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January - February 2016

a publication of CANCHAM Thailand


Ron Livingston CanCham President

2015/2016 CANCHAM Thailand Executives Patron:

H.E. Philip Calvert Ambassador of Canada to Thailand

Officers: President – Ron Livingston Vice President – Derek van Pelt Vice President – John Stevens Treasurer – John Casella Secretary – Dean Outerson Executive Board:

Peter Bessey Surachit (Art) Chanovan Joseph Henry Andrew Kloosterhuis David A. F. Macdonald James MacDonald James McCracken Angus Mitchell Michael White

Embassy Representative: Yvonne Chin


Sean Brady Sam Cohen Kobsak Duangdee Don Lavoie Peter van Haren Picharn Sukparangsee

Thai-Canadian Chamber of Commerce 139 Pan Road, Sethiwan Tower 9th floor, Bangkok 10500 Tel: +66(0) 2266-6085-6 Fax: +66(0) 2266-6087 Email: info@tccc.or.th Website: www.tccc.or.th

The Voyageur is the monthly magazine of the Thai-Canadian Chamber of Commerce, covering all Thai-Canadian business, legal and social news of interest to the members and others who are active in expanding Thai-Canadian bilateral trade. Editor: CANCHAM Thailand Publisher: Scandinavian Publishing Co., Ltd. 211 Soi Prasert-Manukitch 29, Prasert-Manukitch Rd., Chorakeabua, Ladprao Bangkok 10230 Tel: +66(0) 2943-7166-8 Fax: +66(0) 2943-7169 Design: Disraporn Yatprom Email: disraporn@scandmedia.com Advertising Contact: Mr. Finn Balslev, Marketing Director Scandinavian Publishing Co., Ltd. Tel: +66(0) 2943-7166 ext.116 or 08-1866-2577 Email: finn@scandmedia.com

New Year’s Greeting from CanCham President

Ron Livingston On behalf of the Board of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Thailand, I would like to wish you and your family a very happy and prosperous 2016. In the year ahead please consider the importance of Steve Job’s last words “Please treasure your family love, love for your spouse, love for your friends... treat everyone well and stay friendly with your neighbours.” These words fit well with Canadians, who were highlighted in a recent article by Eric Weiner, entitled “Can Canada teach the rest of us to be nicer?” CanCham is optimistic about the year ahead and is looking forward to engaging with you and your business here in Thailand. While we are focused on business we have many fun events planned to bring our business friends together to support your business efforts. On January 20th, we are starting with an exclusive film night, a premier showing of Steve Jobs. at the Embassy Diplomat Screens. Then on the 30th of January the Canadian Ambassador has opened up the Official Residence to host our Annual Great Canadian BBQ. Please join us. Finally, I would like to introduce Kelly Cailes as our new Executive Director. Kelly was previously in Thailand and has recently returned from Canada to support CanCham. He will be contacting you soon.

Calendar of events: WHEN: WHAT: WHERE: PRICE:

20 January 2016 Premiere screening of Steve Jobs Embassy Diplomat Screens THB 1,500


27 January 2016 Canadian Culture & Gourmet Charity Dinner Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel THB 3,500++


30 January 2016 Great Canadian BBQ Canadian Ambassador’s Official Residence Adults THB 1,500: kids under twelve THB 500


6 February 2016 Care for Cancer Fun Run Lumpini Park Money pledged goes to Genetic Cancer Research Centre at Chulalongkorn University

CANCHAM Thailand News

Thailand’s infrastructure plans and Canadian capabilities We continue our series on Thai-Canadian trade relations with Trade Commissioner Ekasit Chunlakittiphan providing us with an overview over the infrastructure challenges Thailand faces and how Canadian companies can potentially help through public-private partnerships.

Infrastructure Projects Thailand's transport infrastructure is set to undergo transformation over the next eight years. The infrastructure upgrade plan will see the expansion of dual-track rail lines and the extension of elevated train lines in Bangkok and the metropolitan area. The eight-year plan to develop the country's transportation infrastructure at a cost of Bt2.4 trillion will turn Thailand into a key logistics hub in the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by the time the projects are completed in 2022. The goal of the strategy to develop the logistics system and integrate all transportation platforms - rail, air, road and water - stretches beyond the Kingdom's borders, as some of the projects form part of a plan to link the country's transportation system with those of neighbouring countries. The first priority is to develop 10 rail routes in Bangkok and its suburbs, worth Bt700 billion in total, by 2019. These routes include: 42.8 kilometres of the rapid mass-transit system's Red Line from Thammasat University to Hua Lamphong; the 54-km Pink Line from Salaya to Hua Mark; the 50.3-km Airport Rail Link extension; 60km of the Dark Green Line from Lam Luk Ka to Bang Pu; 14.5km of the Green Line from the National Stadium to Bang Wa; the 47-km Bang Sue-Tha Phra-Bangkae route; 42.8km of the Purple Line from Bang Yai to Rat Burana; the 32.5-km Orange line, from Charan Sanitwong-Rajdumene-Thailand Cultural Centre-Min Buri; the 36-km Khae Rai-Min Buri line; and 30.4km of Yellow Line from Lat Phrao to Samrong. These lines will form part of plans to support the inner-city transportation system and city expansion from the heart of Bangkok into the suburbs. They will also reduce crowding in the central business districts The next stage of the infrastructure investment plan is to develop the country's wider transportation system and link Thailand and neighbouring countries by rail. The infrastructure investment planned for greater Bangkok will transform the capital from an overcrowded city by expanding residential areas beyond the central business districts and into the suburbs. Once



the infrastructure projects get under way the listed residential developer will expand its investment in Bangkok's peripheral provinces, in line with the mass-transit route expansion.

rail. The new terminal will have a handling capacity of 20mn passengers per annum and be used for both international and domestic passengers once it is completed in 2017-18.

