-folded’ putting competition, where sponsor’s contributed with prizes for the winners.
1) Lars Londal, Londal Consulting and board member of the Thai-Finnish Chamber of Commerce, organized the event for the second time. 2) The Swedish team ‘The Dream Team’. 3) PGA Pro Doug Hood was helping out, trying to improve every type of golf swing he saw. 4) Where did that go? 5) When you play Team Stable-Fore the emphasis is on the many team and not the individual. 6-7) At the gala dinner, Lars Londal ran a Raffle’s Draw, an auction, and a ‘blind-folded’ putting competition, where sponsor’s contributed with prizes for the winners.
6 ScandAsia.Thailand • October 2010
DWN’s Night Out
anish Women’s Network (DWN) had gathered together on Thursday, 9th September at Major Bowl on Thonglor. Three lanes, 12 women, of which many had to admit that it had been 10-15 years since they last had their fingers in a bowling ball. Karin Kristen and Maiken were awarded winners. The evening continued for all bowling participants with broken thumb and index finger nails – a clear sign that everyone had actively participated - at the Greyhound restaurant on Thonglor. At the restaurant additional five women joined the company. Danish Women’s Network thanks all for a cozy and festive evening in the city.
1) Ladies are ready at the bowling lanes. 2) There were loud music and a lot of laughter. 3) Women continued to the Greyhound restaurant for dinner.
SWEA Welcome Back Dinner
s a tradition the Swedish ladies of Swedish Women’s Educational Association (SWEA) started out their Autumn program with a Welcome Back Dinner at Bistro 33rd on September 8th. There were mingling, eating and drinking in the comfortable environment, as five new “Sweor” were welcomed. The evening also had a jubilar as Yvonne celebrated her 50-year birthday this evening. Something that automatically called for champagne.
1) SWEA enjoying their wlcome back dinner at Bistro 33rd. 2) Erika, Jessica & Nina along with the evening’s only “man”, little Daniel. 3) The evenings jubilar, Yvonne, was celebrated with bubbles.
October 2010 • ScandAsia.Thailand 7
Nordic Chamber of Commerce Seminar on Double Taxes in a Time of Recession 2
he global recession is over, but we have to be careful. Wednesday’s Breakfast Seminar with KPMG and Jyske Bank in the Nordic Chamber of Commerce concentrated on hot, current topics. More than 50 people showed up at Wednesday morning’s Breakfast Seminar arranged by the Nordic Chamber of Commerce. The arrangement was held at The Grand Sheraton Sukhumvit, and 34 of the members who joined the seminar represented the Danish-Thai Chamber of Commerce. “It’s always great to come by for some great food and meet some of your fellow expats, and especially today’s topic on economy is of huge interest for the most of us who attend these meetings,” said Poul Skov-Petersen from FireExpress about the seminar. At this one, key guest speakers were from a world which circles around economy. “The global recession is over, but we have to be very careful with how we proceed now. All the tools for falling down the drain once again are there,” Søren Skov Nielsen, Area Manager in Jyske Bank for South East Asia, said. He used his 20 minutes as a guest speaker to concentrate about the elements, of which Jyske Bank focus on during the rehabilitation of the global economy. “We have now postponed parts of our goals - for the third time. It is a new economic world we are looking at, and especially the consumer behaviour in the western world will influence and have the ability to change a lot,” Søren Skov Nielsen said with a focus on how the western world influences the upcoming industrial giants like China, Japan, and India. The second part of the breakfast seminar was about the new Double Tax Treaty in Thai legislation. Benjamas Kullakattimas, Tax Partner in KPMG, joined the seminar to explain the overall details of the of the new double tax treaty for expats living as either residents or non-residents in Thailand. “I think this is important for all the members of the Nordic Chamber of Commerce. That is why we are here today,” Kullakattimas said to ScandAsia after her presentation. The new legislation is quite complicated, and the presentation cast off loads of questions from the many listeners around the Ballroom at the Sheraton Hotel. “My belief is that many of us now has a better understanding of the new legislation after this. But it is very complex and has a lot of small hidden details in each individual case,” Poul SkovPetersen said fully satisfied with the day’s event. “For me, it is important to get out here and meet some of the people I represent and work with and give the entire chamber a view into the way a private banking company as ours thinks at these times,” said Søren Skov Nielsen from Jyske Bank to ScandAsia in continuation of his presentation. If you missed this Nordic Chamber seminar, the next one is scheduled for Tuesday, October 5. 1) The team who was behind the Nordic breakfast seminar. 2) Søren Skov Nielsen, Area Manager in Jyske Bank for South East Asia. 3) Benjamas Kullakattimas, Tax Partner in KPMG. 4) Seminar Participant - Poul Skov-Petersen from FireExpress.
8 ScandAsia.Thailand • October 2010
Katja Christina Nordgaard is Norway’s new ambassador to Thailand. By Søren Lykke Bülow Photo by Disraporn Yatprom
First Posting as Norwegian Ambassador K atja Nordgaard in August assumed her new assignment as the Norwegian ambassador to Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar (Burma) and from her office at the 18th floor in Sukhumvit soi 33, she is now enjoying the splendid view of Bangkok. “I really love this view!” “It’s quite fascinating to see how the new skyscrapers dominate the horizon, although the city is still filled with old buildings in a whole different style. You still get some sense of the old Bangkok,” she says.
From Bergen to Bangkok Katja Nordgaard, 48, holds an MBA in economics from the Norwegian School of Business and Administration in Bergen. In the Foreign Service, her overseas assignments include three years as Press- and Cultural Attache at the Norwegian Embassy in London and three years as Minister Counsellor at the Norwegian Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa. “This time around I wanted to go to Asia. It is such an interesting continent, and the growth and developments that are taking place here are tremendous,” Katja Nordgaard says.
The Ambassador is joined by her husband and her 11 and 16 years old daughters. Her oldest daughter is currently studying in Italy. Katja Nordgaard has just been to Thailand once before. Five years ago she came here on a vacation with her family.
Meeting people in Thailand The new ambassador really looks forward to her new job. “I’ve been here since August, and naturally, I have been using a lot of time to begin with to introduce myself to people and organisations that are of relevance to Norway. Norway has a broad agenda in this region and one of my important tasks will be to look after Norwegian interests, whether they are related to economic interests or the many Norwegian citizens living in Thailand, says Katja Nordgaard. One of the many challenges for Katja Nordgaard is obviously the language barrier in Thailand. “I have a hard time with the Thai language, but as I’m going to be here for several years, I have to learn at least the basics,” she says with a laugh. “Luckily, we just started up with weekly courses in Thai here at the embassy, and I had a few hours of training before I came, so hopefully I’ll be able to do better in short time,” Katja Nordgaard says.
There are many exciting issues at hand here, and Thailand’s role in the Southeast Asia region is interesting.
“There are many exciting issues at hand here, and Thailand’s role in the Southeast Asia region, hereunder in ASEAN and other regional fora, is interesting,” she says “Norway is already working closely with Thailand on issues like the banning of landmines, on health and foreign policy and other processes in international organisations like the UN.” “It is also my ambition that we
should strengthen our dialogue around climate change, energy as well as action against deforestation. These are areas where we have a mutual interest of closer cooperation,” she says “I also hope we can soon restart the negotiations on a freetrade agreement between EFTA and Thailand.”
Myanmar The Ambassador mentions Myanmar as one important isssue of special concern to Norway The embassy is following the preparations for the upcoming election in November closely. The period after the election might create new players and new structures inside the country and Norway will look for ways to encourage Myanmar to make efforts towards national reconciliation and democracy.
This is of course an issue where our dialogue with Thailand as a neighbouring country, will also be important, says Nordgaard. Katja Nordgaard reiterates that there is great potential for closer and broader cooperation with Thailand and its neighbouring countries .The Scandinavian countries are all active in the region and can contribute to a positive development in different ways. The embassy also covers Cambodia. “Cambodia is developing fast, and the number of tourists visiting the country is rising. Norway is engaged in assisting Cambodia through different NGO’s and programs, amongst them education for children and helping victims of landmine accidents..
Fact about H.E. Katja Christina Nordgaard Born: May 15, 1962 in Sweden by a German mother and Norwegian father. Moved to Oslo as a 5-year-old Educated in Public Law from the University of Oslo Has an MBA from the Norwegian School of Business in Bergen Specalist in International Economy and Finance Work 1988 1990-1993 1994-1996 1997-1998 1997-2000 2001-2004 2005-2008 2008-2010 2010-
Joined the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Oslo Press- and Cultural Attaché, Norwegian Embassy in London The Norwegian Shipowners Association Commercial Bank DnC International Advisor, Prime Minister’s Office in Norway Minister Counsellor, Norwegian Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa Different positions within the Departement of Regional Affairs, MFA Business developer, Scatec Solar (solar energy) Ambassador, Bangkok, Thailand
October 2010 • ScandAsia.Thailand 11
Right Man for the Job After two and a half years based in Geneva, Switzerland, Ole Hamre is back in Singapore meaning to take SEB’s private banking operation to a new level in Asia. By Thomas Lykke Pedersen
t the 36th floor of the Singapore Land Tower the Head of SEB Private Banking in Asia, Mr. Ole Hamre, is sitting in the big conference room. Already in a comfortable leather chair he puts his one leg up and slowly slides back in his seat. Observing Ole Hamre and hearing about his life, one instantly get the feeling that the tall Norwegian has found the perfect balance between being a successful businessman and a laid back family father. And how does he do it? It is all about the commitment.
Asian focus Ole Hamre returning to Singapore is part of a bigger plan to put SEB into a new Asian era and the 41year-old Scandinavian is just the man to do it. “I was asked if I would take on this challenge making the private banking operation evolve into the next level. Of course it’s a big compliment being brought back like that,” he says. And the General Manager is not only proud to be back in Singapore, he is also very happy. Both professionally and personally. “We are so privileged being able to experience the Asian culture and way of life. Singapore is a great place for both business and pleasure. It’s so structured and streamlined and the country is almost run company-like. I tend to call it Disneyland with death
penalty. But it’s a positive place full of opportunities,” says Ole Hamre. The job description is basically the same this time around, but the SEB team is different from when Ole Hamre left two and a half years ago. The boss has great confidence in the new constellation, though. “I really believe in the guys here and the Bank’s regional potential. And at the same time we receive full support from the top management making everybody willing to go that extra mile,” says Ole Hamre with an almost eager voice. As more and more Scandinavian businesses and private investors has put an increasing focus on the fastgrowing Asian market, SEB has done the same. “Our Nordic home market clients have become increasingly international in mind set and behaviour. Therefore we need to adapt our offering, competence and approach on the global and domestic arena,” says the Oslo-born Ole Hamre.
