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THE MANAGEMENT AND STAFF AT THE BIGCHILLI WISH ALL OUR READERS HERE IN THAILAND AND OVERSEAS

HAPPY NEW YEAR

2020

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Thana Pongsaskulchoti thanabigchilli@gmail.com ACCOUNTING MANAGER Janjira Silapapairson janbigchilli@gmail.com

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Drew McCreadie, Maxmilian Wechsler Zoe Evans, Jessica Weber and Ruth Gerson

TheBigChilliMag

6 NEWS 10 PROFILE 18 TWENTY YEARS OF THE BIGCHILLI 34 BEAUTIFUL RESTAURANTS

48 EXPAT WOMAN 60 REPORTERS NOTEBOOK 66 DIPLOMAT

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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.

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SALES & MARKETING MANAGER Rojjana Rungrattwatchai sendtorose@gmail.com

PHOTOGRAPHY AP

Contents

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EDITOR Nina Hastings ninabigchilli@gmail.com

ART & PRODUCTION Arthawit Pundrikapa,

MAY IT BE A HEALTHY AND HAPPY YEAR FOR EVERYBODY

The BigChilli Co., Ltd., 8/2 FMA Group Building, 3 floor, room 301, Convent Road, Silom, Bangrak, Bangkok, 10500.

PUBLISHER Colin Hastings editorbigchilli@gmail.com

thebigchillimagazine@ gmail.com

@TheBigChilliMag

The BigChilli Co., Ltd., 8/2 FMA Group Building, 3rd floor, room 301, Convent Road, Silom, Bangrak, Bangkok, 10500.  02 635 5085,  081 358 1814 Fax: 02 635 5086 thebigchillimagazine@gmail.com thebigchilli.com


News

Delving into the past – one man’s amazing story

“How I traced my family roots back to 1350 and discovered we descended from the illegitimate son of a mistress of a Scottish king” Like most of us, Bangkok expat John Sheehan wanted to know more about his family’s past and was determined to find out. After many months of independent research that took him on a journey of many surprises to Ireland, Australia and England, he eventually compiled a comprehensive and eye-opening history of his descendants which will be published in a special book. Here’s what that research entailed and the secrets it uncovered.

T

he idea of writing a book started when visiting home in England in April 2019. My niece asked me to help tidy up our family tree and identify some people in old photos. My deceased parents left her with an album of old photographs, records and letters, but she, together with my sister-in-law, had struggled to make progress. Thinking I knew a lot, I volunteered to help, but as soon as I did, huge gaps in my knowledge started appearing. Not having parents around anymore to supply information, I had no choice but to dive in, head-first, and discover everything for myself. I began by listing the family tree on paper, but as I assembled more information, it threw up more and more questions. Then I decided that I needed method. I discovered a government genealogy site that lists births, marriages and

Author Photographs.

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Unnamed 100 year old photographs of relatives that I had to identify.

Great-great Grandfather & wife.

Great-great Grandfather.

deaths. The National Archives also give access to old censuses, about another silo that the other knows nothing about. the most useful of which were compiled in 1901 and 1911. One of the consequences of the silos was information I spent at least 100 hours trawling through lists and records, volume. The more material that people sent me, the more leads cross-checking and establishing a core information data base I had to follow. Researching a family is like a detective story. I file. I think this is similar to the information provided by tend to be obsessive and relentless once I get into something. genealogy sites that you can buy online. The result is a book of 220 pages against an initially expected The great advantage of doing it myself was flagging a wider 120 pages. I am looking forward to sending every family range of outlying information, which provided new pointers that member a copy when I go to print. Some of the older ones will otherwise might be missed. Like anything else in the world, the find pictures of themselves, when they were younger, that they more you try, the better and faster you become at executing. never knew existed! I also developed a detective’s ‘nose’ that produced some Ancestral records in Ireland are not bad back to 1840. Some great peripheral leads which became more relevant as my study records went missing around the Irish independence era, but expanded. I now have between 300 and 400 birth, marriage and much is still readily and freely available. For a few of the nine death hard copy records on file, which provide a substantial family silos, I was able to trace back to 1750 without too much and accurate family data base to work from, and are more difficulty. reliable than relatives’ memories, which can be wrong. One of my cousins traced her silo back to 1350. I learned The challenge with families is that once you get beyond that families tend not to pass adverse memories down the immediate family members, it becomes more difficult to obtain generations. The beacons of reputation and achievement are and certify information. I now call each group of my cousins a celebrated but the bad news tends to get swept under the “family silo.” carpet of history and forgotten. Within my family I identified I never found any murderers or nine different silos. I recruited infamous people in the family tree. at least one person from each The 1350 silo descended from the silo to communicate with. I illegitimate son of a mistress of one completed research before I of the Scottish kings. Other than started asking questions and that, there were a few shotgun avoided wasting their time. They weddings. Birth and marriage were very helpful and two of the records don’t lie and cleared up silos had already put together the odd mystery. 150 years ago, their own family tree. people married within walking I approached everyone in distance of their home and stayed a professional manner which I within their own social hierarchy. think helped them appreciate I noted that one of my ancestors that I was serious in what seemed to have married a lady I was doing. I discovered: from a higher social standing. 1) within each silo there is When I dug into the records and usually a “squirrel” who hoards noted that they married in January, things like photographs, wills and the first child appeared in and letters. 2) the silos don’t June, it was clear why their union generally communicate with was allowed!! each other so their research is I ultimately joined Ancestry, the usually confined to their own genealogy specialist, in order to silo, and 3) some silos have old source old travel and immigration Great-Grandfather & wife. photographs and information records. For example, my

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News

grandfather spent a month in the USA on holiday from Ireland in 1948. I was able to locate him on passenger manifests and pin down exact dates and the ships he travelled on. One of the silos posted their family tree on Ancestry UK and invited me to join to source their information. I also found the Canadian government census information and the Australian government records helpful, which can be sourced online. One of my favorite parts is a transcript of a Melbourne newspaper article, kept by my mother that no one in the family had a clue about. I first traced the article to a date in 1954. Amongst other things, it described a gentleman riding around the State of Victoria on horseback between 1880 and 1910, preaching to and opening new church congregations. With a bit of digging in Oz, I found his obituaries in 1925, which contained a wealth of information. He turned out to be the older brother of my greatgrandfather’s wife. I was also able to track down the date he arrived in Oz in 1864, and the clipper ship he sailed on. I could then follow his wife arriving four years later, travelling on the SS Great Britain, now a museum ship in Bristol docks. I was also able to identify his current descendants, posted on Wikitree. They make no mention of their family connections in Ireland, so may have no idea of the hundred or so cousins they have on their broader family tree, which they will discover when they receive a copy of my book, out of the blue, next year! The same subject cropped up when I met with some other cousins in Ireland recently. Their grandmother was my grandfather’s older sister. I asked why I couldn’t find any record of her on the 1901 Census. They replied that she had been in Victoria, spending a couple of years there, travelling around the state on horseback, but beyond that it was a mystery to them. She was also a very devout lady and given the gentleman mentioned earlier was her uncle, it was obvious where and who

she must have stayed with. My cousins were delighted to learn this and amazed to find that it was all tracked down online from Bangkok! I have written a number of professional publications. In 2011, for example, I wrote a book on banking and bad debt. It was published in the UK and still sells well even now. It was a technical book and I normally describe it for anyone outside the industry as a marvelous cure for insomnia! This book has taken me six months to complete. Five months in, I went back to Ireland to visit family gravestones and meet with older cousins to collect old photographs and pick up on any interesting snippets of information. Gravestones turned out to be an interesting source of additional knowledge. They are a good indicator of the wealth and prosperity of the family at the time of erection. They sometimes record information that is otherwise not known. I found family members not referred to in public record, notably deceased infants and second wives. One of the more interesting gravestones referred to a “castle,” which turned out to be a national heritage, megalithic stone fort on the family’s farmland that otherwise I would have known nothing about. The book will be published shortly. I call it a patchwork of events, stories, records and photographs that includes maps and other reference material. The format will bear resemblance to The BigChilli, designed around photographs and graphic images. I didn’t want to present it as a novel or text book that readers might find dull or tedious. I am publishing for the benefit of my children and my brother’s children so the next generation has an accurate record of the past, in an easy format, that they can use themselves in the future if they want. I particularly want my kids to know their roots, given they have lived most of their lives in Bangkok. I am doing it now, whilst I can, in a desire to create a record of this information for future generations of my family.

I learned that families tend not to pass adverse memories down the generations. The beacons of reputation and achievement are celebrated but the bad news tends to get swept under the carpet of history and forgotten.

Hunting Graves.

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Profile

Profile

Ebony Expats Meet a new community in town and the lady who created it – black American Tori Rogers Name: Tori Rogers. Nickname: Lately, I’ve noticed that people I meet here call me ‘Tori Talks’ - which is my profile name on Instagram. So, that’s pretty cool because that’s how I’ve met so many dope people over the last two years! You can find me on IG @ ToriTalks. Born and raised: Houston, TX. #HTown Education: I’m a Longhorn. I have a Bachelor of Science in Advertising from The University of Texas at Austin. Hook ‘Em! Employment background: Marketing, advertising, PR and events. I’ve worked directly in media both on the radio side and on the other side pitching to media contacts. I’ve also worked on the corporate side with Fortune 500 companies, influencers and large brands.

What do you do here – and how long have you been in your present job? I’ve been a Marketing Consultant at an agency here in Bangkok for two years now. Even though I live here in Thailand, I still get the opportunity to virtually

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Ebony Expats - White Party

consult clients headquartered in America. When I first moved to Thailand, I was an English teacher. But that was short-lived because a) I realized that wasn’t my calling and b) there was something in my spirit that made me feel like Bangkok was my city for longer than the six months I planned to be here for. How long in Thailand? I’ve been living in Thailand for 2.5 years. Crazy! What brought you here? There was never a plan to live in SE Asia. Before I moved to Thailand, I was living in Houston and I had just gotten laid off from the oil and gas industry. If you’ve experienced a lay-off or a similar, you know what it feels like where you start reflecting. So at this time, I decided that my next move needed to fulfil me and feel right. I knew that there was more out there that I wanted to explore. I was ready to learn more about myself. I knew that I had more inside of me that I hadn’t tapped into. I was considering relocating to LA or NYC but then I decided to think outside of the box.

What attracted me to Thailand is the fast city-life in Bangkok that feels like NYC lifestyle. And on the other hand, I also have easy access to beautiful islands. Best of both worlds. What’s keeping you in Thailand? As most expats experience, moving overseas is life-changing. You grow. You change. You thrive. About a year ago, I was thinking about leaving Thailand. My friend, Travel Journalist Minority Nomad, gave me some advice that really stuck with me: “A place should be doing 1 of 2 things for you: 1) helping you grow or 2) helping you thrive.” Thailand has definitely helped me grow in so many ways. And now, I’m thriving. Also - if something isn’t helping us grow or thrive or making us happy, then what’s the point? Be happy! What’s the best part of living here? One of the most beautiful is the ‘Mai Pen Rai’ lifestyle I’ve adopted. Mai pen rai means no worries. Living here has shown me that most things aren’t as serious as we make them. No worries. It’s ok. Breathe. Chill. Be happy.

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Profile Also, travel is more affordable in SE Asia than it is in the States. My friend’s flight to California from Texas literally costs 5x more than it costs to fly to China. Getting to travel is an opportunity to learn and experience different cultures. I also get the opportunity to share Black and American culture with other parts of the world. And the worst? Being super far from home. I miss my family, friends, weddings, graduations, new births, and spending beautiful moments together. Do you have many friends here? My goal was to meet three black expat friends here in Bangkok. Before I moved, Tori Rogers

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I joined Facebook groups, watched videos, read blogs and reached out to people to ask questions and get their insights. Then, I started my own group on Meetup.com – all while I was still packing and preparing for my move. This was my first time traveling out of North America. Plus, being an expat was new to me. I was determined to have a community I could connect with. So, I started a meetup group and hosted a meetup a month after moving to Bangkok. Now, I have friends from all over the world. I continued hosting meetups then workshops, events, panel discussions


Profile

Tori Rogers - Black and Gold Party

Black in Bkk

events and businesses here in Thailand and SE Asia - the places that our community loves and recommends to each other. Your favorite Bangkok restaurants? I love Mexican food. When I’m missing good tacos from a taco truck in Houston, the good thing about Bangkok is that it’s an international hub with a lot of good options. I really love Charley Brown’s Mexicana in Asok. I can always count on a fun afternoon with good food and great margs. And omg, you have to TRY the queso. I’m also a fan of Best Beef - a local restaurant that’s really popular with the Thai community. It’s a barbecue buffet where you can grill seafood, meat and veggies at your table.

and we started an online group that has grown to about 500 people. We’ve connected with not just expats living here but with the travelers who visit Thailand and connect with us during their time here. I realized that I’ve got way more than three black expat friends now and we’re all looking for resources and we’re just looking for at least three other black expats to resonate with. And that’s how Ebony Expats was born. By creating and cultivating a community and platform to share resources, attend events and more - Ebony Expats has equipped travelers of color with the tools and connections needed to thrive abroad. (https://www.ebonyexpats.com) Who are you hoping to meet? I want to meet other travelers and expats. It’s so cool getting to share and hear stories from people all over the world. I want to meet the dope people behind the amazing restaurants, venues, hotels,

I love Koh Samui for a weekend getaway. For longer getaways, I really really like Koh Kood. Funny story: a couple of years prior to me even deciding to move to Thailand, I bookmarked a link with top destinations around the world and Thailand has two locations on the list. One place is Treepod Dining at Soneva Kiri where your waiter zip lines to you! What’s next? I’m not sure how long I’ll be here but I do know that I’m looking forward to providing more travel experiences and resources. I’m a Connector and I like connecting people. I like creating a good time for people, whether it’s an event where you can dress up and feel good or if it’s me helping someone travel overseas for the first time. Follow us on Instagram @ebonyexpats or come have a good time with us at a future event! Let’s connect on www.ebonyexpats.com

Favorite weekend (or longer) getaway destination?

