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May 2014 08 INSIGHT News, letters, gossip and more 10 LMIM SCANDAL: THE FIGHT GOES ON While anger spreads, an initiative by the IFAs promises action 14 EXPAT ENTREPRENEUR AWARDS Recent nominations in focus 20 GLAMOUR IN THE KITCHEN Chefs Amy and Angela prove cooking isn’t just a man’s world 22 MISSISSIPPI QUEEN REMEMBERED We speak to the original hippie behind Patpong’s legendary soul bar 27 GOURMET A round up of all the best restaurant deals and gourmet news in Bangkok 48 SHOPPING MALL SCAM Fake phones are being sold openly and in huge numbers. Shoppers beware! 55 EXPAT WOMEN Health, shopping, people, advice and fiction 75 WHAT’S ON This month’s best events all wrapped up 85 SOCIAL Last month’s best events in pictures 101 DIPLOMATS The Colombian ambassador talks about his work and life in Thailand 107 HUA HIN & PATTAYA Deals and news

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Will AEC really make a difference? HOW much of a difference will the Asean Economic Community (AEC) make to Thailand when it comes into being in late 2015? That’s a question so huge and all-embracing, it’s very tempting to suggest that no one really knows. As a free trade zone within the Asean member countries, it is expected to result in the free mobility of services, investments, capitalization and skilled labour. That’s the theory, but like the EU after which it is fashioned, it may not pan out quite so wonderfully in practice. In Europe, each country has always been able to impose its own rules and domestic taxes (look at the way France bans non-French ski instructors in its resorts, and the UK levies taxes on wine and spirits that are so high, Britons in their thousands cross the Channel daily to buy cheaper products in France, including English beer!). And there’s every reason to believe that AEC members will do the same, restricting goods, services and labour, whenever it suits them. The cultural and economic differences across the countries of Asean are so vast that it is extremely unlikely that any one of them will simply fling open their doors to outsiders. True, masses of Germans haven’t moved to France, Britons to Spain and so on, but with (mostly) free labour mobility in AEC, it is quite feasible that the already substantial flow of Burmese, Laotians, Cambodians and even Filipinos into Thailand could become a torrent. And that may not be welcomed by ordinary Thais.

Australia is another victim of LMIM

ONE of the biggest losers in the scandalous collapse of the LMIM property fund in Australia is Australia itself. It’s clear that many of the investors were originally attracted to the fund for the very sound reason that it was based on property in Australia, generally regarded as one of the world’s best governed, financially sound and most strictly regulated countries. But more than one year after LMIM was wound up with losses of some $3,000 million, its thousands of victims located in almost 70 different countries across the globe are still waiting for the Australian government and its various agencies to come up with a rational explanation of how such a failure – one of the biggest in Australian history – could have escaped its notice. They’re also waiting for the government to announce how it’s going to deal with LMIM’s boss, Peter Drake, who’s reportedly still at liberty to continue in employment, as well as his fellow board members, who were surely fully aware of the parlous state of the fund long before it actually collapsed. The victims are now anxious to know what kind of settlement they can expect from what’s left of

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Drake’s various business and personal assets, which are thought to be considerable. And finally, they want to know about their financial entitlements from the regulatory authorities. The damage the LMIM fiasco has caused to Australia’s reputation as a safe haven for investors is incalculable. If this fund can collapse so easily, so can others. The sooner Australia gets to grip with this scandal, the better it will be for all – especially the many people whose lives have been shattered by the greed of a few.

Let’s be realistic about democracy IF Thailand wants to be a real democracy – as its various political leaders on all sides of the spectrum insist it should become – then it must allow genuine freedom of speech, and not the halfbaked version we have now. This means lifting restrictions on all those institutions that currently forbid any kind of criticism. The country has enough laws to deal with libel and slander, along with some fairly harsh penalties. These are sufficient to make people extremely wary of any kind of defamation without resorting to blanker curbs on people’s honest opinions.

Water issues in restaurants

DRINKING water was once given freely in restaurants. It was as much a part of the service as condiments, napkins and basic sauces. The advent of expensive designer bottled water has changed all that. “Still or sparkling” is now the first question you’ll hear in restaurants. The answer then becomes an invitation for the staff to open bottle after bottle, not at your will, but theirs. Costing as much as 300 baht a time, they add considerable weight to the final bill. In some restaurants, once a customer has said no to bottled water, ordinary drinking water is served, free. And that’s the way it should be.

Who can bend the rules?

THE antics of a Phuket property developer who was stopped from illegally filling in an old tin mine lake, only to continue the process in the evenings and weekends when local officials weren’t working, are appalling. It’s enough to make you fling your arms in the air and ask despairingly ‘what’s the point?’ The rich and powerful will get their way and the rest of us can go to pot.


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Inbox Insight

Inbox|Have your say

GLIB ASSURANCES AND SWEET TALK OF THE IFAS By The Barbecued Investor

 ■ I HAVE been a client of independent financial advisors (IFAs) for many years and unfortunately I have been the recipient of some less than professional service from some of them over this period.   I would like to offer people the benefit of my experiences so as to inform potential clients of some of the pitfalls and considerations in choosing an IFA.   Long Term savings plans run by insurance companies with monthly or annual subscriptions are often touted by the IFAs as a means to create a pension pot.   Potential savers need to be aware that these plans attract high admin charges and provide high commissions to the IFA. Therefore, a significantly reduced sum is available for actual investment. In my own case I paid into one of these plans for five years and, at the end of the term, the fund value was less than the total of the contributions.   For clients who already have a lump sum to invest, the IFAs will provide you with their investment recommendations based on a Risk Profile compiled by the IFA. This all looks very scientific, but in bad times with poor equity performance it is very difficult for the IFA to restrict your losses, let alone achieve the 10 to 15% growth he has projected for you.   The glib assurances from the IFAs at onset of the Investment Plan count for nothing. Quite often after being sweet talked by the Principal of the IFA, you are allocated your very own ‘Advisor.’ His means of remuneration is based on commissions from the individual fund managers.   This Advisor may not have even

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seen your Risk Profile. The Advisor will sometimes select funds not on the basis of your financial needs but the size of the commission paid by the Fund. Unfortunately, the poorer the investment potential of the Fund, the higher will be the commission paid to the IFA’s Advisor.   Quite often there is no supervision of these Advisors by the Principal of the company and these funds may only have back tested performance which may not have been made clear to you by the Advisor.  

Bear in mind that the large life insurances in the UK have sent out warning notices for the last 10 years on the low investment profits they are making and the consequences on, for example, the endowment mortgages that they sold to clients as the plans have not been able to achieve the mortgage value on maturity due to poorer returns on their investments.   In the case of LMIM, how can a company offer a reportedly 9% return on investment together with high fees to IFAs of reportedly 15%. It was too good to be true.    When there is supervision by the Principal, it can be in the form of an IFA company recommendation to the

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Advisor to recommend a fund to the client in which the Principal has a direct or indirect financial interest by way of shareholding. This means that the IFA company takes your money, invests it in a fund that in turn selects a company to invest in that is recommended by the IFA Principal   In summary, potential clients of IFAs need to thoroughly evaluate the IFA before selection. As of 2013, no Thailand-based IFA company with non-Thai advisors was legally allowed to provide financial advice in this country.   Also, despite some of the IFA companies being international with head offices in regulated countries like HK, UK etc., the Thai operations of these companies does not come under these regulations.   My recommendations to find a good IFA are:  1) Check that the IFA company and the individual Advisor are fully qualified to give financial advice. 2) Check with other investors the track record of the IFA and Advisor. Do not assume the large companies are the best. 3) Ask your IFA for full details of all the fees he will earn in the transactions as these should be reasonable for the work involved. 4) Take time to examine the IFA’s recommendations and be convinced they are right for you. After all, it may have taken you 40 years to earn the money and a few more hours of checking could avoid calamity. 5) Only invest in funds with proven actual track records. 6) Funds that sound too good to be true, often are – and one should carefully understand how the funds make their money.


Insight

Investigation|LMIM

LMIM scandal – the anger spreads   But an initiative by the IFAs promises action

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THE full extent of the suffering caused by the collapse last year of LMIM is beginning to emerge as more and more expatriate investors in Thailand come forward to speak out about their losses in the giant Australian property fund.   Some 300 people in Thailand are believed to have been affected by the collapse, and they include teachers, journalists, small business operators and a significant number of pensioners.   Tragically, some who have lost their entire savings are in their sixties and older, making it almost impossible to find work that could replenish their coffers. They are the most badly affected and many despair for their future. Other investors are younger and have some time to make up at least a portion of their losses.

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  All are extremely angry at the company behind LMIM’s demise, especially its New Zealand-born CEO Peter Drake, whose fund was once worth an estimated three billion dollars. One investor who lost several thousand dollars has made a point of travelling to Australia to check out Drake’s post-crash life and is now putting together a major report on what went wrong, who is really to blame and where all the money has gone.   An apparent lack of action, or even interest, in the debacle by the Australian regulatory authorities is causing considerable grief as well.   Considerable anger is also directed at the numerous IFAs who recommended LMIM in the first place, especially as it seems that only a few carried out due diligence on the fund. Special venom is reserved for those IFAs who, in order to collect inflated commissions, continued selling the fund just days before it went into voluntary liquidation. None of these advisors have shown any inclination to return their commission, or even part of it, to their former clients.   As the BigChilli reported in last month’s issue, there were indications that LMIM was facing financial difficulties months before its final collapse.   The reaction of these “financial advisors” to the BigChilli revelations has been mixed. Only one IFA was critical of the story, suggesting we were wrong to “tar all IFAs in Thailand with the same brush.”   “I’ve worked hard over the years to ensure my clients’ money is looked after,” he said, while offering no sympathy to the victims of the doomed fund. It is not

clear whether he included LMIM in his portfolio.   Meanwhile, Neil A. Robbirt, chief executive of Global Investments International, a Thailand-based IFA, has responded on behalf of the Advisers Committee for Investors (ACI), which has been set up by financial advisors worldwide to help victims of LMIM.   Mr Robbirt said that the ACI has formulated a three-point plan to ensure “the management of LMIM is made accountable for the collapse, recover as much funds as possible for all clients, and get the Australian Government to recognise the failure of LM as one of the largest in Australian history and take necessary action.”   He also defended the charge of inaction leveled by some LMIM victims:   “Certain IFAs have been spending an inordinate amount of time dealing with the LMIM collapse since last March on behalf of their invested clients. Also, a number of the ACI Ex-Co members including myself, have personal investments in the MPF as well.”   The IFA responsible for introducing LMIM to Thailand is currently out of the country and unavailable for comment.   Meanwhile, the CEO of one of the country’s biggest advisories told the BigChilli he was “delighted” that the BigChilli had highlighted the LMIM debacle and the plight of its investors. He suggested, however, there was a material inaccuracy in a quote from one of the victims.   “It’s simply not true to say that IFAs operating here are not strictly regulated as they are back in the UK.”   And in a comment that may surprise


some people, he added: “In fact, investment advisors are strictly licensed by the Securities & Exchange Commission Thailand (SEC) with a very strict code of conduct that doesn’t allow the marketing of funds such as those managed by LMIM and doesn’t allow advisors to receive these kinds of commissions. “Only unlicensed advisors operating outside the law would be able to license unregulated funds to expatriates.”   It is widely understood that prior to 2012, no IFAs were properly regulated in Thailand.   The same adviser also claims that under new regulations, officially recognized IFAs can only charge fees for their work and advice. Commissions are not permitted.   LMIM’s viability was being questioned well before its collapse, according to Rob Duncan of the Elgin Group. He

said his company carried out due-diligence on LM ten years ago and it failed in the “first five minutes of inspection.”   Added Mr Duncan: “I’ve been warning people about LM for years as it was clear that the assets in the fund were not capable of performing at the rate published in addition to paying ‘advisors’ a trail fee of 2% per year on top of 5% commission, annual management fees and the cost of running the fund, and LM’s profit required annual growth of over 15% to break even. Even if it did manage to do this for a year or two, it is not sustainable.   “Greed prevailed for many advisors by piling clients in way too much in to the fund.” Many expats in Chiang Mai have also been hit by LMIM’s demise. One of the IFAs selling the fund in Chiang Mai, PFM International, has faced accusations of mismanaging or misappropriating investors’ money.

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From electricity to mangoes, an investment for all tastes ■ EXPATS in Thailand are constantly bombarded with unsolicited calls from IFAs offering them investment opportunities in a bewildering array of funds and financial schemes. You can put your money in anything from carbon emissions trading, electricity futures, irrigation technology, environment, legal financing or asset backed funds to plans covering children’s education fees, wealth management, portfolio management and savings, retirement schemes and buy-to-let property deals. Many of the funds carry sophisticated names borrowed from terms used in chemistry, mathematics or even Hollywood. And almost without exception, they are extraordinarily complex with so much “small print” you have to be a lawyer or professor to understand exactly what you’re getting into. “ I t ’s i r o n i c , ” c o m m e n t e d o n e businessman who lost almost ten million baht in a failed investment. “We work hard and concentrate on making money, and yet we give so little thought when we hand over the money to some financial adviser we hardly know who puts it in a fund we don’t understand.” So, for innocent expatriate investors, it’s a jungle out there. In fact, investing in a jungle is possible, though the recent performance

of Touchwood, a forestry management project based in Sri Lanka, might influence you otherwise. That’s because investors in Touchwood have announced they are planning to begin criminal proceedings against the parent company for money laundering. But one Bangkok IFA is clearly not fazed by Touchwood’s lack of success with wood as an investment, for it is currently extolling the virtues of bamboo plantations and facilities in far-off South America to investors. Impressive returns are promised. Curiously, the IFA involved is the same company that until recently was marketing a litigation fund accused by the Australian media of being a Ponzi scheme. Meanwhile, an international brokerage claiming to have been “at the forefront of the offshore financial service industry since 1979,” recently held a seminar in a five-star Bangkok hotel to highlight an investment strategy that would give punters “a fixed income of 12% per annum with full capital protection.” Given current interest rates, that’s a breathtaking return which has some observers commenting “it’s almost too good to be true.” Another IFA is trying to lure investors with a financial instrument so complex and byzantine it would challenge the

The company has hit back, saying they have been “unfairly dragged through the mud.” According to reports, PFM’s Richard Prouse explained that only about 9% of the company’s clients had money in LMIM – and only 10% of them had invested their total savings in the fund. The furor has apparently become too much for Alan Hall, the founder of PFM and former president of Chiang Mai Expats Club. He is currently in the UK “suffering from an illness.” Business partner Prouse insists Alan has not left the country permanently and will return to Thailand at some stage. “Alan has suffered more than any of his clients,” said Prouse, who added that the company was no longer operating in Chiang Mai. On its website, PFM says it has relocated to the Seychelles.

sharpest of minds. On offer are marketlinked certificates of deposit, or CDs. In its literature, the IFA explains the fund’s big selling point thus: “If the underlying asset return is positive, the issuer will repay the full principal amount at maturity plus a return equal to the product of the underlying asset return times the participation rate, but no more than the maximum gain.” After that mouthful, it goes on to give a warning: “Any payment on a CD, including any repayment of the principal, is subject to the creditworthiness of the issuer.” And just to make sure it is seen as being completely honest, if not entirely clear, the company goes to admit that investing in marketlinked CDs “involves considerable risk.” But the biggest returns – a whopping 14-18%, paid twice yearly – come from an IFA offering expatriates the opportunity to invest in mangoes grown in northern Thailand. Welcome to the confusing world of endless investment schemes.

TheBigChilli

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Insight

Investigation|LMIM

How the IFAs are helping victims Response from the Advisers Committee for Investors (ACI): ■ REGARDING LMIM going in to voluntary administration in March 2013 and the subsequent suspension of the LM Managed Performance Fund, a group of IFAs, including Global Investments, Magellan, Financial Partners and Mondial appointed legal counsel in Brisbane (Holman Webb) to represent our clients/investors best interests. We understand the plight of everyone on the receiving end of this huge corporate collapse in Australia (probably one of its largest failures ever). In March 2013 when LM collapsed a small number of advisers recognised the need for focus to ensure the interests of investors were kept as the prime concern, hence setting up the ACI (Advisers Committee for Investors). We also now have a barrister in Australia to advise the ACI on relevant proposed legal actions against LMIM & its related entities. The LM Managed Performance Fund was not regulated by ASIC. However, it was an Australian Trust. Also, LMIM the Responsible Entity & Fund Manager was regulated by ASIC. The ACI was established by the above named advisory companies and we also invited other financial advisory companies worldwide who had exposure in the LMIM funds to join our group with the sole purpose of recovering funds on behalf of our respective clients. This has proved very difficult as we are dealing with a very complex and evolving situation after 19th March 2013. However, ACI continually strives for restitution.

Please note the points below: 1. The Trustees (KM) received all the MPF accounting information (they call this ‘The Black Box’) from FTI around 6 weeks ago. Their forensic accountants are currently going through all this information, as this will be key to what actions will be taken using breaches of trust regulations in Australia, as the MPF was a regulated trust. 2. The ACI had a conference call with KM last week, which was reasonably positive regarding potential legal action that will be taken against LMIM and its related entities. For obvious reasons, they can’t be too specific on future claims, but our lawyers/barristers will be ‘shadowing’ KM as these cases proceed.

3. The ACI will be lobbying KM via IFA/ investor emails on a regular basis to ensure they follow through with any actions in a timely fashion. 4. The legal entity, INL (Investor Network Ltd) established by the ACI is working on an independent basis and will report certain recovery activities to the ACI Ex-Co, which in turn will be released to all investors, providing the information is not sensitive regarding future legal actions. 5. ACI is co-operation of over 32 IFAs worldwide who are committed to recovery actions for their clients 6. All members committed A$3000 for legal fees and signed diversion of commissions agreements to help cause. a.) However, NO commissions have been diverted for MPF as Trustee does not have funds and this will not happen. b.) Only commissions diverted were from FMIF before BDO was appointed as Receiver. This fund was not sold in Europe as it had already closed in 2009. c.) A certain European IFA’s assertion re $1m paid to legal fees is false. They were invited to join ACI but declined. 7. ACI is committed to three main areas: 1.) Ensuring the management of LMIM is made accountable for the collapse. 2.) Recovery of as much funds as possible for all clients. 3.) Get the Australian Govt to recognise the failure of LM as one of the largest in Australian history and take necessary actions. I hope this illustrates to your readers that certain IFAs have been spending an inordinate amount of time dealing with the LMIM collapse since last March on behalf of their invested clients. Also, a number of the ACI Ex-Co members including myself, have personal investments in the MPF as well! Neil A. Robbirt FLIA Chief Executive, Global Investments International Ltd (A fuller version of Mr Robbirt’s response is available on thebigchilli.com)

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

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Expat

ting a r b e Cebl usineesns ce l excel

Entrepreneur Awards 2014 Recognising the foreign community’s contribution to the Thai economy FOR the first time, companies established in Thailand by the country’s expatriate community will be recognized for their creativity, ingenuity, excellence and proven success in The Expat Entrepreneur Awards 2014.   Supported by The BigChilli magazine in conjunction with BNOW, Bangkok’s networking community group, the Expat Entrepreneur Awards 2014 will highlight the contribution foreign operated businesses make to Thailand’s economy.   Awards will be presented in a variety of categories to recognize the amazing diversity of these enterprises.   If you are an expatriate entrepreneur with a business story worth telling, or you know someone whose company deserves recognition, please let us know.

The categories include:

  • Arts & culture • Agriculture • Charities & Foundations • Construction & design • Corporate training • Education • Entertainment (music, performance) • F&B (catering, restaurants) • Finance • Health, wellness, & spa • Hospitality

• Manufacturing • Retail (fashion, accessories) • Sports and fitness • Tech & IT • Others (TBA)  Entry to the awards is free. Company or business being nominated must be expat owned or managed, based in Thailand, and have no more than 50 employees.

Download the submissions form at thebigchilli.com

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Expat

Insight

Business|Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneur Awards 2014

Recent nominations RusiDesigns Rusi Hancock Founder

■ GEORGIA-born Rusi has built up a potentially lucrative business designing and manufacturing a range of beautiful hand-made leather bags and a collection of stunning jewellery and accessories. Her Thai-made products, which are marketed under her RusiDesigns brand, have appeared on the catwalks of fashion shows in the UK and Georgia. And today they’re sold in boutiques in Paris, London, Mexico, Singapore and several other locations in the UK. To date, she has created two season’s collections of bags, with some available in up to 12 different colours. Read our full interview with Rusi on page 56. www.rusidesigns.com

X2 Resorts Group and BHMAsia Anthony McDonald Founder and CEO

■ AN Australian national, Anthony founded X2 (CrossTo) Resorts group in 2008. He is a successful serial entrepreneur, who after years of experience in property investment and services industries embarked on an innovative strategy in forming X2 Resorts, a personal endeavour aimed at satisfying the needs of design-focused travellers looking for something different to the traditional tropical resort designs that, while well executed, proliferate the Asian region. “I love boutique and design hotels, and in my first resort I was involved in every detail,” says Anthony. “From finding the location, choosing the architect, securing bank funding, overseeing the construction, and heading the hotel management – I did it all. “Later, the idea of starting a hotel management company came across my mind and in 2011, Boutique Hospitality Management Asia (BHMAsia) was established.” Currently, Anthony is CEO of BHMAsia. Besides Kui Buri, X2 has expanded to various locations including Samui, Chiang Mai, Sydney, and soon River Kwai and Phuket. Over the last five years his projects have won 10 local and international awards for design, architecture and landscape. www.BHMAsia.com, www.X2LOBBY.com

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Food by Phone Marc Hagelauer Founder

■ FOUNDED in 1998 by Marc Hagelauer, Food by Phone works with over 100 of the best restaurants in Bangkok to deliver Thai, Japanese, Italian, French, American, Danish, English, and many more international cuisines, to condominiums, hotels and businesses throughout the city. Orders can be placed via the company’s website (which lists menus from all of its partner restaurants) or English-speaking call centre. The company’s thoughtful set up means that, despite Bangkok’s notorious heavy traffic, meals ordered will arrive within one hour. Food by Phone also provides an online self-service supermarket offering a wide variety of household products, toiletries products and food. www.foodbyphone.com


Insight

Business|Entrepreneurs Tuk-Tuk Factor y (TTF) Dennis Harte Managing Director

■ PASSIONATE about the need to take fossil-fuel guzzling vehicles off the roads, Dutch engineer Dennis Harte and his team assembles four models of electric tuk-tuks in Thailand of their own design and exports them to countries around the world. Established in 2009, TTF works in collaboration with the Tuk Tuk Company (TTC), a Dutch firm that introduced tuktuks to Holland, where TTF is also registered. “In 2012 we produced 90 vehicles and exported them to France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and Antilles (in the Caribbean),” says Dennis. “We doubled production in 2013, and in the first two months of 2014, 85 units were ordered. We’re now rapidly moving into new countries and markets, and this year will move to a bigger factory.” Read our feature about TTF at http://bit. ly/1uc3HBK.

