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PUBLISHER Colin Hastings EDITOR Nina Hastings SALES & MARKETING MANAGER Rojjana Rungrattwatchai























































ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Thana Pongsaskulchoti ACCOUNTING MANAGER Janjira Silapapairson ART & PRODUCTION Arthawit Pundrikapa, PHOTOGRAPHY AP CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Drew McCreadie, Maxmilian Wechsler Zoe Evans, Jessica Weber Ruth Gerson



No part of this magazine may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without prior written permission from The BigChilli Co., Ltd. The opinions and views of the writers are not necessarily the views of the publishers. All details are deemed correct at the time of print, the publisher, the editor, employees and contributors can not be held responsible for any errors, inaccuracies or omissions that may occur. The editor reserves the right to accept, reject or amend any submitted artwork, photographs, illustrations and manuscripts.

Contents 6 8 12 16



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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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


The right price or rip-off medical treatment? That private hospitals are big business was rammed home recently to an expat pensioner who underwent surgery at a well know medical institution for minor surgery on a small cut to his head after bumping into a gate. After paying almost 17,000 baht for a minor operation lasting ten minutes that involved six stitches that were probably, he was told to return to the hospital a week later to have the stitches removed. That visit lasted less than five minutes – a doctor dropped by for a matter of seconds to declare the wound had healed before rushing off, leaving a young nurse to quickly remove the stitches. The expat was then marched to the cashier desk and presented with another bill for 2,000 baht for the medical attention, including 1,000 baht for the doctor. The man has no medical insurance because of his age and therefore pays such bills out of his own pocket. “One thousand baht for a fleeting visit by a doctor is simply unacceptable,” said the expat. “I didn’t mind paying the rest of the bill even though it included everything possible, from rubber gloves, a completely unnecessary blanket and so-called ‘emergency attention’, but not the equivalent of more than US$30 for a few seconds’ work – about the same as the average daily wage here.” Since reports have emerged recently that government hospitals here are permitted to charge foreigners more than for locals, the man suggested this private hospital was also operating a dual pricing system. The management vehemently denied this claim and insisted a Thai patient would be charged the same.

Where to watch the Without building controls, the future’s not green Rugby World Cup Once acclaimed as one of the world’s most beautiful holiday destinations boasting gorgeous pristine beaches and crystal seas, Phuket is today is place of endless construction as investors cash in on the island’s popularity. The number of new hotels is staggering, with supply far exceeding demand causing earnings per room to fall disastrously. This kind of oversupply situation is seen often in Thailand. Once a business sector appears profitable, there’s a rush to copy its success. Nothing wrong with that, except that in places like Phuket with its fragile environment it is all too easy to get permission to build yet another hotel, which leads inevitably to a glut and impacts the surroundings. There seems to be few restrictions, little town planning and zero thought about zoning. Insufficient consideration is given to the natural beauty of the island – the very reason visitors were drawn to the place. Phuket is not alone in this oversupply situation. Bangkok, for example, is bursting at the seams with new hotels, whose additional presence forces down room rates, which is not good for business, and contributes to the city’s congestion and its fast disappearing appeal. When will the authorities learn they need to more to control the number of new buildings and prevent this financially disastrous sprawl?

Smoked out You can’t smoke at home in Thailand. It’s illegal. However, you can still light a barbecue in the garden or run your car’s diesel engine in the driveway for as long as you like. But none of that compares to the toxic fumes spewed on to the roads by millions of vehicles.

Jamming on Sukhumvit The massive ‘Emsphere’ now being built on Sukhumvit between sois 24 and 22 will have as one of its major attractions an arena for up to 6,000 people, making it big enough to host an international rock concert or sporting event. On such occasions, you can expect the already bad traffic on Sukhumvit to worsen, while the BTS Skytrain to be even more jammed. On the good side, city dwellers will no longer have to face that two-hour drive to Muang Thong to see their favorite stars.



Honey trap The War Memorial that stood proudly for almost 100 years in the grounds of the British Embassy in Bangkok before its recent demolition has a new home at the British Club. Taking the ancient memorial apart and transporting it in various sections to the Silombased club was a major undertaking. But it went without a hitch. Indeed, there was a pleasant surprise for the workers – space that had emerged over time between the bricks was home to a rather large bees’ nest containing a considerable amount of honey for the taking. Once spotted, this unexpected treat was quickly enjoyed by the workers, who scooped out the honey by the spoonful to enjoy with their lunch. One of them, an Australian, declared it was the best honey he’d ever tasted.

Riddle of the Sriracha Tiger Zoo: Who owns it? O

n the back of recent media reports that 86 tigers rescued from the Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi have apparently died in captivity in the last three years, the New York Times has followed up with a story on the Sriracha Tiger Zoo, one of Thailand’s oldest and largest zoos, detailing conditions of its 300-plus tigers. The newspaper mentions an exhibit at the zoo called ‘Shoot ‘n Feed’ with tourists firing pellet guns at targets above a tiger pen - direct hits release food to waiting tigers  - and tricks that see tigers jumping through a flaming hoop. The NYT prompted a Thai blogger to visit the Sriracha Tiger Zoo herself. Her experience may well shed some light on the background and ownership of these zoos, which has always been something of a mystery. “I have avoided going to this particular zoo for decades,” wrote the Thai lady. “I already knew its bad reputation and had recently read the article about it in the NYT. So why bother?” “Well, to get to the truth of anything, it’s best to go to the source. See a place for yourself and try not to judge.

“Inside the zoo, I sat in front of many small cages and talked to the young tigers, the way you would talk to a dog. “They were so cute, but sometimes cried because their cage is small and there is not much to do except pace back and forth or just sit. “I watched the tiger show and as others were clapping, I felt ashamed. “As I was leaving the zoo, a tiger handler came up to me and wanted 200 baht for a picture with the cute two month old tiger. I politely declined his offer.” The lady then asked another staff member who owns the zoo. ‘Chinese.” ‘But I thought it was owned by a Thai man?’ I replied quite shocked. ‘No,” she said. ‘Chinese company.’ “Later I re-read the NYT article again and realized that the owner of this zoo was never mentioned. Why not? “Long story short...I don’t know the solution to tiger speed breeding, tiger farms, tiger sales to China. If the consumers of tiger bones and tiger products had any heart at all, they would never buy these evil products.” In its article, the NYT says

that officials from the Department of National Parks have admitted that the temple tigers had died in their supervision, many from stress-related causes and inbreeding. It added that no one from the Tiger Temple had been jailed for possessing tiger parts or for operating the lucrative unlicensed zoo. Founder of the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand Edwin Wiek is quoted in the NYT as saying that the number of tigers in captivity - including those remaining in the government’s custody - has tripled to about 2,000, and the number of facilities with captive tigers has grown to 67, with two more under construction. According to the newspaper, at least 20 zoos now operate in Thailand, though other sources suggest the number is much higher. The article went on: “Animal welfare activists have long urged the government to shutter those tiger zoos that are little more than farms producing animals for the black market.” Thailand is estimated to have some 250 tigers still living in the wild. Activists track them but will not disclose their whereabouts for fear of illegal hunting.





Barry Osbourne General Manager, Royal Varuna Yacht Club, Pattaya Name Barry Osbourne. Nickname Baz. Background

are RYA qualified. The club is set in its own ground with 28 accommodation rooms, salt water pool and beach. Can you sail? Umm… no.

Moat House Hotel Group two years. Royal Air Force nine years, National Guard Hospital Riyadh three years, The British Club Bangkok 16 years, Royal Varuna Yacht Club two years. Family background Born in Hereford, UK in 1963. Raised in a Foster family since young. Education Hereford High School, Hereford Technician College.

How many members and how many nationalities at RVYC? We have over 1,000 members many of whom are

What do you do here – and how long have you been in your present job? I’m General Manager of the Royal Varuna Yacht Club just over two years Where do you live? I live in Suan Plu, Sathorn, Bangkok,. It’s a great area and I’ve lived there 20 years. How long in Thailand? I’ve been here 25 years now. What brought you here? I was on holiday, I quit after three years in Saudi Arabia, took three months off to travel and found a job in The British Club in Bangkok. What’s keeping you here? I still love Thailand and have PR status, bought my apartment and still enjoy working. Describe the RVYC Royal Varuna Yacht Club is 62 years old, Thailand’s leading sailing club, under the governance of Royal Yacht Association, UK. We run private and group courses for children and adults alike, and all our courses and instructors



absent overseas, and around 425 full active members from 30 countries. RVYC good for kids? The club is great for families. We have free sailing for the kids with full governance and guidance from our coaches most weekends. Kids at the club seem to thrive and make friends, they’re always so active leaving time for mum and dad to have a few drinks at our

beach bar. The club is safe with 24-hour security - you can’t believe you are in Pattaya. Many members never leave the club the whole weekend.

Do yachties have special tastes when it comes to food? No, not really, just plenty of good food and good old stodge too. We have a full a la carte menu and a special board every weekend. Specials always set out, we also create our set meals to share, which are popular with members sitting around with a bottle of wine or three. Is the RVYC thriving? We could do better with membership,.We don’t really recruit from Pattaya, most members are from Bangkok, so convincing people can be tough. I like to invite prospective members here to the club and see us for themselves. The club itself is our best advertising. Before RVYC, what did you do? I worked Kimberly Holding Group, Sukhumvit for five years and Little Chef, Bang Saen two years. Your favorite job in the past – and why? Probably my time in the RAF – met amazing people, travelled quite a bit. The Air Force led to my job in Saudi and Saudi job led to the British club. British club was a great experience. It’s a good family

club right in the heart of Bangkok. I enjoyed it as we had a lot of freedom to create events for members, take them to concerts, to Cambodia etc. The various events also brought the different sections of the club together. The BC job also led to me eventually coming to RVYC. I’ve been really lucky as I always seem to fall into a job. I’ve never had a proper interview really. Worst job? Umm, not sure not worst but probably most boring was working in the mill at Bulmers cider in Hereford when I was much younger. Mind you Sun Valley Poultry wasn’t much fun either. Factory work was a bit boring and mind numbing. Can you Speak Thai I speak a little bit, I get by. What are your best attributes? Very patient. High point in Thailand? I think when I got my Permanent Residency. I applied myself and was told by my GM at the time and long time residents here that I needed to employ a company to help me with the process. I didn’t. I did it myself by just following instructions, turned up to the interviews on time and I got my PR on first time of applying. I paid nothing under counter. But there have been lots of other good times over the years. Low point? Well, being knocked over wasn’t much fun, but




my time in hospital coincided with the Tsunami of 2004. The hospital was full of survivors with their harrowing tales. The British Cub acted as a collection point for members to send supplies to Phuket. The club also assisted a lot of people in many ways. It was really quite a depressing time trying to take in the enormity of what had happened. It made me realize that my injuries were nothing in comparison. Most interesting person you’ve ever met? I don’t really know but over the years I’ve met many characters to say the least. Most boring Not sure if boring is the right word more of a nightmare was Keith Floyd, the celebrity British chef. We held an event with him at the British Club as he was launching his own bistro in Phuket. We emailed members and sold the event out in hours, so we decided to host the event for a second night. What a mistake, Keith was drunk, rude, and insulting to members. It was terrible and we had to do it all over again the following night. British food or Thai food? Thai food. My favourite is Tom Saeb Sri Krong Moo Orn (Hot and Spicy Soup with Pork Ribs) or Yam Tua Phloo (Winged bean salad) or Gai Phad Khing (Stir-fried chicken with ginger). Beer or Wine? Dunkel beer at Tawandang German Brewery in Bangkok.

Favourite hangout places in Bangkok and Pattaya Tawandang. Also Khon La Fan, Pattaya – a big Isaan local bar with great beers, bands and Isaan food – Tawandang without home brew beer. Favourite restaurant? Tawandang, Ros’Niyom, Junker Pub Suan Plu, Bai-meung.  



Favourite gateway destination? That’s easy – Bali, great food, hotels, great place to party or chill.

Is Thailand better than when you first arrived here? I think it’s basically the same. OK, Bangkok is more modern with MRT, BTS, more shopping malls etc, but the rest of Thailand seems more or less the same. I still get a buzz out of Bangkok after all these years. There are frustrations living here that creep up now and then, but given time these will be forgotten and something else will crop up. I moved here because I wanted to be in Thailand and I still feel the same. I feel at home here.

Can you see yourself ever going back to live in the UK? UK? No, hopefully never.

What’s next for you? Move back to Bangkok.

‘Phai’ retires after 50 years at the RVYC For almost 50 years, Mr Phai Singhathai, popular head barman at the Royal Varuna Yacht Club, has been a familiar figure to generations of members, first as a boat handler and two decades later in his present position. Last month, after several postponements, he finally retired as a full-time employee of the club, just a couple of month short of that half century of service. He will continue to work part-time at weekends and holidays, however, while his daughter Renu will keep up the family connection as the club’s chef.

The Hot list

Very Festival 16-17 November 2019, Show DC Arena Tickets from 3,600 baht (2-day pass) Lineup: The Kooks, Nothing But Thieves, Sticky Fingers, FKJ etc.

