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Your FREE ScandAsia Magazine in Thailand 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 : 211 Soi Prasert Manukitch 29 Prasert Manukitch Road Chorakae Bua, Lad Prao Bangkok 10230, Thailand Tel. +66 2 943 7166-8, Fax: +66 2 943 7169 E-mail: news@scandasia.com

Norway Asia Business Summit in Bangkok on April 24-26 All Chambers Songkran Party All Chambers Songkran party is a relatively new annual event. This year’s party is only the second attempt to arrange a Chamber event on the Songkran theme. Last night, it took place at Q Bar. This year, the networking evening takes place at at Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok from 18.30 and onwards on Thursday 10 April. No need to wear swimsuit, there should be no watersplashing.

The 2014 summit is organised by the Thai-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce and will cover macroeconomic trends in Asia, food and energy security, as well as business opportunities in ASEAN and other Asian countries. It will include topics such as the development of free trade agreements, CSR, and the prospects of a Northern Sea Route between Asia and Europe. A number of high-profile speakers have already been confirmed, such as Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende, Egil Hogna (Yara), Dr. Surin Pitsuwan (former ASEAN Secretary General), Jon Fredrik Baksaas (Telenor Group), Bjørn Kjos (Norwegian) and Kristin Skogen Lund (NHO). The summit will be held at Bangkok’s famous riverside Shangri-La Hotel. The Myanmar Extension will be held at the Traders Hotel in Yangon. The website is constantly updated with new information about the summit http://norway-asia.com

Editor-in-Chief : Gregers A.W. Møller gregers@scandmedia.com Managing Editor: Thana Poopat thana@scandmedia.com Advertising : Finn Balslev finn@scandmedia.com Piyanan Kalikanon piyanan@scandmedia.com Nattapat Maesang nattapat@scandmedia.com Karsten Reinholdt Jakobsen karsten@scandmedia.com Graphic Designer : Supphathada Numamnuay supphathada@scandmedia.com Printing : Lake & Foundtain Printing Co., Ltd.

Daily news and features here: www.scandasia.com

Swedish Film Festival Swedish Film Festival 2014 will this year bring seven quality movies from a variety of genres to Thailand. The festival is a result of a cooperation between The Embassy of Sweden and SFX Cinema and the movies will be shown between 24-27 April 2014 at the SFX Cinema at the Emporium.

Thai Festival 2014 in Copenhagen scheduled for 31 May The Thai Embassy in Copenhagen has announced that Thai Festival 2014 will be held on Saturday 31 May from 10.00 – 18.00 hrs. at Havneparken, Islands Brygge, Copenhagen. All Thais and their families in Denmark are invited.


Past Events

Thomas Nyborg new Dancham President

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homas Nyborg was elected new Dancham President at a quick board meeting after the Annual General Meeting on Thursday 27 February 2014. The AGM elected three new members for the board for the coming year while Mai Ellegaard and Klaus Stove were both reelected. Among the three new members, only one, Nicolai Bartels Thomsen, was present at the meeting and introduced himself in person. The two others were not able to participate but were displayed on the screen. They were Sune Sucksdorf, a long time member of the Danish community in Bangkok, and Christian Kruger, a more recent member. The President’s report of the past year was given not by the President but by each of the board members who had been Chairman of each their activity. It was therefore Klaus Stove who presented an overview of the events over the year, Supareak Charlie Chomchan presented the status on the membership and Kenn Thaysen talked about the Chamber media, mentioning among others that the Chamber was working on designing a new website. The financial situation presented by treasurer Mai Ellegaard showed a very stable situation with around 3.5 mill. Baht in assets. After the election and the conclusion of the meeting, most of the attendants proceeded to join the dinner arranged by Grand Millennium Sukhumvit Bangkok and served in the newly renovated court yard of Ambassador Mikael Hemniti and Khun Ratanawadee Winther’s residence. 1. 2. 3.

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President Peter Romhild left the board after five years as President and a total of eleven years as a member of the board. Thomas Nyborg thanked him on behalf of the members for his many years of service and gave him 3 a farewell present and flowers. Also departing board member Kenn Thaysen was presented with a few bottles of red wine. Most members of the new board were present at the AGM – from left: Asbjorn Overgaard Christiansen, Mai Ellegaard, Nicolai Bartels Thomsen, Klaus Stove, Thomas Nyborg, Supareak Charlie Chomchan and Santhapat Periera. Not present were newly elected Sune Sucksdorf and Christian Kruger and three existing board members Jorgen Lundgaard, Mogens Staib Hansen and Henrik Jensen, who were not up for election. New President Thomas Nyborg is seen seated in the middle of the front row, next to Poul Weber and the two re-elected board members Klaus Stove and Mai Ellegaard.

Thai-Swedish Chamber AGM Updated on Thailand’s Situation By Joakim Persson

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he Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Thai-Swedish Chamber of Commerce took place at Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit in the evening on 27 February 2014. The meeting reelected Jan Eriksson as President. Some new board members were also elected, namely Jacques Michel (Volvo Group Thailand), Fredrik Bergman (Diakrit), Lars Svensson (Oriflame) as well as Johan Nordqvist (Amadeus). Meanwhile the following persons remained as Governors: Hakan Alm, Dan-Ake Enstedt, Lars Andersson, Jan Eriksson, Kenneth Radencrantz, Worachai Bhicharnchitr. In addition, resigning for

6 ScandAsia.Thailand • April 2014

re-election, Bjorn Richardsson, Christer Nilsson, Eric Hallin and Sutti Manokitjarunman, were also re-elected. The financial report was much happier this year, remarked the President. Significant revenue came from memberships and registration fees, the website and the Thai Property Guide and TSCC could report that a previous loss had been turned into a profit. The meeting also learned that the Embassy of Sweden in Bangkok will promote TSCC and the 25 Years Anniversary of the Chamber this year in all its public activities. This anniversary will be the

one big project for TSCC during 2014. “We need one project each year to stay in the black. It’s a very important part of our revenue,” said Jan Eriksson and expressed hopes to see a lot of support for the upcoming jubilee activities. After the actual AGM, more guests who had waited in the lobby joined the dinner with special speaker of the evening Khun Thanong Khanthong, Political Editor of the newspaper The Nation, talking about Thailand’s current political and democratic crisis. The political editor spoke to the audience as a closed group so the details stay with those who attended.


Past Events

Swecham networking at Huntsman´s Pub

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n March 6, the Thai-Swedish Chamber of Commerce held their monthly Networking evening at The Huntsman´s Pub, Landmark Hotel in Bangkok. The members came to share views and exchange information with old and new friends and business associates, while sipping a glass of wine or beer. The networking was hosted by School of Engineering, Jonkoping University. Photo: Thai Swedish Chamber of Commerce.

April 2014 • ScandAsia.Thailand 7


News Brief

REC donates solar panels to 3 Thai schools

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ingapore - March 12, 2014: REC, a leading global provider of solar energy solutions, donated 64 REC Peak Energy Series panels to three schools in Thailand. The donation helped the schools - Prep School in Bangkok, Mechai Pattana School in Pattaya and Kaho Plueak School in Chiang Rai - better meet their energy needs through the additional energy provided by the solar panels. It further presented 900 school children an opportunity to learn more about solar energy, as a form of clean renewable energy. The installation in Mechai Pattana School utilizes 40 REC Peak Energy Series solar panels and has a system size of 10 kW. The 3 kW installations in Prep School and Kaho Plueak School consist of 12 REC Peak Energy Series solar panels each. While Thailand produces energy domestically, this only meets half of the primary energy needs of the country. Thailand imports energy for the rest of its needs. The local authorities are looking to obtain a quarter of its energy from renewable sources by 2021. “We are pleased to be able to contribute our solar panels to the schools,” said Jose Luis Martin, Project Development Manager, Thailand, REC. “More than a business, REC sees itself as a responsible corporate citizen. We consider the long term value and effect of our business practices and we believe in investing in local communities.”

“Sponsoring the solar panels not only embodies the REC vision - that every person benefits from electricity directly from the sun - but also allows us to help children in Thailand understand the importance of taking a sustainable approach to energy needs,” added Jose Luis Martin. The sponsorship was initiated by Sonnedix, which installed close to 41,000 REC Peak Energy Series solar panels in the largest solar energy power plant in northern Thailand in April 2013. The 9.5 MW power generator in Chiang Rai provided clean solar electricity to 7,200 households in the area. Franck Constant, Chairman of Sonnedix, approached REC to sponsor solar panels for the schools because of his positive experience with the company in past installations, both in Thailand as well as other projects in Europe. “We chose to work with REC again because REC’s Peak Energy Series solar panels are one of the most reliable options for the weather and climate condition in Thailand,” said Franck Constant. One of the many accolades REC’s Peak Energy Series solar panels have received is the enhanced certification from SERIS (Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore) for potential-induced degradation (PID) resistance. In one of the harshest PID tests in the industry, REC Peak Energy Series solar panels were able to demonstrate their suitability in regions with high temperatures and high humidity.

Scandinavians, others flock to peaceful Krabi

Pesticide linked to mysterious deaths of Norwegian, other tourists

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highly toxic pesticide used to control bedbugs in some holiday hotels in Asia may have caused the mysterious deaths of two Quebec sisters travelling in Thailand in 2012 as well as several other tourists, including a Norwegian in 2009, according to new evidence from a joint investigation by CBC’s the fifth estate and Radio-Canada’s Enquete. In 2009 Norwegian Julie Bergheim and American Jill St. Onge were staying in adjacent rooms at a guest house, and they experienced similar symptoms including vomiting, dizziness and blue fingernails and toenails. Both were dead within 24 hours. Four years after her daughter’s death, Bergheim’s mother, Ina Thoresen, received a report from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Authorities there had consulted with leading experts from around the world about what happened to her daughter. Though they could not state the exact cause of Bergheim’s death, they concluded that the most likely cause was poisoning from the phosphine gas released by the pesticide. The Norwegian report also states that Canadian medical examiners found traces of the gas from aluminum phosphide in the bodies of the Bélanger sisters, who died in similar unexplained circumstances in their hotel room on Phi Phi Island. Toxicologist Joel Mayer said that the symptoms experienced by the Bélanger sisters, Bergheim and St. Onge are typical of someone exposed to aluminum phosphide. 8 ScandAsia.Thailand • April 2014

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espite Thailand’s ongoing political unrest that continues to make headline news around the world, the beautiful beaches, unspoiled islands of Krabi continue to attract planeloads of visitors from everyday, according to tourism and local officials. Viyada Srirangkul, director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Krabi office, said in an interview with Thai-language newspaper, Thai Rath, that hotels were almost always fully-booked, with 20 incoming domestic flights, 4-5 flights from Malaysia and Singapore, plus 12-15 chartered flights from Scandinavia, Russia and China each day. “The negative impact of political uncertainty and violence elsewhere in Thailand may have shocked some tourists initially. But now they understand that it’s okay to visit and enjoy themselves in peaceful Krabi,” Viyada said. Krabi’s high season for tourism falls between November and April. It is estimated that tourist arrivals in Krabi will rise 7 per cent and generating up to THB60 billion to the local economy this year. Last year, Krabi received 3 million visitors.


Swedish Film Festival

News Brief

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or its third consecutive year the Swedish Film Festival will be held this year in a theme that ambassador Klas Molin was quick to describe as “Sex, drugs and rock’n’roll” – he then also underlined that the embassy had nothing to do with the selecting of the movies for the festival.

Broad variety

The Swedish Film Festival will be held on the 24-27th of April at the SFX Cinema in The Emporium shopping mall. Admission is free and it features six movies with very juicy content and a children’s movie. By Morten Krogsholm

The festival features a wide range of movies. Among these two highly controversial and eyeopening documentaries. Swedish filmmaker and journalist Carl Frederik Gertten defiled fruit company Dole’s brand and reputation with his documentary “Bananas!*”. “Big Boys Gone Bananas!*” tells the story of how Dole sued Carl Frederik Gertten and unleashed an army of lobbyists to control and spin media. The movie shows just how threatened freedom of speech can become when facing big business. The world’s most resilient file-sharing site The Pirate Bay was created by three Swedes. It has been subjected to a horde of lawsuits and nearly everyone who can claim copyright to a digital product has been violated by the site. Already watched over 2 million times on YouTube TPB AFK tells the story of how Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Peter Sunde and Frederik Neij caused the White House to threaten Sweden with trade sanctions and gives you a unique insight in how they liberated the internet. You can also relive an artistic interpretation of Stockholm’s utopian society in the late 70’s with a seductive, glittery and dirty world of sex clubs a stone’s throw away from government buildings and juvenile homes. Call Girl tells the whole story and depicts how young Iris is corrupted by a world

where power is everything. It also contains a less glamorous view of the former Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme. But it is not all adult content at the festival. The Ice Dragon is a children’s movie about Mik and his quest for a new home. He runs away on an ice dragon and the movie tells story of his adventures and experiences on his journey. Besides these you can also watch Avalon, Behind Blue Skies and The Last Sentence.