Thailand has 63 airports with paved runways and state-owned Airport of Thailand (AoT) is the main airport operator, operating six national airports in the country. Suvarnabhumi airport is one of the five busiest in Asia, processing 53mn passengers in 2012. This passenger volume has already exceeded the airport's maximum capacity of 45mn passengers a year and is expected to worsen over the coming years - the AoT projects passenger volume at Suvarnabhumi airport to reach 57mn in 2015. The country has already taken steps to expand the airport. The AoT approved plans to construct a THB24bn multi-terminal. The new passenger terminal will be located on a plot of land north of the airport and be connected via a 1.5km mono-

The phase includes building 28 parking bays, taxiways and a 2.9km reserve runway. Work also includes the extension of the existing primary passenger terminal's eastern end by 135m, in addition to a new airline office building and a 960,000sqm apron for aircraft parking and manoeuvring. The project is expected to take 30 months to be completed and will start operating in 2018. Canadian Capabilities Canada is a leading nation when it comes to transportation infrastructure and has a viable multimodal transportation system of roads, bridges, railways, and airports, which are essential for the transport of goods and

CANCHAM Thailand News

resources that contribute to a country’s economic growth. Canada has played a leading role in developing practical innovations with worldwide applications. Bombardier’s pioneered VIA Rail’s LRC train and its Tilting technology in the 1980s and it still used today. Its Zefiro high-speed train offers the highest levels of comfort and capacity, low operating costs and diverse application options for different countries and railway networks and is another example of the advanced technologies used to usher in a new era for rail. Canada’s transportation industry provides a full range of products, technologies and services used in the construction of roads, highways, rail/metro, ports, urban transport, urban infrastructure and intelligent transportation systems. Canadian engineering companies have adopted sustainable practices and use a multidisciplinary approach in the planning and design of these transportation systems that make a positive contribution to the environmental, social and economic sustainability of the local community. The Canadian expertise in the integration of multi-modal transportation systems is known worldwide. Canada’s strength in transportation includes rail component design, the manufacture of rolling stock, signals, communication equipment, maintenance and repair. Canada’s railways are important enablers of economic activity. Canada has expertise in transportation design (rail component design, manufacture of rolling stock, signals and communication equipment, testing and maintenance), power sector (nuclear and hydropower generation), renewables (small hydro, solar thermal, wind (towers) and landfill gas electricity generation. Public-private partnerships Public-private partnerships (PPP) are a main component of the Thai government’s Infrastructure Mega Plan. The term “public-private partnership” describes a range of possible relationships among public and private en-

tities in the context of infrastructure and other services. The use of PPPs in Thailand is expected to increase as the government wants to encourage investment from the private sector. Thailand has an estimated 55 infrastructure projects worth CAD76.97 billion to be executed by 2020. Of these projects, 31 are railway lines (including four high speed railways), 13 road projects, 7 water transport projects and 4 air transport projects. PPPs in Thailand have been concentrated in 3 main sectors: Energy: Power Purchase Agreements; Telecommunications: Concessions of basic & mobile phone services; and Transport: Mass rapid transit, expressways, Laem Chabang Port. PPP types frequently used in Thailand include: concessions (e.g. BTS extension line); build, transfer, operate (BTO) contracts (e.g. mobile phone services); design, build, finance, maintain contracts (BTS main line); and Build, Own, Operate, Transfer contracts (e.g., expressways). The New PPP Act (2013) helps to clarify and streamline the PPP processes. The recently announced “Strategic Plan” extends the scope of PPP to: new sectors, including motorway, waste management, and water treatment; new implementing agencies, especially local administrative bodies; and projects in the Strategic Plan can obtain financial support from the PPP Fund to hire a consultant to conduct a feasibility study. Canada & PPP projects Canada is recognized around the world as having a very impressive track-record in the PPP infrastructure space. One of the key features of Canada's P3 market has been the high degree of transparency and a solid understanding of risk allocation by the country's various procurement agencies. Other advantages of Canadian P3s are the adaptability of the model and a well-developed bond market. Canada has a Council for PPP (CCPPP) (1993) that promotes innovative approaches to infrastructure development and

service delivery through PPP with all levels of government. Canadian companies are prime candidates for ASEAN infrastructure work because they offer unique solutions such as clean technologies as well as professional and consulting services “with the Canadian brand.” Canada provides support to help countries in the AsiaPacific region develop public-private partnership infrastructure projects that will attract and secure financing from private sources, including Canadian companies. Canada is a world leader in using the PPP model to deliver better value and accountability to taxpayers and to support long-term prosperity. PPP Canada, a federal Crown corporation, is a leading source of expertise on PPP matters through knowledge development as well as experience and best practices sharing. Canada is contributing CAD20 million over four years to support the Asia Pacific Project Preparation Facility, managed by the Asian Development Bank. It will target transport, logistics and energy sectors as well as urban services (such as water, sanitation, waste management and urban transport). The region is undergoing widespread urbanization fuelling the demand for large-scale public infrastructure projects. AEC2015 should trigger connectivity and it is projected to increase cross-border transportation and logistics needs, especially with recentlyopened Myanmar. The Thai government is committed to the two types of opportunities from the PPP Strategic Plan: Mega-transportation projects, which are still dominated by the public sector, and Opt-in projects, covering waste management, healthcare, education and science & technology. For more information, please contact Trade Commissioner Ekasit Chunlakittiphan at the Canadian embassy in Bangkok at: Ekasit. Chunlakittiphan@international.gc.ca.