Singapore Agreement After eight years in Singapore, Ole Hamre was in 2008 made head of SEB in Switzerland. Thus the family pulled up their Singapore stakes and moved to the European birthplace of international private banking, Geneva. A change in location that suited everybody. Ole’s wife, Severine, is French so once again Switzerland did what it does best and served as neutral grounds, this time giving easy access
12 ScandAsia.Thailand • October 2010
to the family’s two home countries. “It was a welcomed chance to return to Europe, and had I not accepted back then, there would have been big protests at home,” Ole Hamre laughs out. And he does not make a secret of his surprise when he only two years later was contacted by SEB senior management proposing him to return to the small Asian city state. “At first we were relatively happy about the new Singapore offer, let’s put it that way,” he says with a smile. Ole Hamre and his family were really thriving in Switzerland and that very concern was the biggest of issues. “You see a lot of “corporate gypsies” following their company around staying a few years here and a few years there. They never have a real chance to settle and that’s very tough on the families,” he states. But as an eventual return to Singapore was considered, it became clear that the opportunity was to great not to be accepted, besides their regional network was still strong making the second transition more smooth. “Having an integrated family is paramount and I’m blessed with a wife that has a fantastic ability to quickly adapt. As for my two sixyear-old twins, they just embraced the opportunity to swim all year round,” says Ole Hamre emphasizing that going back to Singapore was a completely joint decision.
The commitment Through a tight collaboration with their branches back in the Nordic home market as well as various new initiatives, setting up asset management operations being one, SEB in Singapore is right now working extremely hard to obviate the increasing client demand for Asian competencies and investments. “The key to our business will always be our origin. So only when working closely together with our colleagues in Scandinavia can we truly match our different concepts to the different client profiles,” says Ole Hamre. “We are not the biggest in the class but we are big enough as an organization to offer a global platform of competencies and investment opportunities. Yet we are small enough to be really close our costumers, which is one of our biggest strengths,” he adds. Right now the duration of Ole Hamre’s contract in Singapore is five years, after which the plan is to return to Switzerland. But nothing is certain in the world of banking as the intentional two-year stay in Singapore some ten years ago became eight instead. “There are no guarantees in life, what you make of it is up to you. The most important thing is to always feel and stay committed. And that’s exactly what I do both personally and professionally,” Ole Hamre says in a tone of voice that leaves no doubt.
October 2010 â€˘ ScandAsia.Thailand 13
The Swedish Boom in Since the first information meeting was called two years ago, Svenskföreningen in Hua Hin has every year doubled the number of members. Today 600 of the 5.000 Swedes with relations to the area, are members of the association. By Bjarne Wildau
ince its start two years ago The Swedish Association in Hua Hin (Svenskföreningen) has experienced a success so huge, that it has almost been too much for the founder and the board to handle. From sixty members after the first information gathering in November 2008, up to more than 600 member in the time of writing. But when you read this article, more new members have probably found their way to the biggest western association in Hua Hin – the former fishing village in which the association believes there are 5.000 Swedes staying permanently or as long stay tourists.
The SINK Tax started it all It all started in the early autumn of 2008, when the coming founder of “Svenskforeningen i Hua Hin” Gert Andersson, had a discussion with his wife Margareta Olsson and a friend, Lars Olof Fagerström, about the unfair SINK 25 % tax paid by Swedish pensioners abroad. “If you put the tax and the lack of medical support together, Swedish pensioners abroad loose approximately 35 % of their pension. That was indirectly the kick start to a very good discussion, and from there and to the decision to call all the Swedes in Hua Hin, there wasn’t that far”,
says Gert Andersson a Friday noon in a Scandinavian restaurant in Hua Hin.
Guest on the side walk “In November 2008 we had our first meeting. You can call it the founding gathering. We had a talk about how many people would likely show up. One said twenty would be a good start, I had 30 people in mind, and we felt we were covered, because The Swedish “Three Girls” restaurant had space for 30 guests,” Gert Andersson recalls. Half an hour before the start of the meeting 30 Swedes had occupied all the regular chairs in the restaurant. 15 minutes before the opening 70 people had showed up. “At that time many people couldn’t even get inside the restau-
14 ScandAsia.Thailand • October 2010
rant, so they were standing on the sidewalk or in the street. Then I said stop! No more people this time,” explains Gert Andersson The first official meeting held by Svenskföreningen took place on the last Thursday in January 2009. Out of approximately 5.000 Swedes with a connection to Hua Hin, more than 100 attended that meeting. Since the take-off the association has just kept growing. “We were forced to change to a restaurant with more space, but just when we thought we had found a place with sufficient space and chairs, all of a sudden the number of members doubled again. So many people were and are still interested in Svenskföreningen.”
Meeting people I ask the founder of it all about the secret behind the success. While other expat organizations are struggling to keep going, the President and the board of Svenskföreningen are rather begging for a break. “We give Swedish people what they need for improving their time in Hua Hin. Nothing more. Nothing less,” Gert Andersson answers. “At every single meeting, four in the autumn and four in the spring, we have guest speakers who talk about issues that can help our members getting on in Hua Hin.” “We are not experts. We don’t have the knowledge to give professional advice. But we can tell our members where to go. Apart from that the most important thing the members can benefit from the association, is the
n Hua Hin “We give Swedish people what they need to improve their time in Hua Hin. Nothing more. Nothing less. At every single meeting, four in the autumn and four in the spring, we have guest speakers who talk about issues that can help our members getting on in Hua Hin”, Gert Andersson says
possibility to meet and talk with other Swedes with has the same background. All of a sudden the members realize that they are not the only ones with a specific problem, and that is extremely important for people”.
Good connections Gert Andersson and the board of the association has done well. The relationship to the local Immigration Police office is a good example. “The head of the immigration office in Hua Hin has been our guest speaker several times. Consequently our members have fewer problems and we have a very good relationship to the immigration” says Gert Andersson. Gert Andersson is very satisfied with the financial situation. “Our meetings are held at the
Swedish restaurant Three Girls. As the good Swedes we are, the menu is Yellow Pea Soup and Pancakes. The prices all attending Swedes pay is 180 bath. The cost is 130 bath, the rest, 50 bath, goes to our association. And that’s is enough. We simply don’t need more,” says the President, who sometimes feels people from the outside put to much pressure on him and the rest of the board to benefit from the growing organization in their own business or whatever.” “It has been too much. We haven’t been prepared for that, and for sure I have made mistakes in debates about what we for example should bring at our web site,” says Gert Andersen.
Too many golf courses The president is a passionate golfer and plays golf if not on a daily then at least on a weekly basis. “At the moment we have 12 golf courts in the greater Hua Hin area. That is too many. Eight are in a perfect condition, but the rest do not meet the standards”. Culture is another point where Gert Andersson has an opinion. “Many of the 5.000 Swedes here in the area are culturally active people who love music and other arts. But most of the time we still have to go to Bangkok to treat our cultural hunger,” he says.
Niels Henrik Hansen, 54, has been appointed new SAS Area Manager based in Bangkok. The title is Area Manager South East Asia so the area includes not only Thailand but also Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Taiwan. By Gregers Moller
New SAS Area Manager Covering South East Asia
he new SAS Area Manager based in Bangkok, Niels Henrik Hansen, is very confident when talking about what he expects to achieve in his new position. “We can do much better than we do today,” he states boldly. “It depends on whether I can make others believe that too, of course,” he adds after a pause. It all starts with the customers. “Do our customers feel that we have good daily connections flying at the most convenient time? Frequency also counts. Most of our focus is on the business traveler but we also need to be the best choice for the leisure traveler,” he says. In building up the business further in South East Asia, Niels Henrik Hansen expects to be able to build on his experience from one of his past assignments within SAS in which he successfully expanded SAS' corporate customer portfolio.
Visibility and honesty The customer experience and satisfaction is where Niels Henrik Han-
sen is completely focused. With different crises hitting the air-traffic around the world - like the ashes from an Icelandic volcano - it is important to think of the customers. “First rule is to be visible. Second is to be honest. You have to go out and face the customers and their individual requests or grievances and tell them frankly what you can or cannot do for them,” Niels Henrik Hansen says. For the new Area Manager, it is about making sure the operation makes a profit and making customers happy. “What SAS is currently experiencing in Asia is that our customers pay us back in terms of loyalty for the way we handled the irregularities that occurred in Bangkok in 2008 and recently the ash cloud in Europe.”
Ready to contribute Niels Henrik's first overseas trip ever with SAS took him in 1975 to Bangkok. Like many others who have visited the Kingdom, he and his family have been back on many visits and vacations ever since. Niels
16 ScandAsia.Thailand • October 2010
Henrik Hansen hopes to be able to contribute to the local business community this time around. “It seems to come with the job,” he laughs pointing to his predecessors record of being on the board of the various Scandinavian business associations not only in Thailand but also in the other countries in the region. Many of these predecessors are personal friends of Niels Henrik. Such as Tom Sorensen, who was SAS General Manager for Thailand and Indochina from 1988 to 1991. “I actually partly took over some of Tom Sorensen’s responsibilities serving the SAS network of agents in Denmark when Tom moved to Indonesia in 1995,” he says. As for Axel Blom, their friendship goes back long before to the 70's when they both worked in the service department of SAS in Copenhagen.
Experience pays off At 54 years of age, this posting comes rather late in Niels Henrik’s career. Some 36 years ago, he started
as a “traffic trainee” in Scandinavian Airlines, and following this he has been everything from worker in the operational department to head of SAS in Århus over Chief Negotiater in the Industral Relation department. His two last jobs have been of great importance. As Head of Sales for agents and tour operators he was to boost SAS’ direct Businessto-Business relations, which he handled with great success. And his last job was to manage the cabin crew working out of Copenhagen having to reduce the wages and conditions of the cabin crew with 15 to 20 percent. This went well for Niels Henrik with SAS ending up as the most precise airline in Europe in 2009 in terms of arrivals and departures, and the airline crew scored the highest points ever in customer satisfaction surveys.
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08/03/10 12:36:45 October 2010 â€˘ ScandAsia.Thailand 17
New Mermaid Hotel O
A For three years, the wellknown Danish businessman Jorgen Lundbaek has planned to open a hotel. Now it is happening. The opening is set for November this year. By Bjarne Wildau
18 ScandAsia.Thailand • October 2010
fter several years in waiting, Jørgen Lundbaek and three partners are now ready to open the long awaited Hotel Mermaid in Bangkok. When the project was first launched it was supposed to be in Sukhumwit Soi 27 but now the Mermaid hotel will open in the next soi, Sukhumvit Soi 29, he says. “According to our plans the new Mermaid Hotel will open in Soi 29 in November this year. The hotel will have 70 rooms spread over nine floors. Apart from the ordinary rooms, there will on each of the nine floors also be three 2-room apartments mostly for families with children,” says Jørgen Lundbaek. The people behind the 250 mill. Bath investments in the hotel is a quartet of investors, namely Ole Teigen, Anker Andersen from AA Invest in Denmark, Jørgen Lundbaek and his Thai Indian connection called “Pete”. “The company who owns the coming hotel is named The Mermaid. The new hotel could be named The Mermaid but we haven’t decided on the name yet. But surely Mermaid will be included in the name,” says Jørgen Lundbaek whom we meet in his private villa south of Bangkok. Asked about the standard of the hotel, Jørgen hesitates a second. Then he answers that the rooms and the service will at least be as close to five star standards as possible. “We can’t provide the huge conference facilities; the ballrooms etc. but the rest will be five star levels,” he explains. “The rooms will be huge, same with the bathrooms. There will be access to Wi-Fi, microwave, refrigerator, and what ever people will expect from at proper hotel,” Jørgen Lundbaek says.