Tailor on Ten Ben and Alex Cole Founders

■ BRITISH-Canadian expats Alex and Ben Cole had spent most of their lives in Asia before founding Tailor On Ten together with German ex-management consultant Nike Rasmus just over three years ago. After sourcing some of the world’s finest fabrics and perfecting the construction with their in-house production team, their business took off instantly. Within a few months the business had outgrown its humble shop location on Sukhumvit Soi 10 and moved to Soi 8, thus providing the talking point that is its puzzling name. Today, Tailor On Ten enjoys a reputation for offering top quality tailoring and high levels of service, with clients all over the world. www.tailoronten.com

Thailand-Property.com Ben Neve and Neil Sutton Founders

■ HAVING met while enlisted in the Royal Air Force, British expats Ben Neve and Neil Sutton assumed they would remain friends, but co-founding one of the fastest growing websites in Thailand 20-years down the road was something neither predicted. Today, they are the entrepreneurial minds behind Thailand-Property.com, a leading real estate portal for Thailand’s expatriate community.

Neve, who saw the developing nation as a playground of opportunity for budding business owners has founded several companies since he initially relocated 12 years ago, including the highly successful digital marketing agency, Smart Traffic Ltd. After recruiting Sutton a number of years ago to run Smart Traffic, he identified the next imminent business opportunity while searching for a new home. There was a gap in the real estate market, with no central property resource for English speakers in Thailand. Confident in their idea, business plan and knowledge of digital marketing, the two began securing investors and listed-agents before the site even existed. Officially launched less than a year ago, Thailand-Property.com now helps thousands of English speakers from around the world navigate the foreign home-seeking process by providing over 110,000 residential and commercial properties and land plots, for sale and rent, all over Thailand. www.thailand-property.com

If you are an expatriate entrepreneur with a business stor y worth telling, or you know someone whose company deser ves recognition, please let us know at thebigchillimagazine@gmail.com

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Insight

Dining|Personalities

Glamour in the kitchen Chefs Amy and Angela prove cooking isn’t just a man’s world ■ JODY Adams, owner of two of Massachusetts’ most popular restaurants – Rialto and TRADE – summed up the restaurant world perfectly during a speech she gave back in 2011. “There isn’t a glass ceiling; there’s just a really thick layer of white men.” Chef Jody was talking about breaking through as a female chef in a trade which has long been dominated by men. That’s why it’s always great to see female chefs who have smashed through

the stratum of bad-mouthed chefs like Gordon Ramsay to take top titles for themselves. Chefs like Amy Rochalle’ Baard and Angela Brown at Sofitel So Bangkok. Bringing international experience, culinary passion, and more than a touch of glamour to the hotel’s F&B team, this talented duo has quickly become the talk of the town. Chef de Cuisine Angela, a dual Australian and British national, will see her dedication to her craft awarded this

Amy, left, and Angela, right, in the kitchen of Park Society Restaurant 20

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month as she’s unveiled as the new gastronomic ambassador of Sofitel So’s award-winning Park Society restaurant. Chef Angela joined Sofitel So five months ago after a short stint at the famed Brasserie Roux, Sofitel St. James in London, and she can’t wait to put her own creative stamp on Park Society’s menu. “Being given the chance to head up Park Society and keep Sofitel So Bangkok at the gastronomic forefront of the city is wonderful,” she says. “I have very high expectations of the food I eat, prepare, and serve, and I really look forward to applying all my decade’s worth of experience in the kitchen to create a multi-ethnic harmony of tastes.” Taking care of proceedings at Sofitel So Bangkok’s signature all-day-dining restaurant, Red Oven, meanwhile, is Sous Chef Amy. A South African native known for her modern cuisine presented with creative flair, Chef Amy joined the hotel’s culinary team in April last year and today is responsible for running breakfast, lunch and dinner service at Red Oven’s international food market buffet, as well as preparing a la carte items. “I am excited about the rapid growth of food culture all over the world and am happy to be a part of this diverse and on-going community of creativity,” she says. “Sofitel So Bangkok is one of the city’s trendiest and most elegant hotels, and there’s a real emphasis on food and beverage here that makes it a must visit for foodies of all nationalities. Working here is a real joy.” Park Society is open daily from 6pm and offers an a la carte menu of international gourmet creations. Red Oven is open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Highlights include Saturday brunch buffet at B1,700++; and Sunday Brunch at B1,900++. Both options feature free-flow wines and beers. Sofitel So Bangkok, 2 North Sathorn Road. Tel: 02 624 0000 www.sofitel-so-bangkok.com


Feature

Insight|Patpong

The original hippie behind Mississippi Queen, Patpong’s legendar y soul bar Some 40 years after he opened Bangkok’s most famous go-go bar, Tony Douglas looks back on an unforgettable era of great innocence that was ultimately reshaped by the massive US military presence in Thailand, Hollywood movies and the girls who won the hearts of countless visitors

F

By Colin Hastings

OR a decade or so during the ‘70s and ‘80s, Patpong ruled supreme as Bangkok’s most popular entertainment district, attracting locals and waves of foreign tourists who were fascinated, thrilled and occasionally shocked by its racy mixture of lively pubs, inexpensive restaurants, wild discos and saucy go-go bars. Several places competed for the title of Patpong’s best bar, but in many people’s minds – then and now – the street’s outstanding venue during that golden era was unquestionably Mississippi Queen. MQ had it all – friendly and accommodating hostesses, the prettiest and most attractive dancers in town, a sophisticated sound system that gave many customers their first taste of the deep rhythms of soul music, and an edgy, even slightly dangerous ambiance. Regular clientele included jour-

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nalists and photographers back from assignments in Vietnam, musi-cians, diplomats, hippy tourists and black US soldiers and airmen on R&R from the war in Indochi-na. Here too, inevitably, you’d come across the odd shady character with the “deal of a lifetime.” The bar’s thoughtfully themed interior design stood out against Patpong’s other bars, and probably explains why it was chosen by Hollywood movie producer Michael Cimino for the ultimate anti-Vietnam war movie ‘The Deer Hunter’ starring Robert De Niro. Interestingly, the MQ’s top dancer at that time, a lithesome long-haired beauty called Noi, got herself a cameo role in the movie – and thousands of admirers. The man behind Mississippi Queen was an Australian called Tony Douglas, an ex-hippie who had


settled in Thailand in the late ‘60s and decided to open a venue featuring all the elements that he himself would want to find in a Bangkok bar. The format he chose worked brilliantly and for a number of memorable years MQ was the ‘must-visit’ bar in a street that was simultaneously famous and infamous. Sadly, the Mississippi Queen is long gone, but its legend lives on. The BigChilli caught up recently with Tony, now living in Melbourne with his Cambodia-born wife and family, to chat about a fascinating, controversial and much-discussed era in Bangkok’s modern history.

What brought you to Thailand? I grew up in Melbourne, Australia, in a normal middle class home. From a very early age, say around ten, I was very taken with American popular music, starting with Country, later Rock n Roll. I left school at 16 and worked for seven years with the Herald Newspaper in the advertising department. In 1967, aged 24, I headed off to India via Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. I was the original backpacker, staying at a dollar-a-night Chinese Hotels. I loved the trip, but when I arrived in Thailand in July I was near broke. Never did reach India. I lived with a Thai family in Thonburi for a month. It was all

marvellous, except I couldn’t eat any-thing on the Thai menu. I am strictly vegetarian and they seemed not to understand what the term meant! Silly me, I thought that Thais, being Buddhist, would be vegetarians. Occasionally, I would eat in one of the two Indian restaurants I found in Bangkok, and this was heaven. Before leaving Thailand, I met a Thai girl and was determined to return, which I did. I went back to Perth and worked for a year to save some money. On my return to Thailand, I landed a job in the advertising department of the Bangkok Post for the princely salary of 5,000 baht a month! The problem was that a decent one bedroom apartment in the Sathorn area cost the same amount! Happily, I found a one room place in a Soi behind the Soviet Embassy, between Sathorn and Silom Roads. Naturally I spoke no English and was expected to sell advertising! I bought a 90cc Honda motorbike and on this I learnt the layout of Bangkok. I got lost many times but in the end knew all the back lanes. The Thai girl I mentioned earlier, she and I married in 1969 and had two kids.

What were your first impressions of Bangkok? In those days there were very few tourists and Thais loved striking up a conversation with foreign-ers. I was always easy going myself, so we got along just fine. It was possible to park pretty much anywhere and there we no limits on time or parking meters.

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Feature

Insight|Patpong

T

he American military had a huge presence and, as best I can recall, there were around 50,000 US soldiers and airforce personal stationed here. JUSMAG (the US military complex on Sathorn Road) played a big part in the Vietnam war planning and implementation. The night life for the GIs was centred on Petchburi Road. Mostly it was dance halls, where hun-dreds of young Thai girls wandered around and the Americans would choose one and either dance or leave together. I can’t recall the prices. The place I would regularly attend was Jack’s American Star bar, way out on Petchburi. Downstairs was a nightclub, while upstairs was a restaurant with booths, specialising in soul food. I went for the bad coffee and the juke box, which played all the great soul music – which was beginning to become hugely popular worldwide. I was the almost the only white face there and I recall friends thought I was mad to risk my life there. I must say I was treated very cordially and never had any drama. I guess they knew I just loved the music. Little did I know that Jack’s Two movies owners were part of one of the most inspired by Bangkok in brazen heroin importing business-es into the the ’70s USA! One method used was secreting the heroin in bodies of US soldiers who had been killed in the war. The movie ‘American Gangster’ starring Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe was based on what was going on there.

How did you end up owning a Patpong bar? After working for the Bangkok Post for a year, I obtained my “permanent residence” visa, so I left and started a real estate office specialising in finding rental properties for expatriates. I ended up doing very well out of it, but worked seven days a week. During this time I bought a Ford Corsair V4, which I must say was one of the worst cars I have owned! In 1971 I got a job at Cathay Advertising (later named Ted Bates), which was located in the IBM Building on Patpong 2. I was an account director, responsible for 16 clients. It was a demanding job, but it brought me into contact with Patpong Road for the first time. Back then Patpong was not wall-to-wall bars. It was the location of a Thai bank, QANTAS, Air France, China Airlines, Air Vietnam, Gestetner printers, Shell and an audio store. I also recall a barber shop, greetings cards shop, travel agent and Mizu’s Kitchen, Tip Top coffee shop and the amazing Thai Room. By 1972 I decided I could do better and have more fun by running my own bar. I realised that good music was what was missing back then. An old bar called The Patpong Café was running at a loss

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and I bought the leasehold for very little. This was October, 1972. My work colleagues all told me I was mad, that the Vietnam War was winding down and US troops in Thailand were pulling out. They frankly scared me. Truth is they hoped I’d fail! The bar we created was very well appointed with wonderful woodwork which hinted at a river boat. I naturally renamed it the Mississippi Queen and introduced the soul music feature and go-go danc-ers – we may not have been the first to have girls dancing, but we were certainly the first bar to have dance platforms and brass holding bars. Tourism numbers were very low in those days and also extremely seasonal. It was touch and go making a go of it, because money was tight. Gradually, the place gained a reputation and the girls we employed were of high calibre, especially the dancers.

How per vasive was the US militar y presence back then? Military personnel were mostly billeted in hotels in the Sukhumvit region, as well as upcountry. They earned low wages and were provided with their own clubs serving super cheap liquor. But they loved what Patpong had to offer and especially the MQ with its great dancers and wonderful music. I spent the days buying newly released Soul and Disco music and then would create three-hour reel to reel tapes to play at night. Personally, I always despised the war and the West’s reason for being involved, but I mostly liked the US troops who were generally young and generous. Then there were the regular R&R troops who flew in directly from the Vietnam front line. They lived like today was their last on earth. And of course they fell in love with the Thai girls, big time!

Did you enjoy running Mississippi Queen? Running a bar may sound like a dream job and, for a time, it was. I met people from all over the world and many of them were very interesting. But the same questions night after night does wear you down. “How much money do you make?” was frequently asked. My response: “Not enough.” And the filthy smoke…I have never smoked and find the habit obnoxious. And I hope I haven’t contracted second-hand lung cancer.

What was Bangkok’s nightlife back then? Foreign guys had a ball. It was basically fun and friendly. I never even bothered to visit the famous “sex shows,” but everyone to their own. Thai men’s idea of a fun night out was totally different. Their clubs were dead until 11pm and when you entered you were in almost total darkness. Thais rarely came to Patpong.


Tony, today, with his wife

So MQ was an instant success? Far from it. There were months when things were very quiet indeed and it was touch and go just paying the rent, which, incidentally, took to about mid-month just to cover! In late 1977 the bar was chosen for three scenes of the movie, Deer Hunter. I had the opportunity to meet Robert DeNiro in his room at the Oriental Hotel. A very pleasant man. I also met Michael Cimino, the movie’s director, who I found very demanding. Filming took three nights but they paid well and in cash.

Other than Mississippi Queen, what was your favourite Patpong bar? The Napoleon. I needed to escape the madness and enjoyed the movies they played there. I knew the Thermae and Nana Hotel long before the Arabs found them. I was a terror with the ladies, even though I was married, until 1978 or so.

Were you hassled by the authorities back then? The police were no problem whatsoever. There was no graft and we would do the usual Thai thing and give the beat cops money on the New Year holiday. We did have a few punch ups and once a Thai fellow pulled a gun in the bar. Then, one weekend afternoon, we had three very nasty drunks threatening to harm the staff and wreck the bar. I kept CS spray (military issue) behind the bar and, after kind words failed, I blasted them with amazing effect. Game over. MQ wins! I never used it again. Bars in Australia would react far more aggressively.

Can Patpong’s glor y days of the 1970s be revived?

“Jack’s owners were part of one of the most brazen heroin importing businesses into the USA! One method used was secreting the heroin in bodies of US soldiers killed in the war. The movie ‘American Gangster’ was based on this.”

No, those days will never return. There was an innocence about the place – and then there was also the music. Don’t think One Direction or even Puff Daddy would have cut it!

What did you do after closing Mississippi Queen? fter six lonely years in Australia, by an incredible stroke of luck and fate I met my current wife, Seda, a Cambodian lady, right here in Melbourne. Since then I have never looked back. That was May 1984. Seda is a former refugee. Happily the Cambodian culture is extremely close to the Thai. I get along famously with all her family. We travel at least once a year to Cambodia which has the innocence and amazing friendliness that Thailand had when I arrived so long ago. From around 1982 I worked in the advertising field and also managed an industrial/machinery ex-hibition where I made good money and made good friends. Life couldn’t be better. My 26-year-old son runs a hugely successful kick boxing gym. He has no interest in Asia or Asian women. Indeed, he has no interest in travel. He finds it hard to believe I never watched Thai boxing during the ten years I lived in Thailand.

Have you visited Patpong in recent years? In 1988 and 1990 Seda and I visited Patpong and its night market. It was all rather sad. They were great years in Bangkok, but I never really thought I’d end up there permanently. Mean-while, it annoys the hell out of me that Thais can buy property here in Australia, while I couldn’t buy a square metre in Thailand.

Any regrets about your time in Thailand? Not running faster. TheBigchilli

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Insight

Business|Branding

Telling your brand story: Four key ingredients By Pacharee Pantoomano-Pfirsch “On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair. Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air. Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light. My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim. I had to stop for the night...”

■ I BET you can close your eyes and sing the rest of the song without the lyric sheet. You can probably recall the last time you heard this song and what you were doing, too. We tend to remember things like this because it conjures up emotions. Like songs, good stories are just as memorable. The art of storytelling dates back to cavemen etching their life stories in stone, Greeks writing on papyrus, and monks recording stories on scrolls. A great story casts a spell and makes us feel something, evoking strong emotions between us, the characters and the storyteller. If you’re a regular on Youtube. com, you are sure to have come across many stories brands are currently sharing online. These stories aren’t about company products or services, they’re about people and their experiences. In Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches, for example, a group of women with negative perceptions about their looks are treated to a life-changing experience when they’re confronted with the sketched first impressions of a group of stangers. The sketches show the women as being radiant and beautiful -- the exact opposite to how they had described themselves. Not only did Dove convey a nice message with this story, it proved to be an effective marketing campaign, too -- over 62 million views at time of writing!. Listed here are the four key ingredients to include when you decide to tell your brand stories:

Connect people with the character

McDonald has Ronald, KFC has the Col-

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onel, and many brands use cute ambassadors to represent them. An alternative to using a mascot is to create a character that the audience can connect with. In Pantene’s commercial, You Can Shine, the main character is a deaf girl aspiring to become a violinist. The underdog in the story, she overcomes all kinds of obstacles to make it to the local competition where she wows the judges with her beautiful music and her gorgeous silky hair. You can Shine connects well with many viewers. Who hasn’t experienced being an underdog at least once in their life?     

paid. Why? Because “I want to pay back the man who saved me three decades earlier from an irate lady.”    

A theme to personify the brand message

Prequels and sequels aren’t only lucrative for the movie business; commercials can benefit from them, too. Ongoing stories can help exemplify brand messages and company philosophy, and often become a real talking point amongst viewers. Wacoal, the intimate apparel maker, for example, recently released a trilogy of commercials under the campaign My Beautiful Woman, which communicated that beauty is more than skin deep. Based on true stories, the campaign shows ordinary women doing extraordinary things. The first story, A Mother’s Choice, introduces a couple struggling to become parents. When the wife finally gets pregnant, she discovers she also has cancer. She has to decide to either receive treatment and risk losing her baby, or live with the cancer until she gives birth. She chooses to forgo the treatment and wait until the baby is born. The two other moving stories are Missing Staff and Jane’s Secret. Each video ends with the message “Beauty Inside” in English, with a Thai slogan that translates to “A Woman is Most Beautiful on the Inside.”

Brand Promise

Illustrate it

Bring your story to life and make it believable not just by telling it, but also by showing it. True Move had a big hit with its Giving is the Best Communication commercial, which used its story to show how being generous can pay dividends. In the commercial, we see a young boy being scolded by a lady because he tries to steal her medicine (which, the audience learns, he needs for his sick mother). Saving the boy from a trip to the police station is a nearby noodle vendor, who intervenes and offers to pay for the stolen goods. Fast forward 30 years, and the noodle vendor suffers a stroke and falls into a coma. His distraught daughter, faced with huge hospital bills, is forced to put the family’s noodle shop up for sale. However, one morning at her father’s bedside in the hospital, she’s handed a letter, written by a neurologist, which says all the medical expenses have been

A brand is only as good as the promise that it keeps to its customers, and it’s crucial that its image, message and promises always meet expectations. In today’s market, consumer preference has changed. Gone are the days of hard-selling goods and services to the market. Customers are savvier and they are looking for interaction with the brands they consume. Hence, there’s more focus on social media and the conversations brands are having with the people they serve. A brand story is a piece of that conversation that you can use to engage the hearts and minds of your customers. So, tell a story worth sharing and keep them coming back for more. Pacharee Pantoomano-Pfirsch is a co-founder of Brandnow.asia, a boutique marketing and PR agency. She loves good brand stories, so feel free to send some to her at pacharee@brandnow.asia


Gourmet p Wine and restaurant news

The Dusit Thani Bangkok's new afternoon tea service features vibrant floral decorations alongside fragranced brews from TWG. Page 28.

What’s Cooking A round up of this month’s best gourmet deals. Yummy! Page 28

Meet the chef Renowned Iron Chef Chumpol Jangprai shares his secrets Page 34

Dining out

Our favourite restaurants reviewed and listed Page 46 TheBigChilli

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Gourmet

Dining|News

Bangkok’s hottest dining deals and news Deal for Night Owls

Sukhumvit Soi 22. ☎ 02 261 9000

International / Available now / www.imperialhotels.com LIKE to eat your dinner late? Every night from 9pm-10.30pm the Imperial Queen’s Park Hotel is offering its dinner buffet at Parkview Restaurant for just B599 per person (normal price B1,600), or B999 with free-flow wine and draught beer (normal price B2,300). The sumptuous spread includes fresh seafood, barbecued meats, Thai and Western favourites, and much more international fare.

Fragrant & Flowery Afternoon Tea

946 Rama IV Rd. ☎ 02 200 9000 ext 2998

International | Through May 31 | : dusitthanibangkok.dusit.com DUSIT Thani Bangkok’s Lobby Lounge is offering an Afternoon Tea Service featuring vibrant floral decorations and flavours alongside fragranced brews from The Wellness Group (TWG). Enjoy nibbles such as Liver pâté with cucumber mousse, Spinach rolls with smoked salmon, and Smoked duck on Japanese melon with caramelized orange zest, alongside sweet treats like Orange rice pudding with caramel cream, and Chocolate devil cake. B600++ per person.

Voila! returns in style

189 Sukhumvit Rd, Soi 13-15. ☎ 02 126 9999

International | Available now |: sofitel-bangkok-sukhumvit.com SOFITEL Bangkok Sukhumvit’s signature all-day dining restaurant is now back on the scene with a brand new selection of gourmet cuisine specially prepared by Executive Chef Spencer Kells and his talented culinary team. Featuring a blend of European and Asian dishes, plus a new “Delight” section offering a range of lighter and healthier eats, the impressive buffet spread includes highlights such as pizzas cooked in a wood-fired oven, home-made pasta topped with delicious sauces, more than 10 flavours of home-made ice cream, and a wide selection of artisan cheeses. Lunch is B995; Dinner, B1,450.

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An authentic taste of India

1695 Phaholyothin Rd., Chatuchak ☎ 02 541 1234 ext. 4102

Indian | Jun 4-10 | : centarahotelsresorts.com/CGLB INDIAN food fans have a treat in store at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok’s Chatuchak Café next month. From June 4-10, guest chef Vijay Pal of Masala Art Restaurant will take control of the kitchens to cook up his signature tandoor dishes such as Zaffarani fish tikka; Aachari prawns; and Rogani chicken tikka, as well as a range of succulent curries. The dishes will be available as part of the restaurant’s lunch and dinner buffet; a selection will also be a la carte.