Cultural common ground Ambassador Klas Molin described the former years’ festivals as great successes and had huge expectations for this year as well. “I hope there will be a lot of participants and hopefully it will be equally divided among both expats and Thais,” he said and explained how he viewed the film festival as golden opportunity to gain insight into another culture. “They say a picture says a thousand words. Well, then a motion picture must say a million,” he said. Ambassador Klas Molin also expressed his gratitude for the cooperation with SFX Cinema who generously has opened the doors to their cinema at The Emporium free of any charge to give people a chance of experience something new. There will be two screenings per day on Thursday and Friday and three screenings on Saturday and Sunday. The event is sponsored by the Swedish Chamber of Commerce, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, Volvo, Scania and Swedish Institute and for more information please contact the SF Call Center at 02-268-8888 or visit their website www.sfcinemacity.com

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Nordea Bank S.A, Singapore Branch is part of Nordea Group, the leading financial services group in the Nordic and Baltic Sea regions. Some products and services may, due to local regulations, not be available to individuals resident in certain countries and their availability may depend, among other things, on the investment risk profile of persons in receipt of this publication or on any legislation to which they are subject. Nothing in this publication should be construed as an offer, or the solicitation of an offer, to purchase, subscribe to or sell any investment or product, or to engage in any other transaction or provide any kind of financial or banking service in any jurisdiction where Nordea Bank S.A., Singapore Branch or any of its affiliates do not have the necessary licence. Published by Nordea Bank S.A., R.C.S. Luxembourg No. B 14.157 on behalf of Nordea Bank S.A., Singapore Branch, 3 Anson Rd #20-01, Springleaf Tower, Singapore 079909. www.nordeaprivatebanking.com subject to the supervision of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (www.mas.gov.sg).

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27/02/2014 14:28 April 2014 • ScandAsia.Thailand 9


News Brief

EU asks Finland to improve conditions of Thai berry pickers

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apporteur Markku Wallin, who has examined the working conditions of foreign seasonal workers who come to Finland to pick berries in the forests, proposes that contracts of employment be established between pickers and the companies that buy berries and that the work is subject to an employment relationship. The current situation is that berry pickers are not regarded as being employed nor are they regarded as self-employed. Over 4,000 people come to Finland as berry pickers each year, the majority from Thailand. “The legal status of berry pickers needs to be clarified because the risks to the pickers are great and they are in a weak position,” judged Wallin. There are three factors in favour of a change in the situation: the need to reduce the problems that have been found in the berry pickers’ conditions, the improved infor-mation developed in recent years regarding the factors that affect the conditions of the pickers, and the Seasonal Workers Directive just approved by the EU, which covers a lacuna in the regulations. If berry picking is done on the basis of a contract of employment, the whole of Finland’s labour legislation must be applied to the pickers, unless the law allows for exceptions in its application. The income of pick-ers with a contract of employment is taxed as salaried income in accordance with the lower rate for sea-sonal work. Employed status would also bring pickers into the pay security scheme. “In respect of employed status, forest berry pickers would be treated in the same way as pickers employed in gardens and berry plantations who can work for several employers simultaneously or in succession. In Sweden, picking carried out under employed status has still been profitable for the berry buyers”, says Wallin. Another legal avenue, i.e. separate legislation, was considered as a possible, but worse, alternative by Mr Wallin. In addition, he drew attention to the berry industry’s low degree of processing in Finland. “The international image of Finland’s forest berries would be improved by marketing and developing new food products and special products for the health and beauty sector,” observed Wallin. Berries are currently sold to Japan, for example, for further processing. On the 7th October, 2013, the Ministry of Employment and the Economy and the Ministry for Foreign Af-fairs asked Director General Markku Wallin, to put forward proposals to rectify the anomalies in the condi-tions of foreign forest berry pickers. During the investigation, Wallin consulted representatives of the labour market associations, the food in-dustry, the authorities, berry picking companies and the relevant embassies, berry pickers and both do-mestic and international experts and associations such as the IOM and ILO as well as the Thai authorities. The investigation was supported by an interest group composed of experts from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the Ministry of the Environment. Source: Ministry of Employment and Economy

Norwegian-Thais attend senior monks’ funerals in Bangkok

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he abbot of Wat Thai Norway in Oslo and some 200 lay followers, most of them Norwegians of Thai descent, arrived in Bangkok on March 7, to attend the funeral rites for the late Supreme Patriarch and his deputy who passed away late last year. The group, led by Phrakru Vitetdhammavitit, abbot of Den Thailandske Buddhistforening in Oslo, are Thai women married to Norwegians from Oslo and from other cities in Norway and they planned to travel as a group to take part in religious ceremonies and visited Buddhist institutions in Bangkok and in the provinces until 10 March. “We are here to pay our respect to the late Supreme Patriarch and his deputy, who had played an active role in initiating the establishment of Thai Buddhist temples, serving members of Thai communities, in Norway and other parts of Europe,” said Suchada Ranglek, one of the temple’s lay leaders, originally from Thailand’s Phitsanulok province. Most of the people in the group planned to visit families and friends in their hometowns in Bangkok and upcountry after completing the group’s religious activities. Wichuda Rand, accompanied on this trip by her Norwegian husband, Arne, from Bergen, said the trip, religious activities and sightseeing events, was partly sponsored by Thai Airways International (THAI), which offered special discounts on air fares, to promote cultural and social ties between European citizens of Thai descent and Thailand. Phrakhru Vitetdhammavitit said THAI organises cultural and social outreach programmes, including annual ordination of its employees into monkhood and getting them to study Buddhism and serve Thai communities at one of the several Buddhist temples in Norway, Sweden and other parts of Europe.

Thailand was Saab’s biggest customer in 2013

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hailand was Saab’s largest export destination, recording sales worth USD511 million. The ISP notes that this was attributable to the provision of Saab JAS 39 Gripen combat aircraft and the development and integration of combat management and radar systems for the Royal Thai Navy, according to Jane’s Defence. Sweden’s military exports reached SEK11.9 billion (USD1.8 billion) in 2013, according to figures issued by the country’s defence and dual-use export control organisation the Inspectorate of Strategic Products (ISP) on 25 February. 10 ScandAsia.Thailand • April 2014


News Brief

Phuket’s tourist safety: a success story

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he Nordic Coordination Emergency Group (NCEG) has recently held a meeting to evaluate the progress made since its establishment in December 2013 to get Nordic embassies and tourist agencies to cooperate to improve tourist safety and build up preparedness for emergencies. The group, comprising 15 members, said at the 11 March meeting that they were happy with safety standards currently in place in Phuket, one of Thailand’s most popular destinations of tourists from the Nordic region. The Nordic Coordination Emergency Group in front of the Embassy in Bangkok. Photo: Danish Embassy in Bangkok The just-ended high season, from end of December to early March, when up to 60 plane-loads of Nordic tourists arrived in Thailand per week, was declared a success. During that period, there had been no major emergency situation and no accident involving large number of tourists. There were some accidents here and there but no fatalities were reported due to some wellthought-out safety initiatives. The NCEG invited Duncan Stewart from Safer Phuket, a safety advocacy group, to speak at the meeting. The NCEG was told that Safer Phuket has put defibrillators on standby along the white beaches of Phuket. One tourist’s life was actually saved at one of those beaches thanks to the availability of a defibrillator that had been put up on the very same day. Lifeguard towers have also been erected on some beaches funded by companies, which then can use the towers as advertising space. It is NCEG hope that they can encourage even more Nordic companies to contribute to the development of a safer Phuket and in exchange for good publicity. Safer Phuket has safety at sea as its focus, but it is also interested in promoting traffic safety. The NCEG hopes that once they succeed to improve tourist safety and preparedness for emergencies, similar projects could be expanded to the rest of Thailand.

Danish envoy visits ECCO Thailand

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anish Embassy staff were given a tour of the recently renovated factory and tannery, obtaining a detailed insight into the many stages of production as well as the actions taken to reduce the factory’s resource and energy consumption. Danish Ambassador, Mikael Hemniti Winther; Commercial Counsellor, Asbjørn Overgaard Christiansen; and Senior Commercial Officer, Nantima Angkatavanich recently paid a visit to ECCO’s factory in Saha Rattana Nakorn Industrial Estate, Ayutthaya, just north of Bangkok. The management of the Danish shoe company’s Thai branch presented a recently renovated factory with updated machinery and a brand new tannery, brought on as a result of the devastating floods of late 2011. ECCO is the world’s largest casual footwear producer, providing products to 90 different markets with China and Russia as the biggest. The philosophy is to make shoes that are shaped to fit the foot, not the other way around. ECCO Thailand was established in 1993, has produced approximately 3.7 million pairs of shoes this year, and will employ 3200 people by the end of 2014.

Photo: Embassy of Denmark in Thailand

New Danish logistic hub opens in Thailand

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n March 14, Denmark’s Ambassador to Thailand, Mikael Hemniti Winther, officially opened DSV brand-new warehouse on Bangna-Trad Km. 22. DSV Air & Sea, a Danish global supplier of transport and logistics services, strengthened their business in Thailand by opening the new impressive warehouse on the strategic location. The CEO Asia of DSV, Mr. Peter Minor highlighted that the warehouse is planned to support the expansion of DSV Thailand as the company is ready for the increasing business, both from the local potentials and the upcoming AEC. The Ambassador expressed his delight to witness the Danish business footprint growing up in the country. He also emphasized that the DSV newly location is not only a warehouse but a logistic hub which connects Denmark, Thailand and other countries in the region. Since the company has been running the business here for 27 years, during the opening ceremony, DSV illustrated their strong relationship between Denmark and Thailand through cultural shows of the two countries which one of them was performed by DSV staff. April 2014 • ScandAsia.Thailand 11


The first kilometer is the hardest hl and Joakim Ekenda recently Wej Supaporn lfilling completed a fu weden to journey from S ycle. Thailand on bic tops, Over mountain s and snow, rt e s e d h g u ro th en thousand more than fifte e saddle. th in rs te e m o il k uritzen By Kristian Kruger La

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he idea of cycling through numerous countries, while experiencing distinct and different cultures as bicycle globetrotters, would perhaps be thrilling to many. But also scary and overwhelming. Joakim Ekendahl and his girlfriend Wej Supaporn, decided to actually do it, instead of letting the idea remain a fantasy. “When you go from Sweden to Thailand by plane, you have a drink, watch a movie, perhaps sleep some hours, and suddenly your plane is landing, and you have just missed half of the world,” Joakim says. He and Wej decided back in 2012 it was time to experience that half. Joakim Ekendahl and Wej Supaporn are in the mid forties, and was living in Gothenburg, Sweden, up until their bicycle journey. They became a couple almost twenty years ago, when Joakim worked a few years in Bangkok. They moved to Sweden, where Wej worked as a librarian and Joakim worked for different companies commuting week in and week out, through most of Sweden. But not anymore. Enough was enough. Time to see the world. Joakim quit his job, while Wej took a longtime leave from the library. “We both like bicycling and traveling long distances, so why not do this,” Joakim says.

The overwhelming hospitality The couple has biked through all types of weather and natural scenery in countries such as Poland, Georgia, Romania, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and China, spending nine months on and off the saddle. That may seem physically gruelling, but the challenge was much more a mental one. “It becomes a meditative state of mind. Everything else but you and your legs moving the 12 ScandAsia.Thailand • April 2014


bike is excluded, while you are in a deserted part of Kazakhstan and there is no real civilization the next 500 km,” Joakim explains. Of course it was not in anyway a downside that both him and Wej are experienced bikers with long distances under their belt, before this one. The potential fighting and couple-arguing, that to some might seem inevitable during a trip like this, was never a real issue. “When you are on your bike, you do not have time to do that much talking anyway,” Wej says. Although they both agree, that Joakims spirit were a bit more up and down. “Perhaps, I am a little bit more stable,” she says. “Joakim is the one with the Visa Run and the route on his mind.” Every country they passed on the way had a unique culture to offer in terms of food and customs, but most of them had an essential element in common. “It was really an overwhelming hospitality we meet. Especially the Islamic countries. In Turkey, for instance, it was sometimes even hard in a polite way to say no to whatever people were offering,” Joakim recalls with a smile.

Snowstorm in Hungary The couple slept in every kind of accommodation possible from welcoming sleepovers, hotels and a tent put up by the Caspian Sea or in a cave in the deserts of Uzbekistan. Quite a hot experience cycling through the deserts, Joakim recalls. “Sort of hell on earth. 47 degrees in the shade. No trees anywhere.” Luckily they had a trick for keeping the ever important water cold, or cool at least for some time. They soaked a sock with water and covered

it around the bottle, so the water kept cold until the sock had dried up. Apparently a trick that is used på cyclists everywhere. Even though the desert was like cycling in a big heated oven, the most extreme weather they experienced was in Central Europe, in March during the winter. “In Hungary, they brought the army tanks out to clear the snow, but luckily for us, we had the big wind in our over backs, just cruising besides each other, “ Joakim says. So most of the road from Hungary to Slovakia was a nice rest for hard working legs on the pedals.