January - February 2016



How to Avoid Getting Run-Over and Ripped-Off by Your Accountant in Thailand By John Casella

Step #2: Understanding the Thai Revenue Department Audit In virtually every business in Thailand, there exists a tenuous triumvirate, between (1) the company's top management, (2) the company's accountants, and (3) the dreaded "Taxman." As much as you might like to avoid this truth, like death and taxes, this reality is unavoidable. As Benjamin Franklin noted. "In this world nothing can be said to be certain except death & taxes." In keeping with the purpose of this series of articles, to get the most out of your accountant, it’s important for business owners and managers to understand how the Thai Revenue Department audit works. As a trained accountant with more than 18 years working in Bangkok and throughout Thailand, my observations and experiences continuously show that your typical Thai accountant is petrified of the Thai Revenue Department (TRD). As mentioned in my first article on how to get your accountant working for YOU, your accountant has been educated, indoctrinated, predicated and dictated to work for the TRD to protect you (and themselves) from the omnipresent TRD audit and the resulting tax assessment that menaces every business transaction and every monthly &/or annual tax filing. This article is intended to help entrepreneurs and business persons in Thailand by expanding on the reasons why this “fear factor” is so prevalent among Thai accountants, so you can appreciate how important it is for your business to safeguard itself against the onerous risks of the TRD audit. Please be aware, every company in Thailand is expected by the government to have regular TRD audits that typically arise for the following reasons: your company submits a request for a tax refund, TRD policies/initiatives start targeting certain types of businesses or transactions, your company incurs repeated losses or fluctuating profits, and Tax Officer inspections on a random basis according to the normal TRD schedule of approx. every 3-4 years. A two-stage approach may often be taken by the TRD, which can drag out the process over many months or even years: (1) Informal tax investigations, which may include: company visits, requests for meetings between your accountant and Tax Officer(s), requests for document submissions, and document crosschecking between your company and your suppliers &/or customers.



(2) Formal Tax Audit, which further includes: issuance of written tax summons and tax assessment letters. Over the years, I have seen countless examples of businesses that get hammered by TRD auditors that appear in response to their request for a tax refund. An expat boss may naively plan to free up some cash flow by requesting a refund on their THB 1 million VAT credit that their company has duly accumulated; then, by the end of the pursuant corporate tax audit they end out owing the TRD an additional THB 2 million in assessed taxes, penalties and surcharges for a range of mistakes/violations relating to their corporate income tax, withholding taxes, VAT documentation, stamp duty, specific business tax, etc. Their tax refund has vanished and they end up owing the TRD additional taxes on top. Not surprisingly, throughout the TRD audit, your accountant will feel stressed and scared of the Tax Officers who can cross-examine your accountant, a process which often includes preparing written statements for the accountant to sign. Most accountants at this point will begin to panic that the Tax Officers will find mistakes, non-compliance or contradictions that will harm both the company and their own reputation. The TRD audit can seem like a never-ending disruption to your accountant’s other day-to-day work requirements. And I have known cases where a tax audit has transferred mid-stream from one Tax Officer’s team to another Tax Officer &/or another TRD office, where they restart the same process all over again with another set of enquiries. Furthermore, the methods, requirements, and interpretations in the audit process may differ from one Tax Officer to another and also between one TRD Office/District to another. This ordeal can become such a headache that key members of a company’s accounting team may resign during the course of a tax audit. Another interesting revelation for neophytes of the TRD audit is the prevailing emphasis on the “form” over the “substance” of supporting documentation. The rules in the Thai Revenue Code are quite strict about compliance with officially authorized paper-based tax forms, while the explanation of these rules may be complicated or vague about how to follow these forms to the letter. Something as simple as a spelling mistake on your Tax Receipt can render the entire cost of

legitimate business purchase to be “Non-Deductible for tax purposes” and consequently the TRD can assess corporate income taxes at 20% (or even 30%) of the invoice amount, plus penalties, and surcharges at 1.5% per month on the amount owed from the date of the transaction. Hence, the “form” effectively becomes the “substance” of the transaction. So, keeping in mind that you want to “get your accountant working for YOU”, it’s also important to understand why your accountant wants to make sure they are compliant with the TRD’s Thai Revenue Code in order to protect you from paying too much of your hard-earned money to the taxman. Some final words of advice: Besides the obvious need for properly compliant supporting Tax Invoices for every business transaction, we advise all companies to ensure that proper checks and balances are in place to help prepare for your eventual TRD audits. These include: (i) Maintaining reconciliations of revenue between annual Corporate Income Tax Returns (PND-50) and monthly Value Added Tax (PP-30) filings; (ii) Maintaining reconciliations of Payroll Withholding Tax (PND-1 & PND-1 Kor) filings and employment expenses in your company trial balance. Again, hopefully over this series of articles, I can help you get the most out of your accounting team and in turn this will help to minimize the risk that your being “run-over and ripped-off by your accountant.” For further advice, please contact PKF Thailand in Bangkok (www.pkfthailand.asia).

(John Casella is the Managing Partner at PKF Tax and Consulting Services (Thailand) Limited and PKF Audit (Thailand) Limited. He is also a past President and current Treasurer of the Thai-Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Honorary Treasurer of the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce in Thailand, and Treasurer of the Rotary Club of Bangkok South.)

