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April 2014 08 INSIGHT News, letters, gossip and more 12 VICTIM OF THE LMIM SCANDAL One year later, an investor speaks out 20 EXPAT ENTREPRENEUR AWARDS Recent nominations in focus 23 GOURMET A round up of all the best restaurant deals and gourmet events in Bangkok 46 SIZZLING SUMMER DEALS Hotel-based restaurants where great value is the order of the day 50 MAN WITH A VAN Bangkok’s minivans in focus 55 EXPAT WOMEN Health, shopping, people, advice and ﬁction 76 THE WORLD’S OLDEST DJ? Now in his 99th year, Jim Davison continues to entertain Bangkok audiences with his weekly radio programme 83 WHAT’S ON This month’s best events all wrapped up 95 SOCIAL Last month’s best events in pictures 113 DIPLOMATS The Bahraini Envoy talks about his work and life in Thailand 119 HUA HIN & PATTAYA Deals and news
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Desperate plight of senior expat investors MEETING someone who has lost most of their life savings in an investment that has gone wrong is heart-wrenching. Their pain and helplessness is overwhelming, especially in the case of those in the evening of their life when they should be looking forward to a financially secure retirement. How, you wonder, will they survive without the funds to support even a very modest existence? For them, of course, it is a fearful prospect. When you discover their money has gone through no fault of their own, apart from being overly trusting and optimistic, but through the greed and criminality of others, your ire grows. This is the scenario facing a growing number of expat investors here in Thailand who have handed over their hard-earned savings to people claiming to be financial experts but whose only real goal is to extract maximum commission for setting up the deal. Most investors know there are risks involved in putting their money in a business. If their luck holds, they might enjoy a healthy return. If not, their investment will be worth somewhat less than their original stake. Either way they have the choice to cash in, or stay in. What no one expects is for their entire investment to simply disappear, as quickly as melting snow. Sadly, this seems to be the case with the LMIM debacle featured on several occasions in this magazine. The property fund may have started out as a reasonably legitimate business idea, but for many reasons eventually degenerated into nothing more than a Ponzi scheme, with its owners getting so desperate for cash to keep this Titanic afloat they kept on selling it to unwitting investors right up the last moment. In the end, of course, it sank. And with it the hopes and aspirations of investors who had put their trust in so-called financial advisers to provide a safe and reasonably prosperous future. Today, it is incredibly sad to come across expats, often in their latter years, who lost money in LMIM. Having given up hope of any compensation, they face a desperate situation. It’s now all too easy but incredibly crass to recite admonishing
clichés like “if it sounds too good to be true, it is too good to be true.” The fact is, these people are not losers. What they have lost is their faith in humanity.
What’s happened to Bangkok?
SAD to say, but the quality of life in Bangkok is now at an all-time low. Under the crush of so many people, and without proper planning, zoning and control, the city creaks and groans. The congestion gets worse. Bangkok’s expressways are massively inadequate for the number of vehicles plying them, many sidewalks are now so jammed with vendors that it’s easier for pedestrians to compete with cars and buses on the roads, unrestricted parking on side streets often makes it difficult for other vehicles to pass, the BTS and MRT are packed for much of the day and night, and queues are everywhere. Then there’s the fast-rising cost of everything from food and accommodation to travel and all kinds of daily necessities, the more frequent blackouts, the slower Internet, the noise and pollution of day and night construction, and the rudeness and impatience of people as frustration amplified by the heat sets in. Some may blame the political stand-off and the ineffectiveness of a ‘caretaker’ government for Bangkok’s ills. But the BMA officials remain above politics and show little inclination to ease the city’s woes. Neither do the police who nonetheless continue to harass motorcyclists and tourists suspected (mostly incorrectly) of wrongdoings. Where’s the authority? Where are the plans to improve things? Where are the parks and the skywalks promised by the Governor? What’s happening to our once much-loved Bangkok?
Bye to ‘iconic’ Eugenia ONE of Bangkok’s most iconic boutique hotels, The Eugenia, located on Sukhumvit 31, has closed. It is believed that the site will be redeveloped, but the recent downturn in tourists may have contributed to the closure. Although tourist arrivals in Thailand declined 4% in the first two months of the year, Bangkok suffered a much bigger fall due to the political situation.
Publisher Colin Hastings email@example.com MANAGiNG editor Adam Purcell firstname.lastname@example.org editor Nina Hastings email@example.com AssistANt editor Chutinanta Boonyamarn firstname.lastname@example.org sAles & MArketiNG MANAGer Rojjana Rungrattwatchai email@example.com AccouNt executive Thana Pongsaskulchoti firstname.lastname@example.org AccouNtiNG MANAGer Saranya Choeyjanya email@example.com Art & ProductioN Arthawit Pundrikapa, Jaran Lakawat PhotoGrAPhy Mini Bike Gang, David Heischrek and WJ coNtributiNG Writers Anette Pollner, Johanna DeKoning, Judith Coulson, Maxmilian Wechsler, Paul Hewitt
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We are now on Twitter. Find out what’s happening around town, which events to attend, parties to be seen at, and read all the juicy gossip! Follow us at ‘TheBigChilliMag’ No part of this magazine may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without prior written permission from The BigChilli Co., Ltd. The opinions and views of the writers are not necessarily the views of the publishers. All details are deemed correct at the time of print, the publisher, the editor, employees and contributors can not be held responsible for any errors, inaccuracies or omissions that may occur. The editor reserves the right to accept, reject or amend any submitted artwork, photographs, illustrations and manuscripts. The BigChilli welcomes unsolicited contributions but assumes no responsibility for the safe-keeping or return of such materials damaged or lost in transit.
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■ MOST long-term, farang Singhtarua fans would have been deeply disappointed to see the arch-pessimist, Tommie Duncan, chosen to represent our views in last month’s BigChilli. Mr Duncan is well-known for his bleak outlook: as early as the ﬁrst game, with nine new players to bed in and after a decent draw with a strengthened PTT, he was already predicting the worst. He talked about signing Korean players he had never heard of but how many Korean players outside of the top European leagues and the TPL has anybody heard of? So far, especially centre back, Lee Sang Ho, they are performing well. He was also calling for the head of coach Dusit, which was ludicrous given that he had guided us into the TPL against the pre-season odds, bringing in the Thai League’s top scorer Leandro as well as some judicious loan-signings. Dusit has earned the right to try and keep us up. There are a number of Port fans who see up to 30 games a season, home and away, with far more balanced views you could have called upon to comment on our TPL prospects. In the light of this, it is gratifying to see Port top of the TPL, although most fans know it may not last for long. We do not look out of place so far but will certainly face sterner tests as the season develops. However, relegation is far from the certainty Mr Duncan gloomily implied. Optimistic Lion
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CORRECTION: OUT TO LUNCH
■ IN last month’s issue we listed the lunch deal at Le Beaulieu French Restaurant as being B995++ for two courses. That should have read three-courses. Sorry Chef Herve! Here, for anyone who missed it, is the restaurant’s lunch promotion (now correct) in full: • Daily lunch hours from 11.30am-3pm. Three-course Business Lunch Set at B695++; three-course Executive Lunch Set at B995++. A Le Brunch option is also available (entrée-soup-ﬁsh-meat-dessert). Three-courses at B1,250++, four-courses at B1,750++. Athénée Tower (Ground floor), 63 Wireless Road. Tel: 02 168 8220 www.le-beaulieu.com
GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS ■ Hi BigChilli, I was delighted to learn that this year you will host your very ﬁrst Expat Entrepreneur Awards. I picked up last month’s issue and took great pleasure in reading about the interesting businesses up for nomination – the scope of business savvy on show in the Kingdom certainly is amazing, and the entrepreneurs you feature deserve all the recognition they can get. While I’ve long since retired, I look forward to reading more about these talented business people and living vicariously through their inspiring tales. James, Bangkok
STORIES THAT MATTER ■ I NOTICED your magazine was mentioned in a few international newspapers last month in regards to a story Maxmilian Wechsler wrote about the fake passport industry in Thailand, which featured in your magazine in 2012 (the stories all concerned the fate of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 and focused on the fact that fake passports were used by two of the passengers). Catching up with Maxmilian’s work via your website, I’ve realized that he’s a shrewd reporter who tackles tough topics that you wouldn’t ﬁnd in most other lifestyle magazines in Bangkok. Forget watches, cars, and foie gras, investigative reports which expose wrongdoing are the real stories that matter. Please keep up the good work. Peter, Bangkok
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Expat investors face new fears over “illegal” fund Claims of Ponzi scheme by Australian press ■ ONE year after the calamitous fall of the LMIM property fund in Australia, dozens of Thailand-based expats are now anxiously waiting for assurances about the security of their investments in a litigation fund which is said to be illegal. The claims of fraud come from the respected financial website Offshore Alert and the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, which allege that Cayman Islands-registered Centaur Litigation, owned by British businessman Brendan Terrill, “appears to be a Ponzi scheme.” Terrill runs Centaur Litigation through another of his companies, Hong Kong-based Buttonwood Legal Capital. Litigation funding bankrolls law suits in return for a share of the proceeds of the dispute if it is successful. The website and newspaper have questioned the money used to fund legal cases, alleging that it comes through a web of tax haven funds that offer ‘’too-good-to-be-true’’ returns. According to several Bangkok investors spoken to by the BigChilli, these returns have been as high as 12 percent per annum. Buttonwood recently moved its headquarters from Hong Kong
to Sydney, Australia, and an internal audit of its financial records is underway. Two Australian directors have been added to its board. In Thailand, independent financial advisers (IFAs) have promoted Centaur Litigation and Buttonwood to expat investors with promises of consistently high returns. One IFA announced that the funds had proved so popular with investors, Argentum Capital had been encouraged to sign up and back additional legal cases. Last month, some Bangkok IFAs headed to Australia to clarify Buttonwood’s status. Meanwhile, the Sydney Morning Herald has reported that Australia’s Attorney-General George Brandis has said the involvement of law firms with litigation funders caused “conflicts of interest and moral hazards”. In another development, the Channel Islands Securities Exchange recently suspended the listing of litigation fund Argentum Capital after OffshoreAlert exposed it as part of 90 million pound Ponzi scheme. • Victim of the LMIM scandal – how one expat lost his life savings, page 12.
Fees down, but UK passport applicants face new process ■ FEES for new UK passports are being reduced for overseas applicants – but the new application procedure has upset some UK citizens. From April 7, 2014, fees have come down by £45 for adults and £28.50 for children. The new fees are: Adult 32-page passport £83.00. Child 32-page passport £53.00. Jumbo 48-page passport £91.00 (Child and Adult). Overseas applicants have a financial advantage over their UK-based counterparts as they get only a £5 reduction on their passport fee. At the same time, British nationals in Thailand who apply for a new passport will now be required to submit their applications, in person by appointment only, to the new UK Visa Application Centre at the Trendy Office Building, Sukhumvit Soi 13. Previously, Brits were required to send their passport application by post to Hong Kong. The new procedure has angered UK citizens who live upcountry in Thailand as they will face a costly journey to submit the application and a second journey to collect the new passport. More information: www.gov.uk/overseas-passports www.gov.uk/ overseas-passports
The LMIM collapse: One year later, an investor speaks out
“I was completely shattered, my life in ruins”
Dozens of expats in Thailand lost their life savings when the huge Australian property fund went into voluntary liquidation in March 2013. The collapse of LMIM had a devastating effect on many of these investors who had been led to believe their money was being managed by a company that was strictly regulated and boasted a successful 14-year track record. One of the victims of this financial fiasco recalls how he was persuaded to invest in the fund and the terrible moment he was told by his independent financial adviser (IFA) that all of his money had gone. ■ JUST over a year ago, on March 19, 2013, longtime Bangkok expatriate Roy Fox received a telephone call at his home that would change his life forever. It was, he says, the call that one always reads about and dreads, but never expects. The caller was an independent financial adviser (IFA), a fellow Brit and Bangkok resident to whom Roy had entrusted a substantial portion of the savings he had carefully built up during a 40-year career spent working in Europe and Asia. “I’ve got something to tell you,” said the caller, somewhat nervously. “What’s up, Mike?” asked Roy. “I’m afraid I have some bad news. I have to tell you that LM Investment Management (LMIM) has gone into voluntary liquidation.” Roy froze. He recognized instantly the name LMIM, and he knew exactly what “voluntary liquidation” meant. But as much as he tried to deny to himself such a possibility, it was fast dawning on him that the money he had been advised to invest in LMIM, a A$3 billion property fund set up in Australia’s Gold Coast in
1997 by New Zealander Peter Drake, may have gone. And in one gut-wrenching moment, Roy saw his well-laid plans for a comfortable, secure retirement vanish into thin air. “I was completely shattered, my life in ruins,” he says. After an embarrassed pause, Mike rang off. As the boss of one of the financial advisory companies that had been marketing LMIM in Thailand for several years, it was his job to repeat this same conversation to the many other expatriate clients whom he had also persuaded to put their savings into this now-defunct fund. During the following months, LMIM’s spectacular collapse was the subject of intense media scrutiny along with drawnout investigations by Australia’s corporate watchdogs. Some serious finger-pointing at those believed responsible for the loss of so much money was carried out by administrators both here in Thailand and in Australia as anxious
investors searched hopefully for ways to reduce their losses while trying to come to terms with their worst financial nightmare. One year later, far from resolving anything, the investigations appear to have all but dried up. Peter Drake has faced nothing worse than having his passport seized and certain assets frozen. There’s even an unconfirmed report of him resuming his career in finance. Most disturbingly, though, it looks increasingly likely that investors in LMIM will not even receive a small percentage of their money from the administrators – especially as their savings apparently rank behind the fees of the IFAs, the very same people who recommended the useless investment in the first place. So how did an intelligent, worldly businessman like Roy get involved in LMIM? How was he persuaded to part with the best part of his savings to invest in an ultimately dud company? Trust is the core issue here, says Roy. “You put infinite trust in people like lawyers and doctors, and it’s the same with so-called financial advisers. They speak in the same professional way and you believe in them because they’re very clever at gaining your trust. “Was I that stupid? Should I have believed their promises? These are questions I keep asking myself. My family didn’t believe that we had lost so much of our money. They berated me, that the family’s ‘jewels’ had gone literally in a second. It’s taken me nine months to understand what I did. But like so many others, when I first started investing, I thought it was the correct thing to do.” Roy, who describes his background as “modest, typically British middle class,” says the investment was part of carefully laid plans to provide long term financial security in later life. Retirement is, of course, no longer an option. Now in his 60s, Roy will have to continue working for the rest of his days, due to LMIM’s collapse. “People in their 40s and 50s still have maybe 15 years’ working life to recover their losses. But for those of us in our 60s, close to pensionable age, the bell has gone – our working lives should be over. But we can’t stop working. It’s terrible. We’ve been slaughtered. “The thought of a peaceful, contented time at this stage of my life has been replaced by worry, headaches and fear of financially surviving and getting through day by day.
Roy took the fateful decision to start investing in 2006, two years after ending a lifelong career working for major corporations.“I decided on a completely different career path and financial security was of paramount importance. My new life would mean losing the financial protection a big company had given me – a package that included a regular salary, car and a pension.” He met Mike through friends who recommended him “as a good bloke who could be trusted.” “After further meetings, I decided to take his advice and began investing through his company. Basically I wanted a better return on my savings. My one caveat to Mike was that my principle – my savings – should not be touched. “I told him that I had heard about other people being burned
“For those of us in our 60s, our working lives should be over. But we can’t stop working. It’s terrible. We’ve been slaughtered.” by IFAs, so I was naturally somewhat suspect about the investment. I kept telling Mike to safeguard my money, which, naturally, he agreed to do. Why did Roy choose to go with the LM property fund? “The first thing was the reputation and image of Australia as a safe and heavily regulated investment haven. Originally, I was supposed to be investing in a secure and protected currency fund but somehow my investment ended up in a property fund. At the time I didn’t question this, but today I am suspicious and wonder whether someone was doubling their commission by making the switch. “Anyway, after several meetings, I went along with Mike’s advice, even though the last thing I wanted was to put my money at any kind of risk.” To his credit, Mike was never overbearing in their conversations. “But at the
From The BigChilli, Sept 2013
Expats stand to lose their investments after Australian fund collapses ■ SCORES of expatriates in Thailand who invested in mortgage funds managed by LM Investment Management (LMIM) face losing all their money after the Australianbased company collapsed earlier this year and was placed into the hands of administrators. Most of Thailand’s independent financial advisers (IFAs) are believed to have sold at least one of LMIM’s funds to clients here. They include the Managed Performance Fund (MPF), which is evidently causing the greatest anguish to local investors, although it is still in operation. One expatriate commented: “I am furious, as you can imagine, and I’m not optimistic about getting any of my money back.” Other local investors affected by the collapse – one of the biggest-ever of its kind – include teachers and small business operators. At its peak, LMIM had $3 billion in assets under management across nine funds, operated in 70 countries, with offices in Hong Kong, London, Dubai, Queenstown, Toronto, Johannesburg, Sydney and Bangkok. Its founder, New Zealander Peter Drake, a regular visitor to Bangkok, is now heading for bankruptcy. One local broker estimated the potential total loss to investors in Thailand at $50 million. Drake is said to have taken at least $46 million in loans from LMIM before declaring voluntary insolvency. He owns properties in Australia and Fiji. Meanwhile, it has been reported by The Age newspaper in Melbourne that the financial advisers responsible for selling the now-frozen funds stand to collect commissions before their clients see any return. This is disputed by some Bangkok IFAs.
From The BigChilli, Oct 2013
LM fiasco: Who’s to blame? ■ THEcatastrophiccollapseofLMInvestment Management (LMIM) in Australia continues to send shockwaves through Thailand’s expatriate community, some of whom have lost their life’s savings in the scheme and nowfaceafutureofmonumentaluncertainty. Months after being told their investments were to all intents and purposes worthless, many are still reeling from the shock, unsure whether to blame LM for the failure, the independent financial advisers who sold them the fund or the regulators back in Australia for their negligence in safeguarding investors’ money. Or themselves for being overly trusting. Certainly LM and its head honcho Peter Drake must shoulder much of the responsibility for the collapse of the fund – poor management, unrealistic returns on investment forecast and some questionable loans to its senior personnel. One must also raise the possibility that it increased its commissions in the latter stages of an inevitable collapse in a last-minute attempt to rescue the company. This is speculation only, but the high returns it paid for a while had echoes of a classic ponzi scheme. (Read the rest of this article on thebigchilli.com)
same time he was extremely persuasive,” remembers Roy. “Mike was also enthusiastic about LMIM, using words and phrases that suggested it had a great track record, it was Australian and heavily regulated – in other words, rock solid, like a bank. “I checked with others who had invested in LMIM and they too believed we’d be looked after. “We were promised good returns on our investment, and the only proviso was that after one year, the rate of interest could be changed. “During mid-2011, LMIM offered us a three-year term with annual returns of
“These same IFAs are still running around in fancy cars and enjoying an enviable lifestyle. They’ve not suffered at all. There’s no remorse, no heart.” 9%. Till then I’d been getting 7-8%. At this stage, nothing looked untoward about LMIM, but, shortly after, the rate we’d been promised dropped from 9% to 8.5%, which I didn’t object to, as I realized that we were dealing with market realism and rates could change. “I didn’t know much about LM’s property fund, but always thought it was officially regulated by Australian authorities. But it wasn’t. One of the biggest accusations today is how Mike and other IFAs were able to sell a fund that was not
regulated and targeted at people nearing a pensionable age. “I understood that the fund was originally set up to generate funds for property mortgages. I had no reason to question it at first since there were no whispers or gossip about its viability. But I did get a horrible sinking feeling, a premonition of sorts, back in 2012 when I suddenly thought of the consequences to me and my future if the fund were to collapse. But my worries soon passed as I continued receiving my monthly interest payments and everything seemed OK.” Did Roy ever check on Peter Drake and his company? “Yes, I checked their website regularly and I talked to friends and other investors. Nobody expressed any kind of concern. “I never saw the company’s financial results nor did I have any idea how the fund was performing. If I was a financial sort of person, an economist or accountant, which I’m not, I would probably have asked to see the company’s bank statements and audited accounts. That’s why I employ a financial adviser – to do these things for me. And I trust what they tell me.” Yet there were signals that not all was right with LMIM. Explains Roy: “Sometime in July 2012, I received an email from them, mentioning late interest payments and return on capital. The following day Mike called me and tried to cover up the email’s contents. I challenged him, but he merely brushed off my worries, saying LMIM sent it out by mistake. “Nothing happened and everything seemed normal right up until the day I received that call from Mike telling me the game was over. LMIM had collapsed. I was mortified. My lifetime savings had gone. “Over the next few months, the situation was given a positive spin by LMIM on its website and by Mike, who was very confident that we’d get back at least 50% of our money. This was cold comfort but it did offer a glimmer of hope that I’d recover some of my investment. “Later, the administrators put out a bulletin saying that LMIM had very little in assets and what it did have was hyped, overvalued and misrepresented.” From today’s perspective, what does Roy make of LMIM and its property investments? “In my mind, the fund was nothing more than a ponzi scheme – a complete fiasco.”
Roy is one of many expatriates based in Thailand who committed money to LMIM through a number of local IFAs. In his case, the sum involved was substantially more than half his savings. Others put in huge sums, as much as half a million US dollars or more, while some invested smaller amounts that were nevertheless painful to lose. For Roy, his experience raises many questions. For example, did any of the IFAs really check what LMIM was doing and how it was performing? “It seems either they couldn’t or didn’t want to,” is his assessment. “The entire episode is scandalous. I feel very deceived and very angry. The IFAs behind LMIM should together be made accountable. “Looking back now, it appears from information provided by the LM Investor Victim Centre that LMIM was already in trouble back in 2009, so why didn’t the IFAs take heed of it? “Also, looking back, I don’t know how I got sucked in. Nor do other investors I’ve spoken to. We’re all at a loss to explain.” Roy, who says he eventually managed to get a small apology out of Mike, now suggests that the term IFA is misleading. “They don’t advise – they just sell. They have no ethics, and when things go wrong, they’re all over the place. “But these same IFAs are still running around in fancy cars and enjoying an enviable lifestyle. They’ve not suffered at all. There’s no remorse, no heart. I sincerely believe they should give back the commissions to help compensate investors. But I also know it won’t happen.” What about Mike – is it possible that he knew about LMIM’s impending collapse? “Peter Drake was apparently in Bangkok on several occasions so some of these IFAs must have had a close relationship with the mother company and surely they would have inquired about the fund’s performance?” Even Roy admits that may not be the case. “The IFAs were still selling LMIM the day before the fund collapsed,” he says. “For me, that’s real incompetence.” The administrators appointed to handle LMIM have added to the furore. In its report, FTI Consulting said: “From our investigations to date, there is evidence to indicate the company may have traded
whilst insolvent for a period and entered into certain transactions that may be voidable against a liquidator.” With both his capital and monthly payments gone, Roy was unable to meet various financial obligations. As a result, he was forced to take out expensive loans to pay for bills – a situation he thought he’d never have to face. The effect was devastating. “I lost confidence in myself, got sick and couldn’t work for several months. One’s belief in self-judgment is shattered. All my plans about retirement, taking time off to travel and relax – they’re all gone. “Now I have to watch every penny. I feel very bitter. And I’ll have to work forever. “Luckily, I don’t have children. Other investors in LMIM do – so how are they going to pay when their kids are halfway through schooling or university? They’ve been slaughtered overnight.” Roy is not optimistic about clawing back any of his money. Since the fund was not designed for Australian nationals, he believes the authorities there are not really interested in the situation and would prefer to sweep it under the carpet. Today, he is still trying to come to terms with his losses and what they have done to his life. Many questions still need to be asked, he believes. For instance, was LMIM ever properly audited? Wasn’t its board of directors aware of its precarious position?” He also wonders out loud why IFAs operating here are not strictly regulated as they are back in the UK. “And how can they be permitted to market an unregulated fund to expatriates and people nearing their pensionable age? “It beggars belief,” says Roy. He’s also critical of the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), which issued a statement in April of last year revealing that the LMIM fund was unregistered. “This is a real disgrace,” he adds. Amazingly, Roy still gets several calls a week from IFAs. Nowadays he knows exactly how to handle them. For more information about LMIM, go to https://sites.Google/site/investorvictimcentre *Names in this article have been changed
IFA: How to ‘safely’ invest in Australia This is how one financial planner in Thailand marketed the property fund, stressing that Australia has “some of the world’s best performing property markets” and adding that LMIM “has a track record of managing returns in this asset class for more than 14 years.” • Since the fund’s collapse in March last year, the administrators FTI Consulting have charged $2.4 million in fees, or $130,000 a week. Disbursements came to another $2 million. • Action against LMIM’s other directors – Francene Mulder, Katherine Phillips and Eghard Van Der Hoven – is being considered. • EuroWeekly has reported that in Spain “hundreds if not thousands” of expats living on their investments were caught up in the scam, with many now having no money to live on. • Cyprus-based IFA Scott Kennedy persuaded 180 people to invest in LMIM while pocketing 10 percent commission on the deals, according to the Daily Record newspaper. But Kennedy, 54, insisted that his commission of £1million has been put back into a pot to help investors with legal fees. He says he lost a £355,000 investment in the collapse.