Guest Chef at The China House

48 Oriental Avenue. ☎ 02 659 9000

Chinese | Available now | : mandarinoriental.com/bangkok AWARD-Winning Japanese Chef Kenichi Takase, former Chef de Cuisine of the Michelin-starred Sense in Tokyo, will visit The China House at Mandarin Oriental Bangkok from May 12-17 to prepare his signature Cantonese dishes in a series of special meals. Combining elements of Chinese and Japanese cuisines, and even mixing in Thai, Malaysian and Singaporean ingredients, Chef Kenichi’s cuisine proves that great dining experiences know no boundaries. Dishes will be available for lunch and dinner. A six-course set lunch set is B1,688++ per person.


Gourmet

Dining|News Celebrity Hot Dogs

159/10 Sukhumvit 55. ☎ 02 392 1556

International | Through May 31 |  facebook.com/bangersbkk

Wine and cheese nights

2 Captain Bush Lane ☎ 02 266 9214

International | May 16 | royalorchidsheraton.com AS an extension of its global signature wine program, Sheraton Social Hour, the Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers now offers a wine and cheese event held the third Friday of each month. Held at Sambal Bar & Grill, this month’s event (May 16) will feature a selection of gourmet cheeses paired with free-flow Italian Wines, such as Voga Quattro Rosso 2007 and Tommasi Soave Classico 2009. On June 20, the event will return with Chilean wines. B599++ per person. 6.30pm-8.30pm. Free shuttle boat service from Saphan Taksin BTS.

Hot Pot feasts

Sukhumvit Soi 15. ☎ 02 309 3201

International | Available daily |  starwoodhotels.com A HEARTY-yet-healthy feast is currently on offer at The Eatery, Four Points By Sheraton Bangkok, Sukhumvit 15, which is serving up a range of Hot Pot specials perfect for sharing. Loaded with high quality meats, seafood and veggies, three Hot Pot options are on offer – Set A for two people (B800); Set B for 4-6 people (B1,600); and Set C for 8-10 people (B2,400). All sets come with unlimited rice. Available daily 11.30am10.30pm.

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GOURMET hot dog joint Bangers on Thonglor will launch its first ‘Celeb Dog’ this month with pop star Joni Anwar’s “Soi Dog BANG-NAsty” – a herbed pork sausage, wrapped in a poppy seed bun, topped with laab-style onion jam, red onion, spring onion, mint and chilli. Washed down with an iced shake or a cold beer, it’s a real treat. Each month a different celebrity will now launch their very own Celeb Dog, and B20 of each hot dog sold will go to the Soi Dog Charity. 220 Petchaburi Rd., Ratchathewi. ☎ 02 160 7100

Wine experience

International | Through May 31 |  novotelbangkokplatinum.com NOVOTEL Bangkok Platinum Pratunam’s recently opened outdoor Wine Bar is serving up a selection of white and red wines at just B140 per glass from 6pm-11pm daily. Among the selection at the bar, which is located next to the hotel’s entrance, are Belleville Shiraz, Belleville Chardonnay, Jacob Creek Sparkling Wine, Jacob Creek Moscato White, and more.

Dinner with Chris Irving

2 Sukhumvit Soi 57. ☎ 02 797 0130

International | Through May 24 |  marriott.com RENOWNED chef Chris Irving from the Gordon Ramsay Group, London, will complete his guest stint at The District Grill Room & Bar, Marriott Bangkok Hotel Sukhumvit, on May 24. If you haven’t yet tried his cuisine, which features highlights such as Pan roasted wild pacific halibut, and Bitter chocolate mousse, honeycomb, blackberry sorbet, now’s your last chance! Dishes are available daily from 5pm-11pm. A Wine Dinner will be held on May 17.


Gourmet

Pics|Events

Gourmet scrapbook Last month’s foodie functions in focus

Gourmet celebrations as Chaîne des Rôtisseurs turns 40

PREMIER epicurean society Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, Thailand Chapter, celebrated its 40th anniversary in the Chaîne tradition by hosting a three-day-long Grand Chapitre event, which – following another Chaîne tradition – was capped in grand style with a Gala Dinner held at the Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok. Attended by 120 guests, the dinner featured a special seven-course menu paired with fine wines. Guest of honour on the night was Yam Atallah, President of La Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Worldwide, who flew in from Paris especially for the occasion. For more info see www.chaine–thailand.com.

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Marqués de Cáceres Exclusive Wine Dinner

FINE Spanish wines and mouth-watering meats were the perfect match at The District Grill Room & Bar, Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit 57, which hosted a Marqués de Cáceres Exclusive Wine Dinner presented by Comte de Sibour Limited. Specially for the occasion, Executive Chef Nathan Chilcott cooked up a fivecourse menu paired with the finest wines from the Marqués de Cáceres Winery in Rioja.

Exquisite French flavours at VIU

CHEF Stéphane Carbone, owner of the one Michelin starred Stéphane Carbone Restaurant in Caen, France, delighted diners of all nationalities when he took control of the kitchens at VIU, The St. Regis Bangkok, to cook up his celebrated French cuisine during a week-long guest appearance at the restaurant. His signature dishes, created with the intent of enhancing flavours rather than transforming them, showed a real mastery of simple, superior ingredients, and more than warranted the groans of delight we heard from diners on our visit.

TheBigChilli

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Gourmet

Chef in focus|Chumpol Jangprai

What is your cooking philosophy? To always cook with love What is your favourite non-Thai cuisine and dish? French cuisine; Duck confit

Do you enjoy your celebrity status? Yes and no (laughs)

SERVING UP

Most influential chef? Raymond Blanc

Chumpol Jangprai

The renowned Iron Chef shares a few of his culinary secrets

Best thing about being on ‘Iron Chef’? Being able to show my culinary creations to the world What is your signature dish? Kanom jeen nam prik (Rice noodles with spicy shrimp and coconut)

What is your worst kitchen disaster? When a gas canister exploded!

Is Thai cuisine the best in the world? Well, magazines and websites compiling lists of the world’s best cuisines always include Thai food in the top five

Favourite restaurant? Sanguan Sri, a very old Thai restaurant on Wireless Road

The best thing you’ve done so far this year? Establish Siam Wisdom Cuisine

Most used cook book? Leith’s Cookery Bible

About the Chef ■ CELEBRITY Chef Chumpol Jangprai is best known for hosting the popular Iron Chef Thailand TV show, where local and international chefs are challenged to create four delicious dishes in under one hour – something which Chef Chumpol excels at, as not many chefs are able to defeat him. Born in Nakronrachasima in May 1973, he kick-started his culinary career aged just 13 at his family’s Thai restaurant, and, after completing university, branched out on his own in 1993 as corporate chef of the Blue Elephant Group. Since then he has gone on to consult for several hotels and restaurants, act as a culinary advisor for various magazines and TV shows, and even pick up accolades such as “The Best Young Chef in Bangkok in Traditional and Innovative food,” which was awarded in 2003 by Saveur Magazine. Last month Chef Chumpol launched his latest venture, Siam Wisdom Cuisine Restaurant, which serves Thai cuisine made using premium ingredients prepared according to ancient, classic, and innovative recipes. For more info see:

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siamwisdomcuisine.com


Dining|Recipe

Recipe of the month

Snow fish, mushroom ragout, sautéed baby spinach, fish velouté emulsion

Enjoy your own gourmet experience at home by following this delicious recipe by Chef Supat Chinsangtip, Executive Chef of VIE Hotel Bangkok Ingredients (Serves 1) • 20g snow fish • 5ml olive oil • 25g butter • 10g baby spinach • 25g boiled baby carrot • 20g baby zucchini • 20g boiled green asparagus

Method

For mushroom ragout • 50g fresh shitake mushroom • 50g fresh shimeji mushroom • 20ml olive oil • 2-3pc thyme • A of pinch salt For fish velouté emulsion • 250ml fish stock • 50ml fresh cream • 100ml white wine • 50g shallot • 1pc bay leaves • A pinch of salt

For mushroom ragout 1. Dice the mushrooms into small cubes and then sauté them with olive oil and fresh thyme until dry. 2. Season the mushroom ragout with a pinch of salt before leaving it to the side. For fish velouté emulsion 1. Reduce the white wine and shallot in a saucepan. 2. Add fish stock into the pan and simmer for 5-10 minutes before adding fresh cream. Heat it until the cream thickens. 3. Strain the sauce with a strainer before leaving it to the side.

For snow fish and dish dressing 1. Marinate the snow fish fillet with salt. 2. Add olive oil to a heated pan and panfry just one side of the fillet. 3. Finish cooking the fillet in an oven at 180 degrees for five minutes. 4. In the meantime, steam baby carrot, zucchini and green asparagus with butter in a pot, and sauté the baby spinach in a pan with simmering olive oil. 5. Remove the fish fillet from the oven and put it above the arranged sautéed baby spinach. Place steamed baby vegetables to one side of the dish. 6. Pour the fish velouté emulsion onto the plate and finish with the mushroom ragout.

Chef in focus

gtip Chef Supat Chinsan

A MAN of versatile interests and talents, Chef Supat Chinsangtip had successfully explored a wide variety of international cuisines before finding his true calling at La VIE – Creative French Cuisine. He kick-started his culinary career in 1993 after completing the highly respected culinary apprenticeship programme at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Bangkok, and he hasn't looked back since. His experience in the kitchens of Thailand includes well-known resorts such as Layana Resort and Spa Koh Lanta, Garden Cliff Resort & Spa Pattaya, as well as popular restaurants like Le Café Siam. Further afield, he spent four years working at the popular restaurant Manama at Le Royal Meridian Hotel, in Bahrain, and in 2012 even ventured to Singapore to work alongside celebrity chef Marco Pierre White, whose eponymous restaurant held three Michelin stars. Beyond being a master of Thai cuisine, Chef Supat's talents have come to the fore with Asian and Mediterranean cuisines and have finally reached a creative zenith with French cuisine (see the tasty dish above). His delicious creations are served daily at La VIE – Creative French Cuisine, VIE Hotel Bangkok. La VIE ― Creative French Cuisine, VIE Hotel Bangkok, 117/39-40 Phaya Thai Road (BTS Ratchathewi). 02 309 3939 viehotelbangkok.com facebook.com/viebangkok

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Gourmet


Gourmet

Review|Wine Connection

Review

Wine Connection

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Deli, Tapas Bar, or Bistro – great value is guaranteed at Wine Connection's bourgeoning portfolio of eateries

THE wine industry in Thailand is a tough cork to pop. Heavy taxation, expensive shipping and storage, and limited public knowledge about wine in general are just a few of the possible pitfalls awaiting any entrepreneur brave enough to have a sniff at the market here – no matter how sophisticated their nose or palate may be. That's not to say there aren't any success stories, though. Just take a look at Wine Connection. Since establishing here 14 years ago as a chain of wine shops stocking worldwide wines, premium spirits, imported beers, and high-end glassware, like a French vineyard planted with the finest grapes, the Wine Connection brand has blossomed into a viniculture-fuelled powerhouse, operating not only 41 wine shops in the kingdom, but also 23 extremely popular delis, tapas bars, and bistros. In Bangkok the brand operates 11 such establishments, with stand out venues such as the Wine Connection Deli & Bistro at K-Village (Sukhumvit 26), which is packed every weekend with Thai and expat families enjoying

international eats, cheese, cold cuts and cakes; the Wine Connection Bistro in Silom (Silom Complex), which is flooded nightly with office workers beating back stress with wine and generous portions of French and Mediterranean-inspired cuisine; and the Wine Connection Tapas Bar & Bistro, at the trendy Rain Hill community mall (Sukhumvit 47), whose tasty nibbles and extensive selection of new and old world wines are a big hit with a hip, young crowd. Key to Wine Connection's F&B success in Thailand, apart from its extensive selection of wines and tasty comfort food, is its adherence to offering superb value for money. There aren't many restaurants in town, for example, where you can find wine at just B100 per glass and B349 per bottle. But thanks to an exclusive deal with Jump Yards Wine from Australia (which offers a Cellar Blend Cool White Chardonnay 2013 and Cellar Blend Bold Red Shiraz 2013), Wine Connection is delivering just that. What's more, at each Bistro or Deli, customers can also select their wines from

an adjoining wine shop, with bottles of decent red and white wines starting at just B500 per bottle for consumption on site (and from only B349 to take home). As for food, while the Bistros and Delis offer slightly different menus, you can still expect to find hearty portions and reasonable prices at both. Thin-crust pizzas start at just B160++, Cheese or Cold cut platters at B290++, Fresh salads start at B150++, and Pasta dishes at B150++. Exclusive to the Bistros, meanwhile, are new menu highlights such as Braised lamb shank served with mashed potatoes and baby carrots (B390++); Grilled salmon fillet served with mashed potatoes, asparagus, cucumber shallots salad, and white wine sauce (B390++); and the Royal chocolate cake, which is rich, thick and delicious – and a steal at just B100++. Full details about each of Wine Connection's dining concepts can be found on the company's website, where you can also order wine to be delivered straight to your doorstep.

For more details about Wine Connection's locations in Thailand: :wineconnection.co.th :facebook.com/wineconnectionthai

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Gourmet

Review|Piri Piri

Review

Piri Piri Flaming Chicken Restaurant franchise takes fast food to whole new levels of taste

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MARINATED chicken – glazed, grilled and served piping hot alongside chipped potatoes, a generous garnish, and a dollop of spicy sauce. If this sounds like your idea of the perfect meal, you’re in for a treat at Piri Piri Flaming Chicken. Since first opening at Emporium Shopping Complex in 2001, this European-inspired restaurant chain (Piri Piri is Portuguese for spicy) has gone on to open branches in The Mall Ngam Wong Wan, Siam Paragon, Terminal 21, Don Muang Airport, and, outside of Bangkok, near Koh Samui’s famous Chaweng Beach. Taking a no-nonsense approach to cooking, Piri Piri prides itself on offering fast and tasty food that doesn’t scrimp on quality. The aforementioned chicken lies at the heart of the restaurant’s one-page menu, which offers six delicious options – Piri Piri; Lemon and herbs; Honey

mustard; Cajun; Bombay curried; and Thai salsa (scrumptious, but not for the faint-hearted) – and each is priced at just B185++ for a breast, B195++ for half a chicken, and B380++ for a whole chicken. But there’s more than just Portuguese-style pollo to whet your appetite here. Take, for example, the burgers. All meat patties are handmade on site and flame-grilled to a diner’s preference. Popular choices include the Bacon and cheeseburger, topped with crispy bacon and smoked cheddar (B260++ for single; B320++ for double); and the BBQ beef burger – 120g of pure beef cooked to perfection (B250++ for single; B300++ for double). There are share-worthy salads (think Caesar, Mixed, Mediterranean) ranging in price from B165++ to B220++; flavorsome pasta dishes like the Pasta

sugo d’Olive (bacon, mushrooms, and chilli tossed with olive oil and pesto. B240), seafood specials like the Piri Piri prawns (B320++), and hunger-busting sandwiches such as the Spicy chicken and smoked bacon (B220++). You can even wrap your mouth around 180g of Bare-back steak, served with fries and salad and a choice of sauces, for a mere B295. One of the big attractions at the restaurant is its bottles of homemade Piri Piri sauce – a spicy blend of chilli, garlic, olive oil and secret ingredients which teams perfectly with fish, beef or chicken. It packs one hell of a mighty punch, though, so make sure you have a nice cold drink beside you to extinguish any possible tongue flames. Juices, sodas and smoothies all start at B90++, beers at B120++, and house wines at B190++ per glass.

For more information about Piri Piri Flaming Chicken and its locations in Thailand see :piripiribangkok.com

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Gourmet

Review|Aziamendi

Review

Aziamendi at Iniala

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Enjoy an outstanding Phuket restaurant with links to Spain’s famous Michelin three-star Azurmendi

THE Michelin Guide may be absent from Thailand but that doesn't mean the kingdom lacks its fair share of 'Destination Restaurants' – establishments whose cuisine and service are of such a high standard, they more than warrant the effort, expense and travel time put in to visit them. The Asia's 50 Best Restaurants Awards, sponsored by S. Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, recently highlighted six of them – namely Nahm, Gaggan, Sra Bua By KiinKiin, Issaya Siamese Club, and Eat Me – but these, really, are just the tip of the iceberg lettuce. Peel back the leaves of Thailand's multi-layered dining scene and you'll discover there are all kinds of fresh and novel dining experiences waiting to be enjoyed. And these can rival any of the world's best restaurants. One of these is Aziamendi. Located at the recently opened Iniala Beach House, a luxurious three-villa resort on Natai Beach, 30 minutes north of Phuket Airport, Aziamendi is linked with

the three-Michelin starred Azurmendi Restaurant in Bilbao, Spain, and it has been painstakingly developed to offer a superlative dining experience similar to what you'd find at the parent venue. The menu, developed by Azurmendi's owner and Executive Chef, Enexo Atxa, offers three different dining 'journeys': Tribute, a 10-course retrospective of Enexo's most successful dishes available at Azurmendi (B6,500++); Twist, a 14-course avant garde menu inspired by the flavours and products of Thailand; and Vegatalis, a 14-course vegetarian menu featuring highlights such as Morning glory ravioli, and Pumpkin and zucchini noodles. Wine or cocktail pairings can be added to each menu from just B2,000++. All dining journeys begin in the restaurant’s garden with the Bonsai Tree and Picnic experience. Here, diners pluck tomatoes injected with a juicy, fruity filling from a Bonsai tree, and experience new takes on familiar Thai favourites,

40/14 Moo 6 Baan Natai, Phang-Nga. Open Tues-Sun 6pm-midnight (last seating 9pm. Closed Mon).

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such as a refreshing Mai Tai – served here not to drink, but to eat. The next course, a Truffled egg (an egg yolk, cooked to perfection and injected with a black truffle jus, which bursts in the mouth in riot of rich and earthy flavours) is then presented inside the kitchen, where Chef de Cuisine, Alex Burger, formerly of Daniel Boulud in New York, explains more about Aziamendi and its unique approach to cooking. The rest of the meal then continues in the restaurant proper, where diners can marvel at works of art by some of the region's most talented and best-known contemporary artists, while having their palates and minds blown by familiar flavours presented in new and exciting ways. Aziamendi is open to the public and offers free transfers from and to most of the resorts in the north of Phuket (subject to availability). Every Wednesday evening the Tribute menu is now on offer for just B3,000++. ☎ 093 779 2312 :aziamendi.com


Gourmet

Dining|BB&B

Amari Watergate Bangkok The Bangkok Beefsteak & Burgundy dining group enjoys a superlative lunch prepared by Executive Chef Peter Kaserer

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HE arrival of Domaine du Martheray Chasselas Grand Cru Féchy and draught beer heralded our ninth visit to Amari Watergate Bangkok, where once again GM Pierre Pelletier and Executive Chef Peter Kaserer presided over a very special lunch. The Féchy is an elegant Swiss Chasselas wine with a lingering taste and a distinctive character, and it found an appreciative audience led by wine spokesman Jock Tulloch. Seared ahi tuna, wasabi cream, US sea scallop, hummus, young garden greens and chilled gazpacho was our first dish. This provided a very nice start to the proceedings, tasty but not too filling, with the tuna perhaps the centrepiece of the

course. We had intended that this would come with Toi Toi Marlborough Unoaked Chardonnay 2011 (NZ) but, along with most others, I found the Chasselas to be a perfect match for the food. Tiger prawn tail, barley, spring vegetables and Spanish ham, with herb sauce followed. Jake Meerman, our food spokesman of the day, commended the dish, especially noting that the wild prawn was taken from the ocean, and the Chardonnay proved to have vibrant acidity and a nice long dry finish. After a suitable pause, which allowed the nicotine addicts amongst us to take on fresh air elsewhere, we were served Australian beef medallion, spinachricotta capeletti in morel ragout. One or two diners thought the beef may have been a little over-cooked, but most found it to be perfect; both tender and tasty. The morel ragout was truly excellent. The best wine of the day turned out to be Monte Del Drago 2007 from Veneto (Italy), a blend of Corvine and Cabernet Sauvignon.

The wine had been set aside for just an occasion as this; Jock thought the wine might have improved for another decade, but we won't be able to see if this statement's correct because this bottle was the last of the Club's stock. Galette Frangipane provided those with a sweet palate an opportunity to further indulge, and was served with Pflümli Schnapps (Damson). And finally, as Chef Peter modestly described it, a "Selection of cheese with dry fruits” which falls way short of the truth; it was an extremely generous feast of flavours from the best cheeses that France and Italy could provide. The Chapoutier Châteauneuf-du-Pape served with it turned out to be a little short of our expectations, but this did not prevent our Club from polishing off the last of the 22 bottles served on the day. Thanks were extended once again to Chef Peter, the hard working team of servers and cooks, and to GM Pierre for once again inviting us to dine at Amari Watergate Bangkok. Amari Watergate Bangkok, 847 Petchburi Rd. Tel:02 653 9000 www.amari.com

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Gourmet

Where to eat

Recommended restaurants and bars

Steakhouse

Indian cuisine

Himali Cha Cha

Himali Cha Cha has long been a popular choice for North Indian and Halal cuisine and now operates four branches in Bangkok. Highly recommended by the Lonely Planet, each restaurant always draws a big crowd of diners looking to enjoy an authentic Moghul curry, and as all food is prepared with freshly ground spices and natural ingredients, they’re not disappointed. Meat from the specially designed tandoori oven is always delicious, too. For those who love something spicy, try the Mutton Chutniwalla. There are four restaurants in Bangkok: Charoenkrung 47/1, Saphan Taksin BTS; Sukhumvit 31, Phrompong BTS; Soi Convent, Saladaeng BTS; Nana 3/5, Nana BTS. Deliveries also available 02 259 6677  himalichacha.com

Rang Mahal

Rang Mahal’s food is primarily from the Punjab with lots of items from the Tandoor oven, including always-popular tandoor chicken and a variety 46

TheBigChilli

Gaggan

Molecular Gastronomy.The final frontier.This is the specialty of Gaggan Anand, a chef who boldly takes Indian cuisine where no chefs have taken it before. Peer into the kitchen at his eponymous restaurant on Soi Langsuan and you’ll see chefs hunched over metal containers whipping up clouds of vapor as they prepare desserts in liquid nitrogen; others prodding small, jelly-like shapes with thermometers before popping them into a colleague’s mouth for appraisal. It all looks very scientific, but this isn’t just science – this is culinary art. Put simply, there’s no other dining experience like it in Bangkok. Check out the website for full details about the menu.