Admirals Pub The Mermaid Hotel will also include an exclusive two floor restaurant and a huge swimming pool. “We still haven’t signed the papers, but it is as sure as it can get at this phase of the project, that Bent Laasholdt and his wife Na will be responsible for the restaurant and bar named “Admirals Pub,” Jørgen Lundbaek says. The restaurant will be held in a modern maritime style and Jørgen Lundbaek plans to go to Bangladesh him self to make some maritime shopping. “There will be space for approximately 60 people in the two restaurants, one at the ground floor and one around the swimming pool”.
Hopefull Danish Thai Trade News found Mr. Bent Laasholdt in Jomtien. More than four years ago, Bent, his wife Na and Stig Vagt- Andersen had to close the former Admirals Pub in Sukhumvit Soi 18, forced by the landlord’s new development plans. The owners of the Admirals Pub & Restaurant has since followed Jørgen Lundbaeks hotel plans more eagerly than anyone else since it was already then understood that they should manage the restaurants in the new hotel. Now more than four years later Bent Laasholdt sounds relieved to hear the opening of the new Mermaid Hotel is moving closer. “Hopefully Jørgen is right. Hopefully it will open in November, and hopefully we will be a part of it,” says Bent Laasholdt. “It has been a very long and rough time. And very very expensive too,” he adds. “From the very day we closed down in Soi 18, we have been trying to hold our staff. Most of them have
Opening in November received salaries every month for more than four years. Some found other things to do than waiting for our new restaurant, but they will be ready to join us again as soon as we once again have a new Admirals Pub in Bangkok, I am sure.”
Tough time for all Bent Laasholdt points out that for the entire hospitality industry in Thailand the past couple of years has also in other ways been a turbulent time. “The two restaurants we run in Jomtien and Hua Hin have been through a very difficult time too. And you can see how it goes for the other Danish places in Pattaya and Jomtien. They close down one by one.” If I, Na and Stig had not poured money into our restaurants during these rough times as we have done, they would have been closed too,” says Bent Laasholdt. It seem like he can almost not quite believe that the long wait now seems to be over soon. But there is no doubt that he and his wife are ready once the new Mermaid Hotel opens.
Financial issues While Jørgen Lundbaek has a 25 percent ownership in the hotel, it’s not completely clear how the necessary investments in the new Admirals Pub will be taken care of. “Again, we have suffered a lot. More than four years waiting while the money was just leaking out of our accounts every day has been a rough ride. We simply cant go in with our own investments in the same manner as if we have been able to jump straight from the old Admirals Pub in Soi 18 to the new place in Soi 29,” says Bent Laasholdt.
October 2010 • ScandAsia.Thailand 19
The Unseen Bangkok As skytrain now connects both sides of the river and the Silom line ending at the Thonburi side many commuters are now familiar with Wong Wien Yai as this has become the last station on the line. What few people know is that there is another Wong Wien Yai train station nearby. The lucky ones who have found out get their reward. By Christian Hempel
Wong Wien Yai Station with the golden bell.
rossing the mighty Chao Praya River by skytrain it’s a couple of stops to Wong Wien Yai. End of one line, but start of another. I asked around for directions to Wong Wien Yai railway station nearby for trains to Mahachai or Samut Sakhon as it is also called, but two uniformed staff politely insisted that there were no trains nearby to Mahachai. However, a friendly man overheard the conversation. “Go down at the right side of the skytrain station seen from the direction you just came from,” he explained. “Continue about 100 meters and turn right at the big traffic light. This will take you towards the big roundabout with the Thaksin statue in the middle. Cross the street halfway towards the circle.” “Look for the entrance for something that might look like a railway station,” he said.
Photo by Chaiwat Panyaviriyakul
20 ScandAsia.Thailand • October 2010
Bangkok of Old It’s maybe a bit difficult to find but it somehow makes sense as entering the railway station feels a bit like stepping into another world. It’s the scene of old Bangkok with wooden Thai houses on both sides of The railway tracks. At the same time it’s all one big market place where everything from fresh meat to toys are sold. You should spend some time walking down the rails and loose your way in one of the small subsois. Suddenly you could find yourself in the kitchen of one of the locals. With 17 departures every day from Wong Wien Yai to Mahachai you don’t have to be too careful about when you go. If you are late for one train it will give you the time to soak in the atmosphere at the station waiting for the next one.
Ten Baht Tickets Tickets are ten baht and off you go after the stationmaster has been ringing his big golden bell for departure. The heavy and robust train makes
Makeshift Vegetable shop at Mahachai. Train in the background
its way slowly out of the station and the next hour you have Thailand in a nutshell. From big industrial sites to plenty of picturesque Thai houses on wooden stilts. Some of the station buildings could possibly end in museums if this railway line one day will come to an end. You will experience 18 different stations and like everywhere in Thailand the small railway stations are often kept neatly with lots of flowerbeds around. At some stations the stationmaster still uses a green and red flag to control the train traffic. Canals or klongs are plenty on the way. Coconut trees everywhere, temples big and small, rural life concentrated along the tracks and houses so close to the tracks that you can almost touch them and have a look into the livingroom of Thailand. Mahachai or Samut Sakhon is approaching and again the end of the railway line is literally one big market. Even the railway tracks are used by vendors setting up make-
shift sales places being quickly removed again when the trains are coming. The train stops inside a huge wooden market hall building. Getting out of the train, the smell of meat, fish and exotic vegetables fills the air. It is indeed a very big market. Anything goes from vegetables to t-shirts and probably hundreds of different ways to offer fish. Raw fish, fermented fish, salted, dried or what about “dancing shrimps”. Small shrimps still alive “dancing” inside your mouth before you swallow them. Best served with beer.
Friendly dogs The street leading down to the harbor is again one big market with probably hundreds of people selling – just fish. Even if this is only around 30 kilometers from Bangkok people already seem more relaxed than on the other end of the railway line. Even the dogs seem friendlier. If you still didn’t have enough of fish go for one of the seafood restaurants at the big building near
the river. Its famous for its good and cheap seafood. To sit here and enjoy seafood looking at the fishing boats coming in with their catch is priceless – and if you are not too fond of fish they do have alternatives. Cross the Mae Klong river by one of the green shuttleboats sailing back and forth all time. Go for a stroll on the other side where you will find even more fish vendors. From here its actually possible to go by train all the way to Samut Songkram which is the next province further South. Four trains are running daily but on this particular Sunday the train was for some reason not in service. For those who think that the one-way train ride to Mahachai was enough a taxi back to Bangkok would be around 300 Baht. Minivans are running to the northern bus station Morchit for 60 baht. The stationmaster is ringing the bell for Bangkok for the last time at 19.PM. Its still 10 Baht.
October 2010 • ScandAsia.Thailand 21
The Tachin Railway The Danish background of “The Unseen Bangkok Train” By Flemming Winther Nielsen Photos Siranath Boonpattanaporn
n the 10th of June 1906, a fishing boat under sails approached a fishing village called Tachin or Ta Chin at the mouth of a river in the western part of the Gulf of Siam. On a stretcher lay a badly wounded Captain of the Royal Provincial Gendarmerie, the Dane Frederik Steiner. His uniform was bloody and at least one finger missing. He was immediately attended to by Mr. H.C. Andersen of the so-called Bangkok-Tachin Railway. As fast as possible, Steiner was sent by train to Bangkok. Here he was admitted to St. Louis Hospital where he miraculously survived and recovered, but with one and a half fingers missing. Steiner had been on a mission to the jungle in Pranburi district, just south of what is now Hua Hin. Here, murderous gangs of robbers and highwaymen made ordinary travel and commuting almost impossible. Steiner and his men found and trapped a group in the jungle, hiding in and around a smithy. Together with his Siamese trumpeter corporal he entered the smithy itself and they immediately came under attack by two furious women hiding inside armed with jungle knives. Both men were seriously wounded. Steiner hesitated to counter attack the women; but they were not there for negotiations and Steiner finally had to use his Browning. He then carried his corporal from the hut supported by his unhurt left arm. The corporal also survived. The captain was then carried in a sampan all the way down the narrow Pranburi River, and then from the mouth of the river, where it meets the bay of Siam, sailed to the place called Tachin. The whole journey to Bangkok lasted 36 hours. 22 ScandAsia.Thailand • October 2010
After his recovery, Steiner went back to his duties and was throughout the years instrumental in making the Western and Southwestern part of Siam a much more safe and peaceful place. He was later promoted to Colonel. Frederik Steiner was married to a British lady, and last year I was asked by a descendant in England whether I knew anything about him. With Erik Seidenfadens book, ‘Det Kongelige Siamesiske Provinsgendarmeri og dets Danske Officerer’ (The Royal Siamese Provincial Gendarmerie and its Danish officers) in hand, that was an easy job and the story above is based on Seidenfaden. That’s where I first heard about Tachin, a railway there and yet another Dane, Mr. H. C. Andersen, Railway-Manager. A town or locality of that name couldn’t be found on any map. After some digging it came up that Tachin is Chinese, meaning ‘The Chinese Pier’. According to the old sources, Tachin was used as base for the Chinese fleet of junks travelling and trading the bay of Siam. Early in the century the trade and the ships disappeared because of a decline in quality and competition from the West. However, to this day the International Tide Table uses the name Tachin for their station at the bay. Later the name changed to Mahachai, so called after the canal running inland along the coast. This name is still much in use also on, for example, road signs, so don’t get confused; but the official name of the fishing town today is Samut Sakhon located around 35 kilometers west of Bangkok. In a two storey concrete building with an elevator, at the ferry pier, the Chinese pier, you will find the best seafood restaurant in western Thailand. The
October 2010 â€˘ ScandAsia.Thailand 23
owners are also ethnic Chinese, but nevertheless – prices are much cheaper than in Bangkok, but that is another story. Around the year 1900 there was a real fever among all foreigners in Bangkok – ‘the concession fewer.’ Everybody and his uncle tried to obtain concessions from the Crown. The railroad line to Paknam (Samut Prakan) was one of the first; followed by a tramline in Bangkok; then the Siam Electricity Company with a 50 years monopoly on providing electricity to the fast growing city, The Motorboat Company running up and down the river and major canals, and also mining concessions were given to foreigners, for example H.N. Andersen, and then of course the lucrative teak concessions mainly in the north of Siam. The three brothers Kinch, Peter (33 years old), who arrived in Bangkok 1886, Frederik (1887) aged 24 and Emanuel (1889) aged 27, were, like Admiral Andreas Richelieu, son’s of a pastor in the village Loejt Kirkeby in Southern Jutland – but not the same. Peter and Andreas were the same age. They all came to work with H.N. Andersen (later EAC). With Andersen, Peter was co-founder of ‘The Oriental Provision Store’ in 1886. They all had their fall-outs with Andersen later and all subsequently quit. Together with other businessmen, Emanuel Kinch got a concession in 1901 to establish a railway named Tachin Railway Ltd. It now runs from Wongwian Yai station, near the King Thaksin monument on the Western Bank of the Chao Praya River, the 33.1 kilometers to Tachin, alias Samut Sakhon. The name Tachin Railway was quickly forgotten after the line was extended to Samut Songkhram in 1905-6, and the whole 66.9 kilometer line was called Maeklong Railway Ltd. Emanuel Kinch was Chairman of the Board of Directors when the railway started. His brother Peter was a civil engineer, at that time with his own construction company in Bangkok. His company then built the complete railway line, and Peter Kinch and his crew did a very good job. When you take the ride today, have 24 ScandAsia.Thailand • October 2010
a close look at the rails and sleepers, it seems that they have lasted since the first tour, the switches too. The smaller and bigger bridges passing over klongs and streams are made from heavy dimensioned iron; they look as if they can easily last another lifetime or two. The locomotives are newer Japanese models, the carriages too, but if you are an enthusiast you can easily find abandoned passenger carriages dating back to the beginning of last century on deserted side tracks in Samut Sakhon,. Prime quality hardwood is used, so they will also last –except that the vegetation is slowly taking them back to the jungle. The line to Samut Sakhon is very popular still. If you want to carry on to Samut Songkhram you have to cross the river by ferry and then catch the train on the other side; enjoy the tour!. An exotic railway it is, with even a fresh food market placed directly on the rails and sleepers, with the sun blinds and boxes removed only when a train is set to pass. Finally a few words about H.C. Andersen, he deserves it. He was Works Manager and in charge of the railway from 1905 to 1930. I really think the man and his Danish wife and three children found a nice and peaceful niche here. Maeklong Railway is not connected to the national rail system. Only one track and no signals at all; when needed they used a radio transmitter. Trains can only pass each other at the stations. There are only 3 or 4 trains on the rails at the same time travelling an average 30 kilometers per hour, so there is no need for more advanced logistics. Furthermore, the line was strongly built and consequently doesn’t give much trouble –the railway of my dreams really. As a legacy, H.C. Andersen found time to create a substantial and professional archive about Danes and Danish activities in Siam, which archive remains useful to this day. When he returned to Denmark in 1930, both he and one of his daughters found employment as professional archivists. So, on that day in June 1906, the Man of War, Captain Steiner, really met the Man of Peace, manager and archivist, H.C. Andersen.