A human skull in China The list of funny, bizarre or baffling moments during the couples nine months long adventure is long. In Uzbekistan, there is not a single ATM machine, and people usually trade money on the black market. The currency has minimal value, so carrying a standard wallet is out of the question. “We exchanged 300 dollars, and the stack of money was this high,” Joakim recollects, while demonstrating the length of his forearm. Every little coffee shop had a money counting machine, the ones you normally only see in banks. But the most surreal moment happened, while they were in the northern part of China. Having just spend a comfortable night on a three star hotel, a rare occasion, they hopped on the bikes in morning to continue the journey. It was a dust storm, and Joakims pedal was cranked, so they had to stop and put up their tent, before planned. Unfortunately the ground was a hard as a rock, so the spikes for the tent could not go in. Joakim decided to walk a few hundred meters in search of some softer ground, and found a nice

spot on top of a hill. “Then I looked a few meters to the right, and there was a human skeleton! Just below a pile of gravel. A skull and a leg that was coming up from the ground, “ Joakim recalls. A Lucky Luke type of scenery, not exactly the thing you get to see along the pavements of Gothenburg.

Just let go, and do it Even though the couple experienced moments of absurdity during the bicycle road trip, it is the warmth and kindness of all the different people, they met along the way, that comes to mind. “People are nice! The only danger we met was the road, “ Joakim says. When they tell their story, they are often asked about the potential aspect of luring danger. Especially from Thai people. They seem to be afraid of the unknown. “I would like to encourage the Thai people to travel abroad more, independently. And perhaps inspire the employers to let their workers get some time off to restore energy, “ Wej says. The allowed annual leave from work is usually only up to ten days in a row. “The decision to go is so significant, “ Wej underlines. Joakim easily agrees with his girlfriend and cyclist companion. “Just let GO, it will work out,.leave the comfort zone. Once you have done it, it works out from then. The hardest kilometer is the first one. There is no headwind or uphill as hard as the obstacle of getting it done, making the decision to actually do it. Hopefully Joakim Ekendahl and Wej Supaporn´s story can work as inspiration for adventurous people flirting with the idea of cycling out and across parts of the globe. April 2014 • ScandAsia.Thailand 13


Relocation calls

for professionalism and integrity BluFox Relocation recently opened its doors for business, with offices in Bangkok and Singapore. A growing business in the Southeast Asian region, and one that calls for experience and expertise. By Kristian Kruger Lauritzen

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hen a couple or a family plans to move from Bangkok to Beijing, for example, there are several factors that need to be taken into account. But perhaps the biggest challenge is how to safely move the sofa, the bed and chandelier from one place to another. That’s where BluFox Relocation comes in - ready to help clients smooth out the move with a modern approach. The Thai-Singaporean based company may be the ambitious new kid on the block in the moving industry, as a newly-established company, but members of the company’s staff have had many years of experience, said Erik Dahlstrom, the Swedish Managing Director of BluFox Relocation. “The 16 employees that we have working in Bangkok and in Singapore are some of the best in the industry. Collectively, they have 130 years of experience. When people see our company’s name, they might think that we are new, but we consider ourselves an industry veteran.” Erik Dahlstrom has been working in the moving industry in Thailand for major players for twenty years, until he recently decided it was time open his own business. However, operating a relocation business in Thailand only was not an option. “We envisioned something bigger, and since there are so many Nordic expats and businesses in Singapore, we decided to open up in Singapore as well“ he said. BluFox Relocation took over an existing moving operation in Singapore and thereby was up and running from day 1 with some of the market’s most experienced staff. The Southeast Asian moving industry is growing continuously and a lot of nationalities are moving around the region thanks to business opportunities and the large number of expat jobs available.

Tailor to the client’s needs When a person or a family moves from one country to another, there are a lot of things that has to be taken care of. Home search, school search, orientation, visa, immigration and language training, to name but a few. BluFox Relocation can arrange for all of these things, to meet the client’s specific needs, but the main focus of the company 14 ScandAsia.Thailand • April 2014

requests are accounted for. If a client wants their items handled with confidentiality, that’s what they’ll get. We want to differentiate ourselves by giving our operation a personal touch. Integrity, integrity, integrity, I say. That’s part of the reliability we provide when you put your trust in someone“ Erik Dahlstrom said. A small relocation job from a client now can lead to bigger jobs in the future, and from a foundation of trust, people will call in. Or, they may have heard words of praise from one of our satisfied clients, explained the 47-year-old Swede. BluFox Relocation deals with a lot of Nordic clients, where the personal preferences tend to play a role, and there are obvious advantages in terms of language and culture. However, the company feels perfectly at home doing business with all nationalities and have the knowledge to handle it through the international network available. “If a client wants to move from, say, Singapore to Iraq, we can do that too.”

A modern approach

is moving, while all the other elements can be arranged for within their own network. First, the company schedules a visit to the client’s residence and then, based on the volume and estimated expenses for the move, BluFox Relocation will provide for an appropriate proposal. “In relocation it is important to personalize every relocation as every customer is different and not all comes with a big budget. Perhaps the client has a grand piano that requires special handling, and you have to crate it and make sure all

The moving business has existed for centuries and traces all the way back to the days of horse-drawn carriages. There remains a lot of conservative principles in the industry as Erik Dahlstrom sees it. “Relocation is traditionally a family business with patriarchal structure. Nevertheless, we want to incorporate a modern, procedural way of doing things. It is not a given that today’s entrepreneur can expect to stay in business in months or years from now. We want to look at different angles in order to stay competitive and we want our staff to think outside the box”. Erik Dahlstrom and BluFox Relocation has big ambitions for the future and where he wants to take the company to in five years’ time. “At the risk of sounding cocky, we strive to be one of the key regional players in the industry. And we will do that by having the right partners overseas, building relationships with our clients and show them that we are here for the long run“ he pointed out. The big season for relocation starts in April, when people usually start to plan their move, to be followed by the start of the school year around August. “At BluFox Recolation, we are always ready to fulfill clients’ every needs.”


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Danish thinking helps millions of Asian urban poor Top: Somsook is ACHR secretary-general, whose work benefits millions of urban poor in Asia. Bottom: Failure by governments to provide adequate housing for urban poor is commonplace. The result is squatters and slums. Šwww.t-pageant.com

16 ScandAsia.Thailand • April 2014

Asian Coalition for Housing Rights (ACHR) helps poor people in over 100 cities in Thailand and 18 other countries around Asia achievie better housing. Secretary General Somsook Boonyabancha credits the inspiration she got during one year in Denmark. By Thana Poopat


Building communities is supposed to be the foundation of any wellfunctioning, livable city. Studying in Denmark gave me a deeper and broader understanding of housing development beyond the designing, construction and financial aspects.

A

one-year professional training course on housing and urbanisation at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts’ School of Architecture in Copenhagen in 1979 offered Somsook Boonyabancha a much-needed break from her hectic work at the National Housing Authority in Bangkok. It also opened up a whole world of new ideas. Among other things, Danish social housing, cooperative housing movement and egalitarianism stood out as the kind of concepts that resonated with her youthful idealism. Thirty-five years on, these Danish ways of thinking continue to influence her immensely important job as head of an international advocacy group for urban poor’s housing rights. “The Danish social and cooperative housing, a people-driven movement supported by local governments, was the spark that got me interested in what possible solutions were available to deal with housing problems in a wealthy, egalitarian and pragmatic society like Denmark,” Somsook said. As a conscientious foreign scholarship student, Somsook’s first reaction when encountering any good idea afforded by the opportunity to study abroad was how she might adapt them to address the complex socio-economic problems associated with housing issues in Thailand. The stark contrast between beautiful, wellplanned cities and towns of Denmark and urban

©Danida Fellowship Centre

sprawls in developing countries, like Thailand, was not lost on Somsook.

What government planners forget “The problem with Thai government planners in social housing back then was they kept constructing buildings without giving much thought to human factors, socio-economic elements. Little has changed,” she said. “Building communities is supposed to be the foundation of any well-functioning, livable city. Studying in Denmark gave me a deeper and broader understanding of housing development beyond the designing, construction and financial aspects.” “In Thailand, we make it all about pricing. People buy whatever is on offer at the price they can afford. And then the urban poor are left out.”

ACHR a platform of professionals Today, Somsook’s organization, Asian Coalition for Housing Rights (ACHR), is helping poor people in over 100 cities in Thailand and 18 other countries around Asia to achieve decent housing not only as physical structures for shelter. Human elements, such as access to employment and government services, must also be taken into consideration, she said. ACHR is a platform of professionals, communities and regional organisations working together on housing issues in Asia. “Urban poor are at the lowest rung of the socio-economic ladder in most societies,” Somsook said. “There are a lot of urban poor in Asia. Utter failure by governments to provide adequate housing for urban poor is commonplace. Then you have squatters and slums.” Somsook said most Asian countries continue to offer no systematic approach to provide social housing that enable people to live with dignity and a certain measure of equality.

Activistic route to social justice But building a just and egalitarian society takes time. In the mean time, Somsook has taken more or less activistic route to improve social justice. “These urban poor are part of essential labour force but their income is not enough to buy their own place to live in. Not many Asian countries do well like Singapore, Japan. Taiwan, Hong Kong.”

Faced with apparently insurmountable housing problems and budgetary constraints, Somsook said she continued to draw inspirations from her time in Denmark. “We try to help urban poor to solve their own problems through participatory process. People-driven approach. What is remarkable about Somsook’s many achievements is cost effectiveness of Asian Coalition for Housing Rights. One of her major achievements was the Baan Munkong [Secure Home] Project 2003-2005 with at a budget of only US$10 million to upgrade communities in 300 towns and cities around Thailand. “Our emphasis is not so much on physical structures but more about strengthening of communities by giving security (rights to live where they do), livelihood (being close to their jobs), access to childcare. It’s about self-help, self-determination and a self-managed solution.” We take proactive approach – not just protesting. We are open to option either to stay put or move elsewhere, depending on people’s decision and circumstances. The egalitarian society of Denmark made a lasting impression. “Denmark is one of the wealthiest countries in the world but the Danes are not extravagant. Homes and apartments are not big. People are politically active who believe in social justice and look out for one another.”

Pay more attention to community Somsook said thanks to scholarship from the government of Denmark that enabled her to acquire knowledge that she could use to advance her career working for the betterment of people in Thailand and other Asian countries. “It was an extraordinary experience. Denmark and other Scandinavian countries could do a lot more in this regard, providing training courses to students and professionals from Third World countries. “What I learned and what policymakers and architects from developing countries in Asia should have the opportunity to learn from Denmark and Scandinavian countries is we should pay more attention to community aspects of housing.” “That housing policies and housing projects should bring people together, and then we should also build a system that people share. Denmark offers this vision.” “Denmark should not be too humble in spreading good designs, good thinkings in housing and urbanization,” Somsook said. “Denmark and its international development agency, Danida, should play a more active role in creating intellectual learning space.” “People from countries around the world can learn from the Danish society. I changed significantly. My world view changed, I began to look at my profession as an architect differently and I realized that I can change the society for the better. That I learned in Denmark.” Somsook (left), three former fellows studying architecture who met in Denmark 1978-80 recently reunite with one of their teachers in Copenhagen. April 2014 • ScandAsia.Thailand 17


No rumble in the Out in the jungle approximately 50 kilometers from Vientiane lies Ban Lao Pako. Far from any semblance of civilization, the resort offers unique experiences and wildlife adventures. Most modern distractions are removed, except for taste sensations at the restaurant. By Morten Krogsholm

F

ed up with bullshit. That’s how Swedish Chris Kridakorn-Odbratt describes his move from Thailand to the jungle of Laos. He had actually been looking for a place in Thailand to set up a resort, but then he got a tip that he should consider Laos as land prices were much more affordable. And so he did as he took a long boat ride one day and stumbled upon the Ban Lao Pako. He fell in love with the place and saw its great potential. A potential that he has yet to fully realize.

Back to the roots It was a cultural center for nearly 2000 years ago. The place was unspoiled. Nature in its purest form overlooking the Nam Ngum River. Through time it has to some degree been destroyed, then rebuilt, then destroyed and rebuilt again. Mostly built from local materials, using farmed wood, utilizing local traditional building techniques, the Ban Lao Pako was the first eco-lodge to ever open in Laos. You might think that the “Lao” in Ban Lao Pako has something to do with Laos - well, you’d be wrong. It actually means forest, and this is what Chris is trying to bring back. Recreating the forest and the original jungle, and also offering traditional jungle activities, such as the the steam sauna, where the staff will collect differ-

ent herbs from around the jungle, among others, eucalyptus, tamarind, lime leaves, basil. If it gets too hot for you, there is a small dipping pool with natural cold spring water. Chris Kridakorn-Odbratt hopes that he would be able to recreate an idyllic Ban Lao Pako of millennia ago. At Ban Lao Pako, everything must be as green as possible and any harm to the environment must be minimized. This seems to be the mantra behind Chris Kridakorn-Odbratt’s jungle resort. Being a resort with bungalows where guests can stay means that some services need to be provided. Among amenities is hot shower. “I researched every possible solution for getting electricity to

18 ScandAsia.Thailand • April 2014

the resort without relying on the national grid. Unfortunately money is tight and, at the moment, prices of solar energy are sky high, not to mention the short life batteries for power storage. All these brought me to my knees,” said Chris, adding how he then decided to pay workers to lay electric wires all the way to his resort. Wind energy was not a viable option either, as there is nearly never enough wind around the area, or in Laos in general.