Dealing with a company crisis Negative publicity can’t be avoided, but it can be limited. PR consultant Kittima Sethi explains how ■ BAD news is inevitable and can happen to any individual and any organization. Unfortunately, bad news travels fast and, in this viral age, it does so at phenomenal speed, travelling the world within minutes via Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. Companies are susceptible to all sorts of crises – natural disasters, product recalls, accidents, technological problems, plant closings, tainted products, malevolence, confrontation between the company and employees, rumors, etc. While you can’t completely avoid negative publicity, you can at least take some steps to prepare yourself should such a situation arise. It is always wise to have preventive measures in place. Planning and preparing for a crisis helps you to stay in control of the situation so you are not running around like a headless chicken. It also minimizes any further damages that are likely to occur. Here are some tips on how to handle a crisis and negative publicity.
Be honest and open
First and foremost, bring the situation into control and inform all your stakeholders. Gather all the facts you have and decide internally what can be shared. Next, state all the facts that you can share with the media and be truthful. Appoint a spokesperson who is available to answer questions that media may have. Ideally, this should be the head of the company. Keep all channels of communication open. If there was a mistake, admit it. Honesty is the best policy when managing bad press. Identify the steps that you or your company are taking to solve the problem. Create an FAQ document to share with the media and customers. Do not wait for them to demand answers as it is your responsibility to open up and state the facts. If you do not have an answer to
a specific question, let the media know. Inform them when you will be able to provide a response and follow up. Remember that the media also have to provide information to their readers and they will try to get that information from whatever sources they can. You want to avoid that. Do not speculate and never say “no comment” as the latter implies you are probably hiding something.
Monitor media and issue regular updates
Set up a team to monitor what the media is reporting. Use various social media channels to post your official statements or press releases and to answer any queries media and customers may have so that others can see as well. You may have to issue statements to quell any false reports or rumors that are being spread. You may also have to set up a 24-hours hotline number and update your website and relevant social media channels. Inform the media when the next statement will be available. Most importantly, do not speak ill of anybody and avoid blaming anybody until you have completed your investigation. Likewise, if there is a negative comment on your product or service on social media, respond to it. This will show readers that you or your company are listening and taking the issue seriously.
Maintain one consistent message
Make sure that your appointed spokesperson is providing the same message to all media. Having multiple spokespersons can cause contradictory messages and confusion among media. Make sure your spokesperson is media-trained and able to confidently handle
media queries. You should also instruct your employees not to talk to the media and make statements without permission.
If your crisis involves lives, be sympathetic. It is important to show care to the individual or the situation related to the crisis. Media is quick to pounce on companies that are apathetic.
Create positive publicity after the crisis
After the crisis has been solved and negative publicity mitigated, you should work on creating positive publicity. A good example were the steps taken by PTT Group after a rupture in the pipeline operated by their subsidiary company, PTT Global Chemical PCL, caused a massive oil spillage in Koh Samed. The company acknowledged the accident, apologized, and immediately embarked on a clean-up exercise to restore the beach area. PTT also compensated local businesses for the damage caused, and partnered with the Tourism Authority of Thailand to launch campaigns and advertisements to attract tourists.
Learn from your mistakes
Lastly, use the crisis as a learning opportunity. Find out what went wrong and what you can do to prevent it from happening again. This will help you prepare and manage similar crises, should they occur, in the future. Kittima Sethi is a PR consultant at Brand Now Co., Ltd.
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 & Travel
• 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.
Send your submissions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Entrepreneur Awards 2014
Recent nominations 9FilmFest Brian Bennett Founder
■ BUDDING filmmakers looking to be recognized in Thailand’s public sector finally found the perfect platform with the arrival of Brian Bennett’s 9FilmFest – a hybrid film fest and film contest which has just finished its third year. Thanks to its easy to enter guidelines (all types of cameras can be used from cell phones to DSLRs), interesting themes, and fabulous prizes, such as 600,000 baht cash and a brand new Toyota Vios, 9FilmFest has proved an important player in supporting creativity in Thailand. www.9filmfest.com
BKK Kids Karmen Chandontrikij Founder
Asia Media Studio Laurent Couche Owner
■ WITH a wide portfolio of Thai and European clients, Asia Media Studio’s services include naming development, logo design, brochure design, packaging design, stationery design, print production, and website design and development. All graphic design work is undertaken in-house in a modern well-appointed studio. “We provide expert advice and creative solutions to help our clients revamp and improve all aspects of their visual communications,” says Laurent, “and our experienced team comprises dedicated professionals with expertise in a range of marketing and creative disciplines who share a common passion for high quality visual and creative work.” www.asiamediastudio.com
■ BKK Kids is a leading online resource for English speaking parents living in or visiting Bangkok. The business connects parents with events, activities, classes, schools, healthcare providers and services to entertain and enrich the lives of children. Parents can search over 500 listings including everything from sports programs and learning specialists to weekend outings. The website’s blog is updated weekly with posts on topics of interest to the community, and advice and guidance on raising bi-lingual, bi-cultural and third culture children in this dynamic city. Says Karmen: “Our Facebook community is the largest of its kind in Thailand and serves as a platform for parents to connect, make friends and gather advice. We provide daily updates on events, activities, topics of interest and questions from the wider community. We welcome and respect all cultures, beliefs and traditions.” www.bkkkids.com www.facebook.com/BKK.Kids
Beer vana Aaron Grieser and Brian Bartusch Founders
WhatsNew Co. Ltd Sarah Huang Co-founder
■ AFTER nine years in the corporate doghouse Australian expat Sarah Huang – a mother of one and a dog owner – broke free to venture out on her own. With help from business partner Harprem Doowa and Ardent Capital, a local venture capital fund led by veteran entrepreneur Adriyn Vanzyl, she launched Thailand’s first vertical e-commerce stores, Petloft.com and Venbi.com. Now with over 5,000 SKU’s, 20,000 customers and hundreds of direct relationships with major brands such as Royal Canine, Unicharm, Nestle, Betagrow and Nike, Venbi and Petloft have become leading e-commerce stores for baby and pet essentials. “We started out with 12 employees working from the top of a coffee shop struggling to make our first 1,000 dollars, which took 30 days.” says Sarah. “One year later we are bringing in 100k with a staff of 12 overlooking the central business district of Bangkok from a high-rise. “Unlike other start-ups interested in flipping and selling, we’re concentrating on winning the market and building a sustainable business. We operate in a lean startup environment and we’re conscious on how we spend investor’s money. We’re working on achieving profitability and plan to expand into Indonesia and the Philippines.” www.petloft.com www.venbi.com www.whatsnew.asia
■ TWO fates collided when home-brewers and beer fanatics Aaron Grieser and Brian Bartusch met at a food festival in Spring of 2012. Realizing their mutual love of all things craft beer, the two joined forces to create Thailand’s first craft beer importing company, Beervana (see “Prepping for a Craft Beer Explosion: Beervana”, p.46 of The BigChilli January 2013). Since launching Thailand’s first craft beers, it can be safely said that Beervana started a movement. Whereas only a few years ago Bangkok was a virtual beer desert, today the city is awash with great craft beer, including many imported by new beer distributors following in Beervana’s footsteps. And Beervana remains at the vanguard. “We are a mission driven company, and we have two missions,” says Aaron. “We are here to help lead a vibrant beer scene in Thailand, and to have the most fun doing it.” Innovation is clearly part of Beervana’s secret sauce: from Thailand’s first brewing and beer judging courses, to experiments with a tech-centric self-pour draft beer wall, to the launch of Beervana’s new smartphone app ‘BEERME.’ “We don’t just want to do something new for Thailand, though” Aaron explains. “We want to make Thailand a hub for beer innovation in the world.” www.seekbeervana.com
Smiling Albino Daniel B. Fraser Adventurer-in-Chief
■ SMILING ALBINO is a luxury adventure and tour company in Thailand founded by Daniel Fraser, an entrepreneur and television host from shows like Long Krung (Thai PBS) and Farang Song Thai (Ch 5). Daniel’s Tourism Authority of Thailand video went viral and won a film award in Germany, and helped Daniel win MThai media’s “Most Talked about media personality” in 2014. Smiling Albino is a team of travel enthusiasts in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Nepal. Adventures are built from continuous travel, innovation and refinement. “We host billionaires, celebrities and discerning travelers seeking an authentic, original experience,” says Daniel. “Through community-based tourism and industry-leading ethical touring standards, Smiling Albino connects socially-conscious travelers with the real life of the peoples of SE Asia. We don’t just connect dots, we create them.” www.smilingalbino.com
HotelQuickly Christian Mischler Co-Founder
■ HOTELQUICKLY is one of the largest and most popular last-minute hotel booking apps in Asia Pacific. Launched only one year ago, the app now features more than 2,000 hotels in 12 countries and is fully localized to six languages including Thai, Vietnamese, Bahasa, traditional and simplified Chinese, and English. The app is available for free for iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry 10 devices. Each day, only the 10 best deals are shown per destination. All hotels are of the three to five-star segment, and more than 100 destinations are available to date. “The room rates on HotelQuickly are on average ca. 25-30% cheaper than the cheapest flash deal online,” says Christian. “HotelQuickly guarantees the lowest price or else refunds twice the difference.” HotelQuickly App Co. Ltd. is a BOI certified company registered in Thailand. The entire IT development is being done out of Thailand, serving the region. The head office, including four out of five co-founders, is based in Bangkok (Silom). Total headcount is around 20. www.hotelquickly.com
Andovar Conor Bracken CEO
■ ORIGINALLY from Dublin, Ireland, Conor first came to Thailand in 1993 and fell in love with the country and became fluent in Thai. Like many newcomers, his first job was as an English teacher but when Internet and email came to Thailand he saw the opportunity to create a translation company using websites and email to connect clients and translators around the world while leveraging the lower costs of living here. Lacking his own source of funding, he set up his first translation company as a minority shareholder in conjunction with the largest English language school at the time; and later joined forces with one of the largest “portals” during the dotcom heyday. In 2006, he struck out on his own and with the backing of the Thai Board of Investment founded Andovar, a full-service translation and localization provider which handles not only all types of text translations, but also audio recording (with on-site recording studios), subtitling, desktop publishing and Flash engineering in all languages. Since then, the company has been growing at a steady pace with additional offices in Medellin (Colombia), Singapore, Miami, and this year a new production facility in Kolkata, India. Conor is also a founding director of the Irish-Thai Chamber of Commerce. www.andovar.com
Web Courses Bangkok Carl Heaton Managing Director
■ CARL is well known in Bangkok for his dry Northern English humor and ubiquitous social media presence, but above all else, it is his drive and vision in helping to put Bangkok firmly on the map as a venue for web and graphic design training that best reflects his entrepreneurial vision. Like a lot of expats in Thailand, Carl started out teaching English and IT. But it was while working as a project manager for a small web design company that his entrepreneurial spirit came to the fore. Frustrated by the lack of web design skills among local businesses in Bangkok, Carl combined his knowledge of IT and his teaching experience to set up Web Courses Bangkok (WCB). Driven by Carl’s high standards and attention to detail, WCB grew rapidly from a humble beginning with just one staff to become a leader in the field of IT training, offering courses in web design, graphic design and online marketing. WCB’s clients include everyone from homegrown startups to Coca Cola and the United Nations. Now an officially accredited school and internationally recognized training centre, WCB will soon be the only web training center to offer Education Visas and the company has recently expanded to include a design agency and jobs portal. www.webcoursesbangkok.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 email@example.com
Gourmet p Wine and restaurant news
The Shangri-La Hotel's Salathip Thai Restaurant is just one of the many venues offering a great deal this summer. Page 46.
Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Cooking A round up of this monthâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s best gourmet deals. Yummy! Page 24
Meet the chef The Coffee Club's Executive Chef shares his culinary secrets Page 32
Our favourite restaurants reviewed and listed Page 44 TheBigChilli
Bangkok’s hottest dining deals and news
New set lunches at Tenderloins and Bistro 33
Sukhumvit 33 ☎ 02 258 4529
International | Available now | : tenderloins33.com GREAT value set lunches await at Tenderloins Sports Bar & Steakhouse and its sister restaurant, Bistro 33. Daily from 11am-5pm, Tenderloins serves up a two-course menu featuring a choice of soup or salad followed by a main (with delicious options like Australian rib-eye/Black Angus, Roast leg of lamb, Reuben sandwich, and more), capped with coffee, tea or ice cream for just B300+. Bistro 33, meanwhile, offers a daily threecourse set lunch from 11am-4pm priced B250+ for pizza/pasta selections and B350+ for steak and burger selections. An all-youcan-eat pastry buffet will start in May.
257/1-3 Charoennakorn Rd. ☎ 02 476 0022
International | Apr 13 | : bangkokriverdining.com A LONGTIME expat favourite, the Sunday Brunch at Trader Vic’s, Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort & Spa, is renowned for its sumptuous spread of international cuisines. So the promise that the Songkran (Thai New Year) buffet will be even bigger and better has certainly whet our appetites – especially as it’s a veritable bargain at just B1,699++ per person with free-flow soft drinks; B2,499++ with selected cocktails, draught beer, red, white and sparkling wines; and B3,999++ per person with a freeflow open bar with champagne. On Apr 13 and 14, a special BBQ Dinner Buffet with live entertainment will also be held at the resort’s Riverside Terrace. B1,250++ per person (add B799++ for free-flow wine and beer).
Easter Sunday Brunch
1695 Phaholyothin Rd. ☎ 02 541 1087
Wine journeys at St Regis
159 Rajadamri Rd. ☎ 02 207 7777
International | Apr 20 | : centarahotelsresorts.com/CGLB
International | Monthly | : stregisbangkok.com
LOOKING for an Easter Sunday feast at great value? Check out Chatuchak Café at Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok. The restaurant’s special Easter Sunday brunch will feature an array of festive dishes such as roast lamb, glazed ham, Easter sausage and egg pie, along with sweet treats like chocolate bunnies, hot-cross buns and muffins. B1,100++ per person (free for kids under 6).
ONE of Bangkok’s best kept secrets, the monthly wine buffets at Decanter (an elegant wine lounge at St. Regis Bangkok) are a must visit for anyone wanting to experience distinguished wines at great value for money. Working with different wine suppliers, each month up until December Decanter will feature selected labels from a different country of the world – April is Austria, May is Italy, and June is South Africa. Available every Thurs, Fri and Sat from 7pm-10pm, the wine buffet is just B1,200++ per person and includes free-flow prosecco, rose, sparkling, red and white wines alongside unlimited cheese and cold cuts. What’s more, every second Wednesday of the month Chef Bastian Mantey cooks up a four-course degustation menu with wine pairings at B3,500++ per person.
A birthday buffet treat
Sukhumvit 22 ☎ 02 261 9000
International | Until Dec 30 | : queensparkdining.com THE older you are, the better at The Imperial Queen’s Park Hotel’s Parkview Restaurant. Celebrate your birthday month at the restaurant’s daily buffet dinner, a lavish spread of international and Thai cuisines, and you’ll receive discount on your food bill equivalent to your age. Deal applies to a maximum group of six persons – additional guests receive 25 percent discount. Passport or ID card must be presented to staff upon arrival. B1,600 per person for food only; add B700 for free-flow beer, wine and Champagne.
After work wine
919 Petchburi Rd. ☎ 02 257 3999
International | Until June 30 |: glowbyzinc.com/pratunam TWO-hours of free-flow selected wines are now available daily at Luna Sky Garden Cafe, Glow Pratunam Hotel. Among the selections: Bin 222 Chardonnay 2011 (Australia), Bin 999 Shiraz 2011 (Australia), and Mar Y Sol Merlot 2011 (Chile). B650++ per person. A snack platter for two is also available. Promotion valid from 5pm-10.30pm.
Regional favourites at Moments Thai | Until Apr 30 |: aetashotels.com
ANYONE who’s travelled extensively in Thailand will know that the country’s cuisine varies from region to region, with a wide variety of soups, curries, salads, and desserts to be found the length and breadth of the country. This month you can sample some of the most popular at Moments Restaurant, AETAS Bangkok Hotel, which is offering a special lunch buffet featuring spicy north-eastern foods, piquant northern dips and salads, fiery southern curries, and palate soothing desserts, plus a selection of international cuisines for the less adventurous. B450++ per person with coffee or tea. Rama IV Road Suckling pig specials 946 ☎ 02 200 9000
Chinese | Until Apr 30 | : dusitthanibangkok.dusit.com DUSIT Thani Bangkok’s Cantonese Restaurant, The Mayflower, is serving up a special menu of suckling pig dishes this month, including mouth-watering highlights such as Hong Kong-style golden barbecued suckling pig; and Stir-fried pork with Hong Kong Noodles and X.O. sauce served with either Shao Xing Chinese Spirit or matching wine. Prices start at B3,000++.
All in French taste French cuisine, wine and art
Wireless Rd. ☎ 02 650 8800
French | May 10 | : plazaatheneebangkok.com CREATIVE French cuisine, fine wines and quirky art are being brought together for a special dinner at The Reflexions Restaurant, Plaza Athénée Bangkok. A five-course menu, specially created for the evening by Chef Daniel Bucher, will be paired with the finest wines from Rhône Valley’s Maison Paul Jaboulet Aîné, while adding plenty of visual flair will be the captivating paintings of Dutch modern art master Mondrian. B3,850 net per person.
Soi Ruamrudee ☎ 02 618 9000
8-2 Rangnam Rd.
☎ 02 680 9999
French | May 27-31 | : pullmanbangkokkingpower.com CHEF Gilles Reinhardt of L’Auberge du Pont de Collonges, Paul Bocuse’s three-Michelin Star restaurant in Lyon, France, is coming to town next month for a guest stint at Pullman Bangkok King Power’s Wine Pub (read our review of the restaurant on page 40). Bringing along fresh Lyonnais produce, he will prepare a gourmet four-course set dinner menu to share (including Paul Bocuse’s renowned Black Truffle Soup V.G.E), priced B4,888 per set. A gala dinner will be held on May 28, priced B5,600 per person.
Gourmet scrapbook Last month’s foodie functions in focus
French wine journey at Decanter
PREMIUM wines from the Castel Group, France, were officially introduced to Thailand at a fabulous wine dinner hosted by Siam Winery at Decanter, St. Regis Bangkok. Part of Siam Winery’s bourgeoning ‘World of Wines’ portfolio, the wines being imported from the Castel Group include Maison Louis Girard Chablis, Chateau Cavalier, Chateau D’Arcins, and Chateau Ferrande. These were served on the night alongside a specially prepared meal featuring highlights such as Shoe lobster poached “Provençal” with green asparagus, and Wagyu roast beef with potato gratin and onion jam. The verdict? Simply delicious. Read about Decanter’s upcoming wine journeys on page 24.
Sensi Italian Wine Dinner
THE rich history and tradition of Italy’s Sensi Wines was presented to a large group of wine lovers at Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkok’s Silver Waves Restaurant, which hosted a special dinner, specially created to pair with the wines, by Executive Chef Andrew Brown. Introducing the wines on the night was Sensi’s winemaker, Mr John Pesci.
"For A Healthy Life Style"
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Chef Herve’s wine and cheese party
FRIENDS and guests of Le Beaulieu run by Chef Herve enjoyed a “Wine & Cheese’ party in the restaurant’s Le Bar recently. The evening’s line-up also included a selection of gourmet canapés and cool music by the resident deejay.
All about Italian wine at Aldo’s
ALDO’S Mediterranean Bistro and Wine Bar at the Cascade Club hosted a wine dinner featuring a selection of superb Italian wines at its poolside salas. Manager David Williamson welcomed friends old and new at this regular event.
Chef in focus|James Bradbury Favourite cooking utensils? Polyscience equipment and my BBQ.
Best thing you ate in 2013? Braised rabbit and macaroni bake, followed by Philippa Sibley’s lemon tart, at Albert Street Food & Wine, Melbourne, Australia.
SERVING UP James Bradbury
The Coffee Club’s executive chef shares his culinary secrets
What’s your cooking philosophy? To offer simple café cooking with modern presentation at great value for money, so everyone can eat my food. Best thing about being a chef? I travel frequently and get to research while working. It’s an endless search for the best food around the world, which inspires my recipe creation and menu development.
Your proudest achievement? Winning Dux of the year at Le Cordon Bleu Adelaide, and using my many years of experience to add variety and excitement to The Coffee Club menus around the world. Most inﬂuential chefs? I’ve worked with lots of great chefs and can’t thank Mark Williamson (London) and Joseph Fiderling (Melbourne) enough for What’s your their inﬂuence on my signature dish? cooking style. Eggs benedict with quality bread, soft What’s your poached eggs, worst kitchen hollandaise sauce, and disaster? smoked salmon. Knocking over a trolley of food prepared specially for a VIP function at the Melbourne Cup – an hour before service!
What advice would you give to wannabe chefs? Cooking is all about passion for food, striving for perfection, service, and dedication to the hospitality industry. Without passion it’s hard to persevere through the long hours, tough conditions, and to fulﬁll your personal satisfaction in the kitchen. Biggest culinary myth? Cooking the perfect poached egg. Favourite ingredient? Eggs. It's amazing what you can do with the humble egg.
About the Chef
■ COOKING is a lifestyle and passion for James, who leads the global culinary team at The Coffee Club Thailand. Drawing inspiration from the contemporary café scene in Australia as well as many years of international cooking experience – including stints in Australia, London, Thailand, China, and Middle East – Chef James prides himself on creating comfortable breakfast, brunch, and all day dining dishes with an Australian twist. He holds a Diploma Culinary d ’Hotelier from Le Cordon Bleu, including Dux of the year. The Coffee Club (various outlets in Thailand)
☎ 02 253 6382, :facebook.com/thecoffeeclubthailand
Recipe of the month Ahi Poke Enjoy classic Pacific Rim cuisine at home by following this simple-yet-delicious recipe from Trader Vic’s Restaurant Ingredients (Serves 1) • 80g diced Tuna • 50g mashed Avocado • 10g soy sauce • 10g chopped shallot • 5g chopped chilli • 5g lime juice • 1pc taro chip
Method 1. Inside a mixing bowl, mix together the soy sauce, chopped chilli, chopped shallot and diced tuna until all the ingredients are well combined. 2. Carefully spoon the mixed ingredients into an iced glass before adding lime juice to the top. 3. Decorate the dish by adding mashed avocado on the top, and ﬁnish by inserting the taro chip. Bon appetite!