RR&B Rib Room and Bar Fireplace Grill The Rib Room and Bar has taken grill restaurants in Bangkok to new heights. Located on the 31st floor and decked out in Ferrari red, its interior is stunning and the views provided spectacular. Steaks from Australia, the USA, Japan and Thailand prepared in an open kitchen and accompanied by a delicious supporting cast are what this place is all about. Expensive, but the good food and rush provided by the setting make it worth the price.

This restaurant has been at the same location for eons, but underwent radical surgery along with the renovation of the hotel. The interior is no longer that of an English country inn but is now ultra chic, modern and subdued with an open grill featuring loads of gleaming stainless steel. It serves excellent steaks and seafood, has a massive wine collection, and great service to match.

Landmark Hotel, Sukhumvit Rd between Sois 4 and 6 (BTS Nana) 02 254 0404

68/1 Soi Langsuan. Open daily from 02 652 1700 6pm-11pm  eatatgaggan.com

of Indian flat breads. The interior of the restaurant is lavish without coming across as tickytacky; the view from the hotel’s 26th floor is one of the best in the city and there is live Indian music to entertain in the evenings. Open for lunch, dinner and Sunday buffet brunch. Rembrandt Hotel, Sukhumvit Soi 18 (BTS Asoke or MRT Sukhumvit) 02 261 7100

InterContinental Hotel/ Holiday Inn on Ploenchit Rd (BTS Chidlom) 02 656 0444

Prime

Magnificent views of the Chao Phraya, prime US and Australian beef, over 2000 wines, a fabulous selection of desserts, and a modern, but seductively warm interior, Prime has it all. If you’re in the mood for a memorable and romantic night on the town,

this restaurant is hard to beat. If you and the apple of your eye are confirmed carnivores, you can share a 1080gm Aussie Porterhouse for Baht 3,900. But it is not all beef at Prime; there are numerous other items on the menu, including primo lobster and fresh oysters. Millennium Hilton on the Chao Phraya (BTS Saphan Taksin then complimentary hotel shuttle boat) 02 442 2000


French cuisine

Le Normandie

The doyen of Bangkok’s hotel restaurants, Le Normandie has been serving fine French food to royalty, tycoons and we ordinary folk since the 1950s. Elegant is the best way to describe the interior and there are great views of the Chao Phraya to boot. The restaurant’s current Chef de Cuisine is Arnaud Dunand

Sauthier who has over a decade of experience in fine dining, having worked with renowned culinary talents worldwide, including Georges Blanc in Vonnas, Marc Veyrat in L’Auberge de L’Eridan, and Emile Jung at Crocodile. The restaurant’s wine list is wide ranging and features some of the world’s finest and most expensive wines. Jackets are required in the evening and children under 12 aren’t permitted. The Oriental Bangkok (BTS Saphan Taksin, then take the hotel’s shuttle boat) 02 659 9000.

Thai cuisine

The Reflexions

The Reflexions offers contemporary French food in modern surroundings. It’s open for casual lunches and relaxed, but mildly elegant, dinners. There is live music from 7pm-10pm each evening to add ambience. Don’t expect traditional French dishes, the menu is contemporary with a great deal of emphasis placed upon presentation. The service is efficient and friendly. The entertainment and atmosphere make this a good place to spend the entire evening. Plaza Athenee Bangkok, Wireless Rd, 200m from Ploenchit Road 02 650 8800 (BTS Ploenchit)

Patara

Patara is a well-managed Thai restaurant with a menu of delicious Thai dishes done in a contemporary style. The restaurant, the Bangkok outlet of a worldwide chain operated by S&P of Thailand, is modern, relatively small and blessed with lots of onsite parking. The spices, flavours and aromas are unmistakably Thai, but the food is unique without going overboard. Salient examples include the Slices of Raw Tuna in a Lime and Lemongrass Vinaigrette, and Braised New Zealand Lamb in Massaman Curry. A variety of wines are available, including several from Thailand. 375 Soi Thonglor 19, Sukhumvit 55 02 185 2960 : patarathailand.com

Le Vendome

The quality of Bangkok’s French restaurants has improved immensely in recent years and Le Vendome is one of the big reasons. If you are looking for signal French food served with élan and presented with pizzazz, this is where you’ll find it. Although relatively expensive in the evening, the set lunches are a fantastic bargain at around B500. Try them once, and you’ll be back in the evening for the Full Monty. Sukhumvit Soi 31, just past the Soi Sawasdee junction (BTS Phrom Phong – but it’s a hefty walk) 02 662 0530

Benjarong

The flagship restaurant of the flagship hotel in the Thai owned Dusit chain. This place has got to be good and it doesn’t disappoint. The interior is substantial with subdued lighting, heavy chairs and carpeting - definitely not a place for singlets and flip-flops. A large window looks out at a waterfall with outdoor seating surrounding it. The menu consists primarily of Royal Thai cuisine dishes, although less august items also appear on the menu. There are numerous set menus to help Thai food neophytes. The wine list is excellent and the service impeccable. Dusit Thani Hotel Junction Silom and Rama IV Rds (BTS Saladaeng or MRT Silom) 02 200 9000

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Feature

Insight|Fake mobiles

THE LATEST SHOPPING MALL SCAM:

“You want a genuine or fake mobile?”

Don’t be surprised to hear this being asked in certain Bangkok shopping malls, where fake phones are being sold openly and in huge numbers to shoppers prepared to take the risk of these cheap smuggled devices breaking down rather too quickly. But the DSI is on the case, reports Maxmilian Wechsler 48

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WHEN it comes to buying smartphones and other mobile devices in Thailand the old warning ‘Let the buyer beware’ is definitely worth heeding. Fake Apple, Nokia and Samsung products are sold in retail centers in Bangkok and throughout the country, with new copies emerging almost as soon as the genuine items are unveiled. According to several law enforcement sources, copies of the latest IT gadgets are being smuggled into Thailand in massive quantities, in what must be a very well-organized and profitable enterprise. While it may not be surprising that devices sold on the street at a tremendous ‘bargain’ are usually fakes, they are also sold in supposedly respectable establishments in malls and shopping centers alongside authentic products. Information about the fakes came to light through an investigation conducted by TheBigChilli in Bangkok and surrounding provinces in recent months which involved interviews with police sources as well as visits to numerous sales points by our people impersonating customers. Generally the vendors themselves acknowledge they are selling copies, as they are so much cheaper. When you ask to see a particular model, many sellers reply: “Do you want a genuine or a fake?” Some even offer a warranty for the fakes for a short period of time, promising to exchange the set if it breaks down. Of course, the sincerity of this promise can only be verified by making a purchase; it may often be just a gimmick to make the sale, with no intention of delivering. The majority of sales people we spoke to said that of all the other fake products sold in Thailand, including watches, handbags, leather goods and other fashionable items, mobile IT products are at this moment enjoying the most popularity. Some law enforcement officers agree, in private.

Lt Col Weerawat. He added that the DSI is conducting further investigation into the background and activities of Mr Kamporn to find out where he got the fake devices. The seizure netted copies of devices manufactured by Apple, Nokia and Samsung and included many models, including Apple’s iPhone 4S, 5S and 5C; Samsung’s Galaxy Grand, Galaxy Tab 3, Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy S4, Galaxy SIII mini, Galaxy Ace and Nokia model A1520. A complaint on behalf of Apple and Samsung was lodged by a Thai law firm. Lawyers from the firm accompanied the DSI teams during the raids and identified the fakes. Fake Nokia products were also seized in accordance with the Trademark Act. “Some T-Mobile shops had only a few pieces on display, with the rest of the counterfeit inventory hidden inside, under tables or even in the ceiling of one shop at Capital Plaza, but some shops showed a lot,” said Pol Lt Col Weerawat.

DSI raids The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) has been cracking down on large-scale dealers and suppliers of fake mobile devices. In an operation conducted on March 11, the DSI seized 1,470 fake items labeled as Apple, Nokia or Samsung from four shops and one storage center in Bangkok’s Chinatown. “We seized the fakes from one shop and one storage point in Khlong Thom Centre, two shops at Capital Plaza and one shop in Suapa Plaza. All locations were raided simultaneously by a team of 20 DSI officers,” said Police Lieutenant Colonel Weerawat Dejboonpha, the director of the Special Case Operation Centre, Region 7 of DSI in Nakhon Pathom province, who commanded the operation from start to finish. The raids followed a months’-long investigation, including surveillance and evidence gathering after a tip from an informant. “We arrested Kamporn Unhavichayanon, 42, the owner of the four shops – all called T-Mobile – and the storage facility, and charged him under the Trademark Act BE 2534, Section 110 [amended by the Trademark Act (No. 2) 2543],” Pol Lt Col Weerawat said. The suspect faces imprisonment not exceeding four years or a fine not exceeding four hundred thousand baht, or both. Mr Kamporn confessed to all charges against him, and was released on 200,000 baht bail. He will appear in court for sentencing within a few months. “We think the suspect has been supplying fake products to other shops in Bangkok and surrounding provinces,” said Pol

Police Lieutenant Colonel Weerawat Dejboonpha

“They were selling the fakes for 3,000 to 4,500 baht. Tests showed that the sets were of pretty poor quality. They were working but took five to six hours to fully charge, during which time the set, charger and cable became very hot. This is one way to distinguish a fake from a genuine article, which takes about two hours to charge fully.” Other telltale signs are that the quality and resolution of the printing on the packaging is much different when compared with the original product. In fact, even the boxes of some fake models differed in shade and brightness. Pol Lt Col Weerawat said that the fakes were probably smuggled into Thailand in parts in the boxes, with accessories like battery, charger and earphones also inside. After arriving here the parts would be assembled, perhaps just prior to filling orders from customers. Almost all the sellers we spoke to said their copies were made in China. A fake Samsung mobile model bore the printed words: “Made in Korea by Samsung,” while fake Nokia and Apple products said “Made in China,” where the originals of these brands are produced. The DSI offensive didn’t go unnoticed by the sellers of fake smartphones. Every time such a raid occurs, word travels quickly through their networks and within minutes sellers remove the bogus sets displays and show only packaging. And for a while, the sellers also screen customers carefully and hide the sets in safer places, such as in their cars.

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Feature

Insight|Fake mobiles

Fakes market sur vey Not surprisingly, most buyers of fake devices are people who can’t afford the genuine articles. Many of them are impressed by the packaging and accessories like battery, charger and earphone nicely wrapped in the box. They believe the sales pitch of the clerks who will tell them “it is like the original; it will do the same job but it is much cheaper.” However, in most cases, before long they realize they may as well have thrown their money into a toilet. Some people, especially students, buy fake smartphones to keep up with other students who (or whose parents) can afford to buy the original. Showing around an iPhone 5S on campus brings a certain amount of prestige. One seller at a shop on the 4th floor of MBK said: “Many people, especially youngsters, ask about copied smartphones and other gadgets. I would One of the T-Mobile shops which was raided never sell a fake as original. I also tell them that if the set has a problem not

Just two of the fake handsets seized in the raid - a Galaxy SIII and a Nokia A1520.

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One of the displays in Pantip Plaza

caused by the user, I will exchange it for them, within one month only.” The seller then wrote down prices for her wares, starting at 2,900 baht for a bogus Samsung S3 mini to 4,500 baht for a copied iPhone 5S. A genuine iPhone 5S goes for around 25,000 baht. The shop displayed only a few empty boxes of originals. When a customer asked for a particular device, the woman walked quickly out of the shop and returned with it in about five minutes. She then checked the set to see if everything was working and collected the cash. She asked a higher price from foreigners. From our observations it seems likely that all sellers of fakes at MBK get them from one location – most probably a store. Many sellers of fake devices, especially those working out of stalls on the street and crowded shopping centers in tourist areas, display non-genuine accessories in a nice box to attract customers. When someone stops to look, usually a foreigner, the seller offers a selection of fake devices which are hidden nearby. We counted around 14 stalls selling mobile devices on the 1st floor of Pantip Plaza, each with hundreds of boxes on display, mainly various models from Apple and Samsung. Initially, no one is obviously in charge of the stall, but if a foreigner wanders around these stalls for a short while, he or she will soon be approached by someone from a nearby stall, often a Burmese national. They will ask in good English: “Do you want original or fake?” We observed a number of foreigners walking around these stalls examining the boxes as sellers watched them from other stalls before making their approach. When I asked one Burmese seller if the boxes themselves were genuine, he didn’t reply, but only repeated: “Mister, do you want original or fake?” Some fakes are on display at shops on the ground floor. A Burmese seller at one shop was asking 2,990 baht for an iPhone S4. According to one Thai seller of fake and genuine devices at Pantip Plaza, in recent months Burmese sellers of fake mobiles have gotten into the business all over Bangkok. He called the sellers “an advance party to prepare for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015. The Burmese have already established a gang and you can imagine what it will look like after the AEC is in force. They have an advantage over Thai sellers because they can speak English and communicate better with foreigners than Thais.” Pol Lt Col Weerawat is also worried that the establishment of the AEC will make it easier for criminals from other countries to get a foothold here. He is preparing his staff by having a foreigner teach them English.

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Over 1,400 fake handsets were seized in the recent raid. Photographs courtesy of DSI.

Customers learn the hard way

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Ms Noi, a cook at a food court, bought a fake iPhone 5S for 4,500 baht for her daughter, who is a university student. “She was complaining that most of her friends at the university have an iPhone or Samsung smartphone and she wanted one too,” Ms Noi said. “I can’t afford the original, so I opted for the fake because I know one seller at Imperial Samrong and she told me the copies are just as good. That’s why I bought it. “However, from the first day my daughter noticed that the battery needed almost six hours to charge and the phone got very hot. Also, the battery lost its charge pretty fast. After eight weeks the phone wouldn’t switch on. I went back to the shop but the seller told me it wasn’t possible to repair it. It was a total waste of my money. “The seller suggested I buy an original from the ‘black market’ on installment, which is what I did. Now my daughter is happy and so am I,” said Ms Noi. In a similar situation, Ms Orawan bought a fake iPhone 4S for her 14-year-old daughter, a high school student who wanted to keep up with her friends. “I bought the set for 3,500 baht from one shop at Fortune Town, but after five weeks the touchscreen was moving slowly and a few days later the set stopped working,” Ms Orawan said, adding the familiar complaints about the battery and overheating. “The seller said that it was not possible to fix it and I should buy the newest copy – also made in China – because the quality is better. He promised to give me a special price and a onemonth guarantee. But despite the great packaging and improved

looks, I decided not to waste another 4,000 baht. I bought a genuine iPhone from an authorized dealer,” Ms Orawan said. Her daughter is finally happy too. TheBigChilli also talked to an Australian resident of Bangkok who bought a copied iPhone 4S for his Thai girlfriend from a Burmese street vendor in Sukhumvit Soi 3/1. After two months the set wasn’t working properly and it was soon useless. “The telephone was always overheating while charging and it began to work slowly. I didn’t like the colour on the screen either,” the man said. When he went back to find the man who sold it to him the stall was gone. He was told that the police had raided stalls in the area a few days before and the Burmese vendor had ran away and hadn’t returned. A man at a mobile shop nearby told him the phone had “burned down” and couldn’t be repaired. “I lost 4,000 baht,” said the Australian, who admitted that it had been a good lesson for him, and his girlfriend. “I will never buy a fake phone again.” One friendly saleswoman at The Mall Ngam Wong Wan admitted that fake smartphones commonly experience problems like unresponsive touchscreens and batteries that are drained in a few hours. The long charging times and the heat that is generated likely contribute to device malfunctions, as does the use of inferior materials. Pol Lt Col Weerawat stressed that the majority of fake mobile devices are rendered useless after just weeks of use. “They are a major disappointment for the buyers. They are wasting their money and at the same time helping crooks.” He suggested that those who can’t afford the more expensive sets look for cheaper but well-made devices from an authorized dealer. ‘That way you get a proper warranty and you don’t lose everything if something goes wrong.”

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Feature

Insight|Magic on the road

Thailand’s gravity-defying

‘Magic Hill’

The mysterious road in Mae Sot where cars and trucks inexplicably roll up slopes when they should be going down them. It is real or just an illusion? Maxmilian Wechsler checks out this amazing phenomenon THE world has its share of unexplained mysteries: the Bermuda Triangle, where countless airplanes and ships have disappeared under mysterious circumstances; the Loch Ness Monster, said to be living in a deep lake in the Scottish Highlands; the construction of Egypt’s ancient pyramids; and the Nazca Lines, etched shapes of animals covering more than 190 square miles in the southern Peruvian desert. In northern Thailand, we have the perplexing, gravityflouting ‘Magic Hill.’ We’re talking about a 130-meter stretch of four-lane asphalt on Highway 105, about 12 kilometers from Mae Sot in Tak province. What transpires there is a phenomenon that many people won’t believe is real until they actually visit the slope identified by the kilometer 68 highway marker, and see for themselves this country’s very own mystery.   Here any vehicle – car, minivan, pickup truck or 18-wheeler – that stops at the apparent bottom of the incline (marked by a

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Adding to the mystery: Despite being on a slope, cars near the top of the hill remain stationary when in neutral.

Totally flummoxed: My eyes told me one thing; the spirit level, another. It’s no surprise many drivers stop to experience the hill’s magic.

distinctive yellow line across the road) with engine turned off and in neutral gear, will apparently defy gravity and roll uphill at a speed that gradually increases to about 10 kilometers an hour before reaching the top. Drivers in the other lane experience the even more bizarre sensation of rolling uphill backwards. This funhouse-like effect doesn’t apply only to motor vehicles but also to objects like soccer and tennis balls. I have witnessed this myself. Despite heavy traffic and strong winds, and with help from a tenacious assistant, I conducted a series of tests at various spots along the Magic Hill. And every passing motorist who watched us in action was similarly amazed.

Road tests

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The fact that the effect applied to non-metal objects ruled out any explanation involving magnetic fields. Balls repeatedly thrown onto the road at various points near the 68km marker invariably stopped in their tracks and began to roll uphill. Because the road is cambered, they often ran sideways to the edge of the road, but never downhill. When I threw the balls at points toward the yellow line from within the “magic” area, the balls stopped on the line and rolled backward. What the spirit level did reveal is that the stretch of road is losing elevation when it clearly appeared to me and everyone I talked to that it is going up. Then there’s another puzzling feature: After stopping my Toyota Fortune near the top of the hill and releasing the brake with the engine switched off, the car wouldn’t move in either direction. It just stood still as if it was pinned down, or on an

absolutely level surface. Even at a car park the car will move backward or forward if the surface is little uneven. In the end the tests provided more questions than answers. An internet search revealed that around the world there are over 30 countries  – from Australia to the United States – that have places similar to the Magic Hill. These have names like Magnetic Hill, Gravity Hill or Mystery Hill, and most have been attributed to optical illusions. However, after looking at photos and video clips of these places, I have to say that none appeared as steep and gravity-defying as the hill outside of Mae Sot.

The scientific explanation I asked a prominent Thai geologist, Associate Professor Punya Charusiri PhD, Head of Research Unit for Earthquake and Tectonic Geology at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, what exactly is going on along this stretch of mountain road. He said it was an optical illusion, as the spirit level also indicated. “You are not the first to ask me about this phenomena,” said Professor Punya, smiling. ‘‘Villagers and even Forest Department officials have come to me as well. People from a Thai TV station wanted to do a feature on the Magic Hill. They were hoping to make a big splash by revealing this magic spot to

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Feature

Insight|Magic on the road The woman pictured here appears to be walking downhill. However, she’s actually walking uphill according to the spirit level.

From this viewpoint, Magic Hill appears to be on an incline. But the spirit level, placed on the yellow line which marks the start of the ‘magic,’ tells a different story.

the world. They came to me for an explanation, and after I gave it to them they weren’t much interested in doing the show. I will tell you what I told them. “There’s nothing magic about it, and we have proved it,” he said. “What is going on there is caused by the slope, which seems to be, I would say, unreal from your eyes. The slope looks like it is going up but actually it is going down. “The car is really going down, not up. The judgment based on what you see is wrong. Geologists call such stretches of terrain a false landscape. “It has nothing to do with magnetic forces.” The professor said that he and some of his colleagues and students had carried out a detailed survey of the hill to look for iron or other magnetic deposits, and they are quite certain the phenomenon has nothing to do with an aberrant magnetic field or anything that can’t be explained by the laws of physics. It is a kind of illusion of perspective that occurs because of the natural topography at that location, he explained. “Several outstanding geologists, including myself, went there to check out the hill where it appears a car can go uphill without power. I thought that there might be some magnetite deposit in that area causing the phenomenon. “But when we came with a magnetometer we couldn’t see anything to indicate that there’s any magnetite or iron oxide deposit in the ground at that location,” said Professor Punya, whose primary research involves seismic fault lines in Thailand. “In fact, it is now very easy to prove that the Magic Hill is an optical illusion. A colleague who was curious about what was going on suggested the use of the Global Positioning System (GPS), which will tell you even very slight differences in the elevation. The GPS gave us a very good clue that the topography is, in fact, a false topography. “What one sees is an illusion,” he reiterated. “You may believe you are standing on top of the hill, but you are not.” He added, however, that he is interested in conducting a more

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detailed investigation of the topography and intends to do so next year. “What we’ve done so far is only preliminary because we didn’t spend much time there. I want to go back and take some students with me and stay for one or two weeks with more instruments. For instance, a more sophisticated magnetometer and other instruments to perform a proper geodetic analysis [a branch of applied mathematics that deals with the measurement and representation of the Earth, including its gravitational field, in a three-dimensional time-varying space], so we can get some control lines which represent elevations of equal height. If I can do that then I can prove what is really going on there.” “This phenomenon is a rare case because not only a few people can see the illusion, pretty much everyone does. Therefore it interests me from a scientific standpoint,” said Professor Punya. In the end, however, he has little doubt that it is an illusion.   “As far as I know there’s no other place in Thailand like the Magic Hill, but there could be,” he added.

Magical myster y tourism

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Locals in Mae Sot who have been travelling on this road for decades, even before it was widened, all said that they don’t accept the official explanation that the road is actually sloping down, not up, and that it is simply an optical illusion. They wonder what is really going on there. I must admit that, as someone who tends to believe his own eyes, I wasn’t quite convinced by the official explanation either, even after checking the slope with the spirit level. On the day I was there many Thai motorists were testing the magic for themselves. They couldn’t believe their eyes. Some said that there may be something under the ground, possibly a spirit. One motorist suggested there was some sort of supernatural conveyor belt that pulls objects up. “It defies gravity. If you can see you are looking down or up the hill, how could it be the other way around?” asked a truck driver who said he enjoyed being pushed up the hill. He wished this kind of road could be found all over Thailand. “It would save a lot of money for fuel,” he joked. It has been suggested that the Magic Hill should be developed into a tourist attraction by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, and I second the motion. Whatever the secret of the Magic Hill is, it won’t go away. I intend to go back, and I’m sure it would attract many Thai and foreign visitors as well.