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EASTIN GRAND ON SATHORN – THE HOTEL THAT REALLY SUITS BANGKOK

QFor visitors to Bangkok who want to get out and explore the city’s most famous landmarks as well as residents looking for a few days’ break in luxurious accommodation not far from home, Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn Bangkok is an outstanding choice. Its location in the Sathorn business district couldn’t be more convenient, particularly as the hotel has its own direct link to Bangkok’s highly efficient BTS mass transit system, known by everybody as the Skytrain.

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Guests can walk straight from the hotel on to Surasak Station via a dedicated Skybridge, giving them immediate access to Bangkok’s most important sights and attractions. One stop away is Thaksin Station, which is located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, a hugely popular destination in its own right with all kinds of amazing sights and experiences. A few minutes by Skytrain in the opposite direction is Siam BTS Station. Get off here and you’re right in the


middle of the city’s busiest shopping district, a wonderland of upmarket malls and countless independent boutiques. Once the shopping or sightseeing is over, it’s just a quick train ride back to the Eastin Grand Sathorn. Bangkok residents enjoying a ‘staycation’ also know that the hotel is well located next to the Expressway, the city’s main motorway linking this central area to all outlying suburbs, including Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang international airports. Of course there’s much more to the Eastin Grand Sathorn than its extremely convenient location. The hotel has the happy buzz of people enjoying themselves and relishing their surroundings. Its four restaurants are well known among local diners for the quality of their cuisine, ambiance and service. They include The Glass House, an all-day diner located on the 5th floor featuring Asian and Western-inspired buffet specialties together with an a la carte menu. The drinks list is long and covers every taste. On the 14th floor is Blunos, run by Michelin-star chef Martin Blunos, an imposing but friendly character whose international home-style fare features all the classics and a lot of pleasant surprises. The ambiance is decidedly laid-back. Chef Man on the third floor is regarded by many as Bangkok’s best Chinese restaurant. Swizzles Lobby Lounge, located on the ground floor, serves a variety of drinks and snacks as well as “to go” beverages for guests on the run. Guests can enjoy light fare with specialty coffees in the mornings, traditional high tea in the afternoons and a selection of beers and cocktails

to finish the evenings. It’s a great place to rest, relax and unwind at any time of day. Reserved for Executive Level guests, the Executive Lounge on the top floor offers complimentary all-day tea, coffee, soft drinks and snacks plus evening open bar offering wines, beers, spirits, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres from 17.30 to 19.30 hrs. The views are simply stunning. Each of the 390 rooms has been designed for maximum comfort and functionality, with all the luxury amenities needed by today’s business and leisure travellers. All rooms have spectacular views of Bangkok and the main river. Accommodation comes in six styles, ranging in size from the 32sqm Superior offering TV with international satellite channels, free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee making facilities, to the luxurious 76sqm Junior Suite. These luxurious suites are located at the corner of each floor for complete privacy and comprise a separate living room and bedroom, plus a wonderfully spacious bathroom. Other room options include the Executive Superior Sky with Lounge Access (from 32 sqm), Executive Superior Sky with Lounge Access (from 32 sqm), Executive Deluxe with Lounge Access (from 43 sqm) and Premium Deluxe with Lounge Access (from 48 sqm). Other popular amenities at the Eastin Grand Sathorn include the 14th floor Infinity swimming pool, a laid-back international style area serving light snacks and drinks – and incredible views of the city. The Fitness Centre on the same floor is open 24 hours and features state-of-the-art gym equipment with fully integrated TV screens and music hubs on all cardio machines. From here too, the views are stunning. The hotel has over 1,800 sqm of space for meetings, conferences, banquets and weddings. Spread over three entire floors, each of these rooms has the benefit of natural light. On hand is a team of professionals to help plan and organize an event. Indeed, great service is just one of the hotel's great assets. Overall, Eastin Grand Sathorn is a venue that’s very much in tune with Bangkok, offering overseas visitors and local residents a truly memorable stay. Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn Bangkok 33/1 South Sathorn Road Yannawa, Sathorn, Bangkok 10120 Tel: 02 210 8100 Fax: 02 210 8399 www.eastingrandsathorn.com

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Anniversary

YEARS

of The BigChilli We’re continuing The BigChilli’s 20th anniversary celebrations this month with six more pages of photos taken from our Social Diary during the past two decades. Long term PHPEHUVRI 7KDLODQG·VLQWHUQDWLRQDOFRPPXQLW\DQGUHJXODUUHDGHUVRI WKHNLQJGRP·VÀUVW expat magazine will recognize many of the people featured in this special issue. They may HYHQVSRWWKHPVHOYHV,WZLOOGHÀQLWHO\EHDWULSGRZQPHPRU\ODQH$QGDVXVXDOWKHHQWLUH magazine will also appear on all our social media platforms. This theme will continue in next month’s edition of The BigChilli with more photos of H[SDWVSDVWDQGSUHVHQWWRJHWKHUZLWKUHPLQGHUVRI VRPHRI RXUPRVWIDPRXV stories and notable personalities.

M e a n w h i l e , h a v e a H e a l t h y, W e a l t h y a n d F u n N e w Ye a r 2 0 2 0 18

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YEARS

of The BigChilli Publisher Colin Hastings answers questions from readers and friends about Thailand’s oldest expat magazine

ition

ental' first ed

The 'experim

Twenty years is a long time in publishing. Did you ever think you’d be still running The BigChilli in 2020? Never gave it a thought back in 1999. The economy had experienced a couple of bad years, so I thought the good times would soon roll again. They did and then they didn’t. But it’s always been fun producing the magazine, and seeing off the competition! Besides, I’m not fit for anything else.

So why did you launch The BigChilli? As I said, I thought it was a good idea at the time! No, really. How did BigChilli come about? Long story, going back to early 90s and in a way, even earlier. So be patient, please. Back in 1991, almost a decade before BigChilli, I was asked by the Bangkok Post to launch this country’s first international magazine – Thailand Tatler. It was an assignment I relished. As a career journalist with lots of experience in newspapers and launching magazines, I saw it as a pretty straightforward job. It wasn’t. In the space of just four months on a small budget and miniscule

salary I had to recruit staff, most of whom had no journalistic or publishing experience, take lessons (which I really didn’t need, or so I thought) from our partners and owners of the brand in Hong Kong, chase down suitable stories and get them written, edited and proofed to fit the franchisor’s strict editorial and design guidelines, find photographers, and give the sales team lots of stick. That was just for the first issue. All too soon the second issue beckoned… For the next seven years or so I remained in charge of Tatler as Managing Editor. It was mostly an enjoyable and eye-opening period, with my position on the magazine giving me a free pass into the privileged but often illusionary world of Thai ‘high society.’ At first it was a giddying experience, rubbing shoulders with the rich, the even richer and the famous, and forever wondering how they attained such wealth. Those I met were always very charming and accommodating, I must say, but after a while the scene lost some of its glitter, and I decided a move back to my roots was on the cards. Thus, in late 1998, I quit my job. While at Tatler, I had watched with interest at the large number of expatriates

After launchin

g Tatler, the ex

pat scene beck

oned

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Anniversary

Thailand Tatler's launch team

arriving on these shores. In fact, this sizeable influx had been going on since the early 1980s, driven mostly by the booming local construction industry and e government infrastructure projects that required foreign expertise. Their main source of day to day news and information in Thailand was obviously h was the Bangkok Post, which b by then attempting to expand its Thai readership by replacing senior foreign staff with locals who they thought would be better equipped to understand their needs. This change in editorial and management direction created a gap in the market; Bangkok’s expats were being overlooked by the daily newspapers. Or so it seemed to me. Thus, a year before leaving Tatler, hi h I h I sent the Post management a proposal (which have kept) to launch a magazine for this now neglected group of readers. I even suggested a name – BigChilli. But for whatever reason, the Post turned down my proposal. The way was thus clear for me to launch The BigChilli. And with my money from the Bangkok Post’s provident fund, the first ‘pilot’ or experimental issue appeared in November 1999. Why ‘experimental’? Actually, my first publication after leaving the Post was a travel magazine called Journeys. It was a financial success from the start – an almost unheard-of situation in the media business. Then something happened in October 1999 which changed everything. I won’t go into details but in brief my nephew, a likely lad of just 20 on a visit to Thailand, died tragically on his very first night in Bangkok. He was the victim of a robbery that went badly wrong. His death was recorded in the most egregious and

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disrespectful way by the Thai press which considered it OK to screen his lifeless body on live TV, along with his utterly shattered and weeping father – my brother – to a natio national audience. It was the media at its most disgraceful. Even the Bangkok Post got details of his demise badly wro wrong. I was outraged. The death of a foreigner here counted for not much, it seemed to me. My anger led me to push Journeys to one side for the moment while I concentrated instead on an expat ma magazine that would not only fill a gap in the market bu also given foreigners a voice, however small, in this but co country. That first ‘experimental’ BigChilli appeared in N November 1999 not to great acclaim but to a gentle round of applause, which encouraged me to give it a proper send-off in January 2000. Journeys didn’t appear again. W Which is a shame. W Where did the name BigChilli c come from? F For many years, New York has be been known as the Big Apple. Now if Bangkok was going to be likewise nic nicknamed, I asked myself which fru fruit best suits the city’s character? M Mango – too sweet or sour. Orange – no con connection. Banana – hmmm, no. Chilli is just right. Hot and spicy – and unf unforgettable. That’s Bangkok. What was the original editorial plan? Same as today – we focus on Thailand’s expatriate community, though not exclusively. We report on many local activities organized and inspired by Thais, especially major festivals, important events and social occasions in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Hua Hin, Phuket and elsewhere in Thailand.. Regular columns in the magazine reflect our editorial policy – profiles of key members of the expat society, news, chitchat, dining, restaurant reviews and tips, all kinds of sport, business and new start-ups, parties and get-togethers, schools and teachers, and interviews with ambassadors. In fact, there’s not much that we don’t cover when it comes to the foreign community in Thailand. Has your reader profile changed over the last 20 years? According to our research, the number of expats in


Thailand continues to increase, despite the economic slowdown. They include the thousands of teachers now based in well over 120 international schools as well as a growing number of local schools. While the average age of other expats has increased slightly over the past decade, it’s been offset to a certain extent by these teachers, most of whom are much younger. At the same time, there’s been a steady inflow of foreign entrepreneurs ready to set up their own businesses. It’s a phenomenon we at BigChilli know very well and recognize in our annual Expat Entrepreneur Awards, which never fail to produce some really amazing business ideas. Has the new technology been a net benefit to The BigChilli or has the trend away from print to online publishing offset any productivity improvements such as computerized layout? From the start, we’ve embraced the so-called new technology. Back in 2000 we launched one of the first local websites, www.ultimate-thailand.com, which was not fully appreciated at that time. Anyway, it evolved into our present website (www.thebigchilli.com) and our other social media platforms. These days we promote ourselves as ‘a social media business with a printed magazine’ AND / OR ‘a printed magazine with online platforms.’ There’s no denying business has become much tougher, not because of competition from other publishers and social media outfits, but because of financial factors such as cash flow and the economy in general. Launching a magazine like BigChilli today would require far more investment than 20 years ago.

Who have been your mainstay advertisers? Our most loyal customer is without a shadow of doubt is Bourbon Street Restaurant & Oyster Bar, which has advertised in every single of the BigChilli. So huge thanks to its proprietor Doug Harrison. Other loyal advertisers include The Landmark Hotel, which has supported us for the best part of 20 years, as well as Foodland, Marriott Hotels, Centara and Piri Piri. We also have many international schools, pubs, bars, restaurants, airlines, spas, and property companies advertising regularly in the magazine.

Are you optimistic about the future of print media as a whole? There will always be a demand for print media though of course not to the same extent as in the past. People still like to touch, feel and even sniff newly printed magazines. They also like to keep copies of their favorite publications, which doesn’t happen with online media. Advertisers benefit enormously from printed magazines since their message often lasts for many months, even years. But only quality publications will stay the course. Of all the people you’ve met and inter viewed for BigChilli, who was the most impressive? There have been so many, but I will single out two-time former prime minister of Thailand Anand Panyarachun as the most Anand impressive. Supremely intelligent, fair-minded and progressive, Khun Anand was an outstanding diplomat and politician, and remains a great believer in true democracy for this country. It’s a shame he couldn’t have served longer as PM. I am proud to count him as a personal friend and former squash Kurt partner. Among the others who impressed me was Kurt Wachtveilt, longtime GM of the Oriental Hotel. A brilliant hotelier, urbane and sophisticated, who was (and still is today) a highly amusing raconteur, wonderfully irreverent and thoroughly entertaining. Abhisit Others include Abhisit Vejajiva, who The BigChilli interviewed almost 20 years ago predicted would one day become Thailand’s prime minister, and David Fall, the very charming and elegant British Ambassador to Thailand 2003-2007. My former colleague and business Alwin Zecha, who sadly passed away last year, was a tremendous character and visionary for the tourism industry. Surprisingly, I seemed to click with Gore Gore Vidal, the celebrated American writer with the acerbic wit. Our scheduled 30-minute interview lasted more than two hours. I must also mention Edwin Wiek, founder of Wildlife

