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Expat pensioners are a valuable source of funding to Thailand


n these difficult times, the contribution of expatriates to the Thai economy and social stability is sometimes overlooked, even underestimated. Some would add under appreciated. Reliable sources put the number of foreigners with work permits in Thailand at over 220,000, excluding those from Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. Of these work permit holders, about half live in Bangkok. Many have invested in their own companies and provide employment for countless Thai people. Others employed by a Thai company often play a role that includes training and lifting local expertise for the long-term benefit of the country. All of these expats pay a range of taxes which go, of course, to the government’s coffers. They are also a major investor in property, a key business sector. On top of work permit holders, there are an estimated 100,000 people on retirement visas, plus about the same again on O type marriages visas, bringing the total number of foreigners living in Thailand on a permanent basis to probably around half a million. Yet to be included in this figure are the many foreigners who, until the Covid19 epidemic, live here on a semi-permanent basis, usually about half the year. It’s a substantial foreign presence in the Kingdom. And their value has never been more important in these challenging times. Many are still paying taxes, though maybe somewhat less than last year, because of cuts in salaries. What is often overlooked (mainly by the authorities) is that most retirees and foreign spouses live here on pensions from overseas. Pensions are fixed monthly payments that remain unaffected by the worldwide economic slowdown. The monetary value of this group is therefore immense and particularly important right now, since a large percentage of Thailand’s expat pensioners live with their families in rural villages and upcountry towns, where the effects of Covid19 are being felt the most. While these households are clearly faring comparatively well, they are also helping local communities to survive by maintaining their spending on local goods and services. However, when it comes to renewing visas to remain in Thailand, many feel quite understandably that their contribution is not understood or appreciated. The application process has never been easy but seems to get more complicated by the year. Instead of making it ever more difficult to stay in Thailand, the authorities should find a way to make less troublesome for this valuable and stable group.


The BigChilli Co., Ltd. 8/2 FMA Group Building, 4 Floor, Convent Road, Silom, Bangrak, Bangkok, 10500.






PUBLISHER Colin Hastings EDITOR Nina Hastings SALES & MARKETING MANAGER Rojjana Rungrattwatchai ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Thana Pongsaskulchoti ACCOUNTING MANAGER Janjira Silapapairson ART & PRODUCTION Arthawit Pundrikapa PHOTOGRAPHY AP CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Drew McCreadie, Maxmilian Wechsler Zoe Evans, Jessica Weber and Ruth Gerson



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 Co., Ltd. 8/2 FMA Group Building, 4th Floor, Convent Road, Silom, Bangrak, Bangkok 10500. ☎ 02-635-5085, ☎ 081-358-1814 Fax: 02-635-5086


Revival is proving tough for most Patpong bars Go-go era over as Silom gets ready for upgrade


t’s not only the future of Patpong and its famous nightlife that hangs in the balance post Covid19, but nearby Thaniya Road also seems to be facing major hurdles. A quick stroll down this legendary street confirms that the majority of Patpong’s go-go bars remain closed despite the lifting of the city-wide curfew. Many have said they may never reopen. Right now, only Super Star, King’s Corner, Madrid and the Thai Bar of the area’s best known bars are operating, Meanwhile, the main building on Soi Thaniya, also known as Bangkok’s Ginza because of its Japanese-style bars and cocktail lounges, is currently undergoing an extensive facelift. The huge temporary wall outside the entrance and blocks half the road, preventing many of Thaniya’s ‘hostesses’ and ‘pretties’ from assembling outside their establishments to lure customers inside. Soi 4, a predominantly gay area, is significantly less busy than in the past, especially as it now faces competition from a collection of bars recently established on Patpong 2.



Bangkok's revival continues with three new pubs


Patpong itself has been a popular nightlife area for more than 50 years, peaking in the late 1980s. Since then its popularity has been in decline, thanks in part to changing tastes and preferences, but also because of the night market held there nightly. Ever-increasing rents are also blamed for the slowdown. Tenants complain that the owners of the area, and major leaseholders, refuse to compromise on rents. Although the advent of the virus has caused a serious downturn in business, Patpong’s future was already in some doubt last year. One of the highest profile casualties, Cosmos - a popular hangout for expats - recently closed for good, though its owner K Vinai has opened a small outdoor venue near Foodland supermarket. Veteran expats and locals believe the Silom area of Bangkok is actually undergoing a long-term gentrification, with several huge upmarket developments changing the mood here, and signaling the end of Patpong’s go-go era.

angkok pub lovers will have even more venues to choose from with the opening of two new traditional British-style outlets and another to be launched shortly. All are located along Sukhumvit Road, the city’s expat heartland. They are: • The Red Lion, Soi 13 in the Trendy Building. • P.J.O’Brien’s, opposite Soi 71. • Royal Oak, Soi 107 (opening this month). All three will offer some of the cheapest drink prices in town, with pints of draft beer starting at 79 baht a pint and a large Guinness at 169 baht. The company behind these new pubs also operates O’Shea’s (Soi 33), Royal Oak (Soi 33), Shenanigans (Patpong/ Suriwongse), and Paddy Fields (Patpong 2). It also has a pub in Ban Chang called Finnegan’s.




Bangkok school kids ªusing mobile app and ATM to buy drugs Ð and they're delivered by motorbikeº


ocial media apps are becoming increasingly popular among Bangkok teenagers to buy drugs, according to an expat father who learned about the illegal trade after discovering a large stash of marijuana in his daughter’s bedroom. “It’s all too easy,” said the father, whose daughter attends an international school. “Kids simply place an order via an encrypted messaging app like Snapchat or Instagram, transfer the money via an ATM machine in cash, and then the drugs are delivered by a motorcycle taxi.” Drug users are said to value the convenience and speed of the transaction, while ignoring the quality of the drugs. They also have a false sense of security, believing they are ahead of the law because of the anonymity of the deals. It’s no longer a question of waiting to be approached in the street or hoping to come across a dealer in clubs. Some dealers upload images and videos of substances in order to reassure their buyers who then 8


feel safe consuming them. Drugs more dangerous than marijuana are sometimes offered. Although the father now controls what apps his 15-year-old daughter has on her smartphone, he is alarmed by her change in mood and motivation since she no longer has access to the drugs. “She doesn’t want to go to school any more. The school knows her problem and is helping with counseling. But there’s not much they can do when the kids are out of school – it’s seen as the parents’ problem. It’s very worrying.” He says educating young people about the risks is vital. “It’s impossible to know where teenagers are at all times and who they are mixing with, so it’s a huge problem.” Teenagers often learn about the trade from others users while hanging out after school in upmarket shopping malls and other venues, explained the father. Snapchat and Instagram are reported as saying they take misuse of their platforms extremely seriously and are working closely with law enforcement agencies to detect and remove illegal material.


By Tim Cornwall

It's back - Hope Fair

Supporting small Bangkok-based entrepreneurs while raising funds for charity Tim Cornwall talks to co-founder Aurelie Doye


ith a sister and brother-in-law who make handicrafts and then sell them at fairs in Canada, I always try to drop by handicraft fairs or markets here in Bangkok. One of the best is Hope Fair, where I always pick up something new and interesting, while looking after my own booth. Normally I spend about the same amount on charity items as on some great food, from homemade bread to great jam, and Greek snacks to homemade salsa sauce. With a break in the fairs during the Covid-19 lockdown, I was worried the fair might be gone for good, but happily, it is returning bigger and better than ever this month, September. Wondering who was behind the fair, how it got started and who is involved, I met up with Aurelie Doye, one of the founders, with my list of eight questions to learn more.

When and how did the fairs start? Hope Fair was started in late 2014 by two ladies from the French community, one of whom (Aurelie Doye) is still involved today. Originally held twice a year in the Sathorn area, its venue has moved to Sukhumvit to be closer to where most fair clients live and like to spend time. More regular events are planned for 2021. TheBigChilli


Events The fair has grown in size and numbers over the years, and about 150 vendors are expected at the next fair at Avani Hotel outside On-But BTS station on September 24 and even more for the annual Christmas-themed fair in late November. Why did the ladies get involved? Noticing the generosity of others in the expat community and with previous experience in hosting events, the two organizers decided to start Hope Fair and donate to the Mercy Center. However, the fair’s success comes from the support they receive from everyone involved, vendors, visitors, the hosting hotels, women’s groups and many more, all working together to make each fair a success. How much have the fairs collected for charity? Over the 27 events organized to date, a total of 785,775 Baht has been raised and donated to the Mercy Center. The goal is to reach one million baht in 2021. Each year, the organisers select a specific project based on what they hope to raise, usually for a building that needs repairs or updating as this offers tangible benefits. With two events unfortunately cancelled this year, they are currently checking into what needs the most urgent attention to find a project their budget can handle.



What other charities does the fair support? In addition to the Mercy Center, which has always had a booth where visitors are encouraged to drop off donations (clothes, household items and more) the Hope Fair also provides booths, at a minimal fee, to other local charities giving them all a chance to become better known and to raise funds selling different items. These include the Good Shepherd Sisters (Fatima Center), Art’Isan, Minas Wholefood, Lao Song Craft, Urban Neighbors of Hope Thailand (UNOH), Roy Rak, Upcycled wares, Sop Moei Arts, Sikkha Asia Foundation (FeeMue Klong Toey), and a few other that come at different times to the fair. What vendors does the fair attract? With 150 vendors expected at the next fair, the variety of vendors is extensive with the key idea of providing a place for entrepreneurs, designers, SMEs who are putting so much energy into what they do. On sale are textiles, fashion items, organic foods, fair trade and fair wage products. All vendors have at least one area they focus on, including hand-made or hand-crafted items made locally - one reason for the fair’s success, along with hand-made or hand-crafted items made locally. By keeping the cost to vendors as low as possible,


the American women’s groups and many others. We’re hoping to attract more Japanese this time. Most visitors come to the fair, look for vendors they know and like, buy a few things, look around, visit new vendors and then take time to enjoy lunch with friends before picking up the children from school.

while paying for the venue and other expenses, plus a donation to the Mercy Center, the many small, niche vendors and their unique products can continue to take part. The fair has a group of established ‘best sellers,’ but about a third are new vendors. As many as forty per cent of vendors at this September’s fair will be new. Who comes to the fair? Expat women are the main visitors, as the fair is usually on a Wednesday or Thursday opening at 9.00 am and closing at 3.00 pm. It’s popular with all the foreign women’s groups in Bangkok, obviously the French as both co-founders are French, but also with

What is the future for the fairs? The next fair is 24 September at the Avani Sukhumvit Hotel, conveniently located and connected to On-Nut BTS Station. The Christmas edition is scheduled for the end of November and should be the biggest fair ever. Exciting new vendors include Ecotique, a Thailandbased supplier for eco-friendly products, Coco Blendz offering natural vegan ice cream free from dairy, egg, gluten, soy, nut and refined sugar and TNTNMOM’S with safe, healthy, natural Korean health care products for pregnant women and nursing moms. How do vendors benefit from the fairs? Vendors vary in how they benefit from being at a fair. Some sell a large variety and quantity on site; others make contacts and arrange visits to a showroom. As Hope Fair does not ask for a percentage of sales, as some fairs do, it is not clear which vendors do best. But with so many vendors coming back to each event, the fair must be great exposure for the vendors who come. TheBigChilli



What can visitors to the fair expect to find? The fair and its various vendors offer a wide range of products, ranging from bakeries to charcutiers, from the latest fashions to timeless accessories, from toys to gifts and from posters to cards and calendars. The event has also included other local groups such as the the National Museum Volunteers Association, SILC: Samut Prakan International Ladies Club and the British Women’s Group. 12


Why has Hope Fair become a success? It is successful because it has stayed with its roots while growing in size, providing a venue for small entrepreneurs in Bangkok to come along, meet people and sell their various hand- or home-made products. The fair has energy and vitality, and the camaraderie among the vendors is great. It is a lot of work, the day is crazy busy, but when it is over, there is a sense of accomplishment that cannot be matched, and most importantly, the fair will have raised more funds to help a great charity.

Bangkok & Beyond Sindhorn Kempinski Hotel Bangkok launch under way

Sindhorn Kempinski Hotel Bangkok has begun its partial launch with the recent opening of the Lobby Lounge and Firefly Bar, followed by the unveiling of Thai speciality cuisine of Loukjaan by Saneh Jaan at Flourish restaurant. Also now open are the boutique fitness, yoga and Pilates studios at Sindhorn Wellness by Resense, with memberships starting from THB 21,000 for three months. Sindhorn Kempinski is a new luxury hotel and wellness destination, set in the centre of Bangkok’s newly developed upscale residential extension to Lumphini Park. Contact: T +66 02 095 9999

Sunday Carvery at Amber Kitchen, Hua Hin Marriott Resort & Spa

Staycation package at Shangri-La

Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok invites its guests to enjoy a relaxing time alongside Bangkok’s charming Chao Phraya River with the ‘Shangri-La Staycation’ package which is available until the 24th of December. Starting from THB 3,900 net per room per night* for a Deluxe Room, the package includes facilities such as complimentary upgrade to a Deluxe River View Room, daily breakfast at NEXT2 Café for 2 persons, THB 500 food and beverage credits during the stay, one 30 minutes shoulder and neck massage or foot massage by the pool for 1 person per stay and more. Contact 0 2236 7777.

Amber Kitchen, a family-inspired restaurant led by Executive Chef Renggli Konrad, presents a fantastic Sunday roast featuring premium roasted beef, lamb, pork, chicken and fish, accompanied by homemade Yorkshire puddings, gravy and plenty of vegetables. Diners can also savour a selection of fresh salads, appetizers, local dishes and delectable desserts. The Sunday Carvery is available for just THB 764++ per person, including free-flow soft drinks. Two additional free-flow beverage packages are available, starting from THB 828++ per person. The Sunday Carvery at Amber Kitchen will be held on 30 August 2020 from 12.00-15.00 hrs, and then on the last Sunday of every month. Contact: email or call +66 (0) 32 904 666.




Why you shouldn’t miss a Bangkok Staycation Enjoy five-star luxury on your doorstep By Little Wandering Wren You live and work in Bangkok, and you’re paying for a condo down the road… so why spend good money to stay in town? But think about it. Holidays are all about escapism. Haven’t you always said ‘I just wish I could be somewhere else right now?’ Why Staycation in Bangkok? • The holiday starts now! No travel time. Why spend hours of your precious weekend or holiday in the car? You can’t help feeling rather chuffed with yourself when you are relaxing by the pool less than 30 minutes after leaving home. • Choose a fabulous city resort. Many of Bangkok’s top hotels are as Lux as you can get. You’ll hardly feel like you are in the city. I can recommend our wonderful staycations at the Siam Kempinski, and The Sukhothai Bangkok. • Get a new perspective of your city. I live off Sukhumvit and loved our stays down by the Chao Phraya River. I can recommend the Shangri-La Hotel, Praya Palazzo and Riva Arun. If you live by the river, come uptown! • Grab a bargain. Never in the history of Bangkok’s hotels have rates been this affordable. We loved The Athenee dine-cation package. • Go somewhere different! My husband and I like to mix things up a little. Haven’t you always wanted to know what it is like to stay at Chakrabongse Villas? I know I did! Or how about choosing Prince Heritage Theatre, an old porn theatre and dined on Michelin star street food. • Support domestic tourism. Your country needs your help. Thailand tourism is suffering big time. Show it some love! Top tips for getting the best from your Bangkok staycation • Get on everyone’s mailing lists. The best deals seem 14


to come up via the hotel's Facebook or Line accounts. • Deal directly with the hotels to establish a rapport beforehand. Make it personal and find a name to contact. Trip Advisor is great for finding out who replies to guest experiences! Write a personal letter of introduction saying why you have chosen to support their hotel. • If you are member of the hotel’s loyalty program, use this when booking. If not join for additional benefits. • Don’t forget to let the hotel know if you are celebrating anything, even if it is belated! Hotels love a celebration! • Check out Trip Advisor for top room tips and ask for these rooms. Just note that not all hotels are open at this time and even when they are, not all rooms or restaurants are open. I can’t wait for The Peninsula and The Siam to reopen. • Many of the hotels are offering early/late checkout times. We never leave a hotel before 4pm on a Sunday. Some clever hotels offer even later until 8pm in the hope that they catch your dinner reservation. • The hotels are desperate to re-engage the corporate sector for meetings and conferences. Ask within your workplace if they know of any incentive prices. We got a great massage deal at the Centara Central World and have just found a good deal at the Grand Hyatt Erawan in this way • Purchase any reopening specials buy now, stay later vouchers (some until the end of 2020, others into next year).