Chef behind the recipe: Aurélien Poirot
t Chef Aurélien Poiro 34
FEW chefs can claim to have as much Michelin star experience as Chef Aurélien Poirot. As soon as he graduated from the renowned Ecole Hôtelière Ferrandi in his native Paris, he quickly earned his culinary stripes by joining Chef Alain Dutournier’s one Michelin star restaurant, Au Trou Gascon, before going on to work for the chef ’s two Michelin star restaurant, Carre des Feuillants. Keen to develop his career and learn as much as possible, he then ventured out to further his skills by taking up positions cooking for reputable chefs such as Chef Alain Ducasse (Il Cortile in Paris), Chef Michel Del Burgo (Taillevent in Paris), Chef Jean-Louis Nomicos (Restaurant Lasserre), and Chef Yannick Alleno (Hotel le Meurice). What’s more, in 2006, Chef Aurélien joined three Michelin star Chef Alain Senderens, a forerunner of nouvelle cuisine, to form the opening team of the Soﬁtel Brussels, whose signature restaurant, Spud’s, was voted (just after a year) the ‘Second Best Hotel Restaurant in Brussels’ by the prestigious ‘Guide Lemaire,’ with 95/100 points. Prior to joining Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort & Spa as Executive Chef, where he oversees 10 restaurants and bars including Trader Vic's, Chef Aurélien was Executive Chef at a leading Bangkok hotel. Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort & Spa. 257/1-3 Charoennakorn Rd. 02 476 0022 :bangkok-riverside.anantara.com
cut out and keep
Review|aLL Six To Twelve
aLL Six To Twelve Café & Social Bar
Thai cuisine is given a modern twist at this hip new hangout on Sukhumvit 39
BUILDING on the success of their first aLL Six To Twelve on Soi Langsuan, creative restaurateurs Kade Kulsuri Chaiyanoppakul and Pol Pornpot Kanpetch have now opened a second branch of the restaurant at 39 Boulevard community mall. More than just an extension of the original venue, which is built around the concept of ‘dining at the house of a close friend,’ the new operation takes its cue from trendy warehouse conversions as found in New York’s Manhattan Island – think high ceiling, wooden beams, polished concrete, and minimal décor (in this case, old copies of the Bangkok Post, pulped and pasted papier mâchéstyle to the restaurant’s walls; and rusty corrugated metal sheets arranged as an eye-catching backdrop to the bar). It also offers a range of dishes not available at the parent venue, including an a la carte breakfast menu brimming with tasty, great-value eats such as Kanom Pung
Kai Luak (Runny eggs with toasted home-made bread. B75) and Congee with Onsen Egg (B75), alongside creative options like Spicy Capellini with shredded pork (spicy spaghetti for breakfast? Yes! And it’s delicious. B95). Innovation isn’t just reserved for breakfast though; arrive at any time during the restaurant’s operations (daily from 6am-midnight, hence the restaurant’s name) and you can select from an a la carte menu loaded with novel takes on familiar Thai and international dishes. Northern & Esan Style Sausages (B125), for instance, pack all the flavour of traditional Thai sausages while reducing the fat, and Moji lab ped (B85) takes Spicy minced duck meat with sticky rice and gives it a visual and tasty new kick – encasing the meat within a sticky rice patty that’s shallow-fried to crispy effect. Satay steak (B410), meanwhile, sees the typical meat-on-a-stick street-side favourite go ‘stickless,’ with the grilled
41 G floor, 39 Boulevard Tower A, Soi Promjit, Sukhumvit Soi 39. Open daily 6am-Midnight.
pork presented, instead, like a steak, albeit one that’s cut into strips and drizzled with a thick satay sauce. Other highlights include Seafood on the rocks (B260), a salad brimming with squid, prawns, mussels and more deep-sea bites; Braised pork a la mode (B180), which is soft and subtle; and Jumbo Crab Sandwich (B250), whose toasted homemade bread is sliced down the middle and packed to bursting with meat. Offering something for everyone, the restaurant is family friendly during the day before morphing into an after-work hangout at night. Fuelling the fun into the later hours is a cocktail menu featuring innovative mixes such as the white-rum-based Ice Scream (B280), which comes with an ice pop melting into it; and the party-starting Six To Twelve Bomb (B320) – an explosive mix of gin, rum, vodka, tequila, midori, Blue Curaçao, strawberry liqueur, and lime. “Boom! Shake the room,” anyone?
02 160 0311 :facebook.com/allsixtotwelve
Coconut Terrace Review
Enjoy family-style platters and sharing portions at Ramada Plaza Bangkok Menam Riverside’s poolside restaurant
THE Ramada Plaza Bangkok Menam Riverside Hotel recently underwent a makeover which has seen the property spruce up its rooms, modernise its facilities, and retool its already popular bars and restaurants. The results are a boon for us diners, of course, because this means we get to enjoy new menus in new-look venues while still relishing the hotel’s superb riverside ambience. One of the latest developments at the hotel is the re-opening of its Coconut Terrace, an intimate al fresco restaurant located in a leafy courtyard next to the hotel’s pool, which has arrived back on the scene with a brand new a la carte menu specially designed to offer Thai and international dishes at great value for money. The restaurant’s carefully considered menu is divided between appetizers, soups, seafood, meats, and desserts, and each category lists no more than five dishes. Slim pickings? Not at all – the chefs simply focus on quality over
quantity, which means diners are still spoilt for choice as each dish is made with only the finest ingredients on offer, including pungent Thai herbs which are proudly displayed in a small garden near the restaurant’s entrance. Family-style platters and sharing portions make up several of the selections here, so when you order a starter like the Shellfish lavishly on ice (B1,450++), don’t be surprised to find that, with its bountiful mix of fresh oysters, New Zealand mussels, river prawns, spider crabs, and Canadian lobster, it could easily feed a party of four (although with seafood this fresh, most people in your group will probably fight for every tasty morsel). Another good starter, and suitable as a single dish, is the Poached Canadian lobster with green asparagus (B520++), which comes drizzled with vanilla oil and topped with truffle paste; while The French all-time favourite, Pan-fried foie gras with Thai grapefruit salad and tamarind sauce
Ramada Plaza Bangkok Menam Riverside Hotel
(B450++), takes a European gourmet staple and gives it a delicious local twist, making it a must order for anyone wanting to experience new flavours. For mains, the Spanish supreme paella (B520++) and Thai massaman lamb shank served with garlic fried rice (B520++) are popular choices, and the Grilled Australian beef tenderloin with foie gras, spinach, porcini cannelloni, crispy potato and apple rosemary jus (B850++) is a must-try for beef fans. To finish, the Tiramisu (B180++) impresses with its rich and creamy taste and share-worthy size, while other sweet temptations include Warm chocolate with vanilla ice cream (B160++) and Blueberry cheesecake (B220++). Coconut Terrace is open daily from 11am-11pm. Local beers start at B190++; cocktails at B280++. Seating in air-con is available. A free-shuttle boat to the hotel is available every 30 mins from Saphan Taksin Pier.
☎ 02 688 1000 :ramadaplazamenamriverside.com
Wine Pub Review
A brand new menu keeps things fresh at this longtime expat favourite
ONE of Bangkok’s original wine bars, Wine Pub at Pullman Bangkok King Power has been delighting oenophiles and foodies with its European-inspired cuisine and international wines for over seven years now – a remarkable achievement in a city as fickle as Bangkok, where barflies prefer to feed on the novel and usually vacate a venue as soon as they hear a new one has opened. The secret to Wine Pub’s longevity and success is its commitment to regularly updating its menu and offering tempting daily promotions. Put simply, diners always have something exciting to come back for. While changes to the menu and promotions have normally been subtle, with little tweaks made here and there, last month the restaurant went all out and introduced not only a brand new a la carte menu, but also a new all-you-can-eat promotion offering top-quality bites at excellent value for money. Served from 6pm-10pm and priced at just B990 per person, the all-you-caneat deal changes daily. Mondays feature
Beef carpaccio served with French fries, Tuesdays offer Paella with saffron rice, Wednesdays serve up Pasta with a choice of 10 different sauces, and Thursdays feature a hunger-busting Set of beef, chicken and duck burgers. Kicking off the weekend, on Fridays, is a selection of Hot and cold tapas, while Skewered beef, pork and chicken is available on Saturdays, and a Mixed seafood platter on Sundays. The same great value carries over to the new a la carte menu, which has a wide range of tempting starters, mains, tapas, and desserts to choose from, as well as exquisite cheese selections which range in price from B290 for one selection, to B1,590 for a platter of 12. You can Make your own salad for just B390, enjoy Soup of the day with home-made bread and butter for B290, savour delicious Lamb rigout risotto for B490, and indulge in Imported Tasmanian black mussels, prepared in a variety of ways, for B990. While Wine Pub’s best-loved signature dishes have survived the
transition to the new menu, including the excellent Cote de boeuf – a meaty feast, for four persons to share, which includes a whopping 1.5kg of Wagyu beef served with soup, two side dishes, and one dessert – the new Make Your Own Main section is loaded with highlights and should not go unnoticed. Simply select one dish ‘from the earth’ or ‘from the sea’ (Grilled lamb chops from New Zealand at B890, or Grilled dame of salmon from Scotland at B990, for example) and you can then choose two sides and two sauces to accompany your selection. When it comes to washing down your food, expect to be spoilt for choice. Wine Pub lives up to its name by stocking a wide selection of international labels and has wines to suit almost every taste and budget. Bottles range in price from B850 to B125,000, and wines by the glass start at just B180. Factor in Wine Pub’s intimate atmosphere, chilled out beats spun by resident DJs, friendly and knowledgeable service, and handy location, and you have all the ingredients for a great night out.
Wine Pub, Pullman Bangkok King Power, 8/2 Rangnam Rd, Thanon-Phayathai (free tuk tuk service available from near Victory Monument BTS) 02 680 9999 :pullmanbangkokkingpower.com
Strip_AD_The Coffee Club_Apr14_M4.pdf
La Bottega Di Luca Homely Italian cuisine proves a big hit with the Bangkok Beefsteak & Burgundy dining group
HE ongoing political protests affected attendance last month and only 12 of us were able to visit La Bottega Di Luca in Soi 49. Those who did come left very satisfied and thoroughly impressed by the meal. Owner Luca Appino made a brief visit at the outset but left most of the proceedings in the capable hands of Chef Manuelo and his well-trained service staff. We assembled at the entrance to a private room, which accommodated snugly ‘the members of the 100kg Club,’
as we were labelled by Luca (this was an understatement as it transpired after calculations that our average weight was more than 104kg). The aperitif featured Follador Prosecco DOC Treviso Extra Dry, found by wine spokesman Mark Guthrie to be dry with a nice finish. Green and black olives, grissini, and bruschetta completed the canapés. The starters, served family style, featured Burrata DOP dairy cheese with aged Parma ham, marinated pickles and cherry tomatoes; Warm Scamorza cheese roll wrapped with Sud Tirol smoked Speck ham stuffed with sautéed wild mushrooms and red wine
truffle sauce; and Grilled home-made Italian sausage with rocket salad and plum tomato seasoned with a basil balsamic dressing. Each was as tasty as Jock Tulloch, food spokesman for once, described, and they were accompanied by Gavi di Gavi DOC Famiglia Otto Destefanis 2012, an outstanding white wine well-matched to the starters and loved by the critics. Luca is renowned for his pasta dishes;
today’s menu included Rigatoni with braised giant octopus, cherry tomato confit, black olives and capers; and Home-made egg-free ‘Pici’ Pasta served with duck ragout and seared foie gras. The taste of octopus dominated the first of the servings (perhaps a little too fishy and salty for some); the ragout was
flavoursome. The pasta came with Barbera D’Alba DOC Famiglia Otto Destefanis 2011, which Mark thought might have been a little too light and young to be a perfect match; it still proved to be popular with the drinkers, however, if judged by the number of empties. The pièce de résistance came in the shape of Grilled Australian Wagyu beef ‘Tomahawk’ giant steak with marinated fresh herbs served with
seasonal glazed vegetables and roasted potato wedges. This was truly delicious and appreciated without exception; for me, the potato wedges and steak, cooked to perfection, were sensational. Luca had chosen Monferrato Rosso DOC Merlot Barbera Nebbiolo 2008 to accompany this and again it proved to be extremely popular with Mark and our band. Dining fatigue was apparently starting to set in early for some. The dessert comprised traditional warm Sabayon with Marsala wine and Savoiardi, followed by La Bottega’s selection of Cheese with dry fruits and truffled honey; both were enjoyed. It came with Taylor’s Port, a Club staple, and to conclude, Grappa was offered ‘on the house’ by the diligent team of servers. Thanks were due and extended to all for the excellent meal; we certainly intend to return soon! La Bottega di Luca, Terrace Building 2nd Floor, Sukhumvit Soi 49 Tel: 02 204 1731 www.labottega.name
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Where to eat Recommended restaurants and bars
Bawarchi ﬁrst arrived in Bangkok 13 years ago and now operates four restaurants here, as well as three in India. Its menu reﬂects the traditional Mughlai cuisine in North West India and the food on offer is as authentic as it gets. Skewered tandoori meats (king prawn, lamb, chicken) are a deﬁnite highlight, as are the curries – lovely and thick and bursting with ﬂavor. Meals at Bawarchi’s ﬂagship branch in Chidlom average at B700-B1,000 per head, and you really do get what you pay for. Bawarchi Chidlom, Intercontinental Hotel (President Tower Arcade) B-Level, 973 Ploenchit Road 02 656 0102-3 : bawarchiindian.com
A large bar, entertainment and restaurant/coffee shop complex featuring Indian and Kashmiri food. The décor attempts to create a feel for the Indus Valley Civilization. The food is excellent and
If you’re looking for authentic Indian cuisine, this is the place for you. The menu follows traditional North Indian recipes with dishes that are rich in ﬂavours and aroma. There’s a wide range of exotic curries, succulent Tandoori meats, mouth watering vegetarian dishes and much more to please you here. Set over three ﬂoors, the atmosphere is warm and the service is spot on. Home deliveries are also available. Marvel Hotel Bangkok in Sukhumvit 22, (between BTS Asoke and Phromphong) 02 260 1115-6 email: PR@indian-host.com, firstname.lastname@example.org : indian-host.com
includes some great curries and a signature Chicken Tikka Kati Roll. Thai and snack items are also available in the coffee shop. DJ music and cocktails are available in the entertainment area. If you are looking for a complete night on the town with Indian overtones, this is a good choice. Sukhumvit Soi 26, 400m from Rama IV Rd, 1200m Sukhumvit Rd just past Four Wings Hotel (BTS Phrom Phong, then taxi) 02 258 4900 : indusbangkok.com
Great American Rib
Ribs, pulled pork and BBQ chicken, staples in the Southern United States, are the specialities at this casual spot. Accompaniments include cornbread, curly fries and the city’s best coleslaw. Although there is an a/c dining room, most people opt for the authentic picnic tables outside, cooled by giant fans. Portions are gargantuan, the management amiable and the beer never stops ﬂowing: an ideal spot for the entire family to spend a casual night on the town – American style. Sukhumvit Soi 36, midway between Sukhumvit Rd and Rama IV Rd (BTS Thonglor) 02 661 3801 : greatrib.com
Harvey’s features Californian cuisine served up in sleek, modern and decidedly posh surroundings. California is noted for its wide variety of fresh fruits and produce, and an equally
Barbecued food from the American south is a great antidote for the negative impression created by the pap served by American fast food chains. For excellent BBQ ribs, pulled pork sandwiches, hickory smoked beef brisket, and a lot more, try this place. There is a large exhibition kitchen, featuring an open ﬂame BBQ and two wood smokers. Up on the third ﬂoor, you can watch sports on big screen TVs, play billiards or throw darts. Lots of fun and loads of good eats. Junction of Surawongse and Rama IV Roads (MRT Silom or 02 236 8010 BTS Saladaeng) : roadhousebarbecue.com
wide variety of ethnic groups. The developing cuisine from this state reﬂects this diversity, making it a fusion lover’s delight. The menu ranges far and wide, but most dishes are memorable and well presented. This is rapidly becoming one of the city’s most popular spots. Drop-in and see what all the excitement is about. Thonglor Soi 9, 300m from Soi Thonglor (BTS Thonglor) 02 712 9911 : harvey.in.th
Home-style Italian food like mama makes served in a humble little trattoria presided over by a proud and dedicated owner. This is what a neighbourhood restaurant is all about. Owner Mr. Oreste changes his menu every week and it always includes good tasting basic Italian eats. The owner/chef imports his ingredients whenever necessary to maintain quality and authenticity. A little more expensive than you would expect, but the atmosphere and good food make it worth the price. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Sukhumvit Soi 1 (BTS Nana or Ploenchit) 02 253 3190 labucaitalianrestaurant.com
One of the most highly regarded Italian restaurants in town, Zanotti has achieved its lofty status by doing everything right. The menu is comprehensive, but specializes in dishes from Tuscany and Piedmont. The interior is intimate and romantic, but
At Biscotti, great Italian food is prepared under the watchful eye of diners and an Executive Chef from Italy – almost half the dining room is ﬁlled with a massive open kitchen. Located in the middle of Bangkok’s business and shopping action, Biscotti offers a set lunch with a buffet for appetizers and desserts plus a cook-to-order main course. In the evenings, things are more subdued and formal and you should gussy up a bit. Biscotti is noted for its excellent wine list, numerous special wine dinners and exemplary service.
Spanish on 4
Sukhumvit Soi 11 (Nana BTS) 02 651 2947 tapasiarestaurants.com
78 Silom Soi 4. Opposite Soi Convent (BTS Saladaeng) 02 632 9955. spanishon4.com
Bangkok’s ﬁrst authentic Spanish Tapas restaurant is comfortable and lively and busy every night. Every dish on the menu has its own unique and delicious ﬂavors – Embutidos Mixtos (A selection of Spanish ham and sausages); Gambas al Ajillo (Prawns in spicy garlic sauce); Chiperones Plancha (Grilled baby squid). Simply close your eyes and pick dishes at random; with tastes this good, you can’t go wrong.
This sister branch of the ever popular Tapas Cafe (Sukhumvit Soi 11) is a great place to enjoy lunch or dinner with friends or a loved one. The menu offers a wide range of Spanish Tapas, imported hams and cheeses, as well as weekly changing regional specials. The restaurant is modern and airy with a busy informal atmosphere and attracts a diverse cosmopolitan crowd. Good value and authentic Spanish food.
Four Season Hotel, Ratchadamri Rd 02 126 8866 (BTS – Ratchadamri)
still relaxed and laid back. The service is attentive, but not overly fussy. The osso buco, a good measure of any Italian restaurant’s mettle, is superb. The wine list is an all-Italian show featuring many of Italy’s ﬁnest wines. Soi Saladaeng in the Colonnade Building (BTS Saladaeng or MRT Silom) 02 636 0002 zanotti-ristorante.com
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Pullman Bangkok King Power Where: Cuisine Unplugged Cuisine: Mediterranean The deal: Mediterranean dinner buffet every Thursday from 6.30pm-10.30pm at B615 per person.
Hilton Bangkok Sukhumvit 24 Where: Scalini Cuisine: Italian-American The deal: 15% off total bill for F&B (not applicable for special events and promotions).
Where: Mondo Cuisine: Mediterranean-Asian The deal: High Tea at B400 per person (normally B480++). 11 Sukhumvit Soi 24. T☎ 02 620 6666 bit.ly/1fGQ2rz
8-2 Rangnam Road. ☎ 02 680 9999 pullmanbangkokkingpower.com
Sizzling summer deals
Where: The Sathorn Cuisine: International The deal: Lunch Buffet at B499 per person, including soft drinks, tea and coffee. Available Mon-Sat from 12pm-2.30pm. 144 North Sathorn Road. ☎ 02 623 4555 ext. 1094 modesathorn.com
Hotel-based restaurants where great value is the order of the day Windsor Suites Hotel Bangkok
Where: Windor Suites Café Cuisine: International The deal: Daily lunch buffet at B588 per person; dinner buffet B823 per person. Offer ends June 30. 10/1 Sukhumvit Soi 20. ☎ 02 262 1234 ext. 1407 windsorsuiteshotel.com
Shangri-La Hotel Bangkok Where: Salathip Thai Restaurant Cuisine: Thai The deal: Daily four-course Four Regions of Siam Set Dinner. B1,700++ per set. Nightly Thai dance performances from 7.45pm-9.15pm. Charoenkrung Road. ☎ 02 236 7777 shangri-la.com/bangkok/shangrila 46
Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit Where: Orchid Café Cuisine: Italian The deal: Gourmet Italian dinner buffet created by chefs from the hotel’s Rossini’s Restaurant. Available on Fri and Sat evenings at B1,550++ per adult and B780++ per child.
Dusit Thani Bangkok
250 Sukhumvit Rd. ☎ 02 649 8355 sheratongrandesukhumvit.com
Where: Thien Duong Restaurant Cuisine: Vietnamese The deals: Daily Set Dinner. Five-courses at B1,555++ for two, and six-courses at B1,888++ for two.
ibis Bangkok Riverside
Where: The Pavilion Restaurant Cuisine: International The deal: Until May 31, receive 30% discount on lunch buffet from 11.30am-2.30pm, Mon-Fri. 946 Rama 4 Road. ☎ 02 200 9000 dusit-thani-bangkok.dusit.com
Where: TASTE Cuisine: International The deals: A Come 2 pay 1 promotion with selected credit cards on weekend buffet lunch (regular price is B699), weekend buffet dinner (regular price is B999), Thursday seafood dinner buffet (regular price is B1,199), and Sunday brunch buffet (regular price is B1,199).
Where: The Square Restaurant Cuisine: International The deals: Every Mon to Thurs, a rotation of themed dinner buffets are on offer at B960++ (includes free-flow soft drinks). Every Sat and Sun night a Seafood Buffet is B1,160++ (includes free-flow soft drinks). On Sun evenings a Sunday Roast buffet is B960++ (includes free-flow soft drinks). Buffets are ‘Come2-pay-1 for members of selected cards.