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Friends Foundation of Thailand for his courageous work rescuing maltreated and neglected wild animals; Therese Beauvais and her husband Kevin for their tremendous fund-raising activities on behalf of Operation Smile; and Chris Craker for building his Boris innovative and pioneering Karma Music Studios in Bang Saray. It was great to chat to Boris Johnson during his visit to Thailand as Britain’s foreign minister, and on two occasions I met Britain’s Prince Andrew, who left me decidedly underwhelmed. He seemed to have other things on his mind. Finally, I must say my beautiful daughters always impress me. One day I will talk about the many other Andrew impressive characters I met in even earlier times. Of all the inter views over the years, who made you laugh the most? No one does it better than Patrick ‘Shrimp’ Gauvain. He’s a laugh a minute, even though some of stories are a tad risqué and often outrageous. Long term expat Gale Bailey is always fun to chat with. And my Shrimp two great friends, David ‘Buster’ Williamson and Vincent Swift are a source of endless hilarious anecdotes. Mustn’t forget Billy Brunsdon, always good for laugh, mostly at himself. What about your staff – how have they been over the years? Several of the present team have been with the magazine for many years. They’re happy and I’m happy. We have also seen many come and go – often to get married to expats they’ve met while working for us. Maybe we should start a magazine called Tinder! Your office is still located in Convent Road? We’ve been in this area for 20 years, firstly above the Toby Jug pub in Silom, then for 16 years above another pub, Molly Malone’s, in the Sriboonruang

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building, which has just been demolished, and now in our present location in the FMA Building behind Indigo restaurant. How many interns, trainees / students have passed through the BC training camp? In a single year we welcome six or more interns, so that’s about 120 in total. Apart from one cocky and delusional lad who thought he should sent on a fashion shoot on his third day with us and quit when we said he needed some real experience, they’ve all been simply marvelous, smart and willing to learn – a credit to their schools and universities. If you were starting again, would you do anything differently? Keep a much closer eye on costs. And my pretty staff! What are the biggest changes to Bangkok you’ve seen over the last 20 years? Unfortunately, most are a little bit negative. The traffic, the pollution, all the unnecessary shopping malls and the enforced disappearance of many street vendors. Wine is more widely available, but is taxed to the hilt. People are less patient mostly because of the endless congestion. On the bright side, the public transport system is expanding, thankfully. A nice coincidence for us – the


Also celebrating its 20th year, the BTS Skytrain

BTS Skytrain is also celebrating its 20th anniversary. Anyway, the biggest change in Bangkok has been the advent of the mobile. Everybody seems to have at least one and they spend hours glued to the screen. The Internet has displaced many traditional sources of news, though as explained earlier the BigChilli had adapted to the situation and is very much in touch with the technology. One last change is the increasing value of the Thai baht. The strength of the baht continues to hurt people across the board. What do you regard as BigChilli’s best stories over the years? You’ll have to wait for the next issue of the magazine when we will feature some of the best and most important. For now, let me say we’re very proud of having highlighted the success of foreign SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) in our popular annual Expat Entrepreneur Awards. Their contribution to the Thai economy and its workforce is often overlooked, so we are pleased to bring it to the attention of the Government and the public at large. Any strange occurrences or bloopers? In 2007 we ran article about a new drug – Strawberry Quick, or something like that – which was supposedly a pink amphetamine targeted at school kids, to get them hooked. This turned out to be fake. But it didn’t stop a lot of news outlets running the same story. Then there was the time when we received a parcel full of warm, brown goo. At first we thought it was, well you know what. Then we realized a hotel had sent us some chocolates through the post as a Xmas gift – on a particularly hot day. Working very late to meet a deadline a few years back,

we heard a crash from the adjoining bathroom as a security guard jumped through the window. We never did find out what he was doing out on the ledge at 4am. I should also mention the time when a reader called to tell us we had missed a full stop on paragraph six, page 32 of a recent issue. Biggest mistake over the years? Agreeing to run a 12-month advertising campaign for a sleazy nightclub. They paid upfront and generously. Little did I realise that the ad would result in quite a few of our regular advertisers cancelling their ads. Also, I learned to my cost that defamation is an expensive business, especially when the courts here work on the basis that you are guilty until proven innocent. Which is the opposite to most western systems. Are optimistic about the future of print media as a whole? There will always be a demand for print media though of course not to the same extent as in the past. People still like to touch, feel and even smell newly printed magazines. They also like to keep copies of their favorite publications, which doesn’t happen with online publications. Advertisers benefit enormously from printed magazines since their message often lasts for many months, even years. But only quality publications will stay the course. What’s next? Retirement isn’t an option for now, so we’re planning the next 20 years! Any suggestions are very welcome. Thanks to Will Edwyn-Jones, Max Wechsler, David Hastings, R J Adams and Adam Purcell for their questions.

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FACES FROM THE PAST 9 From our Social pages 2000-201

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rs Yea lli 20 of igChi eB Th

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FACES FROM THE PAST 9 From our Social pages 2000-201

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FACES FROM THE PAST 9 From our Social pages 2000-201

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MO TH RE P E P HO A T M BIG ONTST IN OS FR CH H’S NEX OM ILL T I

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Dining

Beautiful Restaurants

Mahanakorn Bangkok Sky Bar The iconic and unmissable pixelated King Power Mahanakhon building between Sathorn and Silom roads boasts the Mahanakhon Bangkok SkyBar, Thailand’s highest restaurant located on the 76th oor. Aside from breathtaking views, this modern brasserie has both indoor and outdoor seating areas, where guests can enjoy signature dishes by Executive Chef Joshua Cameron. Open daily for lunch and dinner from 11am - 3pm and 5pm - 1am. www.facebook.com/MahanakhonBangkokSkyBar/

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In this monthly column, The BigChilli celebrates restaurants in Thailand that excel in their design as well as their cuisine. Dining in beautiful surroundings is regarded by many as a key element in their choice of restaurant for lunch or dinner. It sets and maintains the mood for a memorable dining experience — and is often the main reason for a return visit. The purpose of this photo feature is therefore to pay homage to those owners who have invested in creating a Beautiful Restaurant for the pleasure of Bangkok’s diners.

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Beautiful

R E S TA U R A N T S

Long Table Situated on the 25th floor of the Column Bangkok, this stunning restaurant offers Thai, Japanese & Italian favourites with a modern twist and beautiful open air views of Bangkok. The trendsetting interior plays its part in creating an environment perfect for enjoying cocktails and a wide selection of drinks, plus music by top DJs. Long Table is open for drinks from 5pm - 2am each day. Dinner is served between 6pm and 10.45pm, with a snack menu until 1.40am. Tel: 02 302 2557, 02 302 2558 E-mail: Infolongtablebangkok@gmail.com

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Food Paradise Dear Tummy, a brand-new gourmet destination has opened at G floor ICONSIAM delivering the finest food through a lifestyle supermarket and 7 specialty stores namely Grocery, Green Grocer, Fiskebar, Flying Pig Sausage Haus, M•M (Marble Marvellous), Shrimp Shack, Klongsan Poultry Market, and Taberna. The high quality offered includes organic and healthy foods, daily fresh fruits and vegetables, raw seafood, craft sausages, quality imported meat, Benja chicken, and Mediterranean-style European dishes. Open daily 10am-10pm.

New on the

scene Hot new restaurants, bars & cafés in Bangkok

Extraordinary Experiences Organika invites you to come and discover its world of unique experiences like no other at the brand new flagship, Organika Sanctuary Baan Silom. The all-in-one complex of luxurious relaxation offers you every sense of harmonious and energising well-being from dining to spa treatment, all under the core philosophy of Organika, which is the extraordinary power of aroma. Open 8am-10pm. tel: 02 233 1087

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Food& Drink

Bangkok’s hottest dining deals and news

SUNDAY FUN DAY FAMILY LUNCH The brand new family friendly atmosphere, experience in a lively open-kitchen style and a variety of kid’s favorites. Indulge in delicious food starting from a mouth-watering carving station, delectable pasta, live sushi corner and delightful desserts. Enjoy family time with a complimentary pool access from 2pm until 5pm. Every sunday | lunch buffet from noon to 3pm, 1,250++ baht per person Tel: 02 797 0000 email diningbangkok@marriott.com.

Greeting the Year of the Rat The Athenee Hotel Bangkok greets the Chinese New Year from January 20 to February 9, 2020 at The Silk Road with set menus and à la carte specials for lunch and dinner from 2,288++ baht. The Rain Tree Café will feature a Chinese New Year themed lunch buffet from 1,280++ baht, while the dinner buffet from Sunday to Thursday is 1,680++ baht or a seafood dinner buffet on Friday and Saturday from 1,980++ baht. Tel: 02 650 8800 www.theatheneehotel. com

Viet Delights Promotion

Celebrate Chinese New Year at Hyatt Regency Bangkok Sukhumvit Level 4 with a special “Durian Lover” Afternoon Tea set, and enjoy 15 savouries and sweets made from durian, the “King of Fruit”, delicately prepared from both Thai and Western recipes and served in the style of Sukhumvit Gallery Afternoon Tea. Priced at 950++ baht per set for two people, available from 2pm to 6pm during January 24 to 30, 2020.

The authentic flavours of Vietnam join the Grand Weekend Buffet with the Viet Delights Promotion at The Glass House Eastin Grand Sathorn. Delicious dishes include Grilled marinated pork, Vietnamese fresh spring roll and Vietnamese grilled pork sausage, with a station for Vietnamese rice noodle soup. Plus the usual weekend Thai/International buffet with premium seafood. Available Friday Saturday dinner and Sunday lunch with children under 12 at 50% discount.

Tel: 02 098 1234 hyattregencybangkoksukhumvit.com

Tel: 02 210 8100 www.eastingrandsathorn.com

CNY Durian Delight

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World’s hottest chef arrives Mauro Colagreco has been named the World’s Most Influential Chef and to the delight of Bangkok’s food scene has chosen Capella Bangkok, 2020’s most anticipated hotel opening, as the destination for his first Thailandbased restaurant, Côte by Mauro Colagreco, where reinterpretations of classic coastal French and Italian recipes will feature alongside some signature dishes served at the threeMichelin-star Mirazur on the banks of the Chao Phraya.

Winter is Here at 2-Star Michelin Awarded R-Haan

www.capellabangkok.com

Luxury Spanish Pizza Spain’s national dish, Paella, is now available at UNO MAS Centara Grand at CentralWorld. Served as a “half & half” split Paella that on one side, “Dels Pirineus”, has the richness of Iberico pork, Botifarra sausages, wild mushrooms and black truffles, while on the other it’s “Lobster Socarrant” with carabineros shrimp and lobster, making this a paella like no other in Bangkok. Priced at just 1,650++ baht, it’s unique!

Rediscover the wisdom of Thai cuisine as you ring in the new decade! An exquisite Royal Symphony Thai Samrub is unveiled for the winter season by Chef Chumpol Jangprai. Culinary highlights include a salad featuring organic Tiger Prawn from Chantaburi province - a recipe created by Chef Chumpol when he was 11 years old. Northern Thai curry with Kurobuta Pork Leg and Southern Thai spicy curry with Blue Crab Meat are not to be missed. A winter odyssey and celebration of life from 2,912 baht. Wine pairing available. Tel: 02 059 0433 https://www.r-haan.com/en/reservation

Tel: 02 100 6255 www.unomasbangkok.com

Splendid Authentic Italian No.43 Italian Bistro, Cape House Hotel Bangkok, invites you to enjoy authentic Italian dishes created from premium imported ingredients including Snow Fish with Truffles and Porcini Sauce (640++ baht); imported Lamb Chops (800++ baht); Rib Eye Steak (750++ baht); Risotto Milan Style (430++ baht); Black Ink Pasta with Seafood (310++ baht); Parma Ham and Rocket Pizza (350++ baht) and more delicacies. Available 6pm -11.30pm hrs until January 31, 2020. Tel: 02 658 7444 ext. 285. www.capecollection.com

Home/Office Luxury Dining Enjoy the luxury of hotel dining at home or in the office now Centara Grand and Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld is partnering with GrabFood! A range of menu items is now available from Zing Bakery (healthy breakfasts, salads, cakes & pastries), Uno Mas Restaurant (authentic Spanish and Mediterranean cuisine) and Red Sky Restaurant (European style Bistro flavours). Simply download the GrabFood app! Tel: 02 100 6255 www.centarahotelsresorts.com/ centaragrand/cgcw

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cut outt and keep

Recipe Slightly Grilled Beef Tartar Vitality Burger

Chef in focus Chef Punlop Klomtookksing Punlop Klomtooksing Executive Chef, Swissotel Ratchada Bangkok

---------------Ingredients------------------

-------------------Method:-------------------

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

1. Finely chop beef tenderloin 2. Season with all spices, herbs and egg yolk to taste 3. Form in a ring mold (same size as a bun) and shape neatly 4. Grill on a hot grill / pan for 30 seconds on both sides (Don’t cook too long or tartar won’t hold together) 5. Tartar is served RAW 6. Toast the burger / brioche bun with the butter on a hot grill or pan 7. Spread the garlic butter on the brioche buns 8. Place the bottom bun on a plate 9. Top with lettuce of your choice

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1 pc Brioche / burger bun 150 grams Beef Tenderloin 1 tablespoon Red shallot chopped 5 grams Capers chopped 10 grams Gherkins chopped 1 pc Egg yolk ½ teaspoon Parsley chopped to taste Sweet paprika powder to taste Salt, white pepper to taste Worcestershire Sauce ½ teaspoon Ketchup ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard to taste (not mandatory) Chili flakes 10 grams butter to toast bun 10 grams garlic butter Lettuce

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A graduate of the Hotel &Tourism Training Institute, Chonburi, Swissotel Ratchada Bangkok’s Executive Chef Punlop Klomtooksing has extensive on-the-job training. His resumé reads like a who’s who of Thailand’s top hotels. They include Ace Of Hua Hin, the Radisson Blu Hua Hin, Sheraton Hua Hin Resort & Spa, Sheraton Hua Hin Pranburi Villas, JW Marriott Phuket Resort and Spa, Sofitel Luxury Hotel Bangkok, The Westin Grand Sukhumvit Bangkok, The Athenee Hotel, Bangkok, The Peninsula Bangkok, The Capitol Club, The Montien Riverside Bangkok Hotel, The Marriott Resort & Spa Bangkok Hotel, and The Mandarin Oriental Bangkok. “I simply love to cook,” says Chef Punlop. “And nothing makes me happier than having guests who appreciate what my team and I have to offer.”