Maho Rasop Festival 2019 16-17 November 2019 Live Park Rama 9

Delta Sleep Live in Bangkok 24 September 2019, 19:30 De Commune Tickets on ticketmelon, 750 baht, 800 on the door

Boy Pablo live in Bangkok 22 November 2019 2,000 baht 19:00 Venue: Voice space Tickets on

Magic Mountain International Music Festival 2020 17-19 January, 15:00 Chiang Rai, Thialand Ticket on ticketmelon

Backstreet Boys DNA World Tour 24 October 2019 Impact Exhibition Hall 5-6, Muang Thong Thani Tickets on, from 3,000 baht



Mumford & Sons Live in Bangkok 21 November GMM Live House at Central World 8th Floor

Wonderfruit 12-16 December 2019 The Fields at Siam Country Club, Pattaya, Thailand

Jai Thep Festival 2020 31 January-2 February 2020 Lanna Rock Garden, Chiang Mai, Thailand Art, Music and Magic Ticket on ticketmelon, from 1,800 baht

Shawn Mendes The Tour Venue: Impact Arena Muang Thong Thani 1 October 2019, 19:30 Tickets from 2,000 baht on thaiticketmajor. com

Gus Dapperton live in Bangkok Men I Trust live in Bangkok 18 October 2019, 20:00 Live Arena RCA Tickets on ticketmelon, from 1390 baht

1 December 2019 20:00 Live Area Tickets from 1,590 baht On ticketmelon TheBigChilli 13


Bangkok heritage hotel with a wild and raunchy past racy all-male Chinese opera troupe and the shenanigans of its clientele. It was eventually closed down by Royal decree. In 1917, the building was re-branded as Prince Theatre, a wholesome movie house screening period classics with live


et in the thick of probably the busiest area of Bangkok, engulfed by a forest of multi-storey buildings, is an extraordinary hotel, steeped in a 100year history but brought up to date with an attractive hip look, lots of modern kit and intriguing reminders of a unique and colourful past. Called Prince Theatre Heritage Stay, this tiny venue has played many roles over the past century before becoming a heritage hotel sought after by visitors looking for an atmosphere-laden alternative. Those roles date back to 1912 when it began life as a casino famous for its



and often slapstick ad-lib dubbing. For a while, the theatre was the heart and soul of the neighbourhood. From 1975 it became the Prince Rama, signaling the building’s heydays – until malls and multiplexes showed up and quickly put standalone neighbourhood theatres out of business. It didn’t completely disappear, however. Tucked down an alley off the main drag, Prince's under-the-radar location made it the perfect spot for screening classic nude films and porn! Its fifth and current era was launched in 2018 as the 'Prince Theatre Heritage Stay Bangkok'. Today it boasts contemporary lofts, private suites and private rooms for family and friends up to six beds with ensuite bathroom, high ceilings, plenty of natural light, minimalist decor, and comfy, artsy style. There’s no shortage of interesting corners for coffee, snacks and cocktails. In keeping with its past, movies are screened daily from 6.30 pm. The hotel is located in a quiet block off Thanon Si Wiang, down a little alley from Charoen Krung Road and right next to leBua Hotel. Tel: 02 090 2858

& proudly announce THE

In conjunction with

Thailand International Business Awards 2019 The joint Expat Entrepreneur Awards and Thailand International Business Awards (TIBA) will take place on Thursday October 3, 2019 at the Amari Watergate Bangkok. TIBA is an event organized by the British Chamber of Commerce Thailand (BCCT) with The BigChilli.




David Norcross

Daniele Cosentino

Managing Director - Lexicon Business Communications Lexicon was founded in 2015. The founder, David Norcross, was working for KPMG and identified a gap in the market for a small, agile content production firm that could plug into larger Thai companies and provide storytelling support. For the first two years of operation, the company grew slowly as David Norcross was also working full time at PKF with Lexicon’s office based at PKF’s Sathorn Square office address. However, in March 2017, Norcross quit PKF and Lexicon moved into their own 150 SQM office in Surawong. At the time, the company employed three staff. As of the end of July 2019, the company now employs 28 staff from a wide variety of creative disciplines. Lexicon calls its services Branded Storytelling and Digital PR and they work with a diverse client base, including many of Thailand’s leading companies, such as SCG, Dusit Thani, SEAC, ISB and Banyan Tree. Lexicon core services include digital marketing strategy, social media management, bilingual content writing, graphic design, branding, animation and video production. In addition, in July 2019, the company made a major acquisition of a technology company in order to launch the Lexicon TechLab. This new department produces websites, web apps, and customized IT solutions. This innovative solution is truly unique in Thailand as it combines Lexicon’s range of creative storytelling services with advanced technological solutions to ensure that Lexicon clients are able to connect with their audience across all platforms. Less than 30 months after employing three staff and occupying 150 sq m of space, the company is set to move into a 600 sq m office and employ more than 40 staff by the end of 2019 with a headcount of 100 expected by the end of 2021. This exceptional growth rate is unique and indicates that Lexicon is an outstanding company with a huge amount of growth potential. David Norcross is very active in local chambers of commerce and Lexicon is an active member of four chambers. Norcross has been invited to sit on the communications committee of two chambers where he helps organize communications strategy and hosts events. In addition, Lexicon reaches out to local universities to provide lessons to soon-to-graduate students on the marketing landscape of 2019. Lexicon also produced work for many local NGOs on human-centric storytelling projects covering issues such as gender inequality, childhood malnutrition and fishing rights. Lexicon has a unique work culture framed around its core values of Teamwork, Professionalism and Fun. Lexicon’s team is mostly made up of Thai people with one English person, one American, a Frenchman and a Canadian making up the expat employees. As a team, we travel together and have a very low staff turnover rate. Given the company’s exceptional growth rate, a lot of interns are taken on to support the next generation and the company also adds at least one new permanent staff member every month. Lexicon is independently funded and has been taken from one staff member to its present size by David Norcross’ entrepreneurial spirit. With these facts in mind, please consider David Norcross and Lexicon for these awards.

Managing Director - Asia Internship Program (Internigo) My entrepreneurship story starts in late 2015 when I joined Internigo (AIP) as an intern. Back then AIP was a small startup of five people with a lot of potential but without a vision for it. The focus of AIP was on finding internships in Asia for western students, while the idea was innovative as usual HR agencies mostly works on full time jobs the company didn’t have the means to grow as the staff was mostly working on excel and on a wordpress site. During my first year in the company from being an intern I managed to gain the Head of Marketing title that in a company of five people may not mean much, but it enabled me to have control over the whole marketing of the company and the possibility to participate in business decisions. During that year we decided to expand our focus and start to cover more industries in Asia, trying to develop partnerships with the companies in our new destinations and to improve the internal process. That’s when instead of being just an agency we became a service provider, we added multiple packages offering other services such as mentoring and accommodation for our customers and also we started to develop a platform to manage the applicants and their path to the internship. At this point, after two years AIP was no longer just an agency but we were helping foreign students to actually gain valuable working experience while making sure that they could widen their horizons exploring new countries and cultures. On the other hand our programs helped our company partners to become more international as often in Asia the staff is rarely exposed to western working culture but, working with foreign students, both the management and the normal employees had the chance to exchange culture, language and also to learn from each other, especially from the soft skills point of view. Also, specifically for Thailand where our main office is, our program is helping promoting the country from the business stand point as often our customers decide to remain to work in the country spreading in their network the notion that Thailand is not only a tourist hub but is also a country full of business opportunities, especially for young entrepreneurs and fresh graduates who are looking for something different than a job in their backyard. Now four years later, AIP staff has grown to 20 people in our Thai office, we cover 12 destinations around Asia and we have more than 800 company partners.




Jason Beavan

Mr. Markus Kreth

General Manager/Director - Class Act Media Co., Ltd In 2011, Class Act Media launched The Phuket News, a weekly English language newspaper, 2012 launched Live 89.5 - English language FM radio station in 2012, and a year later a fortnightly Russian language newspaper and online TV portal.  In 2017 it began a fortnightly Thai language newspaper, and in 2019 joined forces with IMAGE Asia, who produce a high quality lifestyle bi-monthly magazine - Window on Phuket, the only guide to food in Phuket – Where To Eat in Phuket bi-monthly magazine and two bi-monthly maps in English/Russian and English/ Chinese. All products have online and social media pages. The joining of Class Act Media and IMAGE Asia gives advertisers and consumers a one stop to all things Phuket. All 27 staff from both companies now work side by side in the Kathu offices of Class Act Media, meaning a reduction in overheads with shared facilities and staff. A min of 85% of all content is on or about Phuket, thus making us the go to place for all things Phuket. With our range of products, we talk to all people, visitors, expats and locals. There is no other weekly English newspaper, no other Russian language newspaper, no other Thai language newspaper that reports real news based in Phuket. Live 89.5 is the most talked about radio station in Phuket with 50% of listeners being Thai. National companies advertise in Thai on our English language radio. Our TV is the most viewed news and lifestyle content based in Phuket. Window on Phuket and Where to Eat are the most circulated lifestyle and food magazines in Phuket with a combined distribution of 24,000 copies per month in over 600 locations. The Phuket News, Novosti Phuketa and Khao Phuket are all sold in over 600 locations in Phuket. Out of the 27 full time staff, there is only seven nonThai staff, with 50% of our department heads being female. All staff are paid above average salaries and company taxes and social security payments are paid in a timely manner. Even during the Phuket ‘Green’ season that occurs every year, 2019 being especially Green. With the vast range of contacts within the government and private sectors, we are the leader on what is happening in Phuket, with a number of issues being highlighted by us that gain national and worldwide exposure, resulting in positive change for the people living and visiting Phuket. 2020 will see the growth of all current products with the addition of more sales staff, increased revenue and market share, while a number of other media products and companies are closing or downsizing. Then expansion into other areas within Thailand and neighboring developing tourist/expat locations.  Jason Beavan started as a sales rep for Class Act Media in 2009, in 2014 took over the day to day running of the company, buying a 25% stake in the company at the same time. In 2018, along with his Thai wife, bought out the remaining controlling shares of Class Act Media. Then in 2019 took control of IMAGE Asia.

CEO - Asia Media Publishing Group



ASIA MEDIA PUBLISHING GROUP Founded by Markus Kreth, the Asia Media Publishing Group is one of Thailand’s premier, international, multilingual, multi-media companies, focused on four main areas of expertise: PR & Marketing, Content Creation, Product and Company Launches, and SE Asian Market Research. The Asia Media Publishing Group services clients both in Thailand, and companies from all over the world, who wish to make their mark within SE Asia, and the Kingdom of Thailand, in particular. From traditional, solid and effective PR & Marketing, right through to working with (and for) influencers and brands utilizing solely digital media, AMPG has also proved itself time and time again at providing the very service to a broad range of clients. Additional services include Market Research, Strategic Planning Solutions, Company and Product Launch Campaigns, and general advertising strategy and media information for companies wishing to penetrate the market through all mediums. Alongside a stellar team of content creators, the Asia Media Publishing Group is truly a ‘one-stop-shop’ for all marketing, advertising, branding, and PR needs.   The company works closely with all the major chambers of commerce and with many of the embassies based in Bangkok. In addition to the services mentioned above, AMPG handles all aspects of media planning, event management, location scouting and talent casting for commercials and films, as well as providing the full range of services for pre-production and post production of films and commercials, including storyboarding, script treatments, aerial filming and photography, colour correction and grading, titling and motion graphics - audio mixing and mastering, sound design, soundtracks, jingles, editing and voice-over services. With offices in Thailand, the Asia Media Publishing Group is truly a full-service media company providing international quality services for a very broad range of clients from all disciplines and commerce. Markus Kreth’s 12 years of experience in SE Asia and his extensive knowledge of the media industries are well founded. He now enjoys a flourishing career as the founder and CEO of the Asia Media Publishing Group that has quickly developed a reputation for being the most innovative and efficient and completely ‘current’ company in its ability to utilize new media and technology at every turn.


Mr. Peter N. Wainman Founder, Pipper Standard  A professional investor and entrepreneur in start-up companies from New York, Peter has been doing business in Asia since 1995 and living in Thailand since the mid-2000s. In 2010, he had severe allergic reactions to chemicals commonly used in cleaning products in Asia.  Unable to find suitable natural alternatives, he and his wife decided they would create their own.  Their business began about 10 years ago as pure research and development with the aim of creating a natural cleaning product that could clean as well as synthetic/petro-chemical derived products. Peter, who published research at the undergraduate and graduate levels at MIT and U.C. Berkeley, respectively, and his team went on to invent pineapple fermentation technology that produces a cleaning liquid with natural cleaning power comparable or better than that of chemical products. This technology, or ‘clean-tech’, is protected by multiple global patents, including in the US, across Europe and in China. Peter’s company has patents issued or pending across approximately 70% of the world’s GDP.  To our knowledge, Pipper Standard is the only commercial natural

cleaning brand in the world with patented technology covering its product line. Pipper Standard products are natural, hypoallergenic, and fully biodegradable, offering consumers a full range of powerful, natural, safe, and eco-friendly home cleaning products, all derived from local Thai pineapples.  Their range of products include laundry detergents, fabric softeners, bathroom cleaners, floor cleaners, hand soaps, dishwashing liquids, multi-purpose cleaners, stain removers, and various baby related products. Currently, Pipper Standard products are available in 16 Asian markets, including China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and most of Southeast Asia.  The company’s vision is to improve people’s lives by promoting the replacement of chemical cleaning products with healthy, natural cleaning products, with a broader goal to help reduce the rates of allergy and asthma worldwide.  As the only natural cleaning product brand with patented cleaning technology, and with the growing global consumer trend towards using natural products, Pipper Standard’s business is rapidly expanding.

