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FIND OUT WHAT’S HOT IN BANGKOK

July 2013 08 INSIGHT News, letters, gossip and more 18 HOLLYWOOD CALLING Meet the Thai actress who took Cannes by storm 23 GOURMET A round up of all the best restaurant deals and gourmet events in Bangkok 44 GO VEGGIE, SAVE THE WORLD? Where to find vegetarian food in Bangkok 49 EXPAT WOMEN Health, shopping, people, and advice 58 FAMILY FUN School holiday activities in Bangkok and beyond 70 FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE Thailand’s home to seven Russian churches 75 WHAT’S ON Exhibitions, performance, sport, networking – we’ve got this month’s best events all wrapped up 93 SOCIAL Last month’s best events in pictures 115 DIPLOMATS HE Kesang Wangdi talks about Bhutan’s relationship with Thailand 121 HUA HIN Deals and news 133 PATTAYA Hot news from the Eastern Seaboard

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The BigChilli Company Ltd., 1/7 5th Fl. Room 504, Siboonrueng Bldg. 2, Convent Road, Silom, Bangrak, TheBigchilli Bangkok 10500

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The canyons of Sukhumvit

No hiding place for dodgy politicians

SPARE a thought for home owners whose next door neighbours decide it’s time to cash in on their land and sell off their property to developers who in turn set about building multi-storey condominiums or, worse, huge shopping malls on their new acquisition. From that moment, the lives of home owners who resist selling up change forever - and nobody in their right mind can believe it’s for the good. For years, this kind of urbanization has happened right across Bangkok. Once tranquil streets and lanes, dotted with pleasant low-rise houses and gardens, have been transformed into concrete canyons, with condos packed on either side of the thoroughfare, blocking out the sun, the wind and views of the horizon (which are surely essential for the body’s equilibrium). Even if it is a normal phenomenon seen in every other expanding city across the globe, it also explains why Bangkok is not only less charming these days but also much hotter than in the past. Sukhumvit is obviously the area most affected by this phenomenon. So many condos are popping up along its way that some sections are beginning to resemble Hong Kong’s dreadful cheek-by-jowl urban sprawl. Many ridiculously narrow side streets are also being gobbled by developers who are now permitted to build as high as eight storeys. Of course, it can be argued that existing property owners have benefited enormously by the staggering increase in land values. But not everyone wants to cash in and relocate; many Sukhumvit residents want to stay in the part of Bangkok where they may have been born. Unfortunately, the pressure is on them to sell up and move on, miles away from the noise, the high-rises, the congestion, their friends and family. Sensible city planners, if they actually exist here, should insist on measures to make life more bearable for its ordinary citizens. And they should start by increasing the distance permitted between a new building project and the border of the land it occupies. At present, that distance is too small, which, in the case of a high-rise, invariably results in a total lack of privacy for the owners of adjoining properties. In fact, new regulations on this very topic have been introduced, but there are few signs of them being implemented. You can’t stop progress, of course, but there are many ways of making it more acceptable.

THERE are surely few periods in Thailand’s history when the country was beset by so many problems as it faces today. In the past, those problems could be swept under the carpet or given a spin so confusing that the truth was kept out of sight. But thanks to the awesome power of the Internet, that’s no longer the case. Social media is proving supremely effective in highlighting whatever ails the nation. And right now there’s plenty of that. Politicians with their fingers in the trough can run but they can’t hide. We all know what they’re up to, be it huge ‘backhanders’ for government projects, dodgy rice schemes that enrich their administrators or the smuggling of luxury cars to avoid taxes. Also, thanks to the new media, we’ve seen wayward monks with designer gear on a private jet, as well as alternative news reports that question ‘official’ explanations of high profile murders. And it’s largely due to the Internet that the multitude of deadly scams now going on in Phuket has prompted a call by no less than 18 foreign ambassadors in Thailand for the authorities to take some remedial action. It’s wake-up time for those who are wrecking and ransacking this country. The eyes of the world are on you.

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Bankers in bed with governments

IT’S all very well for outraged western politicians to talk about corruption in developing countries, but what about the institutionalized corruption in their own backyards? Why don’t they mention that? Let’s face it, there’s no greater form of corruption than that which exists between western governments and the banks. They have a special relationship that not only works to their mutual benefit but also serves to protect them in times of crisis. How else can one explain the revolving door of inept and possibly criminal bankers in the US government? And what about UK-based HSBC, which was recently fined almost US$2 billion for laundering billions of dollars for Colombian and Mexican drug cartels, among others, and violating a host of important banking laws – and yet its highly paid bosses somehow escaped prosecution? (Try telling that to someone who’s been arrested and jailed for a relatively minor drugs offence). It gets even worse when one of those HBSC bankers goes on to be awarded a title and a government position, after, one suspects, receiving a handsome bonus and extremely generous pension.

TheBigChilli

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Publisher Colin Hastings editorbigchilli@gmail.com MANAGING Editor Adam Purcell adambigchilli@gmail.com Editor Nina Hastings ninabigchilli@gmail.com Assistant Editor Chutinanta Boonyamarn nanbigchilli@gmail.com Sales & Marketing Manager Rojjana Rungrattwatchai sendtorose@gmail.com Account Executive Thana Pongsaskulchoti thanabigchilli@gmail.com Accounting Manager Saranya Choeyjanya fatcatbigchilli@gmail.com Art & Production Arthawit Pundrikapa, Jaran Lakawat Photography Mini Bike Gang, David Heischrek and WJ Cover image: Arthawit Pundrikapa Contributing Writers Anette Pollner, Johanna DeKoning, Judith Coulson, Martine Olthof, Maxmilian Wechsler, Paul Hewitt

Our online handle is ‘thebigchillimagazine’. Simply type this into Facebook’s search box, find the image of our magazine, then just click add.

We are now on Twitter. Find out what’s happening around town, which events to attend, parties to be seen at, and read all the juicy gossip! Follow us at ‘TheBigChilliMag’ No part of this magazine may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without prior written permission from The BigChilli Co., Ltd. The opinions and views of the writers are not necessarily the views of the publishers. All details are deemed correct at the time of print, the publisher, the editor, employees and contributors can not be held responsible for any errors, inaccuracies or omissions that may occur. The editor reserves the right to accept, reject or amend any submitted artwork, photographs, illustrations and manuscripts. The BigChilli welcomes unsolicited contributions but assumes no responsibility for the safe-keeping or return of such materials damaged or lost in transit.

The BigChilli Company Ltd., 1/7 5th Fl. Room 504, Siboonrueng Bldg. 2, Convent Road, Silom, Bangrak, Bangkok 10500 Tel: 02 233 1774-6, 02 266 7141 Fax: 02 235 0174 e-mail: thebigchillimagazine@gmail.com AD Foodland_May13.indd 1

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Insight

Inbox|Have your say

letters

FACEBOOK.COM/ thebigchillimagazine

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HAVE YOUR SAY! Write to us at: thebigchillimagazine@gmail.com

A STORY THAT NEEDED TELLING

■ FINALLY someone has had the guts to write about Sukhumvit’s so-called ‘Cigarette Police!’ (June issue. P.76). Every day I watch the ‘Thetsakij’ following tourists in the hope that they’ll be able to accuse them of littering, and every day I see them disregard the littering of local vendors who operate their stalls next to huge piles of rubbish. The double standards of the officers is disgusting, and a real turn off for tourists who are unlucky enough to be accused of littering and then handed a 2,000 baht fine. Thanks, BigChilli, for bringing this story to light. Brit in BKK

POSSIBLE STORY? ■ HI BigChilli, I work on Wireless Road and during weekdays the streets are filled with street vendors selling food and drinks. One day I saw what looked to be a group of police officers on the street, and when they walked near the vendors they were immediately treated like a group of VIPs – handed lots of free food and drinks; one was even given a back rub. It’s amazing to see just how much power these men have on this street – possible story, maybe? Tai, Wireless Road

TIME TO SUPPORT WFFT

Hi Tai, we’ve covered a topic like this before. Please visit our website and search ‘Who owns Bangkok’s sidewalks?’ for the full story.

■ HATS off to Mr. Edwin Wiek and his team for

setting up the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (June issue, P.70). I really hope they continue to receive support because what they are doing is just fantastic. The rate at which animals are being killed is shocking, and if it wasn’t for the work of volunteer foundations like theirs, I think future generations would probably experience elephants, bears and tigers the same way our generation has experienced dinosaurs – as pictures in a book, and fossils in a museum. I, for one, will be doing my best to support WFFT’s cause. JF, Sukhothai

HAPPY READER ■ Hi BigChilli, I’ve just read your June issue and I just wanted to send you a message to congratulate you on a great magazine. While I’ve always enjoyed reading The BigChilli, I think that over the last few months it’s really improved – there’s more to read, the design is modern and cool, and your stories really touch on important issues. Keep up the great work! Jamie Littlewood, Emag fan

READ THE BIGCHILLI FOR FREE ONLINE www.issuu.com/thebigchilli www.thebigchilli.com

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TheBigChilli

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Insight

News|Local interest

The American Independence Day Picnic and BigChilli Cook-Off ■ A FUN day out for the whole family is

guaranteed at the annual American Independence Day Picnic. Held Saturday July 6 at KIS International School, the event will feature a range of fun games and activities (tug of war, egg toss, climbing wall, bouncy castle and more), live music, and lots of American food and drinks stalls. A highlight of the event is the BigChilli Cook Off – a competition to find Bangkok’s best chilli which gives fairgoers the chance to take part in the ‘people’s choice’ judging process (by eating a lot and voting for their fave), and budding chefs the chance to be known as the maker of the city’s best chili. Tough

Molly Malone’s – home of the Ashes! competition comes from several of the city’s expat restaurants, including the hotly tipped Roadhouse Barbeque. Entry to the fair is B300 on the door (B200 if you pay in advance at the AMCHAM office). Free for kids under 12. Shuttle vans are available to and from Huay Khwang MRT station Exit 1. For more info about The BigChilli Cook Off contact Dana Edward Caron “Head Chili Head” at 081 837 6855 email: dana@roadhousebarbecue.com

■ CRICKET fans looking for a great place to follow all the Ashes excitement this month should make a beeline for Molly Malone’s Irish Pub on Soi Convent (Silom Road. Saladaeng BTS Exit 1). In celebration of the series, which will run from July 10 – Aug 25, the pub is offering Tiger and Heineken at just B99.94 per pint during all Ashes test coverage. What’s more, the pub is also giving punters the chance to win a framed montage signed by Sir Donald Bradman, the former Australian cricketer regarded as the greatest batsman who ever lived. To be in with a chance of winning, simply drink six pints of Heineken or Tiger at any time during the Ashes and you’ll get a coupon for a raffle at the end of the competition. For more info about the pub see: www.mollymalonesbangkok.com

Taking on Bangkok’s street vendors with New York hotdogs ■ AFTER 30 years’ travelling the globe as a highly paid IT executive, James Seymour is now facing a tough new challenge on the mean streets of Bangkok – selling iconic New York-style hotdogs from mobile carts. His Superbdog competes head-on with the city’s traditional mobile vendors along Sukhumvit, especially in Soi Nana, where his sausages and buns target hungry tourists and local expats after a night’s drinking in the area’s numerous bars. In the three months since he launched his food business, James says his team has been welcomed by other vendors plying their wares on the roads, but not always by those occupying the sidewalks. “The sidewalks are carefully controlled by MBA officials, the “Thetsakij,” notes Los Angeles-born James. “The roads are

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under the jurisdiction of the police, and we don’t face problems from them.” James, who first came to Thailand 18 years ago, began Superbdog after being unable to find a high quality, all-beef hot dog in Bangkok. “The only alternative was to design and make my own hot dogs.” After experimenting in his home kitchen, he eventually came up with the right formula using natural ingredients with no preservatives. These days his sausages are made exclusively by a supplier. Toppings include homemade chilli, sauerkraut and Wisconsin cheddar cheese. Prices start from 55 baht per hotdog. In addition to the mobile carts, which can be rented for parties and social gath-

erings, James has a hotdog stand on the Nana BTS station. A Superbdog’s cart was exhibited at the recent gala party to mark the 180th anniversary of Thai-US relations. One of the visitors curious to see the company’s products was Prime Minister Yingluk Shinawatra, who declined to eat a hotdog. “She doesn’t know what she was missing,” he noted. www.superbdog.com 

TheBigChilli

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WET WORRIES

Why Bangkok’s future is looking rather damp

ROAD RAGE

SO far this rainy season we’ve avoided the kind of flooding that caused so much havoc in Bangkok for several months in 2011. But don’t hold your breath. The months of September and October traditionally see the heaviest downfalls. Meanwhile, the World Bank has warned that “major portions” of Bangkok will be under water by 2030, thanks to rising sea levels and tropical storms of increased severity. This forecast, it has to be said, overlooks the hugely expensive measures the Thai government is currently planning to avert such a disaster. And if it runs short of funds, the World Bank says it could help out, without detailing the cost to us taxpayers, naturally enough. The World Bank is not the first to suggest that Bangkok’s future is under water. Back in the 1970s, local professors were scaring us with their predictions that the city would be permanently flooded by the early 2000s.More recently, the Governor, MR Paribatra Sukhumbhand, joined the bandwagon when he told this magazine that he fully expected Bangkok to be inundated by the year 2040. Maybe it’s time to buy that condo, or get out of town completely and head for the hills. Or just ignore all the warnings.

TEXTING DISASTER

BIKERS BEWARE

Easy Pass or No Easy Pass?

THE operators of Bangkok’s Expressway should make up their minds about the Easy Pass system. Either everyone should be made to pay in advance for the Pass, which is supposed to speed up access through the tollgates, or it should be dumped immediately. Indecision is causing chaos and long queues at certain gates, such as Dao Khanong, the main entry point for vehicles coming from Hua Hin and the South. This is because at least three of its gates are for the exclusive use of Easy Pass motorists, forcing the majority of cars and buses to queue for the other four gates, which are often inadequate for the volume of traffic. Meanwhile, Easy Pass holders are also caught up in the often prodigious tailbacks at Dao Khanong, completely negating their supposed advantage.

Mobile menace on the roads

IN a car with dark film on its windows, how can you tell its driver is using a mobile phone? Easy. The vehicle is being driven at a much slower speed than the rest of the traffic, causing long and very frustrating tailbacks. And the collective groans of all the motorists stuck behind this selfish driver are perfectly audible.

Village’s two-tier prices

DOUBLE THE MONEY

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ANOTHER tourist attraction in Thailand with a two-price system is Nong Nooch Village in Pattaya. Foreigners are charged 500 baht, while Thais have to pay 250 baht. And it doesn’t matter what evidence a foreigner provides to show he or she lives, works and pays taxes in Thailand, the higher fee is invariably levied. Which is a shame, really, because Nong Nooch Village is a wonderland of natural attractions, according to recent Thai visitors.

Local rules do not apply to foreigners

WHEN in Bangkok, do as the Bangkokians do. Or so thought a foreigner with a motorbike, who parked his machine on the sidewalk alongside dozens of other bikes. When he returned some 20 minutes later, the fellow was shocked to find his motorbike chained to a railing and a brown-shirted officer telling him he’d have to pay a fine of 500 baht to release it. None of the other bikes, of course, were locked up; only his. Being of calm demeanor, he didn’t get upset, just paid up – after negotiating a 250 baht discount.

TheBigChilli

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Insight

Sport|Ironman

How I took on the Ironman – and won! Bangkok-based Joseph Henry was determined to tackle what is probably the world’s toughest sporting challenge – a swim of nearly 4km followed by a 180km bicycle ride and a full marathon run. Here he relates how he returned to his homeland to take on the Ironman Canada

Joseph Henr

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■ AT the age of 39 I took up running but for some reason kept getting leg injuries. A friend told me that the combination of swimming, biking and running would not only reduce injuries, but would also be a lot more fun. And that’s how I got into Triathlons. However, I had one serious obstacle to overcome: to my embarrassment as a grown adult, I had never learned how to swim and had complete fear of water over my head! Happily, after years of hard work and persistence, I eventually cracked it, enabling me to enter my first-ever Triathlon. Today, I am proud to say I belong to the Thailand Triathlon and Cycling Team (TTCT), which includes many of Thailand’s best triathletes, good coaches and training camps.     The Ironman is something else; it’s an event that’s a major step up from a Triathlon. But I was determined to do it, and last year, at the age of 45 and under the guidance of my coaches, I got into shape, training 9-10 times per week, early mornings and evenings with only Mondays off. On weekends, I smashed through all

kinds of endurance barriers. I will never forget my first 4.5km swim and my first 190km cycle ride. In truth, you have to put a lot of your life on hold when you train so much – work, relationships and friendships become side stories. As the Managing Director of Vivaldi Public Relations, it was a monumental challenge to juggle work and training. In August, I am very proud to say that I completed Ironman Canada – a 3.8km swim, 180km cycle and a 42.2km run. It was the pinnacle achievement of my passion for the sport. I thrive on the thrill of learning and feeling how far I can take my spirit, emotions and physical body to its outer limits. I chose Ironman Canada, so my family could join me in the experience. It was a great decision. Racing in one of the world’s top Ironman triathlons   If you’re considering doing an Ironman, I highly recommend Ironman Canada (now Challenge Penticton for 2013). Highest accolades go to the organizers, the city and people of Penticton, Canada – 5,000 volunteers, tens of thousands of supporters and spectators encouraging participants with their fun signs, applause and warm Canadian friendliness throughout the race. >>

TheBigChilli

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Insight

Sport|Ironman

If you want to know how it feels to be a “rock star” go no further – not bad for a town of only about 30,000 people. The race course itself is easily the most beautiful I have seen for any kind of race. With lakes, mountains, desert, vineyards and amazing views, there are a lot of reasons for its popularity. All 3,000 slots are sold out in 30 minutes each year. The beauty of the course also makes it a tough mountainous course; widely considered one of the top three best Ironman in the world and top seven most difficult. The mass swim start with 3,000 triathletes was an incredible experience. A Mixed Martial Arts style mass swim start and my first cold climate swim race ever. Imagine 12,000 legs and arms kicking, punching and splashing in every direction during the swim – it is like being in the middle of a human tsunami.   It was all going well for me until someone kicked my face mask, allowing in some water and also suctioning the lens right up to my eye ball. It caused quite a lot of discomfort so I ended up swimming with one eye closed for most of the race. I also got some lower leg cramps since my legs were not used to the cold water. In fact, I had to stop to stretch both my right and left leg at different times during the swim – a difficult task when you’re surrounded by thousands of swimmers. Despite all that I completed the 3.8 km swim in 1h27mins – short of my target time of 1h20mins. At this point I was in 1,873rd position. Transition 1 change from swim to bike: I was so slow! I had problems with vertigo in the months leading up to the race and had stopped taking the medicine a week before the race, so after coming out

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of the swim I had to sit still for about five minutes for my head to stop spinning. My transitions are usually very fast, but this time it was way too slow. Completed in about nine minutes. Bike ride on a gigantic roller coaster: I probably could have averaged 33-34 kph on the ride to Osoyoos, a town famous as Canada’s only dessert, but a few days prior to the race I spent a few hours with a coach who specialized in Ironman Canada. He warned me that there would be hell to pay when the big climbs came. The first mountain climb was Richter Pass, an 800m elevation over 11km, followed by the despised “Seven Bitches,” wind-swept hills that lead to another gradual 40km climb that gets up to about 5-6% grade over the final seven kilometers before hitting the peak at Yellow Lake. It was here that I started passing dozens of cyclists.   The final 27km leg was buffeted by a strong headwind coming down the last downhill making the ride to the transition the toughest part of the bike for me. Getting so close to the end and yet pedaling so slow into wind was a psychological blow. I completed the bike section in 6hrs 46mins and by this time I had passed more than 160 competitors to reach 1,706th position overall.   Transition 2 from bike to run: A lot faster at about five minutes (it would have been three minutes except for a visit to the toilet, but hey it’s a long day!)   Beautiful run, with a brutal 4km downhill to OK Falls turnaround then back up again   With heavy legs for the start of the run, I did the

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Ironman shuffle – it looks like a zombie walk. Still my first 10km were completed in 1hr 2mins. It was then that I recalled the advice of one of the pros from the press conference the day before. She said that a first time Ironman competitor should walk through the water stations. I started to do that after about 10km and quickly slowed down a lot due to combination of fatigue, hills and also the pure enjoyment of having fun with the crowds, volunteers and other athletes. I thanked and joked with hundreds of spectators and cheered for just as many runners. I hated the hill going down to the OK Falls turnaround, but liked it better going up because everyone else was walking while I was running! When I got to the last 10km, the sun had gone down, the air cooled dramatically and my legs came back to me for the first time all day! I was able to run a blistering 10km pace to the end, passing everybody that was left over. I was, for the

first time during the race, in the zone. My overall time was 4hrs 51 mins and I had passed another 353 athletes on the run alone. The finish – running through the gates of heaven!   What a feeling; I screamed, I cried and I was so happy! My family was there in the gallery, I high-fived as many people as I could leading up to the finish. Even my Mom who was watching on TV in Vancouver saw me finish.   My overall goal was between 13hrs to 13hrs 30mins, to be in the top 50% overall, and to finish the marathon happy with a big smile! I accomplished all these things and it felt wonderful.   But honestly the most joyful part of all was all the support of my family and friends who cheered me all the way from near and far. Officially being an Ironman is really special, but what makes it super special is the way it brought my family and friends together like never before.

TheBigChilli

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Feature

Q&A|Yaya Ying

Going gaga for Yaya Meet the Thai actress who took Cannes by storm

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SHE started her career as a pop singer with Grammy, reveled in it for more than a decade, then two life-changing movie roles came her way, one in Thailand and one abroad. Both have catapulted Yaya ‘Ying’ Rhatha Phongam to dizzy heights. The Thai film, ‘Jan Dara,’ directed by the masterful M.L. Pundhevanop Dhewakul, featured Ying in a sensational nude scene with Thai superstar Mario Mauer. The international film, ‘Only God Forgives’, directed by  2011 Cannes Best Director awardee Nicolas Refn, sees her in a shocking ‘turn-on’ scene with hunky Hollywood actor Ryan Gosling. ‘Only God Forgives’ was shown at the prestigious Cannes Festival this year, where the Thai actress walked on the famed Red Carpet and created a stir with her elegance, style and striking ‘Thai’ outfits. The movie will be released here this month.   Are you a Bangkok-girl? Yes, I’m totally a Bangkok-girl, and did my school and college here. My degree was in English from Bangkok University, and I’ve been working on my English ever since!   Were you a singer from an early age? Yes, I released my first album with Grammy when I was only 16 years old, and followed it with two more albums. I loved singing and dancing on stage!   How did films happen? I guess it was destiny! My mom Noi Phongam, was a wellknown comedian, so it was in my genes. I did one Thai soap ‘Tom Yam Lamsing’ as a singer, and auditioned for many foreign films, but I didn’t get any of them! I auditioned for ‘Only God Forgives’ as early as 2011, but only heard from them a year later! By then, my first Thai movie ‘Jan Dara’ had already been released.  

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By Lekha Shankar

That was a daring role. Yes, it was not easy, playing the role of the sexy Madam Boonleung, who was also older than me. But the director held a one-month workshop with the whole cast, which helped a lot.   How did you enact the love-scenes with Thai super-star Mario Mauer? He’s young, very nice, and has done so many films! We ‘acted out’ the love-scenes at the end of the workshop, which made them a lot easier.   How was it working with director Nicolas Winding Refn? All I can say is that Nick’s very intense. I did at least 30 takes for every scene! The Thai line that he repeated the most, was ‘Dee Mak, Au Eek!’  (‘Very good, do it again!’)   What’s your role? In the original script, I was supposed to be a prostitute, but when he saw my music videos, he said “Damn, she can sing!” So, he changed my role to a karaoke singer!   Where was the movie shot? We shot overnight only, from 6pm to 6 am. Most of it was done in Chinatown, RCA, and the Rangsit area.   What was the most challenging aspect of the movie? That I had very few dialogues, and so a lot of the acting had to come from the ‘inside,’ including the big ‘fight’ scene with Ryan Gosling.   What was Ryan Gosling like? Everyone drools about how ‘hot’ he is, and about his sixpack. He’s also very down-to-earth and a very funny guy!  He was always clowning around to cheer us up, during the tough scenes. Thus, after that big fight-scene between us, which was exhausting, he did a tap-dance backstage to humour us!

TheBigChilli

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Feature

Q&A|Yaya Ying which will be released soon. I enjoyed that as I love Thai kickboxing. I have another film ‘The Second Sight’ where I play a ghost. A third film, ‘Khun Pun,’ with actor Ananda Everingham, is expected to start filming soon. I’m also working on two Thai soap operas.   Any international plans? I’ve signed a contract with an agency in London, which keeps sending me scripts. I audition for them on tape and send back to them. I dream of being the first Thai actress to do a Hollywood film! It’s tough as ‘Asian’ roles are always conceived with Chinese or Hong Kong girls in mind. Do you think a Thai actress can make it in Hollywood? It’s not easy; firstly, because our English-language skills are not as good as others; and secondly, because we are not fighters.   No more music for you? Not really. But I’m partaking in a big Grammy concert in end of August, as they are great, and the stage is magic.   What are your personal dreams? To marry, have a family, and look after them. My father died when I was 19 years old; and my mom has been everything to me. But it’s good to have a father-figure.   What will Mr Right be like? Strong, understanding, respectful and treat me as an equal. The reason why so many marriages break up today is because women have become stronger, but men have not accepted that.   Any advice for aspiring stars? Be patient, never stop learning, and never give up on your dreams.