10. Place the lightly grilled tartar on top of the lettuce with egg yolk on top 11. Cover the top with half of the burger / brioche bun


Dish

Bistecca Steak

Month of the

Juicy Bistecca

Oven Fries

Yellow Mustard Grain Mustard

Black Truffle Chef in focus Chef Enrique González Abilleira, Chef De Cuisine               Chef Enrique Gonzalez Abilleira brings years of experience and a passion for authentic Italian cuisine to Scalini at Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok. Chef Enrique began his F&B career in his native Spain before moving to England in 2014. He made the bold move in 2017 to become pre-opening Spanish Chef de Cuisine at the W Hotel in the Chinese city of Suzhou and later relocated to Guangzhou as Chef de Cuisine at the Conrad. Chef Enrique joined Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok in January 2019 where he uses his plethora of skills to create magic at Scalini. “At the core of Scalini’s DNA stands three pillars, namely great food, great drinks and an amazing atmosphere”, says Chef Enrique. “At Scalini we believe in the magic of connection. With an emphasis on delectable sharing platters, we serve authentic Italian cuisine with modern twists. I recommend our signature T-bone Bistecca paired with our signature Negroni cocktail as the perfect start to any evening at Scalini.” Scalini at Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok, Sukhumvit 24. Tel: 02 620 6666 or bkksu.fb@hilton.com

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Meet the

Chef

Mr Chumpol Jangprai Executive Chef QIn the international culinary scene, Chef Chumpol Jangprai needs no introduction. Nominated ambassador of Thai cuisine, Chef Chumpol started cooking with the Blue Elephant group at the age of 19. The former Iron Chef and TV celebrity co-founded R-Haan and has never looked back since. We sit down with him for a quick banter after his restaurant was awarded 2 Michelin Stars What’s your best kitchen experience in the early years? Well, I will need to go back to the time when I was assisting my mum in the kitchen. Seeing her cook everyday, meticulously without fail - was and still is an inspiration for me. My mum takes only a few days off each year. Every day you will find her in the kitchen, preparing the spices, the ingredients and cooking for everyone. Cooking gives her happiness and her happiness is shared with her guests. That is the most important experience for me and one of the memories I will forever cherish.

What is your cooking philosophy? For me, it is all about Thai repertoire, Thai taste and Thai ingredients. The caviar used in my dishes are all locally sourced. I take pride in using 100% Thai ingredients. The meat I use, the fish are all caught in Thailand! In my latest winter menu, I showcase a duck egg-yolk confit from my friend’s organic duck farm in Saraburi.

What is your greatest achievement to date? I have been truly blessed with all my culinary adventures. I travel extensively around the world to champion Thai food and Thai cooking. And with R-Haan, we appreciate every guests that come to us. It fills my heart with joy and it humbles me when everyone who taste my food is beaming with pride for Thai cuisine. To be able to contribute in spreading the wisdom of Thai cuisine so more people globally can experience our food, that is my greatest achievement.

Chef in focus QMr Chumpol Jangprai Chumpol is a true ambassador of Thai cuisine. He pursued a cooking career and acquired experience at the Blue Elephant in Copenhagen when he was only 19 and became the executive chef of the BE in Brussels not long after where he was worldwide corporate head chef in 2002. In April 2018, Chef Chumpol opened R.HAAN restaurant in partnership with Khun “Todd” Piti Bhirombhakdi, Director & Executive Vice President at Boon Rawd Brewery Co., Ltd., and was awarded 2 Michelin Stars for 2020. R-HAAN : Open daily from 6pm – 11pm. 131 Sukhumvit 53 (Pai Di Ma Di), Khlong Tan Nuea, Wattana, Bangkok 10110. Tel: 095 141 5524, 02 059 0433–34 reservation@r-haan.com Facebook: R.HAAN Instagram: @r.haan_restaurant www.R-HAAN.com

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Winter is Here R-Haan Presents A Winter Symphony of Thai Taste By CK Lee QIn the international culinary scene, Chef Chumpol Jangprai needs no introduction. Nominated ambassador of Thai cuisine, Chef Chumpol started cooking at the age of 19. The former Iron Chef and TV celebrity co-founded R-Haan and has never looked back since. The restaurant was awarded a 2-star Michelin a month ago, and we very much look forward to a memorable evening as we sampled the new menu for the winter months. We opened the evening with Steamed Newly Harvested Thai Rice Stuffed with Mae Klong Mackerel and Aromatic Thai Herbs and crowned with Thai Royal Project Caviar. The smooth and savoury Mae Klong mackerel was a delight and already, one wished for an encore! Next up was tiger prawns from Chantaburi, in the eastern region of Thailand. The plump prawn was presented in sync with Thai Herbs and Tanee Banana Blossoms. The final dollops of homemade sauce was served tableside, sometimes by the Chef himself. This recipe was created by Chef Chumpol when he was only 11 years old! The appetizer platter consists of 3 sublime bites of charcoal grilled pheasant, catfish roll with sweet virgin fish sauce and angus beef salad sourced from the province of Buriram. The next dish was a duck egg-yolk confit, with a side of riceberry sponge cake. The

accompanying paloh sauce was a huge hit and the Chef commented that it took 8 hours and the finest Kurobuta pork was deployed in the making of this heavenly sauce. Cubes of egg whites were like sprinkles of magic on this decadent plate. What a masterpiece indeed. For the main part of this samrub, there was a choice of Tom Yum Soup or Black Chicken Consomme with Black Galingale and Golden Longan. Northern Thai curry with luscious Kurobuta pork legs or Southern Thai yellow curry with blue crab meat would be your next selection. Deepfried sea bass also graced the table alongside newly harvested Thai Hom Mali rice from Yasothon province. Do not forget to try the best fish sauce in Thailand too - take a spoonful and drip them gently across your plate of rice and in itself, is a simple & elegant meal. The chilli dip with crispy pork

belly was also our favourite. Dessert in this winter samrub menu highlighted cocoa from the northern mountains of Chiangmai and for the final petit four, the glazed strawberries was our pick of the day. As we celebrate the decade that just passed and the advent of an entire new year, an evening at R-Haan will remind you of the amazing range of taste that Thai food has to offer. It can be a nostalgic walk down memory lane for some, or a journey of discovery for the rest of us. Plus, as Michelin puts it: Excellent cooking, worth a detour. Winter Samrub Menu is available from 5 December 2019 Price: 2,912 ++ baht per person Daily from 18.00 – 23.00 hrs. + 66 (0) 95 141 5524 reservation@r-haan.com www.R-HAAN.com

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Restaurants in residential areas face tougher regulations after top venue is sued A

recent court order which required Michelin-star restaurant in Bangkok to make a number of changes in its operations following a neighbor’s complaint is a strong message to commercial establishments that locate in residential areas, as well to local district officials who grant the operating licenses. The neighbor sued the top-rated restaurant, complaining about late night smoking and noise and smells from its kitchen exhaust. The neighbor agreed to withdraw the suit after the restaurant owners consented to six conditions in a courtsupervised compromise. They included, moving its exhaust system away from the house by extending it by 10 meters, and properly maintaining exhaust filters, refraining from taking kitchen order after 10pm, turning off all outside lights and moving all customer cars from a parking area adjacent to the house by 11pm. The Court said violation of any one of the conditions would be considered a violation of its order, and that it could lead to confiscation of property, jail term and fine. The neighbor could resume legal action to seek remedy in the court. The Court order should make local districts more vigilant in issuing permits to commercial establishments that want to locate in residential areas. Noise, congestion and pollution problems are on the rise in metropolitan areas, and they risk public health particularly in communities densely populated with homes. Most victims quietly endure the nuisance, or find themselves helpless after complaining to local authorities. Some victims have taken the matter into their own hands against their perpetrators. There is the famous – or the infamous – case of axe-wielding ‘aunties’ who smashed a pickup truck that had blocked her driveway. She had complained to the authorities for years about the illegally constructed markets which had overrun her residential village and caused noise and congestion. It wasn’t wise for the two elderly sisters to resort to such a recourse, as they were fined and given a suspended prison sentence for their act. But they also won much public sympathy, and a court case against the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and the Prawet district for a court-ordered demolition of the illegal markets. The Court also found that local authorities were negligent in performing their duties. In the case of the restaurant, two residents in the area had

complained to the local district about illegal customer parking that caused traffic jam in the narrow soi, and about noise and smoke from the restaurant. Not many victims of disturbance and nuisance in residential areas can resort to costly and lengthy legal actions for remedy. Yet it is becoming increasingly pressing, especially in urban areas, for the government to address these growing problems which threaten public health. Bangkok is already choking under hazardous dust and smoke pollution, and the problem is some residential neighborhoods is compounded by localized emissions from commercial kitchen exhausts. The adverse impact on health of sleep deprivation due noise and other disturbance late night also cannot be underestimated. There is a need for establishing strict environmental rules and regulations for commercial establishments in residential areas to protect public health. The law should lay down standards, ranging from limits for kitchen exhausts and permissible location of the chimney in relation to existing residential houses; limits on sewage and water discharge from a restaurant into city drainage; requirements for fire safety to protect adjacent houses; the minimum distance a smoke-emitting establishment can locate from existing residences, limits on restaurant capacity based on legal parking spaces at the premises; closing hours that ensure the neighbors would not be disturbed when they go to sleep. These standards should be the basis on which local authorities should be required to conduct an environmental impact study before issuing an operating license to an establishment in a residential neighborhood. There is also a need for local governments to establish and enforce strict zoning laws for regulating land use. Most urban areas in the country are divided into residential, commercial and industrial zones. The laws lack specific, additional regulations for residential zones, such as what type of commercial establishments can be allowed to locate in the area. Homeowners invest a lot of money in their properties where they live and have lived for many years, and they constantly improve their homes, which in turn creates pleasant neighborhoods and urban areas. This should not be allowed to be destroyed by commercial establishments which locate in such neighborhoods for the sole purpose of making money, not preserving, let alone improving, the neighborhood.

Local governments need to establish and enforce strict zoning laws for regulating land use. Homeowners invest a lot of money in their properties, which in turn creates pleasant neighborhoods. This should not be allowed to be destroyed by commercial establishments.

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Bangkok Beefsteak & Burgundy

Guest review by

Deliciously different but still Belgian at Belga 2019 has been a great year for the Club, and it ended in the same way it began – with a visit to Belga Rooftop Bar and Brasserie on the 32nd floor of Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit, where we were warmly greeted by friends GM Oliver Schnatz, Chef Nicolas Bassett, and Manager (Master of Beer & Ceremony) Peter Laird. Images conjured up by Belga include excellent beers, moules marinière, pommes frites, and waffles, but Chef Nico ignored these staples and instead laid on an innovative fivecourse menu that still paid homage to the Belgian theme. Some who arrived early took the opportunity to sample the fine draft beers on offer, but our lunch officially began with tasty seared tuna and cheese croquet canapés accompanied by NV Alma Cuvee Franciacorta Bellavista (Lombardy, Italy), a refreshing and crisp Italian sparkler that all enjoyed. Moving to the dining table, we were served Poached Canadian Lobster with Cauliflower Textures, Caviar, and Vanilla Dressing. The lobster was perfectly cooked, making it a colourful starter that was also surprisingly light tasting, as noted by Food Spokesman Mark Guthrie, who complimented Chef Nico on his use of a cauliflower puree blended with whipping cream (one of the “textures”) as the base. This was matched with 2014 Tongue in Groove Waipara Riesling (South Island, NZ), which the wine maker said ‘offers a palate both rich

and long yet perfectly balanced by the acid’. Wine Spokesman Jim Morrison (egged on by neighbours) was unimpressed, but all agreed it was better with food. Our next course was Pike Perch with Wild Mushrooms, Gnocchis, and Noilly Prat Velouté. The fish was impeccably cooked with crispy skin, and the sauce was delightful – no one could fault the dish. It was accompanied by 2017 Neudorf Chardonnay Rosie’s Block (South Island, NZ), which both Jim and I thought lacked the ‘lemon-fresh acidity which brings a brightness to the medium-length finish’ as claimed by the wine maker. Our main was beautifully cooked Wood Pigeon Pithiviers, served with Celeriac, Brussel Sprouts, and Chestnut. The puff pastry was perfect. The first encasing the pigeon breast with parma ham and spinach was a great choice by Chef Nico that made this a really classy dish. Thomas Boedinger (Wine Master) loves Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia (Tuscany, Italy), so it was a shame he could not join this lunch to enjoy the 2015 vintage. Jim and most

others thought it the best wine of the day and agreed with Robert Parker’s 94 points rating – ‘a tremendous wine with an impactful yet very elegant bouquet’. Next came Brillat Savarin à la Truffe and Brown Butter Campagne Bread followed. This was a classic Triple Cream Brie to which Chef Nico added a truffle paste layer. It was sinfully delicious, especially when consumed with the golden country bread. Finally, a mercifully light Orange Blossom Crème Brulée with Honey-Chamomile Ice Cream and Nougat was presented to complete a wonderful meal. December heralds the birthdays of Danny Arn and Pieter van Roon who helped us to celebrate with their contributions of Glenmorangie Malt and Bacardi Rum. We reciprocated by asking Danny and Pieter to present our thanks and gratuities to the very friendly and enthusiastic team of servers who had made the lunch a resounding success. Belga Rooftop Bar & Brasserie Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit Tel: 02 126 9999

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Expat Women

There’s no stopping Lacia – the lady behind fashion brand 'Shared Philosophy' Family, full-time job and now a women-to-women business to run riginally from a small town just outside Toronto, Canada, called Niagara-on-the-lake, Lacia Sherlock Olofsson always had a keen interest in fashion and attended Sheridan College, an art and fashion design school in Ontario, to pursue her dream career. “Being raised by my mom in a single parent family meant that I had to start to work at a young age and quickly became very independent,” says Lacia. “It also gave me an appreciation for what women go through and the importance of helping those less fortunate and supporting small businesses managed by women. Lacia was fortunate to work for a number of vertically integrated companies and fashion brands from 1985-2000, enabling her to get involved in the design, production and purchase processes of new collections, while at the same time fueling her desire to one day start a brand and make her own mark. “Learning the basics of how to cut, stich, weave, work with leather garments and print on fabrics is all very useful