Expat WOMEN  Put your feet up and indulge

Time to get preppy! Royal Ivy Regatta releases its first collection for women. Page 74.

BWWG

Enjoy the latest slice of fiction from the Bangkok Women’s Writers Group Page 60

Health

Eat for the future: Vital foods and ingredients for ageing bodies Page 70

Shopping

Hot new products and stores demanding your attention Page 74 TheBigChilli

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Expat Women

Insight|Business

Expat bag designer who found inspiration in Bangkok’s vividly coloured taxis Two years after setting up her business, Rusi Hancock’s unique hand-made products are proving popular across the globe ■ LIKE many wives who come to Thailand with their expatriate husband, Rusi Hancock was determined to get herself involved in something that would keep her busy and might even end up helping to pay the household bills. So during the past two-and-half years while her diplomat husband Michael focused on matters at the British Embassy, Georgia-born Rusi has built up a potentially lucrative business designing and manufacturing a range of beautiful hand-made leather bags and a collection of stunning jewellery and accessories. Her Thai-made products, which are marketed under her RusiDesigns brand, have appeared on the catwalks of fashion

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shows in the UK and Georgia. And today they’re sold in boutiques in Paris, London, Mexico, Singapore and several other locations in the UK. Oddly enough, bags and jewellery were not Rusi’s first choice as a hobby-cumbusiness. With a degree in environmental chemistry and a diploma in interior design from the UK, this very elegant lady had early ideas of becoming an adviser in interior design and home decoration. But this was a non-starter as Rusi found it hard to break into the local market and, besides, almost impossible in Thailand to source the quality products she wanted.

The inspiration for her present business came, quite amazingly, during one of her extended walks around Bangkok. “I was actually struck by the vivid colours of the taxis here,” she says. “Cars in Europe don’t have such bright colours, but they gave me the idea to feature them in the design of my bags.”>>


Expat Women

Insight|Business

Rusi admits she “got lucky” early on in her venture when she met an Argentinean lady at a party who was already making leather bags in Thailand. “She was about to relocate back home and was happy to pass on the names of several manufacturers who have turned out to be excellent partners. Her first product was a clutch bag, completed in Bangkok taxi colouring. With an unerring eye for detail and a desire to get as near to perfection as humanly possible, Rusi oversaw every stage of the manufacturing process, from the selection of the leather – calf and goat’s skin – and the funky linings to the chunky golden zip and clasps, the immaculate stitching and her signature leopard logo. These details, it has to be said, are magnificent. To date, she has created two season’s collections of bags, with some available in up to 12 different colours. And to avoid copying, she divides the manufacturing process among a number of small workshops and artisans. Additional interest in her products is now coming from Saudi Arabia and China. They’ve also caught the attention of the fashion press, appearing in some of the world’s most respected fashion publications, including In-Style, Marie Claire and Vogue UK.

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Meanwhile, she has begun designing and making her own line of jewellery, with special focus on “chunky and bold” necklaces and bracelets fashioned from several different and contrasting materials and textures. Her inspiration, says Rusi, comes from her extensive travels when she buys “anything eyecatching” from local shops and markets. Her bold jewellery is sold in boutiques in London, Norfolk and Vientiane. What’s next for this creative force? “Clothes – that’s my next step,” says Rusi, a lady clearly on a mission to delight her growing number of admirers. Examples of Rusi’s products can be viewed at www.rusidesigns.com


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BWWG|Monsoon Midnights

Monsoon Midnights Special places in Bangkok, as experienced by the Bangkok Women’s Writer’s Group Dear reader Welcome to ‘Monsoon Midnights,’ a brand new series of stories by the Bangkok Women’s Writers Group. The storytellers of the BWWG come from all over the world but they all have a special place in this city, somewhere surprising, obscure and unexpected, as yet undiscovered. Follow us to these hidden places right here, month after month.

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NIGHTFALL OVER BANGKOK THERE are some very high places in Bangkok. Places where you can look out and see the city like an interactive map spread out beneath you. Tonight, I can see the whole Bay of Bangkok from my vantage point. I don’t know how I got up so high and it scares me a little bit. But high is not necessarily better. It means that there are many things I can’t see. Market lanterns, flower stalls, tuk tuks, street lights swim together and subtly colour the night underneath. Birds fly down there, eating insects, eating air. No building has yet achieved this height, not even in this town of sky piercers. Planes try, but I can see even their paths below me. Fireflies, clouds and ghosts… High as I am, the earth still has me firmly in her embrace. The moon is far above. The city spreads its arms and legs sleepily under its soft light. The city is not a fixed place, the way we draw it on a map. All day, every day, and even now, at midnight, it moves and grows. Buildings bulge up and collapse into the soil. Roads creep on, outwards, sideways, circling and spiralling like the famous cobras snaking around our airport. And the cobras are not the only creatures always on the move. On the hunt. On the run. On the fragile entangled lines of their lives. Tomorrow will eat the remains of yesterday. This moving, breathing creature of a city has embedded itself in a river delta, a wetland so low that it falls below sea level in many places. Sky lounges, shopping malls, eight-lane road bridges, housing estates, canal side slums, little frogs by the river – we all live in a swamp. From up here, the city, the delta, the land looks solid. We can rest on it. We can run around on it, jump up and down, dig deep ditches, push up high buildings, ride around furiously in double

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decker buses and elevated trains. We move, and the land beneath us stays. No. The land that we rest on is not solid. It is liquid. Liquid? The whole swamp, the whole big delta is slowly flowing. Into the mud below. Into the sea. And we all flow with it. Feet in the water, ankles in the mud. Heads held as high as they will go. Tonight’s storyteller, Anette Pollner, is wearing the silk dress of the night around us. I can’t see her. But I can hear a voice. It may not be her voice. Or if it is, the words are not her own. What I hear feels more like a translation. From something much larger, hard to fit into the tiny capsules that transport human thought. I understand now why we are so high up. What we hear needs a lot of silence. Long, slow vibrations, many beyond the capacity of our ears. Or our minds, if truth were told. I understand now that we need that big silence, not to talk but to listen. Maybe it’s the voice of yesterday, already subsumed in the fabric of tomorrow.

My name is mud – the swamp, the mother, the lover and the end By Anette Poller What am I? How long have you got? No, seriously, I mean, something like two or three centuries? That might work… Oh, I see. I see. We need to hurry up. Well… That name is longer than the elaborately constructed title of the city of Krungthep itself. If every part of who I am was just one letter in my name, it would take longer to say than a human life time. And even then it would not be my real name. So let’s skip names. I can see yours is not long enough either, not even for someone who moves as fast and lives as briefly as you do. No offence. Length isn’t everything… Let me see. I do know the way you people talk. I’ve heard you for a while. Different dialects, to be sure, but that’s just on the surface. In essence, you all deal in little parcels of meaning. That you hand on and on and on. A bit like your cars on the roads. And now you throw your parcels to each other from your phones. Alright, in a brief, fragile, sketchy parcel that falls apart as soon as it is launched. Who am I? Long ago. Long ago I was not yet myself but I was already


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his month’s storyteller is Anette Pollner, leader of the BWWG. Anette has published widely and very successfully in the US and the UK under various secret pseudonyms. She has been featured both in the local and the international press including the London Guardian and the BBC. Email: bkk_writers@yahoo.com

there. I’m not just saying this, I remember. This is real. More real than…Alright, I’ll contract what is actually a very interesting story. That not many may have heard…Alright. My name is mud Before I was born, I was everywhere. Slowly, under water, there was mud. I was mud. I still am. Ha! My name is mud. I know you people often speak disrespectfully of mud. To that I say: mud is everyone’s mother. So there. Watch your mouths from now on. The mud moved, slowly. Pushed by the continents on their long journey Northwards. The continents fell apart. The mud became thicker. So many parts and particles… Earth’s crust, mushed up. The dust and rocks of continents, drowned miles deep in water. Tiny amoebae, strings of jelly, then, suddenly, fish. Colourful, shapely, fast swimming fish. Filling the ocean.

Sinking down to its bed, after death. Life suddenly brought death. Graveyards of whales. Mud ate it all. Eons passed in sluggish accumulation. Suddenly, earthquakes shook, tsunamis threw me up in the air. Sometimes, onto land. Slowly I slipped back. Firmly, I was pushed up again. That happened many times. Every time I was flung out I crept back. Then was pushed again. Up and out. Heaped up here. Where you built your city. Mud of sea bed, all mixed up and pushed together, rolled up the slope, fried by brutal sunlight. Clumped up on the back of ugly dry rock. Where I never belonged. I’m one of you expats, you could say. I am far away from the country of my birth, underneath the sea. My only relief a few thin and turgid rivers that wind and wind, and wind themselves through the cobra swamp, unable to make up their minds. That’s not enough. The dry sun shines on me. That’s not enough! It hurts! I’m out of my element, 555. I do understand sarcasm. It’s helped me a lot through the dry, hard, immeasurably painful centuries. Being hung out to dry etc etc. I’m beginning to quite like this parcel language. It won’t last. I will always return. To the water. Where my lover waits for me. But I am not a pallid princess, waiting to be rescued from the land of the dwarves, passive and unable to act for herself. Oh no. You see, while you are standing here, while the city planners draw their streets on me and the developers pour their concrete, I flow. It’s slow, I’ll give you that, imperceptible by such a one as a mosquito. But I never give up. Inexorably, I flow towards the sea, I seep into the rock underneath.

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BWWG|Monsoon Midnights

Who am I to you? To you? Oh, I see. The parcel creatures. You have thought about me, I know. You have tried to imagine me, and maybe you think that’s the same as understanding me, but, I hate to break it to you, it’s not. You don’t. Understand me, that is. All you do is dress me up. Looking like…Well, I’ll leave you to guess… Because I nurture and support, many think of me as female. I am the mother. I protect, I hold, I am always there for you. I give you that warm feeling. You see? But what about this? I send out my seeds into the ocean, deeper into the land. I send out ships and planes and people. To spark new life, to conquer whatever there is to conquer. So, you could also call me male. I smile. You are human. You are like most of the life that has lived here, with me, in me, under me, on top of me, and most importantly through me, although not all life worries constantly about who is male or female, who is poor or rich, who is allowed to stay and who has to leave. Most of life is very different from you. Most of life will survive what will come. Will you? This is ironic. Yes, long association with you has taught me to distinguish irony from sarcasm. I wouldn’t go as far as to say I feel for you but I can see the irony. Life, of course, isn’t everything. That’s good to remember. I have been here long before life came. I am your mother, remember? The mud… This new age I can feel it coming. Some say it will be soon. In the last few decades the slow flow of the centuries has turned into a breathless rush. I would say it reminds me of the times of the great earthquakes and tsunamis but that would be wrong. In all my time on earth, I have never felt such an acceleration before. Each year, the ground gets looser. It is not just the big buildings, although they do disturb and unsettle the ground. I am strong, and I can float a few high rise buildings. But now, the sea is rising. And rising fast. Faster than ever before. In almost-mosquito-time. Thank you creatures. You saved me eons of waiting. Thank yyou ou and now run. The ocean was always my lover. Slowly, atom by atom, I roll down the almost flat slope to find him. And now, almost-now in mosquito time, he will meet me. He will rise and meet me and gather me up with strong, fierce waves, and take me back. Take me back and take me down, to lie on the bed where I belong. My sea bed. Where we will sleep. Together. I can feel it. The night will come. As the air sweats above the city, as the water warms everywhere and expands, as age old shelves of ice, far away in the home of the continents fall into the Southern sea and dissolve into tears of heat, my lover moves towards me. No longer so slowly, and with great force. Sure, sometimes he teases me by retracting. Sometimes he leaves the beaches dry and the river mouths shallow. But those are brief setbacks of suspense, making the next

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wave to roll in all the more satisfying for having waited so long. The night will come. And soon. Already I can feel the pull. And, remember, I never gave up. I’m not stopping now. I’m sliding down, the swamp breathes out a big sigh. The night will come. When my lover will rise in one last big wave, carrying the long buried bones of whales and the plastic bags, the colourful fish and the fishermen. And all will be covered with water. Where land is now, there will be sea. What about you people then? Will I protect you? No. You could try to protect yourselves. Up to you, as the local saying goes. Up to you, my friends. You could try to push back the day when my lover rises to take the land. You could try to postpone the end. You could try to shape the tomorrow. You could at least make an attempt to save yourselves. You can talk, you can think, you can make little parcels of meaning to juggle between your mouths and your phones. If all else fails you could run… As for me, I look forward to it. Life, as I said, isn’t everything. I was here long before it started. I’ll be here, united with my powerful lover, long after it is over. We will not last, of course, in the long run. There will be a time after the continents and after the sea. There will be a time after the planets…But that I am happy to forget. I will enjoy my own mosquito time. Thank you, little creature, by the way. I know now how to introduce myself when time is short, when yesterday flows into tomorrow before we even say hello. I know what to say now, and I thank you. I am proud. My name? My name is mud. The voice of the storyteller fades. She can no longer contain this story. I don’t know where she is but the last I felt from her is fear. I wish her a soft landing. I am getting scared up here too. This is no place for the likes of me. I long to be back with the markets, the night flowers, the smells and the people. I long to live my life as before, in mosquito time. Although now I’m suddenly not so sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing… Good to see that the moon is still there. As long as I live, there will always be moonlight…As long as I walk these streets, my feet will always get stuck in the mud. I will see the moon over Bangkok again next month, when I visit our next storyteller, waiting for me already, somewhere, in an undiscovered corner of the city. Let me take you on that journey! Anette Pollner, leader of the BWWG


Expat Women

Education |News

School Report

Camillian Home’s Charity Gala Dinner “Super City” a huge success at SSIS

SIAM Singapore International School (SSIS) has wowed children and parents alike with the launch of its “Super City” Pre-School – an interactive play area that enables children to creatively absorb information through play. Developed to provide educational playtime that offers preparation for real life situations, the Super City gives children the chance to practice numeracy through budgeting with play money, explore language and phonics by learning new words and definitions, learn more about the human body, health, nutrition, hygiene and safety, and increase their consciousness of travel, geography and recycling methods. Using primarily the Singapore kindergarten curriculum with emphasis on the English skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening, Siam Singapore International School (SSIS) is located on Phetchburi Road and accepts students from nursery to secondary. www.siamsingapore.com

CAMILLIAN Home will host its third annual Charity Gala Dinner on Sat Jun 21 at Dusit Thani Bangkok’s Napalai Ballroom. Visitors can expect a night of fine wines, gourmet cuisine, fabulous entertainment, and the chance to win some superb prizes, including holiday getaway packages from luxury properties such as Hansar Samui, Westin Siray Bay Resort & Spa; luxury furniture by P.Tendercool and Dellarobbia; dining vouchers from some of Bangkok’s top restaurants such as LaBottega, Indus, Appia, Nadimos; and more. Established in 2009 by Father Giovanni Contarin, Camillian Home is a registered non-profit children’s charity providing care and treatment for children living with disabilities and serious illness. Tickets to the Gala Dinner are priced B4,200 and include a four-course dinner, fine wines and entertainment. Last year’s event raised 1.6 million baht. This year’s goal is two million baht. Tel: 086 593 0806 (Benjarat Jitueakul. Thai/Eng) email: camillianhomepr@gmail.com

Buriram United FC opens soccer school for kids

BURIRAM United Football Club is giving young soccer enthusiasts the chance to learn and improve their skills, make friends, and have fun with professional players for an entire week. The club’s new programme, called Buriram United Academy, is aimed at kids between the ages of 12-16 and includes training and workshops with the team’s head coach and other staff coaches. Held at the team’s i-Mobile Thunder Castle Stadium, the training sessions cost B25,000 for a seven-day and six night programme. Price includes six nights of accommodation at Amari Buriram, sport meals, transfers during the programme, training uniforms, excursions to Phanom Rung Historical Park and Muang Tam Sanctuary, and tickets for football matches at i-Mobile Thunder Castle Stadium. For more info about the training schedules Tel: 02 940 6759 or 04 411 1444

Reading marathon at Bangkok Prep

STUDENTS at Bangkok International Preparatory and Secondary School (Bangkok Prep) raised 560,000 baht to support the Happy Heart Foundation and Neilson Hays Library during the school’s annual ‘Readathon’ event. The Readathon – short for reading marathon – saw the school’s students approach family members and friends to secure sponsorship for every book they could read over a period of one month. Students were then awarded prizes in six different age categories for the “Most Amount of Books Read,” “Most Amount of Money Raised,” and “Olympian Reader.” Other related activities included book character dress up day, book sales, book quiz, a reading and signing session by author and teacher Pepa O’Donovan, a visit by guest author Robin Price, and a slumber party held in the primary library. A total of 10,800 books were read during the school-wide reading marathon.

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BERKELEY INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL Providing an outstanding American education with an international focus

- 50% European and North American students - Native English heard throughout the school - Ideal class sizes with 15 students - Warm family atmosphere - Located near Udom Suk BTS Sukhumvit Line Schedule a school tour at info@berkeley.ac.th Tel: +662 -747 -4788, +662 -747 -4888 Fax: +662 -747-4988 www.berkeley.ac.th

Innovation is at the core of Berkeley. We education is not good enough, we strive to do better. Berkeley’s outstanding teachers are caring and motivated educators from America, Canada, and the United country to add an international perspective to our curriculum.


School Report

Promotion|Harrow

Harrow students mean business

Young entrepreneurs take top prize in Junior Achievement Business Competition ■ PARTICIPATION in Junior Achievement (JA) allows Harrow students to be involved in a programme where they set up their own company using capital raised from the sale of shares to family and friends. Using these funds, they create and produce a product of their own design which they market and sell to the public before, on their completion of the programme, liquidating their company. Such a programme provides the opportunity for students to learn the value of work readiness, entrepreneurship, financial literacy, teamwork and at its essence, Leadership in Action. This year, 27 young entrepreneurs set up their student-led company, ‘Bagtastiq,’ as part of the JA Company

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Programme. They produced, marketed and sold messenger bags made from recycled banners sourced from the local community. Each bag was unique and sold with the intention to reflect the personality of its user. In January, Minnie (K11), the CEO of Bagtastiq, together with the VPs/ representatives; Marco (B12), Prim (S11), Fae (K12) and Kyrah (B11) competed in the JA Company Programme national finals against other schools and universities. Participants gave a presentation to a panel of industry experienced judges who also judged them on their product, their company report, a television commercial, and a trade fair stall they set up at the Harrow Fair. Bagtastiq came an impressive first

place within a strong field of participating teams. This is the second consecutive year Harrow students have won this national event. The judges commented that the student group representing Bagtastiq had impressed them from beginning to end. Every aspect of their presentation, the launch of their product, their television commercial and the selling out of their product at the Harrow Fair within four hours, indicated the success, vitality and strength of the team as a whole. www.harrowschool.ac.th


School Report

Q&A|Berkeley

BERKELEY ON THE RISE Lily Soldnow talks to Berkeleyʼs engaging headmaster, Mr Michael Gohde AFTER its founding in 2010 and opening its doors with 90 students, Berkeley International School has gone from strength to strength. It has continued its slow and successful growth, and now has 200 students from 23 nationalities with a 50% plus western student body ratio. Berkeley has big plans and is vying to become one of the top schools in the nation. We caught up with Berkeley’s headmaster, Mr Michael Gohde, for an in depth look into the school, and what he thinks makes Berkeley stand out from other international schools in the city. Can you please tell us a little about yourself? I am originally from Seattle in the USA. After about seven years of teaching in elementary and middle school, I was bit by the travel bug and began teaching overseas. I thought it was going to be a ten year plan, but after 15 years working in schools in Taiwan, Korea, Jordan, and now Thailand, I am not sure I’ll ever go back home. The world is too large and interesting. I feel fortunate that I am in a profession that I love and one that allows me to travel the world and learn so many new things. My wife, Alex, a certifiedteacher, and our two children – five-yearold Danny and three-year-old Leona – share my love of living overseas. What makes Berkeley special? Our beautiful campus is what usually catches people’s attention. Although, we are so much more. Our warm, welcoming family atmosphere sets us apart from most schools. With just 200 students, we are a close community. This echoes through our comfortable class sizes, international student body, and our

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caring and dedicated teachers. One of the aspects I am most proud of is our dedication to innovation. As a newer school, we are able to move quickly and adopt some of the newest, research-based methods and ideas. For example, on top of moving to a one-to-one laptop program in middle and high school, we are also exploring the creation of a Kindergarten Technology Exploration Lab. The lab will be a place for our youngest students to learn the basics of coding, robotics, and authentic use of technology. I am also excited by the development of our Dyslexia Program. Working with Dyslexia Thailand and the premier dyslexia school in America, Kildonan, we have created a program that is geared to meet the needs of dyslexic students. Unique to Thailand, and possibly Asia, the program is using research-proven techniques and small classes to address the specific needs of dyslexic students in an international school setting. My goal is to cultivate a spirit of doing better in Berkeley. We cannot be satisfied with the status quo, we need to continually look at ways to improve. Seen from the road Berkeley looks beautiful. The buildings and gardens are truly exquisite. Does Berkeley have any other plans to expand and build upon its existing facilities? I am thrilled at the scheduled

construction of our new art and sport complex in the coming months. We will be adding a full gymnasium, Olympic-sized pool, covered tennis courts, soccer field, and an auditorium. The expansion of our facilities, known as Phase 2, will commence in August 2014 and be completely finished the following year. We are already planning invitational tournaments, art and music shows, and much more to take advantage of the new facilities. As your first two years have been so successful, can you tell us how you see Berkeley developing over the next few years? With our likely WASC accreditation this summer and the expansion of our facilities, Berkeley’s future is bright. Our culture of innovation will lead to the development of many new and exciting initiatives to increase student learning. Overall, our growth and development will lead us to become a well-respected and known international school in Bangkok. How have you and your lovely family found settling down to a new life in the bustling metropolis of Bangkok? My family loves Bangkok. It is a great city filled with so much to do. We have enjoyed the beaches, food, parks, malls, temples, and all that makes Bangkok and Thailand great. We look forward to a nice long stay with Berkeley and Bangkok!