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Any ner ves at the Cannes Film Festival? Very much so, but when I’m nervous, I keep it within and just breathe in and out! I’m used to photographers, but there were so many in Cannes. Everything is larger than life at Cannes.   You wore some outstanding clothes. I deliberately chose Thai designers, as I love them. I wore a pant-suit by Vatanika for the morning photo-shoot, and a Thai silk gown by Joe Surface, for the evening premiere.   At Cannes, did you meet the Thai actress Chompoo Araya, who was criticized for not doing the Thai ‘wai’? Yes, we had lunch together at a Thai restaurant. She’s a very nice person, and we’ve actually done a soap opera together.   What are you working on now? My second Thai film ‘Tom Yum Goong 2’ with Tony Jaa,

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Nicolas Refn

en? g scored a massive All foacrtogriv on, Ryan Goslin collaborati

n and r second Nicolas Ref Drive. Thei ave divided DIRECTOR the brutal yet stylish ives, may h still scored rg o F d o h G it w nly ut it hit in 2011 ge thriller O oed, half cheered – b reathtaking, k-set reven o ally b n o ti o m the Bangko nes – half the room b “e called it f when the at Can dian, which nt.” Judge for yoursel ar u audiences G e h T ly viole rating in on July 18. d immense a five-star brilliant, an in Thailand’s theatres ly al ic et h s aest movie open

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Gourmet p Wine and restaurant news

Go veggie and save the world ? Where to find vegetarian food in Bangkok. Page 44

What’s Cooking A round up of this month’s best gourmet deals. Yummy! Page 24

Meet the chef We speak to Shaun Venter, Executive Sous Chef of Hilton Pattaya. Page 28

Dining out

Our favourite restaurants reviewed and listed Page 40 TheBigChilli

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Dining|News

Gourmet

What’s Cooking

Bangkok’s hottest dining deals and news Buffet lunch deal UNTIL AUG 31 AT NOVOTEL BANGKOK PLATINUM

Saturday treat at Cuisine Unplugged

EVERY SAT AT PULLMAN BANGKOK KING POWER

■ EVERY Sat night from 6.30pm10.30pm, Cuisine Unplugged is now offering its all-you-can-eat Seafood Buffet for just B1,430 per adult. The sumptuous selection includes French oysters, black mussels, Alaskan king crabs, rock lobsters, and much more.

■ THE Square Restaurant is now offering its superb International Lunch Buffet at half-price. This means you can tuck into Thai specialties, Chinese cuisine, Continental favourites, Japanese Sushi, grilled meats, and more, for just B499++ per person. For every two paying adults, one child aged under 12 eats free.

Phetchaburi Road 02 160 7100 Ext. 8702 :novotel.com

Michelin tastes at Spasso JULY 17 – 21 AT GRAND HY­ ATT ERAWAN BANGKOK

8-2 Rangnam Road 02 680 9999 :pullmanbangkokkingpower.com

Bed Supperclub on the move

World Gourmet Festival ■ THE 14th edition of the annual World Gourmet Festival will be held this year at Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok from Sept 2-8. Showcasing some of the world’s best cuisine and wine in a series of lunches, dinners, and cooking classes, it’s a must visit for any serious foodie. Among the chefs taking part this year are Chef Jérôme Bonnet from Restaurant Daniel in Paris; Chef Vito Mollica from the one-star Il Palagio at Four Seasons Hotel Firenze in Italy; and Chef Paco Perez of two Michelin star The Mirror Restaurant in Spain. Expect a full line up in next month’s issue. :fourseasons.com

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■ THE iconic Bed Supperclub is set to bid farewell to its current location on Sukhumvit Soi 11 with one final party on August 31. Fans of the 11-yearold club shouldn’t despair, though – the closing is due to the withdrawal of the lease agreement by the landlord of the plot on which the club is located, and the club’s partners are now seeking a replacement. In the meantime, expect a series of pop up clubs and Bed On Location events in Bangkok and beyond. :bedsupperclub.com

■ CHEF Igor Macchia, owner of the one Michelin star La Credenza restaurant in Italy, is coming to town to cook up his award winning dishes at Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok’s popular Italian restaurant from July 17-21. B1,500++ for a two-course set, and B1,800++ for a three-course set. On July 19, Chef Igor will also host a cooking class followed by lunch. 494 Rajdamri Road ☎ 02 254 1234 :grand.hyatt.com

Rainy day deal

UNTIL JULY 31 AT THE IMPERIAL QUEEN’S PARK HOTEL

■ HEAD to Parkview Restaurant to enjoy its extensive international dinner buffet this month and, for a change, you’ll be glad if it rains. Why? Well, if rainfall is observed at the hotel between 6pm-10pm, all diners will get 50% off their bill. B1,600 per person for food only. Add B700 for free flow wines and beers.

Sukhumvit 22 02 261 9000 ext. 5001, 5004 :imperialhotels.com

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Two-for-one buffet

UNTIL AUG 31 AT THE WESTIN GRANDE SUKHUMVIT, BANGKOK

■ THE Westin Grande Sukhumvit is now offering a ‘Come 4 Pay 2’ deal on its Sunday lunch buffet. As part of the promotion the hotel has added all kinds of new tasty dishes to the offerings, including a new grill station featuring Snow fish, Rock lobster and Aussie beef and lamb, and much more. Children can enjoy fun activities and games at the Westin Kids Club. B2,190 per adult (For every adult dining, two kids up to the age of 10 dine free). 259 Sukhumvit 19 ☎ 02 207 8000 :westingrandesukhumvit.com

Back to school dinner buffet

AVAILABLE NOW AT THE ST. REGIS BANGKOK

■ WANT to experience a truly traditional Italian lunch? Head straight to Jojo. The restaurant’s new ‘Great Big Italian Lunch’ buffet promotion features a wide selection of rustic dishes made with produce and ingredients sourced from Italy. Cold cuts, D.O.P cheeses, Mediterranean salads, pasta dishes, pizzas, and barbecued fish and meats are just some of the options on offer. Daily 12pm-3pm. B1,200++ per person (or B1,500++ per person with free-flow prosecco). Kids under 12 eat for free. 159 Rajdamri Road ☎ 02 207 7777 :stregisbangkok.com

UNTIL JULY 31 AT IBIS BANGKOK RIVERSIDE

■ THERE’S a great deal available for students this month at Taste Restaurant. Flash a valid student ID and you’ll get the restaurant’s Buffet Dinner for just B399 (normal price B799) every Tues, Wed, Fri, Sat and Sun from 6.30pm-10pm. On Thurs, the promotional price is B499 (normal price B999). 2 Sukhumvit Road, Klongtoey :facebook.com/ibisthailand

A Great Big Italian Lunch

☎ 02 659 2830

Eat free on your birthday

UNTIL SEPT 30 AT NOVOTEL BANGKOK BANGNA

■ CELEBRATE your birthday with three friends or more

at the all-you-can-eat dim sum lunch at Shui Xin Chinese Restaurant, all-you-can-eat sushi deal at Hiiragi Japanese Restaurant, or international buffet lunch or dinner at The Square, and you’ll get your meal free of charge. Must book three days in advance. A highlight is The Square’s Sunday Brunch, with free flow draft beer, at B999++ per person.

333 Srinakarin Road 02 366 0505 ext 1431, 1432 :novotelbangkokbangna.com

New Italian cooking courses Justin Quek at Lord Jim’s JULY 8-13 AT MANDARIN ORIENTAL, BANGKOK

■ SINCE starting his career at The Oriental, Bangkok under the

hotel’s veteran culinary director Chef Norbert Kostner, celebrity chef Justin Quek has gone on to redefine modern cuisine with stellar restaurant successes spanning from Shanghai and Taipei to his native Singapore, where Sky on 57 at Marina Bay Sands is his latest venture. Catch him as he returns to Bangkok for what’s promised to be a week of “show-stopping” dinners at Lord Jim’s. 48 Oriental Avenue ☎ 02 659 9000 :mandarinoriental.com/bangkok

UNTIL AUG 31 AT DUSIT THANI COLLEGE

■ DUSIT Thani College

has joined forces with the prestigious Gambero Rosso culinary institute from Italy to offer a series of Italian cooking courses designed by top Italian chef Adelaide Michelini. Chef Adelaide has worked alongside Michelin-starred chefs, in top ranked restaurants and has also been invited, as an honorary chef, to cook for the U.S. Embassy, Swiss Embassy and Japanese Embassy in Italy. Her two-day cooking courses (English with Thai translation) share the truly quintessential methods of preparing and cooking the best of Italian cuisine – including pizzas, pasta, desserts, southern dishes, Roman cuisine, and more. Courses range from B18,000 to B22,000 per person. 1 Soi Kaengthong (next to Seacon Square) ☎ 02361 7811 ext. 141-143 :dtc.ac.th

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Gourmet

Dining|News

Young, gifted and cooking!

Trainee Chef Natawat to represent Thailand in the Asian Finale of the Disciples Escoffier Young Talent Trophy in Hong Kong

Chef Hervé Frerard then named the first runner-up, 19-year-old Anuchit Jeenmahan. All students were presented with Certificates of Participation.   The panel of judges included Preechapon Apibanvoragul (Jom) Chef de Partie – Four Seasons; Chef Preeprem Saowakit, Honorary Advisor of the Thai Chefs Association, Chef and owner of Chef Prek Kitchen on Koh Samui; Chef Raphael Kinimo of Brasserie 9; Chef Hervé Frerard, President Disciples Escoffier International Thailand and owner of Le Beaulieu; Colin Hastings, owner/publisher of The BigChilli; Chef McDang, celebrity chef and food

■ FIVE talented young chefs from Bangkok pitted their culinary skills against each other for the chance to represent Thailand in the upcoming Asian Finale of the Disciples Escoffier Young Talent Trophy 2013, to be held at the Restaurant & Bar in Hong Kong on September 2013. Cooking a dish comprising duck breast and vegetables, the chefs were observed in action by a panel of judges who were looking at preparation, timing, hygiene, cooking techniques and overall presentation before having the pleasure of tasting the food. Deciding on a winner was a difficult call for the judges, but they eventually chose Natawat Noinith, a 20-year-old student of the Dusit Thani College, who was awarded a set of ARCOS kitchen knives by Chef McDang, one of Thailand’s best known culinary experts.  

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writer; and Amnad Tanasombat, winner of the 5th Disciples Escoffier Young Talent Trophy and third place at the world competition. Khun Natawat will be coached for the Hong Kong competition by the chefs amongst the judges and, if successful, will go on to participate in the World Competition in France in 2014. Sponsors of the Disciples Escoffier Young Talent Trophy, held at the Dusit Thani College, were ARCOS, Acqua Panna / San Pellegrino, Chef Works, Cuisinart, and SOPEXA.

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"For A Healthy Life Style"

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Gourmet

Chefs in focus|Shaun Venter

Most influential chef? Anthony Bourdain. He might not be the best but I love his “try all, know all” attitude towards food Favourite ingredients? Chipotle Chillis

Worst habit of local diners? Complaining that menus are overpriced when they know the items on their plate are premium and imported

SERVING UP

Most difficult dish you’ve ever had to cook? Yorkshire Puddings

Shaun Venter

Hilton Pattaya’s Executive Sous Chef shares a few of his culinary secrets Steak or seafood? A BIG juicy rib-eye steak

Most used cookbook? McGee on Food and Cooking: An Encyclopedia of Kitchen Science, History and Culture

Cool tempered or volatile in the kitchen? Firm but fair…

Quality of kitchen staff in Thailand? Thai Team Members are the same as any in the world… “What you put in is what you will get out!’

Favourite wine? Kanonkop Pinotage, Stellenbosch

Biggest culinary myth? Putting oil in boiling water will prevent pasta from sticking… not true!

Worst kitchen disaster? Leaving a food blender full of spinach purée running and unattended for a second. The lid came off and the contents covered almost every part of the kitchen with green spots

Favourite dish? To eat – spaghetti bolognaise. To cook – 48-hour lamb shank with herb falafel, edamame and feta salsa, and roast garlic aioli

Chef Shaun in focus ■ SHAUN Venter originates from Cape Town, South Africa, where he attended Elsa van der Nest Culinary Academy and got the opportunity to be part of the team which catered for the Presidential visit of Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela as well as Ernie Els’s (the South African golfing legend) wedding. He then made the decision to go and work in professional kitchens abroad, where he dedicated the next decade improving his skills. In London he worked under renowned chefs such as Jean Christophe Novelli and Antony Worrall Thompson, and in Dubai he worked for two years in the Burj Al Arab, one 28

of the world’s only 7-star hotels. A stint in the country’s first Thai fusion restaurant, Lotus One, saw Shaun falling in love with Asian flavours, specifically Thai ingredients, and these passions led him to Koh Samui. On the island he spent three years working as executive chef of Bhundhari Spa Resort & Villas, Samui, a Centara Resort, as well as taking care of Centara Pariya Resort & Villas in Koh Phangan. He then took up the opportunity to open Horizon Restaurant at Hilton Pattaya and assume the role of Executive Sous Chef. Hilton Pattaya, 333/101 Moo 9, Nong Prue, Banglamung 038 253 000 :pattaya.hilton.com

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Gourmet

Pics|Events

Gourmet scrapbook

Last month’s foodie functions in focus

Sommelier success for Landmark CPN reveals its gourmet plans ■ CPN introduced its three up-and-coming lifestyle restaurants – Groove at CentralWorld, The Port at CentralFestival Samui, and The Blossom at CentralFestival Chiangmai – by hosting a glamorous “Eat with Style” party at ZENSE Gourmet Deck & Lounge Panorama Level 17, ZEN World at CentralWorld. The event, which had a ‘Neon Black’ theme, featured a special range of signature drinks mixed by lifestyle gurus M.R. Srikhumrung ‘Mangmoom’ Yukol, Pattareeya ‘Pie’ Na Nakorn, and Kanachai ‘Kit’ Bencharongkul, and was capped with a performance by popular Thai band Getsunova.

■ THE sixth edition of the annual ‘Thailand’s Best Sommelier Competition’ was held at the Ballroom of the Conrad Bangkok, where Khun Pathompong Wangmanao, Sommelier of RR&B Restaurant, the Landmark Bangkok Hotel, was declared winner. The two joint runners-up were Khun Supapong Mekprasart, Head Sommelier of the Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok, and Khun Santi Thongrit, Wine Guru at Anantara Hua Hin Resort & Spa.

Two great chefs join hands ■ Two of Bangkok’s best loved culinary experts, Chef Herve Frerard and Chef McDang, got together at Le Beaulieu Restaurant to present their ‘East meets West’ Four Hands dinner to a group of special guests. The event featured the French cooking of Chef Herve and the Thai cooking of Chef McDang in a set menu.

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Gourmet

Pics|Events

A summer feast with Fred Tibbitts ■ THE Sixth Annual Fred Tibbitts and Associates’ “A Summer Evening in Bangkok with Very Special Friends” saw over 60 VIP guests arrive at the Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok to enjoy a night of fine wines and gourmet cuisine. Hosted by Fred Tibbitts, Jr., President and CEO of Fred Tibbitts &Associates, Inc, the four-course gala dinner helped raise funds for UNICEF, The National Elephant Conservation Center, and Habitat for Humanity Thailand. The event was attended by hotel vice presidents, senior hotel executives, area general managers, industry VIPs, members of the press and the sponsors of the dinner.

A Toast Around The World ■ ROYAL Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers in Bangkok celebrated the first anniversary of Sheraton Social Hour and the global roll-out of Sheraton Hotels & Resorts’ signature wine program by joining a 24-hour ‘Toast Around The World,’ which was passed virtually from Asia to Europe to the Americas. Developed by premier wine experts and the brand’s global food and beverage team, the Social Hour program offers guests a specially curated menu of premium wines and weekly tasting events. The Bangkok celebration showcased Treasury Wine Estate and Chateau Ste. Michelle wines, which were complemented by a selection of world-renowned cheeses and live entertainment in the hotel’s Lobby Lounge.

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cut out and keep

Dining|Recipe

Gourmet

Recipe of the month Salmon Spaghetti Basil

Thai flavours are given an Italian twist in this tongue-tingling dish by Chef Thanawat, the culinary maestro in charge of BlueSpice Restaurant at Grande Centre Point Hotel Terminal 21 Ingredients • Spaghetti 150g • Fresh Salmon (Cube) 60g • Fresh Thai Bird Chilli (minced) 2 pieces • Half a large red pepper (Julienne cut for Garnish) • Half a cup of Chicken or Vegetable Stock • Minced Garlic 2 pieces • Sliced Garlic (for Garnish) 1 piece • Basil Leaf 10 pieces • Crispy Basil Leaf 10 pieces • Cherry Tomato (Cut in Half ) 3-4 pieces • Vegetable Oil 2 cups • Oyster Sauce 2 teaspoons • Soy Bean Sauce 2 tablespoons • Chinese rice wine 1 teaspoon

Method 1. Boil pasta in salted water until cooked (5-7 minutes) 2. Fry the sliced garlic and whole basil leafs and set aside for garnish 3. Heat a pan and add vegetable oil 4. When the oil is hot enough, add the diced salmon. Turn until it is half cooked, then set aside 5. Use the same pan and add the chopped garlic and minced chilli 6. When you have a strong fragrance of garlic and chilli add the cooked salmon 7. Add the Chinese rice wine, cherry tomato and cooked pasta

8. Season with soy bean sauce and oyster sauce 9. Add a little stock to keep the pasta moist 10.Plate the dish and garnish with crispy basil leaf, crispy garlic and Julienne red pepper

About the chef

t Chef Thanawa 34

AS executive chef of the Seefah Group, Chef Thanawat has spent the last 15 years creating menus and managing kitchens at the group’s properties in Thailand. Known for giving an international spin to local cuisine, he has wowed diners with his signature creations at the RBSC Polo Club Kitchen, BlueSpice restaurants, and most recently at Grande Centre Point Hotel Terminal 21, where he cooks up a wide range of innovative dishes which blend eastern and western flavours to delicious effect. Sukhumvit Soi 19 (Next to Terminal 21 Shopping Mall. Asok BTS). Restaurant on 5th floor.

☎02 681 9000 ext. 4440 : grandecentrepointterminal21.com

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Gourmet

Dining|BB&B

Bangkok Beefsteak & Burgundy New dishes and the same great atmosphere make a return visit to Chesa a joy

C

ELEBRATING a return to Chesa one month earlier than in the past, the BB&B dining group found ourselves once again in the company of 16 old friends. As we have come to expect, Thomas and Rene laid on a great feast including several new items on the menu; the snacks around the bar were very tasty (and filling) and featured among other items, Haggis en croute. With this we had a choice of sangria (a Thomas family recipe) and a rosé wine, Domaine La Chautarde Rosé 2012 (Côteaux en Varois Provence, France).  Both were enjoyed. Dining proper started with a Trio of tartar, smoked salmon, beef and beetroot with quail egg accompanied by Grüner Veltliner Weingut Bründlmayer Kamptaler 2011 (Austria); Oliver

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Schnatz, our wine spokesman, found ‘interesting aromas and flavours of glazed citrus and kiwifruit matched with bracing acidity and creaminess.’ Tom Whitcraft, our food spokesman, also praised the dish. There followed White asparagus in smoked bacon with green asparagus espuma and Lamblin & Fils Pinot Noir 2009 (Bourgogne, France). This was an inspired matching of food and wine; in my opinion, the Pinot Noir had, for once, put the New World wine product to shame. Full marks were given to an excellent soup, Cream of fennel with seared carpaccio of scallops, crispy basil leaves and saffron oil, and again the wine, Chardonnay Hildebrand (South Africa), proved to be an excellent match for the soup. The main course featured Roasted lamb loin, braised brussels sprouts, potatoes and reduction of red wine sauce served with Sandalford Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 (Margaret River, WA). The lamb had been slow cooked to perfection, the

braised sprouts an imaginative choice to accompany this, and Sandalford has produced once again a great wine from the world’s most popular grape variety; both Tom and Oliver had no hesitation in recommending the course of food and wine as the pick of the day. The final part of the lunch concluded with Fresh mango and passion fruit sherbet topped with crisp coconut and strawberries and was joined by Dow’s Tawny Port ‘10 years’ (Portugal). There still remained an Assortment of cheese for those with large appetites; even I struggled with this but Tom correctly complimented both the quality and variety of the cheese. This was an exceptional lunch and Thomas, Rene and the accompanying staff received well deserved thanks from the diners. 5 Sukhumvit Soi 20 :chesa-swiss.com

☎ 02 261 6650

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Gourmet

Dining|News

Bar Banter

This month: Sarawut Permnam The Beverage Manager of the new Mode Sathorn Hotel, Managed by Siam@Siam, talks about his bartending success hard and put your heart and soul into something, you can triumph against anyone. You obviously make lots of innovative cocktails. Which one is your favourite and why? Tom-Ka Martini (only served at Rice & Chilli, Thai Contemporary Restaurant). Thai cuisine is famous all around the world, so I wanted to make a cocktail which would reflect the country and its flavours – hot, spicy, and unique. I’m very proud of this creation. Best thing about being a bartender? Some people may think a bartender is someone who just makes drinks, but the job is much more adventurous than that. Making the perfect cocktail is a science, an art. You have to know what you’re doing, you have to understand all the liquors and ingredients so you can create new unique drinks that really highlight the quality of the products you’re using. When I’m creating my drinks, I feel like a star on stage, and I love to hear that my customers are having a great time.

I

In 2010, you came first in the Bartender Championship of Thailand competition. You’ve also represented the country at a national level. What’s the secret to being an award winning bartender? If you want to do anything, you have to give it your best shot. Never give up, never retreat, and never surrender. In competition, it is normal to win or lose; sometimes you face disappointment, but this is all part of learning. I constantly practice my art and always create new cocktails, so this also helps me to be brave and unafraid of my opponents. If you work

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What is your role at Mode Sathorn Hotel? I’m the beverage manager here. My duty is to help the F&B Director in the beverage aspect of every outlet; for example, I handle things like finding suppliers to provide stock and equipment for the bars. I also create signature drinks for the venues, decide monthly promotions, and train bar staff. The hotel obviously has several bars and restaurants. Where should guests go to enjoy your signature cocktails? Theater Bar is the place where I put all my 10 years’ worth of experience together. Here you can enjoy many award-winning cocktails and signature creations prepared with flair. We also have a good selection of classic cocktails familiar to all, a large wine cellar, and over 20 different types of beer. With live DJs performing late into the night, it’s a great place to come for a night out with friends. Finally, do you have a bartending philosophy? Remember to always dream. More importantly, make those dreams come true and never give up. 144 North Sathorn Road, Silom

☎ 02 623 4555 :modesathorn.com

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Where to eat

Gourmet

Recommended restaurants and bars Asian cuisine

Seafood

Liu

Hai Tien Lo

classical gourmet Chinese restaurant features a range of innovative Shanghainese, Sichuan and Cantonese dishes that you won’t find elsewhere in Bangkok. Dishes range from traditional dim sum selections to a wide choice of seafood, chicken, duck and beef specialties. Although it’s not one of Liu’s unique creations, its famous “Dong Po Pork” (B320) is a must try – featuring stewed pork belly with dark soy sauce served with Chinese buns.

restaurant perched on the 22nd floor of the Pan Pacific Hotel serving Cantonese-style Chinese food. Dim sum lunches are a big thing here. During the week, lunchtime customers are usually shoppers and business types. On the weekends, a dim sum lunch at the restaurant has become a traditional event with many families. In the evening a variety of set menus and a la carte items are available. The view, service and good food make this place a winner.

Thai/Chinese seafood dining at its best, this restaurant may be hard to find, but it’s definitely worth the effort. Frequented by Thais and farang who know a clam from an oyster, it puts most of the city’s seafood emporiums to shame. The menu is large and so are the portions. All of the fish is good, but so are the scallops, river prawns and deep-fried soft-shell crab. Casual and laidback, there is live entertainment in the evening, and the open-air setting on the river is cool and refreshing.

Crowne Plaza Hotel, Rama IV Rd (MRT Silom or BTS Saladaeng), 02 632 9000

At the end of Soi 14, Rama III, near the Montien Riverside Hotel 02 292 0175

•Conrad Bangkok’s neo-

Conrad Bangkok, All Seasons Place, 87 Wireless Road 02 690 9999 :conradbangkok.com

Le Dalat Indochine

•Vietnamese food with

significant French overtones served in a delightfully converted residence. The interior is packed with the owner’s memorabilia and bric-a-brac, giving the restaurant a comfortable feeling. Before going to your table, have a drink in

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•A large and attractive

the funky little Le Lotus Bleu Bar at the entrance. The food is superb, especially the seafood. For a real treat try Cua Rang Me, a whole pan-fried crab that is coated with tamarind paste, spring onions and pounded garlic. It’s messy to eat, but the chance to chew and suck on the garlicky shell makes it worth the effort. This place is highly recommended. Sukhumvit Soi 23, 600m from Sukhumvit Rd (BTS Asoke or MRT 02 661 7967 Sukhumvit)

Baan Klang Nam

Café Fish

With handy locations in Bangkok’s most popular malls, the aptly named Café Fish restaurant chain reels in seafood fans in droves with a wide selection of deep sea delights such as classic Fish and chips (B290) and Mediterranean-inspired Seafood with pasta in Pomodoro sauce

Lord Jim’s

Seafood, views of the Chao Phraya, and the rush that comes with dining at the Oriental are what Lord Jim’s is all about. There is a good buffet at lunch featuring all sorts of seafood, including sashimi, sushi and oysters. In the evening, it goes a la carte and becomes one of the best places in the city for classic Western seafood dishes. For those who don’t enjoy seafood, there are other items on the menu. The wine list is first class and there is live music in the evening. The Oriental Bangkok (BTS Saphan Taksin, then complimentary hotel shuttle boat) 02 659 9000

(B290). While the restaurant is nothing like your classic British chippy – no greasy walls, no fish wrapped in paper, no waitresses with names like Shaz shouting “Once, twice wrapped please!” to a grizzled chef wearing an apron splattered with batter –the branches still have plenty of buzz and a café-like feel thanks to uncluttered tables, young trendy staff in sneakers, and open kitchens where you can spy chefs preparing your fish before it gets its sizzle on. Café Fish can be found at Emporium, Terminal 21, and Siam Paragon Open daily 10am-9.30pm

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Italian cuisine

Steakhouse

Loop

Gianni

floor of the Pathumwan Princess Hotel opposite the hotel’s huge saltwater swimming pool, Loop is one of the city’s best kept dining secrets. Why? Well, sit out on the terrace in one of the plush, large banquettes and you’ll feel like you’re dining at a restaurant in a beachside resort rather than at a hotel in the heart of the city. The menu features home-style Italian cuisine with a focus on fresh Mediterranean flavours – think light salads, seafood, grilled Aussie beef and lamb, and, of course, pizzas. A daily set lunch deal offers a choice of either two-courses for B450, or three-courses for B550.

a Venetian, has a cadre of regulars, many from the ‘Old Country,’ keeping this place busy most nights of the week. In addition, he gets more of the Italian tourist crowd than most local places, plus lots of prominent Thais. The setting is open-plan, with abstract paintings, soft lights and shared couches. Set lunches make Gianni’s far cheaper at lunch than at dinner. The 200 different Italian wines give it probably the largest Italian wine list in town. Call for reservations; it gets busy.