O

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Suk khumvit-Rama 9

An Inspirational Education Where Experience Matters HOLISTIC CURRICULUM

PLAY BASED

CHILD LED

BOOK YOUR VISIT TODAY

PARTNERSHIP WITH PARENTS

A LEARNING JOURNEY

Now accepting applications for August 2020. Call our Admissions Team on +66 2 203 1222 or email admissions-city@shrewsbury.ac.th www.shrewsbury.ac.th/city

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Exceptional People • Outstanding Opportunities • Academic Excellence


Expat Women

in the processes I’m now employing in Shared Philosophy,” continues Lacia. “However, the true inspiration that I’m now translating into my own collection is from traveling the world and incorporating the things I see, people I meet, friends I make, architecture that I like and food that I taste. Owning multiple properties has also given me the opportunity to truly experience working with different materials, colors, layouts, building prerequisites and climate challenges in designing and renovating houses - another great passion of mine!” Resident in Bangkok since 2010, Lacia arrived here after a seven-year stint in Russia and lots of travelling the globe. Her assignments abroad have come through her employer, Swedish home furnishing giant IKEA, a company she joined back in Canada in 2000. A couple of years later she moved to Moscow with her Swedish husband, also a regional director for IKEA, and the family has been expatriates ever since. Both of their teenage sons are students at the Bangkok Patana School and together they enjoy the international lives and the opportunities that comes with having a diverse upbringing, multilingual opportunities, as well as friends and family in different corners of the world. What inspired you to start Shared Philosophy? The inspiration came after a conversation with my sister in law in October 2018. She was starting her online business and I started reflecting on what I was waiting for and when would be the right time to start my own fashion label. Thinking that if I’m going to take this step it must be while I am in Thailand as I knew it would take time if I was going to take the sustainable approach and develop the local trade and build up the competence that was going to secure international quality - this was going to take time. How do you combine a full time job at IKEA, while creating your own fashion collection, taking care of the children and being a dedicated wife? I am very lucky to have a big support network in Bangkok, including my mother-in-law, two brother-in-laws and their families. They support me and my family, being around when I’m travelling and look after things while I’m away. I could not handle my side-line hobby, a fashion brand called Shared Philosophy, without fulltime and part-time staff. I am really lucky to have created something out of my hobby that I can share with friends, family and fans of Shared Philosophy. What is the back stor y to Shared Philosophy? My collection is made by women for women. Shared Philosophy comes from women who are having and sharing the same ideology. The garments are produced by family workshops managed by Thai women. These dressmakers are part of my philosophy; they share my love for sustainability and quality. With my collection, I support the women who have established a base in the Thai society of pattern making and tailoring. When you purchase a piece of Shared

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Philosophy, you are supporting women who are less fortunate than yourself. My customers are confident, know their bodies, they love wearing garments made of natural fabrics that are long lasting and fits well. You have only women in your company. What’s their background? Let’s start with my production manager Nud, who is Thai and has worked for me for nine years. She is fluent in Thai and English. She has worked and grown in our family and as the children are now 15 and 13 and want independence they need both Nud and I less. She has a passion for people and clothes. Her development into production manager was part of the decision to start Shared Philosophy last October as I knew she could prioritize leading the production with the tailors in the local community. My social media and web manager and I connected on Linked in. She is Polish and her background is marketing .She arrived in Thailand last year and has started Shared Philosophy together with me right from the start of creating the brand values and story. She is younger, a millennial who brings another insight to marketing and is super gifted when it comes to branding and social media. The models on the website are real women from different countries and backgrounds and are my friends who have agreed to support the vision of Shared Philosophy. I’m so grateful that they donate their precious time to model for Shared Philosophy and don’t mind that I shared their beautiful bodies and fantastic faces to the world. I have a photographer and makeup artist that are part of the Shared Philosophy. They have started the brand with me from day. Both are smart young Thai entrepreneur women running their own businesses Where do you source your fabrics? I try to combine family vacations with my search for the ultimate fabrics. I research what a country can offer me before we go. As an example, we went to Nepal last year for a trekking trip and there they are still producing raw silk, which is quite rare nowadays. I found a family who has been looming raw silk for decades, I absolutely fell in love with the texture and feel of their raw silk and purchased over 100 meters to work into my designs. Right now I’m investigating India, looking for its loosely woven cotton and silk and where the production is being done by women. Japanese fabrics also have an incredible quality and the Koreans are great for their design. Thailand also offers a lot with its linen and cotton knits. The challenge is not to find fabrics in Asia, but it needs to fit into my overall Shared Philosophy ideology. Who is your main target market? I believe I can style all women, give them confidence and make them feel better about themselves. My garments are perfect for a busy businesswoman who has to travel a lot, making it easy to pack, fold and combine pieces effortlessly. But also for a woman that is just looking for an amazing piece to wear for a special occasion.


Expat Women

What are the biggest obstacles facing a business like yours in Thailand? Securing quality and consistency in fit and finishing. It’s the details that count, the consistency in sizing, how seams are finished, the top stitching straight, how closings are fastened. It takes time to look at each and every garment and feedback to obtain the standard. Some tailors don’t understand why I want the fit and finishing to be perfect and have different values than I in a garment. Explaining how to run a business by international standards – how to secure timelines, learning and improving processes from ones season to the next – and working with customer feedback – this requires energy and commitment to be able to grow their businesses. The tailors are mostly speaking Thai, so Nud translates when we are in discussions about the design, fit and finishing. How do you mostly market your collection? I use the larger social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, but I also take part in home shopping

Facebook Fanpage: The BigChilli

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styling events and fashion shows, pop up shops etc. At this stage I’m open to try it all to make women familiar with Shared Philosophy. If you happen to get some time off, what do you do? “My passion and hobby is Shared Philosophy and it takes all my spare time. Both my husband Christian and I love travelling. I find inspiration from architecture, museums and other cultures. One of Christian’s hobbies is photography and video, which of course also can support Shared Philosophy. This interest has brought us close together and without my husband’s fully support, I couldn’t have started my collection.” Are you planning to stay in Thailand? I have a contract that expires in 2022 and we will see what plans the company has in mind for me and my husband. Where can customers find your collection? Verity Boutique in St Catharine’s Ontario Canada, and through my website www.Sharedphilosophy.online and Facebook and Instagram.

Twitter: @TheBigChilliMag

Instagram: The BigChilli


DBS SCHOLARSHIP DAY Empowering young people to be global leaders. Saturday 7th March 2020, 8am - 5pm at Denla British School

For future Year 3 - Year 10 students (children aged 7-15) entry in August 2020. Excellence in one or more of the following areas: • English • Maths • Science • Thai

• Sport • Music • All-round ability

Mon. 2nd Dec 19 – 21st Feb 2020

Accept applications

Tue. 4th February 2020, 9.00-10.00am

Scholarship Day information session

Fri. 28th February 2020

Announce the qualified applications

Sat. 7th March 2020, 8.00am -5.00pm

Scholarship Day (Assessment day)

Fri. 13th March 2020

Announce the results


KHARITES MEDICAL AESTHETIC CLINIC “WHERE AESTHETIC THERAPY AND MEDICAL SCIENCE MEET”

Welcome to KHARITES Medical Aesthetic Clinic, experts in providing a variety of different face and body treatments that make sure that your specific needs are met. We have therapeutic treatments as well as treatments with medicinal properties. We will ensure that it’s an unforgettable sensory experience for your face and body. “Where aesthetic therapy and medical science meet.”   OUR PROMISE  Kharites Medical Aesthetic Clinic offers non-surgical aesthetic, medical grade products, and treatment therapy by experienced and skilled staff. So you can be confident that you are receiving the best possible care. We are dedicated to ensuring securing your safety and we focus

solely on treatments that suit you. “Beautiful skin is our specialty.” YOU ARE OUR PRIORITY  We believe in listening to our patients and we customize our programs to meet their needs. We offer the service of accredited medical doctors to provide treatments that ensure the safety and satisfaction of our patients. Our clients include women and men of all age and cultures. We believe in excellence and strive to provide the highest quality services and products delivered by our knowledgeable and friendly team, including highly qualified registered nurses and skincare doctors.

NON – SURGICAL MEDICAL AESTHETIC PROGRAMS • FACE INJECTION. • ANTI - AGING SKIN NEEDLING FOR FACE & BODY (IM & IV). • MESO THERAPY PROGRAM. • MULTIVITAMIN INJECTION “VITAMIN INFUSION IV BOOST.” • PROGRAMS & MEDICAL AESTHETIC TREATMENT. • MICROFILLER MESOSCIENCE MESOFILLER. • LASER PROGRAM TREATMENTS.

• EYES & NECK PROGRAME TREATMENTS. • SKIN PEELING PROGRAM. • PREMIUM FACIAL MASK PROGRAM. • FIT & SLIMMING PROGRAME WITHOUT SURGERY FOR WEIGHT LOSS & TIGHTENNING SKIN. • THE ULTIMATE SUPER LIFTTING HIGH INTENSITY FOCUSED ULTRASOUND (HIFU). ONLY ONE TREATMENT FOR AMAZING RESULTS!

KHARITES MEDICAL AESTHETIC CLINIC 48/1 Sukhumvit City Resort Building, Sukhumvit soi 11, Klongtoey-Nea, Wattana, Bangkok, Thailand 10110. Tel : 02 168 4125, 062 558 5568, 081 588 9458. Instagram : Kharitesclinic

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School

What sets KIS apart from other international schools By Paul Johnson, headmaster of KIS

What makes KIS different and special compared to other international schools in Thailand? KIS is in its 21st year and is one of only three full continuum IB (International Baccalaureate) schools in Bangkok. All IB programmes (PYP, MYP, and DP) are challenging, accessible inquiry-based frameworks or curricula that are very wellregarded around the world. The IB diploma for students in grades 11-12 is recognized as one of the preeminent set of high school curricular standards in the world. KIS' smaller size compared to many schools in Bangkok aims to intentionally blend a student-centered approach to academics, activities, and self-discovery within the context of a smaller school community (currently KIS has about 800 students). Finally, it is KIS' carefully curated sense of community that is observable to both first-time guests and long-term KIS families that creates a welcoming and enjoyable environment for learning. While I am one of the older learners at KIS, I am excited to come to school every day!

international. For both our foreign and Thai students, it creates an environment for global understanding and sharing of perspectives while offering a rigorous and well-rounded programme. There are 55 different nationalities at KIS, all learning together in a multicultural, English speaking environment.

What are the demographics of KIS by nationality? KIS intentionally strives for diverse national representation amongst its student body and teaching faculty. Towards that end, it uses nationality guidelines in its admission processes to ensure that it remains truly

How often are pupils likely to spend on school activities at the weekend? While students at KIS are engaged in a challenging curriculum, KIS supports a balanced approach to life. Activities and Sports are available for students over the course of the

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What criteria do you use when recruiting teachers? We hire certified and experienced teachers from around the world, many with advanced degrees. In fact, we seek out teachers who are particularly experienced and heralded for their teaching of the IB programmes and who have a love of students and learning. Whatever their background, KIS teachers engage their students and want the best for them. KIS has very rigorous child protection standards that are a critical part of our hiring process and each candidate that makes the final stages of the hiring process will have had three different people from our hiring team interview them.

week and weekend, but students and families can choose the level of involvement. One of the skills that our curriculum teaches at an early age is how to pace oneself and manage the work in a balanced way. While each individual learns that lesson at differing stages of life, KIS offers an atmosphere that prioritizes the work to be done and a balance of those priorities with other elements of life that we all value. Private education is flourishing in Thailand. Why is that? Many families and students want engaging, globally-minded environments that treat students as individuals. One of the benefits of private schools is that they usually place an emphasis on those experiences, superior academic programs with smaller class sizes, and excellent facilities. How affordable are international schools in Thailand? Cost at schools within Thailand does vary. A major cost at some of the larger schools comes because of new and modern facilities as well as the expense of experienced, wellcredentialed, and English proficient faculty which many schools hire based on their school mission and vision and the demand for a more authentic international experience for students.


Expat Sport

Jason Cotsmire 1969-2019

SHL mourns loss of Jason Cotsmire A

s the Sport Corner Siam Hockey League moved towards its mid-season holiday break, the on-ice action continued to impress. However, it was off-ice events that made headlines during the past month. On December 1, the Thai hockey community suffered a huge loss with the sudden passing of Jason Cotsmire. “Cots” suffered a heart attack while playing the game he loves during a SHL match. He was a huge part of the origins of the Thai National Team, played in the Siam Hockey League, and was always involved with the Flying Farang Hockey Club. The Thai hockey community honoured Cots and his family at a memorial hockey game on December 18. Visit the SHL website (www.siamhockeyleague.com) to see where friends and hockey fans can donate to a fund set up to help the Cotsmire family. We all know Cots would have been so proud with what transpired on December 8, as the Thai National Team won the Southeast Asian Games championship with a resounding 8-0 win against Singapore. It was a week of dominating performances by Thailand, led by head coach Juhani Ijas; the team showed why they have quickly become the best hockey program in the region. The SHL was well

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ire

Jason Cotsm

Photography by Tadamasa Nagayama

r represented as many league players were instrumental in Thailand capturing the gold. T The SHL was also very proud to be involved in the iinspirational journey of Ryan Straschnitzki. Ryan was one of tthe Humboldt Broncos seriously injured when their team bus was hit by a semi-truck back in Canada, April, 2018, b killing 16 players, coaches, and staff, while also injuring 12. k Straschnitzki was paralyzed in the crash, and underwent a special experimental surgery in Thailand. He took a major sstride in his journey this past month when he returned to tthe ice and put on an amazing show of stickhandling skills with a group of SHL players. w On the ice, the SHL standings are a logjam at the top, with Novotel, Hertz and Peak all sitting tied with identical w 66-4 records. Aware, at 2-8, sits in fourth place, losers of five sstraight. Aware’s Corry Day is the league’s leading scorer with 14 points followed closely by Peak’s Jesse Starosta w with 13. w With the final games of the SHL season on December 115, the league will break and return with games ccommencing on January 12. Check out the SHL BigChilli podcast here: https://siamhockeyleague.com/week-8-news/ h


Full IB Diploma Scholarship. Apply Now!