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10/4/10 12:03 PM
ith the stunning white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters Koh Mak is fast becoming famous for its scenery. The British newspaper The Sunday Times recently included Koh Mak as one of the ‘Top Ten Beaches in the World’, and the past few years, having seen the island’s beauty, Koh Mak has also attracted film makers looking for an authentic tropical location. If your looking for a place to party all night long, Koh Mak is NOT it! But if you are looking to kick back and just let time float by in its own slow pace, you have found the spot. Koh Mak is one of Thailand’s secret treasures, situated in the Marine National Park in eastern Thailand, right on the border of Cambodia. The island is just 16 km² and is located in the Gulf of Siam. Surrounded by 50 additional small islands, Koh Mak is an ideal destination for all travellers who desire beautiful tropical surroundings unspoiled by mass tourism. If you at some point tire from basking on the different beaches, kayaks can be rented to explore the coves and the nearer offshore islands. There are also trips for diving and snorkelling as can visitors ride both elephants and mountain bikes. Or if you want to be a bit more high cultured Koh Mak has its own museum, where some of the historic pieces and island’s former live styles can be seen. As there are no banks or ATMs on Koh Mak, visitors should make sure to bring lots of cash. But then again, the spending opportunities are not that massive. Koh Mak is the largest privately owned island in Thailand and inhabited by 600
26 ScandAsia.Thailand • October 2010
hen most travellers day dream about Thailand, they dream about clear blue water, white sandy beaches and coconut palms swaying in a gentle sea breeze. In short, they are day dreaming about Koh Kood. As on neighbour island Ko Mak, visitors have no choice but to relax and slip into complete tranquillity, as there are no tourist hungry shop owners nor night life on Koh Kood. The quiet and family friendly atmosphere can be reached by ferry from Ko Chang. In low season there is often no regular transportation to the island, though. Koh Koodâ€™s major attraction is the Klong Chao waterfall. This glorious waterfall brims with glittering water all year round, superb for soaking and swimming. Slightly smaller but equally enchanting is the Klong Yai Ki waterfall. At the fishing village of Ao Salad in the North Eastern corner of the island, the traditional lifestyle of the islanders and the beauty of the nature can be experienced. The villagers are very friendly and happy to welcome foreigners. Fresh seafood and can be purchased in copious amounts, and it is possible to stay at some of the local homes for 300 Baht/night.
October 2010 â€˘ ScandAsia.Thailand 27
Where to Stay
Big Easy Resort
he spacious tastefully designed bungalows stretch up a gentle hill and are staggered to provide sea views for all guests. A large restaurant is located on the beach front which has consistently earned rare reviews from diners for the atmosphere and quality of the food. The Big Easy Resort has received great reviews from guests since opening a couple of years ago: (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ Hotel_Review-g952017-d1194183-Reviews-Big_Easy-Koh_Mak.html). Rates: 1200-3150 THB Room rates include all taxes and breakfast for two. http://www.koh-mak.com/2010/big-easy-resort
Shantaa Koh Kood
hantaa is a Hindi word which means tranquillity and no other word could give a more precise description of this hotel. Shantaa is the perfect getaway from busy everyday life. A limited number of comfortable seaside accommodations located in the pristine environment, leaves the guest with no other choice than to recharge and relax. And what could be more relaxing than waking up to the gentle breeze rustling through the coconut trees? People reviewing Shantaa on the world wide web are in complete ecstasy giving the place nothing but top marks. Rates: From 3900 THB http://www.shantaakohkood.com/index.html
small boutique style resort built in an ageing rubber tree plantation using only natural materials. This Thai/New Zealand venture has endeavoured to capture a feeling of peace and tranquillity. Eight bungalows, elevated and accessible by a walkway from the restaurant, weave its way through the trees to accommodation that have been designed to give you all the luxuries of a more traditional resort but with the advantage that only natural materials can give. Bamboo Hideaway is less than a 5 minute walk from the nearest beach, but there is free transportation to any beach on the Koh Mak island. From the swimming pool a picturesque view of the ocean and the sunsets are offered. Rates: 1500-2500 THB Roomrates include breakfast http://www.bamboohideaway.com/index.php
gamkho-Koh Kood Resort is the newest tiny and peaceful resort situated at Ngamkho Bay (Ngamkho = so beautiful). The beach is lined with coconut trees as far as the eye can see. The shallow beach gradually slope down to meet corals and aquarium fishes depth. Here, your privacy would only be disturbed by the sound of the winds and the waves. Rates: From 600 THB
28 ScandAsia.Thailand â€˘ October 2010
Where to Eat
Koh Mak Seafood
ocated at Ao Nid (the Southern tip of the island), the Koh Mak Seafood restaurant is literally build into the sea. Therefore the restaurant always has a nice sea breeze. The building is a historic places on the island and used to be the residence of one of the islands owners. Koh Mak Seafood serves ”as fresh as it gets” seafood supplied directly from the local fishermen’s boats. They also have lots of Thai food, drinks, wine. In the evening ther is often live music.
Krua Thong Sook
n the North Eastern part of Koh Mak, Krua Thong Sook restaurant is located right next to beach. It serves Thai and international food, as well as all kinds of drinks and wine. The head chef has experience from various international hotels before coming to Krua Thong Sook.
Or you can learn how to cook your own at the Smile cooking classes: http://www.smilekohmak.com/classes.aspx.
30 ScandAsia.Thailand • October 2010
October 2010 â€˘ ScandAsia.Thailand 31
What to Do
Jungle Exploration The jungle of Koh Kood is a challenge to explore should you wish to leave the white sandy beaches and crystal blue water.
he mountains in the centre of Koh Kood are not so high, and the views are well worth the effort of struggling through the sometimes dense jungle. On your own, you stand a good chance of meeting monkeys and with an experienced guide to lead you, you might encounter wild boar, which are a highlight to see if you can spot them. You'll need some walking boots, long sleeve trousers and a machete to access some parts of the centre of the island. The reward is a rich wild life including many species of tropical birds. Go for the Klong Chao Waterfall which is particularly spectacular and a popular place to swim and cool off. With three tiers, it brims with glittering water all year round. Klong Yaiki is another refreshing waterfall found more to the north of the island and also well worth a visit. Inland there are several ancient trees which are well exploring. There is one 500 year old Makka Tree and a huge Chaiyak which both stand deep in the ancient jungle.
Try Local Thai Massage
n both Koh Kood and Koh Mak you should try a local Thai massage. Close your eyes and enjoy. You will experience the roots of Thai massage that all the expensive massage and spas are build upon - only at a fraction of the cost.
32 ScandAsia.Thailand â€˘ October 2010
October 2010 â€˘ ScandAsia.Thailand 33
Koh Lanta’s Dog Angel Koh Lanta is a paradise for tourists - but pure hell for many dogs. Norwegian Junie Kovacs tries hard to change this. By Søren Lykke Bülow
rom the row of cages a huge dog, probably one of the largest here, comes slowly forward. The entire body of the dog is ruined. Since it was a puppy, she has been treated as garbage. Wounds and stains all over the body dominate the first hand impression. “Oh, but she looks a lot better now than just a couple of weeks ago,” Junie says. Junie Kovacs is the owner and founder of Lanta Animal Welfare, a sort of home for particularly mistreated dogs on Koh Lanta, an island in the southern part of Thailand. “During the high season, the impression is that people here on the island love dogs. Resorts, restaurants and bars often acquire cute puppies and kittens to allure the tourists,” she says. But then low season comes. “And then the cute attractions are tossed out on the beaches. They do nothing to help the future of these animals - like for instance sterilize them. I’ve seen that time after time,” she says. Unless they are killed.
Oil, hook, poison The methods are many and they are most definitely not for the sensitive mind.
34 ScandAsia.Thailand • October 2010
Poison placed in food is one of the most common ways. The same goes for fish hooks hidden in food. Other methods are stabbing or beating to death. Boiling oil is another popular method. This does not kill the animals immediately, but they suffer a slow and agonizing death. Surprisingly many animals are also found with gun shot wounds, even though guns are illegal. “Killings and animal cruelty is completely against Buddhism, but some have the philosophy that when they place a bowl of dog food mixed with poison, then it is the dog’s own fault if it eats from the bowl. It’s sad,” she says. Almost 95 percent of Koh Lanta’s population are Muslims though, and according to Junie they have they have their own interpretations – you might say – about treating especially dogs. They are very much hated.