•Tucked away on the eighth

•Owner/chef Gianni Favro,

Soi Tonson, 250m from Ploenchit Rd 02 252 1619 (BTS Chidlom)

New York Steakhouse

Tenderloins Bar & Grill

ular steakhouse. Elegant, but still relaxed, it’s packed every night and reservations are a must. Other things appear on the menu, but steaks are what it’s all about. Features the finest US and Australian meat that is always properly stored and aged. The wine list is extensive and features a large number of wines by the glass. Numerous cocktails are available, but do yourself a favour and try the Classic Martini. It’s the perfect prelude to a steak. This restaurant isn’t cheap, but it’s worth the tariff.

marrying a crackling bar and an excellent grill featuring some of Bangkok’s best and most reasonably priced steaks, Tenderloins has a lot going for it. The menu is short, but features beef from Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and the USA. Burgers, salads and other items are also available. The wine list is compact and primarily Australian, but it has some excellent inexpensive choices. Tenderloins is a good and affordable choice for an after work drink and a good steak.

JW Marriott Bangkok at Sukhumvit Soi 2 (BTS Ploenchit or BTS Nana) 02 656 7700

Sukhumvit Soi 33(BTS Prom Pong), 02 258 4529

•This is Bangkok’s most pop- •Notable for successfully

Pathumwan Princess Hotel, MBK Center. Open daily 11.30am02 216 3700 ext. 20818 10.30pm. :pprincess.com

Voilà!

Basilico Pizzeria

•Popular since the day it

opened, the emphasis here is on pizza and pasta, but there are other things on the menu, including great grilled lamb chops. The pizza is Neapolitan style with a slightly lighter crust to match Bangkok tastes. The restaurant is large and possesses rooms for private functions, but most people sit out front in the atrium with its enormous wood-fired oven. Sukhumvit Soi 33, across from Novotel Lotus Hotel (BTS Phrom 02 662 2323 Phong),

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HE Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit’s signature all day dining restaurant Voilà! serves international buffet lunch and dinner to a superb ‘Cuisine on Stage’ concept – which basically means you can order most of your food from live cooking stations, including a Parisian-style rotisserie and an artisan La Cornue stove. The amazing selection of dishes on offer ranges from fresh seafood and oysters on ice to Parisian bistro selections (soups and casseroles), flame grilled rotisserie meats, Italian pasta, fresh pizzas, Asian favourites, and decadent desserts. A cheese room boasts a wealth of premium quality cold cuts and delightfully pungent cheeses from around the world, and there are even 100 bottles of wine to choose from, including 25 choices by the glass. Spoilt for choice? You bet it. BuffetlunchisB995;dinnerisB1,450;andSunday Brunch is B3,200 with free-flow champagne, cocktails and house wines; or B2,250 with free flow soft drinks. EveryFriandSatnightaSeafoodBuffetisjust B1,999.

Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit, 189 Sukhumvit Road Soi 13-15 (between Nana and Asok BTS stations). 02 126 9999 ext. Voilà! :sofitel.com

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International cuisine

Trader Vic’s

100m Wine &

•If you are looking for a great Bistro place to take visitors from out •Creative cuisine and delecof town or simply to escape the stresses and strains of everyday life in Bangkok, Trader Vic’s restaurant at the Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort and Spa, which has been wowing Bangkok diners with its French-inspired Pacific Rim cuisine for over two decades, is a must visit. The restaurant’s two-page food menu may not be one of the most extensive in town but the focus here is on quality over quantity. Highlights include Ahi Poke (B280++) – featuring raw tuna, avocado, and chopped chilli dressing with a small string-wrapped parcel of crackers; BBQ Duck Breast (B500++), and Indonesian Lamb Rack (B850++). Trader Vic’s Sunday Brunch is also a must try.

table wines are served in style at this modern restaurant on the 22nd floor of the S31 Sukhumvit boutique hotel. Sit at any of the well-dressed tables and you’ll enjoy a stunning view of the Bangkok cityscape, a breathtaking sight which is especially stunning at night when the urban jungle’s buildings light up like modern day fireflies. From the kitchen come gourmet creations which blend Italian and French flavours to exciting effect. Pan seared yellowtail loin fish, Sous vide lamb loin, and Pan seared foie gras are all must tries. And sweet lovers shouldn’t miss the Panna Cotta, which has a delicate balance of cream and fruity flavours; a real sweet treat to be savored.

Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort & Spa, 257/1-3 Charoennakorn Road (free shuttle boat from Saphan Taksin 02 476 0022 ext. 1416 BTS)

S31 Sukhumvit hotel, 545 Sukhumvit 31, open daily 4.30pm – 10.30pm. 02 260 1111 ext. 2302 :s31hotel.com

The Queen Victoria Pub

This traditional British tavern’s spanking-new, spitand-polish aura lends itself to a discovery of unspoiled coziness. Slump into leather loungers, lean back, and tuck into a culinary lineup that would benefit a gourmet Steakhouse: rib-eye, sirloin, T-bone steaks, spare ribs, lamb chops. Also pick from a great range of seafood specials and perennial Thai favorites. The interior is comfortable and excellent for watching live sports; an al fresco terrace is the venue for regular barbecue nights. More prudish patrons shouldn’t worry about the pub’s location on Soi 23 (near Soi Cowboy). The Queen Victoria boasts a squeaky-clean image of family-friendly fun.

Bacchus

•One of Bangkok’s genuine

wine bars, Bacchus is a trendy hideaway popular with locals and expatriates. Located at the Ploenchit end of Ruam Rudee Village, Bacchus is actually two shophouses that have been cleverly designed to resemble a cross between an upmarket restaurant and a chic yet cozy home set on four levels, including a see-thru floor. The wine selection is enormous and competitively priced, while the cuisine is a mixture of European, Japanese and Thai. The restaurant can be hired in part or whole for private events. Ruam Rudee Village, 20/6-7 Ruam 02 650 8986 Rudee Ploenchit, email: info@bacchus.tv :bacchus.tv

Sukhumvit Soi 23, opposite Soi Cowboy, (BTS Asoke) 02 661 7417

No Idea

•This popular gastropub on

Sukhumvit 22 always pulls in a large crowd of sports lovers (big-screen TVs throughout offer football, rugby, golf and whatever else is on demand), but the real draw here remains, of course, the food, and like all gastropubs, the menu is a work of art. There are many

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mouthwatering soups, pasta, risottos, pizza, sandwiches and burgers to choose from – all offered at great value for money. Whatever your reason to visit the pub, No Idea has the space, style and comfort to ensure you had the right idea to visit. Sukhumvit Soi 22 :noideabk.com

☎ 02 663 6686

Aldo’s Mediterranean Bistro and Wine bar

•This is a rare gem among

venue to kick back, relax and enjoy delicious food and fine wine. There’s a well-stocked cellar providing an excellent selection of fruity New World and Old World wines, and a food menu with some of the finest Mediterranean cuisine to be found in Bangkok. All set at great prices. Enjoy your meal indoor or poolside. 7th floor, The Ascott Building, 187 02 676 6982 South Sathorn Road

Bangkok’s multitude of up-market dining venues. Elegant and stylish without pretentiousness, an informal atmosphere ensures it’s a great

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Gourmet

Feature|Dining scene

Go veggie and save the world?

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Howard Richardson explains the benefits of eating vegetarian food and reveals where you can find it in Bangkok

HAVE you ever been preached at by a raving vegetarian? No, me neither, although I did recently see a sticker saying: ‘Go Veg, Save the Planet,’ proclaimed by the ‘Supreme Master.’ Otherwise, apart from the occasional Bangkok Post letter writer, they seem a reserved bunch who wouldn’t say Boo to a goose. But what if the statement is true, and we could go veggie and save the planet? If we forget for a minute some of the main reasons people avoid meat – religious sensibilities, better health, animal cruelty – and ask: What do meat eaters cost the world? The answer is scary food for thought. Particularly for a meat eater, like myself. Livestock farming causes over half of global climate change emissions. That’s according to a 2009 World Bank report based on everything from cold storage and global transportation to the oft-cited farting of cattle. Then add the inefficient use of resources. It takes 9,000 litres of water to produce a single pound of beef and 8.4kg of food to produce a kilo of pork. Almost 30% of ice-free land is already used to feed or house livestock. In a world where the population is expected to grow by nearly one-third to 9.5 billion by 2050, becoming vegetarian – or at least eating less meat – could be one of the most effective ways to ease the burden. Thailand, with its legions of part time vegetarians, is already some way there. And, according to several chefs we spoke to, attitudes in general are changing. Although mainly for health reasons. Anotai Gongvatana runs one of Bangkok’s best known vegetarian

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Anotai and a selection of its most popular dishes

hangouts. Following a Cordon Bleu course in London, she returned to Thailand intending to cook French food, but a small health problem changed her mind. “I was reading a lot about nutrition and eventually decided to go vegetarian,” she says. “When I opened Anotai, in 2000, I wanted to cook what I ate. Everybody freaked! It was hard then to find people who understood. But it’s improved. I wouldn’t say there are more vegetarians,

but people are eating more vegetarian meals. “Around 70% of my customers are not vegetarian, but they take care of themselves. They see vegetarian food as a healthy option.” They could be right. The World Cancer Research Fund concludes that people who eat 100-120 grams of red or processed meat a day have a 20% to 63% increased risk of various cancers. Is eating less meat a no-brainer? To find out more, I headed for Bangkok’s veggie dining options, including Thai, Indian and Italian, and – for diners who want an upmarket experience, possibly with meat eaters in tow – the dedicated vegetarian sections

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at the fashionable restaurants Long Table and Eat Me. A good start is Anotai’s cute little café, with a few wooden tables and slinky jazz for background noise. The owner is infectiously animated, and – despite it being a little out of the way – some diners go to see her as much as for the tasty food (mainly B140-B165+). One told me she visits every day from Pathumwan – “It’s like eating at home” – another had come from Sirirat. Many ingredients are sourced from Anotai’s organic farm in Ratchaburi. A typical crunchy fresh salad has deep fried tofu cut into cubes, with a good chewy bite on the surface and a jab of Szechuan pepper and slightly spicy, sweet-sour lemongrass dressing. “Sometimes tofu can be a bit bland,” Anotai explains, “So I use Japanese tofu with holes in it, which allows the dressing to soak in.” For another dish, spicy tofu and cilantro dip, she moves to hard tofu: “So we can mince it. It’s the same recipe as for nam prik ong; fried tofu with no oil, and we add raw sugar, tomato, chilli and coriander.” Vegetable crackers provide the crunch of the missing crispy pork skin. The counter has displays of Anotai’s cakes. And despite the health focus, “They’re not low fat,” she says. “Things should be what they are. I’m not a fan of mock meats either.”

Like many vegetarian diners, Anotai doesn’t sell alcohol, but you can take your own at no corkage charge. Mock meats are a staple at many places, including the annual Vegetarian Festival, a Chinese Taoist event, where little yellow flags with red writing denote veggie stalls. Similar signs are a good way to spot Bangkok’s Chinese vegetarian cafés, where cooks adhere to a diet of jae food. There are basically two strands of vegetarianism in Thailand, Anotai explains. “People who follow mangsawirat, can eat dairy and eggs,” she says. “With jae, if they’re strict they won’t eat eggs or dairy, and they believe that avoiding strong flavoured foods calms aggression. So, no garlic, onion or celery. Some followers are full time vegetarians, others just for a short time to make merit.” The breakaway Buddhist sect Santi Asoke runs a series of diners around the city, the most famous of which is Mangsawirat Chamlong, near Chatuchak market. Several small outlets here, including a minimart, sell vegetarian and organic produce, but the main food

Long Table and its all-time favourite dishes including Wok fried broccoli with vegetable oyster sauce and Laab tao hun

court is an open-sided warehouse staffed by volunteers. Tofu meat substitutes abound in dishes from noodles to spring rolls, curries and spicy salads, mainly priced 20 to 30 baht. They even have ‘sausage’ rolls and mini pizzas. There are more stalls with religious connections at Banana Family Park, located around an old Thai house called Baan Aree. There’s a Buddhist library here, too, a small language school with English and Thai lessons, meditation classes, a shop, and cafés. Two dishes (pumpkin curry and deep fried mushrooms) plus rice cost me a mere 30 baht. Of various outdoor areas to eat at, the best is near the entrance, beside green trees and water chuckling from a small fountain. It was calm and relaxing until I was approached by an Indian guy who said, “I’m a yogi,” and threw the line about me being “a very lucky person.” Suitably inspired, I wriggled out of the palm reading and headed for Sukhumvit and the basic but clean Sri Ganesha. Among a long menu of South Indian vegetarian classics is a raft of dosas, the rice or wheat flour pancake served with a choice of fillings, and dal soup and chutneys on the side (B90-B140). It’s typical of the unfussy Indian cafés around town. Similar is the four-table Chennai Kitchen, 30 metres from the Maha Uma Devi Indian Temple, on Silom, the centre of the annual Navratri Festival. It usually falls in October, and though not strictly a vegetarian festival, it has streets full of veggie food stalls. The best dosa I found, however, was at Dosa King. At 130 baht they’re more expensive than many, but the portions are bigger. They also have a wide choice of dishes, including northern Indian, and you can request meals cooked dairy free, vegan or jain, which doesn’t permit meat, dairy or vegetables grown underground, such as onion, carrot or garlic. Another chef who sees an increase in vegetarian traffic is Dan Ivarie at Long Table, who added a vegetarian section to his modern Thai menu following customer demand.

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Gourmet

Feature|Dining scene berries and whipped cream. At B390++, it’s not the cheapest dessert in town, but it’s stunning; and after a dinner for two that comes in under 1,000 baht, you might afford a small treat. Dan is also a consultant for Absolute Fit Foods, where he works with a nutritionist to design healthy five- to ten-week

“People kept asking for it, so I put it on, and now it’s one of our best sellers,” he says. “In general diners are more aware of the connection between diet and health. A meat-heavy diet might have made sense when we were farmers and fishermen, but now we’re all button pushers.” The trademark long table at Dan’s chic 25th floor restaurant stretches 25 metres, almost from the kitchen to the terrace, which has a terrific view for sundowners. And it’s a good spot to check out the dedicated page of 13 vegetarian dishes (from B180++) with others dotted throughout the menu. You can ask for any dish without meat. Most have an international sensitivity to the bolder Thai flavours, but Dan says: “If diners ask for zab zab [spicy hot] they get it.” Good choices include yam mor ra kodd (B220++), which arrives as three mounds of shredded carrot, green papaya, heart of palm and green mango, laced with crushed peanuts and the velvety sheen of sesame oil. It’s sweet, slightly acidic, and moreish. Wok fried broccoli with vegetable oyster sauce (B280++) has tofu scallops sitting on mushrooms, all topped with black pepper and crispy garlic dressing. It’s a great range of textures, from creamy soft, to a gentle bite of mushrooms and the fresh green crunch of broccoli. For a spicier hit, there’s laab tao hun (B200++) mixing minced tofu with toasted rice, shallots, vegetables and lime dressing. To finish, try warm white chocolate and almond tart with orange syrup, fresh

dietary programmes, each providing a full set of daily meals delivered to your door. They’re tailored to various goals, including weight loss and detox, with vegetarian options available. “The new round of healthy eating philosophy is to stay away from dairy and meat or any kind of processed product, which are often loaded with chemicals,” Dan says. “The body needs proteins, but you can get these from things like quinoa, and seeds such as flax, pumpkin, millet and sunflower. The new dietary questions are not about carbohydrates, fats and proteins, but how many micronutrients you’re getting.” There are more health-focused menus at Rasayana, which serves exclusively raw vegetarian food, and Glow, in the Metropolitan hotel, where raw dishes are scattered throughout the menu. In raw food nothing is heated above 46C, which these restaurants say best maintains vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. There’s a similar mantra – to “protect health and nature” – at the Japanese owned organic shop and restaurant, Sustaina – a handy 30 seconds walk from Phrom Phong Skytrain station. It sells produce from Harmony Life Organic Farm in Khao Yai, and includes a clutch of veg options (B50-B270++), including soup, sandwiches, sashimi, and three

“The new round of healthy eating philosophy is to stay away from dairy and meat or any kind of processed product, which are often loaded with chemicals.”

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course macrobiotic sets. At two years old, Sustaina adds to the stalwarts who have long been sensitive to Bangkok’s vegetarian diners, often because they’re vegetarians themselves. One is Marta Maule, from Vicenza, who has run the meat-free Italian restaurant Govinda for the last nine years. Her standard fare of pizzas and pastas (from B160++) include soy substitutes for ‘sausage,’ ‘shrimp’ and ‘bacon,’ and you can request dairy free if you want it. Another vegetarian owner is Australian Darren Hausler, of Eat Me, who looks puzzled when I ask why they have a vegetarian section on the menu. “I’ve never really thought about it,” he says. “You have to have vegetarian food, don’t you?” This busy, casually elegant space serves modern Aussie food amid muted tones, art works on the wall, and bamboo trees reaching up from the courtyard to add tropical greenery to the terrace. It was recently voted in Asia’s top 20 restaurants. As well as a collection of veg-friendly pre fixe menus (from B890++), the à la carte has several non-meat choices on each section. Appetisers include Heirloom tomato salad with olive oil ice cream, mint, basil and parmesan (B350+). The luxurious, sweet ice cream provides a foil for the acidity of the juicy, flavourful tomatoes, which come in peach, red and yellow colours.

Above: Eat Me's Heirloom tomato salad with olive oil ice cream, mint, basil and parmesan Below: Eat Me's Heirloom carrot confit, warm goat cheese and hazelnut

The details • Absolute Fit Foods www.absolutefitfoods.com • Anotai 976/17 Soi Rama IX Hospital, 02 641 5366; Thur-Tues, 10am-9.30pm. • Banana Family Park 17/1 Pahon Yothin Rd, 02 617 2090; Mon-Fri 7am-4pm, Sat-Sun 10am6pm (3 mins walk south of Ari BTS station, down a small alley beside the Esso station) • Chennai Kitchen 10 Pan Rd, Silom, 02 234 1266; Daily 10am-3pm, 6pm-9.30pm. • Dosa King 153/7 Sukhumvit Soi 11/1 (also a marked entrance on Soi 11), 02 651 1700, dosaking.net; daily 11am-11pm • Eat Me 1/6 Piphat Soi 2, 02 238 0931, eatmerestaurant.com; daily 3pm-1am

Marta Maule from the meat-free Italian Restaurant Govinda

Among the main courses, Fig and blue cheese ravioli, walnuts, rosemary and brown butter (B390+) is big in the mouth: earthy, sweet, the sticky figs bouncing off the salty blue cheese, with a halo of aromatic rosemary. It’s delicious. And that’s another point. It seems if we eat less meat we will be healthier, and may well “save the planet.” But, also, remove the meat and the vegetables begin to dazzle on the plate. Anotai thinks we have our priorities wrong: “Vegetables have very complex flavours,” she says. “They should be the main focus, with meat on the side.”

• Glow Metropolitan Hotel, 27 South Sathorn Rd, 02 625 3333, comohotels.com; daily 6am-4pm • Govinda Sukhumvit Soi 22, 02 663 4970; Wed-Mon 11.30am-3pm, 6pm-11pm • Long Table The Column Residence, Sukhumvit Soi 16, 02 302 2557; daily 5pm-2am • Mangsawirat Chamlong Chatuchak Market, off Kampaeng Phet Road, opposite Or Tor Kor Market; Mon-Fri 6am-2pm, Sat-Sun 6am-3pm. (Leave Kamphaaeng Phet MRT station Exit 1, do a u-turn; after 100 metres turn right at Roy’s Antiques. Chamlong is 50 metres on the right.) • Rasayana 57 Soi Prom-mitr, Sukhumvit Soi 39, 02-662-4803, rasayanaretreat.com; daily 9am-9pm • Sri Ganesha 392/23-24 Sukhumvit Soi 20/1, 02 258 1425; daily 10am-10pm • Sustaina 1/40 Sukhumvit Soi 39, 02 258 7573; daily 11am-8.30pm

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Expat WOMEN p Put your feet up and indulge

ANZWG marks 30 years with Combined Women’s Lunch. Page 68.

Shopping

Hot new products and stores demanding your attention Page 52

Insight

How Swiss expat Anne Claude Toral found her calling in Thailand Page 50

Agony aunts

Professional counselors Anette and Johanna help readers with problems Page 66 TheBigChilli

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Expat Women

Insight|Profile

Retail guru on the rise How Swiss expat Anne-Claude Toral found her calling as a retail and product consultant in Thailand By Ruth Gerson

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ASIA has long been referred to as the “land of opportunity” and there are many expats who can vouch for this claim. Take Anne-Claude Toral, for example. Hailing from Switzerland where she was trained at the “Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne,” Anne spent the early years of her working life in pharmaceutical companies (she says that about 40% of hotel management school graduates in her country end up working in different areas) before a move to Thailand opened doors which saw her happily return to the area of her schooling – the hotel and spa business. Anne moved to Thailand eight years ago when her husband joined a business venture in Hua Hin. Being newlyweds and without a family, Anne looked around for work opportunities and landed a position at Chiva Som, a world-class destination spa renowned for its top of the line treatments. Anne observed that, due to the resort’s focus of hands-on client satisfaction, its retail section lacked direction and wasn’t performing as well as it could be. She also noted that many spa and hotel owned shops are often taken for granted and no extra effort is made to promote them. So she set out to show that the retail business can be very attractive and profitable.

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Anne observed and assessed how hotel owned shops are run and came to the conclusion that too many people are involved in the operation – a mix of owners, managers, and reception staff which results in what she calls “a kind of bazaar,” indicating that the shops are often chaotic and cluttered. With this in mind, she sought to create order from chaos, and established a well maintained retail space at the spa which would appeal to all shoppers. Ask her today why a neat shop is so important and she’ll

show you a series of images – pictures of unorganized shops from around the world which she refers to as “small disasters,” as well as those with neat and thematic displays of products and goods. From these images it’s the Japanese retailers which stand out at being particularly adept at arranging their retail spaces in uncluttered and appealing ways. Their minimalist approach, which reflects efficient management and good understanding of the products, has been adopted by numerous retailers worldwide. When after one year in Hua Hin Anne’s husband’s work took him to Bangkok, she moved from the seaside spa to Chiva Som’s headquarters in the city, where she worked for the following four years and developed the spa’s signature skincare products, all natural without preservatives. Then came the children – first a son, then a daughter – and with their arrival came the big juggling act, having to balance

precious time between family and work. This is when Anne decided that she would move into consultancy full time, taking advantage of the flexible work hours it offers to spend more time with her children. Anne embarked on what she calls a “niche activity” specializing in hotel and spa retail shops. In this role she begins by talking to the owners and top management of the shops to get a thorough understanding of their company’s vision and mission. She then develops a retail concept that revolves around the brand, customers, staff, the shop’s interior design and its atmosphere, as well as its location. To implement her ideas, she works with the different teams on site. Anne says that it’s very important for a consultant to understand consumer psychology and obvious shopping traits because a buyer subconsciously assesses a store within the first twenty seconds after passing through its doors. If a shop wants a better shot at making sales, she says, eye-catching displays and unimpeded access to products are paramount. But you don’t always find these qualities at hotel and spa shops in beach and countryside resorts in Thailand; a reason why Anne’s vision and talents are in demand. Anne now consults at Kamalaya, a holistic destination spa on Koh Samui, which she visits once a month and then spends the rest of the time working in Bangkok. Established seven years ago, Kamalaya is still evolving and growing its business every year. Anne hopes to help drive this growth by developing in-house products and explains, in spa language, that “spa customers do not buy necessities, but benefits.” Anne makes it all look so easy. But she has had to prove herself before being able to progress and hold the desirable position she now has – a thoroughly enjoyable job, more time with her children, and a love for living in the Land of Smiles.

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Expat Women

Shopping|New products

BASIC PHILOSOPHY ■ THE secret to having healthy and flawless skin is to eat right, exercise regularly and always keep yourself hydrated. But another important factor us women always seem to forget is to always clean our skin every day, especially before bedtime. Makeup, pollution and grime build up during the day and can result in unhealthy-looking skin. There are, of course, numerous skin care products available that combat this, but if you’re looking to give a new one a whirl we recommend the new range of products by Philosophy. Its skin nourishing selection includes Purity Made Simple, a 3-in-1 facial cleanser which also tones and lightly hydrates the skin; and a delicious Rapsberry Sorbet shampoo and shower gel. Philosophy is available at Siam Paragon.