Essential reading for

Expat Entrepreneurs in Thailand www.thebigchilli





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Bangkok’s disco mania went from strength to strength, peaking in the early 2000s




REMEMBER THESE LEGENDS? - Palace - Rome - Taurus - Freak Out - Santika - Q Bar - Bed Supper Club - Mystique - Earthquake - CM2 - Diana’s - Bubbles - Flamingo - Palladium - Cola - Song Saleung - Nung Len & Escobar - NASA - Vibrations - Zaza - An An - Rhino - Bombay Bar - 57 - Sharky - Peppermint - Aqua - Super Star - Radio City - Escape - Tapas - Lucifers - Byblos - House 343 - Route 66 - Astra - Spark - School Bus

- Deeper - Club Culture - Cafe Democ - Kluen Sak - Rain Dogs - DJ Station - Spasso - Curve, Jet and Sode Samo - Levels club and lounge - Narz Club Bangkok - Maggie Choo - Onyx - Insanity - Sing Sing theater - Beam - MIXX - Nung Len & Escobar - Levels Club and Lounge - Route 66 - Glow - Demo - Live RCA - DND Club - BARBARBAR - Havana - The Club at Koi - Penta - Sugar - Sway - Muse - DND - Dirty Bar - DND - Khaosan Road - The club at koi - Beam - 72 courtyard - Iron Fairies - Old town (bar hopping) - Old dirty (Saphan Kwai) - Pirate arena - China town - Beer belly - Atomic beer pong - Sway - Penta - Havana social - Pink Flamingo - Game Over Lounge



Guest review by

Bangkok Beefsteak & Burgundy

No Idea – a welcome return


his month saw the return of the Club to a favourite venue, No Idea in Soi 22. As ever, we received a warm welcome from Dave Hallam, his wife and Chef, K. Duandern and the several long-serving members of the gastropub team. Proceedings commenced with Neudorf Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (Nelson, NZ) which I and many others enjoyed along with a generous serving of Antipasti, cold meats from the Mediterranean. Wine spokesman, Tom Whitcraft and possibly not white wines’ biggest fan, was rather complimentary about the first of three New Zealand wines, finding it “not too blancy”. Our first dish, Mushroom Risotto with fresh Australian winter black truffles, made for an excellent start. As confirmed by food spokesman Alex Fisken, the truffles were not over-powering, the rice cooked perfectly, and the dish a resounding success; the unexpected pairing with Tongue in Groove Pinot Noir 2015 (Waipara ,NZ) gave us plenty of scope for comments, mostly positive - “Ripe and attractive black-cherry and plum aromas with a neat thread of spicy and earthy, savoury notes” with Tom admitting that Kiwis can make a good Pinot Noir. There followed New Zealand Ora King Salmon, radish, asparagus tips,



and dill butter. Again K. Duandern performed a culinary miracle; the salmon was moist, of course cooked perfectly, and even the garnish attracted deserved praise from Alex. This was my and many others’ favourite dish of the day. Thomas Boedinger had selected Kumeu River Hunting Hill Chardonnay 2014 (Auckland, NZ) to go with this and both Parker and Suckling had bestowed compliments on “without a doubt NZ’s finest chardonnay producer”. I really enjoyed this wine with just a hint of oak, correctly described as “succulent and curvaceous; it really offers fleshy impact on first sip and then whips into a taut, long finish”. The main dish was Beef spare ribs, with duck fat mash, and root vegetables. Although we were offered steak knives for the butchery, this was superfluous because the meat did literally fall off the bone. The mash, garlic and carrots were also cooked perfectly. Dave Hallam himself had paired this course with Glaetzer Anaperenna Shiraz 2009 (Barossa Valley, SA) which had all of us captivated; it is a blend of 76% Shiraz and 24% Cabernet Sauvignon. Unfiltered, the wine is a deep purple-black colour with pronounced aromas of black cherries and blackberries with an undercurrent of coffee,

aniseed, chocolate and cloves, with outstanding length and persistence. To top this wonderful menu Mark Guthrie, fresh from a US vacation, very generously delivered for our considerable pleasure several artisinal cheeses produced by Jasper Hill Farm, Vermont including their international award winners BayleyHazen Blue, soft-ripened Harbison, Alpine-style Alpha Tolman, washedrind Willoughby, and a mini-wheel bloomy-rind brie style, along with a newly developed mixed (cow and goat) milk cheese With this we enjoyed The Mother Wine 2013 (Barossa Valley, SA), though it perhaps fell a little short of the dizzy heights reached by the earlier Glaetzer. Our host Dave was also at hand to offer a complimentary port wine for those with residual thirst. There only remained the opportunity to thank the team at No Idea for their considerable contribution to our lunch in timehonoured fashion and we were delighted to be able to thank not only the team but also Mark for a great afternoon.

No Idea, Soi 22 Sukhumvit Rd, Bangkok Reservations: Phone: 02 663 6686


Beautiful Restaurants

Karmakamet Diner This true gem is hidden behind the Emporium in Soi Methinivet, Sukhumvit 24. It’s a charming little rustic abode filled with luscious greens and aromatic scents. Karmakamet does not only do food, but they also sell their own brand of natural aromatic products. The big glass windows open your line of sight to the restaurant’s charismatic garden in the back. Here it’s so easy to forget you’re in the very heart of Bangkok. 30 1 Sukhumvit Rd, Khlong Tan, Khlong Toei, Bangkok 10110. Tel 02 262 0700



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.




Wang Hing Hoi Wang Hing Hoi, or the ‘Palace of Fireflies’ manages to be both spectacular and different. Enter the restaurant between two large beautifully crafted wooden walls led by a pathway and admire artworks based on the theme of the four elements of astrology - fire, earth, air and water- from various famous artists in the ‘Grow Museum’ and finally, dine in the exquisitely decorated dining area while enjoying views of the forest and fireflies in the restaurant’s garden. Bang Kapi, Huai Khwang, Bangkok 10310. Tel: 091 979 6226



Food& Drink

Bangkok’s hottest dining deals and news

A Fairytale Afternoon Tea Luxury boutique hotel 137 Pillars Suites & Residences Bangkok presents “A Fairytale Afternoon Tea” with a whimsical menu of savoury creations including smoked salmon, escargot croissant with earthy black truffles, a brioche with lobster, buttermilk or cheese and bacon scones, plus a delectably delicious dessert array, all complemented by organic teas from Monsoon Teas. Available until 1 December 2019 every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 1pm to 3pm and 3.30pm – 5.30pm, priced at 1,200 ++ baht per person. Tel: 02 079 7000

Feed Your Soul

Delectable Bites with Sunset View Yào Rooftop Bar is offering “Sunset Platter” to enjoy with your favourite cocktails while the sun is setting Bangkok Marriott Hotel The Surawongse. The platter includes BBQ skewers with Mala sauce, steamed scallops with garlic, oysters, Shanghai Squid Salad, and Prawn Cocktail served with Edamame. The Sunset Platter is priced at 588++ baht per set or paired with a bottle of wine at only 1,588++ baht, available daily 17.00 hrs – 20.00 hrs.

DEAN & DELUCA has unveiled its fourth Chef’s Season new menu, inspired by autumnal ingredients, available until 17 November. Try Autumn Benedict (395 baht) or Poached Pear & Kale Salad (355 baht), followed by Cod Fish with Romesco Sauce (565 baht), Seared Duck Breast with Roasted Apple & Fig (545 baht), or Braised Lamb Shank with Saffron Rice & Ouzi Sauce (425 baht), finishing with Dean Pear Danish (125 baht) or Dean Peach Cheesecake (165 baht).

Tel: 02 088 5666

The French Passion of Oysters A tasting plate from acclaimed French oyster farmer David Hervé is available from Café@2 at Conrad Bangkok, featuring five kinds of oysters grown for a minimum of 3 years including: Fine - classic; Boudeuse - flirtatious; Spéciale - nutty; Royale - sweet; Ronce - locally flavoured. The tasting plate includes 10 oysters (2 of each) priced at 1,250 baht, also available individually. Open daily 11:30 – 14:30 hrs and 18:00 – 10:30 hrs. Tel: 02 690 9999



Chill and Grill Under the Sky AIRE BAR at Hyatt Place Bangkok Sukhumvit launches weekly BBQ nights alfresco : Chill and Grill Under The Sky from 6pm to 9pm every Thursday, with a rotating menu weekly from Thai style menu featuring grilled marinated pork neck or grilled sea bass to Western-style menu with some nights of BBQ suckling pig! Vegetarian options also available. Select two items from 350++ baht, three items from 450++ baht, premium seafood for extra 150++ baht. Tel: 02 055 1234

Seafood Night Buffet Dinner Relish with the International Buffet at Twenty-Seven Bites Brasserie, Radisson Blu Plaza Bangkok, with live cooking stations including imported meats, à-la-minute grilled seafood, rack of lamb and beef carving stations, salad bar, Thai soups salads and curries, traditional Indian food, vegetarian choices, desserts and tropical fruits. Priced at 999 baht net with beverage packages at 599 baht net and 899 baht net. Available Friday and Saturday 18.30-22.30 hrs. Tel: 02 302 3333 radissonbluplazabangkok

Feast on Cheese with Brunch

Gindara Black and Takayama Hida

Atelier restaurant at Pullman Bangkok Grande Sukhumvit offers the best Sunday Brunch buffet for all lifestyles, a world of cuisines from fresh seafood to succulent carvery and from Asian to European delights with free-flowing drinks available until 3pm, plus the new dedicated cheese room open until 4pm with an assortment of more than 20 varieties of delectable cheeses. Every Sunday from noon at 1,899++ per person including soft drinks (upgrade available).

Two authentic delicacies await diners at Kisso Japanese Restaurant Westin Grande Sukhumvit until 31 October. Specially imported from Japan, Gindara Black Cod is legendary for its rich flavour and succulent “tarako” roe while Takayama Hida beef is considered one of the very best wagyu for juiciness and exceptional tenderness, both best represented in the chef’s special à la carte menu, available for lunch 12:00 to 14:30 hrs and dinner 18:00 to 22:30 hrs.

Tel: 02 204 4071

Tel: 02 207 8000

Auspicious Moon and Wine Dinner Experience a unique holistic and spiritual dining experience during full moon transitions at auspicious stages of the zodiac when CHAR Restaurant & Rooftop Bar on 25th Floor Hotel Indigo Bangkok presents a seasonal five-course and seven-course menu complemented with biodynamic wines on 17th October or 12th November. Priced at 2,800++ baht and 3,400++ baht respectively, early bird bookings before 4th November are specially priced. Tel: 02 207 4999



Gozen Lunch and Kaiseki Dinner Yamazato at The Okura Prestige Bangkok celebrates autumn with Gozen lunch and Kaiseki dinner. Gozen lunch platters include soup, sashimi, tempura, grilled and simmered dishes featuring premium seafood. Kaiseki dinner includes shrimp and sake-steamed scallop, Spanish mackerel, beef teriyaki, or autumn mackerel with miso, and ends with traditional Japanese pudding. Available 1-24 November, Gozen lunch 11:30 - 14:30 hrs at 1,500++ baht, Kaiseki dinner 18:00 - 22:30 hrs at 4,700++ baht. Tel: 02 687 9000

All Bavarian Buffet Unmissable Fine-Dining Red Sky at Centara Grand CentralWorld present their “Seasonal Set Menu” until end September, a five-course menu including Oscietra Caviar, Seared Sliced Red Mediterranean Tuna Fillet, PanSeared Maine Lobster, and PanSeared Lamb Loin plus an amuse bouche, a selection of artisanal French cheeses and an indulgent dessert. Priced at 2,955++ baht per person, with optional wine pairing an additional 1,899++ baht per person. Tel: 02-100-6255

The World restaurant at Centara Grand CentralWorld celebrates Oktoberfest from 8 October until 2 November with a themed buffet including imported sausages, cold cuts, chilled platters and lots of beer! This year features whole baked halibut, roasted goose, smoked pork loin Kassler, and crispy pork knuckle with meatloaf. Priced at 850++ baht for lunch (food only), 1690++ baht for dinner and Sunday brunch on 13 October 1,890++ baht including freeflow Paulaner Draught beer. Tel: 02-100-6255 cgcw/restaurant/the-world

Tomahawk Trio Alternatively, the Trio of Superb Tomahawks for fine dining connoisseurs at Rib Room & Bar Steakhouse includes high quality beef, lamb and pork served on a platter with side dishes and choice of sauces at only 5,500++ baht. Tel: 02 254 0404 ext. 7777



Sustainable Seafood Voyage Giorgio’s at Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers presents delicious premium seafood Italian style from the certified natural growth fishing sources in Thailand until 31 October. Enjoy the Natural Sustainable Seafood Salad (490++ baht), Homemade Blue Crab Ravioli (420++baht), Cobin Fillet Ragout-fine (750++baht), Grilled Banana Prawns on Saffron Risotto (620++baht) or Oven-baked Red Snapper (580++baht). Complimentary shuttle boat service available from Saphan Taksin BTS Station and ICONSIAM. Tel: 02 266 0123

Tasty Comfortable Shopping Faie Beauty Bar & Café has opened at Soi Thonglor 13. Created from Jeab Sopitnapa’s imagination and intended to provide a common place for people to come and share their thoughts and dreams with each other, this chic café blends lifestyle and relaxation, welcoming customers with signature drinks and cakes to ensure they will enjoy shopping for clothes and healthcare products at their leisure. Open 9.00am to 5.30pm.

New on the

scene Hot new restaurants, bars & cafés in Bangkok

Bawarchi Rooftop Bawarchi Rooftop is the newest addition to the Bawarchi family. Located on the rooftop of Solitaire Hotel on Sukhumvit Soi 11, this fine dining Indian restaurant comes with a panoramic view of Bangkok! Come and enjoy kebabs from our tandoor, signature curries and Indian inspired drinks. The lamb shami kebab, butter chicken and tikka masala are a must-try! Opens daily from 5.30PM Call 020813815 BTS: Nana Free Parking Available Opening Special for Big Chilli readers: 15% for all food. No blackout date



The traditional heritage of Japanese dining Kintsugi Bangkok by Jeff Ramsey at The Athenee Hotel Bangkok takes the classical Japanese Kaiseki cuisine and explores the potential of daring new directions while remaining true to its ancient roots. It offers the original tasting menu that has influenced restaurants the world over and focuses on ingredients sourced from Western Japan combined with produce from Thailand, with the connecting of cultures through food being a key feature. Open 6:00pm – 10:30pm, last orders 10pm. Tel: 02 650 8800 FB.Theathenee@luxurycollection. com

Daring new directions in Modern French cuisine The Allium restaurant at The Athenee Hotel Bangkok has opened serving exciting Modern French cuisine. Reborn from the award-winning The Reflexions, the stylish restaurant offers delicacies including La Speciale Jolie Mauger oyster and Oscietra caviar, Thai mud crab, Spanish Pyrenees Iberico lamb rack, and French Moulard duck liver. A plant-based tasting menu is also available, and an extensive wine list focusing on old-world wines from France and Italy. Open Tuesday to Saturday, 6pm – 10:30pm. Tel: 02 650 8800 theatheneehotel



Last month’s foodie functions in focus


Dynamic Premium Dining The Athenee Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Bangkok has remodelled its complete third oor forming a dining hub of high quality, diverse cuisines presented through four exclusive restaurants, The Allium Bangkok (European haute cuisine), The House of Smooth Curry (royal Thai cuisine), The Silk Road (classic Cantonese cuisine), and Kintsugi by Jeff Ramsey (classical Japanese Kaiseki cuisine).