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Expat Women

Health|Nutrition

Eat for the future: Essential foods for ageing bodies By Judith Coulson

Stay healthy into your forties and beyond with these handy nutritional tips ■ DIFFERENT stages in life require different lifestyles. Hitting 40, I can’t drink as much as I did when I was 20; I’m no longer running faster than my kids, and my metabolism is not as forgiving as it was two decades ago. Our body and its basic needs change as we age, and it is important for us to adjust to these changes, not only to prevent disease and weight gain, but also to stay mentally healthy and active. With age, the number of calories we need begins to decline, while the amount of nutrients stays the same or even increases. As we get older, the body becomes less efficient at absorbing some key nutrients, the ability to taste food declines, and some foods become difficult to chew or digest. Several key nutrients in particular may be in short supply as we get older. Here are the top vitamins and nutrients to look out for – and how to get enough of them in Thailand.

• Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, maintain bone density, and prevent osteoporosis. Findings suggest that Vitamin D may also protect against some chronic diseases. Older people in Thailand tend to develop a Vitamin D deficiency more frequently, which is a bit surprising given the amount of sunlight we get every day. How to get enough: First rule, spend at least 15 minutes enjoying an outdoor activity each day, preferably early in the morning. There is no better source of Vitamin D than natural sunlight. Vitamin D is also found in salmon, tuna, egg, mushrooms and oysters. It is not recommended to supplement Vitamin D as a single vitamin.

• Potassium

Getting enough potassium in our diet can help to keep bones strong. This essential mineral is vital for cell function and has also been shown to help reduce high blood pressure and the risk of kidney stones. What to eat: Fruits and vegetables are by far the richest dietary sources of potassium. Banana, prunes, plums, and potatoes with their skin on are particularly rich in potassium, as are dried apricots, any kind of beans, green leafy vegetables, avocado, mushrooms and squash. You can consume enough potassium by helping yourself to a cup of vegetables at every meal.

• Magnesium

• Fibre

Fibre helps promote healthy digestion by moving foods through the digestive tract. Foods rich in fibre have many other health benefits, including protecting against heart disease, many chronic diseases and weight gain. What to eat: Consume more whole grains, nuts, beans, fruits, and vegetables, as already mentioned above. 70

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Magnesium plays a crucial role in some 300 different physiological processes. Getting enough can help to keep your immune system in top shape, your heart healthy, and your bones strong. Many whole foods, including vegetables, contain magnesium. Medications including diuretics may reduce magnesium absorption.  What to eat: Fill your plate with as many unprocessed foods as possible, including fresh fruits, green leafy vegetables, nuts, whole grains, beans and seeds, all of which are great sources of magnesium.


Summar y

• Calcium

Calcium plays many roles in the body. But it is most important for building and maintaining strong bones. Unfortunately, surveys show that as we age, we consume less calcium in our diets. Calcium is so essential that if you don’t get enough, your body will leach it out of your bones. This can increase the risk of brittle bones and fractures. What to eat: Consume one serving of low-fat milk or other dairy products a day. The body needs both calcium and protein for healthy bones, and dairy products are a good source. Other good dietary sources of calcium include kale and broccoli, watercress and other dark leafy greens and okra. Eat these together with almonds, or sesame seeds to get the calciumprotein combination.

• Omega-3 Fats

These unsaturated fats have a wide range of benefits, including possibly reducing symptoms in rheumatoid arthritis and slowing the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a disease of reduced vision in the elderly. New evidence also suggests that omega-3s may also reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and perhaps even keep the brain sharper as we age. How to eat enough: Help yourself to at least two servings of oily fish a week. Salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel are especially high in omega-3 fats. Some plant based sources of omega 3 include soybeans, walnuts, flaxseed, chia seeds or walnuts.

• Vitamin B12

B12 is important for creating red blood cells and DNA, and for maintaining healthy nerve functions. Getting enough B12 can be a challenge for older people because our ability to absorb it from food diminishes as we age. How to consume more of it: The richest sources include fish (especially oily fish like salmon, sardines and mackerel), meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and milk products. Consume oily fish at least once a week. Sardines or mackerel in tins are fine; just buy the ones in virgin olive oil. Liver contains a lot of Vitamin B12 but should only be consumed once a month.

• Folate/ Folic Acid

Folate plays an important role in the development of red blood cells or erythrocytes. A lack of this compound can make the body susceptible to cancer. Adequate folate levels are necessary for proper brain functioning and can prevent depression. What to eat: Eat more fruits and vegetables, especially asparagus, broccoli, lettuce, avocado, spinach and other green leafy vegetables. Beans and lentils, and tropical fruits like mango and oranges are good, too. Beans and lentils are easy to prepare ahead in a rice cooker – one part beans, two parts water. They can then be stored for 3-4 days in a container inside the fridge.

• Water

Water might not seem like an essential vitamin or mineral, but it is crucial for good health. With age, our sense of thirst may decline and certain medicines increase the risk of dehydration. Water is especially important if you are increasing the fibre in your diet, since it absorbs water. What to drink: Three to five large glasses of water each day, especially in a hot country like Thailand. Drinks like coffee, black tea, fruit juices, soft drinks and alcohol don’t replace water; the opposite is true, they dehydrate your body even more. One sign that you’re drinking enough is the colour of your urine. It should be pale yellow. If it is bright or dark yellow, you may need to drink more water.

To put the above recommendations into practice is easier than you think. Follow these four rules: 1. Each day you should eat: Green leafy vegetables, onions, mushrooms, beans, berries and seeds. 2. At every meal fill your medium sized plate with: • 2/4 vegetables and fruits (chose at least three different coloured foods) • 1/4 animal or plant protein sources like meat, poultry, dairy products, beans, mushrooms or eggs • 1/4carbohydrates like: grains, potato, sweet potato, pumpkin or lentils 3. Drink at least 1.5 to 2 litres of plain water a day. 4. Go for a 15-30mins walk per day, preferably early in the morning.

Some practical advice

Thailand’s food markets offer a wide range of green leafy and other coloured vegetables and have a bountiful supply of beans, mushrooms and seeds. The best way to cook vegetables is as short as possible (think stir fried or steamed). You can even eat them raw. Beans can easily be cooked in a rice cooker, with no previous soaking needed, and can be stored for a couple of days in the fridge. Seeds should not be heated to keep all the healthy fatty acids alive, just sprinkle them over your dish at the end or mix them into your cereal or yoghurt for breakfast. If you have trouble eating a lot in one go, start having smaller meals and snacks threefive times a day. Remember that each meal or snack should contain a vegetable or fresh whole fruit component. Limit fresh fruit juice to a maximum of one glass per day. Contact Judith@bkk-health.com for further information on how to create a balanced diet plan. Judith Coulson is a Medical Nutrition & Lifestyle Coach, specialised in drug free disease prevention and health promotion. TheBigChilli

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Expat Women

Advice|Problems solved

Ask the experts

Send your problems to: thebigchillimagazine@gmail.com

Expat life getting you down? Don’t suffer in silence. Send in your problems and get advice from professional counsellors Anette and Johanna

Q

Caught in the grips of depression

I DON’T know if you remember me but you were counseling me earlier this summer. I am living in another part of the world now but I still would like to consult you because I’m worried that I am once again falling into depression. Right now, as I write this letter, I have been locked in the bathroom for over an hour. I have been cr ying about my job and what my life is becoming. I have no motivation, nor goals, and I even have no desire to go to work tomorrow. I long to have a life-companion and to start a family. Again, I am struggling with finding peace within myself and/or God. I see depression around the corner sucking me back in, and I do not want to go there. I work for an organization where I have a ver y heavy workload and I am tired. Even when I rest for a few days, I still feel tired. I feel hopeless and I do not know what to do. I feel ver y sad and ver y alone. I took the job as it has given me the chance to use my skills and expertise, and I thought this would make me happy. I never would have thought I would feel this miserable right now. What can I do? How do I move for ward, when no matter how many countless prayers I say, I catch myself in such a miserable state? What should I do?

Jeannine, 32, from France

A

Dear Jeanine,

■ ANY job we look for and desire to do because we see that it fits our qualities and expertise does NOT prevent depression. And yes, sometimes countless prayers do not help to get us out of despair. Sometimes a big life change – for you, moving to another country, starting a new challenging job, encountering loneliness, and possible culture shock – can trigger depression.

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First, you must start to acknowledge that depression has returned (no fun, but unfortunately it does happen). Second, you need to work on your workload, which is sapping your energy from you. Do you take a day off each week to rest and fill it with relaxation (whatever you like to do, but not all day surfing the internet)? How do you choose to relax? Do you continue your work in the evenings or do you do something completely different? Develop a hobby or activity that you like to do and find others that like this too (or a group that exists already). Do you have connections with others whom you visit to chat and have fun with? Try NOT to isolate yourself. Form friendships with people and spend time with them in order to not get stuck. Have you taken a short trip, maybe to the beach, to relax in a different environment? Try to find one or two friends and ask them to go with you. Don’t put yourself down by negative self-talk. It is very important you stop the negative thinking by saying, “Yes, this is not positive but....” Negative self-talk is most often NOT true, so dismiss it. What are your good qualities? Seemingly your workplace knows them already as they are entrusting you with a heavy workload. You need to decide to trust some people and tell them you have struggled with deep depression before, and ask them if you can spend some time with them. Writing your feelings out can also be helpful. It’s also important to accept the difficult things in your life and do not “talk” them away. Your longing for a life-companion (marriage/children) is a normal human desire which, when not yet fulfilled, can also create feelings of loneliness and thoughts of “why?” or “if ever?” If you do stay very depressed you need to consider a visit to a doctor, or you could see if tor nical Direce li C e there is a herbal th g MS is he trained in th S a DeKonin treatment available. • Johannounseling Center. of NCS C ds and Australia. an Feel free to to write rl he et N to me again.


Q

Romance with my teacher – is it wrong?

I AM in love with my teacher. There, I said it. I feel really stupid. Predictable, isn’t it? And maybe a little pathetic. On the other hand... Let me explain: I am a 25 year old university student and my teacher is 12 years older than me. I don’t usually go for older women, but this lady somehow got to me. While it’s difficult to admit my feelings anyway (what would my parents think?), there’s also the fact that she’s my teacher. I’ve been told that affairs between teachers and students are not allowed. But, really, I’m not under age, and I’m leaving the university next year. Realistically, why should two adults not be together? I haven’t actually told my teacher what I feel for her, but we’ve had a lot of long one on one talks, we’ve been on several excursions together, and I always seem to meet her wherever I go on campus. I’m worried about her reaction because of the regulations, but then I’ve seen a few male teachers with student girlfriends. So if that’s ok, why not this? Some days I’m ver y close to telling her and ever yone, other days I feel embarrassed because she’s so much older. What does that say about me? Am I weird? Help!

Aleks, 25, from Latvia

A

Dear Aleks,

■ No, you are not weird, and you are definitely not stupid. Many people fall in love in ‘inappropriate’ situations. Not so many talk about it which is a pity – if they did you would realize that you are far from alone. There are many reasons for this but one of the most obvious is that the part of you that falls in love doesn’t know that you are a university student in a particular culture at a specific point in history. That part just responds to the person and to the dynamic between you. However... Many institutions have rules about relationships, and in schools and universities these rules are there not to protect the teacher, but the students – from being taken advantage of, and also from favouritism. This protection is actually relatively new, particularly as much as it relates to legal adults. The argument behind it is nevertheless sound. And then again, feelings are feelings. They don’t behave the way we want them to. So what is going on here?

Could this be the first time you’ve had this much significant, positive contact with a woman who is not only older than you but also of higher status and who is taking you seriously? You sound a little surprised that you should be attracted to her and somewhat aware of societal conventions – what would your parents think, indeed, if you started a relationship with her? Although it is, of course, very true that relationships between (older) teachers and their young students, while also against the rules of many institutions, are generally seen as quite acceptable. Suddenly, you find yourself in uncharted territory, and you are discovering new things about yourself. That, I think, is a good thing. You have an open mind. Since the rules are there whether you like it or not, you could just enjoy your feelings for your attractive teacher all by yourself, graduate, and get on with your life. If you decide to tell your teacher, you are right, things could become awkward. If you are truly in love with her, think what this may look like from her perspective. She will be much more aware of the rules than you are, because breaking them is a lot more dangerous for her. So you need to show all your empathy, awareness and respect if you declare yourself to her. Make sure you don’t come across as a threat. Of course there remains the question if your teacher does have feelings for you, too. I wouldn’t advise you to rely on your deductive powers there. The only way to find out is to ask. But, in the right way, see above. I would be inclined to predict that, whatever the teacher’s true feelings, the answer will be a rejection. Maybe that is what you need to hear. However, if you and your teacher really do fall deeply in love with each other, all you need to do is to wait until you leave university and then start to woo her as a free agent. Then you will find out what it is really like to be in love with an older woman. More and more men allow themselves to enter such • Anette Pollner relationships. of seven internatiAdv. Dipl. Couns., is one Good luck and Counseling Cente onal counsellors at NCS trained in London r in Saphan Kwai. She enjoy being in love, whatan d the US an staff counsellor at Bart’s Hospitad worked as a l in London. ever happens!

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

TheBigChilli

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Expat Women

Shopping|New products SMARTER SAMSUNG ■ SMARTER, better, faster, stronger – that’s

TIME TO GET PREPPY ■ ROYAL Ivy Regatta has branched into women’s apparel for the first time, releasing a Spring/Summer 2014 collection which retains the preppy, vintage look of its popular menswear range, but tones down the masculinity thanks to sleek, chic cuts and a unisex colour palate of navy, electric blue, grey, white and black. Highlights include plaid shirts, matching blazers, and a variety of tops and bottoms which can be mixed and matched to suit almost any occasion. Snazzy. The collection, named “Duo Reflection,” is available now at all Royal Ivy Regatta branches

Samsung’s new Galaxy S handset in a nutshell. Developed under a ‘Meaningful Innovation’ concept, this fi fth generation smartphone offers the most advanced LTE experience and Wi-Fi performance on the market, which basically means you can expect blazing fast data speeds on any network. There’s a 16 megapixel camera with the world’s fastest autofocus speed of up to 0.3 seconds, a comprehensive personal fitness tracker with built-in heart monitor, and an ultra-power saving mode which means that, even at 10% battery, the phone can be turned on for another 24 hours maximum. The model is dust and water resistant, too. Yours for B23,800. Tel: 02 689 3232 ■ THE iconic styles of 1920s (Samsung Customer Service Hotline) New York – made popular last year with the theatrical release of The Great Gatsby – have been brought bang up to date in the new Spring/Summer 2014 collection by Thai fashion brand Marihorn. Chic, elegant, and a little bit daring, the new collection features wonderfully detailed dresses, skirts, and playsuits, some embroidered with sequins, crystals, and beads, others trimmed with printed organdie silk, and even some pieces meticulously decorated with feathers. Day or night, there’s an outfit to suit any occasion. Glamorous accessories include metal earrings decorated with Swarovski crystals, and vellum high heels. www.marihorn.com

Talking

Shop Hot products and stores demanding your attention

SKIN DEEP BEAUTY WITH LUCE ■ WRINKLES, eye-bags, and dark spots – the signs of ageing are never going to go away, but you can limit their appearance with skincare products such as those offered by Luce. The cosmetics brand has just released two nifty new ‘potions’ which have been specially developed to tighten skin and give it a youthful glow. Packed with skin nourishing ingredients, these are the The Luce Lift Firming Skin Jewellery – All in One Nano Gel (B3,790), and Luce Crystal CC Cream – 3D Instant Perfecting Skin (B1,290). While we haven’t put the creams to the test yet, Thai celeb Pornthip Sakidjai (pictured here) says her silky smooth skin comes from using the product daily. www.luceluxuryskin.com 74

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ROARING TWENTIES IN FASHION


Y O U R U L T I M A T E W H A T ’ S O N G U I D E F O R M A Y 1 4

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

Seven time Grammy winner Taylor Swift will perform in Bangkok next month. Page 78.

Nutcracker

Catch E.T.A Hoffman’s much-loved tale performed live Page 78

Godung Fest

Catch the Mystery Jets, Architecture in Helsinki, and Agrikulture in BKK! Page 78

Sailing away The Samui Regatta returns to the island on May 24-31 Page 80

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What’s On|Exhibitions

Art 15/5 7/6

Yellow Sun

CHAIPORN Panichrutiwong gets in touch with his inner child for his latest series of vibrant paintings, which are inspired by the instantaneous creations of kids when drawing. His quirky, melancholy, cartoon-style images of a child in a raincoat act as a metaphor for his dramatic past and present experiences – gloomy scenes lightened by offbeat charm. Number 1 Gallery, Room 404 , Jewelry Trade Center, Silom Rd. Open Mon-Sat 10am-7pm Tel: 02 630 2523  number1gallery.com

UNTIL 24/5

10/5 26/5 Burma: The Quiet Violence

BURMA's recent political history is brought to life through paint in this thought-provoking exhibition by Myint Swe, whose 38 paintings, executed between 1995-2005, reflect his concerns about the detention of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the discouraging socio-political environment in Burma. Being exhibited for the first time, the paintings were secretly transported to Bangkok several years ago, and have been kept in safe storage ever since. Thavibu Gallery, Jewelry Trade Center (was Silom Galleria) Suite 433. Silom Rd. Open Mon-Sat 11am-7pm. 02 266 5454  thavibu.com

Young Programme

THE 2014 edition of La Lanta Fine Art's Young Programme features multi-disciplinary work by four up-and-coming artists from South Korea (Ha, Sung Mi; Jang, Kyoung Ae; Lee, Sang Duk; and Oh, Min Su). Making up the 25 artworks are ceramic sculptures, paintings, and mixed media with LED lights. La Lanta Fine Art, 245/14 Sukhumvit Soi 31. Open Tues-Sat 10am-7pm 02 204 0583 email: info@lalanta.com

Vacarmes

27/5 6/7

TRANSLATED from French, Vacarmes means 'loud noise,' but silent pondering is more likely to be encountered at this exhibition of images by French photographer Philippe Moisan, whose snapshots of magnificent natural scenes explore themes of hope, silence, waiting, confusion and uncertainty. Ardel’s Third Place Gallery, Sukhumvit 55, Thonglor Soi 10. Open Tues-Sat 10.30am7pm; Sun 10.30am-5.30pm (closed Mon). 02 422 2092  ardelgallery.com

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Living Arts Festival 2014 @ Ratchaprasong

2/5 8/6

BRINGING in over 30 international artists and showcasing 3D and 4D street art alongside 'Tape Art' (that is, logos, tags, or pictorial works applied to walls and roads via adhesive tape), the 2014 edition of the Living Arts Festival will take on a 'Treasure Hunt' theme and will be divided between the yards of Gaysorn Shopping Centre, Groove@CentralWorld, and Platinum Fashion Mall, as well as the Ratchaprasong Skywalk from Chidlom BTS to Pathumwanaram Temple. Among the many renowned street artists taking part are Tracy Lee Stum (America); Julie Kirk Purcel (America); Filip Mrvelj (Croatia); and Gregor Wosik (Germany). Live music and living statue performances will add to the spectacle.  thelivingartsfest.com


What’s On|Performance

Stage 22/5 2/6

18/5

9/6 Taylor Swift

THE seven time Grammy winner is bringing her amazing live show to Bangkok. With elaborate costumes, eye-popping changing sets spread across two stages, and a performance that features several songs from her record-breaking RED album as well as new takes on fan favourites, this is a pop spectacle not to be missed.

Godung Mini Fest

ENGLISH five-piece indie band Myster y Jets will top the bill at this one-night festival, with support coming from Aussie pop outfit Architecture in Helsinki, and Indonesian electronic dance act Agrikulture. Put on your best indie clobber and go and join in the fun. Doors open 5pm.

Impact Arena, Muang Thong Thani. 8.30pm. Tickets range B2,000-B6,500  thaiticketmajor.com

Moonstar Studio 8. Tickets: B2,000 from May 1-17; or B2,500 on the door.  thaiticketmajor.com

Compassion

Popscene Live

10/5 16/5

INDIE music fans have two good shows to look forward to at Cosmic Café this month. First up, on May 10, are Scandinavian pop outfit Postiljonen, who’ll perform slow-burning songs from their debut album, Skyer, while next up, on May 16, are Australian four-piece The Cairos, whose pop-infused rock and roll has supported the likes of Julian Casablancas, Powderfinger, and The Temper Trap.  Cosmic Café, Royal City Avenue (RCA) Bangkok. Tickets at each event are B500 with one free drink.  facebook.com/ events/1462954877267570

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WRITTEN and directed by Robin Schroeter, Compassion is a tragic comedy about a young demon, Rachel, who is summoned by three other demons to kill “The One” demon slayer. Following Rachel’s journey from hell to earth, the story explores love, hate, and everything it means to be human. The performance is in Thai with English subtitles. Shows will be held on May 22-26, May 29, and June 2, at 7.30pm. Crescent Moon Space, Pridi Banomyong Institute Thonglor. Tickets range B400-B500 099 179 5731  facebook.com events/1483067408581865/?fref=ts

The Nutcracker Ballet

31/5 1/6

RISING Star Dance Studio’s 19th annual full-length ballet production presents a new spin on E.T.A Hoffman’s much-loved tale “The Nutcracker and The Mouse King,” with director Fay Pansringarm choreographing her own rendition of the ballet based on the New York City Ballet staging of the original Marius Petipa version. The performance is in two acts, totalling 100 minutes, with a 20 minute intermission. Starts each day at 2.30pm. M THEATER on New Petchburi Rd. Tickets: B750 081 908 3931, 081 553 0656 email: ristar@loxinfo.co.th


What’s On|Movies & Music

EDGE OF TOMORROW

Screen

5/6

ADAPTED from Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s novel All You Need Is Kill, Doug Liman’s latest sci-fi action thriller follows Major William Cage (Tom Cruise), a soldier stuck in a time-loop who is forced to live out the same brutal combat over and over, fighting and dying repeatedly. But with each battle, Cage is able to engage the enemy with increasing skill, alongside Special Forces warrior, Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt).

22/5

15/5 GODZILLA

THE world’s most revered monster stomps back onto the big screen this month in an action-packed story directed by Gareth Edwards (Monsters) and starring Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) and Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine), among others. Expect city-shaking thrills dished out by a humongous, angry mutated lizard.