PAULA’S CHOICE ARRIVES ■ GREAT news for those beauty fanatics who worship their skin more than anything else – Paula’s Choice has finally arrived! Formulated by skin care expert Paula Begoun, also known as The Cosmetics Cop, the skin care products treat everything from acne and wrinkles to rosacea and sun damage. All products in the US-based cosmetic line are 100% fragrance free and free from animal testing. Highlights of the range include RESIST Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum (B1,090); Skin Balancing Pore-Reducing Toner (B750); RESIST Skin Revealing Body Lotion with 10% AHA (B1,000); and RESIST Pure Radiance Skin Brightening Treatment (B1,290). 5th Floor of Siam Discovery, Tel: 02 658 0279 www.paulaschoice.com

Talking

Shop Hot products and stores demanding your attention

COFFEE FOR A GOOD CAUSE ■ IF you like to know the coffee you’re drinking is helping a good cause, then you might want to add a few bags of Café Direct’s coffee to your trolley the next time you’re shopping. The UK brand, which arrived in the kingdom last month, has a unique business approach that ensures smallholder growers in the developing world get more than they deserve by cutting out the middleman, and, in return, produce a range of award winning coffee, tea and hot chocolate. What’s more, 50% of the profits are invested in the growers’ livelihood. Three premium freeze-dried coffee blends (rich, medium and espresso) are currently available. On sale at Central Food Hall, Tops Supermarket, Gourmet Market and Villa Market outlets nationwide. B385 for 227grams.

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SHADES OF SUMMER ■ IT may be the rainy season in Thailand, but in Europe, it’s summer. This means all your favourite eyewear designers have unveiled their latest range of sunglasses – and this season, it’s all about rich colours in retro styles. Our pick of the pack is Paul Smith’s vintage-inspired Sylus model. Available in five colours, each with a different quote from the designer inscribed on the temple interior, the shades have polarized and mineral glass lenses ensuring top of the range eye protection, and top of the range style. Available at all leading eyewear stores in Bangkok.

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Expat Women

School Report / News

Thanyapura launches sports event series for kids

NIST students get busy in the kitchen STUDENTS from Years 7 to 9 at NIST International School led the way in an exciting new project that brought their curriculum based food technology skills to a whole new level when they recently catered an elegant pre-theatre event; the Middle Years’ production of ‘Digital Dilemmas.’ Students chose to create their own signature canapés and then spent one month researching, planning and designing their dishes. The next phase of development was a period of trialing and experimenting, much the same as any

Free martial arts classes at Thana City Sports Club

professional chef or caterer. The culminating event was the opening night of the Middle Years’ production of ‘Digital Dilemmas’. Guests arrived to an array of delicious and professionally prepared canapés, and the budding chefs amazed everyone with their talent and professional approach. IF your son or daughter fancies picking up some martial arts skills over the school holidays, then Thana City Sports Club is definitely worth a look. The newly renovated club has just opened its martial arts academy and is allowing visitors to register for a free class. The academy is managed by two famous Thai national Taekwondo practitioners – Ai Pen-Ake, 3rd runner up in the 2012 Olympic Games in London; and Zong Budtree, Silver medalist in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. To register for a free class Tel: 083 017 7333 or visit www.facebook.com/Sports.TC www.thanacitysportsclub.com

Summer school in Samui

SAMUI Montessori, a bilingual pre-school which opened in Koh Samui in September 2012, is now offering a Special Summer Program for local children and tourists. The program is available from July 1 – Aug 9 and aimed at kids aged up to six. The school, which is now accepting applications for the School year 2013/2014, starting on Aug 19, is also looking for interested families to start a small elementary group for children aged 6 to 9. For more info see www.samuimontessori.com

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SPORTS megaplex Thanyapura Sports and Leisure Club (TSLC) on Phuket has launched a SUPERKIDZ events series for kids from Thailand and abroad. The series opened last month with an Aquathlon event competed by over 80 children from Thailand, Malaysia, UK, the Netherlands, Australia, France, Germany, New Zealand, Austria, Russia and the USA. The next competition in the series is a long distance running event on Sept 1. This will be followed by a duathlon event on Oct 5, and a triathlon event on March 8, 2014.  For more info see: www.thanyapura.com

IPN EVENT

Day Trip to Suan Sampran

THE International Parenting Network (IPN) will host an eco-cultural day trip to Suan Sampran, in Nakhon Province, on Sat July 27. The day’s activities will include various art and craft workshops (clay pottery, garland making, umbrella painting, traditional weaving, rice farming, etc.), a visit to the botanical garden and weekend farmer’s market, an organic farm tour, biking, boat peddling, soap making workshop and lots more. Members: B1,500 for adults and B1,200 for kids aged 4-11. Non-members: B1,700 for adults and B1,400 for kids aged 4-11. Cost includes all activities in the itinerary, buffet lunch and drinks. Participants must arrange own transportation to Suan Sampran (one hour drive from Bangkok). RSVP by July 15th to Tel: 081 826 2399 or email: ipn@ipnthailand.com www.ipnthailand.com

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Expat Women

School Promotion|Harrow

Harrow student celebrates publishing success Star pupil releases book about Thailand’s natural sources of nutrients ■ A YEAR 11 pupil at Harrow International School, Prima Yontrarak (Pat), has wowed her family, friends and teachers by publishing her own book entitled ‘The Poor Land of Plenty: Edible Insects and Other Natural Sources of Nutrients.’ Following careful research and much time spent on editing and reviewing, Pat recently launched her book at the Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok. Here, she tells us how she converted her initial idea into a successful project. “Like many other ‘city dwellers,’ I went to Nakhon Ratchasima as a simple vacationer. Initially, these eyes of mine were focused on the here and now. However, over several visits I came to realize that there is much to be done amongst these small villages scattered in this poor region of Thailand. “The Lionheart Society, a studentinitiated community service group of Harrow International School led by myself, alongside my close friends, decided to support a number of poor rural schools within this area and we continue to do so. Being fortunate to have a privileged life as well as a stellar education has compelled the Lionheart Society to give back to these communities of the underprivileged in whatever way we can. “The reality of how these villagers go about their slow and modest lives hit home and their deprived environment led me to ask the question: if the people of Isaan are so poor, why are they not starving? “This question initially piqued my curiosity, leading me to contemplate it even further in my subsequent visits, as to what I could actually do to make a difference. Thus my visits became more purposeful with me seeking out opportunities to converse with the locals, teachers, parents and students, who generously shared both enlightening and interesting information on basic

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sustenance, including food and medicine conveniently acquired from within their simple environment. This sparked my desire to conduct research into the nutritional values of these insects and animals. And this ultimately evolved into my book. “The research further highlighted that the local communities of this impoverished area consume small insects and other edible creatures seasonally available as important sources of protein. Some of these organisms, which include locusta, alate and the common chameleon, even contain a relatively higher protein percentage than the regular meat we city folks often eat. I came to the realization that, despite my initial view of Isaan as an economic backwater of Thailand – a poor and disadvantaged region – it is, in fact, a land of plenty. “After my research was completed, I uploaded it onto my website www.poorlandofplenty.com. “Purely by chance, Namee publishing house spotted my work and approached

me with the suggestion of publishing it as a book. The publisher‘s belief was that the work may possibly benefit others, especially those in poor rural areas. “The book – available in both English and Thai – is a simplified version of my research. It is aimed at children within these poor rural Thai communities, with the purpose of educating people in this region of the advantages of selfsufficiency and sustainability. If these food sources are available, there is indeed no cause for starvation or malnutrition. “I hope that my book will be a good example for other students to follow, and serve as an inspiration for others to put the knowledge learnt within the classroom into practice. Whatever tiny changes this little book can bring about will be a positive step in the right direction for the future of communities like those in Isaan.’’ For more information please contact: harrowschool.ac.th

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Expat Women

Insight|Family fun

SCHOOL HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES THE HOT LIST By Chloe Mason

PAINTBALLING ■ PREPARE yourself for a fully loaded experience because it’s time to get those paintball guns out! Players are divided into two teams (2-15 players) for a capture the flag game that’s a riot of fun. Hide behind the on field obstacles for stealthy takedowns, or simply charge down the middle splatting everything in sight. The choice is yours. B350 with 100 balls (extra balls are B150 for 100) Sukhumvit 62 Tel: 02 741 4104 www.combatzone62.net

THE school holidays are here and, for parents, that means one thing – battling your kid’s moans of boredom while trying to think of something fun for them to do. After all, no youngster should stay indoors all day with their eyes locked on a computer screen, or, even worse, simply lounging around stuffing their face with junk food whilst complaining. But, thankfully, this is Bangkok, and a treasure trove of exciting activities await. Listed here are 10 gleaming nuggets of family fun for you and your brood to discover.

WAKEBOARDING AT CLUB TACO ■ BANGKOK’S ultimate wakeboarding park is perfect for hot days and offers something for the whole family. While the kids hit the water, parents can enjoy local eats at the lakeside Thai restaurant – as well as cheer and embarrass their children, of course. B300 for 2hrs, B200 for 1hr. Wat Luang Pho To 175/1, km 13 Bangna-Trad Road. Open 10am - 6pm (weekends), 11am - 6pm (weekdays) Tel: 02 316 7809 www.cablewake.com/ club-taco-wakeboard-cable-park

SIAM PARK ■ FROM roller coasters and rapid tunnels to slow and peaceful rides, the action never stops at Siam Park – the largest amusement and water park in Southeast Asia. Take the challenge and attempt of all of the scariest rides with your children. Plenty of food and drinks stalls are on hand to fuel all the fun. Day pass B900 (unlimited rides); Fantasy pass B400 (water park and Fantasy); Kid’s pass B120 Water pass B320 www.siamparkcity.com/en/main.php

MADAMME TUSSAUDS ■ FOOL your friends and family back home into thinking you’re a Hollywood A lister by taking hundreds of photos with the lifelike sculptures on display at this world-famous wax museum. Put your arm around Britney Spears, snuggle up to Tom Cruise, and, for Instagram gold, maybe even pick Lady Gaga’s nose. Interactive games and karaoke add to the fun. 6th Fl. Siam Discovery Center. Open daily 10am9pm. Tel: 02 658 0060 Book online for 50% discount at www.madametussauds.com/bangkok

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OCEAN WORLD ■ ONE of the largest aquariums in Southeast Asia, this underwater world (located in the basement of Siam Paragon Shopping Mall) has hundreds of exotic species for you to feast your eyes on. Fun and informative performances are regularly held alongside the exhibits. 10am - 6pm daily. Basement floor of Siam paragon. 991 Rama 1 Road Tel: 02 687 2000 www.siamoceanworld.co.th

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SURF IN THE CITY ■ RIDE the waves Califor-

nia-style at Flow House Bangkok, where a ‘Double FlowRider’ imported from the USA creates a perpetual sheet wave that’s great for both stand-up surfing and body-boarding. Drinks and eats are available from the onsite bar and restaurant. A-Square, Sukhumvit Soi 26 Tel: 02 108 5210 www. flowhousebangkok.com Open Mon-Fri 10am -12midnight; Sat-Sun 8am -12midnight. All rides B750 per hour

GO KARTING ■ BLOW away the cobwebs and get the adrenaline pumping by tearing around EasyKart’s indoor track in Royal City Avenue (RCA). The track caters for beginners and pros, and also has slower go-karts for kids (aged 8 years and up). Tel: 02 203 1205-7, 086 028 0880 www.easykart.net

Photo for illustration only

SKY DIVING ■ IT’S a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a… pasty white farang leaping out of a plane. If your teenagers are adventurous, they’ll think all their Christmases have come at once if you take them to enjoy this activity – a tandem parachute jump from 13,000 feet above Pattaya with a one-minute freefall at speeds of 120mph. Not for the faint hearted. 9,500 baht per person (only 16+). Free pick up at Sukhumvit Road and Khao San Road. www.thaiskyadventures.com

SAFARI WORLD ZOO AND MARINE PARK ■ BASED around the African Savannah, this huge zoo and marine park offers safari rides, animal feeding, jungle cruises, stunt shows, and much more. Visit the parks separately or as part of a combined package. Safari Park: 9am - 5pm; Marine Park: 9am - 6pm. 99 Panyaintra Road, Samwatawantok, Klongsamwa Tel: 02 518 1000 Safari World: adults B400, children B300. Marine Park: adults B700, children B450. Combined: adults B900, children B550.

ICE SKATING AT SUB ZERO ■ WHETHER you skate like a pro or simply wobble around like a newborn deer, there’s plenty of fun to be had at this popular ice skating rink at Esplanade Shopping Complex. If you don’t fancy skating yourself, a rink-side bar means you can enjoy a tipple or two while the kids get their slide on. 11am–1pm. Location: The Esplanade, Ratchada Road (MRT Thailand Cultural Centre Station) Tel: 02 354 2134

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Expat Women

BWWG|Monsoon Midnights

Monsoon Midnights Special places in Bangkok, as experienced by the Bangkok Women’s Writer’s Group

Dear reader,

d Midnights,’ a bran on so on ‘M to e m ’s Welco e Bangkok Women th by s ie or st of new series Writer’s Group. om all e BWWG come fr th of rs lle te y or st ace The l have a special pl al ey th t bu ld or over the w ure and re surprising, obsc he ew m so , ty ci is in th t undiscovered. unexpected, as ye t here, hidden places righ e es th to us w lo Fol month after month

NIGHTFALL OVER BANGKOK

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THERE are some very high places in Bangkok. Places where you can look out and see the city laid out like an interactive map beneath you. I look at the darkening sky. From the west, immense clouds press in, ash grey, metallic blue, barely black. They smell of earth, grass and swamp. It’s going to get a bit windy. Thunder far away, then suddenly right here. A long slim bolt of lightning stands in the sky, running from high cloud to low cloud, up and down, never touching the earth. The clouds billow out towards me. Within a few minutes, I can no longer see the building next to me. Then the rain. Deep, wild, rich rain. The air is too wet to breathe. Water accumulates in the streets. The sewers are backing up. People take off their shoes and wade home.

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Water is everywhere. Outside, inside. Inside me. I am made of water. I can feel how the ions inside my body long to connect with the electric charge in the air. If they did, if I did, I could perhaps travel inside the rain. The rain that falls towards the swamp, the swamp that this city sits on, sits in, up to its belly. Inside the rain, inside the water, I feel drawn to a special place, my special place for this night. We are close, we are low, we are here. BACKSTREET HERO WITH SEVENTEEN BRAVE HEARTS

A DARK line of water runs across the city from east to west. It has been here for over a hundred years. Not many people know about it, but I recognize an old, neglected friend who, in a time of need, became an accidental hero, our last line of defence against the rising chaos. This is the story of the Bang Sue canal. The Bang Sue canal is easy to miss. If you close your eyes for just a moment where the mighty Phahonyothin Road crosses it on a very short bridge, it is gone and forgotten. If you are walking, however, your attention will be drawn to it, day or night, through a more primal sense – your sense of smell. Before I came to Bangkok, I had a very romantic idea of canals. And although even the canals of Venice, Italy, can be a little fragrant at times, a short walk along the Bang Sue canal (if you

dare) will introduce you in no uncertain manner to what some people somewhat indelicately call the Backside of Bangkok. I know the Bang Sue canal pretty well, but for a long time I, like most of my neighbours, had no idea that it WAS the Bang Sue canal. It didn’t seem important enough to have a name, just a small neglected backwater, a local shortcut with narrow, dangerous walkways clinging to its side, a place where people throw their rubbish and worse. It was at the back of everything, sunk down beneath the roads, fronted by slum huts, a relic that the city planners had forgotten a century ago. Most days the canal is a sluggish, grey mass, so thick that you doubt it can really be water. It’s a soup of the city’s rejects, rotten and tattered debris that slowly, very very slowly slinks towards the river. And from there, out to sea... There was a time when Bangkok was crisscrossed by canals. Canals were the roads, boats were the pickup trucks and tuktuks. The Bang Sue canal was in good company, creating a beautiful city in the swamp. Almost three quarters of the population lived on or beside the canals. But later, most of the canals were filled in and Bangkok became what it is now, a metropolis of and for cars. The Bang Sue canal is one of the last canals left in this fair city. Not that this makes it special, in any way, or in the eyes of anyone. It was, after all, for so long, the canal without a name. But one day, all that changed. The change came in the times of the flood, when the mighty Phahonyothin Road that runs all the way to the Burmese border, through Ayutthaya and far away to the north, became a wide, shallow river that channeled the rising water towards central Bangkok. The deluge came to us slowly, a child could outpace it. There were no waves, no big drama. The water just calmly came in to stay. It seeped in everywhere it could. The swamp was quickly saturated.

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central Bangkok, the last hope. We thought at first it must be some other, more important place. But no. It was our neglected neighbour. Other, bigger, more important canals further north had been brutally overwhelmed by the advancing water in a matter of minutes. People escaped in their cars, those that tarried had to escape in boats. The next day, crocodiles moved in. That night, the lowly Bang Sue canal became an accidental hero. Seventeen pumps were rushed in, mounted on spi-

We went to stand on the bridge over the Bang Sue canal. The old people from the neighbourhood were praying. They prayed nonstop, in shifts, eyes on the canal, feet on the bridge.

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The mighty Phahonyothin Road has many sub-sois. As the water came, we counted down the numbers. While they were still in the hundreds, we felt safe. When they were in the fi fties, we assured ourselves that the distance was still significant, although the images on TV were disturbing. Several large, important canals with famous names still lay between us and the flood. Night after night, the water crept closer. (Around this time a specialist team from Japan told us after analyzing the situation that we were wrong in calling it a flood. It was, correctly speaking, an ‘inundation’). Day after day I walked along the canal which was still nameless to us. Paradoxically, it was running very low, surely, people said, a sign of bad things to come. Then, one day, when the water had reached the sois in the thirties of the Phahonyothin Road, sandbags appeared on the narrow walkways. We climbed over them. They were dry. The next day, the canal filled up to the brink with fast flowing water. The debris and worse, startled by this sudden and unforeseen movement, let itself be swept along, until it all got stuck in a big ugly ball under the bridge. For the first time in living memory, a team of workers arrived to get it unstuck. That’s when we got scared. Two days later the countdown of the inundated sois had come down to the twenties. By now, Bangkok was cut off by a ring of water. Trains and motorways were blocked. We started to hoard drinking water, which was no longer available from local shops. For a while there were soft drinks, the last one to go was Chrysanthemum tea, clearly only preferable to death by dehydration. Then, suddenly, within a few hours, the Bang Sue canal overflowed its banks. The narrow walkway was thigh high under water although an old lady still walked her dogs there, only their heads sticking out, their tongues lapping black canal soup. That was also the day when we learned the name of the canal. Our canal was the Bang Sue canal. It had achieved overnight fame as the last defence for

Because we were no longer allowed to throw anything in, people spit reverently into the canal, sharing its substance with theirs. The canal flowed on, strong and fast. The seventeen brave hearts stuttered and pumped. The water advanced inexorably, it swallowed Chatuchak. We could see it. TV vans parked on the bridge, awaiting our impending inundation. On the second morning, the water stretched all the way from our bridge to Ayutthaya. But South of the bridge, the pavement was dry under our feet. What made the difference, what held back the water, what was the last stand of the city against the advancing chaos? The lowly Bang Sue canal. Small, forgotten and very humble, the Bang Sue canal rose to the occasion. It saved us, and it saved us again, for many days to come. It did what it was finally allowed to do: to flow. The pressure of the fast, furious torrent pushed generations of debris out of its way. There was plenty of space on the bridge for us now, because the usually murderous traffic on the Phahonyothin Road had died down to a trickle. Only army trucks could drive through the lake that was the city north of the canal and so could, surprisingly, the decades old ‘non-air’ buses with their high wooden floors and elevated engines. Modern vehicles had given up long ago. Office workers traveled in

dery metal pipes attached to bridges and half submerged railings. They pumped all night, and then next day, and the night after that, seventeen brave little hearts. We went to stand on the bridge over the Bang Sue canal. The old people from the neighbourhood were praying. They prayed nonstop, in shifts, eyes on the canal, feet on the bridge. The bridge was still dry.

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Expat Women

BWWG|Monsoon Midnights

those old buses, taking off their shoes and rolling up their trousers to wade home through the water. I stood on the bridge. Something was odd. Something was missing, something other than the murderous traffic. I looked around. What could it be? Then I realized: for the first time since I had known it, the Bang Sue canal didn’t stink. There was only a faint, not altogether unpleasant odour of swamp water. South of the bridge, the Big C Supermarket, now completely waterless but still well stocked in whiskey, had become the Shop at the End of the World. Outside, flying traders had arrived, selling rubber boots, raincoats and boats at vastly inflated prices. Others, luckily, brought drinking water, also at vastly inflated prices but by that time even the Chrysanthemum tea had gone. We had no choice. In fact, standing by the almost deserted road, looking out on the lake spreading north and the wild rushing stream that used to be the Bang Sue canal, I felt grateful to the

trader who took my money. I would have paid whatever he asked. The last stand of the Bang Sue canal lasted for over a week. Every day, we looked at the rising lake on the other side, like an army advancing on a city under siege, every night we went home leaving the canal to fight for us. Alone. It looked very unconvincing, but it worked. TV, papers, blogs, spread its glory. People started to claim they had always known the Bang Sue canal. Even before it was famous. It received extravagant praise. The city was sorry we had neglected it. But that would change! The Bang Sue canal, now proudly inked in shining blue on every map, would be honoured for its bravery, it would be cleaned, dredged, repaired and upgraded so that it could withstand any flood in the future, and perhaps even the occasional crocodile. And then the waters receded. Slowly at first, but just as inexorably as they had

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arrived. They left behind rotten debris of a hitherto unimaginable scale. Everywhere now smelled like the old Bang Sue canal, before we knew its name. The flying traders left with their rubber boots and boats. The traffic came back, and finally the bottled water. I enjoyed every drop. Trains and motorways opened up, Bangkok was connected to the world again. If there ever was a time to honour the brave little canal, to make good on all the promises in our time of need, it was now. The canal banks dried out, the sandbags were left to rot on the re-emerging, slippery walkways. Quickly, the Bang Sue canal sank back into obscurity. Like a hero from a war that everybody wants to forget, it was never honoured, and it was also never repaired. All the big upgrades, the dredging, the nurturing care that was promised in the heat of the moment when the Bang Sue canal pumped out the water threatening us all the way from Ayutthaya with its seventeen brave hearts were quickly forgotten. I look at the long dark band of the Bang Sue canal running across our city. Its name has again been forgotten, and its smell is again very noticeable from the bridge. There is not much I can do, but I promise to tell its story. The night is almost over. The thunderstorm has run its course, and the next one and then the next after that. I hardly noticed. The moon comes out behind the clouds. I will see this moon again next month, when I visit the next story teller, waiting for me already, somewhere, in an undiscovered corner of the city. Let me take you on that journey!

The Bangkok Women’s Writers Group, led by Anette Pollner, founded in 2001, is where creative women from all over the world meet to workshop their writing in a supportive and inspiring environment. Many of our members are published and prize winning authors, but we are open to all women who are passionate about writing, including complete beginners. The BWWG has published a Thai-English language bestseller, ‘Bangkok Blondes,’ and various pamphlets. We regularly give readings around town and have been part of international festivals and cultural exchanges. Please contact bkk_writers@yahoo.com for more information. This month’s writer is BWWG leader Anette Pollner who has been widely published, leads successful creative writing workshops, is always working on her next novel and occasionally directs operas. 62

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Expat Women

Business|Marketing

Using press releases to keep your company in sight PR consultant Kittima Sethi explains how to craft a message that works ■ BACK in March, I wrote about maxi-

mizing media coverage. I provided some examples of how companies can develop various story angles of their products or services to garner interests of the reporters and have their stories appear in media. This month, I am going to share with you the benefits of a press release, an essential element in every company’s public relations strategy. If you think press releases are an old-fashioned and obsolete way to send news, you are mistaken. While in the past, press releases were sent to specific media and usually as hard copies, today, thanks to the internet, the outreach incudes worldwide media outlets, individual reporters

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and editors, search engines, websites and online press release distribution and syndication services. A press release is an inexpensive way to get visibility and capture media attention. It is an opportunity for companies to share news about their products or services to their customers, employees, investors, competitors and interested stakeholders. It also keeps the industry they are in informed of any recent developments.

If you are wondering why certain products or services are regularly being featured in the media, it is probably due to the constant stream of press releases being sent to media. However, keep in mind that content is also the key element to having news published. Press releases must contain content that is newsworthy, factual, timely and relevant. It must capture the editor’s attention and stir his or her interest to cover the subject further. Crafting a press release with a catchy and compelling headline followed by informative content increases the probability of securing coverage. Remember to also make the content concise and to the point. We recently assisted an international school, following the Singapore national curriculum, in launching their new campus in Bangkok. Press releases were sent to various local and international media based in Bangkok. The press release captured the interest of a renowned Singapore-based news channel which sent their reporter to cover the campus. Similarly, a financial publication based in Hong Kong came across a press release we issued about a Thai private hospital’s investment in a US healthcare information system. The publication was working on a story about this hospital’s plan to list in the stock exchange. Although the press release did not mention news about the hospital’s listing, it provided an update on the hospital’s development.