27 Soi Charoenakhon 17. ☎ 02 659 2888 ibis.com/Bangkok-Riverside
566 Ploenchit Rd. ☎ 02 305 6000
Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort & Spa Where: Benihara Cuisine: Japanese-Teppanyaki The deals: Burger specials available for both lunch and dinner: Beni Mushroom Burger B380++, Beni Fish Burger B550++, and Beni Beef Burger B650++; and a Teppan Sushi set menu, available for both lunch and dinner, at B1,100++. Where: Brio Cuisine: Italian The deal: Daily Italian Brunch at B599++ per person. 257/1-3 Charoennakorn Road. ☎ 02 476 0022 bangkok-riverside. anantara.com
Holiday Inn Sukumvit 22 Where: Maya Cuisine: Indian-International The deal: Weekly Sunday Brunch (11.30am-3pm) at B700++ per adult, B350++ per child under 12. Add B400++ for selected beer, wine, soft drinks, cocktails and mocktails. 1 Sukhumvit 22. ☎ 02 683 4888 mayathailand.com TheBigChilli
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Sukhumvit Bangkok Where: Dee Lite Cuisine: Thai, Vietnamese and Western The deal: Sunday Brunch at B1,000 (normally B1,500. Deal not valid over Easter)
FuramaXclusive Sukhumvit Where: La Cuisine Cuisine: Italian The deal: Three four-course Italian set menus starting at B469 per set, including a glass of red wine or coffee or tea. Available daily for lunch and dinner. 27 Sukhumvit Soi 1. ☎ 02 255 4224 :furamaxclusive.com/sukhumvit
The Peninsula Bangkok Where: River Café & Terrace Cuisine: International The deal: Dinner Buffet at B1,800++ per person, inclusive of tea and coffee (B950++ for salad and dessert only). KBank Platinum cardholders receive 15% discount. 333 Charoennakorn Road. ☎ 02 861 2888 :bangkok.peninsula.com
Where: Mosaic Cuisine: Thai and western-style charcoal grill The deal: ‘Pool Pleasure at Mosaic’ – B500 per person entry fee includes a welcome drink, free use of the Mosaic Pool & Gym, and 15% discount on F&B. 18/1 Soi Sukhumvit 26. ☎ 02 649 6666 :bit.ly/1onyjgH
Majestic Grande Bangkok Hotel
The Berkeley Hotel Pratunam
Where: Dine@7 Pool Side Coffee Shop Cuisine: International The deals: All-you-can-eat buffet lunch at B399 per person; and all-you-can-eat buffet dinner at B690 per person including a complimentary glass of wine or draught beer. 12 Sukhumvit Soi 2. ☎ 02 262 2999 :majesticgrande.com
Novotel Bangkok Platinum Pratunam Where: The Square Restaurant Cuisine: International The deals: International Sunday Brunch at B699++ per person (normally B1,399++), including juices, coffee and tea. Half price for kids aged 4-12, free for kids under 4 (for every paying two adults, one child under 12 eats for free). Available from 11.45am-3pm. A “Bento” set is also available daily from 6pm-10pm. B299++ per set. Thai, European, Healthy and Vegetarian options are available. 220 Petchaburi Road. ☎ 02 160 7100 ext. 8702 :novotelbangkokplatinum.com
Where: The Mulberry Multi-Cuisine Restaurant Cuisine: Thai, Italian, Japanese, and Chinese The deal: Daily Four Cuisines set lunch available from 11am-2pm at B300 per person. Daily Mulberry Degustation set dinner (eight-courses), served from 5.30pm10.30pm, at B990 per person, including a complimentary glass of wine.
Where: The Kitchen Table Cuisine: International The deal: Daily Brunch, available from 12.30pm-4.30pm, at B2,200++ per person with free-flow soft drinks; or B2,800++ per person with free-flow cocktails, wines, beers and bubbly.
559 Ratcharaprarop Road. ☎ 02 309 9999 :berkeleypratunam.com
106 North Sathorn Road. ☎ 02 344 4000
Insight|On the road
Man with a Van â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and how he makes his mark in
Bangkok traffic By Maxmilian Wechsler
Commuters have a love-hate relationship with the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s increasingly popular mode of transport 50
SINCE the demise of the much-hated, smoke-belching oversize songthaews, Bangkok’s roads have now grown accustomed to a new and much smarter though no less controversial form of public transport – the ubiquitous Toyota minivans. Considered a necessity by many commuters, these sleek and somewhat characterless vehicles are loved by city travellers because they are relatively inexpensive, air conditioned, and every passenger is guaranteed a seat. But they also receive plenty of complaints since some, though not all, drivers seem to believe speed is more important than safety (see sidebar). Too many horrific traffic accidents can be attributed to reckless minivan drivers, and calls for safety measures have been getting louder. Many minivan users say they have no real choice because other modes of public transportation aren’t available in the area where they live or want to get to and daily taxi fares would be too expensive. Minivans were introduced in Bangkok in 1995 to meet transport requirements to and from the congested inner city outlying areas. Minivan services took off as more and more people migrated to Bangkok looking for work, and public buses became overcrowded and, because of the frequent stops, slow. With faster travel times and a seat for everyone, it’s no wonder so many people choose minivans as an alternative. Victory Monument in Bangkok is the main hub of minivans enroute to destinations in Bangkok, its suburbs and neighboring as well as distant provinces. This is where they stop to pick up or drop off passengers. Vans registered to pick up passengers are identifiable by yellow number plates and are allowed to have more passenger seats than private vehicles registered for personal use, which have blue or white and black plates. While many of the latter are in use illegally for public transport, it is recommended passengers only use minivans with yellow plates. These are operated by the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA), a state enterprise under the Ministry of Land Transport that regulates minivans within the city, suburbs and five neighboring provinces. Minivans which bear the BMTA logo are covered in red and purple circles.
Minivans are also popular with commuters travelling to provinces outside the Greater Bangkok region. These minivans have either red and blue or green and blue stripes, yellow number plates, and are owned by various transport companies with routes approved by the BMTA. This type of minivan can also be boarded at Victory Monument. Information about their routes can be found on websites such as www.thailandlism.com/ minibus.html or www.rottuthai.com. Almost all minivans carrying passengers are Toyota Commuters, known for their reliability, durability and low price over similar vehicles produced by other manufacturers. They are used not only by individual commuters, but also to transport school children, tour groups and employees of specific companies.
Men behind the wheel
To shine a light on this booming segment of public transport, The BigChilli spoke to three drivers. Mamu Panthim has been driving a minivan for 12 years. Born in Sukhothai province and now living in Pathum Thani with his wife and two children, Mr Manu previously had a job selling furniture which he described as “not very interesting.” He now operates his own small business as the owner of a Toyota Commuter minivan he bought for 1.3 million baht on installment (with interest of around 1.7 million baht) in 2008. He is happy with the career move that allows his family a better lifestyle. “I have been driving the same route from Pak Kret in Nonthaburi province to Minburi, a distance of about 30 kilometers, since I started 12 years ago. I can cover the route in an hour or less if traffic is not heavy. I usually make four round trips every day, around 240 kilometers. I drive daily from 5.30am to 10pm with breaks for lunch and dinner. “I am lucky to own my own minivan because other drivers who can’t afford the 100,000 down payment must rent, usually for about 1,500 baht a day from Monday to Friday and 1,300 baht on weekends.” Mr Mamu says his vehicle is one of over 5,000 public minivans with yellow plates registered with the BMTA which service over 120 routes in the capital and greater Bangkok. ‘I operate legally, but there are others with blue or white plates that aren’t legally permitted to pick up passengers. People should avoid them because these are the ones that drive fast and dangerously and cause accidents. “Registered minivans can carry no more than 15 people, including the driver. On a full run, thirteen passengers sit in back and one up front with the driver. The minimum fare on my route is ten baht. It depends on the distance. The fare all the way from Pak Kret to Minburi is 25 baht, a fraction of what a taxi would cost,” said Mr Mamu, adding that he makes 1,800 – 2,000 baht daily, less 400 – 500 baht for fuel. It’s enough to support his family, said Mr Manu, whose wife also works. He has many regular customers who travel mainly to and from work.
“I am lucky to own my own minivan because other drivers who can’t afford the 100,000 down payment must rent, usually for about 1,500 baht a day from Monday to Friday and 1,300 baht on weekends.”
Insight|On the road
CATALOGUE OF CATASTROPHE
MINIVANS have received a lot of negative publicity because of drivers who speed, abruptly change lines, disregard red lights or stop suddenly in traffic. Anyone who reads the local newspapers knows they have been involved in numerous serious accidents all over Thailand. A survey conducted by the Bangkok-based Foundation for Consumers (FFC) reported that 108 out of 334 accidents between October 2011 and December 2013 were caused by minivans, resulting in 146 deaths and 823 injuries. In one of the most horrific accidents in August 2013 in Chachoengsao province, a minivan collided with a 22-wheel truck, killing nine people and seriously injuring seven. Following is a partial list of more serious accidents involving minivans on Thai roads in 2013 and 2014: • Seven people were killed and three injured when a minivan hit a parked ten-wheel truck in Nakhon Ratchasima province in February. • A woman was killed and 10 people injured when a train hit a tourist minivan in Kanchanaburi province in February. The driver of the minivan reportedly tried to dart across the tracks as the train came to the crossing. • Seven people were burned to death and two seriously injured after their minivan crashed into a post in Chonburi province in March 2013. • Seven people were killed and four injured after a collision between a minivan and an 18-wheel truck in Nakhon Pathom province in May 2013. • Four people were killed and six injured when a minivan overturned in Chainat province in June last year. • Three people were killed and ﬁve injured when a minivan overturned in Nakhon Ratchasima province in July 2013. • Nine people were killed and seven injured after a minivan hit the rear of a 22-wheel truck in Bang Khanak district of Chachoengsao province in August 2013. • In a head-on collision between a minivan carrying ten foreign tourists and an 18-wheel truck, two people were killed and nine injured in Sakaeo province in September 2013. • A Philippine national died and two other foreigners were injured during a visa run in a minivan which crashed in Trang province last October. • Seven people were killed and two injured following a collision between a minivan and a 10-wheel truck in Nongbua district of Nakhon Sawan province in November 2013. • Twenty-two students were injured when the minivan they were travelling in collided with a container truck in Pattaya in January 2014.
But it is hard work driving all day in heavy traffic. Mr Mamu said that while motorists often claim that minivan drivers are reckless, every day he sees countless drivers of private vehicles breaking traffic laws and sometimes causing accidents. Asked why Toyota Commuters are so popular with drivers, Mr Manu replied: “This vehicle is the only one suitable for public transport. They are easy to maintain and to drive, and passengers like them as well. “The mileage on my minivan is now over 500,000 kilometers and I have had very few problems with the vehicle. It is well made and reliable and I will change to another minivan every five years.” Mr Mamu claims there are no big companies involved in the minivan business, as there are with taxi cabs. At most there are individuals who own several minivans and rent them out. “I wouldn’t like to drive a taxi because they have to go many places, while I drive only one route. There are about 130 minivans running on the same route. “I like to drive my own minivan because I am free. I don’t have to worry about the rental and I make money every day. No one controls me and no mafia extorts money from me. As long as they drive carefully, drivers of legal minivans don’t have to worry about being arrested by the police like drivers of the illegal vehicles.” “However, the police will stop any minivan driver for traffic offences. We aren’t immune as some people might think. Often the police send notifications to drivers by post to pay fines, mainly for speeding. This applies mainly to minivans driving on expressways. I don’t drive on expressways and my route is usually congested, so I don’t really have to deal with speeding tickets.” If a minivan travels on the expressway, the driver pays the toll and figures it into the fare. “I have third class insurance, obey traffic laws and in many years behind the wheel I have had only a few minor accidents,” he said. Mr Mamu usually picks up passengers at bus stops. Sometimes his minivan is hired out for up-country trips, in which case he must inform the BMTA and Department of Land Transport and be issued with the proper documents. “My minivan has a TV monitor for passengers. I also play DVDs. The stereo system is good, and has karaoke. Most rented minivans don’t have this kind of entertainment,” he added.
drives the same route as Mr Mamu. He was born in Sukhothai province and lives with his wife and two kids in Nonthaburi province. His wife doesn’t work. Mr Ruam also drives a Toyota Commuter he bought on installment two years ago for around 1.7 million baht, including interest. “I have been driving a minivan for 14 years. Before that I was a motorcycle taxi and tuktuk driver,” explained Mr Ruam, who starts work at 5.30am and finishes around10.30pm, with breaks for lunch and dinner. “Minivans are popular with commuters because they are cheaper than taxis and can offer entertainment, so people aren’t bored. When you enter a taxi the meter starts at 30 baht, but the highest fare for my minivan is 25 baht. Going the same distance in a taxi would cost maybe 300 – 400 baht. Minivan passengers know the fare because most of them are regulars. Everything goes smoothly and is well organized. There’s no wasted time discussing the fares. “I stop at bus stops but sometimes also outside big office buildings or department stores if a customer hails me or wants to disembark. “I obey traffic laws and don’t drive above the speed limit. I am very careful near schools. I don’t like drivers who go fast without concern for the safety of pedestrians and other drivers, just to make more runs. I’ve never had a serious accident, only a few small scrapes. “Sometimes people will book my minivan for a trip upcountry. Many people know my mobile number to make bookings.” Mr Ruam said that every three years registered minivan drivers must attend a training session at the Department of Land Transport in the Chatuchak district of Bangkok which lasts for two days. “I like to drive a minivan,” he said. “I can make good money, definitely more than driving a motorcycle taxi or tuk-tuk. I don’t plan on switching jobs, ever.”
who was born in Chonburi and lives in Bangkok with his wife and two children, rents his minivan. “I have been driving a minivan for three years. Before that I was working for Bridgestone as a mechanic. I rent a Toyota Commuter for 1,300 baht per day. I rent the car from a person who owns several minivans, and there is always one available for me. “I drive from 5am to 7pm daily and after paying the rent and 400 – 500 baht for fuel my profit is 600 – 1,000 baht per day. You might think my fuel costs are high, but I am driving all day. It is not an easy job but I like it. “My route is from Rangsit to Minburi, which is about 30 kilometers. The average time for one trip is about an hour, but if there’s a lot of traffic it is much longer. I stop many times along the route but only at bus stops. The route is serviced by about 150 minivans. “I would prefer to own my own van but I don’t have 100,000 baht for a down payment. If I put down less the bank or finance company requires a guarantee, which I don’t have. “I obey traffic laws and don’t speed. My van has yellow plates and is registered with the BMTA. Fifteen people can ride in the van including myself. The fare ranges from 10-25 baht. I have third class insurance. “I don’t pay for maintenance of the minivan; this is done in the workshop of the owner. He pays the insurance as well. My only expense is fuel. My car has only a stereo system for entertainment, no karaoke or television.” Like the other drivers, Mr Amphol is sold on Toyota Commuter minivans. “Recently someone imported minivans made in China, where I believe several companies are now producing them. They are probably cheaper but I don’t think they are as durable and reliable or would be as popular with passengers as the Toyota Commuter.” A close inspection of the interviewees’ minivans revealed a striking difference: The two privately owned vans were clean and equipped with fire extinguishers under a seat. The rented one was pretty run down, with dirty seats. It is not surprising that drivers who own their own vehicles take better care of them, and if possible passengers should try to choose these vans.
Insight|On the road
“Cheap, comfortable and safe, but smelly and too fast.” What the passengers think:
a customer relations officer, doesn’t have a car and relies on public transport to get around, mainly minivans. “I use minivans often because they are cheap and can take you a long way. I take a minivan from my home in Bang Khen to the Mor Chit BTS and back again after work. I pay only 25 baht. If I took a taxi it would cost me
over 200 baht. “The only thing that annoys me sometimes is that the driver waits until the minivan is full before he gets started, but I understand that he must take the maximum number of passengers to make money,” Ms Tullaya said. “I like minivans because the seats are comfortable. They usually have a good sound system and some have televisions and show DVDs. So the journey is pleasant, which is not the case with taxis whose drivers like to talk. “As a woman I feel the minivans are safer too. My colleagues are also afraid to take a taxi after dark. “Also, taxi drivers sometimes don’t want to take you where you want to go. The minivans have a set route, so I know I will get to my destination. There are a lot of routes, but sometimes not enough vans. Sometimes you have to change vans to get where you want to go, but sometime you can make a deal with the driver. You tell him after the last stop where you want to get out and ask how much to pay. After 10pm the fare is higher, five or ten baht over the regular fare. Many minivans run until midnight. “Some of my friends complain that minivan drivers go too fast and always use the horn, but I understand that they must go fast to make living,” said Ms Tullaya.
Rakchanok Supaporn is a bank
officer who takes a minivan to and from SCB Park to Chokechai 4. “I use a minivan almost every day to get to and from work. I like them because they are fast, cheap, take a straight route to where you want to go and don’t stop as much as buses. They are cool and comfortable. “What I don’t like is that sometimes the drivers are careless and drive too fast, and some minivans are dirty and smell bad.”
“As a woman I feel the minivans are safer than a taxi. My colleagues are also afraid to take a taxi after dark.” Marisa Srihaboonma is
a university student who travels between Sukhumvit 62 and her university in the Lard Prao area almost daily. Ms Marisa said minivans are cheap, cool and safe for a woman but she doesn’t really like travelling with so many other people. She says they are sometimes too noisy because of passengers talking or loud radios. “The minivans drive dangerously, like like zig-zagging through traffic and braking and accelerating sharply, which makes me dizzy and afraid we’ll have an accident. Also, some vans smell bad, and some passengers too. The seats are old in some minivans and dirty,” said Ms Marisa. She would prefer to commute in a taxi but can’t afford it and also feels they are dangerous after dark. “I have heard of girls who have been raped or an attempt has been made by the drivers. They talk and make sleazy suggestions. If I take a taxi I sit in the back and listen to music using headphones to discourage the driver from initiating conversation,” she said.
Expat WOMEN Put your feet up and indulge
Twist & Turn to release its Spring/Summer collection with a pop-up shop. Page 60.
Enjoy the latest slice of ﬁction from the Bangkok Women’s Writers Group Page 56
Hot new products and stores demanding your attention Page 60
Learn how to boost your well-being with these handy tips Page 72 TheBigChilli
Monsoon Midnights Expat Women
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. 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. The moon shines soft and lustrous tonight, special lighting that blends into and enhances the colour of a lady’s skin. Although I can see so much, even more is hidden. But I can still feel its draw. What is calling me tonight is hidden from view several times over. Somewhere around the chaos of a busy intersection, surrounded by incessant traffic. Inside a warren of buildings, inside a maze of rooms. Behind a counter, inside a box, wrapped in tissue, guarded and locked. But that is nothing to where it was hidden before. Before it came to Bangkok, it inhabited a different element. An element without air, still impregnable to the most powerful radar and satellites. Untouched and untouchable by the shallow traffic
on the surface., and by the strange, cold blooded creatures of that element. And even if it was found (and found it was, to arrive in the building whose feet are washed by floods of traffic, to rest on the delicate tissue, to be locked inside the transparent box), it was, at least then, still hidden away inside the place it was born, a small, solid and splendid repository that protected it from the rest of the world. There it stayed. There it grew. For many years. Until, of course, it was found, by a clever species that has made it its business to find whatever there is to be found on this planet. By a species that can hold its breath, dive into water, dive deep, with open eyes, and identify what is precious and pry open long grown secrets. By a species that can take whatever it likes, put it on a truck, create a permanent traffic jam and put our object into a building at a busy intersection in Bangkok. And inside a transparent box that was itself made from many things hidden for the longest time. For us to look at. Tonight I navigate by the compass of secrets. It is a complex map to unravel, since secrets are so abundant here. But I, too, have known what it is like to remain hidden. I, too, have lived inside the walls of a mother of pearl, and I, too, have had the shell cracked open to reveal the treasure inside. I too, know how it feels to be displayed on a bed of tissue, however refined, trapped in a transparent box. This month’s story teller, Sarah Sutro, nods to me when I appear inside an obscure corridor. She inspires confidence: she’s been here many times, she says. She has arrived by a different route. Sarah collects knowledge like others collect gems. And it is by the grid of knowledge that she finds the place we are visiting tonight, while I stay connected to the spider web of intuition.
The Pearl Walls of Bangkok By Sarah Sutro THE windows of the building, at the far end of Chidlom reflect the moon and the stars. Curiously, this familiar locale in Bangkok becomes labyrinthine at night. CentralWorld Plaza, so clear and open during the day, turns into a moonscape, and a territory that follows another pattern altogether. At night, you have to know your way around, as the streets seem to turn into older, winding, unmarked thoroughfares that branch off from Ratchadamri Road. Where you used to think you knew the way, pavements and signs twist and transform into another form altogether, as if obeying a different set of rules. In front of the low building called Narayana Phand is my acquaintance Siripoon, whose small shop we will visit. To get there we must walk through stall after stall of cloth and decorative pillows, silk and incense braziers, shoes and small images of the Buddha, flower candles and amazing embroidered shirts and blouses. My friend Kay introduced Siripoon and her shop to me when I first came to Bangkok. She wanted to give me an experience unlike the ones I had had on the main streets, where shops open right up to the sidewalk, spilling out wares onto passersby, and hawkers wave their armloads of T-shirts and hats to wandering tourists. Here on the lower floor, crammed in among other tiny shops, is a small stall, the Pearl Place. The first time I came Kay was buying a string of big coloured pearls for each of her daughters. The stall, open to the rest of the market, is run by three women, including Siripoon, who owns the shop. In the day time they variously sit, string pearls, and eat at the counter. There is barely any room to move around, with the stringing table, two other small tables with gold ritual Chinese objects on them, folding chairs and the deep counters. The whole shop feels like a pearl paradise, a room of underwater treasure, walls filled with hooks holding strands and strands of every colour pearl imaginable. Like being inside a quiet pastel rainbow, the space reverberates with opalescent light, with round shapes multiplied. There is no flat surface, only a glow. On the left are the large pearls that Kay is studying. Kay and I somehow both ended up here, in Bangkok together. We first met in a Muslim country where women were unable to participate in the life of the streets, so here in Bangkok, once we reconnected, we enjoyed spending long afternoons going to obscure parts of the city, glorying in the ability to shop and bargain and take part in everything that Bangkok had to offer. Kay was a buyer for an American design house, so she would spend hours looking at fabric and leather, ribbon and button shops. She had lived overseas for a long time, and was curious about everything, and afraid of nothing. Now she is looking at long strands of ¾” wide pearls in black, gold, beige, green, silver, mauve, taupe, brown. Pulling at strands and winding them together, eventually she chooses, for one daughter,
black-taupe-gold, and the other, dusty-green, gold, brown. The colours will be interspersed, and a new kind of clasp, a silver circle and horizontal pin, inserted at the end. On the right is a whole wall of smaller strings, tiny seed pearls on wire so they seem to stand alone, bronze coloured irregular pearls, wide green flat coin-sized pearl-like shapes made of shell, pink, cinnamon-colour, yellow, all shades of white. My eye caresses the changes in colour even as my gaze lingers on the gleaming surfaces. I note there is a round button shaped flat pearl that is strung sideways, lying flat. On the counters are baskets of tiny adjustable pearl rings; bracelets of every colour and strands of necklaces where the pearls have been interspersed with tiny silver beads. Here are also tiny coral necklaces, deep red orange and very expensive, and small black pearls that contain glints of green and brown. In the cases themselves, on the bottom shelf, are clumps of strands of more ordinary pearls – off white, pinkish, tinged with gold. There are many kinds of pearls: natural, which form themselves; cultured, where a small bit of sand or grit is introduced into the oyster shell by humans; baroque pearls, which have unusual shapes; freshwater pearls, which look like rough grains of rice; and seed pearls that are so tiny they are sewn on to dresses and hats for decoration. Siripoon, who is stringing pearls as she speaks to us, nods to the other women in the shop as they come and go, bringing trays of different coloured pearls to the counter top. She explains that in her culture pearls are connected to the Hamsa bird, a sacred, mythic bird that is the vehicle of the goddess Saraswati. The Hamsa was said to eat pearls, and was considered the embodiment of the divine, thus not affected by ordinary, transitory things. No matter how old the Hamsa bird grew, or what happened to it, it remained untouched, perfect. In water it never got wet. It could fly, walk or swim. Symbolically it represents a being living harmoniously, according to Buddhist precepts, who is not affected by the suffering of the ordinary world. In other cultures, pearls are the embodiment of the female spirits of the moon and bodies of water. And in an ancient time pearls were only worn at night, when their opalescence was said to increase, not in the day, when the inner depths of the pearl could not be seen.