Expat couples who stayed in town and loved the experience I asked around a few of our friends for their recommendations regarding their recent Bangkok staycations since emerging post pandemic:

Jane and Bill: Mandarin Oriental

“This iconic hotel has always been on our Bangkok Bucket list. We decided to splurge and book their staycation deal... it exceeded our expectations. From the doorman onwards, the service was exemplary. Our room was beautiful ...we had a stunning view of the Chao Phraya River. The food was exquisite and the magnificent hotel grounds felt like a little oasis...a welcome relief from the hustle and bustle of busy Bangkok. Our stay was faultless.�



Staycations Julie and Mark: Praya Palazzo Hotel

“ From the moment we arrived by the hotel barge to the moment of our return, we felt immediately privileged. This was a truly wonderful staycation in a boutique hotel where the 1920s architecture was influenced in the by Italian artists. Of course, being with amazing friends and having the whole hotel to ourselves, set the scene but it was the outstanding, professional and courteous staff, who could not do enough for us, which made it so much more than 'just' a weekend away. We had breakfast and lunch sitting outside by the swimming pool overlooking the Chao Phraya River. Dinner at the awardwinning restaurant, Praya Dining, was a culinary delight. A fabulous 5-course Thai tasting menu, expertly executed by the Chef Na and her staff. We were the first guests back after lockdown and they certainly ensured our safety by placing very solid, health and safety measures into their and our daily routines.”

Andrea & Michael: Anantara Siam our oasis in the middle of Bangkok “The Anantara Siam was a place we had always wanted to stay but living just 2km away it just never seemed like the thing to do until we have been locked in our apartment for 10 weeks. The rooms were pure luxury and the service impeccable. From the second we stepped into the grand lobby to the moment we left we felt we escaped Bangkok. Especially, at the beginning, it was super important to feel safe and the Anantara delivered on all accounts. We especially loved afternoon the tea in the grand lobby and the beautifully prepared pastries. When we were not lounging by the pool, we were pampered at the spa (Look at massage + afternoon tea package). We played squash in the well-appointed gym followed by a refreshing cocktail in the courtyard at Aqua Bar! There were multiple choices for dinner Thai, Steak, Japanese and the most amazing Italian. You must try the truffle mascarpone flatbread.”



Linda and Mike: My Anantara Siam Birthday Staycation!

“The hotel spoiled me with a special surprise cake and many, many Happy Birthday greetings. The staff and their anticipation of our needs made our stay so special.”

Kate and Dan: The Athenee Hotel

“We chose this hotel not only for its location, but for its old world beauty and elegance. Many places have lost this or moved on to the more modern, chic style but not The Athenee! As returning guests, we love that the staff remembers our names. The rooms are spacious and elegant. The executive lounge and the talented and creative bartender at the beautiful Glaz lounge bar never disappoint. With the demands of my husband’s job and everyday life, we find this to be a great escape from the craziness of everyday life.”




Libby and David: Riva Arun

“Let the photos do the talking! Of all our many Bangkok staycations this year, this was our favourite. Go for the jacuzzi suite! It was the ultimate room and bath with a view.”

Jenny and Pete: The Sukhothai Bangkok

“If Covid has taught us one thing, it is to enjoy the best things in life whilst we can! Our dinner, bed and breakfast staycation package didn’t disappoint. The staff were amazing nothing was too much trouble. The pool area is stunning and we walked in Lumpini Park on both days. Our three-course dinner at La Scala Restaurant is found in the Michelin guide as one of Bangkok’s finest Italian restaurants. Indeed the hotel is featured in Travel and Leisure Top 100 World’s Best Awards. I mean why not? You only live once!”

Little Wandering Wren is a Bangkok Blogger who has completed over 40 staycations in Thailand since February 2020. You can find all her staycations at and on Instagram and Twitter @ littlewanderingwren 18



How studying at Stamford International University helped me in so many ways By Arshi Banerjee


reshly graduated from high school, I knew it was time for me to start applying to a good university for my bachelor’s degree. There was a long list of universities in Thailand that came to mind. However, as I saw the advertisement for Stamford International University on social media, I was instantly drawn. Being an expat myself, I felt like I would fit in quite well at the university which made me take the decision to apply. I was told by my middle school friend who was also a student that it is very different from other universities in Thailand; I thought maybe she is referring to the campus or the laid-back dress code. Little did I know it is actually a different experience. As I am just a term away from graduating, the recollection of all the time I spent and the experiences I have gained being a part of the Stamford family comes to mind. Looking back at the memories I had there, everything seems to have passed by rather quickly. Being an international university, one thing that defines Stamford is the geographical diversity of the students and a melting pot of different cultures. Many expats including myself, as well as exchange students who decide to study in Thailand join Stamford for an international experience. This makes Stamford a great place to meet new people and learn about different cultures. What I also love about our university is that the students are always open to making new friends and have a positive outlook towards people from other cultures. Events such as international day, open microphone events or cultural days helps people connect and enjoy other cultures as well as appreciate their own. As a school student I was always told about the dreaded ‘university life’ and how it is going to be tough as the professors would not be as lenient and helpful as the teachers are back in the good old school days. After three years of studying in Stamford I can definitely say that is far from the truth. I recall getting in my first writing class and seeing a friendly face peering down on the students. The first thing she said was “Please do not refer to me as professor or teacher, I am here to assist you on your journey to descriptive and narrative writing.” This gives a perfect example

of how the professors are in Stamford. Always helpful, encouraging and understanding. I had some of the best experiences learning with the professors in Stamford and it was never a dull day in class with them. The best memories learning with them are the group projects and presentations. This really helped me be cooperative, develop confidence to voice my opinions and improve my public speaking skills. It amazes me when I think that before joining Stamford, I used to fear presentations, and now I feel more at ease with giving one. Although it is not as grand as the campuses in ABAC, Mahidol or Chulalongkorn. Stamford is cosy and everything is easily accessible, which is the most TheBigChilli



Photo credits: Bunmi Thomas

convenient aspect of the campus. Getting from one class to the other or meeting your friend in the middle of your classes does not seem like much of an issue at all. In addition, the event management students in Stamford also organize a variety of in campus events that definitely adds up to an opportunity to meet people, make friends and enjoy the university experience. The day to day atmosphere in the university is also very calm because of the privilege of a flexible timetable provided to the students. We can choose our own subjects and make a timetable which is comfortable for us. This gives the students a good option to focus on the subjects they actually want to learn and perform well in every class they opt for. 20


As I am almost a step away to the finish line, I remember all the positive experiences that I had learning at Stamford International University. It helped me grow more as a person and improve or master skills that I did not know I could master. There were some challenges throughout my time but I knew I could overcome them. To the freshly high school graduates I recommend Stamford because it is an experience that I doubt you would get in any other university. Every day will be the day you learn something new and the experience, the teachers and the friends you make there will definitely help you find your potential - and that is something you can take with yourself in your professional as well as private life.

Food& Drink

Bangkok's hottest dining deals and news

Pagoda Chinese Restaurant Unveils Mooncake Collection

■ Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen's Park has launched an exclusive selection of handcrafted mooncakes at Pagoda Chinese Restaurant, blending authenticity with modernity Ð and a twist of creativity. Classic flavours and fillings include white lotus seed and macadamia nuts, pork bak-kwa and assorted nuts, white lotus and melon seeds with a single yolk, Chanthaburi durian and white lotus seeds with an egg yolk. Available at Pagoda Chinese Restaurant until 1 October 2020. For preorders, please call 02-059-5999, fax your order to 02-059-5366, or email

Oysters Extravaganza at 137 Pillars Suites & Residences Bangkok

■ The new Oysters Extravaganza promotion offers special prices at THB 40++ per piece, THB 240++ per half dozen or THB 480++ per dozen, when purchased with a choice of beverage pairings which start from THB 290++. Available between 5 p.m. - 10 p.m. daily at the Bangkok Trading Post Bistro & Deli or the spacious Nimitr Terrace on level 27, with views of the city's nightscape. Contact: +66 (0) 81- 5534969

Delicious new menu additions at Blunos

■ Enjoy the latest stunning new dishes at Blunos Restaurant, The Eastin Grande Hotel Sathorn, where it's all about value for money and classic comfort food created by superstar chef Martin Blunos. The menu includes delights such as Chicken Caesar Salad, Wagyu Beef Spaghetti, Risotto Tom Yum Koong and Sea Bass Phad Chaa Ð based on Chef Martin's winning recipe from Iron Chef Thailand. Contact 02 210 8100 or visit their website at TheBigChilli


Tour the Med with Centara Grand at Ladprao

■ Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao is presenting `Journeys Around the Mediterranean', a dining voyage showcasing delectable dining creations by European chefs. The theme of this month event is `A Week on The French Riviera.' Then in October, the series promises an unforgettable dining journey with A Taste of Spanish Cuisine at Its Best. From Baht 690++ per dish as well as exclusive cultural activity starting from 990++ per person. Contact +66 (0) 2541 1234.

Chef Man's delicious moon cakes at Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn Bangkok ■ To celebrate the Moon Cake Festival, Chef Man Restaurant at Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn Bangkok is presenting a selection of authentic moon cakes in a variety of traditional flavors, including assorted nuts, durian paste with double egg yolks, lotus seed paste with double egg yolks, red bean pastes with double egg yolks. These special moon cakes will be available at Chef Man Restaurant from now to 30 September 2020. Starting price per box is 685 baht. Contact Chef Man restaurant, Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn Bangkok 02-210-8100 ext.7515 22


Artist Arianna Caroli's limited edition mooncake box at The Athenee Hotel Bangkok

■ To celebrate the grand moon cake festival, The Athenee Hotel has launched its limited-edition moon cake box painted by the renowned artist Arianna Caroli, who has her own gallery at the hotel. The mooncakes contain different flavours such as creamy chocolate with durian, pork Bak Kwa with assorted nuts, white lotus with melon seed and egg yolk, baked pandan and mung beans, Chanthaburi durian with white lotus seeds and egg yolk, and The Silk Road Signature, with organic sea-salted caramel. Available until 9 October 2020, with the Bouquet Splendido edition containing four mooncakes and priced at THB 1,888 net. Also available are single mooncake boxes at THB 238 net, a Spanish Cherry box at THB 888 net, and a luxury box at THB 1,888 net. Contact 02 862 3088-9


Mooncake Time at Centara Grand at CentralWorld

■ Enjoy a selection of mooncakes until 1 October 2020, when guests can pick a 1-piece (small) box for THB 118 or 4-piece (large) box for THB 988 (net) at Zing Bakery on the ground floor of Centara Grand at CentralWorld or the hotel's Chinese restaurant, Dynasty, on the 24th floor. The selection includes Monthong Durian with Salted Egg, Lotus Seeds with Salted Egg, Jujube with Salted Egg and Mix Nuts with Salted Egg, and Custard. Contact 02-100-6255 Website:

月饼节 2020

IT’S MOONCAKE TIME Finest seafood from Galicia and the Mediterranean at UNO MAS FROM NOW - 1 OCTOBER 2020

Celebrate the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, the season of giving and sharing, by treating yourself or loved ones to a box of our modern and delectable mooncakes! We have 5 flavours of mooncakes to choose from available in 1 to 4 piece box sets:

seafood delicacies grilled in a Josper oven or cooked a la plancha. MOON FLOWER BOX LITTLE MOON BOX 4 Mooncake box set in luxury Mooncake in beautiful Inspired by cooking techniques in round gift-case gold box Galicia, a region in the Choice ofnorth-eastern flavours Choice of flavours สามารถคละรสชาติได้ สามารถคละรสชาติได้ corner of Spain known for its fresh 1 piece THB 118 4 pieces + box THB 988 1 ชิน้ seafood, ราคา 118 บาท 4 ชิน้ พร้อมกล่ อง ราคา 988 บาท these platters include helpings of octopus, lobster, Denia prawns, diver scallops, langoustines and a seasonal market selection of ■ Get a taste of the ocean, Galician the day. style, at UNO MAS restaurant located THB 5,990++ with rooftop views on the 54th floor of Centara Grand at across downtown Bangkok. Central World. Contact 02 100 6255, visit Diners can now order Chef Sandro or email: Aguilera's handpicked selection of

เทศกาลไหว้พระจันทร์ พร้อมส่งมอบมูนเค้กสำาหรับคนสำาคัญของคุณ เพื่อเสริมสิริมงคลในชีวิต แสดงถึงความรัก ความปรารถ และความเคารพรักต่อผู้รับ มีให้เลือกมากถึง 5 รสชาติ

To order please contact

Yao Tea Room presents Chinese Afternoon Tea

■ Drop by Yao Tea Room on the 32nd Floor of Bangkok Marriott Hotel and browse through a refined selection of flower teas from different parts of the world. The Chinese afternoon tea serves a wide variety of flower teas with Chinese snacks featuring savory items, such as Marinated Baby Abalone in Sake Soy Sauce and Deepfried Cheese Dumpling with Crab with delicious desserts such as Bird Nest with Aloe Jelly, Jujube Macaron and other classic sweet treats. Chinese Afternoon Tea every Saturday and Sunday, from 14.30 hrs. Ð 17.00 hrs. Available at THB 1,288++ per set for 2 persons. Contact 02 088 5666, Official Line Account @marriottsurawongse or visit 24


T: 02-100-6255



Three styles of afternoon tea at Lobby Lounge at Sindhorn Kempinski Hotel

■ The newly opened Lobby Lounge is serving three sets of afternoon tea amid a garden ambience and airy space. Served seven days a week from 14.00 to 17.00, they feature premium tea brewed by the hotel Tea Master, or coffee if preferred, and a

• Monthong Durian Salte ทุเรียนหมอนทองไข่เค็ม • Lotus Seeds Salted Egg เม็ดบัวไข่เค็ม • Jujube Salted Egg พุทราจีนไข่เค็ม • Mix Nuts Salted Egg โหงวยิ้งไข่เค็ม • Custard คัสตาร์ด

selection of Thai savoury and sweet morsels. Chevaa Afternoon Tea is served every Friday, Saturday and Sunday with the Indulgence set offering European delicacies including classic scones with strawberry preserves. The Guilt Free serving is Lobby Lounge's signature vegan set. All three tea sets have the option of organic tea grown by local Thai farmers, and all are priced at THB 750++ per person. Contact T +66 02 095 9999, info.




Guest review by Bangkok Beefsteak & Burgundy


t was good to be back at B&B and finding a warm welcome at Jamon Jamon from proprietor and genial host Miguel. We knew from our previous visits there that plenty of food awaits us. We started with trenchers of cold cuts and olives (as someone very non-PC punned “black olives matter�) accompanied by an Alvarinho grape aperitif from neighbouring Portugal, Anselmo Mendes Contacto 2017 (Vinho Verde), a dry but interesting wine. This was followed by Baby squid & Padron pepper with alioli sauce; we looked in vain for the fiery example of pepper that



sometimes lights up the palate but Alan Rankin, our food spokesman, correctly commended both the perfectly cooked squid (exactly positioned between too slippery

and a rubber tyre) and the tasty green pepper (which Alan disclosed had medicinal uses also). It was served with Zarate El Palomar 2018 (Pontevedra, Spain),

a single variety of Albariño, which wine spokesman Andrew MacDowell found to be medium to dry, nice to drink and a good match for both dishes. The piéce de résistance however was the individual plates of Fabada asturiana (white bean stew), Iberico pork cheeks and Beef paella. The bean stew attracted much praise, the pork was well cooked with a tasty pepper, and the beef paella too much for some but truly delicious. The paella was actually cooked outside on the veranda, which in itself was a novelty, but hats off to Miguel for this feast. It came with glasses of Rodriguez & Sanzo TheBigChilli







Tempranillo 2017 (Toro, Spain), a delightful Whisky Barrel aged wine which is very aromatic, with nuances of ripe black fruit, spices, chocolate, toasted nuances (smoke), structured in the mouth but very fatty and sweet tannins, with a lot of volume and a nice finish.  There followed cheeses from Spain (some very different from the norm but all enjoyable and “manly”), a tasty refreshing dessert (Coconut pudding as modestly described by Miguel), and toasts to Tom Whitcraft and Andrew both celebrating August birthdays with drafts for all of Noval Tawny Port and 18 Year Macallan malt whisky. Quite some time later, we asked John Handley to thank on our behalf in customary style the hard work put in by the staff and Miguel himself; this was a lunch that will linger in our memories for a long time to come. Taberna Jamón Jamón: 9 Sukhumvit Rd Soi 20, Klong Toey Tel: 02 663 4466. Facebook: @jamonthai 30
















Fon scaling a wall of ice 32


ust when you think her life couldn’t possibly be more full, Thai beauty Fon Windsor-Clive springs another surprise: she’s just learned how to catch deadly cobras. It is yet another milestone in the remarkable life of this amazing lady whose thirst for adventure and challenges seems boundless: she flies helicopters and fixes wing aircraft, climbs mountains, explores remotes areas like Antarctica and is passionate about windsurfing, scuba diving, dancing, running and boxing. There’s more. She’s also a professional photographer, curates exhibitions, is a Cordon Bleu chef, and as a trained EMTB (Emergency Medical Technician) raises money for Narenthorn, Rajvidhee hospital. In between, Fon somehow finds time to raise two teenage daughters and share her action-packed life with her British husband. Right now, she’s planning a new and highly ambitious expedition “somewhere in Southeast Asia” but is not letting on about the details until the Covid19 restrictions end. Given her good looks, athleticism and cool sophistication, you can’t help thinking she’d make a great female 007. So maybe catching cobras, which she recently learned from experts at The Snake Centre, Thai Red Cross, isn’t such a big surprise after all.