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Below are some of the benefits of press releases: 1. Press releases create credibility for your products or services. By regularly developing newsworthy content and distributing it to your targeted audience, you can achieve your goal in creating confidence in your audience as well as increasing recognition of your product or service. You have probably heard of the phrase “out of sight, out of mind.” To survive in today’s ever-changing marketplace, you need to continuously provide updated and relevant news about your product or services and to educate the public about what you do. Notice how IT and FMCG companies are regularly featured in the news. They are either announcing launches of new products, additional features, new packaging or looks, new presenters, sales promotions, or even CSR activities they have been involved in. 2. Press releases reach a global audience. As mentioned earlier, a lot of publications republish press releases from online press syndication. This widens the distribution network and increases the chances that your news will be seen by more people. Remember to include links to your websites so readers and reporters can learn more about your company. Make your press releases Search Engine Optimization (SEO)-friendly by using keywords and other techniques to attract major search engines like Google or Yahoo. 3. Regular press releases establish you as an expert in your field. For instance, if you are in the education industry and are constantly sending news on issues and trends in education and learning, it is more likely that a reporter will contact you if they need a comment on an education-related story they are writing about. You could eventually become the media’s “go-to source” and this is a great way for people to notice you and your company. The more people read about you, the more trust you build. Once you have created a press release, the next step is to pitch to the media. As I mentioned in my earlier published articles, research, get to know and call the reporters and editors that cover your industry. Find a creative way to convey your product or service. Visiting the media increases your chances of coverage as you get to meet the reporters face-to-face and pitch your story. Remember your goal is to maximize the coverage of your product or service. Do not limit the content of the press releases to just making announcements of your products or services. It could include news about your company’s CSR programme, a survey or statistical report your company has compiled, news about awards received, testimonials from clients, a talk or seminar you are hosting, making a statement or comment about current news related to your industry, financial results, new executives and other accomplishments. The list is endless and the key is to be creative and tie its relevance to current news or trends. If your content is interesting and informative, your press releases will most likely be followed by people in other industries. Keep in mind that sending just one press release is not going to create an instant publicity blitz. The best way to get noticed is to create regular well-written press releases, use an effective distribution service and incorporate all of the tips provided above. Kittima Sethi is a PR consultant at Brand Now. If you are looking to develop consistent press releases and distribute them to your targeted media and audience, she may be reached at kittima@brandnow.asia AD The Continent_June13.indd 1

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Expat Women

Advice|Problems solved

Ask the experts Send your problems to: thebigchillimagazine@gmail.com

Weigh ed d own by fa mil y commitment s

Expat life getting you down? Don’t suffer in silence. Send in your problems and get advice from professional counsellors I AM struggling with some issues and I do not know how to address Anette and Johanna

them with my husband. We have been married for about six months now. We live close to his parents and my parents live about two hours away.

Here is the problem: His parents expect us to visit them weekly. We both work fulltime and have only Saturday and Sunday off. I went along with it for some time but the visits have become more and more of a burden and stress for me. Every time we meet, my mother-in-law makes remarks about what I do or say. It’s subtle, but she always criticizes me. When my husband shares his opinion he seems to agree with her and then she gives me what I can only describe as a triumphant look. It’s often about trivial issues like how to clean or cook etc, but I feel left alone when my husband joins his mum in her opinions. It makes me feel inferior. I tried to mention it to my husband and he just said that we do not need to agree on everything. But that is not what this is about, for me. I explained to him that visiting his mum is now a burden and not a way to relax during our time off. I would like to make our visits less frequent but he thinks this is not fair toward his mum. How could we address this issue in our marriage? Ying, 26, from Bangkok

Dear Ying,

■ Every couple has to work on a balanced relationship and in order to do so we have to be (or become) independent from our parents. In order to not let the situation you describe divide the two of you, which would harm your relationship, you do need to take care when you approach this issue with your husband. Try to stay calm and controlled and create a pleasant relaxed moment for the two of you, so you can both talk freely and openly. Share with your husband how it makes you feel when he sides with his mum, particularly

when she is criticizing you. Ask him what you could do in order to have things changed. This communicates to him that it is not only him who needs to change but you are willing to look at your part. I wonder if your husband is also maybe expressing his own criticism of you, criticism that he will not openly address. You can tell him that you are open for discussing things together and open to changing things if you can discuss them just between the two of you. After you have addressed the issue of criticism and your relationship together, you could ask how your husband feels about the weekly visit and if it would be an option for him to lower the frequency. If you disconnect this from the subject of criticism, this is not about avoiding your mother-in-law or an act of resentment but an active decision to spend time together as a couple. You have to ask your husband how he feels about spending more time together and how you can make this time ‘quality time’ for your marriage. The other thing to think about is what you would like your relationship with your mother-in-law to be like, what is important for you, what kind of attentio would you like to give to her and how can you show your interest in her life. If you take the initiative it might be that your mother-in-law also starts to respond to you in a different way. Maybe this is actually what she is waiting for, but cannot express. Give it a try; you really have nothing to lose! Johanna

• Johanna DeKoning MS is the Clinical Director of NCS Counseling Center. She trained in the Netherlands and Australia.

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A m I re al l y a wor k plac e bu l l y? I DON’T understand the world any more. I’ve worked in the same company for many years, rising through the ranks until I became the general manager. I’ve always thought of our office as a fun place and of us as a good team. We work hard, of course, but we also try to enjoy our work, and we spend time together outside the office, too. We have a drink together at least once a week and go away on regular staff weekends. I care about our staff and I have a good relationship with them. I thought that the younger members of staff think of me as a mentor, a father figure maybe. There is a lot of joking back and forth and we have a good time that everyone can enjoy. Or so I thought... What has happened now is something I still struggle to understand: one of our young female employees has made a complaint about me to our head office, saying that our office here is a sexist environment, and that she feels harassed by remarks and looks directed ‘constantly’ at her. I don’t understand what she means, it’s all a good laugh and I thought she enjoyed it, too. But the worst thing is that other women have joined her, saying they feel sexually harassed. I am a happily married man! And the young lady in question is not even particularly attractive. Head office is now bringing an enquiry into the matter. I nurtured and mentored these young ladies. I feel betrayed. What is going on? Dear Alf,

Alf, 57, from the UK

■ It seems to me that both sides feel betrayed here. You, because, your assumptions about your staff are suddenly revealed as the total opposite from what you thought, and theirs because what you think of as good fun and a jokey atmosphere is really painful, hurtful and disrespectful to them. Both sides did not communicate well, and that is the heart of the matter. But you, as the manager, need to take responsibility. The first issue is that you didn’t realize how your staff really felt, particularly those members of staff who are most different from you, being young and female. It looks as if you simply assumed that your way of seeing things and expressing yourself is also theirs. Moreover, there is a big difference between you and them as participants in interactions in the office. You are the boss, and therefore people may not feel they can show what they really feel. They may even feel that the ‘culture’ of the company is hostile to them, and therefore so are you.

you. In fact, it is downright devastating. But sometimes it is a necessary wake up call. The world has changed since you were young and started out in an office where you were a junior member of staff. Women have become less afraid of demanding equal treatment and a lot more sensitized as to what that equal treatment means. Whatever you may think about that, this is real. Reality is not going to change for you, you have to adapt to it. Depending on where this complaint will go, you are probably in for a very stressful time. Discuss your issues with a good friend, in confidence. Maybe go see a counselor. We are trained to understand different people and different positions. But the best advice I can give you is to take this as an opportunity to be open to change. This is tough, but just imagine how tough it must have been for these young women to make the complaint against you. They are suffering, too. All the best Anette • Anette Pollner Adv. Dipl. Couns., is one of seven international counsellors at NCS Counseling Center in Saphan Kwai. She trained in London and the US and worked as a staff counsellor at Bart’s Hospital in London.

If this is the case, you are up against a very difficult problem. There must be a great divide between you and your staff. The other issue is the accusation of sexual harassment. Harassment can take different forms and goes far beyond what you may think. For example, jokes about women, frequent mention of women’s bodies (even if you feel they are compliments) and treating women differently from men can all be part of sexual harassment. Even your remark about the ‘lady in question’ not being ‘attractive’ could be seen as sexist and potentially part of ongoing harassment. There are many books and sources of information on the internet about this. Why don’t you inform yourself? This problem will not go away. Don’t react aggressively, and above all don’t dismiss the complaints out of hand. Tough as it is, take this as an opportunity to understand the world around you better. It is hard to realize that other people don’t think well of

Contact details: ncs-counseling.com, anette.p@ncs-counseling.com, Tel: 02 279 8503 Send your problems to: thebigchillimagazine@gmail.com TheBigChilli

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Expat Women

ANZWG marks 30 years with Combined Women’s Lunch ■ ANZWG (Australia New Zealand Women’s Group) celebrated its 30th anniversary in Thailand with a Combined Women’s Lunch entitled ‘Pearls of Wisdom’ at the Grand Hyatt Erawan. More than 470 members of the CWL enjoyed a speech by Dr Kris Chatamra, founder of the Queen Sirikit Centre for Breast Cancer (QSCBC) within Bangkok’s King Chulalongkorn Hospital. Leading this charity event was Anne Sidwell, ANZWG President. Kathy Barnett was the main organizer and Melanie Giles-Clapp the MC. Vietrio provided the musical entertainment. All proceeds go to QSCBC.

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Feature

Insight|Religion

From Russia with love – and compassion The Orthodox Christian Church welcomes all faiths to its growing number of places of worship

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By Maxmilian Wechsler

FROM a trickle of visitors in the mid-1990s to a torrent today, Russians are certainly making their presence felt in Thailand. Last year, some 1.3 million vacationed here, making Russia this country’s third largest source of tourists. Over the years, many Russians have stayed on, opening businesses, hotels and building new lives here. This Russian ‘invasion’ has been accompanied by a significant increase in cultural and religious reminders of its homeland. Back in 1999, the Orthodox Christian Church established a presence with the opening of the St. Nicholas’ Chapel in Bangkok. Today, there are six churches of the same faith in various parts of the country. Another is under construction and yet another is being planned. Interestingly, these churches attract not only Russians and Orthodox believers from other countries residing in Thailand, but also a growing number of Thais. Part of the attraction is its reputation as a willing helper of people with a wide range of problems regardless of their faith. The good work and popularity of the church can be largely attributed to a certain heavily-built Russian man known for his magnanimous nature, Archimandrite Oleg (Oleg Mikhailovich Cherepanin), the representative of the Russian Orthodox Church, also referred to as the Moscow Patriarchate, in Thailand. He has served the church here with compassion and devotion for over 14 years. Archimandrite Oleg described how the church started in Thailand: “After numerous letters from Russians residing in the Kingdom were sent to the late Patriarch, His Holiness Alexy II in Moscow, I was sent here in 1999 to observe and evaluate the spiritual situation of the Orthodox believers in Thailand and South East Asia. “What I learned then was that not only Russians but also Orthodox believers from Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and other Western countries didn’t have any formal establishments for their spiritual care. I reported this to His Holiness and he

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blessed my efforts to set up an Orthodox parish in Bangkok. We opened the St. Nicholas’ Chapel on December 29, 1999 and I was appointed its rector. “After that, people started coming to worship and pray, with more and more Russians, other foreigners and Thais joining in the services. Thais are increasingly interested in the Orthodox Church and it is gaining many followers here. Some of these Thai believers are married to Russians, and they prefer to be Orthodox because it is easier for their family life. “We don’t call ourselves the Russian Orthodox Church here, but we are under His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of the Moscow Patriarchate, who was elevated to his position in 2009. Anyone can attend our services but only Orthodox believers can take part in the sacraments. “Orthodoxy is the biggest religion in Russia, with about 85 per cent of the population being followers, but not all of them attend church services.” Prior to meeting Archimandrite Oleg for this interview, I attended the service in the small St. Nicholas’ Chapel located off Sukhothai Road for a better understanding of the church’s work. It was full of Thai and foreign worshippers when I arrived, and a Russian couple with two children came later with an infant who was baptized by Archimandrite Oleg. After the service I sat and talked with him for the second time in three years in his small office. We were joined by his long-time aid, Russian-born Vladimir Buntilov, PhD. “At present we have six churches in Thailand. Recently we had the opening ceremony for a new church on the island of Koh Samui, and we have already started to make preparations for the construction of our eighth church in Hua Hin. “However, the most important project for us right now is the church now being built in Bangkok on Sukhumvit Road Soi 101/1.” The Archimandrite explained the reason for the second church in Bangkok. “The St. Nicholas’ Chapel is the only building we rent, and because the rental fee has been going up constantly, we decided to buy land and build a new church.

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Monastery in Ratchburi

“To build a church costs a lot of money. You need to buy land, construct the church and decorate it, which is expensive. Our people decided to collect donations for the project and within four months we had collected about US$1 million. We bought the land and began construction, and we hope to move to the new church in December. the move we will close the St. Nicholas’ Chapel. “Currently we have two churches in Pattaya, one in Phuket, one in Koh Samui and a large monastery in Ratchaburi province. We also have two parishes in Cambodia which are also under my responsibility,” said Archimandrite Oleg. Most of the attendees at the chapel were Thais. “Apart from diplomats and other officials, not many Russians live in Bangkok. Most prefer to live near beaches, like in Pattaya or Phuket.  “It is hard to say how many Russians actually reside in Thailand. I believe that not so many live here all-year round. Most just stay during the tourist high season and then move back to Russia or to another country. Russians who run business in Thailand often go to another country, like Egypt, when the low season starts as well. “I estimate that the number of Russians living in Thailand is between 60,000 and 100,000. Maybe 15,000 reside in Pattaya during the low season and 50,000 during the high season. Not many Russians live in Phuket in comparison to Pattaya, but wealthy Russians prefer Phuket because the living standard is higher. Middle class Russians choose Pattaya.

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Feature

Insight|Religion

Father Oleg conducting a service

Above and top: the first church in Pattaya; left: Second church in Pattaya under construction. Church in Phuket

Above and below: Saint Nicholas’ Chapel in Bangkok. Left: The new church under construction on Sukhumvit 101/1

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“Russians have started visiting and living in Hua Hin. Their numbers are likely to increase, especially those with children because Pattaya is not the best place for a family. They also prefer Hua Hin if they find Phuket too expensive.” This is what Archimandrite Oleg told me about Pattaya three years ago: “It is very difficult for me to come and stay here. I don’t feel so good. All the sin [associated with the city] has some bad energy and you can feel it. You can feel the atmosphere of the sin. I can stay for one or two nights, but after that I become sick and want to go back to Bangkok.” Today, his mood is different. “Back then I said I didn’t feel very well in Pattaya, but now I feel better because step by step the local officials have been trying to change its image. It is important for them to continue in this effort and I wish them all success. I don’t know, maybe it is only me, but when I walk on the street in Pattaya it seems that the girls and the boys [sex workers] aren’t so aggressive and intrusive as before. Maybe also I feel better because I don’t visit Pattaya as often as before because I need to visit other churches in the country.” Watching over the Orthodox congregation in Thailand keeps Archimandrite Oleg very busy. “I travel frequently, mostly by car, driving myself, or by plane. A major part of my activities in Thailand is to maintain contact with the Thai government, embassies, police and other officials,” he said. “Maybe it is a Russian tradition more than in other countries, but when something happens, the people, even non-believers, will come to church. I may never have seen them before and they know nothing about the religion, but when, for example, they lose money, they will come to church. When they are sitting in prison, they will write to the church. When they have a problem with the police or Thai people, they will come to church. When they have lost their passport, they will also come to church, and so on.

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The Holy Ascension parish in Koh Samui

“People will come to me when they have no money, when they are sick and with other problems. This applies not only to Russians but to Orthodox believers of other nationalities. “Sometimes, a Russian citizen sitting in prison or in the immigration detention center will contact me to help since dealing with the embassy is difficult because of the many papers necessary to apply for assistance. “For us, cutting through the bureaucracy is easy. I can go to pay the fine and they can go back to Russia. I also help sick people without having to go to the embassy. With so many Russian citizens asking for help – I wouldn’t have time to do anything else if I always went through the embassy,” Archimandrite Oleg said. “We try to help everyone as much as we can. We talk to the police and to other Thai authorities. Of course, every nationality

A regular service at the church in Koh Samui

has good and bad people, but often Russians here face problems not because they have done something bad, but because they don’t have enough knowledge about the Thai culture, traditions and way of life. “Our Russian priests and other people in the church here study the Thai language and culture for one year. If after one year they can’t learn the language, they leave as it is impossible for them to live in Thailand without knowing the language. “We now have one Thai priest, Father Danai (Daniel) Wanna, and another Thai man is currently preparing and studying in Saint Petersburg in Russia to be a priest. I believe that we should have one Russian and one Thai priest in every church in Thailand because at present the believers are mostly Thais, Russians and other foreigners who can understand Russian. We also need an English-speaking priest. The Thai government has granted us 10 work permits. “We have some social programs to help Thai people. We try to help anyone no matter their faith, whether they are Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim or any other religion. We will help everyone.” During the 2010 floods, the church donated one million baht for the victims. Most of the donors were Russians residing in Thailand but other donations came from Russia, the US and other countries. There were even donations from Thai people. Archimandrite Oleg welcomes the “absolute freedom of religion” in Thailand, and invites anyone to attend Orthodox Christian Church services here.  “You could see during today’s service that it was held in Thai, English, Russian and a little Greek for one worshipper, because everybody is happy to hear the service in their own language.” Normally, services in Pattaya and in Bangkok are attended by between 20 and 50 people. On special occasions, such as Easter Sunday, as many as 1,000 worshippers may join

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Insight|Religion

the service. “We have some people who won’t come to the church but will donate money because they understand the church needs to survive,” Archimandrite Oleg said. A big admirer of Thailand, Archimandrite Oleg advises his fellow countrymen to learn more about their host nation. “Many Russians live here for many years but they know nothing about the country and its culture. This is unacceptable,” Archimandrite Oleg said. How do Thai people view Russians? “A few days ago I met with the governor of Chonburi province, Mr Komsan Ekachai, and I asked him the same question, because there has been a lot of talk about the ‘Russian mafia’ in Thailand. “The governor said: ‘The mass media, whether they are in Russia, Thailand or in the US, write what they want, but the truth is that there’s no Russian mafia in Thailand, only hooligans.’ “Most problems caused by Russians in Thailand stem from a lack of knowledge about the Thai traditions and customs. For example, if two Russians are having a discussion back in Russia, they are often noisy, emotional, maybe making big gestures with their hands and so on. When a Russian speaks this way to a Thai, it is seen as aggressive behavior. “I will give you an example: A Russian bought a green papaya from a street seller in Pattaya and couldn’t eat it because it was too hard. He complained to the seller because he didn’t realize it should be used to make ‘som tam’ (papaya salad), something he knew nothing about. He was shouting at the seller, who got afraid and called the police. Most problems like this occur in Pattaya.     “So we are telling Russians here to tone down their aggressive behavior when talking with the locals, that they shouldn’t speak loudly and lose their cool. “I have been living and working in Thailand for over 14 years, and I know many people, some for a long time, and they know me, and we trust each other. At the beginning, they were a little bit tense because they didn’t know me but now they see our work and what we do. I am very gratified that our second church in Pattaya was financed entirely by Thai people. “Someone once told me that church makes Russians more peaceful, and I believe it’s true. Sometimes Russians are very hard, including some businessmen, but when the priest comes to them they will listen to him. There is no guarantee that they will do what the priest says, but it has a soothing effect nevertheless.   To mark the 400th anniversary of the Romanov Dynasty, the church to be built in Hua Hin will be dedicated to Czar Nicholas Romanov, explained Archimandrite Oleg. “In December 2013, we will organize a concert and exhibition for the church with artists from Moscow. We’ve spoken with the Russian embassy because they have important photos of members of the dynasty and we are hoping they will loan these photos for the exhibition. Asked about his future plans, Archimandrite Oleg answered: “This is a very funny question – who really knows the future? We cannot say what will happen to us in the next minute…I will pass from this Earth just like everyone else. You must remember that each day could be your last day, because if you remember this, you will never live in sin. You must try to live a good life. Many people have tried, but you can take nothing with you to the grave.”

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BACKGROUND OF ARCHIMANDRIDE OLEG MIKHAILOVICH CHEREPANIN • Archimandrite Oleg Mikhailovich Cherepanin was born on November 30, 1961 in Homel, Belorussian SSR (now Belorussian Republic). • In 1984 he became a private assistant of His Eminence John (Vendland), Metropolitan of Yaroslavl and Rostov. In the same year he entered Moscow Theological Seminary, which he finished with first grade honors in 1989. • In 1985 he took his monastic vows and was ordained as hierodeacon by His Eminence Metropolitan John (Vendland). • In 1986 he received mantiya and was ordained as hieromonk. He was appointed the rector of St. Innocent, Metropolitan of Moscow. Later he was transferred to Annunciation Church in Yaroslavl. After a year, he was appointed the Dean of St. Sergius of Radonezh’s Church, Tatishev Pogost, Rostov district, Yaroslavskaya region. • In 1994, for his contribution to spiritual development of society, he was awarded the Order of Friendship by then Russian President Yeltsin. • In 1995 he was awarded a golden pectoral cross by His Holiness Alexy II, and in 1998 was ordained as hegumen. In 2001, by the order of His Holiness Alexy II, he was awarded a cross with adornment. • In 1997 he became the Head of the Missionary Committee of Yaroslavl Diocese, and was a lecturer in Yaroslavl theological school (comparative theology). He also served as Counselor of the Governor on interaction with religious associations. • In 1999 he was sent to serve in the Kingdom of Thailand as the rector of St. Nicholas’ Chapel in Bangkok. • By the Holy Synon’s decision of 26-27 December 2001, he was appointed Representative of the Russian Orthodox Church in Thailand with the mission to also give spiritual guidance to the Orthodox flock in Lao People’s Democratic Republic and the Kingdom of Cambodia. • On December 19, 2007, he received a prize “For great service to his fellow countrymen” of the first grade. • On December 19, 2009, he was honored with the rank of Archimandrite from His Holiness Kirill. • On November 30, 2011, he was awarded with the order of Saint Innocent, Metropolitan of Moscow and Kolomna (3rd degree). On the same date he was awarded with the highest order of Russian Peace Foundation – golden medal “For the peacemaking and charitable activities.”

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Y O U R U L T I M A T E W H A T ’ S O N G U I D E F O R J U L Y 1 3

What’s on pArt pPerformance pSport pFootball pMovies & Albums pBooks

Placebo are just one of the international acts set to perform at the Sonic Bang Festival. Page 78

Peace

Hip new UK band to perform at Sonic Page 78

Ronan Live

Pop sensation Ronan Keating returns to town this month Page 79

Football

Liverpool, Chelsea and Man Utd - all in Bangkok ! Page 80 TheBigChilli 75

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What’s On|The Arts

Exhibitions July 26 – Aug 9

W Bangkok

Everyday Portrait

STORIES of life, society and culture of individuals in different walks of life are portrayed in more than 300 photographs taken by Chaiyasith ‘Oat’ Joonjuadee, an internationally renowned photographer whose portfolio spans from documentary and fashion to commercial and weddings. The exhibition is on display on the ground floor of W Bangkok. 106 North Sathorn Road 02 344 4000 :whotelbangkok.com

July 11 – 19

Ardel Gallery of Modern Art

Art collection on display

PROMINENT art collector Dr.Wudhipong Kittitanasuan presents a series of his favourite works by Thailand’s National Artists, Artists of Distinction and well-established artists. The exhibition coincides with the launch of his book, ‘“Art collection of Dr.Wudhipong Kittitanasuan.” Boromratchonnee Road. Open Tues-Sat 10.30am-7pm; Sun 10.30am-5.30pm (closed Mon) 02 422 2092 :ardelgallery.com

July 9 – Aug 11

Museum of Contemporary Art

Balancing the Mind

TO celebrate the launch of his new book, which features work created from 1978 to the present, Thavorn Ko-udomvit presents a series of fine art collages and sculptures that were inspired by nature and its ability to bring about big changes in life. 499 Moo 3 Vibhavadi Rangsit Road 02 953 1005-7 :mocabangkok.com

Until Aug 24

100 Tonson Gallery

Unwrapping Culture

PICHET Klunchun, one of the most talented and critically celebrated multi-platform artists of the Thai contemporary art scene, presents a solo project never before presented outside the theater. In a contemporary dance performance that is both piquant and socially relevant, he leads his audience into profound traditions relating to “Thai identity” and “Thai culture.” The performance will have 14 rounds (approx 2hrs). Tickets: B1,500 (B800 for students). 100 Soi Tonson 02 684 1527 :100tonsongallery.com

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Until Aug 31

338 OIDA Gallery

Trans-structurity

COMPRISED of all new works, Thasnai Sethaseree’s latest exhibition is inspired by Thailand’s political climate and features sculpture models, mobile sculptures, installation pieces, as well as two dimensional images and light box pieces. 1028/5 Pongamorn Building, Rama IV Road (MRT Lumpini, Exit 1). Open Wed-Sun 1pm-5pm 09 0198 8749; :338oidagallery.com

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What’s On|Performance

Live Music

Dear Music Lover, IT’S all still alive and kicking isn’t it and the signs are there that it’s not slowing down either. Where July might be a tad quiet on the live music front, August is going to come along and rip us all a new one. Better give the liver a rest and get the sleep in while I can then. Just one thing I’d like to clear up: I get asked all the time why international shows don’t happen at weekends and why they tend to happen on week nights. Well, to answer your question it has nothing to do with promoters wanting their Friday or  Saturday nights off; we’d give anything to get these bands for weekend shows as we know everyone would be more inclined to go. It’s all to do with how the tour manager maps out the dates. At some point on a band’s tour they have to play week nights. It’s just the way it goes. 

BANGKOK • LITERALLY one week after we’ve been graced by Peace’s presence, we get to sample the complex yet huge sound of two piece outfit Japandroids. As beautifully noisy and lively as you’d like any band to be, and armed with their acclaimed new album ‘Celebration Rock’, these boys will really do the business. Wed Aug 14 at Route 66 Club, RCA. Doors open at 8pm and I’m guessing they will be on at 8.30pm so don’t hang about. 