Time For Lime Junie first visited Thailand 25 years ago, and she moved permanently to Koh Lanta nine years ago. At this time, she came because she wanted to open a Thai food cooking school, and so she did. The first one ever at Koh Lanta, actually. It is called Time For Lime. Time For Lime has become very popular because of its funky atmosphere, quality and its location right on the beach front. Shortly after arriving, she started her charity work for the dogs. “I had worked with animal welfare in Norway, but it was not the reason I came here. I felt that I had to do something when I noticed how animals are treated,” she says. She started to pick-up some of the mishandled dogs and give them food and some kind of shelter. But in 2005 she decided to found Lanta Animal Welfare to get the job done more systematically. With help from some locals and friends from overseas, she quickly got some more animals under her wings. Soon it became almost an obsession for her trying to make a difference in the society. “There was a lot skepticism when I first started out. But the
more I did, the more I knew that I had to do something extra. You know, these killings and abuses are affecting all animals on the island. It isn’t only people’s own dogs that get this treatment. They also do it to random dogs they find. Some people even do it to their neighbor's dog, and often cats will eat from the same food,” Junie says.
The animals’ house Junie did not have a lot of space so she started making plans to get a real house where the work could be done better. And then, finally, in the new decade - the beginning of 2010 - she opened the new animals’ house, where she now spends the most of her time. It cost her four-and-a-half million baht to get the job done, but with donations and profits from her business on Koh Lanta, it was possible after saving money for eight years. The main activity of Lanta Animal Welfare is to sterilize dogs, take care of hurt animals and secure the future of the animals. “The sterilization is extremely important, because we want to do whatever we can to keep the population down. A reduction in the animal population will reduce the abuse and keep the survivors more healthy,” Junie says. Around her walks a couple of Thai workers. They are here to perform everything from cleaning to taking care of the animals. She has two employees at Lanta Animal Welfare, and besides from that she relies on voluntary work. Right now, she has one British woman here to help her out for some time. Another British woman just left her after six weeks of voluntary work, and friends from around try to help her out. “Well, I’ve only really had volunteers as employees since January 2010, but I’m in constant need of extra people to help me out. It is a sad situation, and the destinies of these abused animals are so cruel. It makes me sad and very angry when I know that I can’t bring in new dogs, so that is one of my big goals. To get some more space,” she says having
learned at least a thing or two about herself in the process. “Now I just know that it doesn’t help to be annoyed about the things I cannot do. I’ve noticed that it won’t help a thing if I get sad and angry.”
The local hatred In a community where so many animals are misused, the instant fear for Junie is, of course, that people want to hurt her because of her fight. “In the beginning of the year, we had some problems especially in the night time here,” Junie says while pointing out to the grass on the other side of the walls that surround her building. “We had people coming in the night and walking around, trying to make noise and upset the dogs.” “Once,” she says, “they threw firecrackers up on the roof of the building to make the animals completely outraged. Mostly, they did it so the ones who live nearby could file a complaint of too much noise coming out from this place.” Now, though, Junie feels that she gets some more support from the local people around. At least for her doings, she hears a lot of nice
words. But she thinks that people should care more. “There are tons of expats living here, and although they always tell me that my work is great, most of them don’t do nothing about it themselves,” she says while pointing out that she often reminds people that a small, simple thing as coming by offering to walk some dogs is a brilliant help for Lanta Animal Welfare. “But they don’t seem to want to do anything when it comes to actually taking responsibility. And that also annoys me, because I’m the only one here really working for these things to happen.”
Won’t be around forever “I always get worried when I think about the future. What if something happens to me?” she asks. “I work a lot, and this is my life. And sometimes I get a bit worried about my health when I’m putting so much energy into these things,” she says. What makes Junie happy, though, is when a family falls in love with one of the animals and wants to adopt one. Right now, a family
in Norway is waiting for one of the dogs to come and join them. “It’s amazing to see when these things happen. A dog that once seemed to have no future is now going to live a great life in Scandinavia,” says Junie. Lanta Animal Welfare helps with all the paperwork around an adoption like this, and normally a dog or cat will stay here for a “quarantine” period of four months before getting shipped to its new home. Actually, Junie has her own veterinarian surgery room, but currently it has not been possible for her to get a voluntary vet, so she has to go to the mainland for treatment. The sterilization's can be done at the Welfare Center though.
Workers brought them in In the 1990's, the first five star resort came to Koh Lanta, and the 600 construction workers from the mainland brought dogs to watch over the camps. “But they left them when their work was over, and the resort has never taken any responsibility to for instance sterilize these dogs,” Junie says.
“I would say that this has been the largest contributor to the population of stray dogs.” Lanta Animal Welfare has sterilized many of these dogs on their own expenses – but still they have not received as much as one baht from the rich resort, she explains.
Getting a hold of the future Junie tries hard to communicate the message to the locals at Koh Lanta. For instance, she has started a program to go around at schools and try to educate children about how to treat animals. It is an entire generations way of looking at things that has to be changed, as she says. “We also held an information meeting with the community here after we opened. It was quite interesting, and we even had a muslim veterinarian from Phuket who came and talked about animal welfare,” she says. “Not one Thai person came to this meeting, even though we made flyers and advertised for it on the radio,” she sighs. But the biggest goal for Junie is to make the politicians care about the
October 2010 • ScandAsia.Thailand 35
way animals are treated at Koh Lanta. “It would be the best way to try and control some of the actions made here. If we got some governmental co-operation, then it would start to look better. It is hard during these circumstances. But I have my finger’s crossed for some day where the politicians might listen to us and
get the people to play a bigger positive role.” “This should be community work. It’s not a job for one person, and pretty much how it is right now,” Junie says. Junie finances her work at the animal welfare centre with profits from her company Time for Lime.
Apart from her cooking school, she has now also opened a small restaurant and manages a bar and eight small and simple bungalows. “Food has always been my passion. And I was at a point in my life, where I wanted to do something else. I came from Norway with a background based on IT and de-
signs, so this felt as the perfect way to do something extremely different,” she says. “I don’t think that there are many companies who use all their profits for - well charity - you might call it,” Junie says.
FACTS Lanta Animal Welfare is in desperate need of donations and also Volunteer Vets. Thai volunteers are almost non-existent but very much needed. For more Info about the Time For Lime concept: www.timeforlime.net For more Info about Lanta Animal Welfare: www. lantaanimalwelfare.com
36 ScandAsia.Thailand • October 2010
October 2010 â€˘ ScandAsia.Thailand 37
Where Dreams Come How does it sound with the ultimate and perfect wedding on a small island in Southern Thailand? Not bad? Well, Ingeborg Fallet Kristensen and Krabi Spesialisten might just be the place the to look. By Søren Lykke Bülow
t is good times for the Norwegian company Krabi Spesialisten in Ao Nang in the Krabi province. “We normally had around 15 to 20 weddings each year. Now though, we have at least 60 a year.” Ingeborg Fallet Kristensen looks around. She is now 39 years old, and the last 14 years she has been living in Thailand. She started out as Hotel Manager at the Sheraton in Phuket in 1996, but in 2003 she started her own company in Ao Nang, a small coast city near Krabi town. “We have survived the tsunami, SARS, the Bird Flu, when they closed down Suvarnabhumi, the Swine Flu, the economic meltdown, and the demonstrations this spring,” she says quite proudly. Ingeborg sips to her cup of coffee. She likes the way everything seems to have turned out. Right now it is the low-season, so there is not too much going on, but she knows that she will have plenty to do when the high season kicks in. “I have been forced to think positive during all the different crises. Of course we can feel the economic crisis, but I am more thinking about expanding than closing down,” she says.
Around her is what many Scandinavians would probably describe as paradise. Beautiful landscape, a soothing atmosphere, and - most importantly - the heavenly beach with a dozen of small, beautiful islands in sight.
Four business areas Krabi Spesialisten is a company that focuses on four essential elements, weddings, events like birthdays, team building seminars, and company events. She now owns three traditional long-tail boats called “Queen of Ao Nang” number one, two, and three. They are used for transportation when her clients want to expand the level of luxury to a small island outside the coast of Ao Nang or Phuket. “It is wonderful to see the look on people’s faces when they arrive at a tiny, paradise island to go through with a small, casual wedding,” she says while pointing out that she gets loads of positive feedback from her arrangements. “We have quite a few clients who come here because they have heard about us from friends somewhere. I have not had too much time to advertise and try to profile the company, so many of our clients
come because of the good old word -of-mouth method,” Ingeborg says. In 2008, the Scandinavian tour operator Star Tours made Krabi Spesialisten official wedding planer. “We went from around 20 weddings a year to 45 a year after Star Tour began to use us, and the number is still going up,” she says. Ingeborg also has an office in Koh Lanta and one in Phuket, and she spends her time almost fifty-fifty in Ao Nang and Phuket when the high season is rolling . “Everything is possible when we are represented more than just one beautiful place. And it makes the logistics much more easier when we already have people other places than here in Ao Nang.”
The Scandinavian challenge Normally, Krabi Spesialisten has 15 employees, and during the high season that number rises to 40. There is a need for dozens of people who can work on everything from being the captain on one of the boats to create the perfect surroundings for a great event. Ingeborg Kristensen recently hired two Scandinavian women besides the normal Thai staff to help keep the business running in her way,
also when she can not be around. She goes to Norway a couple of months each year, and her long-term plan is to live in Ao Nang and Phuket during the high season and stay in Norway during the low season. She has a Thai husband, and for Ingeborg it has been important to understand the Thai culture and the entire society to run her business well. She quite quickly learned to speak Thai because of the obvious need. “I would never have come this far if I could not speak Thai,” as she gently says. But the language barrier is not the only difficulty when coming from the Scandinavian world to the
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38 ScandAsia.Thailand • October 2010
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one in Thailand. “I have been fighting with a world dominated by men. And there are loads of challenges in that situation. Not so much in terms of starting up a business, which is tricky, but mostly in terms of the way people look at me,” Ingeborg states with a focus on especially her first years in Thailand. “To be a ‘farang’ woman in Thailand is just another thing than being a normal woman in Norway, and it is based on the entire relationship between men and women here. When I came here, I quickly got a few male friends, but I could easily feel the weird and hateful looks from some of the Thai women, who did not know ‘our’ way of having a friendly relationship with a man,” she explains. “But at least I did not feel like I had extra difficulties with starting up my own company because of my gender. But the ‘white farang’ will always have some - quite extreme difficulties in all the procedures that lead to an eventual business.” Ingeborg has fought with the fact, she says, that Thai’s often work very dependent on others and dependent on being pushed and controlled by their bosses. She has had to fight this state of mind from her workers and remove the initial hierarchy that normally characterizes the Thai work life.