“In an ancient time pearls were only worn at night, when their opalescence was said to increase, not in the day, when the inner depths of the pearl could not be seen.”
So we are there at right when pearls, connected to the moon and water, will exude their magical light. Pearls also represent the imagination. I find myself drawn to the deeper, more mysterious ones, which seem to resonate like mirrors, lit from within. As if they themselves were sacred, and offered another kind of wisdom, penetratingly created out of a slight aberration, the grain of sand caught in an oyster. Maybe that is how we come to be wise ourselves, I thought, by transforming the rough experience of life into increasingly deeper and powerful ways of knowing. In Bangkok the river itself, like a goddess who shakes her garments and lets them float high over the banks when the flooding happens, wears pearls only at night, when the lights of the river shine and gleam, floating across the wavelets of boats. In fact the body of the river goddess, so simple and straightforward during the day, turns into a place of enchantment at night, when the moon casts a long light shadow, and the temples along the way gleam in the moonlight. Tonight Pearl Place is a reflection of the heart of Bangkok that mysteriously disappears when you try to find it by daylight, when myriad businesses fill the plaza and the corridors of the building, and the streets fill with traffic and with people. Even the sense of Bangkok having a centre constantly changes as it grows and transforms, from a collection of well-defined areas, to a lively, sprawling mass of buildings, bridges, compounds, markets, towers, shopping malls and Buddhist temples. Depending on where you live, the centre subtly shifts to include each new world you have discovered. Siripoon helps me pick out a necklace of three stands of small, irregular pearls: green, gold and bronze, with a rose shaped clasp, for 500 baht. She tells me that many of the natural pearls here are imported, but the ones I have chosen are cultured, and come from a small island near Phuket. I leave the pearls at the store for half an hour, to be re-strung, as well as two lengths of blue glass beads from Chatuchak Market, one deep ultramarine blue, and one turquoise, which will make lovely necklaces. We find the Japanese and Thai cafeteria on the first floor where we have late night plates of noodles, and come back to pick up the cool, sea-like strands. As we leave the floor, I see the moon is shining in the sky, as if the Hamsa goose were nearby. And the lights along the street are like pearls. The green, gold and grey-green necklace I am taking with me is an unusual colour combination that feels like nature, and wildness. Three strands are intertwined, and the pearls themselves are irregular. They look as if they are a magical tangle of underwater treasure found on the bottom of the sea. I will wear this when I
he Bangkok Women’s Writers Group, founded in 2001, and led by Anette Pollner (who also writes the recurring moon stories in this series in her famous neo psychedelic style), is where creative women from all over the world meet to workshop their writing in a supportive and inspiring environment. Many of our members are published and prize winning authors, but we are open to all women who are passionate about writing, including complete beginners. The BWWG has published a Thai English language bestseller, ‘Bangkok Blondes,’ and various pamphlets. We regularly give readings around town and have been part of international festivals and cultural exchanges. Please contact email@example.com for more information. This month’s story teller is Sarah Sutro, author of COLORS Passages through Art, Asia and Nature. She was a finalist for the Robert Frost Poetry Award and Artist Foundation Poetry Grant, a visiting writer at the American Academy in Rome and writes for American Arts Quarterly. Her work has also appeared in Amsterdam Quarterly, Art New England and the 2008 BWWG anthology Bangkok Blondes.
feel the pull of the currents and the growth of wild nature, and they will join the simple strand of large white pearls that a Thai friend gave me, that are like the full moon itself. As I say goodbye to Siripoon and walk back to the main road I reflect how Pearl Place in its sea-like coolness brings to mind my time by the ocean in Thailand. A long, finger-like peninsula, Thailand is known for its pearlescent beaches and opaline waters. My favourite place is a small Thai beach resort near Rayong where the huge sky is mirrored in the mediumblue water, the surface of the sea changing to reflect the ever changing colour of the sky. Most recently, in the late afternoon, it was a deep pink, contrasted with dark blue clouds, like a string of contrasting pearls. The Hamsa bird continually flies over these waters.
Of course there comes a time when all secrets are dispersed. When they lose their power, when they are absorbed into the fabric of the past, a silky dress worn by a lady of mature years. The moon shines softly on me, still flattering my skin, when I return. I feel enwrapped in her gentle light. To be as old as the moon… I allow myself to sit and cry. Over hidden years, over beauty locked inside a transparent box. Over this city and her painful mysteries. I will see the moon over Bangkok again next month, when I visit our next story teller, 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
TRAVEL FOR LESS WITH GRABTAXI ■ THAILAND’S taxi app service, GrabTaxi, is celebrating Songkran by offering B60 discount on fares to the three inter-city bus terminals (Mo Chit, Ekamai, and Sai Tai Mai), Hua Lumphong train station, and Songkran celebration spots Khao San, Silom and RCA. To qualify for the deal, which is valid from Apr 10-16, simply book a taxi via the GrabTaxi app and key “#grabsongkran” into the “notes to driver” field in the app. Show this on your phone to your driver to receive your saving. The app is free to download and is available in English. www.facebook.com/GrabTaxiTH
OUTDOOR LIVING – IKEA STYLE
Shop Hot products and stores demanding your attention TWIST AND TURN
JASPAL SPRINGS INTO SUMMER ■ THE new Spring/Summer collection from Thai fashion house Jaspal takes 1950s elegance and builds on it with floral prints, pastel tones, and nautical designs, while adding a few tomboy elements, too (think box-cut loose fitting blazers and boy-cut jeans).
■ JUST in time for the sultry season, Ikea has released a new range of outdoor furniture which continues the brand’s reputation for offering home decor items at great value for money. Boasting modern looks and bold colours, the new collection features cafe, spa, garden, beach, and summer cottage inspired styles, with highlights such as the Mälorö folding chairs and tables, and the Kungsholmen seating set, which is topped with thick Kungsö cushions. www.ikea.com/th/en/store/bangna
Highlights include the Sheer mix panel blouse, Summer party dress, Fit and flare dress, and Deluxe denim shorts. Available now at all Jaspal stores.
■ JUMP ahead of the fashion curve by heading to the preview launch of Twist & Turn’s new Spring/ Summer Collection at a special PopUp Shop opposite Topshop at Central Chidlom (Apr 1-10) and then at Zen Department Store (CentralWorld Apr 24 - May 7). Launched last February in the selected brand section of Topshop’s flagship store in Oxford Circus, London, this streetwear-inspired collection is simple,
feminine, and elegant, with affordable styles to suit almost any occasion. www.twistxturn.com
School Report Coffee morning for all at Siam Singapore
THE new Siam Singapore International School now hosts an open coffee morning the first and third Saturday of every month, from 9am-12pm. It’s a great opportunity for parents to learn more about the school, which offers a progressive Singapore education and is now open for enrollments for Nursery (two-four years old), Pre-Kindergarten (four-five years old), Kindergarten (five-six years old), and Primary grades one to six. 153 Phetchburi Road, Thung Phayathai, Ratchatewi Tel: 02 215 3800-02 during office hours (8am-5pm) www.siamsingapore.com
Thailand Junior Team Racing Championship
AMID perfect sailing conditions on the bay, the inaugural Thailand Junior Team Racing Championships were held at Royal Varuna Yacht Club (RVYC) in Pattaya on Saturday and Sunday March 1 and 2. Competing in RVYC sponsored RS Quba twohanded dinghies were six teams from leading international schools – namely, Bangkok Patana School (Patana A and Patana B teams), Harrow International School Bangkok (Harrow), Regents International School Pattaya (Regents), Lycée Français International de Bangkok (Lycée Français) and Bangkok International Preparatory & Secondary School (Bangkok Prep). After a hard fought battle in windy conditions, Bangkok Prep were narrowly beaten by Patana A who won the Championship. Regents came in third place with Lycée Français fourth, followed by Patana B who beat Harrow in the play off for fi fth and sixth.
New playgroup at Bangkok Prep
PARENTS with toddlers aged 18 months to three years will soon be able to make use of Bangkok Prep’s excellent Early Years facilities at ‘Baby Bulldogs’ – a new playgroup held every Saturday from 9.30am-11.30am, starting April 26. The playgroup will be led by a qualified teacher who will organise semi-structured play activities for the children. This includes circle time with songs, games and stories, along with indoor and outdoor playtime, arts and crafts. A parent or guardian must remain with the child throughout the session. B400 per family; B300 for BAMBI members. Reservation required at least one day in advance. Snacks and refreshments will be provided. Bangkok International Preparatory & Secondary School (Bangkok Prep), 23 Sukhumvit 53 Tel: 02 260 7890 Ext 107 www.bkkprep.ac.th
St Andrews Panthers show their teeth
ST Andrews Green Valley under-13 FOBISIA team confirmed their sporting prowess in victorious fashion in the recent international FOBISIA tournament in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. Twenty four eager Year 7 and 8 students demonstrated teamwork and skills in basketball, football and softball, and gained champion status in every sporting event, completing a clean-sweep of success over the opposition to claim five first place trophies.
NIST to host competitive fencing
SABRES at the ready! NIST International School will host Thailand’s first Falcon Young Fencer Invitational on Sat May 24 from 9am-5pm. The event, aimed to raise awareness of competitive fencing among youth in the region, is open to teams in four different age groups: under 10s, under 12s, under 14s and under 17s. The event will take place at NIST’s Sports Complex, where over 100 fencers are expected to take part. For more info: www.nist.ac.th
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Design Challenge at KISLAND By Darryl Anderson, Middle Years Programme Coordinator at KIS
School’s ‘mythical empire’ offers real life lessons as students are taught to think outside the box ■ IMAGINE a Middle School where the curriculum involved designing airplanes, catapults, remote-control cars, Rube Goldberg Machines and water rockets. Sounds like a budding engineer’s dream! However, it’s not just the engineering skills that are needed to be successful, but also marketing, creativity and collaboration. Every year at KIS International School, the Middle Years Programme (MYP) students take part in an interdisciplinary, cross-grade level event known as Design Cycle Challenge Week. For five days each year, students put away their schoolbooks, group themselves into teams of 4-6 students and are given a challenging task. It started back in 2006 when students utilized their knowledge from different subjects to design and create batteryoperated racing cars. In 2008, students not only investigated the math and science of catapults, but also the historical context behind the different uses and types of catapults. Then they pitched the design of their catapults to a panel of Medieval Lords (role-playing teachers)
seeking protection for their castles. The next year, KISLAND was born, a mythical independent empire that unfortunately had a coastline littered with rubbish. Environmental engineering experts (our KIS students) were called in to design boats made from recycled materials. The next year, with KISLAND’s rising economy and population, bridges were soon needed, so the Ministry of Transportation put out a call for engineering-minded students to create sturdy bridges made from popsicle sticks. Following KISLAND’s increasing development, the next year cars were required, and finally planes made from lightweight balsa wood. KIS Students are known for thinking outside of the box. After all, the name of our school stands for Knowledge, Inspiration, and Spirit. KIS students are
smart, but they’re also motivated and truly inventive. Following the Design Cycle, they investigate the context of the challenge, create different designs, test out their plans, evaluate their success, and every day, start the whole cycle again. In addition, they use their critical thinking skills to create persuasive explanations that “sell their product” in the form of short video or written advertisements. The Design Cycle Challenge week is truly a challenge. Students need to collaborate with other students they may have never worked with before, and also come up with a product that’s successful, creative and unique. This year the challenge was even greater as students had to create a Rube Goldberg machine that connected to others. You can check out the different teams’ products, video journals and final design reports at http://kisdcc2013.weebly.com. A video of the final machine can be found on KIS’s Youtube channel (KISBangkok) or http://y2u.be/Hjxi5waA08Q KIS International School Tel: 02 274 3444 www.kis.ac.th
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- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +662 -747 -4788, +662 -747 -4888 Fax: +662 -747-4988 www.berkeley.ac.th
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MEET THE HEADMASTER: JIM HAWKINS The Headmaster of Harrow-on-the-Hill in London was in town last month to see how the schoolʼs world-renowned educational programmes are implemented at Harrow Bangkok. While he was here one of our Year 13 students, Karn, asked him about his work, life, and views on todayʼs teenagers. Here are his thoughts: After spending many years at Norwich our family was looking forward to new challenges in another city. Then a job opportunity at Harrow came long, I applied and was successfully chosen. Harrow School in London is one of Britain’s most prestigious independent schools, so far it has provided seven British prime ministers! I was interested in teaching from a young age. My father was Headmaster of King’s Heath Boys’ School in Birmingham, one of the early technical schools in Britain, so teaching is definitely in the family. I miss doing a lot of teaching. Every headmaster probably slightly regrets that they are no longer teaching and seeing the pupils as they used to in classroom. My key roles are leadership and management of the school, and my daily routine includes managing the teaching staff and making sure that pupils are well looked after. One of my most important responsibilities is hiring qualified teachers for the school; those who will help pupils succeed in classrooms and subsequently in their future. One of the things that makes Harrow so special is its history. Some very famous people have been educated at the school, such as Churchill and Nehru, and our House system reflects this
by honouring their names. Pupils love this as it reminds them that they are learning at the same place as these great people. The Harrow campus is comprised of beautiful old buildings and has a wonderful atmosphere. There’s a real sense of achievement here, and we are a high achieving school. I would like to take the school to the next level of achievement. What do I think about today’s teenagers? On the one hand they are the best generation ever, in terms of understanding other people. I think there is a lack of prejudice among young people nowadays which is very healthy. On the other hand, today’s teens have so many distractions through social media which takes their attention away from academic learning. Instead, they should focus on forging true and meaningful friendships, and schools should encourage teens to read properly – not just look at snippets on the internet, and not to spread themselves too thinly.
JIM HAWKINS IN FOCUS
Mr Jim Hawkins, 45, was educated at Brasenose College, Oxford, where he read Mathematics and took his PGCE. He taught at Radley College before being appointed Head of Mathematics at Forest School, East London. He then went on to become Deputy of Chigwell School and, prior to joining Harrow School in Middlesex, was Head Master of Norwich School. www.harrowschool.ac.th
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Over twelve weeks of intensive English study, supported by lessons in Mathematics and Sports, our Foundation English Programme helps students to develop the language skills and confidence to access and excel in a mainstream international learning environment. In small classes, with specialised teaching and support, students are prepared for Cambridge Second Language examinations and for entry into Harrow Bangkokâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s UK based curriculum programmes.
I N T E R NAT I O NAL S C H O O L BAN G K O K Telephone: 02 503 7222 ext 1128/9 email: email@example.com Leadership for a better world
Social|Last Month’s Best Events
Movies Under the Stars at Harrow ■ HARROW International School Bangkok hosted its annual gala concert under the theme “Movies Under the Stars.” Held lakeside, the glittering evening of orchestral music saw the Harrow Symphony Orchestra team with guest players from the Bangkok Charity Orchestra to play the latest and the greatest blockbuster movie themes (including E.T., The Lord of The Rings, West Side Story, Gladiator, The Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Skyfall, Pink Panther, and many more).
Wedu International Women’s Day Mentoring Walk ■ THE Wedu International Women’s Day Mentoring Walk, hosted in Bangkok on March 8, brought together over 30 young women leaders and established female professionals from private and public sectors for a discussion about the unique challenges faced by women globally. The event also attracted the participation of prominent leaders, including Ms Roberta Clarke, UN Women Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, who took part as a mentor and speaker at the event. The Walk joined over 40 other similar events around the world in celebration of International Women’s Day. For more info: www.wedufund.org
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Social|British Women’s Group
British Women’s Group hold AGM ■ MEMBERS of the British Women’s Group held their annual general meeting at the Grand Millennium Sukhumvit last month. The luncheon event was preceded by browsing and shopping at a mini mall set up by members and friends.
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Libido in limbo: How to stop high cholesterol from ruining your sex life By Judith Coulson
Why is HDL good?
1. It sweeps up bad cholesterol? 2. Tames your appetite? 3. Helps you lose weight? HDL helps cleans your blood vessels. It carries excess cholesterol to the liver to be removed so it won’t clog your arteries. Aim for 60 mg/dL or higher, which will protect you against heart disease. Low levels – less than 40 mg/dL for men, and less than 50 mg/dL for women – are a leading risk factor for heart disease. Low HDL numbers can easily corrected with more aerobic exercise
ACCORDING to the WHO (World Health Organisation), 55.5% of all adults in Thailand over the age of 25 have high cholesterol levels. So it is not surprising that I’m asked lot of questions about it. So today let’s have a look at some true and false statements about cholesterol.
High cholesterol’s impact on libido
High cholesterol levels can slow down pelvic blood flow, making it harder to get aroused. Both men and women are at risk. Cholesterol narrows blood vessels everywhere from the heart to the pelvis. In men, erection problems can even be an early warning sign of heart disease. Healthy habits to better your cholesterol levels and improve your libido include exercising, eating a balanced diet, and maintaining a healthy weight.
Which food choice is worse for your cholesterol levels?
1. A cooked egg? 2. A Fillet mignon? 3. A scoop of ice cream? Just a small scoop of ice cream packs 11 grams of saturated fat, far more than in an egg or a steak. And the more saturated fat you eat, the higher your “bad” cholesterol can rise. It is important to know that the cholesterol you eat with food is not the same as the cholesterol your body produces in the liver. You still need to limit the cholesterol you eat. Eat no more than 300 milligrams a day, or 200 if you have high cholesterol levels. That means one egg a day (at 170 mg of cholesterol) is just ﬁne.
Why do men develop cholesterol earlier than women?
But what if I’m thin?
Even if you’re thin and otherwise healthy, your genes, the amount you exercise, and what you eat can get you into trouble. Have your cholesterol levels checked regularly, starting in your 30s.
Why is LDL called bad cholesterol?
1. It raises blood pressure? 2. Clogs blood vessels? 3. Leads to weight gain? If there’s too much LDL in your blood, it can stick on the walls of your arteries and form plaque. This buildup narrows and stiffens the arteries, putting you at risk for a heart attack or stroke. Keep your bad cholesterol (LDL) below 100 mg/dL. Some checkups just display a total cholesterol number (not more than 200) which combines the number of HDL and LDL. Make sure you know the individual numbers.
1. Hormones? 2. Because they eat more fatty meat? 3. Have a more dominant personality? The hormone that causes a cholesterol “age gap” between men and women is estrogen. This female hormone lowers “bad” cholesterol and raises “good” cholesterol. It’s not enough to make up for bad eating habits, though, and after menopause women lose their advantage.
Which lifestyle changes are best for reducing cholesterol levels?
1. Meditation and quitting smoking? 2. Stop eating sugar? 3. Reduce weight and limit consumption of fatty meats and processed foods? Step number three will do you a world of good. Lifestyle changes can get your cholesterol levels moving in a positive direction and the most powerful combo is to eat less saturated fat, avoid trans fat, and obtain a healthy weight.
Quitting smoking can bump up your “good” cholesterol and lighten the load on your heart in many other ways, too.
Which food label ingredient matters most when you have high cholesterol?
1. Zero trans fats? 2. Low fat? 3. No cholesterol? Trans fat sends both your good and bad cholesterol levels in the wrong direction. It’s used in baked goods, snack foods, shortening, margarine, and fried foods. Check the ingredients for “partially hydrogenated oil,” which is another name for trans fats. Little or none is best when it comes to trans fats. For example, a woman eating 2,000 calories a day, who doesn’t exercise much, should aim for less than 2 grams of trans fats a day.
Watch for Triglycerides
Triglycerides are the most common form of fat in food and in your body. You use them for energy. When you eat more calories than you need, your body stores extra triglycerides in fat cells for a rainy day. When you have a cholesterol test, called a lipid test, the lab will usually measure your triglycerides, too. A high level is linked to heart disease. Below 150 mg/dL is best.
Which form of workout is best to reduce cholesterol? 1. 30 mins of Hatha Yoga a day? 2. A daily walk? 3. Circuit training? Circuit training helps in two ways. It’s heart-pumping “cardio” exercise, and it works your muscles, too. Each type of exercise improves cholesterol levels. Cardio must be moderately intense to do the job; a brisk walk or slow jog. You should break a sweat and raise your heart rate. Yoga may be too slow unless you choose a vigorous workout, like power or “flow” yoga.
High cholesterol can lead to:
1. Fatty skin growth? 2. Arthritis? 3. Gout? 4. None of the above? Fatty skin growths, called Xanthomas, are the only outward sign of high cholesterol, and they’re pretty rare. What you can’t see is actually far more important: the slow clogging of your arteries that leads to a heart attack or stroke. If you do develop a Xanthoma due to high cholesterol, bringing down your cholesterol can help shrink it.
Low cholesterol can keep your mind sharp
A healthy cholesterol level is good for your brain as well as your heart. High cholesterol can lead to strokes, as well as ministrokes you might not even notice. Over time these mini-strokes can cause memory and thinking problems that affect daily life. If you have more questions about how to reduce your cholesterol levels, don’t hesitate to contact Judith@bkk-health.com. Judith Coulson is a Medical Nutrition & Lifestyle Coach in Bangkok available for individual coaching sessions and corporate wellness programs. Strip_AD_Wine At Home_Apr14_M4.indd 1
3/27/14 11:46 AM
Ask the experts
Send your problems to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Expat life getting you down? Don’t suffer in silence. Send in your problems and get advice from professional counsellors Anette and Johanna
Girlfriend potty about my weed habit
I HAVE a disagreement with my girlfriend. We have been living together for ﬁve years, and moved to Thailand last year. Our issue is about me smoking pot once in a while. My girlfriend never used to make a big deal out of it but since we started living here she has been nagging me about ‘my joints.’ In her opinion I am reckless and put myself in danger of going to prison. I think she is exaggerating. I am not addicted but I do like to smoke pot because it makes me feel relaxed and at ease. After a long day of work I enjoy coming home and ﬁnding rest, peace and quiet – which I get after one joint. I enjoy this smoking tremendously and I’m not harming anyone. My girlfriend thinks it is not wise to smoke pot as she is afraid I will get addicted and will need more and more in order to relax. She also tells me it could damage my brain cells. She says she doesn’t like the smell and that she has memories of her father being addicted to alcohol and smoking. She is wondering why I need it and if I maybe cannot relax without smoking pot. When she starts to ask me this question, we always end up arguing. I am tired of her being overly concerned and telling me what I should do. But I love her and I think she is the one I want to share my life with. What are your thoughts about this issue?
Willem, 34, from the Netherlands
■ There are many different opinions on this issue. If you search the Internet there are sites which tell you how beneﬁcial smoking pot can be, and there are other sites which proclaim the opposite. Some sites do mention that smoking pot can cause damage to brain cells. I think that your current problem, however, is not just about the physical damage that marijuana can do. It also seems to be a
deeper issue between the two of you. First of all your girlfriend’s father was an addict so naturally she’s afraid that history will repeat itself. Your statement “I am not addicted” and her concern that you will get addicted is something you will have to honestly encounter within yourself. Do you dare to answer that question of “why do I want it and can I relax without it?” Have you tried to relax without marijuana? You also don’t like “her telling me what to do.” This makes me wonder if it is really only about the marijuana or if this is also part of a power struggle. Do you want to control your own life and show this to her by smoking? Are there other areas in your relationship where you feel she controls you and tells you what to do, but this is ﬁnally one where you can exercise “your freedom” and do what you want? If you love her and want to share your life with her, why is your enjoyment of one joint a day too hard to give up? You say your smoking harms no one, but your relationship is certainly harmed by it, as the issue is driving a barrier between you and the one you love. Unfortunately, when it comes to legal consequences, your girlfriend is right. Although a country like the Netherlands permits marijuana smoking, here in Thailand it is against the law. Even if it is only for your own use, if the authorities ﬁnd you in possession of the drug you can be prosecuted. So, yes, smoking marijuana in Thailand does put you at risk of getting a jail sentence. So you have to confront yourself with four questions: 1. Is my smoking (in order to relax and have peace) more important than having peace and harmony with my girlfriend? 2. Am I honest with myself when I say I am not addicted; can I do without it? 3. Am I playing a power struggle and would I like to have more control in my life in general? 4. Do I choose to disobey the laws of Thailand? I do hope both of you are willing to discuss the issue without arguing and come together to a solution that will strengthen your love for each tor ec ir D l nica is the Cli ned in the S M g other and bring in She trai a DeKon • Johannounseling Center. . C ia happiness, joy and S al C tr of N ds and Aus Netherlan peace.