Piloting an aircraft

Name: Umaworn Idris Windsor-Clive. Nickname:Fon. Place of birth: Missouri, US. Family: My father was a Colonel in the Thai Army, mother an entomologist. My husband Simon is from the UK. We have two daughters – Sofia 16 and Serena 13. Age: 49. Education: St Joseph’s in Bangkok, Brent International School in the Philippines, BA in photography from Santa Barbara, US, and MA in museum management in the UK. Profession: Curator of photography exhibitions. After graduation I interned (unpaid work placement) at the Victoria & Albert museum in London, and worked as cultural programme coordinator at Asia House, where I met my husband. I was the Head of Photography department, faculty of Architecture at King Mongkut Institute of Technology, Ladkrabang, Bangkok. And I’m a member of the Advisory Board of the Royal Photographic Society of Thailand. (Pro-bono work since 2002) In which countries have you lived? US (5 years), Philippines (1year) and UK (12 years). Where do you live now? Bangkok and a house in Shropshire.

What's keeping you here? Family and Covid19. Otherwise I’d be climbing mountains. Last year I spent over 100 days climbing in France, England, Nepal and Antarctica. I spent a month climbing Mount Vinson in the Antarctic with Garrett Madison, my most magical & the quietest place in the world. After Antarctica I went on a month-long expedition climbing Ama Dablam in Nepal with Kristoffer Erickson. What projects are you involved in right now? Flying helicopters. I’m also planning a major expedition in Southeast Asia. Where, exactly? I’m not saying. Do your hobbies ever get scar y? They do come with a lot of high risks, so yes. You need a lot of concentration. Anything mundane scare you? Spiders. I have a fear of them, and I’ve even seen a therapist about it. What else keeps you busy? The list is long – I like windsurfing, wake boarding, scuba diving and sailing, which I first learned from my dad aged 12 –he’s a great sailor. Anything else? I like tennis and long distance running. I’ve also trained with Buakow boxing team (Thailand’s best known Muay Thai boxer). And I like Latin dancing, partly to improve my posture. TheBigChilli


News What about non-physical pastimes? I trained as a French chef at the Cordon Bleu in London. I am also a keen supporter of charities such as the Children’s Hospital for rare diseases such as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, and the Foundation for Environmental Education for Sustainable Development. Where does your amazing energy come from? My parents were workaholics. My daughters’ interests aren’t so diverse. That said, Sofia excels at horse riding and tennis; Serena has a brilliant mind, a fantastic dancer, she’s a little bit eccentric. What are your life’s high and low points? Other than the birth of my daughters, of course - when I got my helicopter license in the UK. The low point was recovering from knee and shoulder operations from climbing and skiing accidents. What do you consider your greatest achievements? Single-handedly raising enough money to buy two ambulances for a government Hospital emergency agency. Scaling my first high altitude mountain Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania to place the ashes of my uncle Maurice Bowra at the summit, he always wanted to go to Africa but never made it. Also, arranging major photographic exhibitions in Bangkok, including one for master Brazilian photographer Sebastiao Salgado, and

Learning how to catch a snake Welcome break in the mountains








“Beyond the Air We Breathe” a photographic exhibition about climate change by the most important photographers in the world. What’s your favorite Bangkok restaurant? The Verandah at the Mandarin Oriental, overlooking the Chao Phraya River. Favorite cuisine? French. Favorite weekend destination? Anywhere in the sky. Favorite countr y? Antarctica. Best friend in Thailand? K Pantipa, a friend from school. She’s very grounded and sensible. Most interesting person you’ve ever met? Julian Freeman-Attwood, an explorer, adventurer and climber. Who would you like to meet? Tay Za, a Burmese business tycoon and the Chairman of Htoo Group of Companies What’s your greatest extravagance? Flying a helicopter. Also, Antarctica. Best qualities in a person? Integrity in a man, kindness in a woman. And the worst? Dishonesty in a man, greed in a woman. Any regrets? I didn’t continue learning piano Do you believe in so-called ‘Thainess’? Bangkok does not represent Thailand, so you probably won’t find it here. What’s next? I’ll reveal that soon. TheBigChilli


Concrete Therapy


Advice for modern city-dwellers Despite our best efforts, life in the big city can get pretty complicated, tr ying to juggle work, social life, personal problems—not to mention the never-ending stream of stressful traffic. We can talk to friends and family, but their involvement might be a little too close to home…sometimes a professional opinion really helps to put things into perspective. Calling our concrete therapists from New Counseling Ser vice (NCS) to the rescue for some solid advice! Do you have a question for one of our counsellors? We will never print your real name, you can ask anything anonymously. Just send your problem to: or message @ ncsbangkok on IG, FB, or Line.

Dear NCS, Whenever I go out with my friends, they often joke about OCD. For example, if a tile is out of place on the floor or their clothing is wrinkled, they’ll say “OMG, I’m so OCD!” and we all laugh. It’s a running joke and while I don’t really mind, what they don’t know is that I actually have OCD. Every day, I struggle with how many times to turn the lights on and off, I have trouble walking normally because of the compulsions in my mind telling me to avoid certain spots or to create specific patterns. This is a very real thing for me, but I’m taking medication and doing therapy to be able to seem ‘normal’ when I’m in public, at least for a few hours. I’m thinking about telling my friends that I have OCD, but I have no idea how to explain it to them or where they can find more detailed info about this disorder. I don’t know where to start. Can you help me? Thank you! -OMG OCD



Dear OMG, ■ Thanks a lot for your question. As I’m sure you know, OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) is when normal, everyday anxieties—such as ensuring we turn the lights off, or being careful about where we walk—get pushed to the extreme in our minds and Counsellor David Ogden

Photo by Verity Tan

we become obsessed by them. Whenever any of us feels very anxious, we find ways to try to ease our discomfort and anxiety. With OCD, we develop behaviours that aim to ease the anxiety we’re feeling and then tend to do these behaviours compulsively, for example by switching off lights a certain number of times, or avoiding cracks in the sidewalk. Sometimes these behaviours ease our anxiety, but sometimes they don’t work as well as we hope. Many people learn to manage their OCD very well and it’s an issue that is generally quite treatable. It’s great that you’re dealing with your OCD and have found ways to appear “normal” in public. However, I can imagine it would be a relief to not have to hide this from your friends as much as you do now. It can be difficult discussing something like this with other people, but there is no reason for you to feel ashamed or embarrassed about it. The fact is, people have all varieties of health issues, and mental health issues are no different from physical health issues, in that there’s often no logical reason why one person is more affected by an issue than someone else. Like any health issue, you need to find a treatment that works for you and some ways to manage it so you can live your life the way you want to as much as possible. One thing that can help with any health issue is to have the understanding and support of family and friends around you. But to help ensure their understanding, it’s good to prepare some information to educate your friends about OCD and anxiety in general. The thing is, all of us experience anxiety and all of us are a bit obsessive about some things, whether it’s how we like to look when we go out, or how we like to organise certain aspects in

our life, or how we like to eat our food – all of us have our own ways of doing things that are unique to us. So maybe help your friends to recognise that everyone is “a bit OCD”, but some people are just more “OCD” than others. This could help normalise the whole issue and make it easier for them to accept and understand it. Bringing up this issue can be awkward, especially in a group setting, but that depends on the group dynamic. Is there someone in your friend group who you think would be more understanding? Or someone who would be easier for you to talk to initially? If so, talk to them individually at first, so that at least one person in your group knows, which could make it easier when you tell your other friends. Prepare what you want to say to them beforehand and trust that your friends will be OK with you being honest about this. Regarding the jokes, I think it would be good to tell them how you feel. You might really be OK

with them still joking about OCD and then it can be an inside joke between you all, but if you would rather they didn’t make jokes about this then you should tell them so. I’m sure if one of your friends asked you to stop joking about something because it affects them personally, then you would respect that, so hopefully your friends will also understand and do the same for you. There are many good websites with useful information about OCD to help you understand it better and explain it to others, and also for others to know how they can support you. Here is one that may be helpful: uk/information-support/types-ofmental-health-problems/obsessivecompulsive-disorder-ocd/aboutocd/ All the best with continuing to deal with this issue and in discussing it with your friends. Dave Counsellor TheBigChilli


Concrete Therapy



Counsellor Johanna de Koning

Dear NCS, I am 5 months pregnant and excited to meet my little one! However, when discussing pregnancy, I have heard a lot of people talk about postpartum depression. It seems to be a terrible thing, but I don’t really know what it means. What is postpartum depression, how common is it, and what can I do to prevent it? -Happily Pregnant Photo by Verity Tan Dear Happily Pregnant, ■ First of all, my congratulations on your pregnancy! Parenthood is a life changing experience and I am glad that you are excited to meet your little one. To answer your question, postpartum depression (PPD) is a condition that happens to some new mothers. When we deliver a baby, the experience requires an enormous amount of energy and strength from a woman. Although our bodies are generally able to do this, it is nevertheless a “top performance.” After a top performance it is not uncommon to feel kind of empty and uncertain about what is to come. We call this the ‘baby blues’. The third day after giving birth to a child a young mother can be teary or vulnerable. In general this goes away, but if the feelings persist and start to affect our daily functioning, we may possibly have a case of postpartum depression. It often starts within one month after birth. The causes can be numerous: physical (like the change of hormonal patterns), emotional (mood swings, feeling different than before giving birth) or social (worries about heavy responsibility or family dynamics). Postpartum depression can be experienced in many gradations and it seems to happen roughly in

15% of pregnancies. Your question ‘What can I do to prevent it?’ is a hard question. First and foremost, take care of yourself by eating healthy, taking care of your body, and being prepared for the delivery. This, of course, is something you do already as it is a vital part of being pregnant. It might be wise to have help in place after the birth by asking someone to be around for advice or to take over some tasks. There are no ‘fool-proof’ measures you can take to prevent post-partum depression, but you can take action when you start to experience symptoms of PPD. Here are a few suggestions: 1) Talk with others when you feel sad and just share your feelings. Know that it is normal to feel sad/confused/overwhelmed and sometimes wanting to be free of this new responsibility, while at the same time feeling so happy with the baby, a proud and glad mother. 2) Acknowledge your feelings of sadness or confusion regarding your new role and the baby. 3) Recognise that things are perhaps not as dreamy and rosy as you thought they would be, because life is not always that easy. Acknowledging these feelings does not make you a bad parent. Evaluate your expectations

and lower them if you can, and understand that you do not have to live up the expectations of others. 4) Ask for practical help (so you will get sufficient sleep). 5) Take good care of yourself by having some time for self-care, such as pursuing a hobby, a visit with a friend, exercising, or whatever nurtures you. If the sadness stays all day, for several days and you feel that you want to be free of your child, please seek professional help. Again, this does not mean you are a bad person, but just that you are overwhelmed and need to be cared for. If you question yourself all the time, wondering whether you truly love your child, this a sign that you do need to talk with an experienced mother or a professional counsellor or doctor. Postpartum depression can cause these doubts; please know that it does NOT mean that you are a bad mother, but it is caused by the psychological situation you are in. There is help available in medication and/or by therapy. I hope this answer helps you and otherwise feel free to connect to talk more about it as this is a vast topic with many aspects to consider. Johanna Counsellor TheBigChilli





Interview by Tim Cornwall

Needles & Ink If you haven’t already got one or more, there’s a good chance you will have seriously considered getting a tattoo. Here’s some good advice from one of Bangkok’s best tattoo studios before taking the plunge and decorating your body for life


attoos were not popular when I was growing up in Canada, but after 15 years in Japan where the massive full-body tattoos popularized by a certain group there first shocked and then awed me, I have come to appreciate how beautiful these creations in ink can be. It’s also made me think it would be neat to get one. But it did get me wondering why we see so many today, where to get one, if they’re safe, and what design will look great, not only today, but long into the future. So, I went over to visit two friends at All Day Tattoo to learn more with ten questions in hand. TheBigChilli



Why do people get tattoos? Tattooing was very much a subculture up until the early 2000s, after which it has become progressively more mainstream and by some estimates, over 50% of American adults have at least one tattoo. t seems people have become increasingly connected digitally but less so with those around them. And although personal liberties in society might have lessened along with a push for people to conform to certain parameters to make a decent living, progress with social issues means society, as a whole, has become less prone to judging someone by their appearance or personal choices. This has created a perfect storm for creativity and an environment where people want to take control of their bodies and express themselves in a personal way with the tattoo industry providing an outlet to express who they are, how they feel and what is important through body art. Of course, there will always be people who want to get a tattoo because they like a style or design, as art is meant to create an emotional response or for a more traditional reason, to commemorate a loved one, overcoming a struggle or perhaps a trip of a lifetime.


How can you judge the quality of a tattoo studio before getting work done? The first thing to check is the quality of the tattoos the studio is producing which is simple as most studios have a website, Facebook page or Instagram to highlight their work. The second point is to ensure safe, hygienic accepted best practices are place. On entering a studio, expect to see or ask to see their Department of Health Certificate along with documents proving they are a registered business. hailand has quite a stringent licensing process for tattoo studios and while the process is arduous, if a studio has not made the effort to meet the standards required, you need to ask yourself why. This is important as a client risks suffering from an unnecessary rash or infection, or worst case, hepatitis or even HIV. A third point to consider is the service provided. Do they offer advice and help to not only select a design, the right artist and once a tattoo has been completed, help with the healing process and any problems that might result if care is not taken. In Thailand, the language barrier can be an important issue for many clients and when it comes to tattoos, it is extremely important the studio and the artist know exactly what is wanted, with no misunderstandings.




Another concern is make certain an artist is skilled in the tattoo style wanted, and with 14 artists on staff, All Day Tattoo is certain to have one skilled in anything from Japanese to Polynesian and from the most modern to traditional styles. What should people know before they get a tattoo? Tattoos are permanent but life changes. If you get a tattoo you love at the time and it is delivered well, it is unlikely you will come to regret as it is a representation of where and who you were at the time.

However, as we do not know where life will lead, give yourself the choice to cover a tattoo easily (with work clothes for example) and avoid getting hand, neck or face tattoos unless certain it is a step you want to take. Why should someone not get a tattoo? If they feel under duress for any reason, they should not get one. This can be, for example, someone being forced to get a tattoo to ‘prove’ their love or devotion. Even though the legal age for a tattoo is 15 in Thailand, All Day Tattoo policy is to only tattoo people

18 years or older as someone must be a legal adult before being allowed to make a permanent decision about what to put on their bodies. What types of tattoos are popular? As tattoos are so individual, there is a huge range of different styles, designs and concepts that people get. To get an example of what is available and what they can do, their website has detailed articles and examples of different styles so people can learn about them in more detail before visiting. TheBigChilli




eing in Bangkok of course, Thaicentric tattoos as well as Sak Yant (Thai traditional) tattoos are popular. More and more, people decide to get a tattoo to cover scars that might be embarrassing, in particular, self-inflicted scars they would like to forget and be able to hide. Finally, some come in because they want to cover up a poorly done tattoo done elsewhere, or something they had done a few years ago that was popular but not today. What should people avoid when getting a tattoo? Getting a tattoo need not be a stressful process when clients are guided through the process from deciding what they want, finalizing a design, scheduling appointments to ensure each visit is not too long and finally, providing advice and supplies when the work is completed. While there is a belief that being intoxicated makes the process easier, this really isn’t the case and often makes it far more stressful for the client’s body and mind than it needs to be. In fact, they will turn away someone if they come in drunk as the decision to get one could, in fact, be misguided or regretted a few hours later. How much do tattoos cost? Many studios will charge ‘per piece’ which means a client is at risk of being charged what a studio thinks they can get away with on that day. ll Day Tattoo charges based on tattooing time only - 3,000 Baht per hour or 2,500 Baht for less than one hour. While some clients have spent 100,000 Baht or more on large pieces, the average cost of a tattoo falls


somewhere between 5 to 7,000 Baht, although of course this will depend on both the size and detail of the design. If it takes less time than estimated (which happens often) the customer pays less than estimated. On the other hand if, after finalizing the design with the client, it is clear it will take longer than originally thought the client is able to make a decision whether that works for them without having to worry about awkward renegotiations of a quoted price, In the end, a happy customer is the best advertising and having clear and fair pricing is just the first step in making sure that happens. How long do different tattoos stay looking fresh? Most of us have seen tattoos on older people from the 1970s or even earlier which have faded or turned green, and this can make us question the longevity of 46


tattoos. However, things have come along a huge way since then. nks are much higher quality and as we use only the highest level branded and FDA approved inks from the USA, we use the best on the market. This will ensure that as far as possible, the tattoo will stay looking fresh and bright for a long time to come. There are some tattoos however, such as ‘white ink only’ tattoos which are meant to fade and leave behind a faint scar that’s barely noticeable and this is by design. There are also certain body parts, hands, and feet especially, where the skin is different and often struggle to retain ink.