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• PEACE, one of the most talked about new bands of this year, are heading our way. The world’s music press have hailed the Brummies as saviours of modern indie rock and roll with the NME giving Tickets: B1,400 from them a massive 9/10 for their Thaiticketmajor.com debut album ‘In Love’. I for one am a fan, and the album’s great, so on paper it should be one to catch. It’ll take place on Wed Aug 7 at Sonic, Ekamai with support on the night from Plot. Early bird tickets are B1000 and then B1,200 on DROIDS the door. Details of where and JAPAN when you can get tickets haven’t been announced yet but keep an eye on Dudesweet’s (the promoter) Facebook page. facebook.com/busypartyboy

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• THE Sonic Bang Festival is a one day event comprised of six stages and some 30 acts including some huge names. Real music lovers get their palates wetted by none other than Irish three-piece Ash; one of the best live acts I’ve ever seen in Placebo; legendary electro two piece outfit Pet Shop Boys; and may I be so bold as to include my very own band, The Standards, as we’ll be on the Park Stage earlier in the day. Then, depending on what you’re into (or really not into as the case may be), Pitbull, Jason Mraz, Owl City and popular Thai acts such as Lipta,  Scrubb and Flure are also on this mixed bag of a bill. All details can be found on the festival’s website (www. sonicbang.net), and there are more acts to be announced. Sat Aug 24, Impact Arena, Muang Thong Thani. Tickets range B3,000-B5,000 from Thaiticketmajor.com

JAPAN

Matt

Smith

• Summer Sonic 2013 TAKING place in Tokyo and Osaka on the Aug 10 and 11, this festival is massive!  Metallica, Muse, Stone Roses, Beady Eye, Two Door Cinema Club, Palma Violets, Peace, Alt-J, Jake Bugg and many, many more are on the line-up. Doors open at 9am on both sites.  Tickets: Tokyo: 1 Day ticket - 15,500 Yen - 2 day ticket - 28,000 Yen Osaka: 1 day ticket - 13,000 Yen - 2 day ticket - 23,000 Yen summersonic.com

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• Fuji Rock 2013 ARTISTS are still being added but so far Bjork, Hurts, The Cure, Nine Inch Nails, The XX, Foals, Sparks, Tame Impala, Mumford and Sons and a load more have already been announced. July 26-18 way BJO RK up in the mountains of the Naeba Ski Resort, Niigata. Sounds outstanding.  Tickets: Early bird - 3 day ticket - 39,800 Yen - 1 day ticket - 16,800 Yen Regular - 3 day ticket - 42,800 1 day ticket 17,800 Yen smash-uk.com

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HONG KONG

VIETNAM

RvDaSl sti eA FD TAN EASM THC

KYTE

• SHOE gaze/experimental heroes, Kyte play Hidden Agenda on July 25. Tickets are $280 in advance $320 on the door and $250 early bird tickets are available on July 14 at Hidden Agenda only.  2A, Wing Fu Industrial Bldg, 15-17 Tai Yip Street, Kwun Tong, Hong Kong

AD Stephff_June13.indd 1

• AS well as Bangkok and Manila, Canadian rockers, Japandroids make Ho Chi Min another of their Asian stop off points. Supported by none other than The Standards (can’t bloody wait!), they’re going to take the roof off old Saigon. Wed Aug 21  at Cargo Bar. Student tickets are available priced 150k VND. There are one hundred early bird tickets priced 250k VND and the door price 350k VND.  Tickets are available from Q4 box office, Asian Kitchen / Alley Cat - 185/22 Pham Ngu Lao or email: q4.info@saigonsoundsystem.com

Ronan Keating

OTHER MUSIC NEWS: JULY 10

IMPACT ARENA

RONAN KEATING LIVE POP sensation Ronan Keating is set to return to Thailand to wow his fans with the Ronan Keating Fires Live 2013 tour, which marks the artist’s 20th anniversary in the music industry. Expect to hear hits such as Fires, When You Say Nothing At All, and many more. Support from popular Thai act Two Popetorn. Tickets range B2,500 – B4,500 Baht from Thaiticketmajor.com

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What’s On|Outdoors

Sport July 17 – 21

Phuket

Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Raceweek 2013

NOW in its 10th year, this popular regatta boasts a week of great sailing and parties in Phuket. During the event, the regatta’s title sponsor, Kasemkij Hotels, will offer special rates at its Phuket properties – Cape Panwa Hotel and Kantary Bay Hotel. Full details can be found on the website below. :phuketraceweek.com

July 14

Lumpini Park

The Rainbow Run

THE Rainbow Room Foundation has teamed up with the Punky Runners running group to organise “The Rainbow Run#2 – Walk/ Run for Special Needs.” Race categories include 10km, 7.5km, 5km, 2.5km, and 50m Kids’ Fun Dash. Races start at 6am. :goadventureasia.com

July 13, 17, 28

Rajamangala Stadium

Football extravaganza

FANS of England’s Premier League are in for a triple treat this month in Bangkok. On July 13, a Singha All Stars team will take on the might of a visiting Manchester United, and then, on July 17, they’ll take on Chelsea FC. Capping the hat trick of visitors on July 28 will be Liverpool FC (at time of writing their opponents weren’t confirmed. Check Thaiticketmajor.com for updates) All games will be played at the cavernous Rajamangala Stadium, and tickets are expected to sell out faster than a Mancunian derby. Book early to avoid disappointment. :Thaiticketmajor.com

July 7

Bangkok

Sahaviriya Bangkok Triathlon

NOW in its fifth year, the International Bangkok Triathlon will return to the Capital for what promises to be its biggest event yet. Featuring swimming in the Chao Praya River, biking on a traffic-free expressway, and a final run along the magnificent Rama VIII Bridge, the course looks set to provide participants with stunning views of the city. :bangkoktriathlon.org :goadventureasia.com

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Sept 15

Kanchanaburi

River Kwai International Half Marathon

THE 32nd edition of Thailand’s oldest road race will once again see around 1,500 international racers turning up to tackle the scenic course which begins and ends in front of the River Kwai Village Resort. Don’t have the stamina for a half marathon? You can always opt for the 10km course which runs alongside the main event. For more info: :goadventureasia.com

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What’s On|Sport

Thai Premier League

SOCCER PUNDIT PAUL HEWITT EXAMINES WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE WORLD OF THAI FOOTBALL

Muangthong merry-go-round rides again SLAVIŠA JOKANOVIĆ OUT, WINFRIED SCHÄFER IN – BUT HOW LONG WILL HE STAY?

B

BARELY a season goes by without the powers that be at Muangthong United deciding that the club is in crisis and that the head coach has to be sacked. The latest victim of the itchy trigger finger in the boardroom at the SCG Stadium is Slaviša Jokanović. The Serbian tactician was appointed in February 2012 charged with leading the Twin Qilins back to TPL glory following Robbie Fowler’s short-lived and ill-fated reign. He did that in spectacular style as MTU lifted the title without losing a single league match during the 34-game campaign. They finished a hefty 14 points ahead of second-placed Chonburi and a monstrous 30 points clear of 2011 TPL champions Buriram United. But just fourteen games into the 2013 season, with Muangthong sitting second in the table, Jokanović found himself following in the footsteps of Surusak Tangsuwat, Attapol Buspakom, René Desaeyere, Carlos Roberto and Henrique Calisto: former Muangthong United head coaches all on the receiving end of marching orders. Muangthong’s admittedly poor Champions League campaign was a major

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factor in the decision to relieve Jokanović of his duties. They finished bottom of their group on one point, but it was always going to be a Mission: Impossible against Marcello Lippi’s Chinese champions Guangzhou Evergrande (one of the richest clubs in the world), South Korea’s Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors (K-League runners-up in 2011 and 2012 Champions League finalists) and the biggest club in Japan, Urawa Red Diamonds – Champions League winners themselves in 2007. Muangthong, for all their fame, wealth and status in Thai football, are still years away from being comfortable in that company. Their failure in the Champions League was all the starker for Buriram’s success. They qualified with seven points from what looked to be a slightly easier group, albeit one that still contained the 2012 K-League Champions (FC Seoul), J-League runners-up (Vegalta Sendai) and the Chinese Super League runners up (Jiangsu Sainty). Jokanović’s cause wasn’t helped by a 2-1 home defeat to Buriram United back on match day six, but they had won their

opening five games of the season before that – including an excellent 2-0 win at Chonburi – and they responded to the Buriram loss by winning five and drawing one of the following six games. But the Serb’s time was up after his side went two (that’s 2) league games without a win. A 3-1 midweek defeat at Suphanburi on May 29 was followed by a 1-1 home draw with Osotspa-Saraburi on June 2. Within hours of the full time whistle blowing, Muangthong and Jokanović had parted company. This in the same season that Buriram sacked their head coach – the aforementioned Attapol, now at Bangkok Glass – moments after qualifying from their Champions League group. Slaviša Jokanović’s final league record with Muangthong United read: played 48, won 35, drawn 11, lost 2. If this were twitter, I’d have to write #madness. The revolving door ushered in one Winfried Schäfer. His contract with the Thai National Team was cancelled with typical FAT efficiency at the beginning of June. The fact that he was on the way out from the top coaching job in Thai football had been on the cards for months but no concrete decision had been made, so “Winnie” continued in the role by naming his squad for a friendly match against China for June 15. Unfortunately for the German, the under-23 coach Kiatisuk “Zico” Senamuang had also named a squad

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for the same match! FAT President Worawi Makudi now told the media that Winnie was out and Zico was in. The problem was that no one had officially told Schäfer that he was out of a job; he had to just read it in the papers and online like everyone else. And he didn’t waste time in taking to Facebook to express his anger at the way his dismissal had been dealt with. In his own words: “My team and I came to Thailand hoping to improve Thai football. We worked hard to achieve our goals, but it was a constant struggle, and hope of true development only became dimmer and dimmer. After the last half year, after our exciting Suzuki Cup, it became more and more clear that there wasn’t the trust and support given that is needed to work on an international level and the last weeks have confirmed that the future will not bring a change. This was and is after all a bad and very, very sad and frustrating situation for the national players, for my team, for me and last but not least for Thailand, for you the fans. So I have decided to cancel my contract.”

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His contract was cancelled on June 3 – the day after Jokanović departed Muangthong. Rumours immediately appeared linking Schäfer with the Nonthaburi giants and on June 5 he had this to say, again on Facebook: “Some friends, the people at Muangthong United, asked me to stay a bit longer in Thailand and to help them in a not so pleasant situation. So I decided not to leave right away, but to take the chance to help a friend. Muangthong United supported us always and now I try to give a bit of support back. I don’t know yet how long I will stay, but I know we will have a lot of fun.” He was in the stands, but not on the bench, on the same day when his new

charges lost 2-1 away at Nakhon Ratchasima in the League Cup. His first real game in charge came four days later when he saw his side lose 1-0 away at Attapol’s Bangkok Glass in front of a BG record attendance of 13,300. A wry smile must have played across his face a week later when the National Team won that friendly against China 5-1 – a result as improbable as it was impressive and guaranteed, one would think, to land Zico the job on a permanent basis. Schäfer’s first match at home featured another member of the merry-go-round club, René Desaeyere. The Belgian is now in charge of BEC Tero Sasana, but he saw his side lose 3-1 to Schäfer’s rejuvenated red & blacks. That victory was followed by a 5-2 hammering of Songkhla United in the FA Cup. So all’s well in the world of Muangthong again. The merry-go-round has stopped for now. But perhaps Winnie shouldn’t unpack his suitcase just yet. Farang Focus will return next month

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What’s On|Screen And Stereo

Movies & music AUG 1

ANIMATION

MONSTERS UNIVERSITY MONSTERS Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan may have seemed like best of buddies in Monster’s Inc. (now a decade old!) but this university-set prequel shows that even the closest of friendships can sometimes have turbulent – and in this case hilarious – beginnings.

JUL 4

ACTION

THE LONE RANGER

NATIVE American spirit warrior Tonto (Johnny Depp) recounts the untold tales that transformed John Reid (Armie Hammer), a man of the law, into a legend of justice. As the two unlikely heroes take the audience on a runaway train of epic surprises and humorous friction, they must learn to work together and fight against greed and corruption. JUL 11

ACTION

PACIFIC RIM

WHEN an alien attack threatens Earth’s existence, giant robots piloted by humans, known as the Jaegers, are deployed to fight off the menace. But when Jaegers are proven to be defenseless against the relentless Kaiju, mankind has no choice but to turn to two unlikely heroes—a washed up former pilot (Charlie Hunnam) and an untested trainee (Rinko Kikuchi)— who team up to drive a legendary but seemingly obsolete Jaeger from the past. Movie screenings are subject to change. Keep up to date at movieseer.com

FOR YOU

STARS DANCE

(Release date: Out now)

(Release date: July 23) IN A WAR ZONE

(Release date: July 4)

(Release date: July 23)

TRANSPLANTS

THE WEIGHT OF YOUR LOVE

JINX

(Release date: July 9)

(Release date: July 23)

EDITORS

WEEKEND

ELECTRIC

IN A WORLD LIKE THIS

(Release date: July 16)

(Release date: July 30)

PET SHOP BOYS

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SELENA GOMEZ

MAGNA CARTA HOLY GRAIL

JAY Z

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THE WOLVERINE

HUGH Jackman is slicing and dicing his way back onto the screen as Wolverine in what promises to be a much-improved follow up to the character’s first solo outing. Taking its inspiration from the Chris Claremont/ Frank Miller Marvel miniseries from the 1980s, the story will follow the wolfish hero’s adventures in Japan as he fights ninjas in the ceremonial garb of the samurai.

MEMORY LANE

NEW MUSIC

INGER MARIE

JUL 25

ACTION

BACKSTREET BOYS

TOPPING THE UK CHARTS JULY 1983

1. KC & The Sunshine Band— Give It Up 2. Malcolm McLaren & The Bootzilla Orchestra—Double Dutch 3. Eurythmics—Who’s That Girl 4. Elton John—I’m Still Standing 5. Wham!—Club Tropicana 6. Gary Byrd & The GB Experience— The Crown 7. Depeche Mode— Everything Counts 8. Police—Wrapped Around Your Finger 9. Bananarama—Cruel Summer 10. Herbie Hancock—Rockit

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Insight|Live Music

Feature

O’REILLYS IRISH PUB

+ SOME long term expats jokingly refer to this Silom Road Irish boozer as O’Better, in reference to the Beatles tribute band The Better which has performed here every Fri night for years. The reason they’ve stayed so long is that they’re great at what they do. And when you hear that they’ve even had their shoes modified so that they stand the same height as their idols, you can’t help but admire their efforts (catch them every Fri from 9pm). Longtime expat favourite Lee Shamrock brings his own brand of music to the pub on Mondays from 8pm11pm, and Earth Collide and The Stalkers take the stage on a Thurs from 9pm. 62/1-4, Silom Road, Tel. 02 632 7515-19 www.oreillyspubbangkok.com

ADHERE THE 13TH BLUES BAR

+ THIS tiny bar has long held a reputation for being one of the best venues in town for live music. Bands take to the stage every night from 10pm, and currently the roster includes Ped band (Mon); Yamin & the TwoBoys (Tues); The Vintager (Wed); Little Z And The 1 4 5 (Thurs); Bang Lum Poo (Fri-Sun); and Buddy Blues Band (Sat-Sun. 8.30pm-9.30pm). What makes it so cool is not only the music, but also the friendly vibes. Rare Thai songs are sometimes rendered here for a treat. Look out for surprise jam sessions on weekend nights. Samsen Road, near Banglumpoo Bridge. Open daily from 7pm till midnight

BANGKOK

(PART 1)

ROCKS! WHERE TO GET YOUR FIX OF LIVE MUSIC THIS MONTH THE DUBLINER

+ WHEN The Dubliner’s former home, Washington Square, became earmarked for development late last year, fans of the longstanding Irish pub nearly filled their Guiness glasses with tears. After being in the same spot for over 14 years, the pub was so steeped in history you could almost smell it. All those St Patrick’s Day parties, anniversary bashes, stag nights, hen dos, and everything in between – the pub’s wood had absorbed all that atmosphere. So when the pub was forced to up sticks and relocate to a new premises on Sukhumvit 33/1 (between The Royal Oak and Robin Hoods Pub), many of its regular punters feared it would lose some of its magic in the process. The good news, though, is that, when moving, The Dubliner almost literally dug up sticks. Why? Because the owners used most of the wood that gave the pub its rustic charm at the old location to construct the new venue. The results – a pub which feels very much the same, albeit in a new shape. From the kitchen comes the same hearty portions of international fare; a decent selection of beers are on draught; and there’s now even a hotel perched atop the pub. As for live music – every Mon-Wed night The Unicorn Band plays pop and rock hits; Earth Collide plays rock every Thurs night; Expector plays international favourites on a Fri night; and Celtic Colours play Irish music on a Sun from 2pm-5pm. Sukhumvit 33/1 Tel: 02 204 1841 www.thedublinerbangkok.com 86

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BRICK BAR

+ HIDDEN away in the basement of the Buddy Lodge on Khao San Road, this red-brick bar draws 20-something college students who are into reggae and ska music. There are two zones: an upper terrace overlooking the centre stage and a lower level area holding performances. Hip bands take turns to entertain party-goers and alternate with mainstream music playing. Bands performing include Scrubb (Fri-Sun), Body Sole (Mon-Tue), Gold Red (Wed-Thurs), No Bra specializing in reggae, and Teddy Ska Band (Mon-Fri, 12.30am-2am). Bands play from 8pm-9.30pm, 10.15pm-11.45pm, and 12.30am-2am. 265 Khao San Road, Tel: 02 629 4556 www.brickbarkhaosan.com

HARD ROCK CAFE BANGKOK

+ LIKE Eric Clapton, this iconic restaurant needs no introduction. Tuck into huge burgers and sing along with your mouth full to live music from the house band Telefon every Mon-Sat (9.30pm-1am), Sevensenses on Fri/Sat (8pm-9.15pm. Acoustic) and Sun (9.30pm-1am), and Siamblue every Tues and Thurs from 9.30pm-1am. 424/3-6 Siam Square Soi 11 (BTS Siam) Tel: 02 658 4090-3 www.hardrock.com/bangkok

THE ALCHEMIST

+ FOUNDED by two DJs, The Alchemist enjoys a reputation for being a choice hangout for musicians and music lovers alike. The laid-back vibe is reminiscent of watering holes you’d find in Europe, right down to ordering your drinks at the bar. ‘Live Wednesdays’ feature performances by a wide variety of artists from all around Bangkok, including acts such as Strange Idea, The Idle Threads, John Bailey, Ben R, Martin Grand, and Tara & Johnny O. Visit the bar’s Facebook page for weekly updates. The Alchemist, Suk11 Village, Sukhumvit Soi 11, facebook.com/ thealchemistbkk, www.thealchemistbkk.com

THE PINTSMAN

+ YOU’LL find plenty of imported beers and tasty grub to choose from at this modern gastro pub in the basement of the United Center on Silom Road. A good selection of live music is on offer too, including an acoustic duo playing contemporary and classic hits (every Sat and Wed from 7pm), a House Band playing reggae and Irish songs (every Thurs from 7pm), and two house bands taking the stage on a Fri – one to play Rockabilly and Rock ‘n Roll; the other, Brit Rock and famous Thai songs. 323 Silom Road, United Center Building (G Floor) Tel: 089 012 9922 email: beer@thepintsman.com, www. thepintsman.com TheBigChilli

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Feature

Insight|Live Music Rock Pub

+ ROCK pub is the only place in town that claims to play only rock and nothing else. Since its opening a little over a decade ago, this dungeon has hosted live sessions by many of Thailand’s legendary outfits – Stone Metal Fire, Kaleidoscope, Lam Morrison and so forth. And even in their downtime, when Thai airwaves are heavily saturated by

Saxophone Pub & Restaurant +

FOR almost two decades, this buzzing spot has been a favorite among musicians and music lovers alike. It has long been a platform for new bands — many of which scored their careers here, along with a fan base. The name might give the impression you’re going to get only jazz — and actually that was the case until the last decade. But now, with two-three live bands each night, you get to hear live sets from either aspiring new groups or established professionals with anything from jazz, blues and reggae to mainstream hard rock. Thailand’s favorite ska group, T-Bone, performs here every Friday night from midnight-1.30am. Check with the management for music of the night. BTS: Victory Monument, open daily 6pm till 1am, www.saxophonepub.com

Korean pop and so-called modern rock, these groups still come here and make appearances to their loyal fans. Most nights you get mainstream rock, hard rock and heavy metal, but sometimes you can find yourself bobbing to grunge, garage rock, nu-metal, post-punk, rock and roll and even ska. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to hear some bands with their original songs in both Thai and English. Hollywood Street Building, Phayathai Road. Open daily from 6pm till midnight, www.therockpub-bangkok.com

Sonic

+ SONIC has quickly made a name for itself as one of Bangkok’s top places for live indie music. Sonic is owned by the same people who do Moose and live music hot spot Cosmic Café on RCA. With a giant white statue of a mustachioed hipster out front, Sonic positions itself as a dancing venue. They’ve already hosted a number of local party series, such as the well attended Paradise Bangkok gigs and collectives like Trasher and Dudesweet. Sonic has also hosted international acts such as Skrillex and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. That doesn’t leave much room for a regular night, but on that rare occasion, you can buy an unpretentious drink and grab a table at the outdoor space, where resident DJs spins indie rock. Frequent local bands perform, both on the main stage and in small party rooms. Sonic, 90 Ekamai 63, between sub sois 8 and 10; Tel: 02 382 3397

CheckInn99

+ LOCATED in a small alleyway opposite the Landmark Bangkok, CheckInn 99 offers cabaret-style entertainment and live music every night. A throwback to the 70s and the Vietnam War period, the bar still has its original décor and packs plenty of charm – some of the staff have worked here since it opened and are characters to say the least. A Philippine House Band plays daily from 8.45pm-1.30am, interspersing classic oldies with rock and roll and the latest hits. The management throws theme parties most Saturdays – so don’t be surprised if you find the staff in pajamas or Hawaiian grass skirts. Visit on Sundays, and you can catch international level musicians jamming. A food menu served daily from 5pm offers steakhouse, European and Thai selections. Happy Hour drinks are available 5pm-8.30pm. Sukhumvit Road between Soi 5 & 7, directly opposite the Landmark Hotel Tel: 087 073 7989 www.checkinn99bkk.com

Parking Toys

+ You’ll need to take a taxi to this live music venue way out in the Bangkok burbs, but serious live music fans shouldn’t even think twice about the distance. Decorated in retro furniture with chandeliers and colourful ottomans, the lofty space has an artsy vibe. You can expect anything from indie pop to heavy rock, and most bands to be top-notch. Phone ahead to find out what band is playing before venturing this far. 17/22 Soi Mai Laap, Ram Intra 14, Lad Prao (get a taxi here) 02 907 2228, 9pm-1am nightly.

Want more live music news? See www.bangkokjungle.com 88

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Send your jokes to thebigchillimagazine@gmail.com

Just for fun

Entertainment|Humour

Jokes SAFARI SHOWDOWN

E JOKTHE OF NTH MO

A BIG-game hunter goes on safari with his wife and his mother-in-law. One evening, the wife wakes up to find her mother gone. She rushes to find her husband, he picks up his rifle, and they go out to look for her. In a clearing not far from the camp, they come upon a chilling sight – the mother-in-law is backed up against a rock with a fierce lion facing her. “Oh no,” cries the wife. “What are we going to do?” “Nothing,” says her husband. “That lion got himself into this mess. He can get himself out of it.”

HTS THOUG E H OF T MONTH

1. Just think, if it weren’t for marriage, men would go through life thinking they had no faults at all. 2. I tried to sell fake paintings, but the police burst in and I made the mistake of shouting, “It’s not what it looks like!” – Milton Jones 3. Apparently bacon, ham and sausages can cause early death. Especially if you’re a pig. – Jack Dee 4. My granddad says every morning when he measures his allotment, it’s a couple of inches smaller than the day before. I think the old boy is slowly losing the plot. 5. I love the metric system. It’s the best by an absolute 1.6km.

GIVE US FIVE: JIMMY CARR 1. I’m not being condescending; I’m too busy thinking about far more important things you wouldn’t understand.

EARLY MORNING GRILLING A BLONDE SOLUTION

A BLONDE, a brunette and a redhead go on holiday to a tropical island. The brunette takes a beach umbrella, the redhead takes a crate of suntan oil, and the blonde takes a car door. “What are you doing with a car door?” asks the redhead. The blonde replies, “If it gets too hot, we can roll the window down.”

A WIFE hears a noise in the kitchen one morning. She goes downstairs and finds her husband slumped at the table stinking of booze and with lipstick stains all over his shirt. “I hope you’ve got a good reason for being here at seven in the morning,” she glowers. “I certainly do,” replies her husband. “Breakfast!”

2. My favourite road sign is ‘Falling Rocks.’ What exactly am I supposed to do with that information? They may as well have a sign saying “Random accidents ahead. Life’s a lottery, Be lucky.” 3. The first guy who persuaded a blind person they needed sunglasses – he must have been a hell of a salesman. 4. My girlfriend said she wanted me to tease her, so I said: “Alright, fatty?” 5. Ten years after the Chernobyl accident, and am I the only one that’s disappointed? Still no superheroes.

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Entertainment|Humour

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Social  Last month’s best events in pictures

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Social|Last Month’s Best Events

Movers and Shakers at QBar The drinks and conversation were both flowing freely when the Movers and Shakers Charity networking group hosted a get together at QBar, Sukhumvit Soi 11. Sponsors of the event were Kingdom Property, and Meinhardt (Thailand).

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Social|Last Month’s Best Events

Football legends come to town Former Manchester United players Denis Irwin, Clayton Blackmore, Andy Cole and Lee Sharpe flew to Thailand last month for a series of grand black tie and charity golf tournaments in Bangkok and Pattaya. Organized by the Pattaya-based event promoter Legacy of Legends, the charity event was capped with a gala dinner at Grand Hall, Plaza Athénée Bangkok, A Royal Meridien Hotel.

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Soul searching at Bad Motel Photography fans were out in force for the opening of ‘A Man’s Soul,’ the latest exhibition by Surasak Ittirit, held at Bad Motel on Soi Thonglor. Photos by David Heischrek.