“I have had to do a lot of restructuring so all the work will be done more efficiently. It is all about getting a Scandinavian mentality in to the Thai worker’s minds,” she says. CM
The paradisiacal area
Ingeborg wants to show off the beach in Ao Nang from where her long-tail boats go to the small islands in sight. “You just have to take a look around down here to know what I am talking about. It is absolutely beautiful, and it does not take a brilliant mind to figure out what kind of a beginning this is to - for instance - a wedding ceremony,” she says hoping that one day, the Krabi province will become a more attractive place for tourists. “I have quite a hard time realizing what Phuket has that Ao Nang does not have. I hope that Krabi one day will become Southern Thailand’s new answer to Phuket in terms of tourists.” If that happens, one of her big dreams for the company’s future might more easily come true. “What I would really love, would be for Krabi Spesialisten to have its own resort. I dream of having my clients coming here getting the perfect experience, and it would be amazing to have a resort as a supplement to all the other possibilities here,” she says.
w w w .k r a bi - sp es i a l i s ten. co m
For enquiries check on
or contact +66 (0) 75 638 097-8, + 66 (0) 819797895 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com October 2010 • ScandAsia.Thailand 39
introduces the “Family & Friends” package
s the steamy days of the monsoon season make their retreat, the first cool days of winter are blowing onto Pranburi Beach. To celebrate the cooling breezes, Villa Maroc Resort invites you to spend some relaxing time with the special people in your life with the “Family & Friends” package. Let the breathtaking views and enchanting décor of Villa Maroc Resort help you and your loved ones create endless memories. Book this 2-night “Family & Friends” package in a Two Bedroom Villa for THB 37,000, or enjoy the exotic Moroccan décor of the luxurious Royal Villa for THB 59,000. The “Family and Friends” package comes with 5 star accommodations, sumptuous daily breakfast for 4 persons, a welcome drink of authentic Moroccan mint tea served along with a sweet Moroccan delicacy, complimentary non-alcoholic mini-bar, iPod Touch and docking station for in-room use and complimentary WiFi connection. Last but not least, Villa Maroc will provide you with an exciting 3-hour kayaking trip through the winding mangrove forest of the beautiful Pran River. You will enjoy the fascinating beauty of nature while creating special memories along the way. (4 Persons) The “Family & Friends” package is available from now until December 23th, 2010. Reservations can be made online at www.villamarocresort. com or contact our resort’s reservation office at 032 630 771 or rsvn@ villamarocresort.com .
*Rates are inclusive of service charge and applicable government tax.
Weekend Brunch At Tables, Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok THB 1,750++ per person
ables, Bangkok’s first Classical European restaurant with tableside cooking, invites you to be one of the first diners to experience the Classical Weekend Brunch, offering a 10-course menu designed to pamper you sense of taste for the perfect weekend. THB 1,750++ per person, including a glass of sparking rosé, mineral water and coffee or tea. Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 noon. Tables, Mezzanine Level, Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok Daily opening hours for Lunch: 12:00 noon to 2:30pm Dinner: 06:30pm to 11:00pm For reservations and further information, please call Tables at 0 2254 1234.
40 ScandAsia.Thailand • October 2010
Now Open! Sea Pearl Villas, Phuket
he Unique collection of Hotels & Resorts is delighted to announce the opening of Sea Pearl Villas Resort in Patong, Phuket. The resort is located on top of Patong Hill and built on approximately 39 rais (appox.15.60 acres) of land. It is on the main road leading to the world famous Patong Beach. Sea Pearl Villas Resort offers you the right balance for a life that is filled with excitement, deep impressions and a lifetime of inspirations. All rooms and suites are decorated based on dark wood color furniture to complement and add to the luxury and charm of the building. The jacuzzi on each balcony creates a romantic and relaxed atmosphere naturally. A spacious lifestyle and fitness culb is part of the resort. Fine dining options will also be available within the resort’s signature restaurant along with casual all day dining options. For a group of friends, a family or even a couple, a luxury motor yacht is available for a private day or overnight charters, the ultimate experience for a dream holiday! To get there, there are many flight options available from Bangkok direct to Phuket and takes little over 1 hour. Additionally there are direct international flights from Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong plus a number of charter flight from Europe. Numbers of buses are also operated from larger cities in Thailand to Phuket town For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Northgate Ratchayothin Serviced Residence launches the ‘Weekly Rate’ for stays of 7 nights or more
orthgate Ratchayothin Serviced Residence is offering the ‘Weekly Rate’ promotion for stays of 7 nights or more, from now until December
Remarks - Rates are inclusive of 10% service charge and 7% applicable tax - ‘Weekly Rate’ promotion only applies for stays of 7 nights to 29 nights 42 ScandAsia.Thailand • October 2010
31, 2010. A weekly rate for a Studio Room is THB 2,300* per night and the Two Bedroom Suite is THB 4,800* per night. Rate is inclusive of breakfast for two persons, free Wi-Fi internet access everywhere in the hotel and free use of the swimming pool, fitness gym and tennis court (day time). Northgate Ratchayothin Serviced Residence is located just 10 minutes from the Lat Phrao MRT station which offers guests an express travel route to just about any popular destination in Bangkok. Guests are provided with transfer service to the MRT station, available daily from 06.00 am until 10.00 am. Reservations can be made online by visiting www.northgatebangkok.com or contact our reservation officer at Telephone +662 939 7949 Email reservation@ northgatebangkok.com or InVision Hospitality’s Sales & Marketing office at email@example.com
October 2010 â€˘ ScandAsia.Thailand 43
Aava Resort and Spa Celebrated Grand Opening Aava Resort and Spa owned and operated by the Finnish couple Aate Savisalo and his wife Kati celebrated its Grand Opening on 3 September.
amui has undergone phenomenal growth in the hotel and resort sector over the past ten years leaving some to wonder if, in the process, the island has not lost some of the charm that drew visitors there in the first place. Adventurous investors are now looking to the mainland opposite Samui to places like Khanom where pristine and deserted beaches offer are everything Samui once was; a tranquil, unspoiled destination with an authentic backdrop of Thai provincial life.
Leading the wave of investment in Khanom is Aava Resort and Spa that celebrated its grand opening in sumptuous style on the 3rd September 2010. A champagne reception was followed by a gala dinner attended by local and foreign dignitaries including the kamnam of Khanom (name?) and the Finnish Ambassador to Thailand Mrs. Sirpa Mäenpää. The party continued until dawn with a display of fire juggling, vibrant live music and a spectacular finale of fireworks that lit up the night sky with sound and color.
44 ScandAsia.Thailand • October 2010
Kati Häkkinen and Atte Savisalo with their son The first Finnish owned and operated resort in Thailand, Aava Resort and Spa was the brainchild of Aate Savisalo and his wife Kati who fell in love with the gorgeous and deserted beach at Khanom during a visit there three years ago. They were lucky enough to find a perfect plot of land and from there their dream resort began to take shape. From the beginning they wanted to create a resort and spa that combined elements of their own Finnish roots with essential touches of Thai style. The result is a fresh, modern resort consisting of 28 separate bungalows designed with the crisp clean lines that Scandinavian design is famous for and a traditionally styled Thai Spa pavilion. The resort’s Aalto fine dining restaurant located on a beachfront
terrace offers a selection of exquisite fusion dishes and an extensive wine cellar that is already considered to be the best international cuisine on offer in Khanom. Near to the entrance of the resort, Aava Pizzeria and Bakery boasts delicious thin crust pizzas cooked to perfection in a wood fired oven and patisserie items that is already a firm favourite with Khanom’s expat community. Resort owner, Atte Savisalo, says he has great respect for the local community leaders who have shown that they are interested in learning from Samui’s mistakes in making sure that Khanom’s inevitable development will respect the environment and create an upscale and well planned resort destination that will stand comparison with the best that Thailand has to offer.
October 2010 â€˘ ScandAsia.Thailand 45
Two Chefs – Three Bosses The Two Chefs – Restaurant Group on Phuket is run by Three Swedish Chefs who serve tourists and residents exquisite international food, including some Scandinavian favorites. “We have moved away from being a heavily Scandinavian-oriented restaurant to being an purely international one,” they say. By Joakim Persson
46 ScandAsia.Thailand • October 2010
rom breakfast to afterbeach cocktails and delicate dinners. It is all served at Two Chefs, a group of restaurants conveniently located along Phuket’s west coast which so many Scandinavians are fond of. When meeting the young chefs behind Two Chefs – which by the way are now three – it becomes clear that their focus rests on the food and delivering a dining experience beyond their guest’s expectations. Over nearly a decade they have fine-tuned the formula with the promise of price worthy and exquisite food to those guests who really appreciate it. Two of the chefs are from the northern part of Sweden and thus typically more taciturn while Henrik Öjelind from an urban area outside Stockholm is more outspoken. They all manage one restaurant each and their humble manners most likely go well with their Thai staff. The atmosphere is cheerful. They cook food too but mostly oversee the operations. In fact, the high season is so busy that they then even hire Swedish restaurant managers as extras.
ing their own business. Henrik, Billy Ågren and another previous business partner had worked together before Two Chefs was started. “I was called on after one year and we ran the restaurant in Kata together. In 2004 we opened in Pattaya as well but decided to split up the business in 2006 and we continued here on Phuket,” Henrik begins. Business prospered and they opened another one on Karon Beach in 2007. Krister Westberg who was offered a job by Billy and Henrik gave it some careful thinking and concluded: “Wow, Thailand, a good country with nice climate and good people to work. I decided to sell my business in Sweden and moved here hoping for the best. Now I am grateful I was offered this job.” “He was very talented, and joined as co-owner a year later [in 2008] when we opened at third restaurant in Kata Center,” says Henrik. That latest one is their most modern and where guests tend to order more steaks and lobster than in the others. Otherwise the concept is the same.
Two Chefs becomes three
On the Thailand adventure so far and the secret behind their apparent success within a usually tough and competitive business sector, it all typically started with vacation trips. Then they were offered jobs in restaurants – which lead on to open-
During the initial years having the Scandinavian customers was very helpful. “It was what made us break through as we got good contacts with guides and travel agents, and gained their confidence. This gave
an extra boost, and as we had several restaurants we got their attention. And then things could move forward much faster.” “Today we have moved away from being a heavily Scandinavianoriented restaurant to being a purely international one,” says Billy who is in charge of composing the menus on which one finds international dishes, Scandinavian specialities and exquisite Thai food in modern style. “The Thai food is an add-on. Those who want to eat Thai food really don’t come to us. They choose Thai restaurants in the area. But often it is the case that not all in a party want to eat Thai food. Then they choose us as we can offer it all, which is an easy solution for many bigger groups,” says Henrik. As for Thai dishes Billy explains that they serve the classics but in “Two Chefs’ own style, more international. We do not reduce the taste, but the presentation and our methods are different.” “All classic ingredients are there but we have added and sifted away certain things,” he explains further. “In our Tom Yam, for example, you can eat everything. No hard galangal and everything is free from shell.” “The same goes for all seafood, there are no bones. We serve only fish filets, which is appreciated among many guests,” Krister adds. Billy: “We serve the lobster as pure meat too.”