How painful is it to get tattoos on different parts of the body? Pain is relative but something that we have found to

be true is that getting a tattoo is far less painful than people expect. In terms of areas of the body, the fattier or more muscular the area the less likely it will hurt than bonier areas of the body. What else information or details would you like clients to know? One important thing to remember is that it take about two weeks for a tattoo to heal and during that time a person needs to be careful, stay away from swimming, for example, to follow instructions and to make the most of after-tattoo care kits. So, if you want a tattoo, do it at the end of a holiday or at a time when you can carefully follow advice about what to do to ensure nothing untoward happens. In this way, you will walk away with a beautiful tattoo, one you can be proud of for years. TheBigChilli


Off the Beaten Track Text and photos by Geoff Morrison Follow Geoff on Instagram #siamscenes

Bangkok's Khlongsan Ă? where you can stroll through time and experience the soul of the Kingdom




sunrise stroll through Klongsan’s maze of inter woven lanes, sois, and khlongs lures you deep into the heart of Thailand. In the historic communities between Icon Siam and Memorial Bridge, Bangkok’s soul unfolds, step by step. In fact, Thonburi is Bangkok. Some say the name ‘Bangkok’ refers to a village near Bangkok Noi and Bangkok Yai, where almost 500 years ago, it was the logistical stop for ships en-route to the capital Ayutthaya. ‘Bang Ko’ translates as ‘island village,’ a settlement almost completely surrounded by water, recalling when the Chao Phraya river followed a completely different course than today. The Ayutthaya Kings re-engineered and short-cut the lower Chao Phraya river course to accelerate trade and improve tax and defense efficiency. In 1538 King Chairachathirat (1534-1546), renowned for his early modern warfare technology and Portuguese trade, dug the first ‘Khlong Lat’ (short cut canal), reducing the sailing time to Ayutthaya by almost one day. The powerful currents soon widened the short cut to become the new main channel. So successful was the operation, that future kings followed with more Klong Lats in 1542, 1636, 1722, and 1874. As Chao Phraya sailing times quickened, and Siam connected with foreign trade, Thonburi became a powerful tax collection port and customs office. When Ayutthaya was razed to the ground in 1767, Thonburi was the obvious choice for King Taksin to rebuild the nation’s capital. The 280- year-old Gong Wu Shrine, the oldest of its kind in Thailand, is said to be where King Taksin prayed before battle. Today it is a bright, wonderfully decorated temple bordered by My Grandparents House café, and Thang Nguan Hah Vintage House, the first fish sauce factory in the country. From 1768 Khlongsan evolved with communities of Portuguese, Siamese, Chinese, Indian and Muslim merchants who supported King Taksin’s exploits. Indian Muslim spice and goldsmith traders are located around Changnak Alley, the scene of James Bond’s 1997 ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ epic motorcycle chase. Here too are the Wanglee family’s Lhong 1919 trading wharf and Mazou Temple, Huok Li House, and Lanthong Salt Production Warehouse. Step into the smallest lanes of Chiang Mai Rd. Intersection Community, Tha Din Daeng Soi 14/16 Community, Soi Chang Nak Sapan Yao Community for a special glimpse into Khlongsan’s people and heritage. The riverside Kuwatin Islam Mosque tells the story of two of Thonburi’s most significant families: the Bunnag’s of Persian origins, and The Nana’s of Indian decent.

By the nineteenth century, the House of Bunnag was perhaps the most influential family in Siam. Favored by Chakri monarchs, the family monopolized high-ranking titles and developed much of Thonburi’s economy and culture. In 1818, the family moved to their new residence on the west river bank. They excavated Khlong Somdet Chao, a main customs house canal, collecting shipping tax and trading income. Tat Bunnag kindly gave a riverside warehouse plot to a group of Indian traders to use as a mosque. Under Ali Bai Nana, their friendship and business collaboration blossomed and the Nana business empire was born. Today, there are Nana neighborhoods in Sukhumvit Soi 4, Chinatown, and also the Nana BTS Station reflecting the families prominence and success. One of the most powerful Bunnag’s, Sri Suriyawongse, influenced the reigns of Kings Rama II, III, IV and V. He oversaw the capital city, international trade, and became the first ever Commander of TheBigChilli


Off the Beaten Track

the Royal Navy. He served as Regent for the young King Chulalongkorn, and was instrumental in negotiating the 1855 Bowring Treaty with Great Britain. Siam was catapulted into a future economy of sugar and rice trade exports. Spectacular temples such as Wat Prayurawongsawat and Wat Pichai Yattikaram reflect Bunnag family’s social role, restoration and donation efforts. As Thonburi entered the 20th century, a young ‘commoner’ girl named Sangwan played around the Khlongsan neighborhood, living in her parents’ rented wooden shop house. Her mother taught her to read and she was able to enroll at the all-girls school of Wat Anongkharam. In 1919, she married Prince Mahidol Adulyadej, son of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) and became the mother of 2 Kings; Ananda Mahidol (Rama VIII) and 50


Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX). Formally known as Somdet Phra Srinagarindra Boromarajajonani, she was loved by the nation and called Somdet Ya, the Royal Grandmother.’Sangwan’s childhood gardens and lanes are now preserved as the beautiful Princess Mother Memorial Park. The nearby RBMCO Indian Archway pays tribute to the Nana family and their donation of the park for public enjoyment. Old Thailand awakens before the sun, and gives way to modern urban life by early rush hour. In these peaceful moments you can escape the chaos of Bangkok’s ten-million strong metropolis. Dawn brings a collage of whispy orange cloths, story tale scenes, and urn fired stir fries. Murmurs and chants reverberate behind old walls. The Chao Phraya river is never far and has nourished the orchards, people, and culture for centuries. Transitioning through three of the Thailand’s four kingdoms, Khlongsan is a place where you can stroll, and time-travel through the charm and soul of the nation. TheBigChilli


Expat Sport

Bangkok Bangers awards and AGM 2020 ■The club’s recent awards and AGM proved a highly successful evening with a lot of discussion and suggestions being made at the AGM along with a few changes within the current committee. Those changes include Darryn Mathee who becomes Chairman to replace James Crossley; Bas Manders replacing Andrew McDowell as Treasurer as he will be departing for New Zealand at the end of the year; and Geoff Renouf as a possible coach for the upcoming season. Several new members will join the committee in time for the first meeting. Special thanks to Barry Shea and the entire team at the Bistro 33 for catering the event. Training is on Thursdays at 7pm and Sundays at 4pm at Greeny Grass. 52


Darryn Mathee - New Chairman Bangkok Bangers

Colts player of the year - Justin Haefele

Ancient player of the year - Rod Kerr TheBigChilli


Expat Sport

Main Awards 2019/2020


Club person

of the year -

Izzy Tan

Colts player

of the year -

Justin Haefele

Belles Player

of the year -

Georgia Welsh

Vets player

of the Year -

Justin Stefano

Ancient player

of the year -

Rod Kerr

Belles players’ Player of the Year -

Jane Cather y

Vets players’ Player

of the Year -

Andrew Tatum

Colts players’ Player

of the Year -

Darr yn Mathee

Bangers trainer

of the year - Sebastian Belbonoit


Belles Player of the year Georgia Welsh

Foreign team set to compete in Thailand's top women's football league

BSL WFC gets the nod from local FA ■ For the first time, international girls living in the kingdom will be able to play top level football here, thanks to a change in the rules by the Football Association of Thailand that allows a foreign student team to participate in the National Thai Women League for season 2020/2021. The change means that players from the Women’s Football Club (WFC) from the Bangkok Soccer League (BSL) will face regular competition in games against Thailand’s top teams, bringing enormous all-round benefits to the game. WFC will be the only ‘farang’ base team in the league. BSL WFC aims to lead the way for young international and Thai students and experienced footballers in Thailand. The club offers both recreational and competitive football for ladies at all

age groups. Its weekend program runs at Brighton College Bangkok, using a full size grass pitch. BSL was founded more than 30 years ago as a voluntary organization that provided the opportunity for youth players from international and Thai schools in the greater Bangkok area to play football. The league is committed to providing opportunities for all players to reach their highest potential in football and in life through teamwork, competition and individual achievement. BSL WFC is the only competitive girls’ football club open to female youth football players of all nationalities. Most are international or internationalThai students living in Thailand with their families. The majority attend local international schools and play in the schools’ varsity teams. TheBigChilli


Expat Women By Ruth Gerson

Ximena Sheldon portrait of an artist




he desire to be an artist runs deep and constant. This holds true of Ximena Sheldon, a charming Colombian lady born into an artistic family in Bogota, who has spent her life fulfilling that desire – despite leading a peripatetic existence in many different countries, including Thailand, her adopted home. Counting among her ancestors a famous painter and national artist, Ximena tells how she has had a special relationship with visual arts since an early age. As a child and teenager, Ximena treated her love for art as a hobby, which was to change in time. After graduating early from high school, she spent one year at Tortington Park School in Arundel, UK, where she learned drawing and painting, followed by a year in Switzerland at Montreux with the focus on interior design. She then returned to Bogota and tried her hand working at a large international company, but soon realized that it was not her calling. Searching for a career that would be closer to her heart, Ximena enrolled in the newly introduced curriculum at the Institute of Art Education in Bogota, studying techniques of art education, with the aim of working with young children. However, art seemed to continue to have a strong pull on her, and Ximena took action to satisfy it by taking lessons in the afternoons following university classes. Her teacher was David Manzur, an internationally known Colombian artist, whose work hangs in museums next to that of Botero. “He was the best teacher you can imagine,” says Ximena. ”His strong personality in painting influenced my style.” She adds that Manzur believed that drawing is the basis to all art, and Ximena practiced with him for seven years, exhibiting her art along with his work in Colombia, and in Washington DC. At that time she also had a solo exhibition in Bogota. Ximena met her husband Douglas in Bogota where he was sent to work with Pfizer Pharmaceuticals. They married in 1975 and continued to live in Colombia for a further six years. Later they moved to Miami in the US. While in Bogota, Ximena continued to paint while teaching art at the elementary level of the International School of Bogota. The birth of her first child, a daughter, set Ximena on a new track, and she began her own business designing and selling educational toys. Ximena’s art kept growing and changing while she continuously TheBigChilli


Expat Women

experimented in new styles and working with various media. In Miami, she took a course in garden design and after a year the family was on the move again “The story of my life,” she says bemoaning the fact that she had to abandon so many projects and courses before being able to finish them, as life had other designs for her. This time they were on their way to Sri Lanka, where Douglas was transferred. Adds Ximena: “This is what happens to a woman who follows her husband, but I always continued my art.” n Sri Lanka, Ximena decided to try her hand in the local art of batik. She says that it is beautiful but very hard work. This satisfied her curiosity, as she always wanted to know how people created their art in whatever country they lived in. The life in the island nation was just one more piece of the mosaic that has become Ximena’s life and art. In this way, she continued to absorb and learn from various sources creating her own art, which continues to evolve. Next destination was Hong Kong, a place that Ximena fell in love with immediately, with its diversity of people and art. “You can’t run away from art,” she declares with a smile. In Hong Kong Ximena began brush painting. Being passionate all her life about art, she seemed to find a special corner in her heart for this seemingly enchanted place. When the news came that they were moving again, Ximena cried for one whole week. Feeling somewhat guilty in interrupting his wife’s life once again, Douglas bought her a Chinese silk rug, which she quickly named “the crying rug.”




Then came Thailand. The year was 1984. This time Ximena was in luck, the family remained in one place for the following fifteen years. Compared to the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong, Bangkok seemed slow paced. Searching for her common denominator, which was art, Ximena wanted to enroll at Silpakorn University and study art. This was not possible, however, as all classes were held in the Thai language, which Ximena was not familiar with. nce again, Ximena had to recreate her own world of art in a new country. She began taking classes in watercolors with Suchart Yonthong, an established Thai artist. At that point, she did not appreciate working with watercolors, which she later came to love. Several talented foreign women took lessons with her; some of them later became famous artists in their own right, such as Gay Patterson, Ginny Woolman, Nancy Chandler and others. Ximena enjoyed those lessons as she points out that she likes to see artists at


work, their transfer of images that flow onto the paper, “You feel the moment.” Ximena became very active in Bangkok’s art scene. She organized workshops bringing artists from neighboring countries, and organized exhibition in which her work was included. In the 1990s, she organized an international exhibition together with Khunying Kanitha in honor of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit to mark International Women’s Day. Other exhibitions followed, and many of her paintings were sold, now adorning walls in countries around the world. Never pausing, Ximena continued acquiring new skills and techniques, mastering watercolors, learning etching, calligraphy, papermaking and photography. After long and fruitful fifteen years, it was time to move again, this time to the New York area. “I had to start again,” she states. This time she landed in a haven of art and her desire was to become a docent at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Interview followed interview, and then more, having her go through their rigorous drills. Armed with great passion, knowledge and experience in art and able to speak three language fluently, English, French and Spanish, worked in her favor. Elated, Ximena was accepted to the docent program that lasted one year that was taught like a mini master’s degree, learning with the best people in the field. The regulations were strict, no one could miss a day, rain or shine, or even be one minute late. After passing the course, Ximena guided at the museum for seven years, while continuing her studies at the Art Students League of New York. In 2014, Ximena came back to Thailand where her husband has his own business. Living in her comfortable home with an art studio, she continues to paint and exhibit her work, and has the privilege of passing down her art to the young generation of her grandchildren. Ximena now works in a new style of mixed techniques using acrylic, pastel and watercolors. She wants to continue learning and go on doing what she loves. Forever! TheBigChilli



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Van Cleef & Arpels Midnight & Lady Arpels pont des Amoureur TheBigChilli



As the Regional Representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for Southeast Asia and the Pacific since April 2013, Jeremy Douglas’ writ is to oversee the organisation’s operations and strategies over a vast area stretching from Myanmar far into the Pacific.




How the UN is helping to combat the changing tactics of the region's crime gangs Interview with Jeremy Douglas, Regional Representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for Southeast Asia and the Pacific By MAXMILIAN WECHSLER

• Changes in the drug market the past few years have impacted Thailand as organized crime groups have increased production and diversified into powerful and valuable drugs like cr ystal methamphetamine and ketamine. • The expansion of the drug trade has meant a corresponding expansion of money laundering and other related crimes, leading to an explosion of the prison population. • The region needs to ask itself why the drug trade continues to expand here, who is behind it or benefiting from it and how they use the region to expand it. • Thailand is a logistics hub for the Mekong region and a lot of the drugs trafficked into the countr y are for transit to Malaysia or to places like Australia, New Zealand, Japan or Korea. • There are a lot of aligned but different businesses that go handin-hand with the drug trade, for example casinos which are often in border areas and the trade in chemicals used to produce synthetic drugs. TheBigChilli




esides criminal justice and drugrelated matters, his office is focused on non-traditional security threats and issues related to the rule of law and public health. Mr Douglas is also the UNODC liaison to China, Korea, Japan and Mongolia and to regional organisations including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS). He is based at the UNODC’s regional office at the UN building in Bangkok.

Narcotics and Thailand “Thailand has a significant drug problem that is linked to the situation in the Golden Triangle and Myanmar,” says Mr. Douglas. “Developments and rapid changes in the drug market the past few years have really impacted the country. The synthetic drug supply has expanded and changed as organized crime groups have increased production. They have diversified their products into powerful and valuable drugs like crystal methamphetamine and ketamine, but there is still

Jeremy Douglas in Shan State in 2018 with the then Director of the Myanmar drug police.