CANCHAM Thailand Event

CANCHAM Xmas Party The CANCHAM Xmas party was held at the Opus Wine Bar, literally a stone’s throw from the Chamber office on Pan Road. TCCC President Ron Livingston was in attendance as well as VPs Derek van Pelt and John Stevens plus Treasurer John Casella and other board members including Peter Bessey, Art Chanovan, Joseph Henry, David MacDonald and Angus Mitchell.




CanCham staff from left: Intern Alex Tsai-Goodman; Events and Marketing Coordinator Jen Meckhayai; Office Manager Naphaporn Kirdsin; & Executive Director Kelly Cailes.

Meet the CanCham Office Team While President Ron Livingston and the CanCham board make the executive decisions that keep the Chamber running; there is a dedicated four-person team that keeps the Chamber functioning on a day-to-day basis from our office on Sethiwan Road. We would like to introduce you to those four important individuals. Kelly Cailes is the new Executive Director of CanCham. Commenting on his new role, Kelly says, “It is my great pleasure to be the new Executive Director of the CanCham. I am absolutely thrilled and honoured to re-join the Chamber in more of a leadership capacity. 2016 will be a fantastic year with many changes and improvements being planned for the CanCham. “I first came to Bangkok in 1994 and entered the business community in 1996. I immediately got involved by volunteering with CanCham events which quickly connected me with the Thai-Canadian business community. Seeing the value, I then became an advisor, board member and secretary over a three-year period. I lived in Thailand for 15 years working in manufacturing and automotive. During the 2008-2009 downturn, my wife and I decided to move back to Canada to transition into Oil and Gas. After six years working as an Electrical and Mechanical Project Manager in Calgary, Alberta, and with another economic downturn especially affecting Oil and Gas, my wife and I decided to move the family back to the Kingdom. My

wife Khun Wimonpat is Thai and we have two boys; Shay age two, and Cody age four. We are excited to see our boys develop both Thai and English languages. “The CanCham is a very important organization for the Thai-Canadian community and I intend on being highly committed and responsive in supporting our members. Becoming a member and getting involved is a sure fire way to advance SME’s, corporations, individuals and alumni. I can guarantee if you do take the time to engage with the CanCham, you will quickly become acquainted with highly developed professionals who will advise and assist without hesitation. The Thai-Canadian business community is very giving so take advantage and get involved. This means be prepared to sponsor and attend events to make the most of your membership. Even if you are not a member, please come out and attend our events. “I highly urge you to contact me directly with any questions, ideas or concerns. My email is ed.tccc.or.th or you are welcome to contact my office 02.266.6085-6 or mobile 092.764.4981. Once again, I am thrilled to be involved with the Chamber and look forward to connecting with all of you.” Naphaporn (Kob) Kirdsin is CanCham’s Office Manager and Khun Kob says she is “glad to be a part of CanCham as the Accounting & Administrative Coordinator. I gain valuable and new experiences meeting many people

at all our events. I hope you will be happy with our Chamber and we welcome all new members.” Chiang Mai native Jen Meckhayai is CanCham’s Events/Marketing Coordinator. Jen’s “can do” attitude is his ultimate forte. He’s a fast learner, who easily picks up things and is comfortable handling and working with all personality types. Deadline pressure is a challenge to his managerial and organizing skills that he welcomes as he strives to find the most suitable solution to accomplish his duties. Jen enjoys working in a multicultural environment as he is not only proficient in Thai and English, but Norwegian as well. He is eager to combine his previous experiences, with his infectious and determined character in order to make a great contribution as CanCham’s events/marketing coordinator. Jen studied International Relations and is no stranger to volunteer work; as he enjoys networking and mak-ing new friends his position is ideally suited for him. Alex Tsai-Goodman is CanCham's intern for the next four months. His desire to learn and challenge himself in multicultural settings has seen him move from the UK, USA, and is currently pursuing a degree in International Economics at the University of British Columbia, Canada. Alex says he is "excited to help the CanCham move forward and to assist the already dynamic team".

January - February 2016


Member Profile

From Beauty Queen to Mental Health Specialist By Scott Murray Birth realizes see was thrown into the fire to test her mettle and when she screens mental health care workers today, she is not just looking for intelligent doctors, but kind and tolerant physicians and professionals as well. The BMRC has been open for two years now; before that Birth worked at the Department of Mental Health for a decade. She says that mental health services are limited in Thailand, due to the lack of psychiatrists and proper care facilities. Some psychiatric hospitals have 1,000 beds, with beds right next to each other, so little privacy and only a few attending doctors.

Apisamai “Birth” Srirangsan, has led a fascinating life. The Bangkok native, a trained psychiatrist, is the Director of Bangkok Hospital’s Mental Rehabilitation and Recovery Center (BMRC). She represented Thailand at the 1999 Miss Universe beauty pageant, which was held in Trinidad Tobago—the winner that year was Miss Botswana. After Birth graduated from medical school in Thailand, she had three months to wait before starting her residency training, so her high school teacher encouraged her to enter the Miss Thailand Universe contest and she ended up winning. Growing up in Nakhon Pathom, she dreamed of being like Porntip “Bui” Simon, née Nakhirunkanok, Thailand’s Miss Universe winner in 1988. Birth went right from Satri Witthaya high school to medical school, deciding she had a better chance of making a career as a doctor than as an artist, her other career choice. But she didn’t enjoy her first two years of medical study and told her mother that she wanted to be a social worker instead. Her mother encouraged her to stick with it, and in her fourth year, she started to see patients when she was posted to Khon Kaen University (a nine-hour drive from Bangkok). This was before health insurance reform, so poor people who were ill couldn’t afford to pay for many health services. She was deeply affected by these people, who didn’t seem to care about their pain, only what would happen to their families and how they could pay their bills. There was one particular incident where a child and her family were resigned to her death because they couldn’t afford an appendectomy – Birth’s mother stepped in and paid the bill. While in Khon Kaen, Birth began to notice psychiatrists working with late-stage cancer and AIDS patients, making them smile, talking to them about issues like politics and the environment. “Just through talking, without any equipment, they were fixing violent patients, suicidal patients, patients without hope, families who couldn’t talk to anyone else because of the sensitive nature of the problems they were dealing with. They were making a difference through communication,” Birth recalls. So in her fifth year of residency Birth decided she wanted to be a psychiatrist, but her su-