KIS International School is inviting ambitious academically strong and well-rounded students to apply for the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma scholarship, also known as the “One Million Baht Scholarship”, for the academic year 2020-2021 onward. Well respected in the international community, KIS scholarship winners receive full tuition for the two-year programme, value up to 1.8 million Baht. Students with high IB Diploma scores go to universities in the US, the UK, Europe and elsewhere.  7KH´2QH0LOOLRQ%DKWµVFKRODUVKLSLVRSHQWRDOODSSOLFDQWVZKRDUHÁXHQW in English and currently in Grade 10 (Year 11). Limited academic and partial scholarships for other secondary school grades are also available. Full conditions and details of the scholarships are available from admissions@kis.ac.th www.kis.ac.th.

EElectrifying Grade A Tennis

T Thailand World Seniors Championship The IT ITF Grade A tournament was recently held at F Fitz Club, sponsored by The Aspen Tree by Magnolia Quality Development Corporation M L Limited, Singha Corporation and Dunlop, b bringing together over 200 top tennis players from over 15 countries throughout the 7-day fr p prestigious and coveted event. Highlights in included a fantastic BBQ dinner party at Fitz Club pool and a delightful Afternoon F T Tea which added value to the fast-paced and en entertaining matches.

TheBigChilli Th Bi Chilli

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Reporter’s notebook

Pol Gen Sereepisut with the plaque (opposite page) given to him by the Los Angeles County Sherriff's Department honouring him for his distinguished dedication and professional commitment to law enforcement.

Revisiting great stories of the past – Part 8

Clean cop back on the job – and has the mafia in his sights Veteran correspondent Maxmilian Wechsler recalls some of his most interesting and exclusive assignments from the past two decades.

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FROM THE YEAR 2005 After being ‘absent’ for some time, well-known crime-buster Police General Sereepisut Taemeeyaves takes up where he left off to clean up Thailand. Police General Sereepisut Taemeeyaves, Deputy Crackdown on extortion Commissioner-General of the Royal Thai Police, is once again making headlines, both in the local media and Pol Gen Sereepisut’s most well-known case is probably international press. the break-up of the gang that was extorting money from The officer is not out for publicity, however. He is on hundreds of street vendors at the Bo Bae garment market a crusade against the mafia who extort money, threaten in Bangkok. people and inflict huge financial losses to the government Pol Gen Sereepisut is also chairman of the Committee in order to put millions of baht into their own pockets. Against Roadside Mafia, whose objective is to eradicate the His campaign against the Thai mafia has already resulted mafia’s activities and overhaul the system at Bo Bae. in the apprehension of many suspects, some of them He said that extortion had been going on at the market government servants and even “men in uniform.” for a long time and that some government officials were One of his staff members confided that his crusade involved. This contributed to the perception that they against criminals – “whoever and wherever they are” – had could get away with violent acts. come to a halt a few years ago for reasons that no one in “That’s why the prime minister and Deputy Prime his office really wanted to talk about. Pol Gen Sereepisut Minister Chidchai Wannasathit made me in charge of himself said: “If your superiors don’t give you any enforcing law and order for street vending in the area. important assignment, how can you show your ability?” “Since we started the suppression of the mafia at Bo His office, Bae in April, located at until the the Royal crackdown Thai Police stopped in headquarters, September, “IN RECOGNITION FOR YOUR DISTINGUISHED DEDICATION TO is in a state we have THE LAW ENFORCEMENT PROFESSION, YOUR PROFESSIONALISM of controlled successfully AND COMMITMENT REFLECTS HIGHLY UPON OUR LAW ENFORCEMENT chaos, with prosecuted PROFESSION. THE LOS ANGELES COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT officials 93 cases JOINS YOU AND IS LOOKING FORWARD TO A CONTINUING working at all involving 199 RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR DEPARTMENT.” hours while suspects. No ordinary more offences OCTOBER 2005 citizens have been come to reported express their after the grievances and ask for help. crackdown. I can say that they [mafia] have gone and His small private corner is decorated with no fancy no extortion is going on there at this moment. I have a furniture, only the cabinets for the files and documents number of undercover men there,” said the officer. needed to keep him up to date on a large number of However, some vendors are still pessimistic. Because of investigations. their suspicions about the state system, they don’t believe “I have been in the police force for many years,” said that the extortion gang has been really wiped out. one of the policemen in his office, “but working here is the One garment vendor said: “After a while, when the most active. My boss doesn’t allow much rest. We have publicity subsides, the gangsters will return. As far as we to work around the clock. His comeback will definitely know, not even one mastermind was arrested.” benefit our country. He is the worst nightmare for the A policeman attached to the local Phlapphia Chai 1 mafia, and with three years before his retirement, they police station said the police know who are behind the should brace for more troubles.” extortion racket but they can’t do anything because his Pol Gen Sereepisut admitted that he is facing an acute underlings do not dare to implicate them for fear of their shortage of personnel, equipment and other resources. own safety. “I need more support from my superiors. For example, I Pol Gen Sereepisut acknowledged that the gang has not need them to provide me with official vehicles. My staff been eliminated. “I know that some bad people, including and myself must arrange our own transportation. I have to some in uniform, are still roaming around the market, ‘borrow’ policemen from other departments, which is not waiting for the opportunity to resume their business, always easy. With more staff, equipment and budget, we which has made them and the people behind them a lot of could perform our assignments more efficiently,” he said money. At this moment they are afraid,” he said. modestly. Inside the market there is a red fan with the written

Royal Thai Police

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Reporter’s notebook

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message: “If you are intimidated or asked for protection money, please inform Pol Gen Sereepisut Taemeeyaves,â€? with a PO Box number, phone numbers and website address. Vendors at another Bangkok market in Klong Toey also lodged a complaint with Pol Gen Sereepisut about extortion. The ofďŹ cer asked the vendors: “Why are you paying money to the extortionists and why are you afraid of them?â€? They replied that when someone refused to pay, the gangsters would harass them, so they had to comply with the maďŹ a. Afterwards, Pol Gen Sereepisut ordered the Thonglor police station, which has jurisdiction over the market, to take “resolute actionâ€? against the offenders. A number of them were arrested and some had their assets seized as well. The extortion stopped and everything is quiet there now. After inspecting street vending locations in many areas of Bangkok, Pol Gen Sereepisut has urged the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration to take action against those who obstruct footpaths, as pedestrians are forced to walk on the road and risk being run over. ‘Hero of Na Kae’ Another high-proďŹ le case that Pol Gen Sereepisut has been investigating and that has drawn much attention from the public is the longan purchase scandal, in which at least 43,000 tons of dried longan went missing from export stocks between July and December of last year. “The corruption in the price stabilising scheme cost the government 495 million baht. It involves around 3,000 suspects, including businessmen, politicians, civil servants and farmers. Up to now 1,670 have been prosecuted and the remaining cases will be processed by the end of October or early next month,â€? he said. Another scandal involved 108 Bangkok Metropolitan policemen attached to the Anti-car Theft Division accused of involvement in the smuggling of stolen vehicles from Malaysia into Thailand. “The vehicles were subsequently put up for auction through the Customs Department and bought up cheaply, with an eye to resell for proďŹ t,â€? Pol Gen Sereepisut said, adding that the actions of these police ofďŹ cers were

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serious legal violations that would justify their dismissal. The case is destined for the National Counter-Corruption Commission. Pol Gen Sereepisut is not afraid of the maďŹ a, and anyone who remembers a time when he fought communist insurgents in Na Kae district of Nakhon Phanom province in early 1970s would be inclined to believe him. The area was one of the most dangerous places in the country. He fought the insurgents both by force and peaceful means, until he won the support of the local population, who extolled him as the “Hero of Na Kae.â€? “Therefore, these extortionists won't scare him,â€? said one of his staff members, who urged people to read Silver Star of the Faith, which describes the life of Pol Gen Sereepisut, including the period when he was stationed at Na Kae. Despite his well-deserved reputation as a tough and uncompromising man, Pol Gen Sereepisut’s appearance and behaviour is quite humble. At one point he said: “I love to look after plants on my plot of land, to decorate my house and to read. I jog at least eight kilometres each day.â€? When he was in charge of the Central Investigation Bureau, Pol Gen Sereepisut ordered all personnel to exercise regularly in Lumpini Park. “Our ďŹ tness was periodically checked. He wants his staff to be in good physical and mental condition,â€? said one of his subordinates at the Central Investigation Bureau. Pol Gen Sereepisut said that by and large he doesn’t get much support or commendation from Thai ofďŹ cials. So it is a bit ironic that the Los Angeles County Sherriff’s Department recently honoured him for his distinguished dedication and professional commitment to law enforcement. LA County Sheriff Leroy Baca and Deputy Sheriff Keith Chatprapachai travelled to Thailand and presented him with a plaque bearing a large LA County Sheriff’s badge in a ceremony at the Royal Thai Police headquarters on October 14 of 2005. The Thai-born deputy sheriff noted that Pol Gen Sereepisut is the ďŹ rst Royal Thai Police ofďŹ cer to receive this recognition. He also said that the Thai community in California, which is very large, had closely followed the ofďŹ cer’s campaign against the maďŹ a. Asked what inspired him to ďŹ ght the maďŹ a, Pol Gen Sereepisut said: “When I was young I saw many injustices, and I made a pledge to be a good policeman.â€?

Behind the stor y: Two things surprised me when I met with Pol Gen Sereepisuth. First was the tiny size of his ofďŹ ce, which lacked expensive furniture and any decoration. The second was his uniform showing four silver stars, signifying the highest rank in the Thai police — but almost no medals or other decorations of any sort. It’s common to see police ofďŹ cers of lower rank displaying all sorts of adornments on their shirts. Known within the force for his humility and high character, Pol Gen Sereepisuth prefers to keep his numerous decorations elsewhere.


When your car is stolen What does it feel like to wake up in the morning and ďŹ nd that your car is gone? Three victims of car theft gangs reveal their sad experiences.

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ctober 29, 2005 is a date that Wirat will never forget. On that day his green 2000 four-wheeldrive Mitsubishi Strada was stolen from Saensuk housing estate off Sukhumvit Road Soi 103 in Bangkok. “There isn’t much room to park the car by my house, so I always left it on the street, not too far away. I have been living here for many years and it has always been a quiet area without any crime. We have never heard of a car theft on our street. I never imagined it would happen here and to me,� said the 38-year-old Fuji-Xerox technician. “I arrived home at 5.30pm on October 28 and parked the car in the usual place, only to discover at 5.45am the next morning that it was gone. My bag with Buddha amulets, a driving licence, a bankbook and insurance documents were in the car,� said Wirat. He immediately alerted his family and neighbours, many of whom were having breakfast along the street. One told him that he had seen the car at 1am.

Wirat then went to Bang Na police station to report the loss of the Mitsubishi. “The police were helpful and expressed their sympathy, saying that car theft in the area is rising and they have increased the number of patrols there,â€? he said, adding that the insurance people were also very helpful. “They asked about my background, whether I have debts, and the circumstances of the theft. They also photographed the location where the car was stolen. After that, the insurance company informed me that I could collect a cheque for 340,000 baht on December 2. I bought the car for 610,000 baht.â€? Wirat suspects that a small car repair shop on Sukhumvit Road Soi 77 had something to do with the theft. “I left the car there at 11am on October 28 – one day before it was stolen – and collected it at 3pm I selected this particular shop because it is close to my ofďŹ ce. Along with the car keys, I left another key for unlocking the anti-theft bar (that locks the pedals). Some of the workers probably

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Reporter’s notebook copied it and followed me home,” my address and told them he speculated. what happened. One of my He reported this to the police neighbours told me that the and the insurance company and car was still there at 1.30am. showed them a receipt from the I was shocked but my son shop. The police didn’t go there doubly so. He loved it because but the insurance company did. it was the first car he had ever To avoid confrontation, Wirat has driven,” recalled Chai. been careful not to go near the A police patrol car arrived shop since the theft. within 10 minutes. The Wirat plans to use part of officers asked him what the reimbursement as a down had happened and told him payment for a new Toyota Vigo. to make an official report But he won’t install an electronic with the local Bag Na police alarm this time because, in his station. opinion, it cannot stop thieves Chai, his wife and mother who can easily disable it. He went there immediately. prefers mechanical devices that It took about two hours to lock the pedals (clutch, brake complete the documentation and accelerator) because they both with the police and with present a would-be thief with the insurance company. The more of a challenge. insurance people went to take He says that such devices photos at the crime scene successfully protected the four and said that it would take cars he has owned in the last approximately three months 20 years. Obviously they aren’t or more to complete the much help if the thieves are able investigation. The company to copy the keys to all devices, informed the family later plus ignition and door lock, as he on that they would receive suspects was the case with his 420,000 baht for the Sport car. Ryder, which had first-class Wirat has learned his lesson insurance. and offers this advice to fellow “The police and the Wirat points to the spot where his Mitsubushi Strada was stolen. motorists: “Don’t park your car insurance staff were helpful, on the street overnight, do it only but judging from their in a secure place. Secondly, when you service your vehicle attitude, I got the message that it was over and we would use reputable dealers and leave them only the ignition never get the car back,” said Chai. The car was not key.” equipped with an alarm or any other anti-theft device. Nor had the door lock been changed after Chai lost his Strike two bag containing car keys and ID cards showing his home address. However, he doesn’t suspect a connection. On November 5, 2005 – only one week after Wirat’s “We had been talking for some time about whether to Mitsubishi was stolen and police increased their patrols, install the alarm but decided that since the car was already car thieves struck again in the Saensuk housing estate. six years old no one would waste time stealing it,” he Chai and his family lost their red, diesel-powered Toyota explained. Sport Ryder, which had been parked opposite their home. Ironically, one day before the car was stolen he had “Our house’s compound can accommodate only one driven it to a car shop to inspect anti-theft devices but car, and we decided to keep our new Toyota sedan there. decided not to install one. Chai has no clue why someone I never imagined that someone would steal a six-year-old would target the car. The car also had several pairs of Sport Ryder,” said the 50-year-old government official. His shoes and some clothes in it. “We had been thinking about mother bought it for him brand new for 750,000 baht cash. trading it in for another car, but our plans have all gone up We have been living here for 25 years. The neighbourhood in smoke,” Chai lamented. has always been quiet and peaceful until the construction Everyone in the neighbourhood knows about the theft, of condominiums nearby, and many strangers came.” and no one leaves their car in the street overnight any Chai, who shared the Sport Ryder with his son Somsak, more. last saw the vehicle on the evening of November 4, when he locked it up and left it outside the house as usual. When Car strippers busted he got up at 7.30am the next morning, the car was gone. “I couldn’t believe my eyes! I alerted my family, For 75-year-old Bunlong, it was a double shock when then called the 191 police emergency number. I gave his blue Isuzu Dragon pick-up was stolen. After the