Mr Douglas closing a training course at Lampang Police Academy with Commandant, July 2020.

some heroin produced and trafficked in the region. “The expansion of the drug trade has meant a corresponding expansion of money laundering and other related crimes. Sadly, it has also led to an explosion of the prison population and already over-stretched drug treatment system. But we can’t forget the country has had a longstanding problem with methamphetamine pills or yaba, and what has happened more recently has in a sense been an accelerated evolution of that situation. “As I’ve mentioned, we help with other crimes besides drugs as well as governance challenges. While we assist regional governments and key institutions with solutions and capacities, we do so with an eye to how this impacts communities and people. Helping those most impacted by the illegal drugs trade and other crimes is why we do our job.” Asked what he sees as the biggest difficulty in tackling the drug problem in Thailand, Mr Douglas replied: “Where to begin – this is really an enormous question. We advise and try to approach the drug challenge holistically and strategically by looking at the different aspects of production, trafficking and use. We offer practical help to Thailand and the region

with different programs and projects that enable police and justice agencies, border officials, regulators and health authorities, to cooperate and better understand a situation and respond to it. “But given the enormity of the challenge, it can’t simply be approached using narrow or siloed approaches and responses, just by policing or treating the problem. Having spent a significant amount of time in the region over the years, and watching the problem expand time and again, I keep coming back to the fact we have to address the root causes, those things that allow the expansion. And to do that it means the region needs to have a candid conversation with itself about why the drug trade continues to expand here, who is behind it or benefiting from it and how they use the region to expand it, and really take a hard look at how damaging it is to the countries and the people of the region. It’s not exactly a comfortable conversation, but it needs to happen.” When asked what percentage of drugs produced in the region and trafficked through Thailand are intended for the Thai market, Mr Douglas replied: “It is difficult to say in percentage terms given that Thailand is a logistics hub for the Mekong region and TheBigChilli


Feature (UWSA) and other militias in Myanmar are often accused of running the regional drug trade, but he stressed that this isn’t the whole story. “There is no doubting their history and that they have benefited and still benefit enormously from the drug trade. But there are also major organized crime groups from outside the immediate region involved in the innovation and expansion I touched on, groups that have helped diversify the types of drugs produced and that have extended the reach of the Golden Triangle to the point it is a global production hub for synthetic drugs. “It is important that the UWSA and the role of militias not be looked at through a historical perspective, or be romanticized. They became powerful through the drug trade and remain powerful and connected to it, but they have also added to what they do, and they have partnered along the way. Interestingly there are a lot of aligned but different businesses that go hand-in-hand with the drug trade, for example casinos which are often in border areas and the trade in chemicals used to produce synthetic drugs. It is one thing to leave the trade, but it is then still possible to work with it.” Working together

Mr Douglas on Myanmar India border at Moreh with Myanmar police officials in 2018.

a lot of the drugs that are trafficked into the country are for transit to Malaysia or to places like Australia, New Zealand, Japan or Korea. But Thailand is a large market with a significant and possibly growing demand, and so a lot of yaba, crystal meth and other drugs trafficked in would be for the country itself.” He added that measuring the volume of the drug trade based on seizures alone is not possible. “This approach is severely limiting when it comes to synthetic or chemical drugs that can be made practically anywhere and can’t be measured like plantbased drugs. It is also important not to get overly enthusiastic about seizures; they matter as they can keep dangerous drugs off the streets, but they are incidents in a larger trade and drugs are replaceable. “Law enforcement efforts need to be joined with efforts to address governance issues in production areas and related root causes. We need to look at the trade in precursor chemicals and how they feed into production and with market demand, and the impacts of drug use on people and communities.” Mr Douglas noted that the United Wa State Army 66


“We have excellent day-to-day cooperation with the Thai authorities and those of other Mekong and ASEAN countries. As I said, our role is also to help broker cooperation across borders, and with the transnational trade and criminal organizations and the politics between countries sometimes difficult, due in part to geopolitical tensions around security issues, this role is increasingly important. The more fundamental governance issues I have raised are where more candor and cooperation is needed between the countries of the region and with international partners. “I am a Canadian national serving in the UNODC for 18 years, from 2002-2007 as a program manager in Southeast Asia based in Bangkok. In 2008 I was assigned briefly as a manager in UNODC’s Vienna headquarters. In 2009 I went to Pakistan and served as UNODC representative there before coming back to Bangkok in 2013. Before joining the UNODC I worked as an advisor with the Canadian government and then briefly at the UN Headquarters in New York. I am a graduate of the London School of Economics in the UK and Bishop’s University in Canada.” In closing Mr Douglas said Southeast Asia and in particular Thailand is like a second home for him. “I truly enjoy my work and am honoured to serve in my role here and to work with incredible colleagues and counterparts. If I am lucky enough I will be able to continue here for a while and help as best I can.”

How UNODC works

Mr Douglas inspecting the Customs office at the Mae Sai Thailand border in Tachilek Myanmar along with UN Resident Coordinator Gita Sabharwal in August 2020. UNODC works with Thailand and other Mekong and ASEAN countries to improve border security.

“The UNODC has a broad range of mandates from the global drug and crime commissions and UN General Assembly, as well as different international conventions on drugs, transnational organized crime and corruption, and agreements on terrorism. Our priorities are really set based on needs that are most significant in a particular country or part of the region. “For example, here in Thailand we have a strong focus on the regional drug problem, which is a particularly difficult challenge for the country, surrounding Mekong countries and ASEAN. But my team also works with Thailand on border security, human trafficking, cyber-crime, money laundering, anti-corruption, criminal justice reform and terrorism. In other countries and parts of the region we assist on similar issues, but the approach varies to some extent depending on the situation and needs. “Something we do well, and something I am particularly proud of, is our ability to help countries collaborate and work together to set priorities and implement shared plans. This is especially important given that many of our mandates are transnational and interface with sensitive public security matters. In this respect it helps that UNODC is politically neutral. “Our Bangkok Regional Office covers 33 countries

stretching from Myanmar across the Pacific, and acts as liaison to Northeast Asia. We have approximately 200 staff in the region at six country offices and a few sub-national offices, as well as some staff based in UN offices in other countries where we lack our own office. We oversee UNODC’s largest geographic region, and have one of its most diverse and skilled teams to handle a very large volume of programming needs. “In a normal year - I should say non-COVID year - we run hundreds of activities including mentoring and training sessions, cross-border meetings and joint planning events, and we provide legal, strategic and policy advice. At the same time collect, manage, analyze and publish information. We are still delivering on all these relevant activities across the region despite COVID, largely in-part because of our footprint and excellent team, but we’ve had to adapt and use different methods to compensate for the restricted mobility. “We report to our clients -- which are the countries of the region -- and to our international partners. I myself report to executive and senior management in our Vienna headquarters.” All photos courtesy of UNODC. TheBigChilli






Every day TV stations in Thailand serve up a shocking reminder of how dangerous driving in this country can be with extensive coverage of road accidents in all their gruesome detail. While it is not clear whether the news channels present the carnage as entertainment or warning to the motorists, there’s no doubt that the relevant authorities need to force motorists to obey traffic laws starting with a drastic increase in the punishment of offenders.


World Health Organization (WHO) report from 2018 put the death toll per 100,000 people at 32.7, making Thai roads the deadliest in Southeast Asia. Only seven other nations - six in Africa and one in Latin America had worse numbers than Thailand: Liberia (35.9); Saint Lucia (35.4); Burundi and Zimbabwe (34.7); Democratic Republic of Congo and Venezuela (33.7); Central African Republic (33.6). Optimists point out that eighth place is an improvement over recent WHO reports that ranked Thailand No. 1 and No. 3. With a network of mostly well maintained roads that stretch across 500,000 kms, including some 400,000 km in rural areas, Thailand is an attractive proposition for motorists, truckers and motorcyclists. Maybe this is what tempts people to go into debt with a car loan – even in places like Bangkok where the roads are more like parking lots much of the time. Almost anyone can manage payments on a small motorcycle, although in recent years bigger, faster and much more expensive bikes have become common. Motorcycles are a great way to beat traffic, but unfortunately they leave the riders much more vulnerable if something goes wrong.

Police say the main factors contributing to road accidents are drunk driving and a general disregard for safety precautions, causing drivers to commit errors in judgment such as driving too fast, making illegal turns, overtaking in unsafe situations and speeding through traffic lights seconds after they turn red. Essential advice for drivers Many foreigners don’t even consider driving on Thailand’s chaotic and often dangerous roads; others do take the plunge and generally manage just fine. But before getting behind the wheel, here are some issues to consider: • Just like anywhere else, a local driver’s license and first-class insurance are essential, especially if you are involved in a traffic accident. • Don’t expect much courtesy from other motorists and don’t assume they will give you the right of way. If another driver is intent on pushing his/ her way into your path, swallow your pride and let them go, otherwise they might hit you. • When approaching a traffic light that has just turned or is

turning red, look behind to see if another motorist is hot on your tail. They might assume you are going through and might even be accelerating. In such a case you have a tough call to make. If possible it’s a good idea to keep a little distance ahead of the car behind you, but this is often not easy. • For the reason just mentioned, normally motorists waiting at a traffic light wait a little after the green light comes on to make sure no one is trying to beat the red light. • Always keep some distance back from the vehicle in front of you to give you some reaction time if it suddenly slows down or stops. You don’t want to keep too much distance, however, because someone will invariably swerve in front of you from an adjacent lane even if it only gains them a few inches. This happens all the time and it is very annoying as well as dangerous. • Motorcyclists represent the biggest danger to motorists and themselves on the roads, especially upcountry where riders typically don’t use helmets and dress in simple clothing. This leaves them




more exposed to serious injury in even a minor accident. To make matters worse, it’s common to see three or more people riding on one motorcycle. • Instead of keeping to the left side of the roadway, motorcyclists sometimescross over into the lanes reserved for oncoming traffic, often at high speed. This 70


is especially true of big bike riders, and there are plenty of them around these days. To avoid colliding with a motorcycle you must watch front, back and both sides of your vehicle, and don’t change lanes abruptly. • If you are stopped by the police, keep cool and don’t argue, even if you feel certain you haven’t broken

any traffic laws. And try to smile. With the right attitude, chances are good they will let you off with a warning unless they’ve stopped you for a serious offence like going through a red light. Also, don’t try to offer money to a police officer to let you off, even if you have heard this is the accepted practice. You could be charged with a criminal offense punishable by imprisonment up to five years, a fine up to 10,000 baht, or both, as outlined in Section 144 of the Penal Code of Thailand. This applies to both sides. Police soliciting a bribe are subject to the same punishments, under Section 143. If a police officer does ask for money, insist on a ticket.

Death on the roads: the official numbers



2017 13,426 2018 13,956

Confusing statistics: Deaths that are not counted The tables below list the official numbers of road accident deaths from 2017 to 2020. Since the authorities only record fatalities at the scene, and not those who succumb to their injuries in hospital or even the ones that die on the way to the hospital, the actual numbers may be much higher. Most unofficial estimates, including those from Thai road safety advocates, put the figure between 24,000 and 26,000 annually when all deaths directly related to traffic accidents are added in. Senior Thai government officials admitted last year that the fatalities figure was in excess of 20,000, and Deputy Interior Minister Niphon Bunyamanee said on February 11 this year that road accidents kill 22,000 people per year in Thailand. That would mean that on average 65 people die every day in traffic accidents on the country’s roads. For context, this is more than the official death toll from COVID-19 in Thailand. From the first reported COVID-19 death on February 29, a total of 58 people had died from the disease as of August 31.

2019 (From January 1 to December 25)


2020 (From January 1 to June 12)


There are two periods each year when the Thai media are particularly focused on the carnage on the country's roads. These are the `western' New Year and the Songkran (Thai New Year) holiday periods, both being labeled as `seven dangerous days'.

`Western' New Year YEAR






















4,005 (about)













































Sources for 3 tables: Bangkok Post, Daily News, Thai Inquirer, The Asean Post, The Nation, The Thaiger, World Highways, and The number of road fatalities during Songkran this year decreased by 219 from the previous 12 months because of the nationwide lockdown. There were far fewer vehicles on the roads, a curfew was in place, and maybe more relevant, a pretty strict alcohol ban was imposed. TheBigChilli



Rules of the Road: What you should know Land Traffic Act B.E. 2522 (1979) As many foreigners, residents and tourists own or rent motor vehicles in Thailand, this compilation of relevant parts of the Land Traffic Act B.E. 2522 (1979) might be useful. Also included are penalties for violations, which in many cases seem low in comparison to other countries. This may be one reason so many people show a lack of respect for traffic laws. Some basics • Vehicles must not scrape the road or emit gas, dust, smoke, etc. exceeding the regulations. (Fine not exceeding 500 baht). • Cars and motorcycles must have a horn which is audible from a distance of 60 meters. (Fine not exceeding 200 baht). • Cars and motorcycles cannot use flashlight, siren, whistle, faltering sound, etc., except for emergency vehicles such as military, police vehicles, or when permitted by regulations. (Fine not exceeding 500 baht). • Cars and motorcycles can use the horn only to avoid danger or accidents. (Fine not exceeding 500 baht). • A driver is responsible for not allowing his passengers, animals, or cargo to fall, leak, give out a smell, reflect light, etc, which may cause harm or danger to the public. (Fine not exceeding 500 baht). • As for traffic lights, the Act explains that on yellow, the driver shall prepare to stop the vehicle behind the stop line. If the driver has passed the stop line when the 72


traffic light turns yellow, he may go through. At a red light, the driver shall stop the vehicle behind the stop line. (Fine not exceeding 1,000 baht).

• One long whistle made by police means stop, and two short whistles means proceed. (Fine not exceeding 1,000 baht). • The driver shall exercise care not to hit pedestrians and should use the horn if it is necessary. The driver shall be especially careful with children, the elderly and disabled persons. • If the road is divided into two or more traffic lanes going in the same direction, the driver shall keep to the outmost left-hand side lane. If this is a bus lane, the driver shall keep close to the bus lane except in the following situations: 1. There is an obstruction on the road. 2. The road is declared as one-way. 3. It is necessary to enter the correct lane upon approaching a junction.

4. When overtaking another vehicle. 5. When driving faster than vehicles in the left lane. (Fine of 200 to 500 baht). • The driver of a truck, passenger vehicle, motorcycle or vehicle of low speed shall keep to the curbside of the roadway as near as possible. (Fine of 400 to 1,000 baht). • No driver shall operate a vehicle: 1. While incompetent to drive. 2. While intoxicated by liquor or other alcoholic drinks. 3. In a manner that obstructs traffic. 4. With carelessness or recklessness which may cause danger to persons or property. 5. On a footpath without sufficient cause. (Fine of 400 to 1,000 baht). • No driver shall overtake another vehicle from the left side unless: 1. The vehicle to be overtaken is making a right turn or has given a signal that it is going to make a right turn. 2. The roadway is arranged with two or more traffic lanes going in the same direction. (Fine of 400 to 1,000 baht) • The driver shall not overtake another vehicle when: 1. Driving up a slope, bridge or curve, except where there is a traffic sign permitting to overtake. 2. Within a distance of 30 meters from a pedestrian crossing, junction, circle or railroad crossing. 3. Fog, rain or dust prevents visibility of more than 60 meters. 4. Entering congested area of a safety zone. (Fine of 400 to 1,000 baht). • A driver shall not stop his vehicle: 1. In a traffic lane except when stopping close to the curbside,

provided there’s no bus lane. 2. On a footpath. 3. On a bridge or in a tunnel. 4. At a junction. 5. Where there is a ‘No Parking’ traffic sign. 6. The entrance or exit of a building or roadway, or in a safety zone. (Fine not exceeding 500 baht).

Parking • Unless otherwise granted by this Act or other regulation, no driver shall park his vehicle: 1. On a footpath, bridge or in a tunnel. 2. At a junction or within a distance of 10 meters from a junction. 3. At a crossing or within a distance of three meters from a crossing. 4. In an area where there is a ‘No Parking’ traffic sign. 5. Within a distance of three meters from a hydrant. 6. Within a distance of 10 meters from a traffic sign installation. 7. Within a distance of 15 meters from a railway crossing. 8. In the manner of double parking. 9. At the entrance or exit of a building or roadway or within a distance of five meters from the entrance of a roadway.