Respect nature and the locals “Look at that building,” Chris asked me and points at a building made of wood, which looks quite ramshackled, “It is fairly new. A couple

of years old. Termites did that to it,” he said and explained how he could have got rid of all of the termites if he had resorted to pesticides. “Sure if I used pesticides the life of a bungalow and every one of the wooden structures would be extended, but it would also kill all of the nature in the surroundings, so pesticides is a no-go,” said Chris, emphasizing his respect for the environment. As Chris’ ambition is to restore the forest to its former glory, he has to make it a point not to tamper with the ecological balance. Chris is determined to plant trees around Ban Lao Pako, many of them were there long before the resort was even built. For many of the wildfire excursions on offer, small fees will be charged. In almost every case, such fees go to the locals who have committed to nurture and take good care of the jungle. “Ban Lao Pako runs its own development program for the surrounding villages. We are helping them to raise their living standard, without harming the natural forest, with activities, such as vegetable farming, improving local schools etc. As a guest, you can be part of this by Besides a riverside view the resort also offers jungle bungalows


Our kitchen will, without a doubt, be the most modern in Laos. I’ve brought in equipment that people here have never heard of.

Food and nature is Chris’ passions. At Ban Lao Pako he combines both.

taking one of our tours,” said Chris. Located so far out in the jungle, there is always something which needs fixing or improving. Instead of hiring Chinese or Thais, Chris always works with local workers. “Many advised me against hiring local workers. And I really do not know why. I have been quite satisfied with the work they have done for me, and I also feel a great deal of responsibility,” said Chris Kridakorn-Odbratt, adding how he wants to give back to the people and to help Laos. “I have moved here, I run a resort here, so why not use the local workforce too?” Chris asked but admitted that there are some things, which he needs to import from other countries.

Modern kitchen

people here have never heard of,” said Chris and told me how he had had an Michelin chef stay at the resort who told him to call as soon as the kitchen was done, because he wanted to be the first Michelin chef ever to cook in Laos. Having run a cooking school in Thailand for Thai cuisine, Chris now dreams of doing the same at the Ban Lao Pako, but this time for Lao cuisine. Meanwhile, you are still able to get excellent food at Ban Lao Pako while you stay there. Their menu consists of both traditional Lao food and European cuisine - and unlike many other places in Asia - they actually know how to do justice to European cooking. I myself had the pleasure of sampling traditional Ital-

ian meatballs in tomato sauce and the classic German wiener schnitzel, and I must admit that it was some of the best food I have had in a long time. I might add that it was not in the least bit expensive.

Unplugged and unwind There is only Wi-Fi around in the bar area. The bungalows are stripped of TVs, radios and other distractions. “Though people come here to disconnect, I know that a lot of them still have an urge to be able to check their e-mails, Facebook, news from their home country and other stuff, so I have set up a little Wi-Fi hotspot,” said Chris. There is plenty of fun activities to do when you stay at the resort. Among them

is trekking where you can encounter some really exotic animals. You can go tubing in the river, which is located right next to the resort, Or, do as Chris said: Do nothing or just lean back, relax and read a book. Prices vary from 220.000 to 390.000 KIP (US$28-50) per night, and you get a 50 % discount after the first three nights. If you are in need of escaping the workaday existence or expanding your horizon or maybe seeing exotic wildlife, while being fed excellent food and nice cocktails, Ban Lao Pako ticks all the boxes.

Ban Lao Pako creates the perfect settings for a unique get-away

Food is really Chris KridakornOdbratt’s passion. The past couple of decades of his life had revolved around food. Having runned a professionally-accredited Thai cooking school on the beaches of Bang Saen in Thailand, Chris’ passion for food obviously extends to teaching others how to cook as well. “Our kitchen will, without a doubt, be the most modern in Laos. I’ve brought in equipment that Taking care of the nature is a big part of the maintenance at the resort. April 2014 • ScandAsia.Thailand 19


International Wome More Nordic women should consider joining the IWC – it is fun and offers opportunities to be involved with cultural and social development activities. By Agneta Bekassy

I

WC is one of Thailand’s many Women Organizations. The club was founded 50 years ago and it’s first President was M.R. Semsri Kasemsri. The first business meeting was held at the Erawan Hotel on January 20th 1965. The first Constitution Booklet was also printed in 1965 and listed 107 financial members.(Today IWC has more than 400 members). On October 22nd 1965 the official registration followed.

22 ScandAsia.Thailand • April 2014


men’s Club Thailand The IWC objectives quoted from the 1965 Constitutions are • To foster friendship and mutual understanding between women of different nationalities without discrimination of race or creed. • To promote the cause of education and social interest in the national welfare of women and children. • To broaden the outlook of women in current affairs, cultural, social and other activities important to the status of women. • To keep abreast with the work of other women’s organizations of Thailand and worldwide international women’s organizations.

members are informed about upcoming events through the monthly Bulletin. Today the President Khun Narudee Kiengsiri and her board are planning for the 50 year’s celebration. In September a Gala evening will be hosted at one of the 5 stars hotels and members, guests and members to be are most welcome. The revenues from this gala event are for the Scholarship Fund. Before September there are many more interesting, fun events to be held. In April, IWC celebrates Songkran. Before every monthly lunch you can enjoy a bazaar with many vendors.

These objectives are still relevant today when the organization soon will celebrate it’s 50th anniversary.

IWC maintain a focus on Social Welfare through ac-

Lunches and meetings Every month, except July, IWC host a luncheon and also a coffee morning (GTKY). These “Getting to know you” mornings are often hosted by a female Ambassador or an Ambassadors wife and the members can enjoy a presentation about the host’s country, most appreciated events among the members. Often you also have the pleasure to taste the countries food, wine, coffee etc. The

Social work

tivities to raise awareness and money for Thai charities assisting the primary needs of underprivileged women and children and also through IWC’s scholarship Fund, established in 1994. This fund provides an ongoing permanent educational fund to support needy female students with scholarships.

How to join IWC welcomes new ladies to the club. You can visit IWC on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/iwcthai For membership, please contact Ms. Tanyamai Taechalertpaisarn email: tanyamai_tae at yahoo.com The club members are Life members, Honorary members and regular members. All the female Ambassadors are automatic members and can join all events for free. According to the Constitution the character of the Society shall be maintained by keeping the membership as nearly as possible to one-third citizens of Thailand and two-thirds proportionately from all other nationalities. Since 1971 the President every second year has been a woman with Thai nationality. Enjoy the opportunity to meet interesting women from all over the world. IWC has, for the time being, very few members from Scandinavia, so join today because “You are worth it”!

April 2014 • ScandAsia.Thailand 23


Ole’s Orphanages Young 27-year-old Norwegian has built three village-based children’s homes on the Thai-Burmese border for war orphans and victims of neglect and abuse. By Thana Poopat

I

t must have been a culture shock for 12-yearold Ole-Jørgen Edna. His Norwegian upbringing did not quite prepare him for the kind of Third World human misery that he witnessed on a family trip to refugee camps along the Thai-Burmese border back in 1998. Or perhaps it did. After all, not many families would travel a great distance to this part of the world and then chose to spend part of their precious vacation time visiting victims of ethnic conflicts from Burma. Ole-Jørgen’s father, a noted gastrointestinal surgeon and associate professor in Norway, and his mother, a cancer nurse, have always been staunch supporters of church charities providing among others desperately-needed humanitarian aid to civilians fleeing Burma’s decades-long war of attrition. The tour of refugee camps may have done little to Ole-Jørgen’s grasp of the scope of human sufferings but the experience somehow made a lasting impression on his young mind. “I never thought that simple gifts, such as

small toys, candies, toothbrushes, could bring big smiles and so much joy to hilltribe orphans in the camps,” recalled Ole-Jørgen. Another thing that seared into his memory was the sight of the sprawling Mae La refugee camp in Thailand’s northern province of Tak, home to over 40,000 Karen refugees. Located on slopey hillsides, the refugee camp appeared to be a surreal idyll against a dramatic backdrop of steeply rising limestone cliffs. “Rightly or wrongly, it looked to me like an ideal place in the wilderness, a perfect sanctuary to protect its inhabitants from attacks by the Burmese army.” “I remember saying that I would come back one day.” Ole-Jørgen thought he would be back, but it never occurred to him that he would be back to start the first orphanage seven years ago, in 2007, when he just turned 20. And then go on to found two more orphanages in Tak and eventually manage to put together the dedicated and

Ole-Jørgen with one of the children in Noh Bo

Children helping to make mud bricks/ adobe brick for our music house in Noh Bo 24 ScandAsia.Thailand • April 2014

©Ole-Jørgen Edna

©Ole-Jørgen Edna


©Ole-Jørgen Edna

Noh Bo orphanage in 2009

well-trained staff of 20 people who today provide loving care to some 100 victimized children.

Refugees in local schools

©Ole-Jørgen Edna

The Blessed Homes, as they are known, offer a family-like environment for children to grow up in to realise their full potentials and to become responsible members of their communities. All of the children’s homes at Noh Bo, Klee Tho Kloo and Mae Oo Ho in Tak province along the ThaiBurmese border are well integrated into the respective villages where they are located. Children go to local schools and mingle with other village and local Thai kids. Each child shares a room with 2-5 other children and is supervised by a dedicated staff member who serves as a surrogate parent. Thar Oo, 15, a Karen ethnic, was one of the first children taken in by Ole-Jørgen and local church members even before the children’s home at Mae Oo Ho was built. Like other children in the village, Thar Oo goes to local Thai school. At

Grade 6, he speaks Thai, Karen, Burmese fluently and is now dabbling in English, which will prepare him for future either in Burma, if and when peace is fully restored in his home country, or the option of being integrated into the Thai society. “My mother killed herself, drinking herbicide after my father ignored her pleading not to fight the Burmese army. Then he got killed in fighting. Then my two sisters and I were taken care of by the local pastor and his wife before Ole took us in to Mae Oo Ho,” Thar Oo said. After spending several months living under the care of Ole-Jørgen and local church members, Thar Oo, then 8 years old, and a few other children moved into Mae Oo Ho children’s home after Ole-Jørgen secured the seed fund from a generous American couple. “We are so grateful. Without Ole and Mae Oo Ho children’s home, my sisters and I wouldn’t know what to do, who to turn to for help. We would not have the opportunity to go to school or to think about our future,” said Thar Oo, say-

ing he wants to continue his education in Thai school and come back to help other disadvantaged young Karen children to have a head start in their lives.

How it all started After Ole-Jørgen’s visit in 1998 to the refugee camps with family, he went back to Norway and, like most teenagers, got busy with studying and making future plans. After having finished highschool, he took one year out to study theology in London and to see the world. Towards the end of his London stay, the picture of the Mae La refugee camp kept popping up in his mind and he felt he had to come back to look at the refugee situation up close. He started looking for volunteer works at the Thai-Burmese border. “My idea was to spend one year, doing some field works, closer to the actions.” Ole-Jørgen was first offered to man an office of a charitable organisation in Chiang Mai, but soon was introduced to and got a job teaching English at the bible school in Noh Bo in Mae Sot. Then Thar Oo and the other helpless children showed up. Ole-Jørgen’s first reaction was to help support these children until they grow up and be able to support themselves. Several of the first groups of children have already left the orphanages, got married and had kids of their own. This is part of life. You deal with that as best as you can.” “We don’t want to see any of our children grow up, leave orphanage and end up like parents that some of them ran away from. It would be painful to watch children grow up to become parents who abuse alcohol, who abandon kids or who create a dysfunctional family,” he said. These young adults need secure jobs, but

Children in their school uniforms getting ready for school April 2014 • ScandAsia.Thailand 25


©Per Arne Kvamsø

Noh Bo Academy School there aren’t many decent jobs in the villages. “Many young fathers move to Bangkok or other big cities, get separated from wives or abandon them. The young mothers then find a new husband and perhaps the new husband doesn’t want the kids who are then thrown out.”

Next plan: a youth centre Being familiar with the big picture of the village life gives Ole-Jørgen ideas how to try to help break this vicious circle. The idea is to start a Youth Centre for children after they leave the compulsory primary school or middle school to lead semi-autonomous existence as young adults pursuing vocational or university education in secure environment. The planned youth centre in Mae Sot will help kids who finish grade 10 to get them further education and job skill if that is what they op for. “Most people in the village had 3-4 years of schooling before going to work in the fields be-

cause they didn’t see opportunities. At least for my kids they should know that at least they have the opportunity. If they choose to they can continue with education and go as far as they could.” “At least we can give them job training. Vocational training. So they won’t be pushed around too easily in the Thai job market. The youth centre is more of a transition place from orphanage to adulthood and independence to being in charge of one’s own life.