Flores De Mayo at S 31 The United Filipinos in Thailand (UFT), with support from the Philippine Embassy, held a special charity event entitled: “Flores De Mayo, Santacruzan 2013,” at the Grand Ballroom of S 31 Luxury Hotel, Sukhumvit Soi 31. Flores De Mayo (Flowers of May) is a legendary Philippine tradition, one of the most popular and colorful festivities celebrated annually throughout the country during the month of May.

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Social|Last Month’s Best Events

SPASSO TURNS 21 Spasso Italian Restaurant and Bar at the Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok marked its 21st anniversary in style by throwing a huge party featuring lots of tasty nibbles, free-ow drinks, and live entertainment.

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L’Appart on song A crowd of young sophisticates, Bangkok celebrities, media, and senior representatives of Sofitel Luxury Hotels got together to celebrate the first anniversary of L’Appart, Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit’s elegant rooftop Champagne bar and restaurant. The glamorous party at the Parisian-styled rooftop venue was also a celebration of the international event, Fête de la Musique, and featured a sexy Can-Can Cabaret, a performance by pop-opera outfit VIVA!, and music from a live saxophone duo.

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Social|Last Month’s Best Events

Diageo World Class 2013

Thailand’s top bartending talent gathered at Medici Italian Restaurant, Hotel Muse, for the “Diageo Reserve World Class Thailand Competition 2013.” Hosted by Diageo Moet Hennessy (Thailand) Ltd., the event was judged by Mr Lam Chi Mun, Director of Diageo Bar Academy Asia Pacific; Mr Colin Chia, Asia Pacific Regional Brand Ambassador; and renowned mixologist Mr Ueno Hidetsugu.

All change at Centre Point Centre Point held a special event to announce its strategic repositioning, changing from a leading serviced apartment operator to a comprehensive group of hotels. Especially for the transition, the Thai-owned brand has established a new Service Quality Development (SQD) unit to ensure that all existing seven locations of Centre Point Hotels offer the same level of service.

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Vietnamese Food Festival Centara Grand Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok marked the launch of its Vietnamese Food Festival at Le Danang restaurant with a special dinner event attended by His Excellency H.E.Ngo Duc Thang, Ambassador of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam; Piyakul Suwansumrit, Vice President of Thai-Vietnamese Culture Society; and many more VIP guests.

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Social|Last Month’s Best Events

Ai Colla’s big launch Ai Colla Co.,Ltd introduced its latest range of skincare and healthy supplement products with a celeb-studded launch event. Among the big names in attendance were Tai Penpak Sirikul, Nana Rybena and Pam Orn-arpa Poonsapmanee.

New look Vintage After undergoing extensive renovations the new look Vintage Silom Italian Restaurant burst back on the scene last month with a big party showcasing the restaurant’s revised drinks and food menus. Among the VIP guests on the night were Police General Wanchai Srinualnad, Admiral Narong Thetwisan, and singer Mr Peet Peera.

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Conrad’s whisky spectacular Conrad Bangkok and Johnnie Walker Blue Label hosted a special tasting night designed especially for ‘Elite Connoisseurs.’ Held at the hotel’s award winning Liu Restaurant, the event saw Executive Chef Freddy Schmit and Liu’s Chinese Chef Raymond serve up a six-course menu paired with Johnnie Walker’s finest collection for 60 special guests.

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Social|Last Month’s Best Events

Trader Vic’s Rediscover Party Trader Vic’s Restaurant at Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort & Spa launched its new menus with a huge ‘Rediscover Party’ featuring Hawaiian and Polynesian dance shows, live Cuban music, fire juggling and a musical firework extravaganza. Throughout the night guests were treated to sublime Pacific Rim dishes from Trader Vic’s new menus.

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Architecture meets music

In celebration of selling 75 percent of their units, the owners of Pure Sunset Beach condominium project in Najomtien flew in the young and exceptional European Pianist Mauro lo Conte for a private concert for VIP customers at Thewarat Sapharom Hall - The Phya Thai Palace.

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Social|Last Month’s Best Events

Cocktail fun at Woobar Starwood Hotels & Resorts Thailand hosted a Starwood Media Appreciation Cocktail Party 2013 at WOOBAR, W Bangkok. The event, packed with fun-filled entertainment, also served as a platform for Starwood to showcase its eight lifestyle brands.

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DJ TALENT AT SIAM@SIAM Siam@Siam Design Hotel & Spa kicked off its exciting new series of music events, ‘International Underground DJs Monthly,’ by showcasing the talents of DJs K and Dezz from Malaysia, and DJ Drew Tudose from Romania. The music gurus played at both Party House One and The Roof, and a great night was had by all.

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Social|Last Month’s Best Events

Exclusive tastes

Pullman Bangkok King Power hosted an exclusive ‘French White Asparagus’ dinner at Déjà Vu, where French chef Cyrille Vero cooked up a special menu highlighting this much prized ingredient from Avoine, France. Special guests on the night included M.L.Parson Svasti, Dr. Kritika Kongsompong, Panitnart Yeampeka, Nuchanat Raveesangsoon, Vee Mar, Tipaporn Achanan, and many more VIPs.

Mexican fun at Rembrandt Mexican culture took centre stage when The Rembrandt Hotel hosted an 11 day festival featuring live music, dance performances by Mexican folkloric ballet group Yoliztli Widen, and delicious Mexican cuisine from two guest chefs at the hotel’s much-loved Señor Pico restaurant.

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Columbia Trails Master The fifth edition of ‘The Columbia Trails Master’ race event once again saw over 1,000 athletes from Thailand and abroad head to Khao Mai Keaw, Pattaya, for a series of action packed adventure trails races. Coming out top in the 50km division, in a field of 128 runners, was Thai national Sanya Kanchai.

Wax Tailor at Zense La Fete French Festival ended on a high note with a superb night of electronic music by French DJ Wax Tailor at ZENSE Gourmet Deck and Lounge Panorama at Zen World.

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Social|Last Month’s Best Events

Ladies exhibit their artistic skills Bangkok’s expatriate community was at its most artistic and enterprising recently when the ladies got together to exhibit their wares at the International Creators’ Fair at the Rainbow room, Imperial Queens Park Hotel. Products on show included foods, children’s clothing, home-made bags, jewellery and items imported from Africa.

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David Guetta at Bitec

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Lush at Hotel Muse

Disco Party at Pullman Bangkok Hotel G

Lush at Hotel Muse

Club Crawl at Bed, QBar, Nest Disco Party at Pullman Bangkok Hotel G

Lush at Hotel Muse

Lush at Hotel Muse

Disco Party at Pullman Bangkok Hotel G

PARTIES AT A GLANCE

Disco Party at Pullman Bangkok Hotel G

Club Crawl at Bed, QBar, Nest Lush at Hotel Muse Lush at Hotel Muse

PHOTOGRAPHS BY DAVID HEISCHREK

Lush at Hotel Muse

Disco Party at Pullman Bangkok Hotel G

Club Crawl at Bed, QBar, Nest

Disco Party at Pullman Bangkok Hotel G

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Social|Around Last Month’s town Best Events

A VIP GATHERING at Hemingway’s

THE recently opened Hemingway’s Bangkok held an intimate dinner to showcase its cuisine and services to a select group of media and VIP guests. Set in a renovated shop-house which was built in the 1920s, the 300-seater restaurant is inspired by great American author Ernest Hemingway, and the food and atmosphere on offer is inspired by his journeys around the globe. The bar is located on Sukhumvit Soi 14, a short walk from Asok BTS. For more info see www.hemminwaysbangkok.com.

Monocle pops up in Bangkok

THE first Monocle Pop Up Shop in Thailand opened last month offering shoppers one week to get their hands on Monocle Magazine’s famous stationery, fashion, design and travel products, at the Sansiri Lounge, Siam Paragon Shopping Centre.

Pedro offers ‘Fairy Treats’

THAI celebs flocked to Maggie Choo’s for the launch of Pedro Footwear’s new campaign ‘Pedro Be Seen II; The Mysterious Fairy Treats.’ The campaign, which is held in collaboration with Maggie Choo’s Fat’ R Gut’ Z, Clouds, And Mr. Jones’ Orphanage, gives shoppers the chance to enjoy a free treat at their favourite venue every time they buy a pair of Pedro shoes. The launch event was attended by singer Prakarn Raiwa, chef Duang-Duangrith Kleawplodtuk, actor Sailub-Veerachai Kwanaumpaipan, and shoemaker Tue Sombat Teerasaroj.

Sansiri supports sailing

SANSIRI PLC held a press conference to announce its support for Mr Patinyakorn Buranrom to become the first-ever Thai sailor to skipper a yacht in a major international ocean yacht race. Mr Patinyakorn, an accomplished sailor, will skipper the 40-foot “Sansiri” in the TRANSPAC 2013, the longest of the two oldest ocean races in the world, which starts in Los Angeles July 8 and finishes in Honolulu some 2,250 nautical miles away (4,100km).

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Diplomats p Meet the people uniting nations

HE Kesang Wangdi

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Diplomats

HE Kesang Wangdi|Bhutan

Ambassador brings Bhutan’s positive energy to Thailand By Maxmilian Wechsler

HE Kesang Wangdi talks about his country’s unique approach to promoting happiness

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HE Kesang Wangdi, the ambassador of Bhutan to Thailand, is a fitting emissary for a nation which marks its country’s progress not on GDP, but on GNH (Gross National Happiness). The first time I came in contact with him was on December 12, 2012, at a reception at the Swissotel Nai Lert hosted by the Royal Bhutan Embassy to mark the Kingdom’s 105th National Day. The reception was attended by about 500 distinguished guests including Thai cabinet ministers, senior government officials, diplomats and business people. The event was a collaborative effort from the embassy, the Tourism Council of Bhutan, Druk Air (Royal Bhutan Airlines) and various travel agencies to showcase the country’s culture, cuisine and textiles. In his welcoming speech Mr Wangdi eloquently underscored his country’s rapid socioeconomic development and expressed his own happiness at the existing good relations between Bhutan and Thailand. The Bhutanese performers and artisans put on a remarkable show that impressed everyone. One ambassador was heard commenting to colleagues that it was “remarkable that such a small country could organize such a spectacular event,” and that Bhutan was a place he would very much like to visit. They all agreed, and clearly special credit for the success of the event goes to Mr Wangdi for his cheerful and energetic presentation on behalf of the idyllic mountain kingdom.

From farm boy to diplomat Not long after the event, the ambassador gladly accepted an invitation for an interview, which took place under the portraits of two monarchs, HM Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej, at the tastefully appointed hall of the Bhutanese embassy chancery at the mission compound in Bangkok’s Huay Kwang district. As is his custom, the ambassador was wearing the traditional national dress for men called gho, and also traditional handmade boots embroidered with beautiful coloured designs. “I came from a small, modest and ordinary farming family in Bhutan,” the ambassador told me, when asked about his background. “I am one of the products of a government which holds education to be very important. In Bhutan it is up to you if and how you succeed, because the government creates enabling conditions for people to reach their aspirations and to achieve whatever they want. There are no limitations.

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“I went through the education system and got selected for government service. I was educated in Bhutan, India and elsewhere. I entered government service in the early 1980s. When I started I worked in the capital of Bhutan, Thimphu. My first posting abroad was to India, and from there I went to the United States, Nepal and now to Thailand. I have been very fortunate, as have all those of my generation, because of a very fair system where people are given the opportunity to receive an education and pursue their dreams. “I am married with two children; one is studying medicine in the United States and the other is a financial analyst for the investment arm of the Bhutanese government. My family also includes a small dog. I like reading, music and physical activities such as running, cycling, soccer and golf − but I am not the greatest golfer,” said the ambassador, smiling.

Coming to Thailand Mr Wangdi arrived in Thailand for the first time when he assumed the position of ambassador in June 2011. He is also acting ambassador to Australia and Singapore. Asked how he can manage to represent his country in Australia all the way from Thailand, Mr Wangdi said: “I travel there as often as I can because we have a lot of work to do. Cooperation between our countries is growing. Australia is one of our earliest development partners. We have had technical cooperation with Australia for a long time and they have offered assistance and human resources in agriculture and other areas. There are also a lot of Bhutanese students studying in Australia. “Bhutan recently established diplomatic relations with other Asian countries, including Indonesia, Myanmar and Vietnam. The government will soon nominate an ambassador to these nations. This embassy will perhaps look after them as well but this is still under discussion. “My last assignment before coming here was as Director General of the Tourism Council of Bhutan. We give a lot of importance to tourism in Bhutan, and this position is directly under the prime minister. The tourism council consists of many cabinet ministers and also members of the private sector. We have many development options in tourism as well as in hydropower, but we are very careful in selecting which ones go forward. Our development philosophy hinges on the concept of gross national happiness, which we believe is more important than gross domestic product.” This fascinating and enlightened perspective is officially pursued only in Bhutan, and it is reflected in all areas of government, business and society. It is a development model that measures the mental as well as material well-being of citizens. The objective is balanced development with the ultimate goal being the happiness of the people. The concept consists of four pillars: Socioeconomic Development, Promotion and Conservation of Culture, Environmental Protection and Good Governance. These pillars embody national and local values and aesthetics, as well as spiritual traditions. The philosophy of GNH is now being taken up by the United Nations and some other countries. “We are coming out [of relative isolation] slowly and we are learning from everybody. They say, ‘if you copy from one

it is plagiarizing; if, you copy from ten, it is research.’ So, we are doing a lot of research and taking good points from many countries. So, things in Bhutan are going very well,” the ambassador said. Mr Wangdi did not formally request a posting in Thailand but he is delighted to be here. “In our system, ambassadors are nominated by the government, and confirmed and approved by the King. Even before the constitution was in place, this has always been the procedure. The ambassadorial term is usually three years, but it could be longer − four or even five years. “Basically, I do what every ambassador does, and this consists of three basic functions. One is to promote friendship, cooperation and good will between our two countries − that is perhaps my main mandate, and it brings me to my second function, which is to deepen and broaden cooperation in the fields of commerce, trade, tourism, people-to-people contact, culture exchange and so on. My third, also very important, function is to look after the interest of the Bhutanese people in Thailand, whether they are residents, students or just passing through. “Of course, as I am here among the diplomatic community in the metropolis of Bangkok, my purpose is also to build awareness about Bhutan, our culture and our GNH development philosophy − not only in this great nation but also with everyone in the diplomatic and expat communities here, as well as the other countries that I am assigned to. “All of this keeps me very busy from morning to evening, and after the official workday I normally go out to interact and mingle – which is always a pleasure. In the evenings, I attend to social obligations like national day receptions,” the ambassador said. Mr Wangdi said he wears the goh instead of a suit most of the time because it is part of the Bhutanese culture and tradition. “Every country has a culture which is unique, but Bhutan is a country where the culture is not only unique but living. It is practical and relevant in the modern context. Therefore, in Bhutan a great number of people wear the goh. It is very comfortable and suitable for work as well as celebrations or special events. As for the boots, several types are now made from different materials in Thailand. The ones I am wearing now are for a warmer climate and they come from Bhutan.”

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In Bhutan it is up to you if and how you succeed, because the government creates enabling conditions for people to achieve whatever they want.

Royal Development Projects Since his arrival Mr Wangdi has been impressed with the development of Thailand, socially as well as economically. The infrastructure is good, the people are happy, and the communities are very strong, he said. “I try to get out of Bangkok as much as possible. I have visited Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Nakhon Nayok, Ayutthaya and few other provinces because I want to learn and gain more experience about Thailand. For example, when I went to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai on one of my first visits outside Bangkok, I visited the Royal Development Projects (RDP) that HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej has promoted for many years.” The Royal Project was initiated by the Thai King in 1969 to encourage hill tribe villagers to shift from the cultivation of opium poppy to alternative crops. The project was also intended as a highland agricultural development center.

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Diplomats

HE Kesang Wangdi|Bhutan

“These are people-oriented policies,” said Mr Wangdi. “People are not only given assistance or handouts, they are given the tools, knowledge and support to improve their farming and productivity and to maintain their culture. I have seen with my own eyes how very successful the RDPs are in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. The communities involved are thriving, and these good practices are also replicated outside the communities. “We are collaborating with the RDP organization in Bhutan as well. I have met with HSH Prince Bhisadej Rajani, the Chairman of the Royal Project Foundation, and he has visited Bhutan many times. Through him we have replicated some of the successes here. He is well-educated, committed, hands-on and a very good representative of HM the King. I really admire him. We are collaborating closely and, in fact, I hope that he will be visiting Bhutan again soon. I have also met with the Director-General of the RDP and other officials,” said the ambassador. “We in Bhutan are learning from the RDP not only how to produce, but also everything concerning the supply chain, because our farmers don’t have access to markets. It is a very inspiring project, teaching how you market and package produce, and so on. We need to know all of this. For us it is not only a curiosity. We are very happy because the priorities are similar to our own, to assist our poor people. In Bhutan, agriculture is a very important priority to promote sustainable development based on GNH.”

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Relationship between Bhutan and Thailand Formal diplomatic relations between Bhutan and Thailand were established in November 1989, although contacts between the royal families of the two countries were established much earlier. A resident embassy was established in Bangkok in the Sukhumvit area in July 1997. “We moved to this location about ten years ago. We bought this large – by Bhutanese standards – property because we believed that our bilateral relations will go from strength to strength, that collaboration on trade and commerce will flourish and there will be many functions to attend. We also bought ten good houses not far from the embassy where our staff live. I live outside the embassy as well, but we are going to construct an ambassadorial residence here in the future. There are about two dozen people working at the embassy, nine Bhutanese and the rest Thais. In fact, this is Bhutan’s largest embassy. “At this time there is no Thai embassy in Bhutan. This is the responsibility of the Thai ambassador to Bangladesh. There is an honorary Thai consul in Bhutan, Mr Dasho Ugen Tsechup Dorji, a Bhutanese businessman who is the Vice Chairman of the Singye Group of Companies. We collaborate with him closely. We used to have honorary consul in Thailand but he finished his duty. We are planning to appoint one or two in the future. “The foundations of the relationship between Bhutan and Thailand are very strong, largely because there are some striking similarities between our two countries. One is that we have a common spiritual heritage. The second is the deep reverence

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Bhutan at a glance THE Kingdom of Bhutan is a small country with a total area of 38,394 square kilometers (about the size of Switzerland), squeezed between China and India. It is located in the heart of the high Himalayas. The country is divided into 20 districts and 205 counties. The altitude varies from about 100 meters above sea level in the south to over 7,500 meters in the north. Gangkhar Puensum, at around 7,570 meters, is the Bhutan’s highest mountain and the world’s highest unclimbed mountain since the Bhutanese declared it off limits for climbers in 1994. The northern part of the country is under snow for the whole year. The population of Bhutan is over 700,000 people, with about 79 percent living in rural areas. Thimphu is the capital and largest city. The official language is Dzongkha, and English is widely spoken. Bhutan has a democratic constitutional monarchy. With a development philosophy based on Gross National Happiness (GNH), the Kingdom is becoming increasingly known for its dynamic leadership. It is an extraordinary country with architecture and fortresses the likes of which can not be seen anywhere else. The people are hospitable, most of them devoted Buddhists, and the unique cultural heritage has been kept intact. Modernization has had a relatively late start in Bhutan, but there have been some striking achievements. Bhutan is now connected with roads, electricity is much more available and communications systems span most of the country and connect it to the outside world.

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for the institution of the monarchy. Thirdly, in both countries tradition and culture are very important. Finally, both countries have never surrendered sovereignty to another country. Because of that historical basis of always being independent, our peoples are peace loving, forward looking, confident and very friendly. These four similarities underpin our relations. “Moreover, our respective royal families have always held very high esteem, affection and good will for each other. This has resulted in the exchange of many royal visits. HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, HRH Princes Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, HRH Princess Chulabhorn Walailak and late HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana have all visited Bhutan. From Bhutan, among others, Thailand was visited by our King when he was Crown Prince, with his wife Queen Jetsun Pema and the Queen Mother, Ashi Tsehering Pem Wangchuk. “We also have a very good relationship on the government level, with many top officials from both sides making visits. Bhutan and Thailand have an agreement called the Comprehensive Framework Agreement for Cooperation and it covers many areas, mainly trade, commerce, investment, human resources development, culture, religion, health, agriculture, tourism, civil aviation and consular matters. We just had a very successful annual meeting in March under this framework. Bilateral cooperation is also managed through a diverse array of consultations at the ministerial level. “Assistance from Thailand has mainly been in the field of human resource development. Thailand’s assistance began in the 1980s under the ‘Thai International Development Cooperation Agency’ (TICA) in the areas of rural development, agriculture extension, health, education and private sector development. Thailand ranks third, after India and Australia, in assisting Bhutanese students,” Mr Wangdi said. “The Royal Civil Service in Bhutan and the TICA signed an agreement to provide scholarships to Bhutanese students for short and long-term training and study in Thailand at institutions like Naresuan University, which offers 10 scholarships annually for Bhutanese students. The School Agriculture Programme is a collaborative project for youth development between Thailand and Bhutan, under the patronage of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. Another project, launched in 2007 by the Ministry of Education and World Food Program, assists school food projects in Bhutan. “There is also an exchange of volunteers between the two

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countries. Thai volunteers have been fielded in remote corners of Bhutan and have worked in vocational institutes, and Bhutan has also sent vocational teachers to Thailand. “Thailand is the third largest trading partner for Bhutan. A trade agreement currently under negotiation is expected to boost bilateral trade, which has increased since Druk Air started flights between Bangkok and Paro in 1988. Imports by Bhutan range from basic items like processed foods and garments to electronic and aircraft parts. Bhutan’s export sector is still at a nascent stage. “The two kingdoms have collaborated in the health sector since 1987, and there is significant cooperation in agriculture between the two countries. Bhutan participated in the International Horticultural Exposition in Chiang Mai from November 2006 to January 2007. His Majesty the King of Bhutan visited the exposition site during his visit to Thailand as the Crown Prince in November 2006. Bhutan also participated in the Royal Flora Ratchaphruek 2011, Chiang Mai, from December 2011 to March 2012.

Tourism “Tourism is another important sector for cooperation. Thailand is one of the top countries visited by Bhutanese people. I believe there were more than 20,000 in 2012. As for Thai visitors to Bhutan, they are among the top five, but I would like to make it more. About 3,500 Thais visited Bhutan in 2012. Americans comprise the biggest group of tourists to Bhutan.” The Ambassador then explained in detail some aspects of tourism in his country: “Bhutan is promoting sustainable tourism. We are not into a mass tourism. For the people who come to Bhutan, we would like to offer a wonderful and authentic experience. We cannot be a destination for mass tourism because we have a limited capacity due to the culture, logistics and environment. That’s why we have opted for high-end tourism. The way we do that is to offer a minimum expenditure package. To apply for this anyone can visit the Tourism Council of Bhutan website (www.tourism.gov.bt) or contact a local travel agent. For a fixed price, tourists are entitled to accommodation at three-star and up hotels. They get food, accommodation, transportation and guides. “People sometimes say it is expensive to visit Bhutan, but this is the result of a communication gap, because everything is inclusive. In some seasons the minimum expenditure is US$200 per day and in some seasons US$ 250, but again, this is inclusive of everything, and a certain portion of that, about US$65, goes to infrastructure and socio-economic development.”

About Thailand “Bhutanese visitors to Thailand are invariably impressed by the warmth of their Thai counterparts, and this certainly goes for me as well. People are very kind to me here and I have made many good friends, within and outside of the diplomatic community. I take their friendship and good will as a reflection of their esteem for my country. I like the Thai culture and food, but most of all I like the friendliness and courtesy of the Thai people. They are very hospitable and genuine.”

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HUA HIN

Cha Am • Pranburi • And beyond...

Relax in bliss with Dusit Thani Huahin’s “Seaside Sanctuaries package”. Page 124

News & deals

Hua Hin’s hottest promotions and deals await inside Page 122

Wine & Golf

Banyan Golf Club has lots on offer for foodies Page 122

Mate’s Rates Friends or family visiting Bangkok? Let them know about these deals! Page 132

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H ua H i n

News and Deals

Hyatt Open Golf Tournament 2013

New spa deal at Villa Maroc UNTIL July 31, Villa Maroc Resort’s Sherazade Hammam & Spa is offering a “Discover Harmony Bliss” package for the special price of B2,250 per person. The two-hour treatment features Moroccan bathing, Moroccan Black Soap scrub, and a choice of “Full Body Relaxing Massage” or “Sherazade Nourishing Facial Treatment.” ☎ Tel: 032 630 771

THE fourth edition of the annual Hyatt Open 2013 amateur golf tournament will be held at the Banyan Gold Club over the weekend of July 20-21. Organised by Hyatt Regency Hua Hin and Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok, the event is a must visit for players and spectators alike. During the tournament, the Hyatt Regency Hua Hin will offer a special golf package deal starting from B20,800 for one player, and B28,800 for two players based on twin sharing basis. Price includes two nights accommodation with breakfast, a welcome dinner, two rounds of golf, an awards luncheon, and complimentary transfers between the hotel and Banyan Golf Club. ☎ 032 521 234 : huahin.regency.hyatt.com

Social events at Banyan Golf Club

GOLFERS and foodies will find plenty of tempting events on offer this month at Banyan Golf Club Hua Hin. Teeing off the fun, on July 10 at 12.30pm, is the Power Tee Competition. Play the back, middle and forward tees all in the same round. B1,300 including green fee and post golf snacks.