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police found it two days later, the vehicle was completely dismantled. Because his house was flooded, Bunlong parked the car on Sukhapiban 1 Road in the Bang Plee area on the outskirts of Bangkok around 5pm on November 12, 2005. Twelve hours later, it was gone. A witness said he saw the car still parked there at 2am. It obviously didn’t bother the thieves that the car was parked about 200 m from Bang Plee police station, and the mechanical locks apparently presented them with no obstacle. “I couldn’t believe my eyes when I discovered that the car wasn’t there. I was heart-broken, especially because it wasn’t insured. I thought that insurance wasn’t necessary anymore because I didn’t drive it very often and it was over three years old,” Bunlong said. He reported the theft at Bang Plee police station near his house and they got back to him surprisingly soon afterward on November 15 with word that his car had been found in a garage in U Thong district in Suphan Buri province, about 150 km from Bangkok. The victim discovered to his horror when he visited the garage accompanied by Bang Plee policemen on November 16 that his vehicle had already been stripped, with the engine actually standing next to it although thankfully still mostly intact. He also saw a treasure trove of car parts, including radios and CD players, on three floors of the garage that has since been closed down by the police. A man who had been arrested for another offence in Kanchanaburi province brought the police to the garage located in U Thong district, where more than 10 cars were found partly or wholly dismantled. The parts were to be sold to repair shops. The man admitted to being a member

of a car-theft gang and to having stolen Bunlong’s car. Bunlong decided to bring what was left of his car back home for restoration. “I paid 9,000 baht for a crane-truck to bring the carcass and what else I could salvage of the car back home. It will cost some 100,000 baht to recreate a drivable vehicle, and an additional 35,000 baht for a new coat of paint,” he said. Bunlong bought the car brand new in 2002 for 570,000 baht, with a 250,000 baht down payment and made 48 installments of 5,800 baht each. He still owes the finance company seven months worth of payments. A few days after the theft, Bunlong bought a brand new Chevrolet Colorado and decided to install a mechanical anti-theft device instead of an electronic alarm.

Behind the stor y: One police officer introduced me to eight victims of car theft, but only three of them agreed to talk on record. The policeman wasn’t present during the interviews, but he later gave some details about this type of crime. It was a bit scary to learn how quickly and easily experienced crooks can steal any car or motorcycle. From that day on I have always made sure my car is parked in a safe place, never left on the street at night, and nothing valuable is left inside. Also, and this is quite important, the policeman said that car owner should be careful when using a car wash or any kind of repair shop. In some cases crooked employees copied the car keys, followed the driver and stole the car later on.

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DIPLOMATS ‡ Meet the people uniting nations

His Excellency Ahmed Nuhu Bamalli ‘Giant of Africa’ has great business potential for Thailand, says Nigerian Ambassador

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Diplomat: H.E. Ahmed Nuhu Bamalli

‘Giant of Africa’ has great business potential for Thailand, says Nigerian Ambassador Words MAXMILIAN WECHSLER

His Excellency Ahmed Nuhu Bamalli is among the most visible diplomats in Bangkok, and that’s not only because of the elegant traditional outfits that make him stand out in a crowd.

T

he highly educated Nigerian ambassador has been an active member of the local diplomatic corps since coming to Thailand in November 2017. “I enjoy my work here and I am happy. What’s more, the Nigerian mission here is accomplishing our tasks and mandate,’’ said Mr Bamalli in a recent inter view at his embassy in Bangkok. During the course of the inter view he explained that Nigeria is no longer a big consumer of Thai rice, but is now importing Thai rice processing equipment and expertise. He sees many more opportunities for next-level cooperation between Thailand and his oil and gem-rich nation. Background The ambassador was born on June 8, 1966 in Zaria city of Kaduna State, which is one of the oldest provinces in northern Nigeria. “It is an emirate, founded by my greatgrandfather around 1804. Prior to that, it was a part of various kingdoms and settlements. But from 1804 there has been an emirate system operating in the whole of northern Nigeria, and it is still in place today. “My late father, H.E. Nuhu Bamalli, held the princely title of Magajin Garin Zazzau. In the English translation it is much like lord mayor. The title is given to the second most senior royal family member in the Zaria emirate. “On October 1, 1960, Nigeria became an independent state. My father was an important figure in the struggle for independence. He was appointed a junior minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in 1960 and in 1965 became the Foreign Minister. In fact he addressed the UN General Assembly in New York that same year. “After his passing in 2001 at the age of 84, I took over

the Magajin Garin Zazzau title. However, since I am still pursuing my career I don’t stay in the emirate to oversee a district like most of the title holders. Therefore, I only retain the title and then advice the emir from time to time when the need arises. The emir assigns some responsibilities to me, especially representation in functions that he is not personally attending. “I took my primary and secondary education in Kaduna city and then went to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria to study law. That’s my first degree; I also have a Master’s degree in international affairs and diplomacy, and I’ve taken courses at a number of educational institutes at home and abroad, mostly for short programs on leadership. I attended Harvard and Oxford universities as well as Northwestern University in Chicago and the University of Pennsylvania. “Most of my professional life has been in the banking sector, even though I studied law and international relations. From conventional banking I moved to Nigerian Security Printing and Minting, which produces our currency as well as security papers for the Nigerian government. I held two positions there: executive director of corporate services and general administration, and subsequently, managing director on the board of directors, where I served for almost two years. “After leaving the minting company, I went back to Oxford University to study. I was at the university when the present government invited me to be a part of the transitional committee in Kaduna State. After the transition period I was appointed to the Electoral Commission in my state, and a few months down the line I was nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari to be Ambassador to Thailand. So as you can see, I came to diplomatic service in a roundabout way. “I joined the Nigerian foreign ministry in late 2016.

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This is the ministry where my late father and other top pioneer diplomats laid the foundation of foreign service in Nigeria. I accepted because I’ve always felt a connection with foreign services, and with my family and educational background I’ve found it very easy to adjust to this position. My younger brother is a career diplomat. He is currently an assistant director at the MFA’s Trade and Investment Department. He has served in Ireland and Ghana and is now back in Abuja (Nigeria’s capital), waiting for another posting.” New embassy, new approaches “I arrived in Thailand for the first time in November 2017, when I took my ambassadorial post. My first Asian trip was to Malaysia. My term is four years, which can be extended depending on the wishes of the government. I also cover Myanmar, where there is a large Nigerian community,” Mr Bamalli said. “We have a good working partnership with the Thai government that builds on the cordial relations that began soon after Nigeria’s inception in 1962. That very year our two countries established diplomatic relations. Our embassy was opened in Bangkok in 2000,” said the ambassador. “When I first arrived the embassy was in Sukhumvit Soi 71. We moved to the current location in Sukhumvit 61 in May 2018. I like this place. It is very good in terms of security and it’s a great neighborhood. There are a number of ambassadors residing in this area. It is a very quiet area. My family lives outside the embassy and we love the place. “The embassy has seven officials from Nigeria and about 16 Thai employees. When our citizens need consular assistance they come here. We have an immigration and passport control area at the embassy and we do all the passport services here. Our Consular section is very busy because we issue documents to our citizens living in the Philippines, Hong Kong and Cambodia from here. A diplomat just took 200 passports from the embassy to our people in the Philippines. We have a consulate there but they don’t issue passports. We process everything here and send it to the Philippines or to other countries with our diplomats. It takes our nationals 17 hours to fly to Nigeria to obtain a new passport, which is not feasible. “In 2018 about 1,400 Nigerians resided in Thailand, but I think the number has gone down significantly since then. Now it is maybe 700 to 800. Our nationals are not obliged to register with the embassy but we would prefer

Ambassador Ahmed Nuhu Bamalli in traditional Nigerian Royal attire.

them to do so if they plan to stay here long-term. “People don’t normally come to the embassy unless they have issues. The relationship between Nigerian citizens here and Thai authorities has improved significantly since my arrival and most Nigerian citizens here now have their documents in order and everything is valid. The harassment of our nationals has decreased. It used to be bad,” said Mr Bamalli. “Some of our nationals hired Thai lawyers, but they couldn’t do anything because our people were taken straight away taken to the Immigration Detention Centre and deported. Some of those people were unruly and we don’t have any issue with their treatment. Others were completely innocent of any wrongdoing, however, and oftentimes it came down to a misunderstanding of what was needed from them. “Many times they had the proper documents but didn’t know what they were supposed to present. So I went to see high-ranking officials at the ministries of foreign affairs, Interior and Justice to request English translations of the relevant documents so that we can at least assist our citizens in understanding and fulfilling the visa requirements. “Many Nigerians were arrested simply because they

Relations between Nigerian citizens living here and Thai authorities have improved significantly since my arrival and most Nigerian citizens here now have their documents in order and everything is valid. The harassment of our nationals has decreased. It used to be bad.

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The ambassador’s father, H.E. Nuhu Bamalli, addressing UN General Assembly in 1965 as Nigerian Foreign Affairs Minister.

Ambassador Bamalli at the traditional Durban after the fasting in the month of Ramadan.

could not understand the documents written in Thai language or converse with the immigration police because of language barrier. Thereby contributing to the delay in renewing their stay permit and other related issues,” pointed out Ambassador Bamalli.

in a big way. Apart from oil, Nigeria has very large deposits of gems. A number of Thai citizens already engage with Nigerian entrepreneurs in that field. During gem and jewelry trade fairs we see a number of Nigerians coming here. It is a huge market and business. Nigeria is an agrarian country and there are many opportunities for agricultural cooperation with Thailand as well. “Thailand and Nigeria are already collaborating in many areas, including technical support in health and related areas. The potential for growth between our two countries is very good. Nigeria will soon be one of the world’s most populous countries. We are already the number one economy in Africa. We are already being called the ‘giant of Africa’. Thailand is also taking a big role as a major regional player. We can do a lot together. There have in the past been important high-level visits on both sides and this is something I am trying to promote. I want to create a road map of high-level visits at different times,” Mr Bamalli said. “Nigeria is truly a giant of Africa. Most of the countries surrounding Nigeria are not bigger than some our states. Lagos has a population of 20 million and Kano state has about 20 million people also. My state of Kaduna has about 12 million people. Most of the countries surrounding Nigeria have a population of less than 12 million. We are telling Thai entrepreneurs and investors, if you will invest in Nigeria, for example, apart from nearly 200 million population we have in Nigeria, by extension you might be serving to additional 100-150 million people in Niger Republic, in Chad, in Ghana, in Cameroon and in Benin Republic that surround Nigeria. Our products get to all these countries. That’s why the Thai embassy in Abuja covers I believe 10 or 11 countries.”

Economic expansion “Nigeria has almost 200 million people, so obviously we have a lot of purchasing power. Nigerian people eat a lot of rice and potatoes as well. For many years Nigeria has been buying a lot of rice from Thailand, and that has contributed to the strength and stability of our relationship,” Mr Bamalli said. “But in recent years we began growing rice at home, and we plan to achieve full rice sufficiency just like Thailand. Presently we don’t buy rice from any other part of the world. We grow our own rice and buy the means to process the rice. So now we are not buying rice from Thailand, but what we are buying is equipment for rice mills and other agricultural implements. “Thailand exports rice mills to Nigeria and Nigerians are coming here to buy machinery to process our homegrown rice. That’s what is happening now. After Nigerians acquire rice mills here, Thai people accompany them back to Nigeria and stay there for three or four weeks to set up and test the equipment also to train local people. We want to export rice to our neighboring countries. I believe that if Thai entrepreneurs invest in Nigeria’s agricultural sector they are going to make a good profit. We have about 60 types of rice in Nigeria. “Nigeria is an oil-rich country, among the top ten in terms of oil reserves. We export oil to many parts of the world and we are hoping that in the very near future we will be exporting natural gas and also crude oil to Thailand

Nigerians are coming to Thailand to buy machinery to process our home-grown rice. After Nigerians acquire rice mills here, Thai people accompany them back to Nigeria to set up and test the equipment also to train local people.