Why do you do it? Starting an orphanage is not something that most people would think of when they are in their early twenties. “I’m aware that many people would find what I do a little bit strange,” said Ole-Jørgen, a committed Christian. The orphanages were shaped by his Christian belief. “When you see something wrong in this world, like children suffering or mistreated. It’s not

©Per Arne Kvamsø Dancing in Noh Bo 26 ScandAsia.Thailand • April 2014

because they have done something wrong. What it means is the world we live in is broken,” OleJørgen said. “That gives me the responsibility to do what I can to make it right. I don’t do this because I need to be better but because of the love God has for the children.” “My core belief says every child is unique and every child has a purpose and that they are loved.” The contrast between Norway, one of the wealthiest countries on earth, and Burma, at the bottom rungs of the world’s poorest, gives Ole-Jørgen a rare glimpse into the gap between the have and the have-not. “But I never stay because of guilt. But because I met and got to know children I do care about. Whom I couldn’t just leave and not know what was going to happen to them.” The orphanages are fully funded by donations from Norway, including from members of church in the small Norwegian town of Levanger, 600 kilometres north of Oslo where Ole-Jørgen came from. Many sponsors of the orphanages are nonbelievers. But some corporations or organizations that want to be apolitical baulk at providing support for Christian organizations like Blessed Homes. Ole-Jørgen doesn’t find that reasonable. “You bring your value system, worldviews, ideals of life to what you do, religious or secular.”

A meaningful life Many of Ole-Jørgen’s friends from back home have come out to visit him. “Some of them left with an understanding that their lives too could be much more meaningful than the current life they live back in Norway,” he said. Then he quickly corrects himself. “Of course I’m not saying it’s not meaningful to have a good job and to lead that kind of a normal Norwegian life. But for me I can just say that I would certainly not exchange this life for anything else.” “Sometimes people ask me how long I am going to stay. Some even ask if I am going to stay here for the rest of your life. That’s a long time.” He said he didn’t feel the needed to give an answer. “But if children ask me that I will stay, if I’m going to move. I would say I’m not leaving. I’m staying. For children I’m dedicated as long as they need me and as long as I’m useful being a symbol, a father figure. I don’t see myself going anywhere.” “But how I’m to be involved [with children’s home] may change. Even now, the children don’t need me at an orphanage all the time. Now I’m moving between orphanages. I go back to Norway 6-7 weeks a year.” Ole-Jørgen attributes the well-run children’s homes to well-trained staff who care about the kids. “I’m not the only one that kids rely on. Like in this place [Mae Oo Ho], Mary is the big mother to them all. Way more important to the kids than I am. Of course I have a role to play here too but it’s good to see that. Not everything depends on you. It’s a humbling thought. It’s also liberating in some way.”


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Your School T

o decide on something as important as your child’s education and well-being might be the toughest part about moving to another country. Choosing a new school when moving has become increasingly difficult for parents. There are more and more schools established all the time, and each institution has its own unique philosophy and attributes. Comparing what they offer with the needs of your child is no simple task. Most parents probably start out by asking other parents of their own nationality which school they have chosen and why. Then you find out they have chosen different schools and for different reasons and you are back to square one. There is probably no way around making your own inquiry into each available option.

Local vs International First choice is if you are looking for a local school or an international school? In most countries in Asia, a local school is an option - although certainly a more challenging option for your child. If you child is mixed Scandinavian - Asian this may, however, not be so frightening a prospect. And mostly it will have an economic silver lining as local private schools are less costly compared to international schools. However, physical punishment has not been abolished in many Asian school systems, so take this into consideration. Talk to the school how they administer physical punishment and ask if they can make an exception for your child if you are not comfortable with this. If you go for the International school, consider that international students grow up and evolve in a cultural environment that is vastly different to that of your own. Known as Third Culture Kids (TCKs), they often develop a very different attitude to many issues compared to their former friends back home. If you are uncomfortable with this prospect you may prefer to look into the option of choosing a local school or a boarding school back home. Once this is said, most expat families decide to go for the international school, at least through primary school up to grade 9, where other options may come into play. At this point, not only boarding schools in Scandinavia but also boarding school in Asia may be considered.

A few suggestions So now you have the table filled with brochures of different schools and wonder what to look for. Here are a few suggestions to help you make up your mind: First: How far away is the school from your home?

Before spending time looking through school courses, you need to make sure the school is not too far away. Bear in mind that in most big cities, it is the traveling time between your home and the school that matters. How long will it take for your child to get to school and home afterwards? How will your child be going there? Especially in cities like Bangkok, you will be challenged by some of the heaviest rush hour traffic in the world.

Fifth: Does the school have qualified personnel? This is not as obvious as you may think. The school is most likely private and qualifications for employment are not as strict as for schools back home. What educational degree do they hold? How long have they been teaching at the school? What kind of teaching methods do they prefer? Are they involved in planning and evaluating the curriculum? Will they be giving special attention to each child’s problems or personal needs?

Second: What reputation does the school have? Talk to people as much as possible. This is where your first intuition comes handy. Don’t listen to opinions expressed by people who have no children at the school themselves - parents are quick to seek confirmation of their own choice by adopting opinions about the competing schools. The age of the school is no sure indication either. Nothing guarantees that the reputation of a hundred year old school is better than a one year old school.

Sixth: What do the current students think of the school? If it’s possible, talk to some of the existing students. Are they happy there? Do they look motivated to learn? How will the school help your child get started? Do they assign so-called “buddies” (another student from the same country) for new students? Most schools have established student organizations to provide service to students at a personal level. Here, students can get help about studying, working, individual needs and so on.

Third: How are the courses at the school? The school’s courses and programs will most likely be listed in the school’s information packages. They will talk about British Curriculum and American Curriculum and - what most Scandinavians these days go for - the IB curriculum. This is important as you will most likely have to relocate again in a few years. Find out if the native language and culture of your child is taught as optional learning. It is important for your child to keep his or her ties to your cultural background. It is also important for you. Ask questions about the tests and exams which are offered and used as evaluation method. If your child is already a secondary school student, ask how well the graduating students do in getting accepted into major universities both in your current country, back home and elsewhere overseas. Fourth: What other activities can the school offer your child? Besides the fundamental course works, what kind of arts, sports, community service does the school offer? Are there proper facilities to support those activities? It seems that schools almost compete with each other when it comes to sports, thus many schools will have gymnasiums and sport complexes, which are either new or remodeled. But maybe your child is more into other activities computer programming, performing arts? Most schools offer after-school/weekend programs as well as field trips and community services. You should be able to freely pick the activities that best suit your child.

Seventh: How is the relationship between the school and the parents? You will obviously not be able to monitor your child in school. The teacher will have to be your eyes and ears. You must be notified of your child’s functionality regardless of grade, and regardless of whether it includes bad behavior or progress your child has made. Make sure that you can get informed as often as possible. You may join a parents’ volunteer program if available. Some schools may offer activities for the whole family as well.

Watch your child! Never mind how diligent you do your homework - and maybe the above list is a bit excessive you will never be able to foresee if your child will thrive at the school. It is therefore important that you make a habit of spending more time than you used to at home talking to your child about how school was today. What they did in class, and what they did outside. Let her or him tell about their new friends. Listen. All may initially sound fine and uncomplicated, but that may just be a honeymoon period. This is the most important step of them all. If your child develops in any way you find disturbing or even develops signs of discomfort with going to school, you should think twice before you tell your child that “this is life - it is not always pleasant!”. A change of school at the right time might be the single most important decision to make to put the future of your child on the right track!

April 2014 • ScandAsia.Thailand 29


You’re Not Just a Transforming Education with the Global Citizen Diploma

I

n the 1950s famed educational psychologist Benjamin Bloom proposed a classification of learning objectives that has since become one of the most influential theories in the education world. Identifying three domains— cognitive, affective and psychomotor—Bloom demonstrated that cognitive skills build upon one another, moving toward higher levels of learning. Knowledge, representing the memorization and retention of information, is identified as the lowest rung of this taxonomy. Now, over 50 years later, education has yet to fully address the impact of that statement. The reality is that our understanding of intelligence and learning has evolved far beyond the ability to list capital cities or memorize historical dates. We’ve come to understand that success in school and the workplace depends on far more. As voiced most famously by Google in recent months, most industries are increasingly seeking employees who possess abstract skills, including leadership, creativity and flexibility. More importantly, they want these employees to be capable of communicating with others effectively with clarity and empathy. But where do we see these skills on student progress reports? How do we know if they are good communicators or passionate participants in community service? Yet despite being backed by research, demanded by universities and supported by employers, the teaching of these skills is still a secondary concern at many schools around the world. Though they try to align their philosophies and curricula to these new understandings, they are all too often grounded in an old-fashioned mindset that depends on the delivery of knowledge and standardized testing. The schools that do succeed still often fail to realize that the universities themselves no longer want the straight-A student in every case. They want to know what makes students different. They want to hear their stories. Education needs something different, and a small number of top schools around the globe have begun working together on a new initiative that aims to not only incorporate 21st century skills into their programmes, but also provide universities and employers with the means to evaluate them. Zurich International School in Switzerland, Yokohama International School in Japan and NIST International School in Thailand—all three International Baccalaureate schools—worked collaboratively this year in the launch of the Global Citizen Diploma (GCD), an optional qualification that will be offered alongside the high school and IB diplomas. As universities and employers have increas30 ScandAsia.Thailand • April 2014


Number ingly acknowledged, traditional grades simply do not provide enough information about the abilities and strengths of students. The GCD focuses on the abstract skills that existing programmes do not directly measure, requiring students to reflect on their growth in areas such as leadership, community service and global citizenship. Because students in schools such as NIST already take part in numerous activities that develop these skills, the GCD does not require a great deal of extra work, but rather their willingness to explore the meaning of their experiences through reflections and presentations. Through the GCD, a student without top grades could demonstrate to universities that he led an initiative to solve development problems in a small rural village. Another could showcase the photography project she undertook to raise funds for abused women in a neighboring country. Yet another could produce a video documenting

the launch of his own technology business. All too often students like these are measured by a number—a number that says nothing about their capabilities or potential for success. The GCD gives them the opportunity to tell their stories and reveal what makes them unique as learners. Since its creation the GCD has generated a positive reaction from universities, while the students who chose to pursue it alongside their IB diplomas have described an experience that enabled them to confidently express their passions and abilities to others. More importantly, it helped them develop and demonstrate the skills that both universities and employers are so desperately seeking. Though the GCD is an option for students at the participating schools, it clearly fills the existing void and offers the means for students to tell their stories, and to connect learning experiences in a way that once again makes education relevant to the needs of a changing world.

For more information about the Global Citizen Diploma, visit www.globalcitizendiploma.org. NIST International School is the first full, not-for-profit IB school in Thailand. To learn more about its programmes, visit www.nist.ac.th.

NIST International School 36 Sukhumvit Soi 15, Wattana, Bangkok 10110 Tel: +66 (0) 2651 2065 l E-mail: nist@nist.ac.th l www.nist.ac.th April 2014 • ScandAsia.Thailand 31


Design Challenge at

KIS Land By Darryl Anderson, MYP Humanities Teacher, MYP Coordinator KIS International School Bangkok, Thailand

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For more information contact Linda Belonje Director of Marketing and Development KIS International School Email: linda@kis.ac.th l Tel: +66 (0)22743444 l www.kis.ac.th 32 ScandAsia.Thailand • April 2014

magine a Middle School where the curriculum involved designing airplanes, catapults, remotecontrol cars, Rube Goldberg Machines and water rockets. Sounds like a budding engineer’s dream! However it’s not just the engineering skills that are needed to be successful, but also marketing, creativity and collaboration. Every year at KIS International School, MYP students take part in an interdisciplinary, cross-grade level event known as Design Cycle Challenge Week. For five days each year, students put away their schoolbooks, group themselves into teams of 4-6 students and are given a challenging task. It started back in 2006 when students utilized their knowledge from different subjects to design and create battery-operated racing cars. In 2008, students not only investigated the math and science of catapults, but also the historical context behind the different uses and types of catapults. Then they pitched the design of their catapults to a panel of Medieval Lords (roleplaying teachers) seeking protection for their castles. The next year, KISLAND was born, a mythical independent empire that unfortunately had a coastline littered with rubbish. Environmental engineering experts (our KIS students) were called in to design boats made from recycled materials. The next year, with KISLAND’s rising economy and population, bridges were soon needed, so the Ministry of Transportation put out a call for engineering-minded students to create sturdy bridges made from popsicle sticks. Following KISLAND’s increasing development, the next year cars were required, and finally planes made from light-weight balsa wood. KIS Students are known for thinking outside of the box. After all, the name of our school stands for Knowledge, Inspiration, and Spirit. KIS students are smart, but they’re also motivated and truly inventive. Following the Design Cycle, they investigate the context of the challenge, create different designs, test out their plans, evaluate their success, and every day, start the whole cycle again. In addition, they use their critical thinking skills to create persuasive explanations that “sell their product” in the form of short video or written advertisements. The Design Cycle Challenge week is truly a challenge. Students need to collaborate with other students they may have never worked with before, and also come up with a product that’s successful, creative and unique. This year the challenge was even greater as students had to create a Rube Goldberg machine that connected to others. You can check out the different teams’ products, video journals and final design reports at http://kisdcc2013.weebly. com/ A video of the final machine can be found on KIS’s Youtube channel (KISBangkok) or http://y2u.be/ Hjxi5waA08Q


Why IB?