Dine Elegantly from The Top of the World

By M.L. Varabhanan Paribatra

QUNO MAS at Centara Grand at CentralWorld transports you to the Iberian Peninsula with their newly-introduced giant platter full of fresh, meaty, scrumptious seafood. You may freely choose to dine in any one of the three rooms of UNO MAS, all illuminated with Moorish-inspired decór with emphasis on deep blue tones and hints of earthy seaside elements. Whether charcoal oven-grilled or done a la plancha, you will be guaranteed the radiant tastes of the Mediterranean with every single bite. Included in the special platter are delectable classics such as the mighty crimson lobster, the pan-fried snowfish, crispy calamari, el pulpo (Spanish for octopus), and a cluster of mussels, clams, and oysters. Indulge in the magic 54 floors above an ocean of Bangkok’s skyscrapers in the very

heart of the city with your family, friends, or your significant other this seafood platter was undoubtedly created to serve every occasion. Alternatively, if you are in the mood for UNO MAS’s signature tapas but can’t decide which ones to go for, don’t miss out on the full signature tapas platter to get a taste of everything. Savour some of the classics such as the albóndigas bathed in tomato stew, the carabineros in sizzling olive oil, the 36-month cured jamón ibérico ham, or the patatas bravas topped with aioli mayonnaise. A trip up to UNO MAS is not complete without a taste of their paella, so we recommend you come hungry and befittingly, feast the night away. The combination of Pyrenees wild mushrooms, Ibérico Secreto pork, Catalan sausage Botifarra and

winter black truffle is out of this world! End your feast with a plate of churros to keep with the theme. As the first few specks of silver appears in the night sky, be sure to look out and down - and admire the nightscape. This is indeed, #dinnergoals.

Opens Daily 4pm to 1am tel. 02 100 6255 or DININGCGCW@CHR.CO.TH for reservations and enquiries 54th Floor, Centara Grand at CentralWorld FB: UNOMASBANGKOK



Last month’s foodie functions in focus


A Fairytale Afternoon Tea Escape reality into the fairytale-themed afternoon tea inspired by Beauty & The Beast at the 137 Pillars Suites & Residences Bangkok, presented to you by the hotel’s talented culinary team and Yannis Janssens, who was the Executive Chef Patissier of L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon. Indulge in the meticulously constructed sweet and savoury treats and enjoy the various organic teas sourced from Monsoon Teas. Available from 4 October until 1 December 2019.



By CK Lee

A Sunday Brunch For Everyone beckons you in. Seafood on ice including Alaskan lobsters sit gracefully next to oysters and prawns. The dedicated sushi ala minute station is also well-staffed and upon ticking your selection, your salmon sushi or sashimi choices will be served table side minutes later. The main buffet line features Thai dishes on one side and international selection next to it. Lay the large prawns on some rice

QSunday brunch is the one day for family time. For fellowship and for catching up after a work week. Choosing a restaurant is key to an enjoyable brunch. The Sunday offering at Hotel Nikko Bangkok ticks all our boxes. Here’s why… Located steps away from Thonglo BTS, location wise is perfect for those of us who train-ride everywhere. Ample parking also available. Hotel Nikko is also a brand new hotel and we love the immaculate look and feel of a new hotel. Head up to their restaurant The Oasis on the 6th floor and a compelling feast awaits. The restaurant is welcoming and is a testament to minimalist charm. It is also adjacent to their swimming pool. Guests can utilize the pool after brunch too and chill the day away or do a lap or two. Truly an oasis! The restaurant is spacious and private rooms are also available for big families. The food stations

and pick up some grilled salmon, lamb or beef and a feast awaits. The live grill section also showcases Wagyu beef and also a medley of tasty sauces with Japanese influence. Every diner gets half a lobster too and we love this! Their Hokkaido milk homemade icecream is divine and a must-have. At 1,590 baht, this brunch is superb in value and just the perfect way to kick off your Sunday. Served hour : 12:00- 15:30 hrs. Venue: The Oasis – all day dining 6th floor Hotel Nikko Bangkok. Call 02 080 2111 FB: hotelnikkobangkok



cut out and keep


Chef Chumpol Jangprai

Chef in focus

Beef Massaman Curry Ingredients for the Curry 60 g Massaman Curry Paste 350 g Coconut Cream 100 g Coconut Milk 280 g Chopped Silver Shank Beef 60 g Shallots • tbsp Roasted Peanuts 4 tbsp Vegetable Oil • tbsp Fish Sauce 2 tbsp Palm Sugar • ½ tbsp Tamarind Juice 115 g Potatoes 30 g Palm Sugar 4 of Bay Leaves 8 pods of Cardamom

Topping: 1 tbsp Fried Shallots

Ingredients for the Massaman curry paste 130 g Chopped Shallots 1.5 tbsp Chopped garlic • tbsp Chopped coriander roots ¼ tsp Ground pepper 22 g Dried Chilies • tsp Chopped lemongrass 1 tsp Chopped Galangal



1 tsp Chopped Ginger ½ tsp Roasted Cinnamon 7 pieces of Cloves 4 of Bay Leaves 2 tsp Coriander Seeds 1 ½ tsp Cumin ½ tsp Nutmeg ½ tsp Mace 1 ½ tbsp Grilled Shrimp Paste 1 tsp Salt 1 ½ tsp Cardamom

Preparation for Massaman Curry Paste • Dry-fried spices (cinnamon, bay leaves, peppers, coriander seeds, cumin, nut meg, mace, cardamom) in a wok to release the flavors and then grind to a powder in a pestle and mortar. Let the mixture cool. • Toss shallots, garlic, coriander roots, dried chilies, lemongrass, galangal, ginger and shrimp paste until fragrant and then grind in a pestle and mortar. • Add all the other ingredients and salt together and grind in a pestle and mortar to a fine paste .

Methods: 1. Heat the wok and drizzle the oil until it is hot, then add the massaman

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 earned a Michelin star award 2019. R-HAAN : Open daily from 18.00 – 23.00 hrs. 131 Sukhumvit 53 (Pai Di Ma Di), Khlong Tan Nuea, Wattana, Bangkok 10110 Tel 095 141 5524, 02 059 0433 – 34 Facebook : R.HAAN Instagram : @r.haan_restaurant

curry paste and stir until an aroma develops. 2. Add bay leaves and cardamom then simmer half of the coconut cream until it just starts to separate. 3. After it has come to a boil, add the roasted peanut and the rest of coconut cream. 4. Then add the silver shank beef and the coconut milk. 5. Add the stock, potatoes, shallots, and simmer until the beef and potatoes are tender. 6. Then season with fish sauce, palm sugar and tamarind juice and simmer until the curry thickens. 7. Top with fried shallots and serve with rice.

Meet the Why cooking as a career? Just love it

Two biggest influences on your career?


Mr. Tesit Amatyakul Executive Sous Chef

My wife / My first chef

Best early kitchen experience? Hard to say which one is the best as I’ve learnt different things from different kitchens

Worst kitchen experience? None so far

Best meal you’ve ever had? Wild caught lobster sashimi

What’s your cooking philosophy? Fresh is always better

What’s your signature dish? Come and try at Flamenco Bangkok

Favorite cookbook? French Laundry by Dan Hong

Most difficult ingredient to cook with? Intestine

How do you keep in touch with the latest food trends? Online Social Media

Have you ever created an entirely new dish? Yes, Of course

Greatest achievement to date? To run the kitchen of the biggest club in Australia

Famous people you’ve cooked for. Australian governor

Who would you like to cook for? My parents

Utensils you can’t do without? Knife / Sauce pan / Chopping board

Most influential chef? My uncle

Music you listen to while cooking? I prefer no music but a couple glasses of good wine will do

Best advice you’ve ever received? A chef must think like a SCIENTIST, Organize like an ACCOUNTANT, move like a TRACK STAR, plate like an ARTIST and cook like a GRANDMA

What’s your favourite dish to cook for yourself? Grilled Lamb

Favourite dish cooked by someone else? Any dishes with passion

Which restaurant above all others would you like to work for? Could be any restaurant with a good teamwork and great communication between FOH and BOH (front of house & back of house)

If you weren’t a chef, what would you be? A food critic

What’s next for you? Don’t know yet, I’m just cooking 40


Chef in

QKhun Tesit Amatyakul (Mont)


is currently the Executive Sous Chef for Flamenco Bangkok. With him helming the kitchen, Flamenco is not just an ordinary bar with the usual food one expects. Chef Mont delivers a gourmet dining experience that uplifts your spirit. Chef Mont began as a dishwasher during his study days in Sydney, Australia. Through sheer commitment, passion and the support of his mentors, he perfected his culinary skills across different restaurants spanning a decade. He relocated back to his homeland and was the opening team for Flamenco. FLAMENCO BANGKOK : Emquartier, Building A, Helix dining 9th Floor. Opening hours: Everyday 6:00 pm. – 12:00 am. Email: Tel: 02-003-6006 Facebook: @flamencobkk / Instagram: @flamencobangkok


The Cuban Seafood Paella

Month of the

Loaded with great seafood

Scented with saffron, sofrito, Spanish Chorizo, served in a heavy iron pan

Chef in focus EXECUTIVE CHEF Bryant Fitzgerald Kippling Oxman, the American Chef, started his culinary career after working as a professional musician. After working for a year in French restaurants, Kip moved to South Florida where he entered into an apprenticeship with a handful of visionary chefs which set him on the course of fusion or New World cuisine. He then moved to Hawaii and earned a degree in food service from the University of Hawaii. After working at the Palm Café in Hawaii, he relocated to Thailand and was hired as the opening chef at the Salsa Club. He then followed the wave of chefs to Shanghai, China, before returning to Bangkok, since his family lives here! In 2009 he started at the Monsoon restaurant where he stayed for four years, and then moved to Hemingway’s, initially at the restaurant’s original location and then to its present location on Sukhumvit 11. Hemingway Soi 11 Co Ltd 19 Sukhumvit Soi 11, Sukhumvit Rd, Klongtoey Nua, Wattana, Bangkok 10110 T 02 653 3900



Expat Women

By Agneta de Bekassy

Lady with a passion for fashion From regular visitor to Thailand-based entrepreneur behind the Ambre Jolie brand uring the 90s, German-born Fineé Schuektanz was a frequent visitor to Thailand, enjoying some of the many beautiful islands and, like so many other people, she quickly fell in love with the country, its natural beauty, the people’s kindness, the culture, food and the warm climate. When she reminisces about her first visit to Thailand, Fineé recalls feeling immediately at home here. Returning to Germany, she couldn’t stop thinking about how good it would be to find a way to live in Thailand, and to run a business in Bangkok. Growing up in an entrepreneurial family near Düsseldorf in Germany, Fineé is a natural born business woman, with a strong will and living by the motto: ‘Nothing is impossible.’ In 2003 she started to look for business opportunities in Asia that would combine pleasure with practicality. Initially she decided to produce merchandise for the European music industry, even though her knowledge in that area was limited. But with her positivity, she decided to give it a try. She booked a one way flight ticket to Bangkok and said “Auf wiedersehen” to Germany. Some time later, she had a visit from a friend, dressed in the most gorgeous outfit. Fineé doesn’t surprise easily, but she just dropped her chin at first sight of her friend’s dress. “Where did you find this outstanding dress?” she asked. Her friend told her about the collection of a French-Khmer designer, Ms Romyda Keth, who had become very successful in Asia due to her


Fineé Schuektanz: In love with Thailand at first sight



With friends at Fineé’s workplace

feminine style and high quality textiles she uses in her unique collection. Fineé couldn’t forget the dress and she promised herself that one day she would find out more about this. In 2013, she was convinced that these dresses were going to overtake the women’s market in Thailand, for both expats and Thai women, like a storm. So she made an appointment and met the designer to discuss future cooperation. Fineé went out to look for a suitable and affordable private showroom where she could receive family and friends. She started out in a very low key, even shy way, but soon extended this into becoming an exclusive official licensed partner for this label in Thailand under the name of Ambre Jolie. Today, she proudly notes that ever since her first day in the showroom, she has been lucky to greet many women of different nationalities. To make the label more attractive and better known, Fineé organizes regular events both in and outside her showroom.