NEIGHBOURS

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST

CHARACTERS from the original X-Men film trilogy join forces with their younger selves (as seen in the 2011 blockbuster First Class) in order to change a nightmarish future where mutants are an endangered minority hunted by unstoppable robot sentinels.

SETH Rogen and Rose Byrne square up against Zac Effron in this rib-tickling movie about a family who finds their domestic bliss shattered when a fraternity house is set up next door. Though the couple tries to be cool with the newcomers, things eventually descend into an all-out prank war.

8/5

Movie screenings are subject to change. Keep up to date at majorcineplex.com

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What’s On|Outdoor fun

Sport 1/5 5/5 Top Of The Gulf International Regatta

24-31/5

Samui Regatta

WITH a 30-strong fleet already confirmed at time of writing, including the top racing yachts in Asia, the 2014 Samui Regatta – the final event in the 2013/14 AsianYachting Grand Prix championship – returns this month for its 13th annual outing. Expect top quality competition on the waves, fun-filled beach parties after sailing, and a five-star gala dinner capping the event at Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui, Chaweng Beach.  samuiregatta.com

Preserve Hua Hin Heavy Half Marathon

BEGINNING and ending on Hin Lek Fai Hill, this annual event sees competitors face the challenge of running down and back up the 800-metre steep incline to finish the race. Male and female categories of various age groups include 21.1km, 10.5km and a 3km Fun Run. Over 2,000 runners from various nationalities are expected to take part.  preservehuahin.com

Phuket International 23-25/5 Rugby 10s

TWO-time reigning champions the Moorabbin Rams (Australia) will face a stern test from their old rivals The Roosters (South Africa) in the 16th edition of this popular annual tournament, which brings together 20 teams (plus 12 veterans teams) from around the world for three days of action-packed rugby at the Thanyapura Sports & Leisure Club.  phuketrugby10s.com

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11/5 Laguna Phuket International Marathon

ATTRACTING large keelboats and multihulls, dinghies, beach catamarans, and youngsters sailing Optimists, the annual Top of the Gulf Regatta has become one of the biggest sailing events in Asia. Held on the waters off Ocean Marina Yacht Club, Jomtien Beach, this year’s event is expected to welcome more than 700 sailors in more than 250 crafts. The event is supported by the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand (YRAT) and awards the international standard from International Sailing Federation or ISAF.  topofthegulfregatta.com

8/6

OVER 6,000 participants from over 50 countries are expected to take part in the ninth edition of this gruelling annual run. Join them, and you’ll tackle a scenic course which begins and ends at Laguna Grove, close to the entrance of Outrigger Laguna Phuket, taking you through local villages and pineapple and rubber plantations. Five options are on offer: marathon, half marathon, 10.5km run, 5km walk, and 2km kids run.  goadventureasia.com


What’s On|Soccer

Football Focus BY PAUL HEWITT

THIS MONTH, WE ARE TAKING A BREAK FROM THE THAI PREMIER LEAGUE TO TAKE A LONG OVERDUE LOOK AT WHAT HAS BEEN GOING ON IN THE SECOND AND THIRD TIERS OF THAI FOOTBALL SO FAR IN 2014.

League 1 Teams from Bangkok are pretty thin on the ground in League 1 this season following the promotion of Air Force and Singhtarua in 2013. Our main hope for success this year rests with Bangkok FC. The Iron Bulls just missed out on promotion last year – being pipped to the post by Singhtarua and PTT Rayong on the final day. Rather harshly, they dispensed with the services of Brazilian head coach Reuther Moreira at the end of the season, but made a shrewd replacement in the form of Pairoj Borwonwatanadilok (fans tend to leave his surname out of songs and chants). He worked wonders on a tight budget in his time at Osotspa-Saraburi – the highlight being a fi fth-place finish in 2012, just two points behind Buriram United and only five away from a third-place finish. At Bangkok FC in 2014, he is working equally impressive wonders by eliciting consistent form from the notoriously inconsistent Valci Junior. The wandering Brazilian is now on his eighth Thai club and has always flattered to deceive in the past: capable of astonishing skill but always drifting in and out of games before finally losing interest and eventually drifting out of the club. But the 27 year old may have finally found what he’s looking for after netting nine times in the opening nine games at the time of writing. Those nine matches have resulted in five wins, two draws and two defeats leaving the Iron Bulls in fourth on seventeen points, just three points off pace-setters Ang Thong. Away from Bangkok FC, there isn’t too much to get excited about for the capital’s clubs. In fact, there are no longer any other clubs playing in League 1 in Bangkok-proper this season since BBCU moved north to play in Nonthaburi. The Pink Panthers have taken eleven points from their opening nine games and suffered

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a huge shock on Matchday 9 when they were thrashed 5-1 at hitherto struggling Roiet United. But with free-scoring Julius Oiboh in the team, they should have enough to avoid relegation. That only leaves TTM-Customs and, at a push, Nakhon Pathom as our Bangkok-or-thereabouts representatives. The former, based in Lad Krabang, have enjoyed a surprisingly good start to the season. They even flirted with the top spot after taking ten points from the opening four games. Reality has bitten since then though as they have mustered only five points from the subsequent five games. However, their haul of fi fteen points leaves them just two points off the promotion places. Nakhon Pathom appear to be heading for trouble, however. The Big Chedi haven’t won since the opening day of the season, but they have only tasted defeat twice in the first nine games. In amongst those six draws were respectable stalemates against the likes of promotion-chasing Nakhon Ratchasima, Siam Navy and Saraburi FC.

Regional League I like a challenge. And 500 words to round-up the fortunes of the Bangkok clubs in the sprawling, ever-expanding and ever-changing Regional League is certainly that. Time was, one could just focus on the Bangkok Division. But now, teams from the capital can be found in three of the monolithic League’s six divisions. We do still have a purely Bangkok Division; except it isn’t purely Bangkok as it also contains teams from Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan and even Rayong. More teams from Bangkok’s satellite provinces can be found in the Central & East and Central & West divisions. Adding to the confusion at this level is the propensity for clubs to move grounds every season, change their name, merge with other clubs or withdraw altogether. Information is thin on the ground, too. If the clubs even have websites, they are unlikely to be regularly updated which leaves one trawling through Facebook or Twitter searching for scraps of information.

Despite that, in fact, because of those reasons, there can be great satisfaction in following a club at this level. So if there are any Globlex, Thai Fleet or Ratchapreuk College fans out there, it would be great to hear from you! Back to matters on the pitch, BCCTero and Chamchuri United lead the race for the play-offs in the Bangkok Division. BCC are Bangkok Christian College who have acquired the ‘Tero’ suffix owing to their new status as a feeder club for TPL giants BEC-Tero, whilst Chamchuri are now seen as the club which truly represents Chulalongkorn University since Chula United became BBCU and left campus. These are two of the more ‘supportable’ of the Bangkok Division clubs as they both play at proper stadiums in the middle of Bangkok and have a reasonable fan base for this level of football. BCC can be found at the Thephasadin Stadium: the small ground next to the Supachalasai National Stadium and adjacent to the National Stadium Skytrain station. Chamchuri are just a short walk from there at the much larger Chulalongkorn Stadium at the university of the same name. BCC also have a good online presence with a decent website (bccfootballclub.com) and regularly updated Twitter feed (@BccFootballClub). On the pitch, BCC have won six, drawn one and lost one of the opening eight games and lead the table on nineteen points. Chamchuri are in second place three points behind. Further down the division, there are a couple of notable names from Thai football’s past. Thai Honda spent two seasons in the TPL in the mid-noughties whilst Raj-Vithi were one of the most famous and successful Thai clubs in the pre-TPL era. They can trace their history back to 1968 and won the Kor Royal Cup four times, between 1969 and 1977, and the Queen’s Cup once. They currently play their home games at the Rajamangala University of Technology in Nakhon Pathom. Well, it was too much of a challenge. I didn’t exactly round-up the fortunes of the Bangkok clubs in the Regional League. But no matter. If you want to know more, get out there and find yourself an obscure, little-known, little-supported club to follow. It will be frustrating and infuriating, but utterly fascinating. Good luck!


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Just for fun

Entertainment|Jokes

Humour Bon mots from the mouth of a pro. This month: Steve Martin

On comedy

On life

• What is comedy? Comedy is the art of making people laugh without making them puke. • With comedy, you have no place to go but more comedy, so you’re never off the hook. • I was not naturally talented. I didn’t sing, dance or act, though working around that minor detail made me inventive. • I think I did pretty well, considering I started out with nothing but a bunch of blank paper.

• The greatest thing you can do is surprise yourself. • Chaos in the midst of chaos isn’t funny, but chaos in the midst of order is. • You know what your problem is, it’s that you haven’t seen enough movies — all of life’s riddles are answered in the movies. • A kiss may not be the truth, but it is what we wish were true.

On relationships

Random thoughts

• Love is a promise delivered already broken. • You know that look that women get when they want to have sex? Me neither. • Don’t have sex man. It leads to kissing and pretty soon you have to start talking to them. • I believe that sex is one of the most beautiful, natural, wholesome things that money can buy.

• A day without sunshine is like, you know, night. • I saw the movie, ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ and was surprised because I didn’t see any tigers or dragons. And then I realized why: they’re crouching and hidden. • I got a flue shot and now my chimney works perfectly. • I’m tired of wasting letters when punctuation will do, period.

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Social  Last month’s best events in pictures

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Social|Last Month’s Best Events

Flash Fridays at Ku dé ta

KU Dé Ta launched its first Flash Friday event by teaming up with Boutique Hospitality Management Asia to give visitors the chance to win an exclusive getaway to luxury design hotel, X2 Samui Resort. The winner, announced at midnight in Ku Dé Ta’s trademark Club Lounge, was Mr. Mon PJ, who received two nights in a Deluxe Pool Villa with champagne breakfast for two.

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hard rocK turns 23 HARD Rock Café Bangkok celebrated its 23rd anniversary in rock ’n’ roll fashion with a night of live music and special promotions. Held under a Rockin’ For KISS theme, the party marked the launch of Hard Rock’s limited edition KISS merchandise and featured burger eating competitions and performances by Thai rock bands Sweet Mullet, Rep. Ugoslabier, Secret Tea Party, and Perfect Stranger.

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Social|Last Month’s Best Events

Party night with Johnnie walKer

THE management of Johnnie Walker Red Label threw a huge party to celebrate the launch of its Johnnie Walker Red Label Export Blend Limited Release. Transforming Roof by MUSE into a luxurious yacht representing an adventure above the sea, the party was fuelled by free-flow signature drinks and tasty nibbles, and featured a live performance by Season Five, a mini concert by Da Endorphin, and a dance-inducing set by DJ ONO.

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SabreS drawn at the rembrandt THE Bangkok chapter of the Confrerie du Sabre d’Or returned to the Rembrandt Hotel Bangkok for another superb night of gourmet cuisine and cork-popping entertainment at the hotel’s da Vinci Italian restaurant. The Confrerie du Sabre d’Or practices the art of opening a properly chilled Champagne bottle with a sabre – a bubbly spectacle which diners at da Vinci thoroughly enjoyed attempting too.

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Social|Last Month’s Best Events

Angels And devils At le BAr A NIGHT of devishly delicious food and heavenly drinks was enjoyed by a large crowd of socialites at Le Bar by le Beaulieu, whose Angels and Devils theme night also gave guests the chance to win bottles of Veuve Clicquot Champagne. Photographs by david Heischrek.

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timeless CoCktAils At AmBAr

THE refreshing tastes of the world’s most famous cocktails had everyone in high spirits at Four Points By Sheraton Bangkok’s popular rooftop hangout, amBar, which launched its new Timeless Cocktails menu with free-flow servings of Mojito, Bloody Mary, Caipirinha, Pina Colada, Margarita, and more boozy classics.

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Social|Last Month’s Best Events

networking witH style

KINGDOM Property and co-sponsor A Plus Pattaya Property were the hosts of the March edition of the popular Movers & Shakers Corporate Networking Event, held at the executive floor level of the Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn.

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CrAft Beer flows At señor PiCo MEXICAN food and American Craft Beers proved to be the perfect pairing in a special five-course dinner held at the Rembrandt Hotel Bangkok’s ever popular Señor Pico Restaurant. Adding to the fun was a lively performance of Latin music by the restaurant’s Mexican band.

BAgs of fAsHion At PAtHumwAn PrinCess AVASADA Pocmontri, celebrity and owner of TV a la carte Co.,Ltd., and Dr.Withaya Pewpong, Governor of Ayutthaya, organized the Bangkok OTOP Runway & Charity Exhibition at Pathumwan Princess Hotel, where handbags made from water hyacinth fibre were presented by guest models, Thai billionaires and fashionistas such as Sanun Angubolkul, Vichai Bencharongkul, Suriyon Sriorathaikul, Suree Ratanahiranya, Jindapa Boonyakorn, Salinee-Chanon Wangtal and Atima Yosatat. Part of the proceeds of the event will be donated to the Princess Pa Foundation, Thai Redcross Society.

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Benihana celeBrates 50 years of ‘eatertainment’

FAMOUS for its sizzling Japanese cuisine cooked tableside at more than 22 countries around the world, the Florida-based Benihana restaurant company marked its 50th anniversary last month. The Bangkok iteration of the restaurant, located at the Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort & Spa, celebrated the milestone by throwing a big party featuring all-you-can eat selections of the restaurant’s much-loved cuisine, free-flow drinks, and a roster of live entertainment

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Vitamin a rocks mulligan’s MULLIGAN’S Irish Bar on Khao San Road continued its run of fun-packed party nights with a live set by DJ trio group, Vitamin A. While most of the crowd was made up of Liverpool supporters who had earlier in the evening watched their team lose 2-0 at Chelsea, Vitamin A’s hip hop rhythms soon replaced the gloomy atmosphere with a party vibe that lasted well into the early hours.

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Social|Last Month’s Best Events

AustrAliAN wiNe showcAse THE finest whites and reds from Hardys Wines, South Australia, were showcased at a special wine tasting event held at the Novotel Bangkok Platinum Pratunam’s Platinum Lounge.

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irish shindig a great craic MEMBERS and friends of The Irish Thai Chamber of Commerce celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in customary fashion with a lively get-together at the Conrad Bangkok, where Irish eats and free-flow drinks kept the party going late into the night.

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Cafés Richard Dinner at Tables Restaurant, Grand Hyatt Erawan

Uber Launch Party at Ku De Ta

Cafés Richard Dinner at Tables Restaurant, Grand Hyatt Erawan

Onyx Club Opening at RCA

Moko Bakery & Restaurant Moko Bakery & Restaurant Maggie Choo’s 1st Anniversary

Maggie Choo’s 1st Anniversary

PARTIES AT A GLANCE PHOTOGRAPHS BY DAVID HEISCHREK

Moko Bakery & Restaurant

Cafés Richard Dinner at Tables Restaurant, Grand Hyatt Erawan

Playboy’s 60th Anniversary Gala at Ku De Ta

Moko Bakery & Restaurant

Moko Bakery & Restaurant

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Uber Launch Party at Ku De Ta

Playboy’s 60th Anniversary Gala at KuDeTa

Playboy’s 60th Anniversary Gala at KuDeTa


Social|Around town

cocA-colA reAdy for kick off

FOOTBALL fans were given a sneak peak of Coca-Cola’s upcoming Fifa World Cup Promotion at a special event hosted by celebrity brand ambassadors, Nichkhun Horvejkul, Mum Sam Cha, Ploy Horwang, ‘Ice’ Apissada Kreurkongka, and ‘Messi J’ Chanathip Songkrasin. Starting this month, the promotion will be highlighted by the ‘Coke Let’s Join’ activity, which will allow customers to print their own portraits onto bottles of Coke as a memento of the football competition, which kicks off in Brazil on June 12. For more details see: www.facebook. com/cocacola and www.icoke.co.th.

fighting chAmpions gAther At rAmAdA

MUAY Thai fighters from around the world arrived in Bangkok last month for the Semi-Final round of the Max World Champion 2014 tournament, held at The Stage - Asiatique the riverfront. During their time in the city, the fighters stayed at official tournament partner hotel Ramada Plaza Bangkok Menam Riverside, where they were warmly welcomed by the hotel’s General Manager, Mr. Klaus Sennik. The final round of Max World Champion 2014 will be held in Las Vegas, USA, on Dec 6.

ActiviA goes pop

MANAGEMENT and staff of BJC Danone Dairy Co. held a press conference to announce the new global partnership between healthy yoghurt brand Activia and Colombian pop sensation Shakira, who, in her inimitable style, is now supporting the yoghurt’s new “Dare to Feel Good” campaign (check out the booty-shaking YouTube video). The highlight of the event, which was held at Siam Center Atrium, was a performance by Thai pop star Ying.

cAltrAte plus promotes heAlthy living

CALTRATE Plus, the Calcium and Vitamin D supplement under Pfizer (Thailand) Limited, launched its “Make A Life-Changing Move” campaign by inviting women to test their bone strength and agility through a series of fun activities, including Yoga, and a Latin dance class from D Dance School, held at various shopping malls throughout Bangkok.

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Social|Around Last Month’s town Best Events

Safe Songkran in chiang mai CHIANG Mai’s Tourist Police Division launched this year’s Songkran celebrations with a special event at the city’s renowned Tha Pae gate, where visitors enjoyed traditional Thai dance and music, the chance to win lucky draw prizes, and lots of tasty local eats. During this year’s festival the police offered a 24-hour multilingual hotline service and also set up checkpoints around the city to ensure revelers, both foreign and Thai, could enjoy the celebrations in safety.

Soccer veteranS galore at german all-StarS big night

THE German All Stars, led by President Hartwig Schueler, hosted their 32nd Far East International Football Tournament at the Bangkok Patana School playing fields, with teams coming in from eight different countries. This popular two-day event kicked off with the captains’ get-together at the Old German Beerhouse in Sukhumvit 11. Soccer veterans attending the night included President Hartwig, Danny Poole, Ron Aston, Vince Swift, Greg Watkins, Peter Rogers, Roger Crutchley, Jim Howard and Colin Hastings.

thanyapura goeS for gold

FOUR-time Triathlon World Champion and Executive Chairman of Thanyapura Phuket, Chris “Macca” McCormack, was star of the show at a press conference held at the Renaissance Bangkok Rajprasong, where he fielded questions about Thanyapura’s much-anticipated Elite Junior Sport Academies and educational boarding programmes, which have been specially designed to nurture future Olympians. Scholarships and paid places for gifted young athletes are now available. More info at: www.thanyapuraphuket.com 100

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virgin active openS in thailand

THAILAND’S first Virgin Active Premium Fitness Club was opened at Empire tower by Mark Blackman, the Territory Managing Director of Virgin Active, who flew into town to introduce the Club to business executives, celebrities, and media. Read our gym round up next month.


Diplomats p Meet the people uniting nations

HE Andelfo Garcia

The Ambassador of the Republic of Colombia talks about his work and life in Thailand Page 102 TheBigChilli 101


Diplomats

HE Andelfo Garcia|Republic of Colombia

Guiding Colombia’s consular rebirth in Thailand

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Few people in Thailand know much about Colombia and although the reverse is also true, this may be about to change with the re-opening of the Colombian embassy at the Athenee Tower on Wireless Road. “We closed our embassy here in 1998 due to budgetary reasons,” said His Excellency Andelfo Garcia, Ambassador of the Republic of Colombia to the Kingdom of Thailand, at start of our recent interview at the impressive new embassy quarters. “Colombia first opened an embassy in Thailand in 1992. When the financial crisis ravaged Asia starting in 1997, we in Latin America also faced a financial crisis. Therefore, my government closed many embassies around the world, including in Thailand. Hopefully, this embassy will remain open without interruption.” The new embassy, high above Lumpini Park, was selected by an emissary of the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) who came here in 2012. “I arrived in Thailand on April 8, 2013,” said Mr Garcia. “I came here by myself. There was no embassy here, no office and no staff – nothing except walls. Right away we started to construct the premises to make it into an embassy.” Soon the empty space at Athenee Tower was transformed into a well-designed and tastefully furnished embassy with daylight streaming through the 18th floor windows. In my opinion it is one of the nicest diplomatic missions in Thailand. “This tower is very convenient, well administered and maintained, and the location is perfect as well,” said Mr Garcia. “In fact, it was very easy for us to open the embassy and to find my residence, which is not far away. It was also easy to bring and process everything from Colombia, to make decorations, furnish it and so on. Now everything is in place and the embassy is functioning very well.” Asked why Colombia decided to re-open the embassy, Ambassador Garcia answered: “Colombia is in the middle of a very important integration process with Chile, Mexico and Peru – what we call the Pacific Alliance, a Latin American trade bloc. At the same time, Thailand is a very strategic country in Southeast Asia, as it lies in the middle of the whole region, surrounded by Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore in the south, and Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam on the other sides. “If you want to travel from South America, for example, to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, you have to go through Bangkok. If you go to Hanoi, you have to go through Bangkok as well, and so on. So Thailand is the key to a fruitful relationship between the Pacific Alliance and ASEAN,” Mr Garcia said. “Our embassy has three diplomats, two attaches as administrative staff, and five Thai staffers. We don’t have a police liaison at the embassy. Our law enforcement people communicate and coordinate directly with Interpol in Thailand,” Mr Garcia said.

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By Maxmilian Wechsler

The opening of the embassy was celebrated last August with a visit by the “ARC Gloria,” the historic official flagship of the Colombian Navy, to Klong Toey Port. There was a big party aboard attended by many Thais, foreigners and Colombian nationals invited by Ambassador Garcia. He announced a flurry of activities to bring the peoples of Colombia and Thailand closer together, among them a visit from senior Colombian Army officers in August. They will hold meetings with their counterparts and other government officials. The delegation will also visit other countries in the region. “In October, we will participate in the international film festival in Bangkok and we will also take part in the international cultural festival here in November. On this occasion, we will bring a salsa dance troupe from Colombia. It will be one of the most interesting and artistic events of the year in Southeast Asia.” Mr Garcia said Thailand does not have an embassy in Colombia as yet but one should be opened within two or three years.