By Peter J. McMurray, Head of Bangkok Schools

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n an ever complex and changing world, where the growth of human knowledge is accelerating at a pace faster than ever known to mankind, it is critical that we provide our next generation with the tools to adapt to this world and to succeed in it. I believe that that provision lies in the International Baccalaureate Programmescurrently offered in 146 different countries to over 1.1 million students, with 3671 schools authorized to offer one or more of its programmes. I write this support for the IB wearing many hats: an IB Diiploma teacher, a Director of IB schools in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and now Thailand, an IB examiner, (for Higher level English), an IB authorization visitor, and most importantly, a parent who saw his daughters through the Middle Years and Diploma Programmes. So why am I a big supporter? Firstly, the Diploma Programme is an all rounded programme that offers students the opportunity to study two

languages, the arts, the sciences, and mathematics. It also offers a unique course in the Theory of Knowledge, exploring the nature of knowledge and instilling in students a natural and rigorous tendency to question their world and the veracity of what they see, hear and learn. In addition, students in their second year write an extended essay which, from parental experience, allows students to go to University well grounded in independent learning, research, and essay writing. Both my daughters complained to me about the number of their friends who had gone through the traditional “A� level path, who would come to them for help at college on how to reference and how to research for longer papers than they had ever been forced to write. And then there is the ethical piece. Because students are required to perform community service, and explore the concept and principles of service giving, there is a natural discipline of

guiding students to want to make their world a better place. Good CAS programmes, in essence achieve this, but also make it a life long process. Both my daughters have chosen careers which have been strongly influenced by those Community Service Programmes: one works in the UK for a charity called the Rainbow Trust, and is assigned to help and support families who have had a child diagnosed with a terminal illness. My second daughter is an actress who works with a charity group, which uses drama to educate prisoners in UK prisons, (including top security prisons for serious offenders,) about issues revolving around violence to women, homophobia and racism. The IB programmes instill ethical values which are lifelong, offer strong preparation for both acceptance to top universities and success in them when enrolled: why would I not be a supporter, as well as a proud father?

For more information about all year levels, please visit us at www.standrews-schools.com or E-mail admissions@standrews-schools.com Sathorn Sukhumvit Green Valley 34 ScandAsia.Thailand • April 2014

0 2632 1995 0 2393 3883 0 3803 0701


Getting ready for

The Shrewsbury Way

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he move from primary education to Senior (or Secondary) School is a big moment in any child’s life. Although the average 11-year-old still needs considerable support and nurturing, there is a definite feeling that they are no longer babies and they are ready for a change. It is an exciting and challenging time. Some schools finish at the end of Year 6 (in the British system) forcing parents to start a schools search but others use this milestone as the moment to really think about where their child is heading in terms of their academic, cocurricular and pastoral needs. Of course, many children will stay in the same school, particularly if they attend international school. But this might not be the right decision for every child. Consider this: • If your child is an exceptional learner, is the current school offering enough individualised support in order for them to reach their true potential? • Has your child developed a passion, say for 36 ScandAsia.Thailand • April 2014

gymnastics, creative writing or mathematics, that their current school is unable to support because of a lack of facilities or teaching talent? • Is the current school too small, leading to a lack of opportunities? Or is it too big, leaving the child feeling swamped or lost in the crowd? In Thailand, the choice of international schools is huge and if you feel that your child’s school is no longer the best fit for them then make appointments to visit some other schools. But, irrespective of whether your child is moving up or moving on, the journey into Senior School is probably the biggest change your child will have ever known. Don’t underestimate the importance of this moment in your child’s life, even if most of their friends are going to the same school, and you have older children. Mr Steve Allen, Head of Senior at Shrewsbury International School, says: “There is much that is new, or at least different, about the Senior School. Students need to be more

independent and to take greater responsibility for their learning. They will be nervous but at the same time they will be enormously excited by the new opportunities; at Shrewsbury our students thrive in an environment which encourages them to develop their own personal voice alongside collaborative learning. “Shrewsbury prides itself on helping children make the transition into Senior School, irrespective of whether he is new to the school or has been there since he was 3.” In the British system, the teaching and learning that takes place in Years 7, 8 and 9 lay the foundations for the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE OR IGCSE) courses in Years 10 and 11 and A Levels in Years 12 and 13. Public examination courses may appear to be distant but the skills, work habits and increasing independence and initiative required of Senior School students, established during Year 7 and enhanced thereafter, form crucial preparation. Shrewsbury students learn to master the “three Cs”: Communication, Collaboration and


Senior School

Creative problem-solving. The aim is to enable students to think for themselves, to develop the skills and attitudes to be lifelong learners and not to endure hours of tutoring that tends to focus upon rote learning. Academic study provides the tools for students to further their education, but an education for life requires far more than book work. Whether in the Art Department, on the stage or in the concert hall, or on the playing field, the very talented Senior students at Shrewsbury happily balance their academic load with a range of co-curricula activities. The stimulus that these activities provide prepares students for life at the world’s leading universities and the wider world. The success of Shrewsbury students success speak for itself! As Steve Allen at Shrewsbury says, “The school will be as keen as you are to make sure the early days go smoothly. If you have any worries ask if you can talk to your child’s Form Tutor or Head of Year. However small a problem seems, it’s worth approaching the school for support if you or your child have concerns.”

Helping your child • Because moving schools is such a big change in their lives, your child will almost certainly be nervous. Take time to talk things through – or at least, let your child know that you realise they might be anxious and you’re willing to listen. • Your child may be feeling insecure so give lots of praise (and try to ignore their occasional weirdness - they may be hormonally challenged!) • Establish a routine and check that they are eating and sleeping well. Moving up to Senior School can be very tiring. • Don’t just rely on the school for afterschool activities – seek out opportunities for your child to move outside the pressurecooker atmosphere of school and to make friends with children from other schools. It will help put school life and friendships in perspective. • Help your child to get organised. Work together to make checklists - equipment and books needed for classes, names of

teachers, timetables. • Senior school may seem large and frightening at first. Go along to any open days and get a plan of the school to go through with your child. • Remember that your child will have lots of new books and files - you may have to buy a new school bag. Shrewsbury International School is currently accepting applications for entry into Year 7 in August 2014. A limited number of places in available in other year groups. To find out more please call Ilka Hodapp on 02 675 1888 ext 1110 or email admissions@shrewsbury.ac.th Shrewsbury International School 1922 Charoenkrung Rd. Wat Phrayakrai, Bangkholam, Bangkok 10120 Tel: +66 (0) 2675 1888 Email: admissions@shrewsbury.ac.th www.shrewsbury.ac.th April 2014 • ScandAsia.Thailand 37


02-6169342 / 08-27943710

to having high expectations of all our children. Children are capable of so much more than most of us think. Yes the early years should be about creativity, discovery and play. But when learning is completely integrated into play, children are able to achieve an incredible amount. All activities that children participate in at BEYC are party receive frequent training and encouragement to plan their lessons in this way. The result is that the children are 100% engaged in all their activities. To this end our success in Phonics, Maths and Thai is truly outstanding. The overall level of spoken English across the year groups is fantastic. Small class sizes, cutting edge classroom technology and ongoing teacher training give the children the best support possible.

All our KG teaching staff, British and Thai, have Teacher Status (QTS) from the U.K. and Thailand respectively. This alone makes us unique as an early years specialist in Thailand.

We try to offer as healthy a service as we can. Children swim in a saltwater swimming pool and the cleaning products used to clean toys are natural and non-harmful.

BEYC is a very health conscious environment. Not only do our children learn about health and nutrition, from juicing vegetables and designing health drinks in topic lessons, to learning about super-foods that can give us a large quantity of vitamins and minerals from a small quantity of food. They are

our children. The level of support that we offer is incredibly high. Gifted children are allowed to advance at their own pace, and for children that progress more slowly, teachers have the time to assess and understand the learning styles best suited for an individual. We are certainly not short of any resources required to teach. If a new resource exists on the educational marketplace, we generally try it out. Our teachers feel very lucky in this respect.

each of the foods that they eat at school and at home. All our food is 100% organic, nutrient rich and gluten free. Organic fruit and vegetables are seasonal in Thailand so we base our menu around their availability. It is great when we can offer the children more exciting options such as strawberries and blueberries. The meals are well thought out and nutritionally balanced.

In almost every way e believe that

BEYC accepts children from 12 months. Whilst this is deemed very early by some, for some parents that wish their child to be truly bilingual, there can be nothing better than immersing a child into our fully English speaking, multisensory nursery environment from this early age.


Creating Learning for the 21 Century st

“Good facilities do more than teach, they inspire. They aspire to shape minds both inside and beyond the classroom.” Pit Li Phan

40 ScandAsia.Thailand • April 2014

A

good school is, in essence, a place where students are stimulated to learn and grow as adults. It is a place that prepares them for life as well-rounded, global citizens in a future world we cannot yet imagine. Facilities certainly do not make a school; it is essential however that students learn within a setting that supports their individual educational and pastoral needs. In modern pedagogy this learning environment is known as the Third Teacher, with adults and other children being other two, and it has a profound effect on the ability of each and every child to learn. At Bangkok Patana School its mission is to ensure that students of different nationalities grow to their full potential as independent learners in a caring British international community. This is achieved through the excellence and expertise of the school’s teachers, support staff, curriculum and extra-curricular programme, ensuring that students aged between 2 ½ and 18 years consistently receive a diverse and engaging education both in and outside the classroom. In keeping with the third teacher philosophy, the Bangkok Patana environment also plays a key role in achieving their mission. It is not just a question

of the range of facilities available but in creating an atmosphere that is safe, conducive to learning and supportive of student wellbeing across all stages of the school. In August 2014 Bangkok Patana School will be unveiling its renovated Year 1 and 2 facilities. Built in 1990 as part of the original Lasalle Road campus, this two-storey building will be given a complete upgrade to provide a unique setting that stimulates and encourages children’s learning and development. Designed in consultation with the teaching staff, the remodelled facilities have several key features that recognise the importance of the environment on the quality of learning. Not only will the new classrooms be bigger and brighter (whilst the maximum number of children per class will be maintained at 20), the new building will also incorporate more open, collaborative work spaces for group learning and creative play as well as quiet breakout spaces where individuals or small groups can learn. Other exciting new facilities include a physical development room, wet and dry activity room, ICT labs and a rooftop garden that literally takes the ‘ground’ out of playground! The raising of the school’s Primary Hall


Environments to the 1st floor level will result in a larger, ageappropriate space that can accommodate the whole Primary School. This will allow children further opportunities to share their learning with students of other ages and parents. The subsequent increase in ground level, outside space will in turn offer the younger Primary students access to areas designed to foster social, behavioural and problem solving skills, that inspire imaginative play and present unique opportunities for larger scale learning, particularly in Mathematics, Science, Language and Communication and Humanities. Primary Principal Clare Sharp agrees. “Research indicates that even though we all have different ways in which we learn best, providing children with an exposure to many experiences can help build up a bank of learning styles, which they can tap into depending on the activity. This is also true for buildings and the design and flow of a building can influence how we learn. We know that the children in Year 1 and 2 will benefit immensely as they move into their new learning environment, specifically designed to promote inquiry, encourage learning through doing and to develop creativity, collaboration and independence.”

Artist’s impression of renovated Year 1/2 building

Artist’s impression of the new Primary Hall and ground floor play space Artist’s impression of renovated Year 1/2 classroom

For more information on the education programme offered by Bangkok Patana School from Nursery through to Senior Studies please contact : Bangkok Patana School 647 Lasalle Road (Sukhumvit 107), Bangna, Bangkok 10260 Thailand Tel: +66 (0) 2785 2200 l Email: admissions@patana.ac.th l www.patana.ac.th April 2014 • ScandAsia.Thailand 41


LEADING IB WORLD SCHOOL IN PHUKET, THAILAND Phuket International Academy Day School (PIADS) is a leading International Baccalaureate (IB) World School in Thailand, which seeks to ensure that all students receive a world-class education that is appropriate to their ages, aptitudes and abilities. PIADS has a truly international student body, drawn from 30 different nationalities, with no one dominant nationality. Its internationally recruited teachers are highly qualified and experienced professionals.

PIADS is situated on the extensive 23 hectare Thanyapura campus, which is nestled on the boundary of a mountainous national park in the northeast of Phuket Island, Thailand. This location provides the school with a spectacular, pollution-free and nature-rich environment and enables PIADS students to have plentiful opportunities to explore the surrounds with the aim of enhancing students’ respect and appreciation for nature and the world around them. CURRICULUM PIADS strives to develop knowledgeable, inquiring, compassionate and caring young people; wellrounded individuals who know how to live with integrity, cultivate genuine happiness and who strive to create a more peaceful and sustainable world. The three International Baccalaureate Programmes; the Primary Years Programme (PYP), the Middle Years Programme (MYP) and the Diploma Programme (DP), are designed for students aged 3 to 19 years and develop the intellectual, social and emotional skills required to live, learn and work successfully in a rapidly changing, globalizing world. PIADS also has a Nursery Programme, for children aged between 18 months and 3 years, the aim of which is to expose children to a wide variety of exploration and inquiry-based experiences in a safe and happy environment.


SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING AND MINDFULNESS Our strong commitment to Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and Mindfulness at PIADS establishes a positive school culture by improving both intrapersonal awareness and interpersonal sensitivity. PIADS is affiliated with the world's leading figures in SEL/M, and is an internationally recognized ‘lighthouse” school in this important area. Our developmentally appropriate resources are built on the latest in cognitive neuroscience, social and emotional skill development, mindful awareness practices, and research on positive emotions, all of which help further to bring the school mission to life. The school, which is liberal in nature and progressive in outlook, provides a wide school curriculum by combining academics, the arts and sports. Its ability to be able to do this is considerably enhanced by its being a not for profit affiliate of the internationally renowned Thanyapura organization, which allows the students to benefit from the use of some of the finest sporting facilities in South East Asia, including Olympic-standard swimming facilities and tennis courts and an IRB-standard rugby football field.