Should I stay or should I go?
In fact, coming to Thailand was a bit of a break with some of those standards in the ﬁrst place (that’s why you felt ‘in two minds’ about it). Your confusion is an unresolved internal conflict between the guidelines for life you internalized as a child and the life you lead now. From the moment you came to Thailand, this conflict has been growing steadily and so it is no big surprise now that it comes up with such force when you consider going back home. But one thing seems clear to me: since there is no ‘going back’ in time or in development, your choice is between two different ways of life, both of which are fundamentally different from your past. One way out of your confusion is to update your life plan. What are your ‘shoulds’ based on now, as opposed to before? You could sit down and ask yourself what you want to do in life, and what your most important goals are. Every crisis of indecision is really an opportunity to resolve the conflict between old and new values. There will be some ‘shoulds’ that you will deﬁnitely want to keep, values that root you within yourself. But there will also be others that have transformed already, while you were not looking, so to speak. Time to investigate! This investigation will save you a lot of time. As you update yourself, some decisions will just fall into place. Those that don’t are the things that you still need to work out. Norma, 27, from the US So what are you really afraid of? Are you maybe unwilling to acknowledge the person you have become? Or are you simply afraid of making a mistake that will come Dear Norma, to haunt you? ■ It sounds to me as if you are not only Here’s my take confused but also a little afraid. What on this: yes, your you thought of as a brief diversion has decision right now is turned into a life path. important. But it is By coming to Thailand you did not a decision between something new and extraordinary in ‘right’ and ‘wrong.’ I your life. You changed its direction. And do believe it is best to now you are wondering if that direction can be reversed again. make decisions based From my perspective, the answer is ‘no.’ You have on current values but changed already. You can never ‘reverse’ your course in life I also believe that you because life only flows in one direction: forward. Through can’t fail at life. Even if your time in Thailand you have developed different aspects you make what you think of your personality. The girl who arrived here ﬁve years ago now (or in future) is a doesn’t exist any more. mistake, your life will just So maybe that’s why the question ‘what should I do’ • Anette Po take a different direction. of seven in llner Adv. Dipl. Couns. te , rn doesn’t produce any useful answers. When you ask youris at You will still be there. on io na e l counsello Counseling rs trained in LoCenter in Saphan Kw at NCS self what you ‘should’ do, what does that ‘should’ really All the best ai nd . staff counse on and the US and She llor at Bart’ worked as a mean? Who says what you ‘should’ do? ’Should’ implies s Hospital in London. some fundamental standards that guide your actions. What are those standards based on? My guess is that many of your underlying standards stem from your childhood (on another continent) when you absorbed them Contact details: ncs-counseling.com, email@example.com, without realizing that you did. Those standards have not updated Tel: 02 279 8503 Send your problems to: firstname.lastname@example.org with you, with your life and your changed circumstances. I CAME to Thailand four years ago and have been working here ever since. Although I was originally in two minds about it, I now like living here ver y much. Now I have an opportunity to get a good job back home. And somehow, that has thrown me into a terrible crisis. I’m a bit surprised because I never wanted to stay here indeﬁnitely. My plan was always to go back and this opportunity is almost exactly what I was thinking of. But now I’m hesitating. I’ve put off responding to the job offer. What is going on here and why is it suddenly so difﬁcult to make the right decision? If I don’t go back now then I will miss out on this opportunity, and other opportunities after that. If I do go back now I will have the mainstream career path I always wanted and I will probably never return to Thailand, except perhaps for a brief holiday. If I stay, I might not get an opportunity like this again and I am not sure how I would integrate back home. I can’t stay here long term, can I? What should I do? I’m confused.
The world’s oldest DJ? Now in his 99th year, Jim Davison continues to entertain Bangkok audiences with his weekly radio programme
FOR the past seven decades, this remarkable Australian has used his mellifluous voice and deep musical knowledge to travel the world as a deejay. On the way, he has met all kinds of celebrities and characters, including many he encountered in Thailand, his home for almost 50 years. Despite approaching his 100th birthday, Jim has no thoughts of retiring or slowing down; indeed, only two months ago he underwent surger y for three teeth implants and he still buys green bananas. His ‘Anything Goes’ show airs on 93.5FM ever y Sunday from 8.30pm to 10pm. In the following article, Jim Davison recalls the launch of the popular “Early Bird Show” in Bangkok in the mid-’60s, and the challenges he often faced at the whim of the broadcasting authorities here. 76
“AFTER freelancing for decades in big cities, and now past 50, I thought a change of pace might open up new perspectives. I forsook the bright lights of Hong Kong for a short assignment in tiny, pampered oil-rich Brunei, which I found friendly but incredibly dull. But it did provide the most dramatic highlight of my radio career – recording the wedding of their Crown Prince (now the Sultan of Brunei), a lavish ceremony that lasted for five days. When the excitement of that assignment died down, however, I yearned once more for big city life, and took up a suggestion from my long time friend Sam Scott, then a resident of Thailand, to come to The Big Mango, which he assured me was a Pandora’s Box of opportunities. The year was 1965. My first port of call when I arrived in Bangkok was the Majestic Hotel on Rachadamnoen Avenue. From my hotel window I looked across the Avenue at the old Chalerm Thai Theatre, its walls plastered with colourful billboards advertising the current attraction – Dr. Zhivago. I had arrived! And Sam’s Pandora’s Box prediction was right: I visited the radio section of the Thai Public Relations Department, then in the process of upgrading its flagship radio frequency 95FM (Tor Tor Tor), and when the operators learned I was in radio they were more than interested, suggesting an escorted visit to the 95FM studios. I politely declined the offer and said I would be happy if allowed to visit the studios in the early morning. They agreed.
in fron Jim working in era of the cam Hong Kong.
At 5.30am the next day, I paid my surprise visit. When the staff learned the reason for the call everyone was kind and helpful. But I was not quite prepared for what I saw. Food trays lay scattered around, the waste-paper baskets crammed with plastic wrappers and containers…the air filled with tobacco smoke, and some youths in an ante room playing cards. In one corner was the Chinese-Thai announcer sorting out his papers for the morning broadcast. It looked more like a domestic scene rather than a radio station. Khun Panat, one of the technicians, who spoke excellent English, showed me the library which appeared to be well stocked, but the rest of the set up had long passed its shelf life. At five minutes to the hour Panat suggested I go into the control room to check the station’s output. The music was pleasant, though a bit mixed, but the announcer struggling with his English was far from professional. At 7am an elderly foreigner came in to read the news. He shuffled his papers, and there was a lot of dead airtime when he lost his way on the script. His Scottish accent was so thick I hardly understood a word he was saying. Right there I got the impression that anyone who professed to speak English could come in “and give it a go.” But in spite of these shortcomings, I felt that with a few adjustments a good morning show could be set up, and returned to the Majestic with a head full of ideas. On my second visit to Public Relations I felt more confident, and submitted a rough draft of what I had in mind – a draft that was immediately approved in principle. But then came a snag! Government salaries were very low at the time and it would hardly be feasible to expect a high degree of dedication and professionalism with such low pay. How to get around this important issue? At that meeting it was interesting to learn that new radio equipment was on its way from the UK, including a Wilkinson multi-plex transmitter. Apparently it was time for Thai radio to take on a new look. At the end of the meeting I asked for a two week break to allow me to explore sponsorship possibilities, and find a way around the wages problem. Those next few weeks were extremely busy – but fruitful. Mr. Bond of Ital Thai Construction and Mr. Battliwalla of Air India were very co-operative and said they could arrange for airtime to be paid in advance. So far so good! Other prospective sponsors were interested but more reserved. They remembered the previous failed attempts to get a morning programme on the air. On a third visit to Public Relations I put forward an idea for their consideration…an idea that might get around the wages question. Each year members of the studio staff would be given a holiday in Hong Kong with all expenses paid – including pocket money; there would be two staff parties in the Oriental Hotel’s Normandie Grill (more affordable then); and I would give a personal gift at the end of the year. Public Relations were intrigued and delighted with the novel idea – especially Khun Somchit, head of English Language Programmes who had worked hard and diligently to improve the quality of Thai broadcasting. Pleased, too, was the staff in spite of the new restrictions – no food to be brought into the
studios, no uninvited guests, no smoking, no gambling. And a time clock installed to check the comings and goings. No complaints from anyone. I had to agree on my part to limit commercial time to 10 minutes per hour, avoid controversial religious and political issues, and abide by all existing broadcasting regulations. On their part, Public Relations agreed there would be no intrusions into the three hours, 6am to 9am Monday to Friday, and I would have control over the programmes’ content and procedure. It was also agreed, verbally, that no competing airtime would be aired from any of their other frequencies. In addition I would be required to pay a monthly sum, in advance, for the use of the station’s facilities. With a final Contract drawn up the only thing left was to name the programme. “Early Bird Show” won hands down. Starting date was scheduled for the first Monday in February 1966. That sunny February morning was one to remember. With Somchit sitting beside me everything went off without a hitch. The technicians did a great job with not a missed cue. Within an hour the phone began to ring…and ring…and ring…Agents and companies clamoured for airtime…everyone was excited by the quick response. The Early Bird had really taken off. Taken everyone by surprise, too. There were a few disappointed prospective sponsors, due in some measure to the ruling ‘no competing sponsors,’ and to cope with the overflow a late night show “Whisky and Sofa’ went on the air from 95FM. In no time it, too, was fully booked. Thai radio had become “big time.” Commercials increased in price from 350 baht to over 1,000 within three months. As the months went by the Early Bird Show became part of Bangkok’s mornings. Two bright young ladies, Rosemary and Valery, joined us for an hour to add to the fun. Sadly, youthful
vivacious Rosemary committed suicide; Valery is still around and lives in Sydney. Soon after the Early Bird started I acquired an expensive and professional recorder from Sweden. With the expert assistance of technician Khun Panat it was possible to get some interesting “scoops” for the morning show. Bob Hope, the king of entertainers, gave a half hour chat in his room at the Erawan Hotel; Margaret Whiting was a joy to meet at the old Rama Hotel (now Holiday Inn) on Silom; Johnny Mathis was just great at the Café de Paris; The Platters came on the Show several times and became good friends; and singers Gerry Scott and Maggie Bowra were favourites with the morning listeners. Sam Scott’s Pub, The Yard of Ale, on Silom often provided the backdrop for interviews and musical occasions – interesting snippets much appreciated. Sam died a few years ago, aged 83, in the US. All this activity amounted to a heavy workload. Even though Whisky and Sofa was recorded, it entailed much preparation. My morning began at 3.30am at which time I went to the offices of the Bangkok World newspaper located just off Rachadamnoen Avenue. With the kind assistance of John Sutherland, local and international news items were taken directly from the press, which meant that our news was up to date and even more up to date than the newspapers – our bulletin was read live at 7am, with 10 minutes of local news and 20 minutes of international news (half an hour of highly condensed items). The first year passed with the Early Bird riding the crest of success. Broadcast on AM, FM and Short wave it had enormous coverage. Radio stations outside Bangkok “snitched” our news, and there were many calls from listeners overseas. But I believe the overall success of the show was due to our range of music chosen with care, and a leisurely, relaxed format appropriate for a country whose mother tongue
“Sam Scott’s Pub, The Yard of Ale, often provided the backdrop for interviews and musical occasions.”
Jim preparing for the Early Bird Show.
is not English. There were no recorded commercials. The advertising was woven into the continuity, a practice I adhere to until today. And the usual slickness of big time radio was replaced with an intimate, friendly approach. This first year was also the time when the technicians took off for their well earned holiday in Hong Kong. On that Friday morning, Maitri and Nippon were the envy of all those who gathered to wish them well…It was more like an emigration than a short trip abroad. Tickets and baggage in hand the two were ready for the flight, thrilled to bits because neither had been out of the country, let alone been on a plane. It was a noisy send off. Over the next two years one major event took place. The Thai Army launched its own radio station, located in handsome surrounds, and fitted with the most modern equipment. A morning show was their first priority and advertising luminaries like Lee Evans, Elizabeth Banabas, Bessie Castanadas and John Dhienn were recruited. It looked like formidable competition. Yes, there was a little rivalry, but it was friendly rivalry as there was plenty of honey to go around – no shortage of sponsors. The station opened with great fanfare and great sound.
Jim enjoys a party with Venus, a visiting artist from the US
!: Say cheers a Jim shares singer drink with ra Maggie Bow
home: There’s no place like nglamphu Jim at his pad in Ba
Six months later disaster struck! In the early hours of the morning the 95FM complex burned to the ground with a loss of life – the watchman. Everything was thrown into confusion. What next? Very quickly, the Public Relations arranged for a studio to be set up in one of their own premises. Within 48 hours, bruised and battered, the Early Bird rose from the ashes now working from crumby and cramped quarters. Not one sponsor dropped out. It was business as usual. It’s only natural in a medium like radio, where the entertainers are heard but not seen, for listeners to send little gifts to favorites they will never meet. Fantasies are created…fantasies which more often than not bear little resemblance to reality. It’s not unheard of for a listener to fall in love with someone just heard. Life is strange. During my time with the Early Bird Show I received many little gifts like chocolates or flowers. But along with those gifts also came some other kinds of messages – pictures of naked bodies…dirty limericks…pornographic postcards…offers of all kinds of kinky behavior if I could name the time and place. They came from both male and female listeners, some of whom brave enough to give their names and addresses – and phone numbers. What prompted the assumption I was aligned with sex, vice and perversion; a disciple of Rasputin, Casanova, the Marquis de Sade? Maybe it was something I said or did. Could be! One kind lady sent a tray of goodies to the studio every Friday. But one Friday when the goodies didn’t come, her husband did, and threatened to bash my face in if I didn’t stop seducing his wife. Not a dull moment on the morning show. After almost five years of working alone, the strain began to show. This, together with the recurrence of a rare blood disease contracted in Venezuela in 1962, gave me no option other than to bow
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Six months later disaster struck! In the early hours of the morning the 95FM complex burned to the ground with a loss of life – the watchman.
out. It was a sad decision but there was one consolation: the Early Bird had obtained its objective – heard in every home, hotel, taxi and bus, and was a real part of the Bangkok scene. In other words: my biggest success ever. After three months of medical treatment in Japan I returned to Bangkok refreshed, and began looking around for something undemanding to do. The Public Relations had no intention of taking the Early Bird off the air. Entrepreneur Phil Murray and his working partner, Garrick Law, took over. Some changes were made. The morning features disappeared, replaced with more commercials. The “no competing sponsor” clause bit the dust. Garrick was the announcer. Two years after Phil and Garrick took control came another bombshell. With no prior notice all English language programmes were banned. There was no advance warning, no indication that such a thing could happen. But it did. The next morning Thai music took the place of the Early Bird. A loud outcry from the listeners went unheard. The Early Bird had made its last flight… The order was an unexpected and drastic blow. Phil and I got together to prepare tapes for Hotels in Bangkok and Pattaya, to be played on the in-house equipment. The tapes were issued free of cost and contained the hotels’ promotions, along with commercials paid for by sponsors. The Hotels were pleased with the idea as it cost them nothing. Tapes were replaced every month with new music and dialogue. I compiled the tapes, Phil looked after the advertising. The money came rolling in… Some months later the radio ban was partially lifted if the presenters were Thai. A little later the ban was relaxed even more. Foreigners could present the programme, but the commercials had to be read by a Thai. This rather awkward stipulation was a bit difficult, but I managed to helm some successful evening and night shows, with the help and cooperation of some talented Thai announcers. The ban lasted for many years and the authorities must
have grown tired of me knocking on the Pearly Gates offering formats and suggestions. One day my plea was heard by an ex-director of broadcasting who, in a matter of days, gave me the go-ahead for the four-hour night show ‘Anything Goes’ from frequency 98.5FM. That was more than 20 years ago. Anything Goes is still running, but recently moved to frequency 93.5. It now begins at 8.30pm and ends at 10pm – Sunday only – a shortened time not because of the lack of sponsors, but because of lack of airtime for an English speaking show. Coming from a family with a theatrical background it was my secret ambition to be a good singer or pianist. I was mediocre on both counts. It was radio that provided a lifetime of pleasure and fulfillment, brought me in contact with interesting people and in spite of the hard work, gave me lots of enjoyment. How gratifying it is today to have those young men I worked with so long ago, call me up at the station to say “hello.” They are old men now – but they still remember. And the other “oldies” who keep in touch because they, too, were around in the mid ’60s when the Early Bird was so much part of the scene. It seems ironic that I should have been here to establish and present Bangkok’s first successful English language commercial radio show, and still be around to see its possible demise. Glittering cocktail parties have been held to herald newcomers to the field, but all have gone now. I seem to be the only one left, with that uneasy feeling of standing alone in a fairground after everyone’s gone home. Yes, I often thought of retiring, travelling the world, visiting new places, revisiting old scenes…living the life of Riley. But now it is not to be. It’s twilight time. Next year I celebrate my 100th birthday. It now takes me longer to dress, longer to get to the station, longer to do anything. But when that ON AIR light blinks I feel it’s all worthwhile. Perhaps the party was not all I hoped for, but now that I’m here I might as well dance.
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 A p r i l 1 4
What’s on pArt pPerformance pSport pFootball pMovies & Albums pBooks
Seven time Grammy winner Taylor Swift will perform in Bangkok in May. Page 86.
Expect sonic fireworks galore when Explosions In The Sky perform Page 86
Bullet For My Valentine bring their dark and powerful tunes to BKK Page 86
The Londoner Football Club to host second memorial tournament Page 88 TheBigChilli 83
Art 19/3 30/4 Where’s My Head
BRITISH contemporary artist Thomas Donaldson presents a series of oil based works addressing the representation of traditional painting motifs, such as the Portrait and Nude. Created using thick impasto paint, dragged and smudged with abstract mark making, the images intend to suggest rather than depict an accurate observation of his subject, and acknowledge the existentialist premise that one cannot fully know or experience the reality of another person. La Lanta Fine Art, 245/14 Sukhumvit Soi 31. Open Tues-Sat 10am-7pm 02 204 0583 lalanta.com
After to After
NATURAL minerals, soil, water, air, and sunlight are just some of the ingredients Duenchayphoochana Phooprasert used to create his latest series of mixed-media artworks, which explore how natural elements shape the world around us.
DOB Hualamphong Gallery, DOB Building 4F, 318 Rama 4 Rd. Open Tues-Sat 10.30am-7pm; Sun 10.30am-5.30pm (closed Mon) 02 237 5592-4 ardelgallery.com
VIEW realistic paintings, abstract paintings, sculptures, printmaking, mixed media artworks, and more, as the winners of the third edition of Thai Beverage Public Company Limited’s White Elephant Art Award (held this year under a ‘My Homeland’ theme) present their engaging creations at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre. Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, 939 Rama 1 Rd (near National Stadium BTS). Open Tues-Sun 10am-9pm (Closed Mon) 02 214 6630-8 bacc.or.th
INSPIRED by 1960s editions of Playboy Magazine, which was renowned for its liberal editorial stance, this interactive art exhibition by Tawatchai Somkong features oil paintings, works by several guest artists, and a replica magazine with articles penned by guest writers. ARDEL Gallery of Modern Art (Boromrachachonnanee Rd.) Open Tues-Sat 10.30am-7pm; Sun 10.30am-5.30pm (closed Mon and Apr 11-17) 02 422 2092 ardelgallery.com
EIGHT abstract teak sculptures, lovingly handcrafted by Utai Nopsiri, reflect the artist’s perspectives on life through a lens of eastern philosophy rooted in Buddhism and Taoism. The opening reception will be held on Thurs Apr 24 from 7pm. 100 Tonson Gallery, 100 Soi Tonson, Ploenchit Rd. Open Thurs-Sun 11am-7pm 02 684 1527 100tonsongallery.com
29/4 Explosions In The Sky
EXPECT sonic fireworks galore when these American post-rockers bring their emotionally-charged “cathartic mini-symphonies” to Bangkok. With elaborately developed guitar work and styled instrumentals, the band’s music has been used in many TV shows and movies, with stand out tunes such as Your Hand In Mine, Human Qualities, and Glittering Blackness. Moonstar Studio. Ladprao Soi 80. 8pm. Tickets: B1,500 thaiticketmajor.com
Bullet For My Valentine
FORMED in Wales in 1998, this heavy metal four-piece has topped charts around the world with dark and powerful songs like Tears Don’t Fall; The Last Fight; and Scream, Aim, Fire. Expect to hear tracks from last year’s Temper Temper (the band’s fourth studio album) as well as favourites from its back catalogue of hits. Centrepoint Studio. Sukhumvit 105. 8pm. Tickets: B1,800 thaiticketmajor.com
CATCH Thornton Wilder’s classic farce brought to life by the Bangkok Community Theatre, at The new Alliance Francaise Theatre on Wireless Road (Apr 25 and 26, as well as May 2 and 3). A delightful comedy, The Matchmaker tells the story of a scheming matchmaker who pretends to help a penny-pinching store owner find a wife, while trying to get him to marry her instead. Along the way, she helps other lovers find their match. Directed by Mark Sobels.
Alliance Francaise Theatre on Wireless Rd. Tickets: B850 087 517 2666 (between 8am-2pm) email@example.com Show starts 8pm.
SEVEN time Grammy winner Taylor Swift may not be coming to Thailand till June, but tickets for the American singer-songwriter’s amazing live show – which includes several songs from her record-breaking RED album, new takes on fan favorites, elaborate costumes and eye-popping changing sets spread across two stages – are likely to sell out fast. Get yours early to avoid disappointment. Impact Arena, Muang Thong Thani. 8.30pm. Tickets range B2,000-B6,500 thaiticketmajor.com
INDIE music fans have two good shows to look forward to at Cosmic Café next month. First up, on May 10, are Scandinavian pop outfit Postiljonen, who’ll perfom slow-burning songs from their debut album, Skyer, while next up, on May 16, are Australian four-piece The Cairos (pictured), 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
What’s On|Outdoor fun
Chiang Mai International Cricket Sixes
NOW in its 27th year, the San Miguel Chiang Mai International Cricket Sixes will once again see teams from around the world venture to the Chiang Mai Gymkhana Club to enjoy fast-paced cricket followed by fun nights on the town. Returning to defend their trophy will be last year’s winners, The Bashundara Cricketers from Bangladesh. Catch the action live via the tournament’s website. chiangmaisixes.com
4/5 Football for a cause
ON May 4 Bangkok Patana School will hold the second annual Memorial Tournament for Paul Stamp and Danny Kemp, two players from the Londoner FC Football Team, who passed away in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Paul and Danny were very popular and well-known members of Bangkok’s expat community and are dearly missed. The tournament will comprise of eight teams, including teams from the Londoner FC, Londoner FC Old Boys, German Allstars, Scandinavian Vikings, Bangkok Football Club, and The BigChilli FC. Teams will be divided into two groups with the top two teams progressing to a knock-out stage. Food and refreshments will be provided on the day, and spectators are welcome for a small fee (all proceeds will go to a trust fund set up for Danny’s young children). Spectators can also join the tournament after-party at Londoner Brew Pub, Sukhumvit 33, which will host a raffle and buffet. Games kick off at 1pm. For more info email SPrentki@wfw.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
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 once again at Horseshoe Pattaya Resort, the event is now known as the Amari Orchid Pattaya Chris Kays Memorial Tournament, in memory of 3/5 the former Pattaya Panthers 4/5 captain, who was tragically killed in the Bali bombing in October 2002. pattayapanthers.com Elsewhere… 5/4 - 10/4
Laguna Phuket International Marathon
OVER 6,000 participants from over 50 countries are expected to take part in the ninth edition of this grueling 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
Hua Hin Cricket Sixes
ENJOY fast-paced cricket at the Dusit Thani Hua Hin. See page 120 for more info. 1/5 - 5/5
Top Of The Gulf Regatta Asia’s largest multi-class sailing event celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, welcoming a strong fleet of sailors from around the world. More info on page 132.