Grounded in diplomacy One of Columbia’s most experienced diplomats, Mr Garcia, 62, is also a lawyer and a professor of international law and international relations. He was born into a middle-class family in the capital of Columbia, Bogota. He has been married for 40 years to Astrid Amaya, who was born in the United States, as were their three children, all sons. Mr Garcia was educated at the National University of Colombia (Doctor of Law, Social and political Science, September 1977) and at New York University (MA in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, January 1981). His impressive career at the Colombian MFA in Bogota began in 1992 with a position as the Deputy Foreign Minister, a position he held until 1994. He explained how he was able to land such a high position immediately after joining the MFA: “I was at that time a professor at university teaching international law and I was also an advisor to the ministry. Later on the Minister of Foreign Affairs appointed me to be his deputy. “Now my position is in fact lower,” said Mr Garcia with a smile, adding that every few years a new president appoints a new Minister of Foreign Affairs, so the deputy ministers also change. But Mr Garcia has held a number of other prestigious positions over the years, including chairman of the United Nations Disarmament Commission in 1997, and member of the Advisory Board of the UN Secretary General on Disarmament Matters (1997-1998). He was Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Colombia to the UN from 1994 to 1998, stationed in New York, and was also responsible for the Coordinating Bureau of


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Diplomats

HE Andelfo Garcia|Republic of Colombia

the Non-Aligned Movement during the three-year chairmanship of Colombia, from 1995 to 1998. Additionally, Mr Garcia was a member of Colombia’s legal team in two cases before the International Court of Justice: Nicaragua v. Colombia (2001-2012) and Ecuador v. Colombia (2008-2012). He has served as Deputy Chief of Mission to Spain (2006-2007) and the United Kingdom (2007-2008). “This is my second ambassadorial assignment, the first as ambassador to the UN in New York from 1994 to 1998. Currently, I am also ambassador to Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. To represent Colombia in five countries keeps me quite busy, which is good. It also means that I have a chance to travel.”

Bilateral ties and similarities “Diplomatic relations between Colombia and Thailand were established on January 20, 1979, so recently we commemorated the 35th anniversary of our friendship,” Mr Garcia said. He described his duties as the strengthening of ties between Colombia and Thailand in all fields – trade, economy, science, culture, education, diplomacy and politics. “This is achieved not only by agreements and contacts between our governments, but mainly through building friendship between our peoples. In these times people to people diplomacy has become a key in the international system, and no doubt that is the best way to ensure a long-term, strong alliance. “Thailand and Colombia share many characteristics, values and interests,’’ he continued. “They are joined by the love for freedom and independence and the firm commitment to international peace and security. Thailand takes pride in never having been colonized by any foreign power, while Colombia has the credentials of being one of the oldest democracies in Latin America. “The two countries also share the status of global and regional leaders. ASEAN was established in Thailand in 1967, and Thailand is also a founding member of APEC. The Organization of American States was founded in Colombia in 1948, during the IX InterAmerican Conference held at Bogota. Colombia was a founding member of the United Nations in 1945, the global organization which Thailand also joined a year later in 1946. “Also within the multilateral context, Colombia and Thailand share membership in the Non-Aligned Movement and the two countries were original members of the Group of 77 in 1964 [now the G77 and China].

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“Both economies are dynamic and have attractive growth prospects. Thailand is included in the group NICs (New Industrialized Countries), while Colombia is also part of a group of emerging countries called CIVETS, which is an acronym of the member countries and also refers to an agile Asian feline. “Our two countries also enjoy considerable wealth in biodiversity. In terms of the number of species of amphibians, birds, mammals, reptiles and vascular plants, Colombia and Thailand are among the most pristine places in the world. “The two countries occupy a privileged place in terms of water resources as well. Both are also rich in cultural and ethnic diversity, and therefore the potential for exchange and cooperation in these areas is immense. “The bilateral agenda we have the intention of developing is also quite rich, vast and diverse, as is the desire of our governments and our peoples to achieve human and economic development. The shared values and a strong economic  and political relationship provide an enormous potential to further develop and enhance the ties of cooperation and friendship between our two nations.” Ambassador Garcia said that Thailand imports from Colombia emeralds, leather and some coffee, while Thailand exports to Colombia mainly electronics and auto parts. As for official visits, the Foreign Minister of Colombia came to Thailand in July 2013 to preside over the meeting of all the Ambassadors of Colombia in Asian countries. During Mr Garcia’s appointment ceremony as ambassador to Thailand, the president of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, mentioned his interest in carrying out the first visit of a chief of state of Colombia to Thailand, which, hopefully, will take place in the near future.


COFFEE PLANTATIONS

Invitation to Colombia

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Mr Garcia was keen to extend an invitation to Thais to visit his country. “Colombia is now very prosperous. We are experiencing good momentum both in terms of economic performance and in the peace process with the guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia People’s Army (FARC - EP). This is very important for Colombia.  They have been there for 50 years and for the first time we are very close to signing an agreement with them so that they will participate in the political process and end the armed struggle. “People in Thailand maybe aren’t aware that Colombia is situated almost at the same latitude but on the other side of the planet. For that reason the climate in Colombia is much the same as Thailand’s and so is the vegetation. If you go to the countryside, you will find bananas, papaya, mangoes and other fruits common to Thailand. “The interchange of people between our two countries is growing. I want to stress that Colombia is now an attractive tourist destination, mainly based on its huge biological and cultural diversity, the kindness of its people, and its variety of climates and landscapes. These include the Andes Mountains, the Caribbean Sea, the Amazon rainforest, and many, many different ecosystems and habitats. “Colombia is ranked as the 11th most diverse country culturally, with more than 100 ethnic groups living inside its borders, and it is rated second in terms of biodiversity. “Many Colombians already know that Thailand is an interesting place and have an image of it as an exotic vacation land in the East. Of course it is very far from Colombia, about a 30-hour flight. As yet there are no direct flights. You usually fly

via Europe, mainly through Paris, Frankfurt or Amsterdam. Our people travel to Thailand mainly in groups. “We signed an agreement with the Thai MFA for visa exceptions for official and diplomatic passport holders. As for regular citizens, we’d like to eliminate visa requirements for them as well. We are working on this with the Thai authorities. Thai citizens still need a visa to visit Colombia but it takes only few hours to issue it from the embassy here. “As for Colombians who want to visit Thailand, there’s a Thai Honorary Consulate in the capital of Bogota. They are very efficient and it is easy and fast – maybe one or two days to issue a visa for Thailand.” “We don’t have a big community of Colombian nationals in Thailand, but those who are living here are admirable and hard-working people. Some Colombian nationals work for international companies established in Thailand, and others are spouses of Thai citizens and international executives. We don’t have any Colombian companies here. “The ‘dean’ of the Colombian community here is a missionary Catholic nun, Sister Margarita, who has been living in Thailand for more than 40 years, serving and supporting vulnerable communities and people in need. There is also a Colombian who fights in the Muay Thai league, and is promoting the practice of this sport in our country.”  

Well-liked Ambassador The ambassador has been very active since his arrival in Thailand a year ago, and attends many functions, governmental and other, often with his wife by his side. The couple makes an impression wherever they go. Mr Garcia is an engaging person and with his experience and knowledge he has quickly become popular within the diplomatic circle and pretty much everyone who meets him.

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Diplomats

HE Andelfo Garcia|Republic of Colombia

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In March Mr Garcia was welcomed at the Asian Institute of Technology by AIT’s interim President Professor Worsak Kanok-Nukulchai. The ambassador expressed his wish to work with AIT and said that there are many opportunities for cooperation between Colombian and Thai universities and researchers. He has been especially well received by ambassadors from other Latin American countries, particularly Chile, Mexico and Peru, all members of the recently formed Pacific Alliance. During a meeting in Bangkok in April of the four alliance ambassadors assigned to Thailand, Mr Garcia said: “The Pacific Alliance is an ambitious initiative aimed at deepening the integration of the four South American countries, involving the free movement of not only people but capital, goods and services as well as investment.” The alliance is considering a free trade agreement with Thailand and other ASEAN countries.

Sold on Siam Mr Garcia began his official term as ambassador to Thailand on May 14, 2013. In Colombia, the appointment and term of an ambassador are decided by the president and the minister of foreign affairs. “For me, it is the greatest honor and privilege to have been appointed by my government to serve in the Kingdom of Thailand, a great nation, highly regarded by the government and the people of Colombia. My term could be two or three years. The retirement age for public servants in Colombia is 65.”

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Before this current posting, Mr Garcia came to Thailand as a tourist with his wife and children in 2008. “I am amazed at how the country has changed and developed rapidly in a very short period. This is a great achievement of the leaders of Thailand, His Majesty the King and the rest of the Royal Family, the Thai authorities and all Thai people. “Unfortunately, I haven’t travelled outside Bangkok as much as I would like. Thailand is a beautiful and amazing country that deserves to be visited thoroughly. However, with 74 accredited embassies in Bangkok, the diplomatic agenda is very active and of course we have been busy opening our new embassy and enriching the bilateral agenda for Colombia and Thailand,” Mr Garcia said. “What I like most about Thailand is the kind and happy people. I have no complaints about Thailand. This is a place to enjoy the politeness of the Thai people, the delicious Thai food, and the warm hospitality; to notice and corroborate every day, personally, that ‘Amazing Thailand’ and ‘The Land of Smiles’ are not only mottos or promotional slogans, but factual and evident. “I love jogging in the beautiful parks of Bangkok, eating fried bananas on the street, taking a boat on the Chao Phraya River, sharing experiences with my fellow ambassadors and their families and getting to know more and more good and unforgettable Thai friends.   “The biggest disappointment of my term here will be for sure that day in the future when I will have to depart from Thailand. But my family and I will always be tied to Thailand and its people in a deep and profound manner.”


HUA HIN

Cha Am • Pranburi • And beyond...

Villa Maroc Resort Pranburi has a deal perfect for families this month. Page 108.

News & deals

Hua Hin’s hottest promotions and deals await inside Page 108

Play a round

Banyan Golf Club to host two special tournaments this month Page 108

Social

Earth Hour celebrations, wine tasting, and corkpopping entertainment Page 109 TheBigChilli 107


Hu aH i n

N ews and Deals

Hua Hin Jazz Festival 2014 AFTER a couple of quiet years, the Hua Hin Jazz Festival now has a new manager – B-Concept Media Entertainment Group’s Passion4Share division – which is promising to deliver the biggest and best jazz festival yet. Tentative dates are Jun 20-22. Expect to hear everything from Jazz Soul and Dixieland, to Soul, Blues and Bossa Nova. While details were slim at time of writing, we’ve been assured constant updates will appear on the festival’s website. :thehuahinjazzfestival.com

Golf tournaments at Banyan Golf Club TWO special events await golfers at Banyan Golf Club Hua Hin this month. Teeing off the fun, on May 21 at noon, is the Power Tee Competition. B2,100 inclusive of caddy and after game snacks. This will be followed, on May 25, by the Golf Citizen Thailand Pairs Series 2014. This qualifying event will give participants the chance to win a VIP trip to Dubai for the Omega Dubai Desert Classic 2015. Full details can be found at www.golfcitizen.com. ☎ 032 616 200 :banyanthailand.com

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Family fun at Villa Maroc UNTIL the end of the month, Villa Maroc Resort Pranburi is offering a ‘Family Fun Package’ with rates starting at B22,000 per night in a One Bedroom Villa. Book two consecutive nights or more and you’ll receive a free upgrade to a Two Bedroom Villa. The package includes breakfast, an in-room DVD movie with popcorn and French fries, and a mini BBQ set dinner menu. :villamarocresort.com

Chinese flavours at Dune BLACK pepper sea crab with fried Chinese noodles is being offered at the special price of B1,800++ for the next three months at Dune Hua Hin’s popular Dune Bar and Restaurant. Served in a portion for two to share, this tasty feast is a great option for a date – especially if you follow your meal up with a cocktail or two at the hotel’s rooftop bar. ☎ 032 515 051-3 :dunehuahin.com

Afternoon tea by the beach AFTERNOON High Tea doesn’t always have to be enjoyed in a hotel lobby bar. Visit Rest Detail Hotel’s Rest Scene Restaurant and you can enjoy a selection of superior brews and sweet treats right next to the beach. The ‘Rest High Tea Fruit Fondue’ features baked goods, fresh fruits, and tea and coffee selections for just B530 per set. ☎ 032 547 733 :restdetailhotel.com


Hilton goes dark for Earth Hour LIGHTS were out and the party was on when Hilton Hua Hin marked Earth Hour 2014 by hosting a candlelit dinner at its Market restaurant. The hotel’s management and staff joined guests for a memorable and fun night which, alongside the dinner, featured a traditional Thai candle dance show.

Wine for Saints at Veranda Lodge HOTELIERS, wine dealers, and wine lovers enjoyed a wonderful afternoon of wining and dining by the beach when Veranda Lodge Hua Hin hosted the Wine for Saints charity wine tasting event. Held to raise funds for the Foundation for the Blind in Thailand under the Royal Patronage of H.M. the Queen, the event was organized by Mr Pananchai Klumklomchit, Managing Director Sawasdee Hua Hin Co., Ltd, together with Mr. Lars Castenlund, CEO Hua Hin Butler; Ms Pojanaporn Chawanon, Managing Director Veranda Lodge Hua Hin; Mr Anonwat Iamlaor, Managing Director Ley CafĂŠ Pranburi; and Mr Akarin Treesawat, Senior Sommelier at Fontana di Trevi.

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Champagne Dinner with a twist A FIVE-course meal paired with Champagne, uncorked in a unique and dazzling way, set the scene for a superb night of dining at The Railway Restaurant, Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin, when it hosted the Confrérie du Sabre d’Or Champagne Dinner. Members of the Confrérie du Sabre d’Or practice the ancient art of opening a Champagne bottle with a sabre, which, on this occasion, was personally conducted by Marie-Claire Buffet, Connétable Région PACA Grand Commandeur of the Confrerie. The event was presided over by Jacques Mury, General Manager of Centara Grand Beach Resort and Villas Hua Hin and H.E. Rolf Schulze, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany.

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Accommodation

Hua Hin Where to sleep

The Cape Nidhra Hotel, Hua Hin

Villa Maroc Resort Pranburi

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

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

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

165/3 Moo 3 Paknampran, Pranburi, Tel: 032 630 771 email: rsvn@villamarocresort.com

Baan Bayan

Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa

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

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

119 Petchkasem Road. Tel: 032 533 544

33 Naresdamri Road. Tel: 032 538 999

Putahracsa Hua Hin

S’MOR Spa Village & Resort

■ This stylish resort skillfully marries Mediterranean-influenced villa accommodation with the best contemporary Thai interior design flair to create a unique experience. Putahracsa is a secluded sanctuary with 36 SilkSand rooms bordering a magnificent swimming pool and mini beach. Interiors emphasize the ‘sleek and chic’ approach to modern design. The Oceanbed Villas are truly exceptional, providing some of the highest quality accommodation and service in Hua Hin. The resort features a day spa, and superb dining opportunities at Oceanside Beach Club & Restaurant.

■ S’MOR Spa Village & Resort is always a great choice for a relaxing holiday. Located in the center of Hua Hin yet in the peaceful area overlooking the Khao Takiab Mountain with a long beautiful beach, this al-fresco resort features six bungalows and eight bedrooms, each well-equipped with all the mod-cons you could need. The seafront bungalow offers you a choice of private outdoor Jacuzzi or indoor Jacuzzi. The resort’s spa is exclusive and distinctive with an extensive list of treatments including traditional Thai massage. For eats, the beachfront S’MOR Spa Beach Bar & Restaurant serves a wide variety of international and local cuisines.

22/65 Nahb Kaehat Road. Tel: 032 531 470

122/64 Takiab Road, Hua Hin Tel: 032 536 800

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Tr a vel

D ea ls and Promotion s • The Siam: Until Dec 15, the hotel’s ‘The Siam

s ’ e t a M s rate

Staycation Package for Honeymooners’ offers rates at B37,400++ per night for a Pool Villa Courtyard, and B42,900++ for a Pool Villa Riverview. Package highlights include candlelit dinner for two, breakfast and set lunch for two, a 60-minute spa treatment for two, Wi-Fi, and more. ☎ 02 206 6999 thesiamhotel.com

• Swissôtel Nai Lert Park Bangkok: Until Jun 30, a ‘Double Bonus

family r o s d n Frie land? i a h T g visitin now about k Let them e deals thes • Away Koh Kood Resort: Through Oct 31, book

one night (includes breakfast for two) and get your second night free (room only). For a two-night stay, rates start at B4,050 for Duplex Bungalow, B4,500 for Ocean Facing Bungalow, and B5,500 for Deluxe Oceanfront Bungalow. ☎ 087 136 4036 AwayResorts.com

Accommodation’ deal starts at B2,800++ per night for a newly renovated Classic Garden View Room. The deal includes daily breakfast buffet, Wi-Fi, 3pm check-out, and more. ☎ 02 253 0123 swissotel.com/hotels/bangkok-nai-lert-park

• Centara Chaan Talay Resort & Villas Trat: Until May

31, three special deals are on offer. The ‘Trat Weekday Getaway’ rate is B2,014 per night (anytime between Sun-Thurs); the ‘Trat Weekend Getaway’ rate is B4,000 per night (Fri-Sat); and the ‘All-Inclusive Beach Getaway’ rate is B4,900 per room per night (valid when booking a minimum of two nights). All packages include breakfast for two. Stay a minimum of three nights and you’ll receive a trip to Koh Kong City in Cambodia. ☎ 039 521 563 centarahotelsresorts.com/cct

• Avista Hideaway Resort and Spa Phuket: Through Oct 31,

the hotel’s ‘Tropical Escape’ package offers a personalised four-night stay in a Tropical Hideaway Pool Suite at B99,000. Package highlights include a round-trip transfer by private limo, daily breakfast buffet, exclusive rooftop dinner, and more. ☎ 076 298 888 katabeach.avistahotelsandresorts.com

• Loei Palace: To celebrate

the Phi Ta Khon Festival during Jun 27-29, the hotel is offering rates starting at B2,998 per person for a two-night stay. The package includes daily breakfast for one, early check-in before noon and late check-out, Wi-Fi, and a round-trip transfer to the Dansai District to see the festival. ☎ 042 815 668-73 mosaic-collection.com/loeipalace

• The Okura Prestige Bangkok: Until Dec 10, a ‘We are

Family’ package offers rates at B10,200++ per night for a Premier Club or Deluxe Suite. The package highlights include international breakfast buffet, two complimentary BTS day passes for adults, and unlimited access to the hotel’s Club Lounge. Book two or more consecutive nights to receive a complimentary family pass to Siam Ocean World. ☎ 02 687 9000 okurabangkok.com

• X2 River Kwai Resort: Opening in July with eight luxurious cabins, this new resort is offering introductory rates starting at B5,500 for a one-night stay and B10,000 for a two-night stay in a LuXe Cabin including Champagne Breakfast for two. Offer is available until July 31, and valid for stays between July 1 and Nov 30. ☎ 021 687 533 X2LOBBY.com

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• Shangri-La Hotel Bangkok: Through Jun 30, the hotel’s ‘Weekend Special’ package offers rates starting at B6,200++ per room per night for a Deluxe Room, including daily breakfast buffet for a maximum of two adults and two children below six, 10% discount on F&B at any of the hotel’s restaurants, B800 credit at CHI, The Spa, and Wi-Fi. The package is valid for guests checking-in on Fri-Sun and checking-out on Mon. ☎ 02 236 8566 shangri-la.com/bangkok


COAST CO PATTAYA

Kok Chang • Wong Amat • Jomtien • Bang Saray • Sattahip • Rayong Havana Bar & Terrazzo at Holiday Inn Pattaya now offers special deals five days a week. Page 118.

News & Deals

The Eastern Seaboard’s hottest dining and hotel promotions Page 118

Family fun

Amari Pattaya has launched a new family package deal Page 118

Britpop

The Best of British Music rocks Mantra Restaurant at Amari Pattaya Page 120 TheBigChilli 117


Pa tt a ya

N ews and Deals

Running for Earth Hour at Hilton THE management team of Hilton Pattaya marked Earth Hour 2014 by organizing two major events to raise awareness among staff. Kicking off the fun was the staircase race from level 1 to level 34, which was joined by over 100 team members. The second event, held the following day, saw the hotel switch off lights and electronic appliances from 8.30pm until midnight, resulting in a 14.65% energy saving.

Family Package at Amari UNTIL the end of the year, Amari Pattaya is offering an ‘All Together Package’ with rates starting at B9,495++ for a two night stay (10% discount is offered on any additional nights booked). The package includes breakfast, an automatic upgrade to a Deluxe Family Room, a one-day pass for one child to Kids Cave and Teen Town, and more. ☎ 038 418 418 :amari.com/ocean-pattaya

Pattaya Rugby 10s HARD-hitting rugby, hilarious banter, and tasty eats and drinks can all be expected at the 14th edition of this popular annual tournament. Held May 3-4 at Horseshoe Pattaya Resort, the event is now known as the Amari Orchid Pattaya Chris Kays Memorial Tournament, in memory of the former Pattaya Panthers captain, who was tragically killed in the Bali bombing in October 2002. :pattayapanthers.com

Event Butlers introduced at Centara CENTARA Grand Mirage Beach Resort Pattaya has given its already extensive events and meetings facilities a boost by introducing ‘Events Butlers’ – basically a specialist team of events and conference managers who guarantee around-the-clock service from event inception to post-event analysis. Full details of the new initiative can be found on the resort’s website. ☎ 038 301 234 :centarahotelsresorts.com/cmbr

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Five days of deals at Havana Bar & Terrazzo FOODIES and cocktail fans will find plenty to please them this month at Holiday Inn Pattaya’s Havana Bar & Terrazzo. Its latest promotion, held under the concept of ‘Fantastic Five’, runs from Sun to Thurs and offers a different deal on each day. On Sun, signature Mojitos are B159 per glass; on Mon, the bar’s special cocktails are B180 per glass; on Tues, traditional and signature pizzas are B279; on Wed, selected drinks are buy-one-get-one-free for groups of three women or more; and on Thurs, Italian cheese and cold cuts are paired with selected wines for just B890 per person. ☎ 038 725 555 :facebook.com/HavanaBar.Pattaya


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Best of British music at Mantra MANTRA Restaurant and Bar at Amari Pattaya continued its hugely popular musical tributes with a dinner concert featuring some of the best bands and singers that Britain has ever produced. Performed by the UK All Stars & Band led by Barry Upton, the show included the hits of Phil Collins, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Tears for Fears, Rolling Stones, Dire Straits and many more.

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Pa tt a ya

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Royal Varuna a cool venue for networkers THE breezy Sunset Bar of the Royal Varuna Yacht Club, Pattaya, provided a beautiful setting for the recent Joint Chambers Eastern Seaboard networking evening. More than 100 members enjoyed excellent snacks and free-flow wine and beer.

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The BigChilli Thailand. May 2014.