She compares some of these hospitals to the asylums in the West decades ago. Birth does say that Thailand has done well with mental health rehabilitation using agricultural activity, exercise and occupational therapy to help people regain their mental health.

pervisor tried to talk her out of it saying she could make more money as a neurosurgeon or a dermatologist, that society’s perceptions of psychiatrists are that they are “weird” and that after a while she would get bored with it. But she persisted. Thailand admits only 20 new psychiatrists a year to its residency program and each resident has 3 supervisors, or practicing psychiatrists. Birth estimates there are only 400 psychiatrists for a country of 60 million plus. Birth grew up as a tomboy, in grade six there were actually only two boys in the school bigger than her, so when her classmates had trouble with bullies they turned to Birth for help. Her reputation as protector continued through medical school. Needless to say, she didn’t pay much attention to make-up or dressing up; so the Miss Universe pageant turned her life around, it was a big adjustment, involving a great amount of stress. There were doubts as to how capable a psychiatrist a beauty queen could be. There was even a live TV show where people could vote on whether Dr. Birth should be a psychiatrist; or not; luckily, she received lots of support from friends, family, the Department of Mental Health and Khon Kaen University.

Working at a public hospital, Birth says sometimes she saw 30 patients a day, each for only a few minutes at a time, so the best she could do was give them a diagnosis, dispense medication and warn of any sideeffects. She didn’t have time to talk to the patients about things like being abused by a husband, or a son’s drug addiction, or financial problems the core issues affecting many patients’ mental health. So Birth would visit the hospitals on the weekend so she could spend more time with the patients in order to get to know them better and help them with psychotherapy. Birth worked at Srithanya Psychiatric Hospital (formerly known as Nonthaburi Mental Hospital), the biggest psychiatrist hospital in the country; sometimes patients’ homes were 700km away, so the family was not present during treatment. And if the family brought the patient in when they were violent, they were sometimes scared to take them back, or if they did, they didn’t know how to care for them properly. Birth says, “Medication alone isn’t the answer, you need rehabilitation, pyscho-social intervention, family education—the family has to be part of the care.” In 2007, Birth took a Fellowship with the University of Toronto and was posted to the Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences in Whitby, whose director Peter

Member Profile Prendergast has a very good relationship with the Thai Department of Mental Health. Birth’s team at Ontario Shores included a Somali psychiatrist, a pharmacist from Iran and a psychologist from Hong Kong wellrepresenting Toronto’s multi-ethnicity. Birth modeled the BMRC after the program she interned with in Canada. Reflecting on her time in Canada, Birth says: “Knowledge is everywhere, but you must find someplace you can live easily and have good friends. I found that in Canada, the people were lovely, Toronto has a strong Asian connection, I consider it my second home.” Coming back to Thailand, Birth was faced with the problem she dealt with while working at public psychiatric institutions here: families weren’t being given the opportunity to care for their loved ones suffering from mental illness. In Whitby, she experienced the “Recovery Model”, where every patient is treated with respect moving towards their goal. “It’s not just about focusing on symptom management (such as insomnia, depression and hearing voices),” she says. “It’s more about focusing on a patient’s strengths and achievements. Many patients have given up hope, they have no self-esteem. Rather than asking them about their pain and how much cocaine they’ve used this week, we ask them who they are and what their dreams are. When the practitioner shows hope in the patient, it helps the patient believe in themselves.” Birth has a big advantage at Bangkok Hospital—she has access to psychologists, psychotherapists, social workers, occupational therapists, music therapists as well as drama and movement therapists, many who have studied abroad. Many mental health specialists in the region can only dream about that kind of support.

Birth started the BMRC on her own and now she has five full-time psychiatrists, 15 parttime: she also has one full-time psychologist, three part-time; as well as a part-time drama therapist, music therapist and occupational therapist. She stresses the BMRC is geared towards helping people who want more than having to wait four hours to talk to a psychiatrist for 5 minutes. The BMRC plays a key role in overall hospital care as it can provide comfort for a whole range of patients suffering from mental anxiety over a terminal disease, a disabling injury or the loss of a loved one. BMRC – an overview At BMRC, mental health means more than just treating mental illness. BMRC is dedicated to those who seek to improve their lives, which have been diminished by impairments of the mind and spirit. It welcomes everyone

who believes they can be helped within this therapeutic community. The BMRC aims to provide the best care within the psychiatric and psychotherapy disciplines, and to restore the best possible quality of life to its clients. BMRC recognizes the individuality of its clients. It treats the whole person, recognizing the significant others in their lives, while respecting the cultural and spiritual dimensions. BMRC's clinical team and support staff offer professional excellence in inpatient, day-patient, and outpatient mental health care services. Inpatient Services Inpatient care involves staying at BMRC for the duration of your therapy. The inpatient treatment method is evidence-based and highly personalized, combining different types of treatment such as individual and group psychotherapy, creative expressive therapies, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. The overall aim is to create optimum health for both your mind and body. The 21-day inpatient programme is designed to restore the best possible quality of life by emphasizing the therapeutic community approach. Your days in residential care involve a variety of activities including meetings, daily chores, rehabilitation pursuits, sports, and other self-discovering and fun activities. Not only does this community approach provide safe and supportive environment, it also enables you to re-establish your individuality, sense of responsibility, and a level of ordinary everyday functioning. More importantly, this process will help you re-adjust to life outside BMRC when you have completed your work there. For more information, please call 1719 www.bangkokhospital.com/BMRC