Often her girlfriends dress up in an Ambre Jolie outfit and meet at a restaurant or coffeehouse for dinner or afternoon tea, which always made heads turn by their entrance. Items from the Ambre Jolie collection are feminine, classy, and beautifully designed with a sexy touch. “I’m so happy to work with something that is not a struggle. The joy it brings every time I introduce a new collection is amazing,” Fineé says. Fineé has been busy with work since arriving in the City of Angels. She admits that it wasn’t easy to start a new business in Thailand, and her working hours are long. “Yes, you can completely forget about free weekends,” she says with a smile. It’s not easy for foreigners to start a business in Thailand as there are so many regulations and conditions to follow. How does she see the future? “Well, right now it doesn’t look too good business wise. Many expats and companies seem to be leaving the country and it makes me sad. All the new conditions, like the recently TM 30 requirements and other visa issues make it hard for us foreigners. f



Expat Women e I can’t tell today if there is a future for small entrepreneurs like me. “I hope that, for fashion in the future, people will think sustainable products and go for clothes of quality. It’s often much more economical to invest in a quality outfit, even if it costs a bit more than clothes made out of synthetic fabrics that you only wear a few times and later throw away. It’s also important to be assured that it has been produced in factories where owners are responsible to their employees and absolutely do not use underage children from less privileged families. “Every time a piece of cloth goes into the washing machine, if not of sustainable material, it leaves a huge amount of micro and neoplastic in the water which goes directly out into the oceans. This should remind us of the importance to invest in quality: “I enjoy seeing all women, tall, short, slim or a bit plump in an Ambre Jolie outfit, as I know they are wearing clothes from a company which cares about our environment and at the same time flatters the women. “If I could pick a woman, anyone, to dress her up in Ambre Jolie, it would be a CEO, someone who needs to look good at work and may need to rearrange her outfit for an evening event. In which case the outfit would be a classic dress or an outstanding suit.” Fineé has become a specialist in helping customers to

Time for a cocktail

choose the right outfit that highlights their personality. She can’t help smiling when her clients take a look in the mirror and not recognizing themselves, say: “Oh, is this really me? I look fabulous! “This gives me great satisfaction and I feel proud. The long, hard working hours are forgotten” says Fineé.

Ambre Jolie Showroom: 23/1 Attha Kawi Soi 1, Sukhumvit Soi 26, Bangkok 10110

School Report

TOP EXAM RESULTS FOR SHREWSBURY QThis year’s examination results once again underline Shrewsbury’s reputation as one of the most successful schools in Asia, recognised for its unparalleled academic achievements and its excellence in sport, the creative and performing arts, and co-curricular opportunities. At (I)GCSE 70% of the 1167 exams taken by Shrewsbury students earned the top A*/A grades (vs 21% in the UK), with 1 in 3 students securing 7 or more A* grades, and 98% exams scoring A*-C grade. Of the 361 A level exams taken by Shrewsbury students, 65% scored the top A*/A grades (vs 26% in the UK), whilst the proportion of A* grades is 4½ times higher than the UK average.  Over 1 in 3 students scored straight A*/A grades. Results across the entire ability range are strong, ranking Shrewsbury within the top 8% of schools globally in terms of students’ progress, and Shrewsbury’s Class of 2019 will take up places in 59 different universities around the world, nearly half of them to world top 100 universities. We are now accepting applications for the Senior School starting August 2020, limited places available. Please contact Ms Ilka Hodapp for a school tour. Tel: 02 675 1888 ext. 1110



Expat Women By Ruth Gerson

Reviving River City as a major Bangkok art hub The place is buzzing with new galleries, restaurants and events thanks to new MD Linda Cheng inda Cheng,


Lighting up the Chao Phraya: Linda Cheng, MD of River City



Managing Director of River City Bangkok, has injected new life into the famous venue after losing some of its shine since opening 35 years ago. This highly engaging and approachable lady tells of the circuitous route that has taken her from Taiwan at the young age of 12 to study in the United States, and later to Thailand to work in her family’s business. Linda’s father had owned a business in Taiwan manufacturing Christmas lights and moved its base to Thailand, establishing a factory in Bang Na. In 1989, following graduation from UCLA in Los Angeles, Linda joined her family business in Thailand while pursuing an MBA degree at the newly opened and prestigious SASIN business school at Chulalongkorn University. “It was my father’s way of keeping me here,” she says. And indeed he succeeded, as it was in Bangkok that Linda met her husband and put down roots in the City of Angels. Linda’s husband’s story runs parallel to hers. Also of Taiwanese origin, his parents invested in ceramic tile manufacturing in Thailand. While Linda had studied on west coast USA her husband finished his studies in New York and was already employed there when he was summoned to return to Asia to his family’s business. The two met in Bangkok and married in 1994. Linda continued to work in the family’s business in marketing and sales with the US as a major market, while her husband’s ceramic tile business took them to Europe, mostly to Italy and Spain from where the tile-manufacturing machines were imported.

Linda at a recent event at River City

In the community, Linda had served as president of the Rotary Club of Bangkok in 2007, only the third woman to hold this position, which at the time was in its 77th year. This afforded her to expand her social managerial skills, and coupled with her keen business acumen she became a desirable target for business recruiters. The opportunity for change arose in 2012 when a friend asked Linda to help at the Mahidol University’s College of Music. Linda consented, remembering an inspirational talk by a guest speaker from a Rotary meeting who had said that one should do what he or she is passionate about. The offer came at a time when Linda was rethinking her life, feeling that she wanted do more than run a business, saying, “Family work was a duty, music was my passion.” Linda met the dean of the College of Music and the board of directors who created the position of Associate Dean for Marketing and Communications for her, recognizing Linda’s art of persuasion linked with her passion for music. With a tight budget and great ideas by the administrators that had to be carry out, Linda says with a smile, “I was the messenger to deliver their wishes.” To be able to operate

effectively, Linda used various means to promote the music college such as bartering concert tickets, finding sponsors and working in partnership with embassies and cultural institutions. She found this work rewarding being able to engage the community while promoting music appreciation and education. The threefold growth of the audience attending performances at Mahidol attests Linda’s success in her three andf a half years of work there. In 2016, change came once again when Linda was recruited for the position of Managing Director of River City Bangkok – fifth manager of the place, and the first woman. The criteria for the job required the person to be international, have a strong background in marketing, and to have worked in the cultural field. “I guess I fitted the bill,” Linda says relaxing over her cup of coffee. Before accepting the offer, Linda had a walkthrough in River City which had been recently renovated at that time, “That was the hardware, it now needed the software” an apt way of describing her mission. “I feel blessed to have had the opportunity,” she adds. f



Expat Women

Linda during her time at Mahidol University's College of Music

e River City has held a strong position as a center for antiques and auction house, but Linda felt that it needed more vitality. She required that every project must be educational and began promoting all forms of art, not just painting, but also music, photography, films, and the performing arts. She found partners in academic institutions, embassies, cultural organizations and the media. To raise the place’s profile, Linda searched for international art, and what country was better to start with than her old home – Taiwan. She arranged to bring from the National Palace Museum in Taipei the multimedia exhibition of the renowned painted scroll ‘Up the river during Qing Ming’ of which many versions exist. The exhibition was an immediate success. Linda related the difficulty she had faced in convincing the museum directors to work with a small art center. However, perseverance and the art of persuasion prevailed with Linda quoting enthusiastically Benjamin Franklin’s words of wisdom, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” which she repeats to her team. More multimedia



exhibitions have followed, the recent “From Monet to Kandinsky” from Berlin, and the current “Italian Renaissance” have all received great attendance. The transformation of River City is evident whilst walking down its halls. There are new galleries and numerous eatery places, the passageways are abuzz with people, and Linda has added her personal touch meeting visitors, introducing herself and welcomes them. Linda feels that this is the right time to highlight River City as it is located in the old European quarter of Bangkok that is now a heritage site being developed as an art enclave, and that River City has to evolve in order to remain relevant. Fruits of Linda’s work are seen in the various activities of River City. There are now monthly concerts of various genre, screenings of special movies, art exhibitions some with artist’s talks, and more. The place has garnered a reputation that draws artists to its midst. Linda’s dream is to help transform River City to become an art hub in Thailand and perhaps in Asia.

DENLA BRITISH SCHOOL (DBS) is ranked as one of “THE BEST INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS IN BANGKOK AND THAILAND 2019” One of the leading premium international schools in Thailand, emphasising all-round education and preparing students for world-class universities Outstanding and different with The Unique DBS Vision.

Mr Mark McVeigh,Principal of Denla British School, who is an expert in education and has all-round experience from leading schools in England and South East Asia, comments that DBS has been created from a vision “Nurturing Global Leaders” that aims to promote educational excellence and leadership in a happy and enthusiastic environment. To build and support students’ successes, DBS operates with the 4 pillars of The Unique DBS Vision, which are An Enhanced British Curriculum, Academic Excellence for All, Entrepreneurship and Creative Thinking, and Community and Global Perspectives.

The curriculum from British independent schools is considered the best UK curriculum.

The British international study programme is the most popular curriculum in the world. The UK curriculum is delivered by 2 sectors in the UK: independent (also called private) schools, and state schools. The UK curriculum for independent schools is intense and comprehensive. DBS is the only international school in Bangkok that implements an enhanced UK curriculum from the best practice of independent schools in the UK. All teachers are native English-speakers (apart from Thai and Mandarin teachers) and they are very experienced. The uniqueness of DBS’s enhanced UK curriculum includes its approach to Personalised Learning. Personalised Learning is about focusing on each student according to their skills and preferences. It can range from individual to small group teaching under the supervision

of teachers and learning assistants. Students in Year 13 - 18 years old are nearing their graduation from Senior School, and are approaching a very important period of preparation for the IGCSE and A Level examinations. Eligibility for world-renowned universities, either in the UK, US, or anywhere else in the world, requires good academic qualifications and life skills, such as leadership, social interaction, and passion. These special talents can’t be cultivated overnight, but have to be developed from childhood. With the outstanding feature of an independent UK school curriculum, including an additional 1.5 hours of learning and teaching (also known as the Extended Day system), students at DBS study 8 hours per week more than other international schools at no additional cost for the parents. Students’ time is filled with more than 40 subjects to choose from, which includes academics, robotics, music, sport, dance, cooking, and leadership courses. In this way, students can focus on their preferences and try new things, under the close supervision of more than 60 expert teachers and 40 assistants. This constitutes an important foundation

Visit Tel.02 666 1933 Email:

to develop students to advance to world-class universities. “We are proud to have exceeded the standards for membership to the International School Association of Thailand (ISAT) and Council of International School (CIS), both of which are leading organisations that assess the quality of educational standards of international schools. DBS is also included in the “THE BEST INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS IN BANGKOK AND THAILAND 2019”, from the school website ranking: (https:// -schools-in-bangkok/, -in-thailand /), which compiles and ranks international schools from over 100 countries worldwide. DBS students have improved significantly in all areas. They have won various academic awards, as well as prizes from other activities and sports. These all ensure DBS’s reputation as a leading international school that encourages future leaders and entrepreneurs. It is also clear that evaluations from prestigious international school organisations show that DBS is well placed to nurture its young leaders who will compete on the world stage, fully committed to the school’s motto; “Always to Greater Things”, Mr McVeigh concludes.

ENROLLING NOW 2-14 years old

• Enhanced British Curriculum. • Friendly and Welcoming Community. • 100% Native English-Speaking Teachers. • Enormous Land of 60 Rai. • Best Facilities Among British Schools.

“Nurturing Global Leaders”

Tel. 02 666 1933 WWW.DBSBANGKOK.AC.TH

Denla British School


Reporter’s notebook: Revisiting great stories of the past – Part 5

Famous Thai athlete and boxer who became a Police General to stand against an corruption

Police General Pratin Santipraphob during interview in his home in July 2005.

Veteran correspondent Maxmilian Wechsler recalls some of his most interesting and exclusive assignments from the past two decades.

FROM THE YEAR 2005 Police General Pratin Santipraphob has held fast to a strict code of ethics throughout his rise to the top of the Royal Thai Police Department and his ‘second career’ in the Senate.



At 71 years of age, Pol Gen Pratin Santipraphob, senator and retired head of the Royal Thai Police Department, is as fit and active as a man many years younger. He keeps in shape both physically and mentally by exercising every morning and playing golf regularly on Saturday and Sunday. Pol Gen Pratin is a truly humble person who prefers privacy to the limelight. Very few people know that he was once a famous athlete – maybe yet another reason for his excellent physical condition. He was on the Thai national soccer and rugby teams,

and is a former Thai record-holder in the 100-metre sprint. He was also a good boxer. As for the latter, he was seen on television giving two quick punches to a fellow senator during a session on the southern unrest. The general summarised the altercation thus: “He sped maliciously toward me, so I had to stop that immediate threat. It was my instinct to defend myself.” One of his admirers explained: “Had it been another person, he would have been crucified and condemned by the usually intrusive and unforgiving Thai press. But Pol

Gen Pratin came out unscathed, and even became more popular with ordinary people, something of a ‘folk hero.’ ” Many citizens in the Kingdom admire him for his lifelong uncompromising stand against corruption and injustice, and this has led to a logical second career for the general. “After my retirement from the Royal Thai Police Department in 1994, I wanted to use all my experience to continue helping the people and my country, so I decided to run for the Senate,” he said. He did well in Thailand’s firstever Senate election on March 4, 2000, when he came in fifth out of 18 candidates elected for the Bangkok constituency, with around 70,000 votes. His six-year term will expire in March 2006, and the law allows a senator only one term. “I would like to rest after my second retirement, playing golf and reading books, but if I can help my country then I am ready to work again. Right now many people come to see me all the time seeking advice or assistance,” said Pol Gen Pratin. Commenting on the next Senate elections, Pol Gen Pratin believes that Bangkok senators will be still pretty much independent, as they were in 2000, and not “belong” to any political party, as is prescribed in the Constitution. But this cannot be totally expected in the provinces, where most of the candidates have more or less to be supported by one or another political party. “The candidates must be connected ‘indirectly’; they cannot run on their own. If a candidate upcountry has no support, who will ‘introduce’ him to the people? He has no chance. Even now, the Senate is not entirely neutral,” Pol Gen Pratin said without elaboration. When asked what was his biggest achievement as a public servant, he replied: “During my 36 years in government service, I never thought of achievements. When I had a duty to perform for my country, I did it to the best of my ability, and I continue to do so. “However, I regard one particular episode as very significant. During the time of the communist insurgency

Pol Gen Pratin photographed with Maxmilian at the Royal Thai Police headquarters in July 1991.