PERFORMING ARTS PIADS is also home to the Phuket Academy of Performing Arts (PAPA), which provides PIADS students with exceptional facilities both for curricular and enrichment activities in the performing arts. Students are encouraged to take advantage of singing, dancing and music lessons and to become a part of our school drama production, or even to form a rock band with their fellow students. Private lessons are available to learn a wide range of musical instruments.

ELITE JUNIOR SPORT ACADEMIES From August 2014, in addition to providing a world-class education to students from all over the world, the school will benefit from Thanyapura’s offering a select number of places to junior athletes aspiring to sporting excellence, at its new Elite Junior Sport Academies, specializing in Swimming, Tennis and Triathlon.

NEW BOARDING FACILITIES From August 2014, Thanyapura will be offering new purpose-built boarding facilities to PIADS students, with week-day or full board options, supervised by carefully selected education and sports coaching professionals.

Thanyapura will provide aspiring champions with worldclass opportunities in coaching and competition, whilst developing the very highest level of skill and ability to those aspiring to greatness in Tennis, Swimming and Triathlon.

SCHOLARSHIPS are available for high achieving secondary school students in academics and sport. For more information about our Scholarship Programme 2014-2015 please email daniel.magie@pia.ac.th.

For more information about Phuket International Academy Day School please go to www.phuketinternationalacademy.com or email info@pia.ac.th Tel: +66(0)76 336 076


Herlufsholm Skole – The best of both worlds

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erlufsholm is the oldest and largest boarding school in Denmark. Herlufsholm is located approximately 100 km south of Copenhagen in a beautiful and historic environment with buildings ranging from an 10th Century monastery to new and modern sports and science facilities. During the school year Herlufsholm buzzes with activity with 620 students from all over the world ranging from 12-19 years old. Many families choose Her-

lufsholm because of its combination of international education and Danish culture. Many international students have one or more parents who aresomehow connected to Denmark, and Herlufsholm is an opportunity for students to explore their heritage, become more familiar with Danish culture, improve Danish language skills, and establish a Danish network. The educational experience at Herlufsholm is founded a Danish ap-

proach to education with both international curriculums (IGCSE and IB) and the Danish national curriculum. The youngest international students, 14-16 year olds, take the International Prep with an IGCSE based curriculum. International Preparation class sets the bar high for academic learning, maturity, while providing students with the skills needed for starting in the International Baccalaureate Diploma program, which is designed for 16-19 year olds.

Sommerskole på Herlufsholm ogofdrenge please use doc. in- for folderpiger instead txt

i alderen 13-15 år

Tilbring 2 sjove og spændende uger i sommerferien på Danmarks ældste kostskole i selskab med 13-15 årige fra hele verden. Programmet byder på niveauinddelt danskundervisning, sportslige og kreative aktiviteter samt ekskursioner og oplevelser. Lær om Danmark, mød nye venner og nyd de enestående, historiske og smukke rammer som Herlufsholm Skole kan tilbyde.

SOMMERSKOLE 2014 18. JUL. - 1. AUG.

Læs mere om vores sommerskole på www.herlufsholm.dk Herlufsholm Skole og Gods • Herlufsholm Allé 170 • 4700 Næstved • DK • Tlf. (+45) 55 75 35 00 • Fax (+45) 55 75 35 14 • sommerskole@herlufsholm.dk • Find os også på Facebook

Stenhus Kostskole Sports College Stenhus Kostskole Boarding School and Gymnasium is the right place if interested in sports, the Sports College is based on both ambitious training and education and all students are receiving customized training programs. Different options of college Football College Coaches at the Football College are the former major league players Morten Hamm and Morten Rutkjær.They both have UEFA A coach license and coaches at Northwest FC Sports College (elementary education). Both have worked with various Danish football elite teams. • Football College from 8th to 10th class (boys) Students live at Stenhus Boarding School where education and training are combined in a professional and ambitious environment. • Football College at Stenhus High School (boys and girls) Students live at Stenhus Boarding School and study at the high school. Basketball College Coaches are Trine Tims and Jesper Sørensen who are both former national team players and now coaches at Stenhus Basketball College. Trine Tims was between Nov 2007 and Dec 2009 the coach of the women's national team in basketball. • Basketball College (boys and girls and high school students only) Students live at Stenhus Boarding School and study at the high school. Badminton College Christian Møller Madsen, former elite player, is one of the coaches at the Badminton College. • Badminton College (boys and girls and high school students only) Students live at Stenhus Boarding School and study at the high school. Stenhus Kostskole DK-4300 Holbæk Phone: +45 59 43 02 69 E-mail: admin@stenhus.dk Website: www.stenhus.dk

44 ScandAsia.Thailand • April 2014


April 2014 • ScandAsia.Thailand 45


International School of Bergen

I

nternational School of Bergen (ISB) is situated on the west coast of Norway and offers an English language learning environment to students between the ages of 3 and 16. Our mission is to provide an internationally accredited education serving the business and Bergen communities. The educational programme of the International School of Bergen (ISB) has been developed to help prepare its students for a successful future. ISB is accredited by the Council of International Schools and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges in addition to being authorized by the International Baccalaureate Organization to offer their Primary Years and Middle Years programmes.

Our students and staff All teachers hold university degrees and appropriate teaching qualifications. Classes are small, and with students and staff representing more than thirty different nationalities, we pride ourselves in having a welcoming and including community. ISB was founded in 1975, giving us nearly 40 years of experience as an educational institution. International School of Bergen Vilhelm Bjerknesvei 15, 5081 Bergen, Norway Tel: +4755306330 l E-mail: post@isob.no l www.isob.no

International Baccalaureate

- an alternative to the Danish ‘Studentereksamen’ • internationally recognized • gives admission to universities all over the world • taught in English You can stay at Nyborg Gymnasium’s boarding school.

Contact us for more information about the programme and the boarding school.

Deadline for applications: 15th of March

Nyborg Gymnasium & Kostskole Skolebakken 13, DK-5800 Nyborg, tlf +45 65 31 02 17 post@nyborg-gym.dk, www.nyborg-gym.dk

ENGELSKSPRÅKLIG PRIVATSKOLE FOR BARN OG UNGDOM MELLOM 3 OG 16 • • • • • •

Få elever i hver klasse Trygt læringsmiljø med god individuell oppfølging God kontakt med foreldre Internasjonalt godkjente og utfordrende læreplaner Utmerkede resultater i internasjonale og norske nasjonalprøver Sentral beliggenhet med bybanestopp rett utenfor døren Contact us for more information: www.isob.no eller post@isob.no

46 ScandAsia.Thailand • April 2014

Nyborg Gymnasium has stx, hf, IB and boarding school

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Danish upper-secondary school environment with an international agenda. Nyborg Gymnasium addresses the growing internationalisation with programmes, study streams and a boarding school, which makes the ‘international’ the order of the day. The students at Nyborg Gymnasium have an eye open onto the world, and they are fully capable of exploring this in school. This happens, for example, if they are students in the study stream Going Global, stay at the boarding school with other young people from all over the world, or if they are students in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, where all subjects are taught in English. Over recent years Nyborg Gymnasium has expanded and rebuilt school facilities to ensure that the framework for the tuition is updated and inspiring. The latest addition to the school is a new building for the sciences, and a special ‘language’ zone. At the boarding school the students have their own rooms, a strong community, and a kitchen, with focus on organic cooking, providing the meals of the day. Nyborg Gymnasium ….en route to the world


Scandinavian parents and a student talk about their experiences at

Bangkok Prep

Mrs Thitikul Opdal Bangkok Prep mother of two Executive Director Thai-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce I am very happy with Bangkok Prep International School as it is perfectly suitable for my two children. For me, the key decisive factors for choosing Bangkok Prep were the highly international profile of the school, the location, its size and warmth. My two children came from a relatively small school in Norway and I was relieved to find a school in Bangkok that was just the perfect size for them. Also, I did not want my children to commute for too long going and coming back from school – Bangkok Prep’s convenient location really stood out of the lot in that sense. When visiting Bangkok Prep for the first time, there was real warmth to that school – sure enough I noticed that the school community is very closely knit which I have to admit makes it easier for me to monitor my two children.

Mrs Malin Wemnell Gunnarson Bangkok Prep mother of two Head of Administrative Services Finansiell ID –Teknik BID AB For my family, coming to Thailand required a rigorous and detailed research process that we started long in advance – one year prior to our move. We had evidently begun the school search from home in Sweden for our two children by the use of Internet. We narrowed our search and focused on Bangkok Prep International School which we thought was best fitted for the needs of our family. Straight away, we were very impressed by the professionalism and assistance provided by Bangkok Prep’s Admissions team. Once arrived in Thailand and settled at Bangkok Prep, my two children loved the school. So much so that they’re involved in afterschool activities and social events almost every night of the week! Bangkok Prep feels safe. I appreciate the quality of the teachers, the small class size (not more than 20 children) and the discipline installed all throughout the school. I have to say that Bangkok Prep has helped us adapting to our new life in Bangkok.

Ms Ann-Pavinee Langenskiold Year 10 Bangkok Prep Thai-Swedish student What I appreciate the most about my school is the size. I feel secure in this kind of environment and very well supported. Everyone in the school from the staff members to the teachers and students are very friendly. My two favourite subjects are Math and Arts – The quality teaching provided by my teachers & their friendliness make all the difference for me. One particular place that I really like at Bangkok Prep is the school canteen. Bangkok Prep’s canteen is where I get to meet all of my friends! I am happy that my parents chose this school for me and my younger brother, Carl. We are both very happy here.

for more information please visit www.bkkprep.ac.th or call us at 02-260-7890 the school is located on Sukhumvit 53 (adjacent to thonglor BTS Skytrain)


My mom is learning Swedish By Agneta Bekassy Photo by Daniel Herron

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f you happen to come to NIST International school at Sukhumvit Soi 15, on a Saturday morning, you will find the young, blond Swedish teacher Jessica with a group of Thai ladies and one or another “non Swedish man”, all struggling to learn Swedish. For a couple of months, the Swedish School Organization in Bangkok (SSFBKK) has been offering Swedish classes for adults. SSFBKK started in 1970 and offers complimentary Swedish to everyone who wants to learn the language. SSFBKK is not a Swedish school, like the ones existing at Nichaville in Huya Yang, Koh Lanta etc. Here you come to learn basic Swedish or just keep up with the knowledge you already have. On Saturday mornings between 10 am and 12.00 noon you will find a lot of children in all ages and with degrees of knowledge gathering together to practice Swedish at NIST. The children are divided into different groups with usually four voluntary teachers present. The children get to know other kids with Swedish connections and the parents find new friends during the waiting time while sharing a cup of coffee. The children not only learn grammar, spelling, writing and reading, but also Swedish traditions, culture, civics and other topics that are important. Jessica, who takes care of the adults, is teaching at NIST on a daily basis, but the other “teachers” have other professions, but find a great pleasure in teaching the kids. The biggest group is the one with the youngest children from 3 to 5 years old and their “teacher” give the young ones attention through games and songs, the motto is, “School on a Saturday morning, must be fun!” SSFBKK is also giving classes at ISB International School on Monday afternoons. Most of the students are students of ISB, but even pupils from outside are welcome to join the class. On Tuesday afternoons it’s Patana time with the students studying at Patana. Not open for outside pupils. Maybe there will be more classes to come at other schools if there will be an increase of students. The board of SSFBKK consists of parents and most of them have children or spouses participating the classes. Once a month there is a board meeting and in spring the annual meeting takes place, open for everyone to attend. SSFBKK is welcoming more children and adults to experience the Swedish language.

Do visit the webpage www.ssffbkk.com for further information 48 ScandAsia.Thailand • April 2014


Teaching Danish Worldwide By Gregers Moller

D

ansk i Hele Verden is a Danish online school offering to teach Danish children reading and writing in their native Danish language while living abroad. The aim is that the children should be able to enter the Danish primary school system on the same level as their current grade abroad. The school started last autumn and has already students in many different countries. The founder of the school is Michael Juul Jensen, who is currently a teacher at an international school in Brussels. “I got the idea when a parent to one of my students told me the problem she had as they were relocating to Zambia and there was no Danish teacher available there,” Michael Juul Jensen explains. “The fact that the students use computers instead of books is for most children in itself motivational. Many parents mention how it is much easier to make the child start working with their Danish language lessons now that the media has changed from a book to the computer. It is simply perceived more fun.”