January - February 2016


Members News

Khrup Khun Cup showcases ball hockey scene in Bangkok Voyageur recently caught up with Shamez Lilja, who organizes the Khrup Khun Cup ball hockey series, staged at Bangkok’s British Club.

1.) How did the idea for the Khrup Khun Cup come about and evolve? “The idea of the Khrup Khun Cup (KKC) ball hockey tourney came from wanting to create more organized ball hockey in Bangkok. Pick-up has been taking place for years and still does however with increased numbers there was discussion around starting a possible league. Our issue was that since Bangkok is such a transient city and players are here today gone tomorrow or even traveling for business would we run into problems once the league commenced. We’d need at least 15 players per team committed to cover such potential risks. The workaround seemed to be to hold these tourneys where teams would be drafted and it’d be a day event. Since our first tourney, we’ve been able to fine tune the model from sign-ups, drafting, food & beer, helpers to ref, score and time keep. We’ve also been able to solidify other details as to holding 4 tourneys a year in Feb, May, Oct & Dec so everyone can plan and visiting teams can also make the effort on their ends if they wish to participate. As well players from anywhere for that matter could come in and be entered into the draft to just be put onto a team and play some competitive ball hockey.”

2.) Aside from the Bangkok teams, where else have teams come from to play in the tournament? “We’ve had teams come in from Chiang Mai, Phnom Penh and most recently Hanoi. Also part of the goal and growth of this is to have individuals come out from wherever, join our



draft and play. We’ve had a few folks do so already from Japan, China and other places. Many of them were former Bangkok players that had friends tag along for a weekend getaway including a day of ball hockey.”

3.) How often has the KKC been played and what will the tourney dates be next year? “We just completed our 7th tourney and dates for upcoming tourney will be in Feb, April/May, Oct & Dec.”

4.) Where else can people play in Southeast Asia? Do you have contact details? Can travelers just drop in play? “It seems ball hockey is being played everywhere. As long as you have a few Canucks a pick-up game is happening. We’ve had a few travelers actually find us via our FB page and participate in the tourney. The easiest way to keep up with our tourneys and other ball hockey happening in SE Asia would be via our FB page - facebook.com/thaistixbkk.”

5.) How does the ball hockey scene work in Bangkok? Can anyone play, do they need gear, when do you play, where? “We have regular pick-up games on Saturdays at the British Club located on Silom Soi 18. We’ve been fortunate enough to have one of our very own on the board at the Club so the facility was partial built for us including

boards, a scoreboard, changing rooms and the playing court is fully in-caged so the ball never actually leaves making the game even faster. We are privileged to be playing in one of the best ball hockey facilities in Asia. It’s great for 4-on-4, which is exactly how many of us started playing this sport back in gym class.”

6.) Can you tell us a little about the Mekong Cup, your annual tourney in Phuket? “2016 marks the 22nd year of the Mekong Cup, which takes place at the Centara Karon Resort in Phuket each year. Teams come from all over with the regulars being Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand. This year’s tournament has those teams returning as well as others from Korea, Vietnam and even a team from Toronto. A team from Montreal made the trip 3 years ago. It’s a great day all around with competitive ball hockey followed by a gala banquet with a charity auction for a great cause, the Vivian Slot scholarship (http://www.unizg.hr/vivianscholarship/).” (Note: two members of the CanCham board have played a key role in the growth of ball hockey in Thailand. Vice-President John Stevens has been the captain of the Thai Stix, Bangkok’s all-star team, for the last few years and Treasurer John Casella, a former captain, was the organizer of the Mekong Cup for years.) Facebook Links https://www.facebook.com/thaistixbkk/ https://www.facebook.com/mekongcup/


Enjoy the thrills by planning ahead By Paul Gambles

You may never consider planning your finances up there with bungee jumping, zorbing or parascending as an adrenaline-pumping pastime; yet it can enable you to do the more thrilling things in life. Three-way budget However much money we have and whatever the cost of living, it’s important to have some kind of financial plan in place. With that statement I may not exactly be discovering America, as the Spanish say; yet in my experience, it’s something that people often overlook. No matter how or where you record your budget, it’s important that it takes three elements into consideration: saving for tomorrow, budgeting for today and allowing for some fun. Saving for tomorrow is self-explanatory; though it should take priority above all. In fact, it’s not a bad idea to consider putting money aside as a compulsory payment – like a tax bill. I call it the Pay Yourself First principle. That way there’s no temptation to eat into your savings to get your hands on that new 5G, voice-activated, 3D, cappuccino-making mobile phone. It’s vital to set clear objectives of how much you want in the savings pot by the end of a certain period. This enables you to stick to the plan even in the face of the greatest temptation. In budgeting for today, we need to be sure that we’re being realistic. Setting out a plan to live off THB 200 a day may look good for your savings but it’s unrealistic. After all, one extra coffee could push you over-budget and once you’ve crossed the line, it’s not so easy to keep track. To avoid that scenario, it’s advisable to make provision for over-spending a little. I find it’s better psychologically to have spent less than anticipated, rather than overspending on a tighter, less realistic budget. Whilst I’m talking about financial planning, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to implement a self-imposed austerity programme. Planning purely for the future could mean that we neglect the present – a pretty sobering thought. Of course, there must be room in the plan to live for today. Buying the abovementioned phone, going sky-diving, going on a trip or doing something completely ad hoc is more pleasurable when you know it won’t ruin your wallet. So why not allow for those moments in your budget?