Corruption in Thailand is getting worse, and not just in the public service sector but in the private sector as well. Many people now prefer to make money in any possible way. Their attitude is that money can do everything. In such circumstances, it is very hard to solve the problems.

in Thailand, I approached one of their big leaders and gained his trust. When some of their members were arrested, I would go to look after their kids and even sent them to a vocational school. We tried to understand the communists and to get the facts straight. I wanted the government to understand them and vice-versa.” Pol Gen Pratin added that it was General Prem Tinsulanonda who deserves all credits for the successful resolution to the problem. “He was the mastermind behind everything. He wanted peace and prosperity for our country,” said Pol Gen Pratin. Campaign will go on In between the rounds of golf he plays during his second retirement, it’s a sure bet that Pol Gen Pratin will continue his efforts to make Thailand a better and safer place. He has been campaigning for many years for a new law against the selling of firearms to civilians. He explained: “This would decrease violent crimes.



Feature Based on police records, individual gun owners often find their pistols inadequate when facing assailants with superior weapons. Guns in individual possession are rarely used for self-defense, but are misused to settle personal feuds. “Only police officers or army, air force and navy personnel while on duty should have the right to have a weapon, and then they should return it afterwards to their units. They shouldn't carry guns on the street, with the exception of plain-clothes detectives, who should hide them and be discreet.” Anyone possessing a gun should get a life sentence, he said, and as for war weapons like machine guns, grenades or bombs, a death sentence should be imposed. “This type of crime should be regarded as a very serious offense endangering the life, security and livelihood of our citizens,” the general stressed. “As for the police, I am very much disappointed because I intended to make them be good to the people and to gain their faith. But I couldn't achieve that goal. Problems come mainly from the higher levels. How can people trust the police when they behave like gangsters or take money from them?” he asked. Pol Gen Pratin continued the crusade against corruption he began as a police officer when he came to the Senate. “When I was in the Royal Thai Police Department,” he said, “I could use my authority to suppress corruption, but now I am alone. We in the Senate can only investigate and submit the cases to the people and the government.” The Senate Anti-Graft Committee, chaired by Pol Gen Pratin, initiated investigations into two very important matters that have rocked the country during past months. The first concerned nine commissioners of the National Commission to Counter Corruption who awarded themselves a pay rise last August. The second was an alleged bribery scandal involving the purchase of CTX 9000 check-in baggage screening machines for Bangkok’s new Suvarnabhumi International Airport. Pol Gen Pratin believes that corruption in Thailand is getting



Guns in individual possession are rarely used for self-defense, but are misused to settle personal feuds. Only police officers or army, air force and navy personnel while on duty should have the right to have a weapon, and then they should return it afterwards to their units. They shouldn't carry guns on the street, with the exception of plain-clothes detectives, who should hide them and be discreet. Anyone possessing a gun should get a life sentence, and a death sentence should be imposed for war weapons like machine guns, grenades or bombs. worse, and not just in the public service sector but in the private sector as well. “Many people now prefer to make money in any possible way. Their attitude is that money can do everything. In such circumstances, it is very hard to solve the problems,” said the general. “I asked many students at a high-school what they would like

to become in the future: maybe a medical doctor, an engineer or a teacher? The most common answer was a politician, because they can make lots of money easily, and can do and have everything. “Still, I would like to try and give some advice to the young people: Please study! We in Thailand have very good schools and universities. Don't spend money on luxury items.” Behind the stor y: Pol Gen Pratin wasn’t keen on interviews but finally granted me one 11 years after he retired from the police force. He was known as tough man, incorruptible and uncompromising – and also for his former athletic achievements. He was a policeman feared by the criminals, and not only them. I had had a working relationship with him since from 1990. We sometimes met for consultations in his office at the Royal Thai Police headquarters in Bangkok. When he became the police chief in 1993, I felt the right man was in the right place, but he retired the following year and was elected to Senate in 2000. Pol Gen Pratin assisted me in suppressing a bourgeoning underground trade in fake watches, fashion items and leather goods. I was assigned this activity by a pool of exclusive foreign brands and conducting operations with help from the Economic Crime Investigation Division headquartered on North Sathorn Road. Once we conducted a raid on sellers of fake goods at Chiang Mai’s Night Plaza. After police arrested a few sellers and took them to the police stations, other vendors surround the building and wouldn’t let me or our lawyer leave. We were stranded and in danger of being mugged by the mob if we ventured outside. In desperation I called Gen Pratin at his home in Bangkok around midnight and asked him to help. He spoke a high-ranking officer in Chiang Mai who seemed shocked to have the Thai police chief on the line. We were immediately given a police escort out of the station which deposited up safely at our hotel. We left Chiang Mai the next day.

Senator Kraisak Choonhavan: Musician, conservationist and outspoken son of a former Prime Minister

Kraisak Choonhavan during interview in August 2005.

You never get bored talking to Kraisak Choonhavan. With a cigarette in his hand and a guitar placed neatly behind his plain wooden office desk, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs recounts the vicissitudes of life that transformed him from a humble university lecturer into an outspoken politician. The senator’s office is modestly furnished, with large old black-and-white photographs of his family and paintings of forests on the walls. He was relaxed and casually attired – “I wear a suit only when I am in the Senate,” he remarked.

Kraisak is a charismatic and extremely intelligent person who loves the arts, music, nature and animals, and who also enjoys tobacco. Before he lit up his first cigarette, he asked politely if it was ok with me. Senator Kraisak once described himself as “outspoken” in a short autobiography, and he has a vocabulary that many native English speakers would envy. Casually attired, the son of former Prime Minister Chatichai Choonhavan speaks frankly, and critically, about the performance of the government – a trademark that makes people either love or hate him.




The government started to use excessive force in the South right from the beginning and that perpetuated the retaliation from the insurgents and allowed them to gain more volunteers and supporters. Now, with the recent government announcement of emergency measures things will get worse. The insurgency has really gotten out of control. The insurgency has really gotten out of control. They increased attacks against the government officers and the people.



His father was Thailand’s 17th prime minister, from August 1988 until February 23, 1991, when he was overthrown in a bloodless military coup led by General Sunthorn Kongsompong and General Suchinda Kraprayoon. During the 60-minute interview, Kraisak, who was educated in the US and the UK, was totally focused and answered all questions, only avoiding to say how he left Thailand and where he went after his father was deposed in the coup. Fast-forwarding to the present, Kraisak elaborated on the role and responsibilities of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs: “We are concerned with all important issues related to the international policy of the government. There has never been any entity in the Parliament that has scrutinised government policy so closely as we have been. It seems as if I am most of the time opposing the government, but when we support the government it is never publicised.” He said that in fact the current government has been very proactive, but that sometimes there has not been an adequate review before certain policies were launched which have been harmful to the country. He gave the example of the negotiations for a free trade agreement with 11 countries, which he said was done without properly studying each case, putting the country at risk. “The Thai farmers – as we have found out – cannot compete with foreign goods coming in tariff-free. They will be poorer than they were before. We can’t look at Thai agriculture simply as an inefficient sector just because farmers can’t produce cheaper than other countries. If they can’t compete with imported products, they can’t be expected to leave their livelihood for other jobs, because the other sectors are not big enough to absorb them.” The responsibilities of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs also relate to human rights issues, he said. “We have condemned very strongly some violations of human rights that have occurred in South Thailand. We have never been in a situation like we are right now, when the United Nations Commissioner on Human Rights has asked Thailand to answer 26 questions on the violations of human rights in our country,” Kraisak remarked. “The government started to use excessive force in the South right from the beginning and that perpetuated the retaliation from the insurgents and allowed them to gain more volunteers and supporters. Now, with the recent government announcement of emergency measures things will get worse. The insurgency has really gotten out of control. They increased attacks against the government officers and the people,” he said. “The use of massive forces will not mitigate the insurgents, but on the contrary it will probably lend them more support. The government should rebuild its intelligence and regain the people's support and confidence they had during past 25-26 years, when there were no repeated incidents of violence at all. But this is because of the use of intelligence, which came through a trust of the people. “Now, nobody trusts the authorities. It is a cell-to-cell operation in which the government punishes the entire

Photo credit: HELLO! THAILAND

community instead of penetrating the cells and networks of the insurgents.” The senator praised some of the government's ideas, but said the implementation was corrupt, misplaced and mismanaged. The programmes to help the farming sector, such as cancelling debts, to have a bank for the poor and a Muslim bank are all excellent ideas. The proposal of turning properties into assets is also excellent. But how all these ideas were applied is a complete misinterpretation of the concepts. “For example, the bank for the poor functions like a normal bank and it is difficult for the poor to obtain help. The idea of loan cancellation is limited to those who owe money to the Bank of Agriculture and Cooperatives.” On the subject of social health care, Kraisak said: “This has been badly mismanaged and it has created a downside to health care altogether, including for those who can afford to pay. The poor now get less service. The health care people are also demoralised. But this can be rectified, and we support action on this issue.” Keeping busy The senator outlined his future plans after the end of his six-year senate term in March: “I will have plenty of work to do. Throughout the years – even as a senator – I have been engaged in various things through foundations and non-governmental organizations. This will keep me busy. “Right now, I am very much engaged in arts and culture, collaborating with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration to have an Art Centre and working with a network of artists. We seem to have hit the right chord with the governor of Bangkok. Aside from designing and trying to collaborate with artists and art administrators to create this Art Centre and to make it really exceptional, we will also apply the arts to conflict resolution in social and health aspects. “This is not one of my hobbies. I take this work quite seriously. I think that through the artistic campaign, we will be able to make the government recognise the need to include the arts as a vital part of its policies, and also to develop a better image of Bangkok. The dimension of arts and culture has been ignored in public policy for so long.” Kraisak is currently a board member of the Kru Tim Foundation and is chairman of several cultural and conservation organisations – the Bangkok Foundation on

Arts and Culture, Wild Elephant Research and Rescue Project, General Chatichai Choonhavan Foundation, and WildAid (Thailand). He elaborated on the latter: “This particular international organisation campaigns against the killing and consumption of wild animals such as tigers and bears. We advise and collaborate with government officials on suppressing illegal trafficking, training and regional networking. The penalties are now very low and should be increased. If you get arrested with wild animals the fine will be 20,000 baht, and then you can go and do it again.” He also campaigns against the construction of a giant dam on the Salween River. “The government has announced its support of a privately funded dam on the Salween River, which is a disastrous policy. The dam will flood at least one-third of the Salween National Park. It will be the biggest dam in Southeast Asia and will flood a 300-kilometre stretch of land on both sides of the river in Burma and Thailand, with tens of thousands of people removed and hundreds of villages submerged. More than 20 percent of the land in Mae Hong Son province will be flooded and Pai district – which is now a pristine tourist spot – will be 30 percent under water.” Asked about his hobbies, he replied: “I love horseback riding on the trails at Pak Chong in Khao Yai. This is one of my passions. You are there with an animal that is half wild and half tame. There is an element of interaction between the rider and the horse in conditions that is not enclosed or confined. “I love listening to music and playing it as well. In the 1980s, I only listened to classical music, but now I am enchanted with music produced by people from Africa and from the Middle East, but reinterpreted in the arrangements and in a modern sense. I also love Morrocan jazz and African Blues. “I am very much involved with Thai musicians like the Caravan group. We are very close – not only personally – I am also very much attached to their lyrics and to the social attribute of their music. I love to be able to play with the band although it is not very often I get the chance.”

Behind the stor y: When I walked into Mr Kraisak’s office, I was expecting a plush setup with expensive decorations, but it was nothing like that. Located in a low-rise apartment building apparently owned by the family, the furnishings were very ordinary and the place was filled with smoke. Mr Kraisak is a heavy smoker. There was nothing about his appearance to show his wealth or influence. His manner was open and brusque and he freely expressed critical opinions on a variety of subjects. This was somewhat of a trademark and the reason he was disliked by many people. I was told this before the meeting by people who knew him well, and I must say he confirmed their observations. I wanted to like the guy but there was something stopping me. Our meeting went on for almost two hours.




Chief Rabbi C. Kantor during interview in his Bangkok office.

By Maxmilian Wechsler

Bangkok's Chief Rabbi oversees a growing flock of Jewish wanderers

Since 1993 Chief Rabbi Yosef C. Kantor has worked tirelessly and happily for Jews in Thailand, whether permanent residents or the big majority who are here for a holiday or just passing through.



Based here on invitation from the Jewish community, he is also an Executive Director of Chabad of Thailand. Chabad is a major movement within mainstream Jewish tradition that is dedicated to providing spiritual, material and social support for all Jews, wherever they may be found. The energetic and devout Chief Rabbi recently granted The BigChilli an exclusive inter view. Background “I was born in the United States in 1969. My mother is American and my father is Australian. He was studying in New York, where he met my mother. I was two years old when we moved to Australia and I grew up in Melbourne. When I was 18, I moved to New York to continue my studies, and when I was 23 I married a Jewish girl from Los Angeles,” said Rabbi Kantor. “The Jewish community in Thailand asked the Chabad organization in Brooklyn, New York, to send a rabbi here, and in 1993 I became a rabbi in Bangkok. My wife and I were both chosen actually. We came here and we’ve never looked back. “We have been here more than a quarter of a century and we were both very young when we arrived. My wife was very brave to agree to come here. We came with a three-monthold baby. I think I was feeling – how should I say it – I was looking forward to doing something meaningful, coming to a place where there was no rabbi and building a haven for those who wanted to follow Judaism.” When asked how many Jewish people live in Bangkok, Rabbi Kantor said this is a very difficult question. “I would say at least a thousand, and maybe more. There are so many Jewish people who travel here, so it’s hard to say how actually many live here. There are people that come for a few months and there are people who stay for a few years. “Of the Jews who are here, it is very difficult to gauge how many really put down roots. Even people who stay 10 years may not plan to be here permanently. For a family,

Bangkok is not an easy place to create continuity. Education in private schools is expensive unless your employer pays for the schooling. Bangkok is becoming more cosmopolitan in some sense, and the cost of living is going up. “A fair number of Jewish people also live in Chiang Mai, Phuket and Ko Samui. In Chiang Mai Jewish residents include retirees and people pursuing business opportunities and other interests. The branches we have opened there mainly cater to tourists who are Jewish or are Israeli citizens.”