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English is vital “English is the official language of Nigeria. Students speak English in all schools, hospitals and courts – everywhere. All government forms and communications are in English as well. It is good that we have a common language because ethnically Nigeria is quite diverse. “We have three principal ethic groups and each group has its own distinct language. In the North, where I come from, we have the Hausa-Fulani, in the East it is the Igbo tribe and in the West, around Lagos, we have the Yorubas. Throughout the country there are smaller ethnic groups that speak their own languages. So the English language gives us all a means of communicating with each other, which obviously is very important. “We have over 250 ethnic groups in Nigeria and the same number of languages. That’s why we cannot communicate except in English.” Pointing to a diplomat who joined the interview, Mr Bamalli said. “He can’t understand what I am saying in my language, and I can’t understand him either. “Religious preferences are quite diverse in Nigeria as well, and religion is something that can be very contentious. We have two principal religions – Islam and Christianity. I am a Muslim. There are many people who are into traditional religious practices and also a very small number of atheists. “If you are familiar with our styles of modern, traditional dress, as soon as you see someone you can tell what part of Nigeria they come, north, west or east. Smaller tribes also have distinctive apparel designs, and of course, different cultural features. In Nigeria, we have the option of choosing a traditional outfit or conventional Western attire. As long as it is proper attire it is all acceptable in official functions and the workplace and in government office.” Visiting Nigeria “To visit Nigeria Thais need a visa. We issue visas here at the embassy within 24 hours once the papers are in order. There are several airlines flying to Nigeria. Our national carrier doesn’t come to Thailand, but you can from Bangkok to Addis Ababa with Ethiopian Airlines and from there you go to Abuja. There are also flights to and from Kano and other cities. Or you can fly Emirates from Bangkok to Dubai and then to either Lagos or Abuja. Egypt Air has regular flights to and from Bangkok and from Cairo you can fly direct to Abuja. Another alternative is Turkish Airlines. “Since my arrival here the number of Thai people travelling to Nigeria has gone up, although it is still not so many. Before between 100 and 200 Thais visited Nigeria every year, but in the past year this increased to about 500.” Personal “I have a big family in Nigeria and I communicate with them regularly by mobile phone. In fact, every morning I see my mother on the mobile. “I lived many years in Lagos, which is much like

Bangkok. It is quite busy, a lot of traffic and densely populated. That’s why I am not bothered about the traffic in Bangkok. You could say Lagos is a commercial city like New York and Abuja is more like Washington DC. It is the administrative capital, with about six million people compared with 20 million people. I enjoy working in Abuja, but I also like Lagos. “I’ve spent 26 years working in the banking, telecommunications, manufacturing and public sectors. And this is why after attending an intensive 4-month course at the University of York, I was made a Senior Chevening Fellow, which is honor bestowed on people with significant professional achievements.” Mr Bamalli is also an alumnus of the Harvard Business School, where he earned a GMP in 2011. He holds the royal title of Magajin Garin Zazzau, the second most senior princely title of the Zazzau Emirate. “In closing Mr Bamalli said: “I am happily married to Mairo A. Bamalli, and we are blessed with five children, one boy and four girls”

Brief CV of H.E. Ahmed Nuhu Bamalli Professional experience • Ambassador (a) Kingdom of Thailand, 2017- present. (b) Republic of the Union of Myanmar, 2017- present. • Commissioner Kaduna State Independent Electoral Commission, 2015-2017. a) Commissioner in charge of finance. b) In charge of 4 Electoral Zones in the State. • Acting Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer & ED Corporate Services Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Plc, November 2011-2014. (a) Executive director in charge of corporate services, 2011-2012. (b) Managing Director, 2012-2014. • General Manager Human Resources Management Nigerian Mobile Telecommunications Limited (MTEL), 2007-2009. • Assistant Director Abuja Metropolitan Management Agency, 2006-2007. • Regional Manager Public Sector (Joined as Deputy Manager in 1998 and rose through the system to senior manager Grade) FSB International Bank Plc, 1998-2006. • Assistant Manager KMC Nigeria limited/First Security Discount House (FSDH), 1992-1998. Education • 2015: Oxford University UK Diploma in Organizational Leadership. • 2009: University of York [Fellowship on Conflict Resolution (Senior Chevening Fellow)]. • 2002: Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Master’s degree in International Affairs and Diplomacy. • 1998: Enugu State University of Science and Technology (Post Graduate Diploma in Management). • 1989: Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (L.LB Hons). Appointments • Commissioner, Kaduna State Independent Electoral Commissioner, 2016- 2017. • Member, Transition Committee Kaduna State, 2016. • Director Harvard Business School Association of Nigeria, 2014-2015. • President African Banknote Association, 2013-2014. • Chairman Board of Directors, Tawada Limited (Subsidiary of Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Plc), November 2012-2014. • Director Laurman Limited, 2009-2010. • Director Ryden Oil and Gas, 2009-2010. • Royal title of Magajin Garin Zazzau: 2001- present.

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Social|Last Month’s Best Events

XIV Argentina ti Embassy b Polo l Cup

The 14th annual ‘Argentina Embassy Polo Cup’ held at the Thai Polo and Equestrian Club in Chonburi attracted a large crowd of JXHVWVLQFOXGLQJORFDOSHUVRQDOLWLHVRIĂ€FLDOV Ambassadors, accredited diplomatic corps and the resident Argentine community. Sponsors of this popular event included Bentley, B Grimm Group, BMW, Don Asado, Franck Dubarry Watches, Maxwing, Saint Andrews School and Villa Market.

Christmas gathering

Popular couple Adrian Borg Cardona and Sathu Surasak hosted a fabulous Christmas party complete with superb cuisine and music by a choir in the PDJQLĂ€FHQWJDUGHQVRI  Agalico, Sukhumvit Soi 53.

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Social

‡ Last month’s best events in pictures

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Social|Last Month’s Best Events

Onyx thanks its supporters

Onyx Hospitality Group held a Client Appreciation Party with a Night of Greek Odyssey, with food, drinks, entertainment and lucky draw for its supporters of the group’s Bangkok hotels for 2019.

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Santa Lucia spectacular

Many Swedes together with representatives from the diplomatic community and more than 500 Thai and other local guests enjoyed a beautiful ‘Santa Lucia’ reception at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, with a special appearance by the “Gosskören, the Little Boy’s Choir” from Gothenburg, Sweden.

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Christmas Tree Charity

Mom Luang Sarali Kitiyakara represented HRH Princess Soamsawali Krom Muen Suddhanarinatha at the annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, organised by Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel to raise funds for the Friends in Need (of “PA”) Volunteers Foundation, Thai Red Cross and to thank the hotel’s loyal clients and friends including Numéro Thailand and The Thailanders magazines, many sponsors and celebrity artists.

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Christmas Cocktails

Ambassadors and their spouses from several counties joined the Centara Grand at CentralWorld executives for festive cocktails at the Centara Christmas Market by Sky Lobby, posed IRUVHOÀHVDWWKH*LQJHUEUHDGKRXVH which offers 24 European Christmas cookies, and sampled homemade Christmas bread “Stollen”, gingerbread, Panettone, or traditional Yule log cake.

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Irish Community Celebration

H.E. Mr Joseph Anthony Cotter, Irish Ambassador to Thailand, hosted an Irish Community Celebration at Sky Lounge, Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn Bangkok. In attendance were numerous guests from the Irish Thai Chamber of Commerce and Irish Expats in Bangkok.

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Double Culture Indulgence

Maggie Choo’s took over ABar at Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park to indulge in a little fantasy of 1930’s Shanghai life but in a sophisticated London setting. With Shanghainese girls, blues band, disco DJ and Asian-infused cocktails, Maggie Choo’s cabaret entertained guests and Benz Blues rocked through the night until 2am.

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Scots have a ball

The Bangkok St Andrew’s Annual Ball, hosted by the Amari Watergate Hotel, was yet another resounding success with lots of great food, wine and music by ‘Bahookie’ from Glasgow, plus displays of traditional and modern Scottish dancing by the Gordon School of Dancing. Two pipe bands from the British and Vajarivudh College entertained a large crowd.

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Social|Last Month’s Best Events

Seasonal Anniversary Special

Bully’s celebrated their 15 year Anniversary Party featuring sponsors from Bangkok Vodka and local beer vendors while serving food from their new Vegetarian and Vegan menus. With live music and Christmas cocktails, the evening was the season’s p special!

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Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Swissotel Bangkok Ratchada, led by GM Mr Bruno Rotschaedl, hosted the hotel’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony 2019. The event was presided over by H.E. Mrs Helen Budliger Artieda, Ambassador of Switzerland to the Kingdom of Thailand, and her spouse, Mr Alex Artieda de la Sotta, to celebrate the festive season and the hotel’s 20th anniversary.

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BBartender Competition

C Campari Group and Alchemy Wines & Spirits Thailand hosted W Campari Bartender Competition C Thailand 2019 as part of the T Campari Bartender Competition C Asia 2019. The winner was A ““Tamaryn Cooper” who will be Á ÁRZQWR0LODQLQ,WDO\ WKH b birthplace of Campari) for the À ÀQDOFRPSHWLWLRQLQ-DQXDU\

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Charity Afternoon Tea & Fashion

Her Royal Highness Princess Bajrakitiyabha Narendira Debyavati presided over Charity Afternoon Tea and Fashion Show, ‘Kid-Tueng-Por-Yang-Por-Piang’, organised by Caring Hearts for AIDS Foundation and Swissotel Bangkok Ratchada at the hotel’s Le Concorde Ballroom, with proceeds going to support underprivileged children at Chalermprakiet 48 Pansa School.

Wisdom of Thai Cuisine R-Haan invited special guests and media to launch the “ROYAL SYMPHONY THAI SAMRUB: WINTER SEASON” on December 19 with an all new creative menu by internationally renowned Chef Chumpol Jangprai. R-Haan was awarded 2 Michelin stars for year 2020.

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Candlelight Beach Grand Opening

The newly-opened “Eleven Hotel Bangkok” hosted its grand opening party under the theme “Candlelight Beach” with over a hundred of guests attending and enjoying live music, complimentary gifts, food, refreshments, and grand prizes such as accommodation and dining vouchers.

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Luxury Spa Treatment

MATES’ RATES Need a quick cheap getaway? Check out these great offers

Cape Spa by Cape Hotel Collection presents the “Cape Spa Signature” treatment with premium ingredients administered by professional therapists at 4 branches of Cape Spa: Cape Panwa Hotel, Phuket; Cape Nidhra Hotel, Hua Hin; Cape Kudu Hotel, Koh Yao Noi; and Cape Fahn Hotel, Private Islands, Koh Samui. Available until 31 January 2020 at 5,500++ baht per person (4 hours) or 6,500++ baht per person (4 hours 30 minutes). Call Centre 1627 www.capespas.com

Ultimate Maldivian Girls’ Trip Hidden Extraordinary Luxury The Naka Island, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Phuket has completed its 7-month expansion and offers additional Deluxe Rooms, an upgraded gym and a new beachside restaurant/open bar ‘Rum Chapel’ connecting to the Infinity Pool. Hidden on a secluded island off the coast, the resort has unique rooms and villas with state-of-the-art technology, Wi-Fi, LCD TVs, a relaxation Sala plus an outdoor soaking private pool.

Soneva, the world-leading luxury resort operator, announce Soneva Fushi’s new BFF Package which runs until July 31 2020. Specially made for holidays away with the girls, the package is ideal for bridal and hen parties, reunions, birthdays and girls’ trips, starting at US$ 4,880 net per guest for three nights and includes return seaplane transfers, accommodation with daily Full Board and In-Villa Dining, house brand alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages throughout the day.

www.luxurycollection.com/nakaisland

Tel: 02 631 9698 www.soneva.com

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Beyond Bangkok

The Next Chapter Unfolds Pirom restaurant at Intercontinental Hua Hin Resort has unveiled its updated dining concept putting special focus on Thailand’s four culinary regions featuring classic and contemporary dishes great for families and groups and menus pairing with Thai wines and herbal drinks in a stylish yet relaxed setting with exquisite ceramic tableware.

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Brunch with a View Vana Nava Sky Hua Hin presents a game-changing brunch brimming with favourites and creative cocktails backed by 360-degree panoramic views and the infinity pool for the afternoon. From 11am - 2pm enjoy seafood on ice, carvery, sushi station, foie gras, cheese platters, cold cuts, dessert and specialities including Khao Soy Gai, Potato Truffle Cream Soup and Seared White Tuna and much more! Adults 1,200 baht net, kids 6-12 years 480 baht net, conditions apply. Tel: 032 809 999 reservations@vananavasky.com

Gong Xi Fa Cai! Celebrate Chinese Spring Festival and Year of the Rat with an imperial buffet feast at 609 Kitchen, Renaissance Pattaya Resort & Spa. Highlights include Roast Suckling Pig, Peking Duck, Chinese noodles, deep fried spring rolls, dim sum and many more! Enjoy authentic Chinese New Year dishes for dinner with family and friends on Saturday January 25, 2020 from 6pm-10pm, priced at 1,500++ baht per person. Tel: 038-259-099 renhotels.com

Distinctive Thai Cuisine Savour the true tastes of Thailand at Pirom Restaurant InterContinental Hua Hin featuring classic and contemporary dishes along with special tasting and pairing menus, great for families and groups, which combine Thai dishes with Thai wines and herbal drinks. This new concept of Thai culinary experience is faithful to each of Thailand’s four regional cuisines, and highlights include mieng khum, khao mok kai and ped rom kwan rad sauce ma kham. Open 12pm to 3.30pm and 6.30pm to 10.30pm.

Ahead of the Curve

Tel: 032 616 999 ichh.dining@ihg.com

Tel: 081 720 0140 www.carltonhotel.co.th

In early 2020 Carlton Hotel Bangkok Sukhumvit arrives offering the renowned hospitality made famous by Singapore’s distinguished Carlton Hotel. The striking building between Sois 27 and 29 has spacious rooms and suites, with swimming pool, fitness centre, spa, and the legendary Wah Lok Cantonese restaurant. Bookings now for stays throughout March 2020 earn 15% off the hotel’s best rate with daily breakfast and 20% off F&B outlets excluding Wah Lok restaurant.

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Beyond Bangkok

The Art of Phuket Reflecting the world of the Pullman brand and its “Our World is your Playground” philosophy, “Pullman Artnight” presented over 40 paintings from 9 local and international artists including a live masterpiece of artwork during an evening with live entertainments and creative cocktails at Pullman Phuket Panwa Beach Resort, with 5% of revenue from sales donated to Phuket orphanages.

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Profile for The BigChilli Co., Ltd.

The BigChilli January 2020  

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

The BigChilli January 2020  

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