Planning to have fun I suppose it shows my age when I talk about

budgeting for ‘fun’. As a young man, that certainly wasn’t a consideration! Nevertheless, I’ve learnt from listening to clients over the years that a good financial plan avoids all sorts of problems, especially with couples. As we get older, the amount of money we can potentially save reduces. This can become an intensifying pressure point in a relationship. A poll conducted by Harris Interactive, showed that money fights are more prevalent among older couples than younger ones: 15% of couples between 18 and 34 said that finances triggered arguments; yet more than a third of couples aged 55 to 64 admitted to having "money fights." For that reason, it’s a good idea to agree on a financial plan as soon as possible. It should include the three budgets mentioned above, as well as a strategy for retirement planning. That strategy should include how much return the couple require and what level of risk they agree to take to aim for that goal. It’s a common mistake to assume that risk only means volatility and therefore choose to invest in volatile or stable markets accordingly. Risk incorporates many more factors and measuring a suitable level is easier to achieve with the advice of an independent financial advisor, who works on a fee rather than commissions. This second point is important because it removes any hint of bias an advisor may have based on the commission he/she has with a particular fund management company. An advisor should suggest an appropriate allocation of assets – what percentage of a portfolio should be placed in shares, bonds and currency, for example, and within that, how to invest in such assets. In developed economics where capital markets are more homogeneous, net consistent indices can be more efficient than stock picking. Equally it can be important to understand the difference between relative returns, absolute returns, and total returns. Reaching an agreement as to what to spend, what to save and where to invest money can be difficult. Experts suggest that the three key principles to this are: agreeing to disagree on certain aspects; maintaining a flexible approach to reach a compromise where

possible; and to focus on the future, rather than dwelling on any past mistakes. I’m not able to advise on that but what is important is to stick to the basic plan, once it is in place. From that point, it can be modified as your circumstances and the performance of your portfolio change.

Get the kids on board In the name of further domestic harmony, if you have children it could well be worth teaching them about finance too. This could avoid arguments over how they want to spend your money. It also encourages them to save part of their future income so they can accumulate interest over the years. This kind of education isn’t always taught at school and, in any case, may be easier to learn by following your example in day-to-day life. That means installing Pay Yourself First; setting out which expenses take priority; distinguishing between things they want and things they need; explaining that the idea behind saving is not just to buy something bigger; introduce them to charities; and, if they’re older children, get them to put together a list of assets, liabilities and net worth. Planning finances in such a way means we’ve done the groundwork and we can get on with life without having that nagging feeling that we’re constantly putting something off until later.

For further information, please contact MBMG by e-mail at info@mbmginvestment.com or call +66 2 665 2536. Paul Gambles has completed CFA level 1 and is licensed by the SEC as both a Securities Fundamental Investment Analyst and an Investment Planner.

January - February 2016


Meber News

Remembering those who have fallen On November 11th, Remembrance Day, members and friends of the Canadian community in Thailand gathered at the Ambassador’s residence to pay tribute to the Canadian Forces who have fought so bravely for our country. Lt Colonel Jean Jobin of the Canadian Forces was the Master of Ceremonies for this event, which started at 11am sharp. After his opening remarks he introduced Ambassador Calvert to do the invocation. The Ambassador paid homage to the Canadian Forces, mentioning both Corporal Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, who were killed in terrorist acts a little over a year ago on Canadian soil. The Thai Royal Anthem and Canadian National Anthem were then played after which Sarah Lesko read “In Flanders Fields”.

The three flag bearers were: Canadian Armed Forces Flag – Christopher Ankersen

The “Last Post” was performed next followed by two minutes of silence, then the “Turn to Busan”, whereby those in attendance turned in the direction of Busan, South Korea, honouring Canadian soldiers who were killed or wounded in the Korean War. Then came Reveille and the “Ode of Remembrance” read by Beulah Toews. Next was the lament and the laying of three wreaths: Ambassador Calvert and PO1 Bryan Grass laid a wreath on behalf of all Canadians; Col Stephen Lemieux laid a wreath on behalf of the Canadian Armed Forces; and members of Club Canada laid a wreath on behalf of their organization.

The final reading “We will Remember” was made by Claudia van der Heyden. Eric Mitchell did a superb job on the bagpipes and after the ceremony those in attendance adjourned to the Ambassador’s residence for light snacks and refreshments.

Chris Ankersen, CD is a retired Infantry Captain who served 12 Years with the 3rd and 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. In that time Chris deployed to Croatia and Kosovo; earning the UNPROFOR, KFOR Medal and for his dedicated and loyal service earned the Canadian Forces Decoration (CD). Chris is currently the Security Advisor, United Nations Department of Safety and Security in Bangkok.

Canadian Flag – Raymond Forte Ray Forte is a retired Infantry Private who served 4 Years with the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. In that time Ray deployed to Cyprus and Germany; earning the UN Service Medal, UN Peacekeepers Medal and Germany NATO Service Medal. Ray is now a civilian member of the RCMP, where he has since earned the Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal for outstanding service.