10. In between a safety zone and the roadway curb, or within a distance of 10 meters from either end of a safety zone. 11. In a congested area. 12. Within a distance of 15 meters before and three meters beyond a bus stop, and within a distance of three meters from a pillar-box, or in a manner that obstructs traffic. (Fine not exceeding 500 baht). • When parking and leaving a vehicle, the driver must stop the engine and apply the brake. While parking on a slope, the driver must turn the front wheels. (Fine not exceeding 500 baht). • The police may order the driver of an illegally parked vehicle to move on. If the driver is not on the scene or refuses to comply, the police may remove such vehicle, or lock the tires. (Imprisonment not exceeding one month, or fine not exceeding 2,000 baht, or both). • If it is dark and a parked vehicle cannot be seen clearly from a distance of 150 meters, the driver must turn on parking lights. (Fine from 200 to 500 baht). • At a railway crossing, the driver must stop the vehicle at a distance of at least five meters from the railway tracks if: 1. A sign or signal is displayed to indicate an approaching train. 2. The crossing bar is closed or a traffic officer displays a sign of an approaching train. 3. The driver hears the sound of an approaching train. (Fine not exceeding 500 baht). • At a railway crossing, where there is no signal or crossing bar to warn of an approaching train, the driver must stop the vehicle at no less than five meters from the railway tracks, to see if it is safe to pass. (Fine not exceeding 500 baht). • When a pedestrian, driver, rider, or animal keeper sees or hears an emergency vehicle, they must let the emergency vehicle pass first, by doing as follows:

1. Pedestrian must stop and be on edge of the roadway or on the shoulder of the road. 2. Driver must stop and park at the edge of the roadway on his left side. If there is a car in the left lane, the driver must stop and park in the lane next to the bus lane. The driver must not stop or park at a junction. 3. Rider or animal keeper must control the animal to stop at the edge of the roadway but must not stop at the junction. In cases (2) and (3) the rider and animal keeper must act as quickly as possible, but with caution. (Fine not exceeding 500 baht). • Any person who drives a vehicle and causes damage to other persons or property, be it his fault or not, shall stop the vehicle and give appropriate assistance and immediately report to a competent officer on duty near the scene, and leave his full name, address and the vehicle registration number with the injured person. • In the event the driver leaves the scene of the accident without reporting to a competent officer, it shall be presumed that he is the offender and the officer shall have the power to seize the vehicle until the case receives a final judgment or the driver is found. If the owner of the vehicle does not present himself to the competent officer within 6 months from the day of the accident, it shall be regarded that the vehicle is connected with a criminal activity and it shall become the property of the state. (The sentence can be severe, whether imprisonment, fine, or both). Bicycles • A bicycle rider shall ride in the bicycle lane. If riding on roadway, road shoulder or bicycle lane, the rider must have: 1. A bell signal which is audible from a distance of 30 meters. 2. Good brakes which can TheBigChilli


Feature immediately come to a full stop. 3. At least one front white light which is visibly seen from a distance of 15 meters at a level lower than the eyesight of drivers from opposite direction. 4. At least one red tail light which illuminates backward, or red material which reflects light. (Fine not exceeding 200 baht). • A bicycle rider shall keep as close to the edge of the left side of roadway or bicycle lane as possible. When there is a bus lane on the left of the roadway, the bicycle rider shall ride close to the bus lane. (Fine not exceeding 200 baht). • No cyclist shall ride: 1. Carelessly or recklessly in a way which may cause danger to persons or property. 2. Without control of handle bar. 3. Parallel with more than two bicycles except on a bicycle lane. 4. Without sitting properly on a normal saddle. 5. With a passenger, except for a three-wheeler or as deemed appropriate by a traffic officer. 6. Load or carry anything which may obstruct handling of bicycle or cause danger to persons or property.



7. Tow or be towed by another moving vehicle. (Fine not exceeding 500 baht). Passenger vehicles • Owner, driver or ticket collector of passenger vehicle shall not solicit for passengers noisily or in manner that is a nuisance to passengers, or round up, pull, hold back or force passengers or their belongings to board any passenger vehicle. (Fine not exceeding 1,000 baht). • Driver of passenger vehicle must stop and drop passenger at bus stop sign or other place agreed upon. (Fine not exceeding 500 baht). • Driver or ticket collector of passenger vehicle shall not carry a greater number of passengers than prescribed by regulations. In counting the number of passengers, it shall be regarded that two children not older than ten years of age are equal to one adult passenger. (Fine not exceeding 1,000 baht). • Driver or ticket collector of passenger vehicle shall not: 1. Smoke or talk while driving or collecting tickets. 2. Use impolite words, speak sarcastically, insult, abuse or act in an offensive manner to passengers or other persons. (Fine not exceeding 1,000 baht). • Driver of passenger vehicle must turn off engine and let all passengers out of vehicle while fueling inflammable fuel with

temperature of 21C or lower. (Fine not exceeding 1,000 baht).

Taxis • The driver of a taxi shall not refuse to accept employment to convey passengers except when such conveyance is likely to cause danger to himself or passengers. In the event of the driver of a taxi does not wish to be employed to convey passengers, a sign shall be displayed in a manner in accordance with the law. (Fine not exceeding 1,000 baht). • Owner or driver shall not solicit for passengers noisily or in manner that is a nuisance to passengers, or round up, pull, hold back or force passengers or their belongings to board any passenger vehicle. (Fine not exceeding 1,000 baht). • The driver of a taxi shall not charge a fare in excess of the

for the passenger, or in the sidecar. (Fine not exceeding 500 baht). • All motorcycle riders and passengers shall wear motorcycle helmets. This provision is not enforced for monks, novices, ascetics, persons of other religions which require wearing of a turban, or any persons under Ministerial Regulation. (Fine not exceeding 500 baht).

amount registered on the taxi meter. (Fine not exceeding 500 baht). • The taxi driver shall not: 1. Smoke, play a radio or act in any manner that is a nuisance to passengers. 2. Extend a hand, arm or any part of the body out of the vehicle except in displaying turning signals. 3. Control the steering wheel with only one hand, except when necessary. 4. Use sound signals when entering the area of a hospital, office or educational institute; use horn sound signals to press other vehicles. 5. Overtake or dash in front of other vehicles haphazardly and dangerously. 6. Drive into another person’s house area. 7. Pick up a passenger in an area prescribed by the traffic officer with a traffic sign prohibiting picking up of passengers. 8. Use impolite words, speak sarcastically at, insult, abuse or act in such manner to the passengers or other persons. (Fine not exceeding 1,000 baht). • The driver of a taxi shall convey

passengers via the shortest route or a reasonable detour and shall deliver them at the place agreed upon. Driver of a taxi shall not abandon his passengers along the way in any circumstance. (Imprisonment not exceeding one month, or fine not exceeding 2,000, or both). • The driver of a taxi shall dress in a uniform with an embroidered mark, according to regulations. (Fine not exceeding 500 baht). Pedestrians • A pedestrian shall walk on the footpath or road shoulder. If there is neither footpath nor road shoulder, he shall walk along the edge of the way on his right. (Fine not exceeding 200 baht). • Pedestrian shall not cross a roadway except in the pedestrian crossing, unless there is no crossing for a distance of more than 100 meters from where pedestrian wishes to cross. (Fine not exceeding 200 baht). Motorcycles • The rider of a motorcycle shall sit on the saddle provided for the motorcycle rider. The passenger shall ride in the rear seat provided

Miscellaneous • No person shall buy or sell goods, distribute materials or solicit contributions in a roadway or in the center space of a divided roadway without sufficient cause or in a way that obstructs traffic. (Fine not exceeding 500 baht). • The number of passengers sitting in the front seat of a vehicle shall not exceed two. The driver must wear a seat belt and all passengers in the front seat should wear seat belts. (Fine not exceeding 500 baht). • A vehicle to be used in a procession or for advertising or entertainment along roadways shall obtain permission from the traffic police. (Fine not exceeding 500 baht). • There shall be no vehicle race on the roadway except with written permission from the traffic police. There shall be no supporting of vehicle racing on the roadway except with written permission from the traffic police. (Imprisonment not exceeding 3 months or fine from 2,000 to 10,000 baht, or both).

Just before the magazine was printed, the Royal Gazette published a complete roaster of new traffic fines issued by the Royal Thai Police for violations of Land Traffic Act of 1979. TheBigChilli



Changes to the laws First on the scene: Thailand's road rescuers Land Traffic Act B.E. 2562 (2019) The new Land Traffic Act B.E. 2562 (2019), which cancels certain provisions of the old Act, took effect on September 20, 2019. Here are some new laws: The police cannot temporarily confiscate a driver’s licence no matter what the traffic violation. Drivers are required to always carry their original licence and present it to a police officer upon request. Another change allows drivers to carry a “digital driver’s licence” instead of a physical one. A digital licence can be a photographic image or be drawn from the Department of Land Transport’s app, “DLT QR Licence”. If a motorist who violates a traffic law cannot be located, the police officer is not required to attach a ticket to the vehicle. The ticket will be sent together with evidence of the violation by registered post to the address of vehicle owner with a return payment requested. The owner must pay the fine within the time specified on the ticket. 76


If motorists have refused to pay a fine, when they pay their annual vehicle tax the DLT will only issue a temporary tax payment receipt, which can be used for just 30 days. The violator will receive a fully legitimate tax payment receipt only after the fine is paid. Should the temporary tax payment receipt expire before the fine is paid, the motorist will be deemed guilty of not presenting evidence of the annual tax payment, which makes him or her liable to a fine not exceeding 2,000 baht. Also under the new laws, drivers who commit traffic violations will be under a 12-point system. Losing all 12 points results in licence suspension for 90 days. After three suspensions the suspension period is increased to one year. For example, depending on severity of the offence up to four points can be deducted. Minor offences like failure to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle or seat belt in a car, or not paying a traffic fine will result in the deduction of one point.

Unlike many countries, in Thailand volunteer teams are often at the scene of traffic accidents or crimes with casualties before fully equipped ambulances arrive. With sirens blaring and lights flashing, Bangkok’s rescuers racing through traffic to a road accident or other emergencies and take injured people to hospitals and corpses to temples for funeral. Different rescue organizations operate in Bangkok and in the provinces. They are usually first on the scene of disaster and come in a variety of vehicles. The rescuers collect corpses and also treat injured people on the spot and take them to the hospital. In the past, clashes between different rescue groups, then called ‘body snatchers’ were common, and this caused the rescuers to receive a lot of bad publicity from local and foreign media. The situation has changed, however, and rescue teams are now well trained and equipped for any emergency.

The BigChilli

Modern History of Thailand TheBigChilli



1982 (January) Khun Sa

1982 (April) Klaew Thanikul (middle)

1982 (February) Bangkok Bank headquarters

1982 (May) Taksin

1982 (July) Princ

e Norodom Sihan



Journey through Thailand’s past: 1982-1986

By Maxmilian Wechsler

The fourth installment of our 10-part series describing newsworthy events in Thailand over the past 50 years begins with the year 1982. 78



saw the opening of Central Plaza Lat Phrao shopping complex. The Thai Trade Union Congress was founded and Thammasat University appointed Professor Nongyao Chaise as its first female rector. The Communications Authority of Thailand announced the arrival of a new postal system. Januar y • Thousands of Thai soldiers, police and rangers supported by planes and helicopters converged on the base of drug lord Khun Sa, dubbed the ‘Opium King’, at Ban Hin Taek in Chiang Rai province. The raid followed intelligence reports that a 200-mule opium caravan was sighted near the Thai-Burma border. It was the largest operation to date against the drug lord backed by Shan United Army. • The old Sunday market near Sanam Luang was replaced by a new weekend market near Chatuchak Park despite numerous protests by vendors against the relocation. The move had been planned since 1978 but was delayed by the protests. In the end a total of 979 vendors moved to the new location and began selling the same goods they had sold at Sanam Luang. Chatuchak Market director Witoonphant Wannachamrae said that the new market was much cleaner than the muddy mess at Sanam Luang. • In its first prisoner-exchange treaty with another country, Thailand agreed to swap inmates with the United States. The repatriated American prisoners would continue to serve sentences handed down by the Thai courts in the US and be eligible for parole or amnesty as granted by the US judicial system. As for Thai prisoners repatriated from the US, it was reported that they

could be freed under an amnesty programme. Februar y • Bangkok Bank, the largest commercial bank in Southeast Asia, opened its 32- storey headquarters on Silom Road. At 126 metres, it was the tallest building in Bangkok at the time. About 4,000 guests attended the opening ceremony hosted by the Bank chairman. Afterward a large Royal Garuda was unveiled. It took five years and more than one billion baht to construct the building. March • Six people were killed and more than 100 injured when southern communists detonated a car bomb that tore open a provincial hall in Surat Thani province. The powerful explosion flattened walls and destroyed the roof of the hall and damaged other buildings in the vicinity.

After the explosions his apparently drunken bodyguards opened fire on the crowd with submachine guns, killing four people and injuring 67. The grenades maimed the manager of a fighter on the card that night. Both his legs had to be amputated. Klaew became famous as the first promoter to successfully combine Muay Thai with the more lucrative Western style of boxing. May • The King, Queen and Princes Maha Chakri Sirindhorn presided over the ceremony to open Taksin Bridge, also known as Sathorn Bridge. After the ceremony the royals drove across the bridge in their motorcade. Construction of the bridge over the Chao Phraya River started in February 1979. • Around 500 Communist Party of Thailand (CPT) insurgents operating in rural areas of Loei, Phitsanulok and Phetchabun provinces surrendered to the Thai government. CPT leaders said government forces had inflicted heavy casualties on them and more insurgents would surrender.

April • The nation celebrated the 200th anniversary of the Chakri dynasty with Bangkok as the country’s capital. The Thai King July and Queen and other • Thailand formally members of the Royal recognised the antiFamily led a flotilla of 51 Vietnamese Coalition royal barges down the Government of the Chao Phraya River. The Democratic Kampuchea. event was witnessed by The leaders of the hundreds of thousands of ral 1982 (July) Gene Khmer People’s National people gathered on the Prem Tinsulanonda Liberation Front, Prince banks of the river. Norodom Sihanouk and Prime Minister Son Sann, were honoured • Hand grenades were thrown with a banquet by the Thai into the ring during an event at Minister of Foreign Affairs. It was crowded Lumpini Boxing Stadium the first trip by Prince Sihanouk to on Rama IV Road. The target Thailand since 1953 after years of of the attack was apparently animosity. Klaew Thanikul, a Thai-Chinese entrepreneur and boxing promoter • Prime Minister Prem who allegedly was involved in Tinsulanonda escaped an gambling, prostitution, narcotics assassination attempt when an and human trafficking. Klaew was M-72 rocket was fired at him. at the stadium but was unhurt. TheBigChilli


Feature Prem was at the Lopburi Artillery Centre to unveil a statue of former Prime Minister Phibun Songkhram when the attack occurred. The rocket hit a tree and Prem was unharmed. Five soldiers were arrested and charged with attempted assassination and illegal possession of war weapons. • A new government policy gave more freedom to students, the media and political factions, including communists, in order to encourage and promote democratization and weaken the communist insurgency. The policy emphasized political strategies over military force and guaranteed freedom to former insurgents who had recently returned from the jungles. August • Another assassination attempt was made on PM Prem when a hand grenade was thrown into his house from a nearby army club. The explosion caused some structural damage to the building but no one was hurt. Asked about the attack, Prem said: “Anyone who faced such an experience would be shocked.” September • Mukdahan was designated as the 73rd Thai province. Before that this new northeastern province was a district of Nakhon Phanom province. The new governor of Mukdahan promised to focus on development and the suppression of insurgency and crime. December • A powerful bomb exploded in the office of former Iraqi consul and prominent Thai businessman Lek 80


1982 (December) Lek Nana

Nana in Bangkok’s Chinatown. Police bomb disposal expert Police Lieutenant Colonel Surat Sumanan was killed when he tried to defuse the bomb, which was placed in a briefcase. At least 20 other people were injured. Mr Nana was not in the office at the time. The blast damaged the building and the fire that followed damaged five other buildings. Nana’s office had formerly been the Iraqi consulate. The bombing was suspected to have been connected to the ongoing Iran-Iraq War. In the same year Mr Nana became secretary general of the Democrat Party under party leader Bhichai Rattakul.


was the year the American School of Bangkok was founded, along with entertainment giant GMM Grammy and Land and Houses, a property development company. A special operations hostage rescue and counter-terrorism unit of the Royal Thai Police known as Naraesuan 261was launched.

to hold the other passengers hostage and demanded a new plane and a new pilot, parachutes and 300,000 baht. As their deadline expired, the hijackers seized a pickup truck and drove away with the hostages, who were later released unharmed. Police arrested a man said to be the mastermind a week later. He said he wanted to hijack the plane because he had been unfairly treated by colleagues and wanted to prove he could do whatever he wanted. • The first 3,500 barrels of oil from Sirikit oilfield at Lan Krabue in Kamphaeng Phet province arrived at the Bang Chak refinery in Bangkok in 19 tank carriages. Authorities said the locally produced and refined oil would reduce Thailand’s reliance on imports and save hundreds of millions of baht in foreign exchange. March • The first ATM machine in Thailand was installed by Siam Commercial Bank beginning a new era in personal banking in Thailand.