Football Focus BY PAUL HEWITT
Tarua and Ratchaburi roaring as favourites falter
THERE is an unusual look to the Thai Premier League table after the first month of the season. Top of the pile sit newly-promoted Singhtarua FC level on points with Ratchaburi FC. The Lions of Khlong Toey – whose chances in 2014 were grimly assessed by one of their own fans in this magazine last month – have raced to the top of the table having won three and drawn two of their opening five games. Those draws came at home to PTT Rayong on the opening day (1-1) and away at Bangkok United (2-2). But they have taken maximum points away at Osotspa (1-0) and at home to Chiang Rai and Samut Songkhram (2-1 and 3-0). It is fair to say that the opposition so far are not the TPL’s leading lights, although Osotspa and Samut Songkhram are experienced top-flight campaigners, but you can only beat what is put in front of you, and the flying start should give Tarua confidence for when they do encounter the big boys. They already look too good to go down. Up until that 3-0 win against Samut Songkhram on Matchday five, all of Singhtarua’s goals had been scored by star striker Leandro Oliveira. He netted once again against the Crazy Mackerels but his teammates also thoughtfully chipped in on that occasion. It took the dynamic Brazilian’s total to seven goals in five games. His form is a blessing and a curse for Tarua. They need his goals, of course, but their
chronic dependency on one player is not a healthy situation, and his exploits are sure to attract the attention of the TPL’s big boys. And the PAT Stadium faithful will shudder at the thought of the 31 year old getting injured. Here’s hoping he stays fit and that the board have got him locked into an iron-clad contract. Ratchaburi have also taken eleven points from their opening five games, but their achievements are perhaps more impressive than Tarua’s as their opponents so far have been a ‘Who’s Who’ of supposed title contenders, and four of their opening five games have been away from home. They won 2-1 away at Suphanburi on the opening day then proved that was no fluke by securing a 0-0 draw away at champions Buriram United in front of nearly 23,000 people. On Matchday three Ratchaburi were at Chonburi and came away with a 3-3 draw, and they should have done better as they led 3-1 with eleven minutes to go. A week later they did do better when TPL new boys Air Force were comfortably beaten 2-0 as The Dragons finally played on their own turf. But they were back on the road four days later as they made the daunting trip to the SCG Stadium to take on Muangthong United. The Twin Qilins took the lead in the 42nd minute through Mario Gjurovski, and Ratchaburi’s race seemed to be run when Chutipon Tongtae saw red midway through the second half,
but the visitors staged an astonishing late comeback and left Nonthaburi with all three points thanks to a truly bizarre Sarawut Masuk own-goal in the 88th minute and a stunning 90th-minute winner from Phuwadol Suwannachart. Muangthong themselves have been inconsistent and have shown no great improvement on last season’s form. As well as the defeat to Ratchaburi, they were held 1-1 at home by Police United and needed a 91st minute winner to overcome Chainat, also at the SCG Stadium. They have been more impressive on the road recording big wins at TOT (3-0) and Songkhla (4-0). If Muangthong have been inconsistent, then 2013 TPL Champions Buriram United have been totally off-colour. The Thunder Castle lost four games in a row in March in all competitions, and when you add the 0-0 draw against Ratchaburi it becomes five in a row without a win – easily the side’s worst run in the ‘Newin era.’ Champions League defeats to Pohang Steelers at home (1-2) and Cerezo Osaka away (0-4) were punctuated by league defeats against BEC Tero (2-3) and Bangkok Glass (0-3). Despite those woes, a 2-0 win against PTT Rayong on Matchday five steadied the ship and left Buriram four points off top spot. It is surely unthinkable that they will not be involved in the title race. It is early days but it looks like we might have a more open title race than in recent years with Muangthong, Chonburi, Bangkok Glass and Buriram all likely contenders in the long run despite those surprisingly good starts by The Dragons of Ratchaburi and The Lions of Khlong Toey.
TPL causes a flare-up! WE reported in the February issue how the TPL bigwigs seemed to be stretching the boundaries of their remit by threatening clubs with enormous fines if fans chanted anti-TPL or anti-FAT slogans at matches. Now they are on another prohibition mission and have pyrotechnic flares in their proscribing crosshairs. Several clubs in the top two divisions including Muangthong United and my own Nakhon Ratchasima FC have been hit with 60,000 baht fines after fans ignited flares. You may well be one of the many, probably the majority, who do not like flares and do not see the need for fans to use them inside football stadiums and welcome the ban. But here is where it gets more controversial. The TPL extends its ban, and therefore punishments, to fans who light flares outside stadiums. The TPL have not blessed us with details on how far a fan would have to be away from a stadium for the ban not to apply, but cynicism aside, can the TPL legitimately punish clubs for what fans do outside stadiums? Controversial bit number two: the TPL says it is just following AFC regulations with regards to pyrotechnics, but AFC regulations only apply to AFC Champions League and AFC Cup matches; domestic league regulations are set by the individual leagues in each country. Thirdly, the TPL claims that the huge sums collected from fines (racing towards a million baht after just five games of the season) will go towards much-needed youth development in Thai football. So can we see exactly how this money is being used please? Thought not. Surely a compromise could be reached where fans who wish to let off flares are allowed to do so but only in a specially allocated part of the stadium. The fines could still be applied if those fans stray from the specified â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;pyrotechnic zone.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; But as you can tell, this issue goes beyond the simple flare and once again concerns the way the TPL wields its power and the secretive way it balances its books. AD Destination_Dec12.indd 1
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What’s On|Movies & Music
Screen 10/4 RIO 2
NEED FOR SPEED
ZOOMING from consoles to the big screen, this movie adaptation of the best-selling video-game franchise looks set to deliver Fast & Furious-style -style thrills aplenty. Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) stars as Tobey Marshall, a blue-collar mechanic who, in a last attempt to save his struggling garage, teams up with a wealthy and arrogant ex-NASCAR driver to build and race muscle cars. It’s not long before things take a wrong turn, and Tobey is left driving for his life.
ADVENTUROUS macaws Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) and Jewel (Anne Hathaway) fly back onto the big screen for another fun-packed family adventure this month. Now with three kids in tow and living in the Amazon, Blu tries his best to fit in, going beak-to-beak with the vengeful Nigel (Jemaine Clement), and meeting his most fearsome adversary of all – his father-in-law. The all-star voice cast includes Andy Garcia, Bruno Mars, Kristin Chenoweth, and Rita Moreno, among others.
WALLY Pfister, longtime cinematographer for Christopher Nolan, makes his directorial debut in this techno-thriller about artificial intelligence gone awry. Dr Will Caster (Johnny Depp) is striving to achieve the technological singularity – the point at which artificial intelligence is greater than human intelligence. But this makes him the prime target of anti-technology extremists, who will do whatever it takes to stop him.
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2
YOU don’t need Spidey Sense to know that Marvel’s much-loved webslinger will find himself in yet another sticky situation here. This time bringing the powerful villainy is Electro (Jamie Foxx), who’ll test not only Spider-Man’s (Andrew Garfield) strength and ability, but also wreak havoc with the hero’s daily life as Peter Parker. After all, with great power comes great responsibility, and for poor Peter, this means making sacrifices.
Movie screenings are subject to change. Keep up to date at majorcineplex.com
Kaiser Chiefs Education, Education & War (Release date: Apr 1)
Kelis Food (Release date: Apr 22)
Mike Oldfield Man On The Rocks (Release date: Apr 1)
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart Days Of Abandon (Release date: Apr 22)
Lacuna Coil Broken Crown Halo (Release date: Apr 1)
Damon Albarn Everyday Robots (Release date: Apr 29)
Shonen Knife Overdrive (Release date: Apr 15)
Wye Oak Shriek (Release date: Apr 29)
TOPPING THE UK CHARTS APR 1994
1. Manchester United Football Club – Come On You Reds 2. Take That – Everything Changes 3. Artist Formerly Known As Prince – The Most Beautiful Girl In The World 4. Tony Di Bart – The Real Thing 5. Crash Test Dummies – Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm 6. C J Lewis – Sweets For My Sweet 7. Erasure – Always 8. Bitty McLean – Dedicated To The One I Love 9. Tina Arena – Chains 10. Madonna – I’ll Remember (Theme From ‘With Honours’)
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Just for fun
Humour Bon mots from the mouth of a pro. This month: Groucho Marx
Random thoughts • No man goes before his time – unless the boss leaves early. • A black cat crossing your path signiﬁes that the animal is going somewhere. • I don’t care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members. • I must confess, I was born at a very early age.
On relationships • Behind every successful man is a woman, behind her is his wife. • Marriage is a wonderful institution, but who wants to live in an institution? • Wives are people who feel they don’t dance enough. • I remember the ﬁrst time I had sex – I kept the receipt.
On politics • Politics is the art of looking for trouble, ﬁnding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies. • All people are born alike – except Republicans and Democrats. • Military justice is to justice what military music is to music. • Politics doesn’t make strange bedfellows – marriage does.
On life and death • I intend to live forever, or die trying. • The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made. • A hospital bed is a parked taxi with the meter running. • Getting older is no problem. You just have to live long enough.
Social Last month’s best events in pictures
Social|Last Month’s Best Events
Dining with a new York twist
CHIVAS Regal hosted an exclusive sit-down dinner at JW Marriot Bangkok’s New York Steakhouse, where a crowd of VIPs and Thai celebs enjoyed a night of gourmet cuisine, Chivas Scotch Whisky, and a “New York Modern Legends” theme. Designed to resurrect the merriment and spirit of the Big Apple circa 1909, the event also featured jazz classics rendered by Richard Jackson, a mime performance, and an exclusive after-party hosted by DJ Kenny.
CharitY golf ClassiC BOURBON St. Restaurant & Oyster Bar’s 19th annual Charity Golf Classic for Father Joe Maier’s Human Development Foundation served up yet another great day of fundraising fun at the Royal Golf & Country Club. The event raised over B950,000, which will be donated to Father Joe’s Mercy Centre, under the patronage of HRH Princess Srirasmi (www.mercycentre.org). Among the many generous sponsors on the day were Fenix, WCA World, Better Oil Tools, KrisEnergy, Zi-Argus Limited, Kingdom Property, Brunel Energy (Thailand) Ltd, and RSM.
Social|Last Monthâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Best Events
Modern tastes at the rock FOODIES and cocktail fans were out in force for the grand opening of The Rock Restaurant and Bar, Ari Soi 4, which served up innovative drinks specially designed by renowned mixologist Joseph Boroski, and a menu of traditional Siamese cuisine presented in a fresh, modern way.
Full Moon Fun
INSPIRED by Koh Pha Ngan’s renowned beach parties, ZAAP and CMO joined forces with main sponsor Bacardi Breezer to host a Full Moon Party at Asiatique The Riverfront. Held under a “Neon” theme, the event saw many revelers arrive dressed in their day-glo best, and body-painters were also on hand to help people get their glow on. The highlight of the night was a concert featuring a performance by popular Thai hip hop band Thaitanium, alongside Southside and Mindset.
Social|Last Month’s Best Events
Kiwis have a ball FREE-flow drinks, delicious food, and a Lord Of The Rings-inspired theme set the scene for a splendid evening of wining and dining at the “New Zealand Middle Earth Ball 2013,” organized by the New Zealand Society and New Zealand-Thai Chamber of Commerce (NZTCC) at the Grand Hall, The Imperial Queen’s Park Hotel, Sukhumvit 22. H.E. Mr. Tony Lynch, Ambassador of New Zealand to Thailand, presided over the event.
Theodoré’s gourmeT gaThering GOURMET food importer Theodoré International held an exclusive dinner to introduce Alain François’ duck foie gras at its warehouse and distribution centre on Sukhumvit Soi 71. A number of guests, including Pierre François and some of the city’s top chefs, enjoyed sampling the foie gras in a six-course menu specially prepared for the evening by Theodore’s Consultant Culinaire, Chef Cédric Maton.
Social|Last Month’s Best Events
The Mansion opens in RCa NEW burlesque-style nightclub The Mansion arrived on the scene in lively fashion with two theme parties held over consecutive nights. Kick starting the fun, with glamorous dancers and high energy music, was the ‘Seductive Angels’ night. This was followed the next evening by the ‘Lust for Latex’ party, where performers in skin-tight suits received lots of whoops from the crowd. The Mansion is located in RCA. For more info see: www.facebook.com/TheMansionBangkok.
Art in three dimensions PULLMAN Bangkok King Powerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s popular Wine Pub hosted a special exhibition of 3D acrylic paintings by renowned French artist Bilou, whose creative and colourful images of Zebras captivated all in attendance.
Social|Last Month’s Best Events
Movers & shakers at Glaz Bar ANOTHER fun night of networking was enjoyed by members and friends of the Movers & Shakers Corporate Networking Group, which held the February edition of its popular monthly meet-up at Glaz Bar, Plaza Athénée Bangkok, A Royal Méridien Hotel.
The PinTsman goes green THE Pintsman pub on Silom Road celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with a green themed party fuelled by special deals on Irish food and draught beers, and a special performance of acoustic rock by the pub’s house band.
3/27/14 10:56 AM
Social|Last Month’s Best Events
A tAste of IrelAnd At BeerVAult BEERVAULT at Four Points by Sheraton Bangkok, Sukhumvit 15, kick-started its St. Patrick’s Day celebrations a whole week early and offered seven fun-packed party nights featuring traditional Irish eats, beer cocktails, and a chance to win over 100,000 baht’s worth of prizes from Paddy the Lucky Leprechaun.
le CorAl opens wIth A song THE brand new Le Coral Hideaway Beyond Phuket Resort marked its soft opening with a mini concert by Joe & Kong Nuvo, who performed for a select group of media and VIP guests. The group was also given a tour of the 58-room property, located in Na Toey district, Phang Nga, just thirty minutes from Phuket International Airport.
Social|Last Monthâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Best Events
RunneRs in theiR element ATHLETES from all around the world ventured to Naresuan Camp, Cha Am, to take part in the inaugural Amarin Outdoor Unlimited International Triathlon. Arranged by Active Management Asia, this new event featured a Standard triathlon, Sprint triathlon, and Duathlon, and was contested by over 500 racers. For more info: www.ama-events.com.
A DYNAMIC crowd of business owners and managers gathered at Double Tree by Hilton Hotel for the March edition of the popular Bangkok Entrepreneurs networking night. The evening featured a presentation by Riccardo Basile, co-founder and CEO of Lazada Thailand, who talked about his companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s recent achievements and future ambitions, and presented an overview of the e-Commerce industry in Thailand and Southeast Asia. For details of upcoming events see: www.meetup. com/Bangkok-Entrepreneurs. photographs by David Heischrek.
4/1/14 10:51 AM
Social|Last Month’s Best Events
Ramada’s wedding showcase
COUPLES planning their big day flocked to Ramada Plaza Bangkok Menam Riverside for its Destiny Wedding Fair 2014, which showcased all kinds of wedding packages and services in the hotel’s Menam Grand Ballroom.
COntEmpOrary art sHOwCasE witH HEnnEssy EndlEss HappinEss witH aEOn
AEON Thana Sinsap (Thailand) Public Company Limited launched its “365 Days AEON…your endless happiness” campaign with a showcase of the campaign’s benefits – namely a range of promotions in partnership with Major Cineplex Group, including special privileges for cardholders at Major Cineplex 4DX and 3D cinemas, and lifestyle activities such as karaoke, bowling and ice-skating.
ViEtnamEsE FOOd FEstiVal
TRADITIONAL Vietnamese dishes were the flavour of the month at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok, which hosted a Vietnamese Food Festival featuring cuisine by guest chef Doan Van Tuan at its popular Le Danang restaurant. The festival was opened by His Excellency Ngo Duc Thang, Ambassador of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, together with his wife, Le Thi My Hao
THAILAND’S leading graffiti artist Patcharapol Tangruen, aka Alex Face, joined the management of Hennessy Thailand to travel to Japan to take part in the “Hennessy Essentials” campaign – a unique showcase of contemporary art and street culture which also featured the launch of Hennessy’s third collaboration with world-renowned graffiti artists Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo, Brazilian born identical twins best known as Os Gêmeos. Launched in Tokyo, the campaign also featured ‘Hennessy Artistry,’ a special concert featuring performances by famous music acts like Madlib, Masadua, N.A.S.A, Karol Conka and many more.
Social|Around Last Month’s town Best Events
a Royal occasion at BeRkeley hotel
HER Royal Highness Princess Soamsawali graciously presided over the “Prachabordi Awards Presentation,” organized by Bureau of Promotion and Protection of the Disadvantaged, Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, at The Berkeley Hotel Pratunam. Extending a warm welcome to HRH were Mrs Patchara Weeraborwornpong, Vice Chairman of Prommaharaj Group; and Ms Saisom Wongsasulak, Managing Director of The Berkeley Hotel.
asiatique paRtneRs with tRipadVisoR
ASIATIQUE The Riverfront held a press conference to announce that it will be the first shopping and lifestyle complex in Asia to partner with TripAdvisor. As part of the partnership, there will be a customised Asiatique The Riverfront attractions page on TripAdvisor China, also known as Daodao to Chinese users, featuring traveller reviews and a detailed listing of the attraction’s numerous boutiques and restaurants.
Jim thompson exploRes cultuRe
TRANSMISSION, an exhibition exploring the interface between cultural heritage and contemporary art, was opened at the Jim Thompson Art Centre, Soi Kasemsan 2, with a cocktail reception attended by media and art enthusiasts. Curated by David Teh, with the assistance of Mary Pansanga, the exhibition features the work of Sopheap Pich, Albert Yonathan Setyawan, The Propeller Group, and Nick Chan, amongst others, and includes a wide variety of media, from woodwork and painting to video and sound installations. The exhibition is open daily 9am-5pm, until August 30. Free admission.
summeR Fashion with supeRspoRts
SUPERSPORTS, under CRC Sport Co. Ltd., welcomed the summer in style by hosting “Supersports Summer Fashion Show 2014 & Women’s Sport Zone Opening” at the Supersports Store in Central World. Besides officially presenting new collections of swimwear from top brands such as Guy Laroche, Triumph, Sunseeker, Quiksilver, Billabong, Arena, and Speedo, Supersports also used the event to showcase products from its new Women’s Sports Zone. 112
Diplomats p Meet the people uniting nations
HE Adel Yousif Sater The Bahraini Envoy talks about his work and life in Thailand Page 114
HE Adel Yousif Sater |Kingdom of Bahrain
Bahraini Envoy a master of multitasking
H By Maxmilian Wechsler
HIS Excellency Adel Yousif Sater from the Kingdom of Bahrain may hold the record amongst the current Bangkok diplomatic corps for juggling the most ambassadorial assignments at once. Besides being his country’s top envoy to Thailand he also oversees his country’s relations with Bangladesh, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam and ASEAN. During our recent interview, the dedication and passion he brings to the job was evident. “It is hard work to look after seven countries with but a few staff consisting of Bahraini diplomats and 15 locals, but I think we manage very well,” said Mr Sater in his embassy office on the 31st floor of Sathorn Nakorn Tower on North Sathorn Road. “I have a very good team in Bangkok. I visit all countries regularly every few months and also whenever there is a highlevel visit from a Bahraini government official.” At the start of the interview, Mr Sater explained that Bahrain was actually an archipelago of 33 natural islands, the largest of which is Bahrain Island, plus some that are manmade. “The population of the country is a little over 1.2 million people. With an area of 765.3 square kilometers, Bahrain is a little larger than Singapore. We are connected to Saudi Arabia by a 25-kilometer causeway.” One of the charms of Bahrain is that it is a very liberal country, allowing people of different faiths to express themselves freely. The majority of the population of Bahrain speaks English, which makes it a lot easier for visitors. With a wide range of choices, Bahrain offers a multicultural mix of ethnicities and religions, with friendly people who offer warm hospitality. Bahrain also offers plenty of luxurious retail therapy as well as entertainment complexes, all scattered around the Kingdom. The climate is moderate compared to other Gulf countries, with pleasant winters and summers. Though Bahrain has warmer weather in the summer, it offers mild temperatures that draw tourists to a long winter. Bahrain features an abundance of natural resources, modern amenities, historical landmarks and countless amusements. The capital of Bahrain, Manama, offers plenty of interesting places to visit, such as Qal’at Al Bahrain (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Bab Al Bahrain (means ‘Gate of Bahrain’), Al Khamis Mosque (the oldest mosque in Bahrain), Al Fateh Grand Mosque, Bahrain National Museum, Bait Al Qur’an, Band ahrain Financial Harbour. The ambassador said that Bahrain has the oldest public education system in the region, adding that the Al-Hidaya Al-Khalifia school for boys was opened at the northern tip of Muharraq in 1919 and the first public school for girls was opened in Muharraq in 1928.
His Excellency spoke at length about the place he grew up, Muharraq Island, which is connected by three causeways to Manama, the country’s capital and largest city on Bahrain Island. “My home is in Muharraq, the northernmost island in the archipelago. This is where I was born, grew up and met my wife, Layla A.aziz Mohamed Albalushi. “We have four sons: Yusuf, Mohamed, Bader and Khalid. When I was young, my hometown was my universe, and still today I really love the rich history of the area. I have so many memories of family and friends from childhood, and the traditional Islamic houses veiled by the narrow winding lanes. The spicy smell of machboos (a spicy poultry or beef, fish, shrimp with rice dish) pervades the air, and people have time to stop, chat and savor the coffee. “Muharraq has plenty of treasures that I am proud of. First off, it is the second largest city in the kingdom and served as the capital until 1923 when it was replaced by Manama. The town of Muharraq was first built in the 17th century and had long been the center of religion. The history of the city dates back 5,000 years. It became well-known as Tylos, and later the kingdom succumbed to the rule of the Seleucid Greeks. During this time the city was the center of a pagan faith that worshipped a huge image of a shark in the middle of the city. Later during the 5th century AD, the city became a center of Nestorian Christianity. “There are so many activities on offer. If you love to shop for exotic handmade crafts, Muharraq has a traditional market known as the Souq where you can certainly find good buys for yourself and friends. The most famous tourist destinations in Muharraq are historical spots like the Shaikh Isa Bin Ali House, the wind towers, the house of journalist Abdullah Al Zayed, and the Arad Fort. The best time to visit is from October till May. “Bahrain International Airport and Diyar Al Muharraq, the biggest private urban development project in the Kingdom of Bahrain, are also located on the island. Adjacent to Muharraq are the man-made Amwaj Islands, known for their large buildings, hotels and beautiful beaches.”