“New digital educational material becomes available every day that my students can easily get access to and using skype I can individually guide them further in the adaptation process. I would say they are very close to have the same possibilities of developing their Danish language skills as if they were students in a school in Denmark.” “I teach students on all levels. The youngest students start with a very efficient reading program with a sound function that will teach the students all the sounds of the characters from

+65 6557 0028

scratch. I am impressed to see how fast the students become readers. Other programs teach spelling and continues up to 9th Grade level. They also enjoy access to a lot of book written on different levels offering training in reading and in learning from reading.” Anyone can sign up for a free introduction on www.danskiheleverden.com if they want to try if this is something suitable for their children. But the children must speak and understand Danish at a reasonable level as we do not teach speaking and understanding Danish. When the parents sign up, they only commit themselves for the first three months. The cost is 69 Euro per month and for the first period of three months we only charge for two months. After this test period, you commit yourself for one full year. “Dansk iHele Verden has come to stay,” says Michael Juul Jensen. “Over the past year it is clear that there is a big demand out there for what I offer. So now I have taken leave from my regular job in order to devote myself fully to working with my online school from the next term.”

apac@mynewsdesk.com

@mynewsdeskasia

April 2014 • ScandAsia.Thailand 49


Mr Private Banking in Luxembourg retires J Jhon Mortensen (62) will end of April 2014 retire from his positions as CEO of Nordea Bank S.A. His interesting career also brought him to Singapore, where he was the head of the branch for several years.

50 ScandAsia.Thailand • April 2014

hon Mortensen (62) will end of April 2014 retire from his positions as CEO of Nordea Bank S.A. Before joining the Luxembourg subsidiary in 1991 Mr. Mortensen worked for the London subsidiary of Nordea and later headed the banks’ branch in Singapore. Founded in 1976, Nordea Bank S.A. is the largest Nordic bank in Luxembourg and Switzerland, serving an international clientele in 120 countries throughout the world. “To accomplish growth and stability for the bank we have focused on our clients. We would like the clients we have now to still be our clients in 20 years’ time – and we would like to welcome their children as clients of Nordea, too,” says Mortensen. An increasing number of individuals are becoming more globalized, working and doing business abroad, sometimes in several countries. These individuals have more complex needs with regards to banking and international wealth management. In Luxembourg, Switzerland and Singapore Nordea has assembled a broad team of experts in wealth management and wealth planning specialised to provide the services requested by these globalised individuals. “The days when Private Banking clients simply required investment advice are long gone. Now, an increasingly complex legal and regulatory environment has obliged providers of financial products

and services to take a comprehensive advisory approach that also includes taxation, inheritanceand succession-planning, as well as insurance and real estate,” says Mortensen. “As a good example of this Nordea is one of the few banks who can provide tax reports for all relevant countries to assist clients in the preparation of their periodic tax declarations to the authorities. Nordea’s tax report facilitates the completion of tax returns, even for complex account structures, and provides a clear tax overview for clients and their advisors”, says Mortensen. The Nordea Group has a very strong capital base and benefits from an excellent credit rating (AA-), and is the leading financial services provider in the Nordic area. For six consecutive years, Nordea was named the best provider of private banking services in the Nordic & Baltic region by the international financial magazine Euromoney. Nordea is among the ten largest universal banks in Europe in terms of total market capitalisation. Thorben Sander (40) will from 1 May 2014 succeed Mortensen to safeguard and continue the business development of the 23 years under Mortensen’s management, developing best-in-class clients’ services and offerings. Thorben Sander has since 2010 been head of Investment Advice & Brokerage in Nordea.


มุมภาษาไทย

l

mum pha:să: thai

l

Thai Language Corner

Thai Deliciously I By Klavs Johansen

n Thai, many dishes are named according to their main ingredients and the way they are prepared. This makes it possible to cover a wide range of dishes just by using different combinations of a limited amount of words. It also gives you a pretty good idea of what you are eating! In this month’s Thai Language Corner, we will list a few mouthwatering (น้ำ�ลายไหล/ ná:m la:i lăi/) examples. As usual, do speak out the words aloud imitating a Thai close to you – or hit directly for the nearest food stall to try your luck. Pronunciation is alpha and omega, so listen out for the tones and the vowels sounds and lengths (remember long vowels are indicated with a colon :). Let’s start by putting together a typical dish – possibly the most typical dish: ข้าว/ khâ:o/ ~ rice ผัด/ phàt/ ~ to stir-fry ขาวผัด/ khâ:o phàt/ ~ fried rice The dish then comes in different variations: ข้าวผัดหมู/ khâ:o phàt mŭ:/ ~ fried rice with pork ข้าวผัดกุ้ง/ khâ:o phàt kûng/ ~ fried rice with shrimp ข้าวผัดไก่/ khâ:o phàt kài/

~ fried rice with chicken ข้าวผัดเนื้อ/ khâ:o phàt núea/ ~ fried rice with beef

Another – very famous – dish can be constructed as follows: ต้ม/ tôm/ ~ to boil ยำ�/ yam/ ~ a spicy salad ต้มยำ�/ tôm yam/ ~ a spicy lemongrass (ตะไคร้/ tàkhrái/ ) soup and popular variations are: ต้มยำ�กุ้ง/ tôm yam kûng/ ~ spicy shrimp soup ต้มยำ�ไก่ / tôm yam kài/ ~ spicy chicken soup ต้มยำ�ปลา/ tôm yam pla:/ ~ spicy fish soup ต้มยำ�ทะเล/ tôm yam thále:/ ~ spicy seafood soup with ทะเล/ thále:/ actually meaning the sea

In addition to ผัด/ phàt/ and ต้ม / tôm /, common means of food preparation are: นึ่ง/ nûeng/ ~ to steam, ทอด/ thôr:t/ ~ to deep-fry ย่าง/ yâ:ng/ ~ to grill Some common ingredients in Thai cooking are: พริกไทย/ phrík thai/ ~ pepper

กระเทียม/ kràthiam/ ~ garlic and

มะนาว/ mána:o/ ~ lemon.

Tasty examples of dishes prepared one of these ways, using one or more of these ingredients are: ปลาช่อนนึ่งมะนาว/ pla: chôr:n nûeng mána:o/ ~ snakehead fish steamed in lemon หมูทอดกระเทียมพริกไทย/ mŭ: thôr:t kràthiam phrík thai/ ~ deep-fried pork with garlic and pepper ไก่ย่าง/ kài yâ:ng/ ~ grilled chicken and many more may be found combining just vocabulary mentioned here.

ขอให้อร่อยนะ/ khŏr: hâi àròri ná’/

~ bon appétite! and please allow me to end this month’s column with an invitation to send us questions or proposals for Thai language topics to be covered in future columns. All questions and proposals are welcome, no topic too small and, hopefully, only a few too large, just send an email to thai@maprao.dk

Photo By Takeaway (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons April 2014 • ScandAsia.Thailand 51


An island

The white beaches invites you with open arms to come take a dip in the ocean

A dash to Ko Samet is the quickest way to get away from city pollution and onto the beach with a fresh ocean breeze. It has something for everyone, young or old, rich or poor, in need of peace and quiet or in need of a riot. By Morten Krogsholm

52 ScandAsia.Thailand • April 2014

S

ometimes you just need to get a bit of fresh air, a dip in the ocean, a break from the hectic life in the city. The easiest way is to skip off to lovely Ko Samet off the coast of Rayong some 200 kilometers from the center of Bangkok. No need to be an experienced traveller to find your way to Ko Samet and it is affordable as well.

The journey From the Ekkamai bus terminal, you can catch an aircon bus that will take you directly to Rayong for around a 150 Baht and it leaves every hour. They tell you the drive will take 3 hours, but we are talking Thai time here. You might be able to get there in 3 hours if you are extremely lucky, but to be realistic, you should allow for 4 hours in your schedule. When you arrive in Rayong you should head towards the Ban Phe harbor, which should be fairly easy to spot – if you are in doubt just follow the smell of fish and seawater. Depending on your time of arrival, you will have different options of getting to the island. If you arrive before 6 pm you will be able to catch the ferry. If you do not feel like a ferry ride it is

possible to hire a speedboat almost at any time around the clock, which will drop you off on the beach of your choice. Convenient, yes, but it will also suck a few thpusand baht out of your pocket.

Wide range of beaches Ko Samet offers a wide range of different beaches. On the west side, there is only one beach Ao Phrao. This is the beach you should go to if you are into sunsets as it is the only one that offers such view. Besides sunsets it has palms and long nice yellow beach. The only beach located in the north is the Ao Noina, which you will find on the northwestern tip of Ko Samet. On the East side, you have from North to South; Hat Sai Kaew, the liveliest beach on the island, and Ao Hin Khok, both of them offer plenty of beach-front restaurants and bars. Further down south you will find Ao Phai, the place to be if you really want to seclude yourself from the outside world and gather your thoughts as it offers no resorts at all. Ao Phai is in a walking distance from Hat Sai Kaew. If you keep heading south you will find Ao Thap Thim, which actually looks like a small bay dotted with a couple of resorts, keep going and


in the sun

Interact with the local and get lucky enough to taste their version of traditional Thai cuisine

You get everything on the island, if you forgot your flipflops or bathing suit there is no need for worries you will end up at Ao Cho, which is a peaceful beach. Further along is the island’s second longest beach, Wong Duan, which has everything to offer except peace and quiet, but you can still enjoy a nice dinner on the beach. If you are still on the lookout for a seaside accommodation, there is also Ao Thian, also known as the candlelight beach, which offers some sandy areas, separated by rocky stretches. Last up, is Ao Wai and Ao Pakarang, which is perfect for a peaceful stay plus easy access to food and drink. Every beach at Ko Samet offers you something different and the same goes for the resorts and bungalows. When I visit Ko Samet a couple of weeks ago, I stayed at Wong Duan. Though being the second largest beach, I found it to be quite peaceful and not at all overcrowded. There are several good restaurants in the area and surprisingly enough the chairs on the beach are free. You could easily grab a drink or a sandwich within minutes after a dip in the ocean or between your tanning sessions in the sun.

What to do Personally I like to engage the locals wherever I go, and, like in the rest of Thailand, the people of Koh Samet are very friendly and welcoming.

Giving them a bit of your time, they might return the favor with some pointers on what to see and where to go. They might even do as they did with me, cook up an enormous feast and welcome you into their family home - but prepare your taste buds because it could be a fiery culinary event. If you are not up to mingling with the locals, but want to spent some time with your family or friends there is really not much more to do than just chill out in the sun or the ocean while grabbing some food and a drink once in a while. There are no well-maintained hiking trails, but if you feel like it you can go on an adventure by yourself and see if you can find yourself a path to follow or rent yourself a bike and take a spin around the island. Traffic is lighter than in Bangkok, but you should of course stay alert. The island does of course also offer the opportunity of renting a waterscooter, para-gliding, diving and all of the other typical touristy stuff. There are also some sights to be seen, such as the Koh Samet Buddha and Mermaid, and if you still do not feel satisfied you can spend an evening on a squid boat, watch an evening fire show, take a Thai cooking class, or watch a Muay

Visiting Ko Samet is the quick fix when you need a bit of fresh air and time away from your everyday life.

Thai fight in Ao Phai as well. If you are enthusiastic about fishing you can do that without a license or permission and have the local restaurant or bar cook your catches for you. If you belong to the younger set who loves to party all night long this is also possible. It does not really matter which beach you are staying on, when you go outdoors you will always be able to hear music in the distant and that you just follow the sound until you suddenly find yourself in the middle of a big beach party.

The cost Ko Samet is affordable, but it does, like everything else, cost money. Depending on how touchy your tushie is, the price range of accommodation varies. I stayed one night in an aircon bungalow with a kingsize bed for 800 Baht and the other night in a bungalow with a fan for 500 Baht. They did not have ocean view nor were they especially fancy, but I like to spend my time outdoors when I finally have the opportunity to get a breath of fresh air. My four-day stay ended up costing just around 11.000 Baht with everything thrown in, but I also kept myself well fed and hydrated. April 2014 • ScandAsia.Thailand 53


Leverpostej Pork Liver Pâté

Leverpostej - pork liver pâté - is a delicious spread for open sandwiches and a ‘must’ in any Easter Lunch Buffet.

A

lthough usually eaten with Danish rye bread, leverpostej or pork liver pâté can also be spread on any cracker of you choice. Tweaking the recipe to fit personal taste can make it better and especially more personal when served. This amazing dish is great at any lunch - and an Easter Lunch or Christmas lunch wiothout it is unthinkable. It is also great as topping on cocktail cannapes.

Ingredients •1 lb pork liver •10 ounces pork fat •1 medium onion •1/4 cup flour •1/4 cup light cream •2 eggs, lightly beaten •2 teaspoons salt •1 teaspoon pepper •1/4 teaspoon allspice

Directions • Put the liver, fat and onion through a meat chopper at least 3 times or use a food processor. • The mixture should be quite fine in the texture. Mix in the flour, cream, eggs, salt, pepper and all spice. • Spoon the mixture into a buttered loaf pan. • Put it in a pan of water and bake for an hour. Set the temperature at medium, around 350 F. equivalent 180 C. • If the pate is browning too quickly place a piece of foil loosely over it.

Serve it with fried mushrooms, bacon bits, and red beets or cucumber pickles on Danish rye bread or french bread. 54 ScandAsia.Thailand • April 2014


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ScandAsia Thailand - April 2014  

April 2014 edition of ScandAsia Thailand for Scandinavian residents from Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland living in Thailand.

ScandAsia Thailand - April 2014  

April 2014 edition of ScandAsia Thailand for Scandinavian residents from Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland living in Thailand.

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