Home-made and Scandinavian “We make more or less everything on our own; bread, pasta and all desserts. We smoke the salmon and make our own fondues.” Aside from changing the menu slightly ahead of each high and low season Two Chefs offer a larger menu during low seasons.
“And in addition to that we have ‘Two Chefs Special’ every day which can be anything from stuffed cabbage to sushi,” says Billy, which makes them all burst into laughter. Apparently those two examples are very unusual on the menu, after all. But their menu stretches from potluck to fusion, Billy corrects himself. Smoked salmon, Skärgårdstallrik (‘archipelago plate’; a platter of cold fish, including strömming, gravlax, baked whitefish, a variety of herring, whitefish etc) and of course meatballs are their Scandinavian specialties. As for the presentation and service they avoid the fine dining label but prefer that the dining experience is a positive surprise for their guests, in the sense that the diners don’t come expecting white tablecloths and all the rest of it. “We don’t want to have that perception. Then if guests come here and get the feeling of fine dining, they’ll get that for a lower price,” says Henrik.
Exquisite but affordable wines Contributing to subtle dining for their guest is an ambitious and, again, affordable wine list. “We are continuously developing our wine selection. In order to attract the food- and wine loving guests one need to be able to offer a good wine list. And we’re still working on improving it. It’s good to have a broad wine list selection too in terms of quality and price, so it can suit many different guest types.” “It’s a fun challenge that we’ve been working on for a long time now. The selection is very good, but can of course improve even further,” Henrik elaborates. The idea is to always have one staff in each restaurant who is a wine connoisseur. And the effort has paid off. “Increasingly our guests are not afraid to buy slightly more expensive wines. And I can say that we have wines of relatively high quality, and if you compare with a fine dining restaurant our prices are half in comparison.” As a final word of advice the Two Chefs team thinks that Phuket is worthwhile visiting during the low season. “Phuket during this period is underestimated and has been for along time. There’s potential for growth if only people knew that it’s a good period to come. Clearly it’s better; less people and more natural. In high season it’s very touristy and crowded here,” thinks Henrik. October 2010 • ScandAsia.Thailand 47
Irresistible Snacks and Candy Swedish businessmen on Phuket imports certain recognized Swedish temptations like potato chips and candy classics to Thailand and sell online to the region
Scansnax. General Manager Peter Johansson with a box of Ahlgrens Bilar.
By Joakim Persson
weden is known also for other things than the Swedish Chef in the Muppet Show. Its car brands for instance. And the most sold car in Sweden, at least according to the brand’s tagline, is the one that is eaten. Thais might look on in wonder if seeing a Swede munching on a bag of these car sweeties, grown up with sweet and sour things as they are here. And if wanting to taste they had better hurry, because for a Swede this candy is irresistible. So much that some of them living in Thailand started importing these ‘Bilar’ as well as some other classics, like cheese snacks and potato chips made in Sweden, not to mention salty candy. It’s in the name – Scansnax. General Manager Peter Johansson and his business colleague on Phuket are behind this import agency for snacks and candy from Scandinavia, delivering to the Asian market. When staying longer periods in Asia, or living here full-time the yearning for these candy brands and snacks that are not readily available grows, the Scansnax businessmen thought. And of course Scandinavians on holiday to Thailand would probably not mind being able to buy these that are musts at any party back home. “We sell on the recognition factor, childhood memories. That’s why we are selling these products in particular. We could import cheaper candy from Sweden that we hardly would recognize ourselves – but instead we go for the classics,” says managing director Peter Johansson. “We were ourselves keen on getting it, salty candy for instance where do you find that? And cheese snacks! Imagine having that when you are here a longer period. Ev-
ery time somebody is coming here you ask them to bring this and that snacks and candy.” Peter moved with his Thai wife and children from Sweden to Phuket a few years ago (their main reason being for the children to attend an international school, learn the Thai language and grow up as more urbane persons). Thus the partners started looking into setting up an import business to bring these products also to potential consumers over here.
Selling to Asia via the web shop Now it has grown in proportions to selling to retailers all over Thailand as well as catering to the whole of Southeast Asia and beyond via their own web shop. During a high season, if it turns out to be normal, they expect to sell at least 60,000 bags of cheese snacks, potato chips and other candies. After some trials and errors they have discovered a niche in selling to local shop owners, normally mini-
48 ScandAsia.Thailand • October 2010
marts near hotels. They are also, successfully, selling at airports and large hotels with a Scandinavian connection. “We sold only on a small scale in Phuket in 2007 and 2008. Then in 2009 we started widening the scope when we acquired licenses from Malaco and OLW, and began importing ourselves and could thus gain more profit and control.” “Then we started expanding, involving wholesalers around Thailand and tried to reach out to all tourist spots - and that has worked very well,” continues Peter. Most of those retailers/agents so far are Swedes in various resort areas and second-home-abroad enclaves, doing it as a side income apart from their core business, which can be a diving shop, restaurant etc. “We aim at selling mostly with this set-up, with Phuket our home turf and strongest market. Agents outside Phuket have minimum orders and we send by cargo. Selling on the internet is our most recent service. We opened our web shop
hoping to reach out also to people in remote, rural areas who might be keen on these snacks and candy classics. We’re hoping that this could spread.” This means that a product manufactured in for instance Filipstad Sweden is first transported by road to Gothenburg, then shipped via Singapore and on to Bangkok. From there the journey continues overland to Phuket. And finally someone might place an order for cheese snacks up in Northern Thailand and thus the delivery embarks on a final journey to the deliver address. Logistically this requires careful planning since the life-span of products such as cheese snacks and potato chips are only six months, and from when the shipping starts it can take, incorporating frequently occurring delays, up to two months before the cargo arrives to the resort island.
Future possibilities As for expansion plans they have considered many aspects and all kinds of specific products to enter the Thai market with. “But the products from Sweden with custom fees and all other costs end up too expensive for Thais. They are not willing to spend that much on the snacks ‘Bilar’ for example.” The retail price for a bag of ‘Bilar’ varies between 130 and 170 baht. “If doing something for the Thai market you should produce it here. The idea is there; to get away from the dependence on tourists as the only market and having a product attractive enough also for Thais. That would be ideal. Higher quantities could of course also reduce our prices. But there is no plan ready, but hopefully we can do something like this in the future.”
Awarded Friends of Thailand
More Scandinavians awarded
eder Jorgensen was on Monday night 27 September 2010 â€“ his 75 year birthday - awarded Friends of Thailand by Tourism Authority of Thailand. The Danish former missionary in the Central and North East of Thailand was the only Scandinavian given this award in the category as an outstanding individual. The award is given every second year to honor and express appreciation to Thailand's international friends for their continued contribution to the development of tourism in Thailand and played a significant role in promoting Thailand and contributed to the wider popularity of the destination in the international community. Peder Jorgensen's contribution to tourism consists mainly of the many group tours he has guided
Ruth and Peder JĂ¸rgensen holding the Kinnaree trophy. for readers of various newspapers in Denmark over the years. These tours included, however, also invariably a visit to one or more of the projects, which he and his wife Ruth were involved with as missionaries in the Central and the Northeasters region of Thailand. The couple established and managed from 1984 to 1995 a home in Piboon Mangsahan north of Ubonratchathani for the most talented children among the poorest families living in the rural districts outside the city so they could continue their schooling beyond the basic six years primary school.
Prior to that, the couple worked from 1962 to 1971 in Nongbua in Nakonsawan and later Manorom in the central Thailand where Peder worked with rehabilitation of leprosy patients while Ruth worked as a midwife at the Christian hospital. Today, Peder and Ruth are retired and live in Isenvad just outside Ikast in Denmark where Peder occupies himself with historical research into the life of the Danish individuals who in the past lived and worked in Thailand. Recently, he collected around 2 mill baht to be used to repair and maintain the hostel in Piboon Mangsahan.
Several other Scandinavians were given other Friends of Thailand awards at the mega ceremony held in Centara Grand in Bangkok. Bravo Tours A/S of Denmark was given the award for its many tour programs arranged in Thailand. The most popular destination includes Hua Hin, Ko Chang, and Ko Samui. Also, Bravo Tour has offered a golf program to Thailand which has been publicized through newspapers, magazines, and TV. Next, Bravo will offer a special longstay program in Hua Hin. Lomamatkat Ltd of Finland was given given the award for bringing approx. 2.000 tourists to Thailand yearly. The agent has considered Thailand top be very important as well as the favourite destination among Finnish travellers. Vulkanresor / Thailand Tours, IATA certified, is the first tour operator that has organized their own direct charter flights from six cities in the northern region of Sweden to Thailand. Although they faced the financial crisis which in 2009/2010 forced them to fly with Thai Airways International, Vulkanresor / Thailand Tours has kept up the volume of tourists at 2.600 tourists annually. In the category of Media, Mr. Martti Sarvojarvi, Editor in Chief of the Finnish Ikkunapaaikka â€“ Window Seat Travel Trade Magazine was awarded the Friends of Thailand award. Also Mr. Erik Stenfors of ResFlex Travel Trade Journal was awarded in this category.