• It was revealed Januar y that famous movie• Three Thai star Petchara 1983 (March) Petcha ra Chaowarat men armed with Chaowarat was knives boarded a Thai Airways almost blind. She made dozens plane and took seven passengers of movies during a career that and four crew hostage at Lampang spanned two decades. Petchara airport and demanded to be flown suffered from cataracts caused by to Chiang Rai. They were told the glare from light reflectors in front of cameras. In 1960 she made the plane had to be refueled in her first movie, Love Diary of Chiang Mai. After the plane landed Pimchawee, and instantly became at Chiang Mai two pilots jumped a major star. onto the tarmac and two flight attendants and one passenger escaped through the rear door of • Parliament was surprisingly the plane. The hijackers continued dissolved when PM Prem called

for a general election to be held April 18. The election was called amid tensions over a divisive military-backed constitutional amendment that Parliament had rejected. April • In the general election three coalition partners won 221 of the 324 seats in the House of Representatives: Social ral ne Action Party led by Ge ril) 1983 (Ap Arthit Kamlangek MR Kukrit Pramoj won 93 seats; Chart Thai Party of Major General Praman Adireksan won 72 seats and Democrat Party led by Bhichit Rattakul won 50 seats. After the election PM Prem announced he would quit politics but changed his mind and agreed to serve another term. • Under new legislation the age at which it became mandatory to carry a Thai ID card was reduced from 17 to 15. Under the new legislation, Thai nationals between the ages of 15 and 70 were required to carry their ID cards on them at all times. The fine for not carrying ID was 200 baht and this was also applied for not renewing the ID. Any person carrying or trying to obtain a counterfeit ID was liable to five years imprisonment and a 100,000 baht fine. • What was formerly one of the largest communist base in the country, Phu Hin Rong Kla (Loei/ Phetchabun/Phitsanulok), became Thailand’s 48th national park in a ceremony presided over by Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Army General Arthit Kamlang-ek.

Daeng Road in Thonburi and part of Nakhon Pathom province into movie sets. The film, which was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won three, was shot entirely in Thailand in Bangkok, Phuket, Cha-am, Hua Hin, Phi Mai Historical Park and Khao Yai National Park. The film is based on a New York Times reporter’s search for a Kampuchean friend and colleague who he last saw in Phnom Penh as it was being overtaken by the Khmer Rouge in 1975.

the Pahurat area. One fireman was injured. The damage was estimated at 50 million baht. About 35 fire engines were called to put out the blaze.

• An electric, two-seater car developed by two engineers from King’s Mongut’s Institute of Technology was tested on Silom and Rama IV roads in Bangkok. Maximum speed was reportedly 50km/h and the car could travel 80km on one battery charge, which one engineer claimed took only 20 baht worth of electricity.

October • Floods and storms triggered by tropical depressions Herbert and Kim caused widespread destruction across 42 provinces. Forty two people were killed and property damage was estimated at 625 million baht. The storms hit the Central, Northeast and Eastern regions of the country. About 5,000 houses, hundreds of schools and temples, infrastructure and crops were inundated. Bangkok was paralyzed as many roads were flooded for several days.

• A government source said that Thailand’s strategic location in the region and ‘security loopholes’ were turning the country into a centre for espionage. The source said that some countries were using their embassies and offices for trade, tourism and airlines for intelligence-gathering purposes. A counter-intelligence report said that 52 Soviet spies, including KGB agents, had formed a network in Thailand. It was reported in September 1983 that 33 agents attached to the Soviet embassy on Sathorn Road, the Soviet trade mission and Aeroflot had quietly left Thailand. August • Bangkok’s largest garment and textile market was ravaged by a fire that destroyed about 300 stalls and 10 shop houses in

May • Filming for ‘The Killing Fields’ began, transforming Tha Din ling Fields

1983 (May) The Kil

• A Thai man convicted of forging letters of guarantee from banks and using them to obtain temporary stay permits for 1,086 aliens was sentenced to 2,166 years imprisonment. However, under the new Criminal Code Amendment Act his imprisonment could be no more than 20 years.

November • Boxer Payao Poontarat, 27, a native of Prachuap Khiri Khan province, was crowned World Boxing Council super flyweight champion after he 1983 (November) Payao Poontarat defeated Rafael Orono of Venezuela in a split decision. The fight took place in Pattaya. Payao started out as a Muay Thai boxer and later switched to international-style boxing. December • More than 5,000 communist sympathizers laid down their weapons during a ceremony presided over by Supreme TheBigChilli


Feature Commander Gen Arthit. About 30,000 locals witnessed the ceremony in Nan.


is the year Yanhee International Hospital came on the scene offering cosmetic treatments and procedures; the Mae La refugee camp was established in Tha Song Yang district of Tak province; and River City Bangkok shopping centre was opened for business. For the fourth year in a row the Oriental Hotel was voted best hotel in the World by Institutional Investor magazine. Februar y • The Crime Suppression Police began using four newly installed computers to store data on criminals and suspects. The computers had space to store data on at least 100,000 individuals.

Kampuchea and sought safety at refugee camps in Thailand to escape violence from a dry-season offensive by Vietnamese troops against Kampuchean nationalists.


1984 (April) Krabi International Airpo

• A plane taking off from Bangkok touched down in Krabi for the first time at the southern coastal province’s new airport. Hundreds of people were on hand, including Krabi mayor Chuan Phukaoluan, who said the flight marked a major step to promote tourism and attract investors.

May • Pope John Paul II visited Thailand and met with the King and • Bangkok was plunged into Queen. A mass held even more traffic chaos than at National Stadium in usual on February 3 after Bangkok was attended the government introduced by about 45,000 a new one-way system in ) ay Catholics and another the city centre. Traffic jams 1984 (M Paul II Pope John 40,000 attended mass at started in the morning and St. Joseph’s College in continued into the night Nakhon Pathom. as police tried desperately to redirect confused motorists. The • Queen Rambhai Barni, chaos continued for some the widow of King Rama days. After two weeks the VII, died of heart failure government admitted the at Sukhothai Palace in new system was a failure. Samsen. She was 80 years old. Her body was moved March to the Grand Palace for • The Thai military the bathing rite and a captured 40 Vietnamese mourning period of 100 troops in Si Saket province 1984 (May) Queen Rambhai Barni days began. bordering Kampuchea after they entered Thailand while July chasing Khmer resistance fighters. • American The incident was not the first time journalist and war Vietnamese troops had intruded correspondent on Thai soil. Alan Dawson was expelled April from Thailand. • More than 80,000 people fled 19 82


84 (July) Alan Dawson

The government claimed that he had written articles detrimental to Thailand without identifying which were offensive. Dawson was a passenger on the last plane leaving Saigon after it fell to the communists. • Nineteen people were killed and another 46 injured when a crowd stampeded at a charity event at a Chinese temple in Thonburi. The tragedy happened after about 4,000 people packed narrow Soi Sula leading to the temple some hours before the handout of four kilogrammes of rice and other items. Most of those killed were children. August • Well-known lawyer and human rights activist Thongbai Thongpao was named winner of 1984 (August) the 1984 Ramon Thongbai Thongp ao Magsaysay Award for public service. The award foundation called Thongbai a ‘legal champion of oppressed’. Thongbai began his career as a reporter for several newspapers and was jailed by Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat for six years as a communist subversive following a visit he and a group of journalists made to China in 1957. • Welterweight boxer Tawee Ampornmaha returned home from Los Angeles to a hero’s welcome after becoming the first Thai boxer to win an Olympic silver medal. Thousands of fans came to greet him at Don Muang airport. October • The first case of AIDS in Thailand was reported. The patient was identified as a post-graduate student in his 20s who was apparently infected while studying in the US.

• Thailand was elected to the United Nations Security Council. In the fourth and final ballot in which 156 UN member countries participated, Thailand received 109 votes and Mongolia 49. There were attempts to discredit Thailand for its conflict with Laos over three border villages.


witnessed the opening of retail giant MBK Center, also known as Mahboonkrong. The Site Two refugee camp opened on the Cambodian border by the Thai government was for several years the largest camp in Southeast November Asia. The Bira • MR Debrithi International Circuit, Devakul, artificial a motor racing track 1985 Bira rain-making pioneer named after Prince International Circuit and inventor of the Birabongse Bhanutej ‘iron buffalo’, passed Bhanubandh, was opened in away at Bumrungrad Hospital Pattaya. after suffering a heart attack. He was appointed by the King to Februar y head the artificial rain project and • The King presided over the conducted his first rain-making opening of a coal-fired power plant operation in 1971. in Mae Moh district of Lampang province. One of the biggest plants • The Thai baht was devalued of its kind in the world, the project by 17.3% from 23 to 27 per US implemented the construction of dollar in a attempt to address seven lignite-fired generators with Thailand’s trade deficit of 38 billion two more to be completed in 1989. baht and 248 billion baht foreign The coal-fired generators were debt. Some Cabinet ministers forecast to save the country more denounced Finance Minister than 5.5 billion baht annually. Sommai Hoontrakul and said the devaluation would have a negative impact on the country’s economy. • Dr Snoh Unakul, secretarygeneral of the National Economic and Social Development Board was hailed as one of the brains behind Thailand’s emerging economic ‘miracle’. Snoh was one of Prem’s most trusted allies. December • Hundreds of thousands of people joined in a 30-minute walkathon from Sanam Luang to the Royal Plaza in celebration of the King’s 57th birthday. Greeting the participants was Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, who accepted the people’s best wishes on behalf of the King. Millions of people turned up at other charity walks in the provinces.

• The first McDonald’s restaurant opened in Bangkok. Over 100 people rushed to the outlet when it opened at Amarin Plaza shopping mall on Ploenchit Road. The American fast-food enterprise announced plans to open four more restaurants in Bangkok within the year. • It was reported that 22 alleged hired killers were killed and 15 more were arrested by the police. Another 53 gunmen remained free in Bangkok, according to police sources, who said the hit men charged between 10,000 and

200,000 baht for a job depending on the victim’s importance. April • The cremation ceremony of Queen Rambhai Barni was presided over by the King and Queen at Sanam Luang. In the first royal funeral since 1956 tens of thousands of mourners lined Maha Rat and Sanam Chai roads to pay their respects as the funeral procession passed by. 1985 (May) Royal Thai Air Force


May • The US Congress agreed to Thailand’s request to purchase 12 F-16 jet fighters at a cost of US$318 million payable over a fiveyear period. The jets were to be delivered in 1988-1989. • PM Prem admitted that Royal Thai Navy ships were involved in the smuggling of goods into Thailand. A Finance Ministry report alleged that at least seven naval vessels were used to smuggle cars, electrical goods, computers and other products. August • A two-day riot at Bang Khwang prison resulted in the deaths of 10 inmates after a heavily armed group of police and prison guards stormed the jail. It took five hours to restore order. The facility was holding over 7,000 inmates at the time. September • Four people were killed and 59 TheBigChilli


Feature injured during a firefight at a government radio station that erupted following an attempted coup. The dead included American NBC 1985 (September) journalist Neil Neil Davis Davis and his soundman William Latch. Troops loyal to Prem crashed the coup led by a group of rebels under the command of former ‘Young Turks’ military officer Colonel Manoonkrit Roopkachorn and his brother Manas. Both were dismissed from the military after an earlier failed coup attempt on April 1, 1981. After this latest attempted coup both were allowed to leave the country in order to avoid more bloodshed. The coup was launched while Prem was visiting Indonesia.

University in Bangkok. Kwanchai was taken to the Hua Mark police station for questioning. It was reported that he had previously been admitted to mental hospitals on several occasions. December • Poppy fields were destroyed by army rangers in Ban Pang Oong in the mountainous northern Thai province of Mae Hong Son. The eradication campaign was launched by the Third Army and anti-narcotic agencies tasked with destroying about 25,000 rai of opium fields in Chiang Mai, Mae Hong Son, Tak, Chiang Ra and Nan provinces.

• Specially trained commandos equipped with military helicopters were deployed to Sakhon Nakhon provincial prison where 13 inmates armed with hand grenades and knives had taken the governor and four wardens hostages on November New Year’s Eve. After • Major General two days of negotiations Chamlong Srimuang the inmates came was elected Bangkok outside the building with governor. Running the hostages, holding as an independent grenades to their heads candidate, Chamlong 1985 (November) Major and demanding guns scored a massive General Champlong Srimuang and get-away vehicles. victory by winning in Government marksmen all 24 Bangkok districts. killed 10 of the inmates and two others were taken inside the prison • Representatives of tin mines in and shot there while apparently southern Thailand said that 90% trying to flee. One prisoner was of all mines would close if prices reportedly killed earlier by inmates continued to fall, threatening the after he refused to cooperate in the livelihoods of about 30,000 miners. escape plan. Labor Department chief Chamnan Pojana said that his department could do little to find new jobs for saw the opening of the the miners. Shangri-La Hotel and Vibhavadi Hospital in Bangkok, as well as the • PM Prem was punched in the founding of Advance Information nose by a reportedly mentally Service (AIS) mobile disturbed student, Kwanchai phone operator. Vorasut, aged 27. The incident occurred after Prem left the Januar y closing ceremony of intervarsity • The King presided over the games at Ramkhamhaeng official opening of Khao Laem




Dam in Kanchanaburi province. The dam was equipped with 1,000-kilowatt generators and took five years to finish. Februar y • Following an ambush by CPT guerrillas that wounded nine soldiers, Thai military gunships attacked CPT strongholds at Betong in Yala province. • Divorces were up in Bangkok. According to city records, out of 38,288 couples married in 1985 in Bangkok, 8,865 were already divorced. Adviser to city clerk Anek Singtoroj said that divorce rates were increasing especially among people aged 4050 and those who were ‘the most economically secure’.

1986 (March) Samak Sundaravej

March • The Cabinet approved a proposal by the Communication Ministry headed by Samak Sundaravej to scrap a planned 20-billion baht international airport at Nong Ngu Hao in Samut Prakan. The plan to build the airport there had been debated for about two decades and the government reportedly had already spent one billion baht on a feasibility survey. Samak told the Cabinet the project was uneconomical. Eventually, however, Suvarnabhumi airport was built on the Samut Prakan site.

was confronted by the mob, which proceeded to the plant and set it alight. The mob also set fire to Merlin Hotel where the minister was staying. Forty seven people were arrested and charged with arson and looting. July • The Telephone Organization of Thailand introduced a cellular telephone system at Siam Intercontinental Hotel in Bangkok. April • Pizza Hut became the biggest restaurant chain in Thailand after opening its sixth outlet at Siam Jusco department store. May • In a shocking move PM Prem replaced Gen Arthit with Army Commander-in-Chief Gen Chavalit Youngchaiyut. Analysts said the reason for the abrupt change of command was the perception that Gen Arthit was a threat to Prem’s hold on power. • Parliament was dissolved by the King after the government was narrowly defeated in a vote on legislation outlining an increase in registration fees for diesel and LPG-fuel vehicles. June • A state of emergency was declared in Phuket after a mob set fire to a controversial 1.2 billion baht tantalum metal plant due to be open in October. The plant was damaged beyond repair. The mob also set fire to the five-star Phuket Merlin Hotel causing an estimated 50 million baht in damages. Around 50,000 people protested for weeks against the plant, claiming it would destroy the environment and tourism. When Industry Minister Chirayu Issarangkul went to Phuket to discuss the matter he

• Klong Toey port was paralyzed after hundreds of workers went on a two-day strike to protest a Cabinet decision allowing Express Transit Authority to take over the crane service from the Port Authority of Thailand. August • Prem was appointed as the country 16th prime minister after general elections held on July 27. The Democrat Party won 100 seats, Chart Thai Party 63, Social Action Party 51 and Rassadorn Party 18 seats.

• Thai teenage snooker player, Wattana Pu-ObOrm, also known as ‘James’ Wattana, won the Camus Masters Championship held in Chiang Mai Plaza Hotel. The 16-year-old beat three-time world champion Steve Davies in the semifinal and Terry Griffiths in the final. September • Parliament passed amendments to the Criminal Code making it punishable by life in prison to have sexual intercourse with a child less than 15 years old, with or without the child’s consent. October • The Interior Minister told the governors of the southern provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat to lift ban on Islamic dress for female state officials.

• Prem approved the reinstatement of 28 ‘Young Turks’ who were dismissed from the army after the failed coup of April 1, 1981.

1986 (November) Hu

alampong train acc

1986 (August) Jam

es Wattana


November • A runaway train broke through barriers at Hua Lamphong railway station in Bangkok, killing four people and injuring four others.