Zionism and Orthodoxy Asked to explain Zionism, Rabbi Kantor did a quick Google search and read the definition out loud: “A movement for (originally) the re-establishment and (now) the development and protection of a Jewish nation in what is now Israel. “Now, Zionism is not today such a big issue as it was before the founding of the State of Israel,” said Rabbi Kantor. “The movement of Zionism was then very important, because it basically meant the effort of trying to bring about the formation of the State of Israel.






“These days, Zionism is about protecting and upholding the State of Israel. Most Jews agree this is extremely important and necessary. So, generally speaking Jewish people are somewhat Zionistic in their outlook. They want to see Israel remain,” Rabbi Kantor said forcefully. He explained that just as in Christianity, there are different Jewish creeds. ‘‘I follow Orthodox Judaism. Orthodox parents usually have many children because the Bible says: ‘Be fruitful and multiply’. We believe that children are a blessing and we believe that God will provide. “Orthodox Jews wear brimless caps called kippah. It is a reminder of God above. In Judaism everybody is required to practice all the traditional observances, but nobody is forced. Some do, some don’t. It’s a personal choice. And there is no tradition that a rabbi should not get married or anything like that. Rabbi, simply



means ‘teacher’ and he just like Jewish laymen should do his best to observe all of the commandments,” Rabbi Kantor said. Judaism in Bangkok “We have three synagogues in Bangkok. The main one, which is under renovation, is Beth Elisheva Synagogue in Sukhumvit Soi 22. There is a Sephardic synagogue in the Silom area now located at Novotel Fenix Hotel, and we have a synagogue at Banglampoo, on Khao San Road. Outside Bangkok, there are synagogues in Chiang Mai, Phuket and Ko Samui. We plan to open a synagogue in Pai town in Mae Hong Son province.” Rabbi Kantor said that Chabad is a philosophy, a movement and an organization that was started about 250 years ago in Russia. “It’s an organization to promote Judaism

and Jewish observances. From 1950 to 1994, Chabad was led by the very charismatic Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. He sent emissaries all over the world to develop Judaism. “So in this spirit, in Thailand I teach Judaism to local Jews and those passing through. I lead the services in the synagogue and I oversee the running of all synagogues in Thailand. We have a staff of 10 rabbis, including myself, split among the synagogues. I came first and then I brought nine more rabbis. “We also build infrastructure for Jewish people here, for example a new cafe called J Cafe that we opened in May. It is not a commercial restaurant. It is a place where Jewish people can buy kosher food, some imported from Israel, and where they feel comfortable socializing and meeting fellow Jews. It is eventually meant to be in the synagogue building in Sukhumvit Soi 22. But because it

will take a long time to build, we first rented this place in the Mille Malle Mall in Sukhumvit Soi 20. “We have different compartments or departments of our organization. One department deals with certification of kosher food. Let’s say a factory in the US wants to bring tapioca starch from Thailand to use in their baby cereal and the finished product has a kosher certification. They need to know that the starch is also kosher. So we will do the inspection and issue a certificate. This is one of our divisions which bring in money. All income goes into our community activities. “We have kosher restaurants in many tourist locations. The purpose of these restaurants is to encourage and allow people to eat kosher, and also to make a profit. Again, any profit goes back to the general organization. We have a business model that generates income, but it all goes back to the community. We are a non-profit enterprise,” Rabbi Kantor reiterated. “What’s more, we don’t receive any financial support from outside. Everything comes from local support. Yes, we solicit donations – and this is another part of my work – because otherwise we couldn’t continue our work. Fund raising is an important part of my life.” Besides overseeing religious observances and ceremonies and making sure local Jewish community activities are adequately funded, Rabbi Kantor tends to the needs of his shifting flock in many other ways. “People who need help often come to me, and that includes people who are ‘stuck’ here. Bangkok is as not cheap as it used to be. I help everyone, whether or not they are Jews. I also do counseling. I guess I am like an NGO. “If a Jew leaves instructions with me that they wish to be buried at the Jewish cemetery in Bangkok, I see that his or her wishes are adhered to. If they do not make arrangements, nobody will know they wished to follow Jewish funeral rites. In Thailand they will be cremated by default. The Jewish cemetery in Bangkok is located right in front of the Protestant cemetery on Charoen Krung Road

Thailand is a very tolerant and friendly place for people of different cultures and religions. This is a place that allows us as Jews to worship in a way we feel comfortable. Working here is very inspiring for me.

near Ramada Plaza Menam Riverside Hotel. The cemetery was established in 1994, and at present about 50 Jews are interred there. “I also sometimes give talks to international schools about Judaism, and I travel a lot around Thailand. I believe that a Jewish voice needs to be heard in Bangkok and the world about morality.” Thailand tolerance allows growth Rabbi Kantor said that Judaism is not an official religion in Thailand because in order to be recognized as such a religion must be followed by two percent of the population. “There are around 65 million Thai Buddhists, and we are not even one percent of the population. Even though we can’t be an official religion, we are allowed to operate. And we are respectful of Buddhists and people of other faiths. “Thailand is a very tolerant and friendly place for people of different cultures and religions. This is a place that allows us as Jews to worship in a way we feel comfortable. Working here is very inspiring for me. The fact of the matter is that we are a small community and because of that many people when they come here start to think about reestablishing the contacts or roots that in another place they might take for granted. “Jews from Israel, from America, business people, locals Jews, all kinds of people come to our synagogues. We get a very diverse mix of people from all backgrounds coming to our services and activities and their number is growing. That’s why we want to build a new synagogue here,” said Rabbi Kantor. “Bangkok has redefined itself and become much more modern, and our synagogue needs to do the same. So we are actually knocking down the old building and putting up a new sixstorey building. We are building on our own property, which belongs to the Jewish community. We will need to work hard to raise the funds to construct this building, but we will do it. Anyone who wishes to contribute money to this project can email”



DIPLOMATS ‡ Meet the people uniting nations

Her Excellency Ms Eva Hager Austrian Ambassador brings charm and multicultural expertise to Bangkok



Diplomat: H.E. Ms Eva Hager

Austrian Ambassador brings charm and multicultural expertise to Bangkok Words MAXMILIAN WECHSLER

Her Excellency Ms Eva Hager has acquired extensive experience in the Middle East, North Africa and Latin America as well as Europe over the course of a long and successful diplomatic career. Her posting in Bangkok is her initiation to Asia. Ambassador Hager came to Thailand at the end of 2017, around the time the Austrian mission moved into the newly constructed embassy built inside the same park-like compound that housed the old embassy. The new embassy in Soi ‘Nantha-Mozart’ off Sathorn Soi 1 looks super-modern, but it retains a classical feel, starting with a sign out front marking the name-change of the soi to Nantha-Mozart in 2012 to honour Austria’s most famous native son. Ambassador Hager gave a tour of the embassy compound during a wide-ranging inter view. At one point we spotted a long-time resident of the embassy sitting under a tree in the spacious garden. It was a splendid male peacock, who began slowly walking away when he saw us approaching. “He is a ver y cute, beautiful and old territorial animal who likes to be solitar y. Embassy people feed him.”Ms Hager said.

Background and duties in Bangkok “I was born in Vienna in 1957. My father was an agricultural engineer and my mother was a teacher. I joined the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs 33 years ago, in 1986. I studied Arabic and political science at university and even before concluding my studies I was assigned as an interpreter to accompany Austrian ministers on trips to Arab countries and accompany other important people when they received guests and dignitaries who spoke Arabic. But what I always wanted was to be a diplomat and not an interpreter,” said Ms Hager. She was well on her way with an assignment in 1988 as attaché for political affairs at the Austrian Embassy in Damascus, Syria, and has since held a number of important positions in Vienna and around the world. As an ambassador, she formerly served in Cyprus and Mexico. (See CV in Box)        Asked if the posting in Thailand was her choice, she replied: “Yes, in a way. In our system you have to submit applications for several posts in order to be eligible for assignment. I was pleased to learn I had been chosen for Thailand.

“I am also Ambassador to Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. It’s not an overloaded job for me, because while serving as Ambassador in Mexico between 2013 and 2017 I was also looking after seven other countries – Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. “I have to keep up with the latest information on all four countries I am ambassador to, and I do it on my own, already in the morning from my residence at the embassy compound. This is the first thing I do over breakfast or immediately after. I read Thai English-language news sources and other sources on the internet. Then I look at news from Austria, the EU and around the world. “After getting acquainted with what’s going on in the world and especially Thailand and the region, I take the short walk to the embassy. I decide what the priorities are, especially in regard to Thailand, and I may call on my staff and collaborators to discuss matters and distribute tasks for them. Then I get to less pressing duties, which includes office work. “Essentially, the task of an ambassador is to promote relations with the country we are assigned to in the best possible way, in all fields – politics, economic relations,



culture, education, you name it. In order to do that, you have to take part in a lot of activities such as attending meetings and give presentations. You also have to participate in cultural and social events such as – but not limited to – national day receptions and organize events for guests and so on. Most of this occurs in the evening hours. You have to develop and maintain good relations with officials as well as people from the civil society in your host country. “It is a very versatile and flexible job, and it requires a lot of travel. I travel to each of the other three countries I am accredited to a couple of times a year, and maybe more. It depends on whatever operations and activities, like official meetings, there may be.”

Embassy “We moved into the new building in August 2017, but the official opening was in March 2018. At that time we also celebrated the 65th anniversary of renewed diplomatic relations between Thailand and Austria, which were re-established in 1953. During the Second World War, of course, Austria vanished from the landscape and we had no diplomatic relations with any country. “The new embassy was designed by an Austrian lady-architect whose creation was selected from 80 submissions in a European-wide competition. Construction started in 2013 and was completed in 2017. The building has received several international rewards for its high sustainability standards, e.g. the Austrian national Green Planet Building award, and the Green Good Design award of the Athenaeum Museum for Architecture and Design of Chicago. “We have a little over 20 employees at the embassy, plus a commercial section which is formally under the embassy but located somewhere else. In all, the embassy employs almost 30 people, more than a third Austrians and the rest Thai. As far as work load is concerned, it’s about 30% on consular work and 70% on politics, culture and economic relations. The operation of the Consulate section is very complicated and absorbing, and staff is kept very busy because there is so much tourism between our two countries. “According to records and estimates, around 100,000 Austrians visited Thailand in 2018 and about 105,000 Thais visited Austria. Thai nationals with service and diplomatic passport don’t need visas to enter Austria, but those holding a normal passport do need a visa. We outsource the visa process to a company in Bangkok so that applicants don’t need to come to the embassy, but the consular department at the Embassy reviews all files and makes the final decision based on the evidence in the file and the corresponding regulations. “What I think most Thai people are doing in Austria is sightseeing. I haven’t heard too much about them going specifically to ski. They also like to visit our spas, not because of our skills in massage – this is done much better here – but because we have many natural springs with water that has special qualities. This is what makes our spas famous.



“We reckon that about 4,000 Austrians reside in Thailand and a few dozens or hundreds in my other three countries. But we only know about those who register with our missions. Austrian nationals are not obliged to do so.” 150 years and counting “This year we are celebrating the 150th anniversary of friendly relations with Thailand, which began in 1869 with the Treaty of Amity, Commerce and Navigation. It acknowledged good relations and committed to continued friendship and exchanges in all fields of interest between the Kingdom of Siam and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. “So this year we are organizing many cultural events, starting with the VIP-launch of the jubilee year by a performance of the famous Viennese Boys Choir on January 9. We will fill the year with around 25 top-class events, among them twinning initiatives such as concerts of the Princess Galyani Youth Orchestra in Vienna and Bangkok under the baton of the Austrian conductor Johannes Meissl, or a joint celebration of our friendship with Thailand and the jubilee of 150 Years of the Vienna State Opera with live opera screenings in Bangkok which took place in May. I can’t promise that we can keep on in such a dynamic way in the future because it is a huge burden on our embassy, as all the events are organized from within the Embassy with limited staff resources.” (See Box with a list of events)  “With regard to the events to celebrate the 150th anniversary in Austria, we very much appreciate the visit of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn who graciously presided over the above-mentioned concert held at Schlosstheater Schönbrunn (Schönbrunn Palace Theatre) in Vienna on June 23. During her visit the Princess also visited important projects, museums and other sites in Vienna. She was also awarded a very high Austrian decoration for her outstanding services to science and arts.”  

Bilateral relations “Relations between our two countries are excellent, deeply rooted in a shared history of 150 years. We have developed good and easy economic, cultural, political and educational ties. “Members of the Thai Royal Family in particular have contributed a lot to our good relations. I’ve mentioned the recent visit of H.R.H Princess Sirindhorn. H.R.H. Princess Bajrakitiyabha Narendira Debyavati has boosted relations as Ambassador of the Kingdom of Thailand to Austria between 2012 and 2014 in a very energetic way. H.R.H. Princess Sirivannavari  Nariratana Rajakanya is also a good friend to Austria. This stems partly from a keen interest in horses. The princess has competed in equestrian events in Austria and other European countries. “Princess Sirivannavari is also the royal patron of the Royal Bangkok Symphony Orchestra and recently visited Vienna to make contact with our famous Philharmonic Orchestra there. She is instrumental in nurturing the close and excellent Thai-Austrian musical cooperation that have begun a long time ago. In 1964 His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Her Majesty Queen Sirikit made an official



Photo credit: Österreich Werbung.

Christmas market in Linz.

visit to Austria in which they enjoyed a number of musical performances. His Majesty also actively participated in a jazz performance with Austrian musicians. After the royal visit, the Vienna University of Music and Performing Arts offered the King the prestigious rank of Honorary member, bestowed to only 36 personalities world-wide. “There’s a very good musical partnership between Austrian institutes and Mahidol University, Chulalongkorn University, the Princess Galyani Vadhana Institute of Music, and other universities. In a related development, Silpakorn University and the Austrian University of Applied Arts signed a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at establishing a regional centre for renovation and conservation in Thailand. “I would like to add a little about another bilateral development in education and culture. Austria and Thailand are integral members of ASEA-UNINET (ASEAN European Academic University Network). This is a network that includes 80 universities in Asia and Europe. Austria and Thailand are the most active partners in the network; Austria has 19 participating universities and Thailand has 18. This network brings a lot of financial and other support for international scientific and educational cooperation, for example in the exchange of students and professors, and the organization of master classes, seminars, joint laboratories and research projects. Thai and Austrian universities cooperate very closely in all of this.”     