Fewer Scandinavians in Thailand
ordic citizens staying in Thailand have declined with 3.4 pct or 494 persons during the first six months of this year compared to the same period in 2009 according to statistics of the Immigration Bureau of Thailand. Currently, there are a total of 12,340 Nordic citizens in Thailand on a non immigrant visa, a business visa and a non quota immigrant visa. Of those, 4,751 (38.4%) are Swed-
ish, 3,585 (29%) are Danish, 2,205 (17.8%) are Norwegian and 1,799 (14.5%) are Finnish. Last year, the total number was 12.834 Scandinavians. The decline of 494 Scandinavians from last year has not been evenly distributed among the four nationalities. The Swedish population contracted more than the other three Nordic nationalities from 4.982 to the current 4,751 persons or 4.6%. As for Norway, 105 Norwegians have left the Kingdom while
the Danish population saw a decline of 98 people. Finnish, representing the smallest population, fell by 60 people. Even though Finland has the smallest population in the Kingdom there is a higher percentage of people who left Thailand (3.2%) compared to those of Denmark (2.6%) by 0.6%. Swedish nationals still remain the largest numbers of Scandinavian expats in Thailand between 20092010
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October 2010 • ScandAsia.Thailand 51
ความสำเร็จของสมาคมชาวสวีเดนในหัวหิน สมาคมก็ได้เล่าให้เราฟังว่า “เราทำให้ชาวสวีเดนรูว้ า่ เราสามารถทีจ่ ะทำให้ชว่ งเวลาทีห่ วั หินของพวกเขาดี ขึน้ กว่าเดิมได้ โดยในการประชุมแต่ละครัง้ จะมีแขก รับเชิญมาร่วมพูดคุยเสมอ โดยแขกรับเชิญส่วนมาก จะเป็นคนทีส่ ามารถช่วยเหลือ หรือให้คำปรึกษา ปัญหาต่างๆ กับสมาชิกของสมาคมได้ดว้ ย” “เราเองก็ไม่ได้เป็นผู้เชี่ยวชาญอะไร แต่อย่างน้อยก็ สามารถให้คำปรึกษาจากประสบการณ์ของเราเอง ได้ว่าถ้าพบปัญหาแบบนี้ จะต้องไปติดต่อใครที่ไหน ซึ่งบางครั้งสิ่งที่สมาชิกต้องการก็คือความช่วยเหลือ เหล่านี้ และการมาพบกันแบบนี้ก็ทำให้เกิดการ แลกเปลี่ยน แบ่งปันปัญหาในกลุ่มสมาชิก ทำให้ พวกเขารู้สึกว่าไม่ได้เผชิญปัญหานี้ลำพัง” เกิร์ท แอนเดอร์สัน กล่าว
Svenskforeningen คือสมาคม ชาวสวีเดนในหัวหิน ซึ่งได้เริ่มก่อตั้ง ขึ้นเมื่อประมาณ 2 ปีที่ผ่านมา โดยภายในระยะเวลาแค่ 2 ปี สมาคม ได้มีสมาชิกเพิ่มขึ้นจาก 60 คนเป็น 600 คน จากชาวสวีเดนที่ใช้ชีวิต อยู่ที่หัวหินประมาณ 5,000 คน ทำให้เราสงสัยถึงที่มา และอยากรู้จัก สมาคมนี้มากขึ้น แปลโดย โมนิก้า เมอลเลอร์
เกิรท์ แอนเดอร์สนั ประธานสมาคมชาวสวีเดนใน หัวหิน ได้เล่าถึงทีม่ าทีไ่ ปให้เราฟังว่า “ในเดือน พฤศจิกายนปี 2551 เราได้รวมกลุม่ ชาวสวีเดนใน หัวหินมาประชุมกันเป็นครัง้ แรก โดยคิดว่าน่าจะมี ประมาณ 30 คน เราจึงจัดประชุมเล็กๆ นีข้ น้ึ ทีร่ า้ น อาหารสวีเดนทีม่ ชี อ่ื ว่า “ทรี เกิรล์ ส” แต่แล้วก่อน เวลานัด 15 นาที ก็ได้มผี สู้ นใจเข้าประชุมมากถึง 70 คน จนในร้านไม่มที จ่ี ะยืน จึงต้องยกเลิกการ ประชุมในครัง้ นัน้ ไป และมาจัดการประชุมอย่าง เป็นทางการครัง้ แรก ในเดือนมกราคมปี 2552 แทน โดยมีคนสนใจมาร่วมประชุม 2 เท่าจากทีค่ าดการ เอาไว้เสมอ” เห็นถึงความสำเร็จและการเติบโตของสมาคมแบบนี้ ก็อดถามถึงเหตุผลในความสำเร็จนีไ้ ม่ได้ โดยประธาน
นอกจากนัน้ ทางสมาคมยังสร้างเครือข่ายทีด่ กี บั หลายๆ องค์กรทีช่ าวสวีเดนต้องติดต่อบ่อยๆ อีกด้วย อย่างเช่นกองตรวจคนเข้าเมือง เป็นต้น สำหรับใครทีส่ นใจอยากจะเข้าร่วมประชุมบ้าง ต้อง บอกว่าไม่ตอ้ งกลัวจะต้องเสียเงินมากมายเลย “ปกติ เราจะจัดประชุมทีร่ า้ นทรีเกิรล์ ส โดยมีซปุ ถัว่ เหลือง และแพนเค้กสำหรับทุกคน โดยจ่ายแค่ 180 บาท เป็นค่าอาหาร 130 บาท และเอาเงินเข้าสมาคมแค่ 50 บาทเท่านัน้ เพราะสมาคมเองก็ไม่ได้ตอ้ งการเงิน มากมายอะไร” ประธานสมาคมบอก ถึงแม้วา่ จำนวนของชาวสวีเดนในหัวหินจะมากขึน้ เรือ่ ยๆ แต่หลายคนก็ยงั คงจำเป็น หรือหยุดไม่ได้ท่ี จะต้องกลับมาใช้ชวี ติ ทีก่ รุงเทพบ้าง แต่สดุ ท้ายหัวหิน ก็จะยังอยูใ่ นใจ และเป็นอีกหนึง่ สถานทีท่ ช่ี าวสวีเดน จะได้กลับไปเยีย่ มเยือนกันบ่อยๆ เสมอ
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52 ScandAsia.Thailand • October 2010
แคทจา นอร์ทการ์ท เอกอัครราชฑูตนอร์เวย์คนใหม่ ประจำประเทศไทย พม่า และกัมพูชา
“ฉันรักวิวที่นี่มากๆ ชอบการที่ได้มองกว้างๆ เห็นบรรยากาศ กรุงเทพสมัยใหม่ที่ยังมีกลิ่นความเป็นเมืองเก่า” แคทจา นอร์ทการ์ท เอกอัครราชฑูตนอร์เวย์คนใหม่ ประจำประเทศไทย พม่า และกัมพูชา บรรยายความรู้สึกขณะมองออกนอกห้องทำงานชั้น 18 สุขุมวิท 33 แปลโดย โมนิก้า เมอลเลอร์ ภาพโดย ดิศราพร ญาติพร้อม ก่อนหน้าที่แคทจา นอร์ทการ์ทจะได้มาประจำที่ ประเทศไทย เธอได้เคยทำหน้าทีห่ ลากหลายบทบาท ในหลายๆ ประเทศมาแล้ว ทั้งลอนดอน อังกฤษ และพรีโทรเรีย อัฟริกาใต้ จนเธอรู้สึกว่าเอเซีย นี่แหละ คือที่ๆ เธอสนใจอยากจะมาเห็นการเจริญ เติบโตและพัฒนาการ และในการมาครั้งนี้ แคทจา นอร์ทการ์ทมาอยู่ที่ประเทศไทยพร้อมกับสามี และ ลูกสาวคนเล็ก ในขณะที่ลูกสาวคนโตกำลังศึกษา อยู่ที่อิตาลี “ฉันเคยมาเมืองไทยแล้วครั้งหนึ่ง แต่ครั้งนั้นฉันมา แค่เพื่อท่องเที่ยวกับครอบครัว” เธอบอก แต่ครั้งนี้ ต้องบอกว่าเธอมาอยู่แบบเต็มตัวเลยทีเดียว เธอได้ ย้ายมาอยู่เมืองไทยตั้งแต่เดือนสิงหาคมที่ผ่านมา หน้าที่ส่วนใหญ่ในช่วงแรกนี้ เธอใช้ไปกับการทำ ความรูจ้ กั คุน้ เคยกับองค์กรต่างๆ ทีม่ คี วามเกีย่ วเนือ่ ง กับประเทศนอร์เวย์ รวมไปถึงพยายามรับรู้ถึงความ
ต้องการต่างๆ ของชาวนอร์เวย์ที่อาศัยอยู่ในประเทศ ซึ่งนอกจากพม่าจะเปลี่ยนแปลง ประเทศใกล้เคียง อย่างไทยและกัมพูชาก็อาจส่งผลให้มีการเปลี่ยนไทยด้วย แปลงต่างๆ อีกด้วย “ปัญหาใหญ่ของฉันตอนนี้คือเรื่องของภาษา แต่ฉัน “กัมพูชาก็น่าสนใจ ด้วยการที่การเติบโตและพัฒนา จะต้องอยู่ที่นี่ไปอีกหลายปี ฉันจึงใช้มันเป็นโอกาส ที่รวดเร็ว รวมทั้งจำนวนนักท่องเที่ยวที่ไปเยี่ยม ในการที่จะเรียนภาษาไทย อย่างน้อยก็เบื้องต้น พอดีที่สถานฑูตเพิ่งเปิดคอร์สภาษาไทย ฉันก็เลย กัมพูชามีจำนวนสูงขึ้นทุกปี นอกจากนี้ ประเทศ นอร์เวย์ยงั มีโครงการร่วมมือกับกัมพูชาในการช่วยเหลือ มีโอกาสไปเรียน หวังว่าภาษาไทยของฉันจะดีขึ้น เด็กๆ ทีไ่ ด้รบั ผลกระทบจากกับระเบิดในกัมพูชา เรื่อยๆ” เธอพูดพร้อมใบหน้ายิ้มแย้ม อีกด้วย” เธอกล่าว ในทั้ง 3 ประเทศที่แคทจา นอร์ทการ์ทได้มีโอกาสมา ประจำอยู่ เธอบอกว่า ณ ตอนนีค้ งต้องให้ความสนใจ จากผลงานมากมาย และการได้พูดคุยในวันนี้ ทำให้ ไปที่ประเทศพม่าก่อน เพราะว่าพม่ากำลังจะมีการ เรารูส้ กึ ได้เลยว่า แคทจา นอร์ทการ์ท เอกอัครราชฑูต นอร์เวย์คนใหม่ประจำประเทศไทย พม่า และ เลือกตั้ง ซึ่งอาจส่งผลต่อการเปลี่ยนแปลงระบบ ต่างๆ ภายในประเทศ และแน่นอนว่าก็อาจมีผลต่อ กัมพูชา มีความตั้งใจและใส่ใจอย่างเต็มที่ในการที่จะ พัฒนา และสร้างสัมพันธภาพทีด่ รี ะหว่างประเทศไทย องค์กรต่างๆ ที่เกี่ยวข้องกับประเทศนอร์เวย์ด้วย พม่า กัมพูชา และนอร์เวย์ ทำให้ต้องดูการเปลี่ยนแปลงในครั้งนี้อย่างใกล้ชิด
October 2010 • ScandAsia.Thailand 53
Medium Puzzle 9,448,582,746
2 Page 1 of 1
“White Temple Chiang Mai” by Jan Mouritsen, Canon 5D Judge: Jan Mouritzen will receive a hotel voucher for this entry because of the technical skills. The light he has been able to capture is spectacular. The focus on the motive is excellent leaving the monk to the left blurred.
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SCANDASIA PHOTO CONTEST
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by Siranath Boonpattanaporn Canon EOS 40D Judge: Siranath Boonpattanaporn deserves an encouraging Consolation Prize for this exceptional motive that he has been very lucky to capture.
hen you have completed the above puzzles, please send your©solution by2010 fax- to +66 2 943 7169 or scan and email Web Sudoku www.websudoku.com to email@example.com. We will make a lucky draw among the correct answers. Five lucky winners will receive a high quality ScandAsia polo shirt. Deadline for submit your solution is 15 December 2010 ttp://view.websudoku.com/ 10/6/2010 Name:
54 ScandAsia.Thailand • October 2010
NEW OCTOBER CONTEST Theme: Happiness 1st Winner will receive a hotel voucher. 2nd Winner and 3rd Winner will receive dinner vouchers. The first ten entries will receive a smart ScandAsia polo shirt.
See more details on scandasia.com/photos/
October 2010 â€˘ ScandAsia.Thailand 55
56 ScandAsia.Thailand â€˘ October 2010