Sheraton promotes sommelier talent SHERATON Hua Hin Resort & Spa’s fine wine focus came to the fore last month when Khun Thawath Sarakong, Senior Restaurant Manager at Sheraton Hua Hin Resort & Spa, picked up a bronze medal at the first Italian Wine Competition in Thailand. Organized by the Italian Wine Lovers Society in conjunction with the Thai-Italian Chamber of Commerce, the two-day competition was contested by 26 elite sommeliers and featured a written and practical exam, plus a test of blind tasting skills and food and wine pairings. ☎ 032 708 000 : sheraton.com/huahin

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On July 20 and 21, the Annual Amateur Hyatt Open is returning for the fourth year running with 36 holes full handicap strokeplay. Then, on July 27, it’s the club’s popular monthly Golf & Wine Dinner; tee time from 12.30pm. B3,500 for golf and 5-course wine dinner; B1,950 for dinner only. ☎ 03 261 6200 : banyanthailand.com

InterContinental wins top award INTERCONTINENTAL Hua Hin Resort recently scooped the “Hotel Best Thailand” honours at the Asia Pacific Hotel Awards 2013-2014, held in Malaysia. The hotel management marked the achievement at the property with a party attended by VIP guests. ☎ 02 252 3323 : intercontinental.com/huahin

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H ua H i n

News and Deals

Dusit launches accommodation deal UNTIL Oct 21, Dusit Thani Hua Hin is offering a “Seaside Sanctuaries Package” featuring daily buffet breakfast for two, one set dinner for two per stay or one barbeque seafood dinner for two on a Saturday night, and 15% discount on food at any of the hotel’s restaurants. Starting at B4,300++ per night. A minimum of two consecutive nights stay is required. www.dusitthanihuahin.dusit.com

Pet’s getaway at Ibis Hotel HAVE a dog or cat as part of your family and don’t want to travel without them? Check out the Ibis Hotel. This pet friendly property now allows guests to bring one pet per room. The only rule – the animal must be under 10kg (which rules out dogs who like their food a bit too much, then). The hotel offers special rates for Thai nationals starting at B1,000++. Tel: 032 610 388

Monsoon Valley celebrates award success Unique dining experiences at Putahracsa Hua Hin PUTAHRACSA Hua Hin has further cemented its reputation as a must visit for food lovers by introducing a series of ‘Unique Molecular Mixology’ experiences at its Oceanside Beach Club & Restaurant. Visit any day this month and you’ll find a choice of special menus offering all kinds of unique dining experiences. Among the highlights: ‘Temptingly Unique,’ which features river prawns prepared in a gourmet style; and ‘Savory Unique,’ which offers homemade grava macarons paired with organic tea or coffee Tel: 032 531 470 www.putahracsa.com

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SIAM Winery, Thailand’s leading wine producer and premium brands’ importer, recently hosted an exclusive dinner to celebrate the success of its Monsoon Valley Chenin Blanc Late Harvest 2012 wine, which was awarded both the Regional Trophy and the Gold Medal for sweet wine in the highly prestigious 2013 Decanter World Wine Awards.

Hilton offers 20% discount BOOK a room at Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa before Sept 20 and you’ll automatically receive 20% discount off the current rate. During your stay you can enjoy flame-grilled fare and a selection of three home-brewed beers at Hua Hin Brewing Company, oceanfront dining at Chay Had, and innovative cocktails at the Sky Bar. Tel: 032 538 999 email: huahin.reservations@hilton.com

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TRAVEL

HUA HIN

Hua Hin Where to eat Hagi Japanese Restaurant ■ This stylish Japanese restaurant established by the Sofitel Centara Grand Resort & Villas possesses an air of sophistication and understated beauty. Diners can enjoy an excellent selection of contemporary and traditional Japanese dishes, each one beautifully executed and presented with artistic flair. The eclectic menu features sushi, sashimi, noodles, and much more. A 16-seat teppanyaki kitchen turns cooking into theatre, creating a dramatic dining experience. The restaurant has also started to run weekly cooking classes. Open from 3pm - 10.30pm.

Oceanside Beach Club Cocktails ■ Set in the beautiful Putahracsa Hua Hin resort, this relaxing beachfront restaurant offers a great selection of international food, drinks and music. You can tuck into seafood with piquant Thai sauces or devour huge slabs of meat fresh from the grill. The Jumbo Tiger prawns, Rock lobster, and New Zealand lamb chops score particularly good marks here. Other bonuses include a great sea view, and a long list of delightfully boozy cocktails. Open 5pm onwards. 22/65 Nahb Kaehat Road, Hua Hin Tel: 032 531 470

Damnernkasem Road intersection. Tel: 032 512 021-38

Rocks Restaurant

La Paillotte

■ This chic all-day-dining restaurant at the Cape Nidhra Hotel, Hua Hin offers a delectable selection of Italian and French favourites together with other international cuisines and local favourites. Designed to enhance a visitor’s holiday experience, this eatery provides a relaxing atmosphere and great a nice view out over the beach. The breakfast buffet is priced at 600 baht. If you stop by in the afternoon, Pavlova is a must to accompany an English Afternoon Tea set. Open 6.30am - 11pm.

■ This charming French restaurant is the ideal place to enjoy an evening of fine food in relaxed surroundings. The fresh and colourful décor brings to mind citrus-scented Mediterranean evenings, as do the excellent range of aperitifs, wines, beers and digestifs. Although the culinary roots of La Paillote’s cuisine are classically French, the kitchen team enhances a rich culinary tradition with contemporary touches. An a la carte menu and nine set menus are available. Open daily from 11am till late. 

97/2 Petchkasem Road, Hua Hin Tel: 032 516 600

174/1 Naresdamri Road, 77110 Tel: 032 521025

Chom Talay

■ This delightful beachfront restaurant is a great spot for alfresco dining. Pushed up against the water’s edge it has an easy going charm, good food and drink. The menu features a wide selection of delicious seafood dishes. Of note is the stir fried mud crab with X.O. sauce. A piquant tom yam with fresh prawns, pineapple and the flesh of young coconut offers an interesting variation on a classic dish. Open from 11am till 10pm. Phetkasem Road, Hua Hin, (next to the airport). Tel: 032 547 253-4

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Beach Cafe Restaurant 

■ After a hard week of work in Bangkok you deserve a treat! Watch the perfect day on the beach transcend into a unique candlelit dining experience with your loved one. The restaurant offers excellent steaks and seafood plus an unrivaled choice of cocktails and outstanding wines at reasonable prices. The only non-hotel affiliated restaurant on Hua Hin’s main beach offers great value for money. Soi Hua Hin 75/1 by the sea, Prachaubkirikhan 77110, Open Mon – Sun 10am – 10pm. www.beachcaferestaurant.com

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Accommodation

Hua Hin Where to sleep The Cape Nidhra Hotel, Hua Hin ■ Located in the heart of Hua Hin right next to the beach, this luxury hotel combines comfort and convenience for the perfect escape. Each suite is well-furnished in stylish décor and each has its own private swimming pool. General facilities include a fitness center, a swimming pool, steam rooms, spa, library, and meeting functions. Rocks Restaurant serves up a wide range of international dishes and local favourites, while the beachside bar, and the cigar and whisky bar, mix up some excellent cocktails.

Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa ■ This imposing resort in the centre of Hua Hin is regarded as one of the best family hotels in the region. Accommodation features comfortable rooms and suites, providing guests with a living space that exhibits contemporary Thai design flair and good in-room amenities. There are also 11 Spa Suites available. The awardwinning White Lotus on the 17th floor of the Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa offers sky-high dining at down to earth prices. 33 Naresdamri Road. Tel: 032 538 999

97/2 Petchkasem Road, Hua Hin Tel: 032 516 600

Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin ■ Set within 13 hectares of landscaped gardens, the property dates back to 1923 and is one of Southeast Asia’s most renowned hotels. The luxurious colonial-era beachfront resort features 207 beautifully appointed guestrooms and suites, each one offering comfort and convenience. The Pool Villas include four Deluxe Spa Villas with queen sized twin bed, lounging area, bathroom with rain shower, and oversized Jacuzzi bathtub. Refined dining is available at Sala Thai, Hagi, the Railway Restaurant, and Palm Terrace. Guests can unwind in the Elephant Bar. 1 Damnernkasem Road, Hua Hin. Tel: 032 512 021-38

Evason Hua Hin and Six Senses Spa ■ This resort-spa is situated at the heart of 20 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens and faces the Gulf of Thailand. Pool villas and guest rooms are connected by a series of wooden walkways that meander between lush greenery. This is a retreat for those seeking time to relax and recharge. In The Restaurant guests can sip exotic cocktails, ice-cold beer or boutique wines while watching chefs cook and construct creative appetizers. The award-winning Earth Spa is one of the most visually striking in Thailand.

Villa Maroc Resort Pranburi ■ Inspired by Morocco’s distinctive architecture, Villa Maroc combines Thai beachside living and service with some of the most luxurious furnishings from the North African Kingdom, making it a unique addition to Southeast Asia’s accommodation scene. The resort is located in Pranburi approximately 30 kilometers south of Hua Hin town. You can tuck into European, Middle Eastern and Thai cuisine at Casablanca, enjoy cocktails and shisha pipes at the Sisha Bar, relax in bliss at Sherazade Hammam & Spa, and much more. 165/3 Moo 3 Paknampran, Pranburi, Tel: 032 630 771 email: rsvn@villamarocresort.com

Baan Bayan

■ This fine resort features one of Hua Hin’s finest examples of early 1900’s architectural style. The beachfront resort has been faithfully restored to its former glory by the family who once lived there. Guests staying at Baan Bayan can experience the glory of a bygone era in its colonial style structure, yet without sacrificing the modern day comforts and amenities. It has 21 rooms comprising of three suites, 10 sea view rooms and 16 rooms with views of the courtyard or tropical garden. 119 Petchkasem Road. Tel: 032 533 544

9/22 Moo 5 Paknampran Beach, Pranburi. Tel: 032 632 111 128

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New in Hua Hin! Enjoy authentic French cuisine made using the finest imported ingredients Sample some of the world’s best wines and spirits Savor warm home-made bread served with butter from La Rochelle Lunch Set Menu starts at only B350, including water & coffee Only at Le Bistro!

214 Phetkasaem Road, Hua Hin Prachuap Khiri Khan 77110 Tel: 032-900-143 email: romain@lebistrohuahin.com, www.facebook.com/lebistrohuahin

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TRAVEL

HUA HIN

Hua Hin Where to drink Fountain Lounge

Lotus Sky Bar

■ AN ideal place to meet with friends for an afternoon or evening of relaxation and drinks, Hyatt Regency Hua Hin’s open air bar overlooks the resort’s lush tropical gardens and exudes a cozy atmosphere. As you’d expect from a 5-star hotel, the bar offers a wide selection of superior teas, fresh juices, cocktails and light snacks.

■ This vibrant roof top bar at the Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa serves up a great variety of innovative and classic cocktails and boasts superb panoramic views of Hua Hin and the Gulf of Thailand. Live DJs keep the atmosphere upbeat and draw in a young, lively crowd every night of the week. The bar is open daily 6pm-11pm.

91 Hua Hin – Khao Takiap Road Tel: 032 521 234 www.huahin.regency.hyatt.com

Tel: 032 538 999 email: fb.huahin@hilton.com www.facebook.com/lotusskybar

Oceanside Beach Club Cocktails ■ Set in the beautiful Putahracsa Hua Hin resort, this relaxing beachfront restaurant offers a great selection of international food, drinks and music. You can tuck into seafood with piquant Thai sauces or devour huge slabs of meat fresh from the grill. The Jumbo Tiger prawns, Rock lobster, and New Zealand lamb chops score particularly good marks here. Other bonuses include a great sea view, and a long list of delightfully boozy cocktails. Open 5pm onwards. 22/65 Nahb Kaehat Road, Hua Hin Tel: 032 531 470

Sala Wine Bar and Bistro ■ No visit to Hua Hin is complete without a trip up to Hua Hin Hills Vineyard, home of the award winning Monsoon Valley Wines. Here you can journey into the vineyards to learn more about New Latitude Wines, or simply head straight to the winery’s Bistro, which is housed in a beautiful sala and serves a wide range of Thai and international eats and, of course, Siam Winery’s finest wines. An onsite shop sells premium Thai wines, souvenirs and other quality grape-based products.

Mondo Vino

■ This stylish-yet-casual wine bar should be the top of any oenophile’s list of places to visit in Hua Hin. You’ll find a large range of wines from new and old worlds (with an emphasis on Italian brands), available by the glass or bottle at more than reasonable prices. Accompanying the premium wines is a selection of cold cuts, cheeses, fresh hams, pizza, and pasta. Monthly promotions and wine tastings mean there is always something exciting going on here – simply check the website to keep up to date. Tel: 032 531 493 www.mondovino.co.th

Dune Sky Bar

■ Located on the rooftop of the boutique Dune Hotel, the Dune Sky Bar offers sweeping views of Hua Hin and is a great place to drop by for boozy cocktails and tasty international eats. Recently given a New York-inspired overhaul, the bar is stylishly furnished with eco-friendly furniture, including dining chairs made of recycled plastic bottles. Chilled out beats and subdued lighting make this one of the hippest relaxed hangouts in town. Dune Hotel Hua Hin, Tel: 032 515 051-3 email: md@dunehuahin.com

Hua Hin Hills Vineyard, Tel: 081 701 8874-5, 081 701 2222, 081 701 0444 www.huahinhillsvineyard.com

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B angk ok deals Mode Sathorn Hotel: Until Oct 31,

s ’ e t a M s rate

this newly opened hotel is offering a ‘Savvy Soft Opening’ promotion with rates starting at B3,000 per night (or B4,000 with breakfast) for its Deluxe Mode categories including Urban Stylish, Metropolitan Chic and Multicultural Facet. ☎ 02 623 4555 ext. 1055  modesathorn.com

Aloft Bangkok, Sukhumvit 15: A ‘Surf The World’ package is now

amily f r o s d Frien kok? g n a B visiting now about k Let them e deals thes

The Peninsula Bangkok: In celebration of its 15th anniversary, the hotel is offering a ‘Fifteen Facets’ package which offers 15 ‘unique Peninsula experiences’ for guests to enjoy. Valid until Oct 31 and priced B55,150+ per couple (four nights stay), the deal includes fast track welcome at Suvarnabhumi Airport, daily breakfast for two, private dinner for two at the Paribatra Aviation Lounge, dim sum cooking lesson with Peninsula’s top chefs, 6pm check out, and more. ☎ 02 626 1919  peninsula.com/bangkok

Shangri-La Hotel Bangkok: Available until Sept 30, a special ‘Spa Package’ starts at B7,360 per room per night in a Deluxe Room and includes buffet breakfast for two at NEXT2 Café, a choice of one treatment at CHI, The Spa for one person, 20% discount on food and beverage, and 3pm check out. Rate applies to a minimum stay of three nights. ☎ 02 206 8788  shangri-la.com/bangkok

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available starting at B2,260++ per room per night. Package includes breakfast for one person at Crave Wine Bar & Restaurant. ☎ 02 207 7200  aloftbangkoksukhumvit11.com

Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok: Until Oct 31, stay in a Club Deluxe Room for two nights or more and rates will start at B3,560 per night. Package includes 15% discount on regular à la carte treatments at Spa Cenvaree and 25% discount on all spa packages. Online booking only at  centarahotelsresorts.com/centaragrand/ cglb/promotion.asp

GLOW Trinity Silom: Until Dec 31, the hotel’s ‘Book Early and Save’ package offers 15% discount to guests who book 14 days in advance (rates start at B1,615 per night). Or book a room seven days in advance for 10% discount (rates start at B1,710 per night). The promotion is available for Superior, Deluxe and Premier Rooms.☎ 02 231 5050  glowbyzinc.com/silom Grande Centre Point Hotel Terminal 21: Until Oct 31, the hotel’s ‘21st Carpet Package’ offers three consecutive nights’ accommodation for B12,000+. Rate includes breakfast for two, limousine airport pick up, 3pm check out, and a chance to add an extra night for B4,000+.  centrepoint.com

Novotel Bangkok on Siam Square: Available for booking until July 15 and valid for stays until Aug 31, the hotel’s latest room deal offers 30% Cash Back Vouchers for dining, drinking, room service, spa treatments and room upgrades throughout the period of stay. The deal also includes discount tickets to tourist attractions such as Siam Ocean World, Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, and Siam Niramit. ☎ 02 209 8888  novotelbkk.com

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COAST CO PATTAYA

Kok Chang • Wong Amat • Jomtien • Bang Saray • Sattahip • Rayong

Hilton’s popular spa receives top industry award. Page 136

News & Deals

The Eastern Seaboard’s hottest dining and hotel promotions Page 136

Boom time

The future is bright for Pattaya and beyond Page 134

Dining

Enjoy a beachfront meal in tropical splendor at Oceans Page 140 TheBigChilli 133

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P a t t aya

Ins ight

It’s boom time for Pattaya and beyond All kinds of upscale property developments and leisure pursuits like sailing are transforming the region into a paradise for holidaymakers, long-stayers, food lovers and sporting types

T

hailand’s amazing economic growth over the past 30 years has resulted in the amazing development of its tourist resorts. And nowhere has benefited more from this unprecedented boom than the Eastern Seaboard, a somewhat unattractive name to describe a rather beautiful region of Thailand that stretches along two sides of a square from Si Racha in the north, southwards to Sattahip and then for about 80 kms to the east towards to the city of Rayong. In between, of course, is the world-renowned beach town – now officially a city – of Pattaya, the kingdom’s busiest tourist resort and still the driving force behind the region’s incredible popularity. But as important as Pattaya is to this region of Thailand, several adjoining beaches are now enjoying a similar boom. It’s an area that many are now calling ‘Top of the Gulf,’ in a reference to their location, and coincidentally, the name given to the Regatta.

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These independent beaches include, from the north, Naklua, Wong Amat, Pattaya Bay, Jomtien Beach, Bang Saray, Sattahip, Baan Chang, Baan Phe and Rayong. It’s a golden arc of fantastic resorts that every year attracts millions of visitors from around the globe. And if its recent past is anything to go by, the region has a dazzling future. Unfortunately, and perhaps unfairly, Pattaya continues to labour under a long-established reputation for sleeze. This has always embarrassed the authorities, who tend to sweep this aspect of Pattaya under the carpet. But as long-time and regular visitors will attest, this less than salubrious tendency is on the decline, albeit slowly. Even the highly respected travel guide Lonely Planet notes in its Thailand edition that South Pattaya’s sex industry is diminishing. Change is in the air, however. And it’s due in no small measure to increasing property values. The Eastern Seaboard is now in huge demand from all kinds of investors and developers, big and small, who recognize its strategic importance, especially

its location so close to Bangkok and the demand amongst city dwellers to ‘get away from it all’ and head to the beach.   The character of Pattaya continues to undergo change too. Many of the bars, at least the kind that have given the resort its unwelcome reputation, have either closed down or moved away from the most popular tourist areas. Replacing them is a veritable wave of major projects, including luxury hotels, upmarket condominiums, high-tech shopping malls, major department stores and all kinds of outstanding restaurants that now compare favorably with the best in Bangkok. Another attraction is the huge choice of leisure pursuits. Sailing, of course, is a major activity based at Ocean Marina Yacht Club and the Royal Varuna Yacht Club, while golf attracts thousands every year, thanks to more than a dozen world-class courses within easy reach of central Pattaya. Then there’s everything from windsurfing, scuba diving and para-gliding to cycling, horse riding and polo at several locations, cricket, rugby and even wine tours to the beautiful Silverlake winery just behind Jomtien. The cost of living here remains relatively low. This has been a factor behind the big increase in long-stayers and foreign retirees in and around Pattaya. The region’s generally friendly climate, with its delightful cool season from November to February, giving it a definite edge over southern resorts like Phuket and Ko Samui, where the temperature rarely changes. Looking ahead, there’s every reason to believe that this exceptional area of Thailand will continue its inexorable move upmarket. In the not too distant future, people will realize that there is much more to the gulf than they have ever previously considered. And they will be wonderfully surprised and enthralled.

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P a t t aya

News and Deals

Hilton Pattaya wins two prestigious awards HILTON Pattaya is celebrating an award double whammy after being named “Country Winner for Best Hotel, Thailand” at the inaugural Asia Pacific Hotel Awards 2013-2014, and “Best Luxury Hotel Spa” in the 2013 World Luxury Spa Awards. “This prestigious and highly coveted award bears testament to Hilton Pattaya’s positioning as a distinctively luxurious hotel that will excel in Asia’s highly competitive hospitality market,” said Philippe Kronberg, general manager, Hilton Pattaya. :hilton.com

Red hot rooms at Ibis Pattaya IBIS Pattaya is now offering a special ‘Red Hot Room Rates’ for Accor Advantage Plus members. The rates start at B900++ per room per night and are available for booking this July for stays until Oct 31. :ibishotel.com/thailand

Win a free stay at Holiday Inn Pattaya

Pattaya, and all that jazz! DUSITD2 Baraquda Pattaya has introduced a new jazz duo to entertain guests at its trendy Deep Bar. Every Thurs, Fri, and Sat night from 8.30pm onwards, saxophonist Kenny G and talented guitarist Jonathan Pierre Bruno Ayache play a range of smooth jazz favourites and new pop hits. ☎ 038-769-999 :dusitd2pattaya.dusit.com

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Free beer at The Coffee Club UNTIL July 31, or while stocks last, The Coffee Club North Pattaya is offering a free bottle of Carlsberg to guests who order from the new Chef’s Choice menu. ☎ 038 371 162

HOLIDAY Inn Pattaya has reintroduced its ‘Drink, Dine and Gain’ promotion, which offers a free night’s stay in an Ocean View Room for every B5,990 spent at Havana Bar and Terrazzo (maximum 8 persons). Promotion includes breakfast for two. :holidayinn.com/pattaya

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P a t t aya

News and Deals

Mango Festival at Cape Dara ALL this month, Radius Restaurant at Cape Dara Resort Pattaya is hosting a ‘Mango Festival’ featuring all kinds of desserts and savoury dishes made using the much-loved fruit. Highlights of the menu include Grilled prawn and mango salad, Crab salad with mango salsa , Salmon steak with mango sauce, and Mango and passion fruit tart or Mango with sticky rice. :capedarapattaya.com

The BigChilli Campaign

Save Our Seas!

Sweet treats at Amari Orchid Pattaya AMARI Orchid Pattaya has teamed up with Central Center Pattaya to offer a special treat for sweet lovers. From Aug 10-11, a special-edition Almond Tart made using fruits from the Royal Projects will be on offer at Central Center. During the promotion, there will also be exciting stage shows from students of various Pattaya schools. All proceeds will be donated to the ‘Baht for a Better Life’ charity which helps underprivileged children in Chonburi. :amari.com

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Bridal Show & Wedding Fair PLANNING the perfect Pattaya wedding? From Aug 2-4, Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort Pattaya will hold the 2013 edition of its annual “Mirage Bridal Show and Wedding Fair.” You will find everything you need to host the wedding of your dreams, with themes including Thai, Western, beaches, home weddings, and more. Professional wedding planners and photographers will also showcase their wares. ☎ 038 301 234 ext. 4164, 4173 :centarahotelsresorts.com

Pollution of Pattaya’s seas is at crisis levels – action by everybody is needed to avert a disaster. Visit tinyurl.com/bverrhc or scan the barcode above to read the full report and leave your views. The more noise we make, the more chance we have of making a difference.

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Pattaya

Review|Oceans Restaurant

Review

I

Oceans Restaurant

Enjoy a beachfront meal in tropical splendor at Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort Pattaya

IF you’re looking for a great place to enjoy a beachside seafood meal with your friends or family, Oceans Restaurant at Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort Pattaya should be your first port of call. Located overlooking the beach at the front of the resort, which is renowned for its ‘Lost World’ theme that blends towering wooden columns and rock-clad walls with colossal contemporary works of art, the restaurant offers casual dining in a vibrant setting that’s bolstered by great views of the sea as well as the resort’s tropical jungle gardens and pool. Guests can sit outdoors on the shaded wooden terrace where a large open kitchen highlights chefs hard at work preparing all kinds of deep sea bounty, international snacks, Asian favourites, and healthy salads. Heading up the culinary team at the resort is Executive Chef Colin Grant, a Scotland national who, prior to joining the resort and taking on the immense culinary

operation – eight restaurants and bars! – spent many years refining his craft at top hotels and restaurants around the world. “Creating a menu is a fantastically underrated art,” says the chef, “one that requires not only a magnitude of diverse experience but also the understanding of what a customer wants and is prepared to pay.” Scan the offerings and you’ll find that the chef doesn’t mince his words. There’s a dish on the menu to suit every taste – all provided at great value for money. Highly recommended to start proceedings are Chilled avocado soup with prawns (B170) and Lebanese flat bread chicken pizza (B390 – a promotional dish throughout July). Moving onto mains, Seared tuna loin (B370) is a great option, coming crusted with sesame seeds and served with sliced sweet strawberries and crushed walnuts on a bed of baby spinach. The Seafood combo platter (B600) is also

a highlight, boasting a generous serving of steamed prawns, slipper lobsters and mussels, served with salad or fries. If you want a more luxurious treat, the Steamed Canadian lobster (B1,700) is also available for you to indulge in. If you prefer your meat from the land, the Grilled lamb loin (B380) is not to be missed, featuring choice cuts of meat served with roasted zucchini, micro leaves, flat bread chips and mustard herb dressing. Equally as tasty are the Asian favourites (try the Indian butter chicken with garlic nan; and Chinese braised beef noodle soup) and pizzas, including a superb Calzone (folded pizza), filled with salami, chorizo, mushrooms, olives, chilli flakes and mozzarella (B380). Alongside its great atmosphere and high quality food, Oceans completes the dining experience with friendly, efficient and knowledgeable service. In short, it’s a great place to enjoy a meal on any occasion.

Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort Pattaya, Soi 18 Naklua, North Pattaya Open 10am-6pm (Full take-away menu available)

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☎ 038 301 234 :centarahotelsresort.com

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The Bangkok BigChilli. July 2013.  

Thailand's best-read expat magazine. Find out what's hot in Bangkok and beyond. July 2013.

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