Thailand Flag – Cyndy Henry Sgt Cyndy Henry, a RCMP officer with over 25 years of service. Cyndy was a proud member of the RCMP Musical Ride and is recipient of five outstanding leadership and professionalism awards, presented to her by the RCMP Commissioner and various Director Generals within the RCMP. In 2011 Cyndy was awarded the Long Service Medal, in recognition of 20 years of loyal and dedicated service with the RCMP.




Are you experiencing double vision? Double vision, also known as diplopia, is a condition when a single object is seen twice as either adjacent or overlapping one another. Some people experience double vision all the time, only sometimes, or specifically during a certain head turn, tilt position, direction of gaze. There is a wide variety of causes for double vision and in the event you are experiencing this, it’s best to check with your doctor to be properly diagnosed.

Causes of double vision There are many different muscles, nerves, and parts of the eye that work together to produce a single clear image. Double vision or ghost images happen when one of those processes is malfunctioning due to a neurological or muscular problem or if a part of the eye itself has problems.

ing at a computer screen too long without blinking or being exposed to windy or dry air. Without proper lubrication, the surface of the eye cannot remain smooth and

The leading cause of this vision impairment is due to the misalignment of the eyes but additional complications related to the cornea, lens, or tear production are some common culprits, too. Muscle weakness or nerve conditions may lead to misalignment of the eyes that prevents them from moving smoothly and in conjunction with each another. This can be related to anything from an autoimmune disease, a thyroid condition, diabetes, high blood pressure, high blood lipids levels, or other conditions that affect the brain and nerves. More serious cases of double vision may be caused by strokes, head trauma, aneurisms, meningitis, migraines, or brain tumors.

clear, which is ideal for accurate vision. The eye’s lens, which is inside the eye behind the pupil, is responsible for changing shape and bending light to produce clear images of objects at various distances. If there are problems with the transparent lens, in the case of clouding due to cataracts, the light may scatter and cause double or sometimes incomplete images. Diagnostics and treatments available

Irregularities with the cornea, which is the transparent surface layer of the eye, may also cause double vision and can affect one or both eyes. This may be due to corneal irregularities that cause the cornea to have an abnormal surface and therefore distorts the light that enters the eye. Significant corneal scarring may occur while experiencing or recovering from an infection of the cornea or while healing from complicated refractive surgery such as LASIK or PRK. Eyes are meant to operate in a moist environment, so dry eyes can lead to seeing ghost images. This can occur if there is adecrease in tear production quality or quantity. It may also happen in certain situations such as star-

The consequence of double vision includes the inability to focus on an object properly or have proper depth perception, which can lead to headaches. The body may also naturally ignore images from one eye so that double vision no longer occurs. This can prevent the proper alignment of both eyes pointing towards the same focal point, which can lead to developing lazy eye in young patients. In order to determine the cause of your double vision, doctors will conduct a very thorough and complete examination, noting when any associated symptoms are present and asking about your current and past medical history.

There are a number of treatments available for double vision depending on your diagnosis. For those experiencing dry eyes, often lubricating eye drops (whether over-the-counter or prescribed) or punctual plugs may be offered. In the case of cataracts, ghost images are often treatable with minor corrective surgery. Double vision caused by eye muscle or nerve problems can be corrected by prism glasses or eye muscle surgery. However, seeking medical advice is the first step towards determining the correct treatment.

By Major Dr. Nuthida Wongwirawat, Pediatric Ophthalmologist and Adult Strabismologist, Eye center, Bumrungrad International Hospital

January - February 2016


CANCHAM Thailand helps the Grisaffi & Volunteers Group CANCHAM Thailand recently donated THB60,000 to ICare Thailand through Michael Grisaffi and his group of Volunteers. Recently the Grisaffi & Volunteers Group, visited children at Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok and handed out gifts to the children who were patients there. The group also made a trip to Mae Sot where they delivered blankets, medical supplies, food, uniforms, sporting goods and winter clothing to the Ban Pah Mak School. They also made a donation to a school near Hua Hin supported by Sister Joan Evans’ good work.

Club Canada Thailand proudly presents

Snowball Saturday March 26, 2016 Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel

18:30 to midnight Dinner & Dancing Raffle Prizes & Silent Auction Donation: 3,000 Baht

Includes 4 bottles of wine per table & cocktails For reservation and/or tickets contact: cctsnowballtickets@gmail.com



Lumpini Park 7.30 am Saturday, 6 February 2016 Raising Funds for Cancer Research

Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel in association with The Thai Red Cross Society and Embassy of Canada would like to invite you to participate in the upcoming Care For Cancer - 2016 Fun Run. Proceeds from the event will go towards Genetic Cancer Research Centre at Chulalongkorn Hospital. Time: Registration starts at 7.30 am The run starts at 8.30 am Distance: 5 km and 10 km Ticket: Includes a breakfast box and entry to the lucky draw Baht 350 for Care For Cancer T-shirt / Baht 500 for Care For Cancer Polo-shirt For further information, please call 02 126 8866 or careforcancer.asia@anantara.com #FunRun #CareForCancer2016 #AnantaraSiamBKK


I Care b coz. . .

Eric Kenso Ward, ISB Class of 1979

International School Bangkok Bringing out the superhero in each of us since 1951. www.isb.ac.th

October 2014 • ScandAsia.Thailand 37

Profile for CanCham Thailand

Voyageur January-February issue  

Voyageur is CanCham's bi-monthty publication.

Voyageur January-February issue  

Voyageur is CanCham's bi-monthty publication.