Economic ties “Economic relations between Austria and Thailand are very important to both countries. The combined trade volume is about US$1 billion, and actually Thailand’s exports amount to about twice Austria’s. On both sides the items exported are more or less similar quality products, like glass products and jewelry, machinery, appliances and that kind of thing. In addition, Thailand also exports auto parts, motorcycles, tools, textiles and accessories.       “Around 100 Austrian companies are present here and at least 40 of them with producing factories. Some have huge operations here. We have two companies that have several subsidiaries each and each subsidiary employs about 10,000 workers. Austrian companies here produce



Hallstatt in winter.

crystal glassware, instruments for grinding and cutting, rubber wear, animal feed, blood collecting tubes, auto parts, air bags, renewable energy, baby clothes, ladies’ underwear, you name it. “On July 29, I was present at the inauguration of the extension of the Metropolitan Rapid Transit Blue Line which now extends to the historic centre of Bangkok and to Chinatown. The trains we rode in during the inauguration ceremony came from Austria. We have a lot of experience in the field of sustainable transportation systems,” said Ms Hager.

Personal “I have settled very well in Bangkok. I like living at the embassy compound. The residence I stay in is behind a teakwood fence and I cannot see the embassy from the house.” The normal term for an ambassador of Austria is about four years. Ms Hager will be eligible for retirement when she turns 65, in a couple of years. Besides German she’s fluent in Arabic, English, French and Spanish and has a basic knowledge of Modern Greek. Her successful professional career may have been given a boost by her linguistic skills, but clearly it doesn’t depend on them. The Austrian ambassador’s diplomatic skills and experiences are immediately apparent. As for free time, Ms Hager said: “I love reading and I have adopted a new way of procuring the necessary books by borrowing them from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs library in Vienna. You can now electronically view what they have and pick the books you want and they will send them here. They leave the books with me for six weeks and then I have to send them back. I like to read the real hard-copy book. I don’t do it electronically by downloading it on the computer or smart phone – not as yet anyway. “I also like very much to swim. I have a nice swimming pool where I live in Bangkok and every day I swim there. I also like the lush tropical garden that we have around the embassy. When it is not too hot and the air is of good quality – which it is during most of the year with the exception of a few weeks – I really enjoy relaxing in the garden.”

Overview of cultural & social activities to commemorate 150 years of Austria-ThaiFriendship 2019-2020 · January 9: Launch event of the anniversary year with Vienna Boys Choir. · January 10:  Public, ticketed concert of VBC at KBank Siam Pic Ganesha Theatre. · January 14-25:  Duo Siedl/Cao Workshops & Lectures at Mahidol University, Chulalongkorn University, PGVIM and Rangsit University, performances at De Commune Club and Mai Space/ Chiang Mai. · February 8:  Master Class by mdw at College of Music, Mahidol University – final concert of students and professors on the occasion of 150 years of Austria-Thai Friendship.  · February 12:  Screening of “Erik & Erika” at Open Air Kino 2019 film series at the Goethe Institute. · February 25-March 3:  Kay Walkowiak Exhibition “The Shape of Absence”; February 25 opening with short films and artist talk at Bangkok Screening Room. · February 28:  VIP wine tasting with TOA and Winegarage at The Continent Hotel. · February 26-March 17:  CARE photo exhibition at BACC. · March 1:  CARE exhibition grand opening ceremony with concert of Agnes Palmisano and Paul Gulda at BACC auditorium. · March 3:  CARE small photo-exhibition and opening ceremony with concert of Agnes Palmisano and Paul Gulda in Chiang Mai, Imperial Mae Ping Hotel. · April 30-May 5:  YoVA4 exhibition; Friday, 3 May: Architecture Talk with DI Alice Größinger (Idealice) and DI Katharina Bayer (einszueins architektur) as part of the ASA Expo 2019 at Impact Arena. · May 25-26:  Opera Weekend with screenings of two operas and one ballet (especially for children) at the Bangkok Screening Room to celebrate 150 Years of Vienna State Opera. · June 6 and 8:  The jazz ensemble Woody Black 4 gave a concert at the Austrian Embassy’s multipurpose room (June 6) and performed at the Hua Hin Jazz Festival (June 8). · June 14:  Concert by the Giocoso String Quartet at the music hall of Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok.

· June 17-18: Presentation of the Thai translation of the Austrian children’s book “The Grandmother in the Apple Tree” at schools for vulnerable kids in Loei province in cooperation with UNICEF (mobile library). · July 11:  Screening of the Austrian movie “Egon Schiele – Death and the Maiden” at Alliance Française Bangkok as part of the German Film Week & Guest countries 2019. · July 14:  Concert by the Princess Galyani Youth Orchestra under the baton of the Austrian conductor Prof Johannes Meissl at the Princess Galyani Vadhana Institute of Music. · August 5:  Master class and exclusive Food & Wine pairing dinner with the Austrian sommelier Dorli Muhr at the Austrian Embassy and Ambassador’s residence respectively. · August 10:  Screening of the Austrian movie “The Counterfeiters” at River City Bangkok as part of their RCB movie club. · August 22:  Opening evening of a small exhibition by the Austrian visual artist Olivia Jinghran in the multi-purpose room of the embassy. · Early September: workshops and concerts by the Austrian world music group Kusimanten at various locations, Bangkok, in cooperation with PGVIM and Mahidol University. · September 16-19:  Literature event in Bangkok and Chiang Mai involving the Austrian Thomas Raab, novel “Die Netzwerk-Orange” (as well as one Swiss and one German author) in cooperation with the German and Swiss embassies. · November 22:  Fashion Show von Sabine Karner at Celebration of Silk, 2nd Thai Silk International Fashion Week + Grand Opening Show. · First half of December:  Participation with the Austrian movie “Wild Mouse” in the EU Film Festival in Bangkok (to be confirmed). · Sometime during the year 2019:  VIP presentation of the commemorative book on 150 Years of Friendship produced by the Thai and Austrian foreign ministries. · January 2020:  Closing of the commemorative year with an Academic Forum on student’s mobility in Bangkok.

Curriculum Vitae of H.E. Ms Eva Hager Assignments: · Since Dec 10, 2017:  Austrian Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Kingdom of Thailand, co-accredited to Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos. · Dec 3, 2013-Sep 19, 2017:  Austrian Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the United Mexican States (Mexico City; jurisdiction: Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and until November 1, 2016 Panama). · Nov 2009-Dec 2013:  Head of Department for International Energy Affairs, Austrian Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs. · Apr 2005-Aug 2009:  Austrian Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Cyprus (Nicosia; jurisdiction: Cyprus). · Sep 2000-Apr 2005:  Austrian Consul General in Strasbourg, and Deputy Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe. · 1997-Sep 2000:  Head of Division II.9.a (Latin America and the Caribbean), Austrian Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs. · 2nd semester 1998:  Chairmanship of the Brussels Council working group COLAT (Latin America & Caribbean), leading role in the preparation process of the EU-Latin America Summit (Rio de Janeiro 1999). · May 1993-Mar 1997:  Deputy Head of Mission, Austrian Embassy Mexico City, Mexico. · 1990-1993:  Deputy Head of Mission, Austrian Embassy Tunis, Tunisia.

· Mar-Sep 1992: Resident Chargé d’affaires ad interim to Algeria, Algiers. · 1988-1990:  Division II.4 (Middle East and Maghreb), Austrian Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs. · Jan-Jun 1988:  Attaché for Political Affairs, Austrian Embassy Damascus, Syria. · 1986:  Entry into the diplomatic service of the Austrian Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs and assignments to various departments. Education and further assignments: · 1975:  High School graduation, High School for Modern Languages, Gänserndorf, Austria. · 1985:  PhD (Dr Phil) in Arabic & Islam Studies for Political Science, University of Vienna, Austria. · 1987-1990:  Lecture in contemporary Islamic school and Social Science topics in the Arab world, Institute of Oriental Studies, University of Vienna. Distinctions: · Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Cyprus. · Mexico’s Order of the Aztec Eagle Award in Band Grade.



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Green Monday

Green Monday launches in Thailand. A social venture from Hong Kong that promotes sustainability and plant-based lifestyle, Beyond Meat and OmniMeat are two products highlighted. Woody and Gypso joined Green Monday as Ambassador in Thailand and attended the launch in Grand Hyatt Erawan.


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CLB celebrate first anniversary

The Cosmopolitan Ladies of Bangkok FHOHEUDWHGWKHLUÀUVWDQQLYHUVDU\DW,QGXV Restaurant, with a night of good food, songs, music, games, prizes and raising funds for charity. Photos show Shakun Gurbani, Stephanie Lim, Margaret Van Meel, Sanja Stanley, Esparanca Pilunthanakul, Jindy Jumsai Na Ayudhya, Winda Bruan, Nancy Bathan Lewis, Layla Shaw, Sara Guzman, Phyllis Hanson Ansusinha, Mukda Sorenson, Kathy Barnett, Suparat Chakrabandhu, June Khazi, Nikki Khorana and Ronelle Stoessel



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New home for British Embassy memorial

A ceremony to unveil the War Memorial that has been relocated from the recently demolished British Embassy in Bangkok to the front lawn of the British Club in Silom Road was held in the presence of British Ambassador Brian Davidson, Admiral Anthony Radakin, Colonel Roger Lewis, the British Defence AttachĂŠ, Chairman of the British Club Jack Dunford and many of his fellow members. The memorial was a prominent feature of the embassy for many decades.



World premiere of Thai folk drama

A concert at Sala Sudasiri Sobha featured the world premiere of the Thai folk drama ‘Likay’ with Nat Yontararak on piano, Lukasz Kurzydlo on percussion and dancers of the 7KDL&KULVWLDQ&RPPXQLFDWLRQV,QVWLWXWH Payap University. Among the guests were the 5XVVLDQDPEDVVDGRUDQGKLVZLIHWKH,WDOLDQ ambassador and family, the spouse of the Polish ambassador.

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Delectable Wining and Dining

M Wine Lounge at Mercure Bangkok Makkasan hosted an exceptional wine dinner recently in partnership with Bodegas Castano from Spain, comprising a succulent ÀYHFRXUVHGLQQHUSDLUHGZLWKDQ exceptional selection of wines, handpicked by Eduard Capdevila Puig from Bodegas Castano.



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Beyond Bangkok

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Tee Off Promotion Banyan Golf Club Hua Hin is offering Thailand residents a unique promotion during October. 24/7 Golf Extreme - any time on any day at 2,500 baht green fee; Early Bird Golf - Monday to Friday before 9am at 1,800 baht; Twilight Golf – after 2 pm as many holes as you can before dark at 1,800 baht; Happy Hour Golf – after 4 pm play 9 holes before sunset at 1,200 baht plus a complimentary glass of beer at Mulligan’s Pub. Tel: 032 616 200

Aquarium plus Underwater Restaurant/Bar Central Pattana has launched “Aquaria Phuket”, Thailand’s largest aquarium at Central Phuket Floresta and “Andasi”, the world’s largest underwater restaurant and the first underwater bar in Asia serving stylish fine-dining. The official launch was held surrounded by 51,000 aquatic animals from over 300 species with special highlights from the ‘Mermaid Show’. These destinations will emphasise Central Phuket as a seamless combination of luxury and leisure lifestyle all in one place. Tel: 02 635 1111



Signature Welcome and Warm Hospitality DoubleTree by Hilton Phuket Banthai Resort has opened in the heart of Patong featuring 290 spacious guest rooms and suites with a private balcony or terrace area and three large swimming pools, 24/7 fitness centre, five restaurant and bar options, and opposite a white sandy beach facing the turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea whilst in close walking distance of Phuket’s major attractions Soi Bangla, Central Patong, Jungceylon, and Baan Zaan. Tel: 076 340 850

Rooftop Premium Heritage Beef Throughout September and October, Horizon Rooftop Restaurant & Bar at Hilton Pattaya introduces ‘Premium Heritage Beef’ - minimum age of 60 months, free range and 100% grass fed. ‘T-bone Surf & Turf’, 600-gram with a lobster at 3,250 baht nett; ‘Ribeye’ one of the most popular cuts at 1,650 baht nett boneless or 3,250 baht nett bone-in; ‘Flank in Argentina Style’, pan-seared with Chimichurri sauce, at 1,500 baht nett. Suitable for sharing. Tel: 038 253 000

Seafront East Meets West Hua Hin Marriott Resort & Spa presents the “East Meets West” menu, fusing Asian and European cuisine at Big Fish & Bar. This exotic five-course menu uses seasonal ingredients from nearby organic farms with sustainably sourced seafood from around Hua Hin, comprising a scallop ceviche amuse bouche, an ice-chilled cucumber soup, a fillet of sea bass starter, a slow-braised pork cheek main, and a signature dessert. Available alongside the à la carte menu, daily from 5pm to 11pm. Tel: 032 904 666

Village in Phang Nga Province is a perfect example of sustainable destination championed under the 7 Green Initiative by Tourism Authority of Thailand. The 200 or so inhabitants of Tung Dap village are a mix of Thai and Moken people. The Moken are often referred to as ‘sea gypsies’. Immersive tours are now available so visitors can experience their sustainable way of living, embracing nature and respecting the ecosystem.



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The BigChilli October 2019  

Thailand's best-read expat magazine. Find out what's hot in Bangkok and beyond. October 2019

The BigChilli October 2019  

Thailand's best-read expat magazine. Find out what's hot in Bangkok and beyond. October 2019