*Sources for this story include archives of UPI, AFP, the Bangkok Post, The Nation and Wikipedia. TheBigChilli



p Meet the people uniting nations

Her Excellency Ms Raushan Yesbulatova



Ambassador of Kazakhstan spells out investment opportunities in her country By MAXMILIAN WECHSLER

Her Excellency Ms Raushan Yesbulatova, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the Kingdom of Thailand, was appointed to this position in July 2017. She is also Permanent Representative of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP). Ambassador Yesbulatova has been accredited as Ambassador to the Republic of the Union of Myanmar on February 4 of this year. For more than three years Ambassador Yesbulatova has been one of the most active Ambassadors in Thailand working to bring both countries even closer – and she is succeeding in this endeavour. Background

Kazakh-Thai relations

Born and raised in Almaty, Her Excellency Ambassador Raushan Yesbulatova graduated from the Institute of National Economy, Almaty in 1988. She also studied Management and Tourism in Vienna, Austria and graduated in 1995. “I love travelling, exploring new cultures, meeting new people, so tourism was a popular and natural choice for me. I have been in the diplomatic service since 1998. Between 2001-2005 I became the Second, First Secretary of Permanent Mission of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United Nations, New York. From 2005-2006 I was Counsellor at the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the USA, and after that in 2006 I returned to the Permanent Mission as a Counsellor. After three years of service as Counsellor, I was appointed as the Consul General of Kazakhstan. “My first acquaintance with Thailand happened in 1992 when I came here as a tourist. Thailand has left pleasant memories. After 25 years, I returned here as the Ambassador of Kazakhstan,” Ms Yesbulatova said.

“Diplomatic relations between the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Kingdom of Thailand were established on July 6, 1992. In 1997, the Diplomatic Mission of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the Kingdom of Thailand was established, which at that time was one of the few Kazakhstan Diplomatic Missions in Southeast Asia. In 2012, the foreign office was reorganized into the Embassy. Our Embassy located in Witthayu Road consists of five diplomats, two administrative staff, and two local staff. “There are two Honorary Consulates of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the cities of Pattaya and Phuket in Thailand. “Despite their geographical remoteness, Kazakhstan and Thailand have a number of similar geopolitical characteristics that bring the two states closer together. Located in the heart of their regions – Central and Southeast Asia, Kazakhstan and Thailand are strategically located as natural transit hubs that attract the interest of world powers, both in terms TheBigChilli


of trade development and in the context of ensuring security. “Starting from the first steps at the head of independent Kazakhstan, Elbasy N. Nazarbayev, saw the great potential of the countries of Southeast Asia, including the Kingdom of Thailand. So, already in 1993, he made an official visit to Bangkok, which actually marked the beginning of bilateral cooperation between Kazakhstan and Thailand. Within the framework of the visit, an intergovernmental Agreement was signed on the establishment of a joint Kazakh-Thai commission on trade, economic, scientific, technical and cultural cooperation, which gave an impetus to intensify relations on a wide range of issues. “An additional impetus to the development of bilateral relations was given by the official visit of the Princess of Thailand Maha Chakri Sirindhorn to Kazakhstan on April 17-20, 2005. The distinguished guest was awarded the Order of Dostyk, II degree. “In addition to relations in a bilateral format, Kazakhstan and Thailand are fruitfully cooperating within the framework of international organizations and regional associations. The proximity of positions on the global and regional agendas, modern challenges and threats creates prerequisites for active interaction on the platforms of the organizations of the UN system, CICA, ACD, ASEM and other multilateral structures.

“The universal nature and relevance of Nursultan Nazarbayev’s international initiatives in the field of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, as well as the fight against terrorism, became a catalyst for mutually beneficial cooperation between Kazakhstan and Thailand in these areas. “An interesting fact is that Thailand was the main opponent of Kazakhstan in the struggle for a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for 201718. Despite Thailand’s rich experience and authority in the field of multilateral relations, Kazakhstan has become a worthy rival to the Kingdom, winning largely thanks to the international recognition of the Elbasy, which was also earned as a result of the global initiatives put forward by him. “An important area of political interaction between Kazakhstan and Thailand is cooperation through parliaments. Deputies and senior officials of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan take an active part in the work of the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development, which is headquartered in Bangkok. In 2016 and 2018, the Deputy Chairman of the Mazhilis of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan Gulmira Isimbayeva paid a visit to Thailand, during which she met with the leadership and representatives of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan. “Another confirmation of the high level of relations in this area was the visit to Nur-Sultan of the

UN ESCAP bilateral meeting – Executive Secretary of UN ESCAP Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana with Ambassador Yesbulatova. 88


(Credit: UN ESCAP)



Astana (now Nur-Sultan) EXPO-2017

parliamentary delegation of Thailand, headed by the Chairman of the Senate of the National Assembly Mr Pornpetch Wichitcholchai, as part of the IV Meeting of Speakers of the Eurasian Countries’ Parliaments in September 2019. “Promotion of trade and economic cooperation is an important point in relations between Kazakhstan and Thailand. It should be noted that according to the official statistical sources of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the trade turnover between Kazakhstan and Thailand has an annual tendency to increase: • For 2016 - US$73.7 million (imports - $66.3 million, exports - $7.4 million); • For 2017 - $93.2 million (imports - $92.1 million, exports - $1.1 million); • For 2018 - $104.3 million (imports - $104.1, exports $247.5 thousand). • “At the end of 2019, trade between Kazakhstan and Thailand amounted to $129.6 million (imports - $129.5 million, exports - $119.4 thousand). “The main items of Kazakhstan export are metal ores, musical instruments, chemical and mineral products. Imports – cars, auto parts, printers, telephones, machinery, polyethylene, finished products. “According to the National Bank of Kazakhstan, the volume of Thai investments in Kazakhstan is $2.2 million. Kazakhstan invested $8.4 million in the Thai economy. 90


(Credit: blooloop)

“It should be noted the growing interest in Kazakhstan from Thai investors. In 2019, a delegation of the Investment Council of Thailand visited the cities of Nur-Sultan and Almaty, on the basis of which a detailed report on the state of the economy and investment attractiveness of Kazakhstan was compiled. “One of the instruments for the development of trade and economic relations is the Joint Kazakh-Thai Intergovernmental Commission, which met in 2002, 2012 and 2017. An important event that stimulated cooperation in the economic sphere was the active participation of Thailand in EXPO-2017. The Thai pavilion has become one of the largest and most attractive. During the exhibition, it was visited by over 700 thousand guests. “Recently, there has been a progressive development in the oil and gas industry. On June 27, 2018, in Bangkok, a contract signing ceremony was held for the construction of the 5th line of the main gas pipeline between PTT Public Company Limited and the Kazakh company KazStroyService. This is a large infrastructure project worth more than 150 million US dollars, which a Kazakh company is implementing in Thailand. In 2019, the aforementioned Thai energy giant PTT Public Company Limited acquired the Portuguese company Partex Holding B.V., which owns a 20% stake in the Dunga project in the Mangistau region.

Nur-Sultan, capital of Kazakhstan

“An important stage in the development of cooperation in the economic sphere was the signing in 1996 of the Air Service Agreement, as a result of which it became possible to open regular direct flights on the Almaty-Bangkok route. Currently, the annual flow of Kazakh tourists to Thailand is about 70 thousand people. Considering the importance of the direction of tourism for the country's economy, the Government of Thailand decided to apply for free visas upon arrival for citizens of the Republic of Kazakhstan for a period of 15 days. “In turn, the Government of Kazakhstan introduced a visa-free regime for Thai citizens from October 2019 for a period of 30 days. This measure was an important step towards enhancing bilateral cooperation in the field of tourism and investment.” Investment opportunities “For more than a quarter of a century our countries have made significant progress in all areas of cooperation. Kazakhstan has absolute intention to further develop both bilateral and multilateral political relations and expand trade and economic cooperation. “Therefore, we put big importance to promoting ‘economic’ diplomacy, particularly development of trade, economic and investment cooperation. “As measures to strengthen the economic and

(Credit: Young Pioneer Tours)

investment direction, last year, a number of Thai business missions visited different regions of Kazakhstan and held a several meetings with potential partners. “The delegation of the Board of Investment and Research Institute of Fiscal Policy of Thailand also paid a visit. “The same time, the current volume of trade and investment exchange between Kazakhstan and Thailand does not correspond to the existing potential. “Kazakhstan sees great potential in developing cooperation in such fields as agriculture. Thailand has big experience in this sphere. Particularly in processing of agricultural products. Also, Thailand is one of the biggest producers of rice, seafood and tropical fruits. We are also inviting investors from Thailand to invest in processing of agriculture products in our country. “Kazakhstan sets a goal to become one of the 30 most developed countries in the world, for which the Government is taking comprehensive measures to modernize the country’s economy. “Today, Kazakhstan is particularly interested in attracting investors who are looking for the efficiency of their investments and are ready to consider Kazakhstan as a platform for the production of goods and services with high added value for further exports. In this regard, with the technical support of the World Bank, a National Investment Strategy for TheBigChilli


Big Almaty Lake

2018-2022 has been developed, which provides for a number of systematic measures to support both new and existing investors. “According to the World Bank Doing Business 2019 report, in the overall ranking on ease of doing business, Kazakhstan ranks 25th, and in terms of ‘protecting minority investors’ – 7th place out of 190 countries of the world. “Kazakhstan’s economy is the largest in Central Asia, accounting for 60% of the region’s total GDP. In general, since 1991, about 400 billion US dollars of foreign direct investment has been attracted. “Today, the country's foreign trade turnover exceeds the total turnover of the rest of Central Asia. The main foreign trade partners of Kazakhstan are the European Union, Russia and China. “Hereby I want to highlight competitive advantages of Kazakhstan in the field of foreign trade. They are: • Agreement on the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), effective from January 1, 2015; • Neighborhood with China and close trade relations between China and the EU member states, mainly in the energy sector. “Along with Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Russia, Kazakhstan is a member state of the EAEU – an international integration economic association. Kazakhstan's membership in the EAEU gives investors the opportunity to enter the Russian market (more than 140 million people) and the common market of the union (more than 180 million) and 92


(Photo by Grigory Bedenko -

235 million of population in countries bordering the Caspian Sea. “The EEU has good opportunities for partnership with the European Union, the countries of the Middle East, Southeast and South Asia. An agreement on free trade has already been concluded with Vietnam, in the elaboration of similar documents with Serbia, Israel and other countries. “In order to increase the investment attractiveness, the Government of Kazakhstan continues work on improving the production and transport infrastructure. Kazakhstan, as the largest landlocked state in the world, has an advantageous geographical position at the junction of two parts of the world – Europe and Asia. The main advantage of transit through our republic is the reduction of the period and distance from producer to consumer from Asian countries to European countries. “Despite sea transportation, the delivery time by land through Kazakhstan is reduced by 2-3 times – from 35-40 to 12-15 days. Participation in projects for the development of a regional logistics hub will allow Kazakhstan’s partners to gain considerable benefits from the transit of goods and the growing trade turnover between China and the West. At the same time, it should be mentioned that for eight years now the volume of container transit between China and Europe through Kazakhstan has doubled annually, and we expect that by 2020 this volume will reach two million containers.


“From my point of view Thai investors would also be interested to know about Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) which is a financial hub for Central Asia, the Caucasus, EAEU, the Middle East, West China, Mongolia and Europe. The Centre situated within EXPO-2017 and supported by modern infrastructure & the latest technology. “In December 2015 President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev signed the Constitutional law ‘On the Astana International Financial Centre’. The aim of the AIFC is to form a leading international centre of financial services. For the first time in post-Soviet region English Common law framework has been introduced in the AIFC. The objectives of the AIFC are to attract investment into the economy through the establishment of an attractive environment for investment in the financial services, to develop local capital markets, to ensure their integration with the international capital market, and to develop markets for insurance and banking services and for Islamic financing in the Republic of Kazakhstan.” Tourism sector “Thailand is an excellent example of how to develop tourism in the country. We are the largest landlocked country, but we also have a lot of attractions to showcase. “Kazakhstan is a huge country and has a lot of

(Photo by Vladimir Mulder –

number of attractions. The country has mountains, forests, plains, canyons, lakes, rivers and much more. There are four seasons in Kazakhstan, winter, spring, summer and autumn. Annually a large number of tourists from Thailand visit such attractions as the Charyn Canyon, Altyn Emel National Park, Big Almaty Lake and much more. Interesting fact, last year, Lake Kobeituz, located a two-hour drive from the capital of Kazakhstan, turned pink all of a sudden. Scientists believe the color change is due to the presence of dunaliella salina, a micro-algae found in sea salt fields. The algae produce large amounts of carotenoids, which in turn has given the Salt Lake in the Akmola region a reddish hue. “To add to that an International Tourism is one of the most important directions in Kazakh country. It is worth noting that the Government of Kazakhstan approved the State Program for the Development of the Tourism Industry of the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2019-2025. It means that Kazakhstan should increase in the number of inbound visitors to nine million people, including inbound tourists to three million people; an increase in the volume of tourist services provided by placements by 2.5 times, growth in investment in fixed assets three times by 2025; an increase in the number of domestic tourists to eight million people. “In this regard, on September 30, 2019, Kazakhstan adopted the visa-free regime for 30 days for a number of countries, including the Kingdom of Thailand.” TheBigChilli


The Kazakh giants ªIn 2020, Kazakhstan celebrates the 175th anniversar y of the birth of the great Kazakh poet Abai Qunanbayuly and 1150th anniversar y of the great thinker Abu Nasr Al-Farabi. I would like to tell you about al-Farabi as a significant person in world histor y,º said Ambassador Yesbulatova.

Abai Qunanbayuly

“Abu Nasr Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Uzlagh al-Farabi, the world-famous philosopher of the Islamic civilization, was born in the Kazakh land in 870, near the city of Farab, in the village of Vesij. Abu Nasr alFarabi, recognized as the Second Teacher after the great Aristotle, acquired his fame throughout the world because of his extraordinary knowledge and outstanding intellect. The cultural impact al-Farabi made, especially on the culture of peoples of the East and Central Asia, of Turkic and Kazakh people, has been comprehensive and continuous. Al-Farabi came from an affluent family from a Turkic tribe that later became part of the Kazakh people. “He was born in the Otrar oasis that was a medieval scholarly and cultural and center being located on the crossroads of international trade and relations. “According to certain accounts, al-Farabi spent his early years in his homeland receiving a quite comprehensive religious education and even made some first steps in the legal profession, but, having 94


always been thirsty for knowledge, he soon left home and moved to Merv and then, at the age of forty, to Baghdad. Before moving to Baghdad in his search for knowledge, he also visited Bukhara, Samarkand, Balkh, and many other cultural centers of that time. In Harran, he met the Christian scholar Yuhanna bin Haylan who helped him to attain a very high level of mastery in logic and philosophy. In Baghdad, he was taking lessons in `ilm al- mantiq' (logic) from Abu Bishr Matta ibn Yunus who was an expert in Aristotle’s Organon. “Later, also in Baghdad, he was taking lessons in Arabic from the famous philologist Ibn al- Sarraj. The latter, in return, was taking lessons from al-Farabi who, by that time, had acquired an outstanding level of knowledge in different sciences! We can conclude that, by the time he arrived in Baghdad, al-Farabi knew Arabic quite well and Ibn al-Sarraj helped him to master its subtleties.”

“Al-Farabi left a great legacy of many works ranging from philosophical treatises to works on music, politics, and ethics. Most important of his works are The Opinions of the Citizens of the Virtuous City, Enumeration of the Sciences, Treatise on the Attainment of Happiness, Epistle on the Intellect, and The Book of Letters. “Al-Farabi’s high aptitude for philosophical sciences earned him the moniker of ‘ The Second (after Aristotle) Teacher’. Although, according to some reports, he mastered more than seventy languages, we know for a fact that, in addition Turkic, which was his mother tongue, he was also fluent in the Arabic and Persian languages and was familiar with Greek philosophical terminology. “Al-Farabi did not have disciples willing to follow thoroughly and meticulously his teachings, but he had an enormous influence on Islamic intellectual life in general. Up until 250 years later, when Ibn Rushd from Andalusia opened a new stage in the understanding and interpretation of Aristotle, the school of Islamic Peripateticism had been fully and entirely influenced by the ideas of al-Farabi.”


CV of Her Excellency Ms Raushan Yesbulatova Education • Graduated from Institute of National Economy, Almaty in 1988 and Institute of Management and Tourism, Austria in 1995. Professional Career • On Diplomatic service since 1998. Held various positions at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Embassy in Belgium. • 2001-2005: Second, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United Nations, New York.

• 2005-2006: Counsellor, Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United States of America. • 2006-2009: Counsellor, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United Nations, New York. • 2009-2017: Consul General of the Republic of Kazakhstan in New York. • In July 2017 was appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Kingdom of Thailand and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. • Since February 4 accredited Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. TheBigChilli


Profile for The BigChilli Co., Ltd.

The BigChilli September 2020  

Thailand's best-read expat magazine. Find out what's hot in Bangkok and beyond. September 2020

The BigChilli September 2020  

Thailand's best-read expat magazine. Find out what's hot in Bangkok and beyond. September 2020

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