Career diplomat Mr Sater graduated from Alexandria University in Egypt and joined the Bahraini Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in 1975. In 1978, he took his first overseas posting in Montreal, Canada, as the Consul and remained there until 1985. He returned to Bahrain to work at the Economic Directorate. From 1988, he filled his second overseas posting in Geneva as the Counsellor
HE Adel Yousif Sater |Kingdom of Bahrain
at the Permanent Mission of Bahrain to the United Nations until 1993, where he then served as Counsellor at Bahrain’s embassy in the United Kingdom until 2000, after which he went back to Bahrain for a time to work within the cabinet of the Undersecretary at the MFA. “My last posting before coming to Thailand was as ambassador to Germany, from 2001 to 2007. I was simultaneously non-resident ambassador to Poland, Hungary and Liechtenstein. In May 2008, I assumed my duties as ambassador to Thailand,” said Mr Sater.
Building on a strong foundation
“During my tenure as ambassador representing the Kingdom of Bahrain in the Kingdom of Thailand, I have remained determined to maintain and enhance the close ties which happily exist on multiple levels between our two countries. This alliance has long been strong and exemplary, and holds out promising potential, yet to be fully explored. I keep this objective at the forefront of my mind with great care and dedication.
“Over the years I have been here I have been able to build very close and enduring friendships with Thai people from different walks of life. I have good relations with Thai officials, members of the business community and civil society here as well as with the Thai community in the Kingdom of Bahrain. “As friends we have shared moments of joy and supported each other in times of sorrow or pain. Such wonderful enduring friendships are a great experience that I wish to highlight, and there is something else in my experience here that I wish to focus on. I have always approached my role not only within the narrow definition of my position but also in the context of the broader political and diplomatic environment of the country and region.
“Therefore I have made it a priority to maintain contacts with the relevant authorities within the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) – ASEAN framework. Intensifying collaboration at national, regional and international levels is an integral part of our efforts. “In my role as the first Bahraini ambassador to Thailand, I have tried to broaden awareness in the Thai people of the Kingdom of Bahrain, so they can better understand our country, people, culture and especially our capabilities. I promote Bahrain as a destination for Thai tourists and investments. In terms of investment, we have so much to offer, especially in the financial sector. “I also focus on doing things that will project the kind of image we want for Bahrain in the minds of our Thai friends. All these goals have added an important dimension to my long-standing links with Thailand. I consider the proliferation of friendly relations between our two countries as a clear recognition of my modest contributions. I am confident these longstanding friendships will continue to grow and prosper after the completion of my assignment,” Mr Sater said.
Formal diplomatic ties between Thailand and Bahrain were established in 1977. These were further consolidated with the opening of the Thai embassy in Manama on February 15, 2004, and the opening of Bahrain’s embassy in Bangkok in 2007. “Our bilateral relations have long been cordial and over time have grown from strength to strength. Our two kingdoms have been honored by the exchange of visits by our respective royal families, government leaders and ministers. Economic cooperation has greatly expanded in recent years as a result of the frequent exchange of high-level trade and investment delegations.
“Bahrain and Thailand are building toward an impeccable partnership. As we continue to work together to promote security and stability in our region, to earnestly counter the threat of terrorism around the globe and to address longsimmering international conflicts, the strategic dimensions of our bilateral relationship are more important than ever. “Thailand is a great partner for Bahrain in advancing the policy of GCC-ASEAN cooperation. The two countries have many similarities, as both are considered globally as promising gateways for trade and investment. From Bahrain’s standpoint, our oil, gas and petrochemical products, tourism and medical products are to be emphasized in Thailand. There is also bilateral trade related to food security, such as rice and halal products, for example. “Recently, a Bahraini-Thai Business Council was formed to explore ways of bolstering investment and partnership. The council was established during a visit to Thailand by a delegation from the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry. We believe there are many mutual opportunities for investment. “Of course, Thailand has long been known as a premier tourist destination in Southeast Asia. It has managed to maintain its uniqueness in a globalizing world and this is responsible for its status as a tourist haven, and of course it has always been a popular destination for Bahraini tourists. The promise of a dream tropical island holiday with powdery sands, crystal blue waters, sultry sun, diverse nightlife and a lot of opportunities for fun remains the prime lure of the land. The high quality of hotels and standard of service are equally famous. “Moreover, Thailand can boast exceptionally high standards for its private health sector. Highly skilled medical staff, state-ofthe-art facilities, modern technology and extensive services with reasonable rates have attracted a growing number of Bahraini tourists into the country, mostly during the month of July.
HE Adel Yousif Sater |Kingdom of Bahrain
“The Bahraini community in Thailand expands every year. On the other hand, more than 4,000 Thai people are currently living in Bahrain. Many are working in the hospitality sector, for example the spa and resorts industry, or running Thai restaurants. We have many of them that serve top quality cuisine.” Ambassador Sater pointed out that his country is also becoming a travelers’ destination, although not on the same scale as Thailand. However, tourism numbers especially from countries within the region as well as from Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas are rising steadily, partly in view of an easy entry policy. “Thai nationals are among the citizens of 40 countries who receive a two-week visa upon arrival in Bahrain. Other countries which enjoy this convenience are North America, all European Community countries, Japan and Singapore and others. We are also very flexible in visa extensions. Thai people are most welcome to visit Bahrain, and if they find a job while there they can apply for a working visa without leaving the country.”
of its developments. This has helped me immensely in the performance of my duties here. “I can proudly say that I am very familiar with most parts of Thailand, both rural and urban, due to frequent visits during which I travelled extensively with family, friends and officials. Long ago I discovered that Thai cuisine is most delicious and I am in love with it. I am also enthralled by Thailand’s amazing natural beauty, verdant vegetation, pristine sunny beaches, its cultural inheritance, the majesty and splendour of its cultural pageants, as well as the hospitality of its people. I assure you these are not merely outworn clichés from tourist brochures but something I have personally experienced over and over again. “I am in deep appreciation of the friendship and sincere cooperation extended to me and my family since I took up the position as ambassador to this wonderful country. My most enduring impression of Thailand is the resilience of its people, institutions and economy, even during hard times. I have always felt safe and never in any particular danger,” said Mr Sater.
“The Kingdom of Bahrain and the Kingdom of Thailand have the extraordinary similarity of both being constitutional monarchies. Both our Kings are indeed the main pillars of our peoples. We are fortunate to have His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa as our guiding light. Likewise, the Thai people have His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej to guide the development of the Kingdom and promote progress and prosperity. Ever since I first read about His Majesty King Bhumibol, many years back, I have continued to admire him tremendously for his extraordinary developmental work which has benefited the people of this great nation and contributed enormously to Thailand’s economic and social wellbeing.” Mr Sater said his most memorable experience in Thailand was when he was given the honor of an audience with Thailand’s King. “I was received warmly, and I was humbled by this distinction,” he said.
Mr Sater doesn’t let his heavy workload derail his zest for life. The ambassador likened a life without hobbies to food without salt. “It is hobbies that make life interesting. My hobbies give me joy and relaxation in pursuits outside of my regular work, and this is very beneficial in restoring the balance and harmony in my life. These activities are not only for relaxation. Some have proven useful to my career, and some are just for me to enjoy. My focus rotates depending on the season and my mood at the time. “Running in the gym is the perfect ‘alone time’ hobby for me lately. I also enjoy reading and collecting antiques and crafts. But my biggest enduring passion is traveling and exploring new places with my family. We are always ready for an adventure. We have had the opportunity to experience the cultures of many other countries besides Thailand. Whenever I have an opportunity to visit a new place, whether a village, city, mountain or seaside, I never miss it. It is so thrilling to see a new place and meet different kinds of people. “Whenever I travel around a new place, I take my camera and shoot interesting pictures of people, buildings, monuments, bazaars and so on. This gives me immense satisfaction and pleasure. “I have gained good experience about the world because of my extensive travels. As a foreigner, I can see things through different eyes. I am mostly liberal and accept any race, religion or creed.”
A The two Kingdoms
Happy in Thailand
“I must point out that my links with Thailand and its people pre-date my appointment as ambassador. I had the pleasure of visiting this beautiful country and interacting with its wonderful people several times, both on vacations and trips related to participation in official functions or events. The visits provided me invaluable opportunities to gain knowledge of the country I would later be ambassador of and keep abreast
Cha Am • Pranburi • And beyond...
Special deals await at Breeze Spa at Amari Hua Hin. Page 122.
News & deals
Hua Hin’s hottest promotions and deals await inside Page 120
Hit for six
The Hua Hin Cricket Sixes returns for its 19th annual outing Page 120
Coffee Club The Coffee Club Hua Hin is now open on Naresdamri Road. Page 120
Hu aH i n
N e ws and Deals
The Coffee Club Hua Hin now open CAFFEINE addicts looking for a top quality cup of joe in Hua Hin are in luck because The Coffee Club has now opened on Naresdamri Rd. Like the Australian franchise’s popular operations in Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket, the new branch offers a selection of high grade coffees and teas alongside a menu of tasty international eats and all-day breakfasts. Open daily 7am-midnight. ☎ 032 532 055
Cricket sixes brings the legends THE 19th annual Hua Hin Cricket Sixes will be played at Dusit Thani Hua Hin from April 5-10. The tournament’s largest outing to date, the event will be contested by 21 teams from around the globe, and among the players will be Aussie cricket legends Craig McDermott, Shaun Graf, Dutchy Holland, Michael Taylor and Mick Lewis, as well as current State Players Dan Worrall, Victorian Michael Hill, Mike Dighton and Aaron O’Brien. Matches start at 8am. :dusit.com
Thai residents stay for less at Anantara UNTIL Oct 31, Thai residents (and holders of valid work permits) can enjoy accommodation at Anantara Hua Hin Resort & Spa starting at just B3,230++ per room or suite per night, inclusive of breakfast for two. The promotion is valid every day of the week (subject to availability). ☎ 032 520 250 :huahin.anantara.com
Spa special in Pranburi THERE’S no better way to beat back April’s scorching temperatures than by relaxing in bliss in a top quality spa. A tempting deal awaits at Sheraton Hua Hin Pranburi Villas this month, which is offering its 60-minute ‘Aromatic Green Tea Salt Glow Scrub’ at the special price of B2,500 per person. Available daily from 11am8pm. ☎ 032 708 000 ext. 6201 :sheratonhuahinpranburi.com
Songkran deal at Dusit UNTIL Apr 30, Dusit Thani Hua Hin is offering a ‘Songkran Splash Package’ with rates starting at B4,500++ per room per night, inclusive of breakfast for two, 30% discount on selected items at Dusit shop, and 20% discount on a la carte Spa treatments. While the deal is available all month, if you want to stay between Apr 12-17 you must book a minimum of two nights to qualify. ☎ 032 520 009 :dusit.com/dusit-thani/dusit-thani-huahin.html
Romance by the beach CENTARA Grand Beach Resort and Villas Hua Hin celebrated Valentine’s Day in sumptuous fashion by hosting romantic dinners at each of its popular restaurants. At Palm Terrace, lovebirds enjoyed a lavish buffet alongside specially selected wines and music by the Trio Live Jazz Band, while over at the Railway Restaurant an exclusive wine dinner was complemented by live harp classics. The highlight of the night was the screening of The Notebook in the Giraffe Topiary Garden, where around 200 guests enjoyed soaking up the romantic ambience.
Hua Hin to Milan in just minutes
123/46 Nongkae, Hua Hin Beside the Cicada Market /Molina.HuaHin 089 505 1006
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Hu aH i n
N ews and Deals
April specials at The Lemongrass Restaurant & Bar BANYAN The Resort’s Lemongrass Restaurant & Bar is serving up a special menu of tasty eats and drinks this month, including highlights such as Banyan Osso Bucco with Massaman curry, sweet mashed potato and pineapple salsa (B550), and the refreshing Sweet Love – Creme de peche and pomegranate juice, topped with prosecco and garnished with edible flowers (B180). On Apr 13 the resort will also host a Songkran celebration (full details are available on the resort’s website). ☎ 032 538 888 :banyanthailand.com
Luxury for less at Villa Maroc
The sweet scent of summer UNTIL May 31, Breeze Spa at Amari Hua Hin is offering a “Jasmine ‘n Melon Body Scrub Package” which includes a two-hour pampering and relaxation session, completed with a back massage, for B3,600 per person. Guests also receive a complimentary “Jasmine ‘n Melon Shower Crème” valued at B450. Book during weekdays and the package is buy-one-get-one-free. ☎ 032 616 600 ext. 7801 :amari.com/huahin
Action-packed outing with Aleenta ADRENALINE junkies can now get their fix at Aleenta Hua Hin-Pranburi, which is offering a special ‘Aleenta Action Package’ filled with all kinds of adventurous activities for guests to enjoy. Rates start at B38,900 for three days and two nights in an Ocean Suite, and include daily breakfast, a half-day picnic lunch on the mangroves, a half-day ATV driving experience, a half-day elephant trek, and more. Add B12,000 for a Harley Davidson transfer. Offer ends Oct 31. ☎ 02 514 8112 :aleenta.com/huahin/special-offers/action-package.php
THE luxurious Villa Maroc Resort in Pranburi is offering a great deal this summer season: Until Apr 30, a ‘Sun and Splash Package’ starts at B11,100 for two consecutive nights in a Pool Court Villa with breakfast for two and a Thai set dinner menu. Inspired by traditional Moroccan mansions known as riads, the two-storey Pool Courts are built around an open courtyard and are wonderfully decorated and filled with natural light. ☎ 032 630 771 :villamarocresort.com
Social events at Banyan Golf Club GOLFERS and foodies will find plenty to please them this month at Banyan Golf Club Hua Hin. Teeing off the fun, on Apr 13 at 12pm, is the Banyan Master 2014 tournament. Each player will be drawn with a golf professional competing at Augusta National the same weekend. The final results will be a combined score of both players (B3,200 per person and B1,500 for club members, including green fee, caddie, and awards ceremony BBQ dinner). This will be followed, on Apr 20, with a sumptuous Easter Brunch (B750 per person; half price for kids under 12; free for kids under five), before the month plays out, on Apr 30, with the Power Tee Competition (B2,100 per person, including caddie, and post golf snacks. 12.30pm start). ☎ 032 616 200 :banyanthailand.com
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H u aH in R est Detai l Hotel
Rest Detail Hotel Hua Hin
Enjoy a sizzling summer escape at this wonderful boutique resort
LUXURY has always been about attention to detail. From the little things, like a welcome drink on arrival, to the big, such as an infinity pool looking out to sea, the best hotels always have everything in place to make guests feel like superstars. And so it is at Rest Detail Hotel Hua Hin, a wonderful boutique resort which lives up to its name by offering relaxation at its finest in modern and spacious rooms, each complete with a DVD player, flat screen LCD TV, iPod docking station, high-speed internet access, and oh-so comfortable beds. Guests can opt to stay beachside, poolside, or go all out and choose accommodation which boasts its own private pool and Jacuzzi. A host of on-site activities are available to enjoy, such as sunrise yoga at the pool, painting class, massage class,
cocktail mixology class, and even a Thai cooking class where you can learn the culinary secrets behind delicious dishes like Tom Yum Goong (Spicy prawn soup). But if you simply want to relax and rejuvenate, pay a visit to Restfully Yours Spa, where you can slip into a wonderful trance at the hands of an expert masseuse. Blending holistic rituals with contemporary methods, the spa’s treatments have been developed to soothe away aches and pains, revitalize the body, and reinvigorate the mind. The signature Healing of the Ocean treatment, for example, features a full-body customized massage treatment that uses self-heating lava shells to warm muscles and melt away stress and tension. It’s wonderful. When it comes to snacking and dining, the resort has four great options 19/119 Hua Hin Soi 19.
☎ 032 547 722 :restdetailhotel.com
to choose from. The Leaf and Restpresso are both great chill out options which serve coffee and tea alongside tasty light bites; Rest Scene is a popular choice for lunch or dinner, and wows guests with a menu of creative Thai and Mediterranean cuisine, plus BBQ seafood in the evenings; and Rest Gastro offers a buffet breakfast of Asian and international dishes. The venue can also be booked out for private dinner parties. Ensuring you’ll really have nothing to worry about during your stay, the hotel also provides a free shuttle service to and from the centre of town, can help arrange trips to local attractions, and can even assist in setting up a round of golf at one of the area’s famous courses. No matter how trivial the detail, Rest Detail Hotel Hua Hin has it covered.
Hua Hin Where to sleep The Cape Nidhra Hotel, Hua Hin ■ Located in the heart of Hua Hin right next to the beach, this luxury hotel combines comfort and convenience for the perfect escape. Each suite is well-furnished in stylish décor and each has its own private swimming pool. General facilities include a fitness center, a swimming pool, steam rooms, spa, library, and meeting functions. Rocks Restaurant serves up a wide range of international dishes and local favourites, while the beachside bar, and the cigar and whisky bar, mix up some excellent cocktails.
Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa ■ This imposing resort in the centre of Hua Hin is regarded as one of the best family hotels in the region. Accommodation features comfortable rooms and suites, providing guests with a living space that exhibits contemporary Thai design flair and good in-room amenities. There are also 11 Spa Suites available. The awardwinning White Lotus on the 17th floor of the Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa offers sky-high dining at down to earth prices. 33 Naresdamri Road. Tel: 032 538 999
97/2 Petchkasem Road, Hua Hin Tel: 032 516 600
Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin ■ Set within 13 hectares of landscaped gardens, the property dates back to 1923 and is one of Southeast Asia’s most renowned hotels. The luxurious colonial-era beachfront resort features 207 beautifully appointed guestrooms and suites, each one offering comfort and convenience. The Pool Villas include four Deluxe Spa Villas with queen sized twin bed, lounging area, bathroom with rain shower, and oversized Jacuzzi bathtub. Refined dining is available at Sala Thai, Hagi, the Railway Restaurant, and Palm Terrace. Guests can unwind in the Elephant Bar. 1 Damnernkasem Road, Hua Hin. Tel: 032 512 021-38
Evason Hua Hin and Six Senses Spa ■ This resort-spa is situated at the heart of 20 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens and faces the Gulf of Thailand. Pool villas and guest rooms are connected by a series of wooden walkways that meander between lush greenery. This is a retreat for those seeking time to relax and recharge. In The Restaurant guests can sip exotic cocktails, ice-cold beer or boutique wines while watching chefs cook and construct creative appetizers. The award-winning Earth Spa is one of the most visually striking in Thailand. 9/22 Moo 5 Paknampran Beach, Pranburi. Tel: 032 632 111 126
Villa Maroc Resort Pranburi ■ Inspired by Morocco’s distinctive architecture, Villa Maroc combines Thai beachside living and service with some of the most luxurious furnishings from the North African Kingdom, making it a unique addition to Southeast Asia’s accommodation scene. The resort is located in Pranburi approximately 30 kilometers south of Hua Hin town. You can tuck into European, Middle Eastern and Thai cuisine at Casablanca, enjoy cocktails and shisha pipes at the Sisha Bar, relax in bliss at Sherazade Hammam & Spa, and much more. 165/3 Moo 3 Paknampran, Pranburi, Tel: 032 630 771 email: email@example.com
■ This fine resort features one of Hua Hin’s finest examples of early 1900’s architectural style. The beachfront resort has been faithfully restored to its former glory by the family who once lived there. Guests staying at Baan Bayan can experience the glory of a bygone era in its colonial style structure, yet without sacrificing the modern day comforts and amenities. It has 21 rooms comprising of three suites, 10 sea view rooms and 16 rooms with views of the courtyard or tropical garden. 119 Petchkasem Road. Tel: 032 533 544
Hua Hin Where to eat Hagi Japanese Restaurant ■ This stylish Japanese restaurant established by the Sofitel Centara Grand Resort & Villas possesses an air of sophistication and understated beauty. Diners can enjoy an excellent selection of contemporary and traditional Japanese dishes, each one beautifully executed and presented with artistic flair. The eclectic menu features sushi, sashimi, noodles, and much more. A 16-seat teppanyaki kitchen turns cooking into theatre, creating a dramatic dining experience. The restaurant has also started to run weekly cooking classes. Open from 3pm - 10.30pm.
Oceanside Beach Club Cocktails ■ Set in the beautiful Putahracsa Hua Hin resort, this relaxing beachfront restaurant offers a great selection of international food, drinks and music. You can tuck into seafood with piquant Thai sauces or devour huge slabs of meat fresh from the grill. The Jumbo Tiger prawns, Rock lobster, and New Zealand lamb chops score particularly good marks here. Other bonuses include a great sea view, and a long list of delightfully boozy cocktails. Open 5pm onwards. 22/65 Nahb Kaehat Road, Hua Hin Tel: 032 531 470
Damnernkasem Road intersection. Tel: 032 512 021-38
■ This chic all-day-dining restaurant at the Cape Nidhra Hotel, Hua Hin offers a delectable selection of Italian and French favourites together with other international cuisines and local favourites. Designed to enhance a visitor’s holiday experience, this eatery provides a relaxing atmosphere and great a nice view out over the beach. The breakfast buffet is priced at 600 baht. If you stop by in the afternoon, Pavlova is a must to accompany an English Afternoon Tea set. Open 6.30am - 11pm.
■ This charming French restaurant is the ideal place to enjoy an evening of fine food in relaxed surroundings. The fresh and colourful décor brings to mind citrus-scented Mediterranean evenings, as do the excellent range of aperitifs, wines, beers and digestifs. Although the culinary roots of La Paillote’s cuisine are classically French, the kitchen team enhances a rich culinary tradition with contemporary touches. An a la carte menu and nine set menus are available. Open daily from 11am till late.
97/2 Petchkasem Road, Hua Hin Tel: 032 516 600
174/1 Naresdamri Road, 77110 Tel: 032 521025
Molina Italian Wine & Cuisine
Beach Cafe Restaurant
■ A NEW Italian kid on the block, this casual bar and eatery serves innovative Italian food with authentic tastes as well as an extensive selection of Italian aperitifs and wines (by the glass or bottle). Cosy and stylish, the restaurant boasts a delightful garden which is the perfect setting for a romantic dinner with a loved one. All in all, Italian foodies are bound to find something to delight them here.
■ After a hard week of work in Bangkok you deserve a treat! Watch the perfect day on the beach transcend into a unique candlelit dining experience with your loved one. The restaurant offers excellent steaks and seafood plus an unrivaled choice of cocktails and outstanding wines at reasonable prices. The only non-hotel affiliated restaurant on Hua Hin’s main beach offers great value for money.
Address : 123/46, Nongkae, Hua Hin, Next to Cicada Market. Tel : +66 89 505 1006 Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Soi Hua Hin 75/1 by the sea, Prachaubkirikhan 77110, Open Mon – Sun 10am – 10pm. www.beachcaferestaurant.com
COAST CO PATTAYA
Kok Chang • Wong Amat • Jomtien • Bang Saray • Sattahip • Rayong Enjoy Sunday Brunch with a view at Edge, Hilton Pattaya. Page 132.
News & Deals
The Eastern Seaboard’s hottest dining and hotel promotions Page 132
The Top Of The Gulf Regatta returns for its biggest outing yet Page 132
Tuck into authentic Italian cuisine at this homely restaurant Page 134 TheBigChilli 131
Pa tt a ya
N ews and Deals
Top Of The Gulf International Regatta Sunday brunch even bigger at Edge EDGE at Hilton Pattaya is expanding its already extensive Sunday Brunch buffet by adding more Thai and Mediterranean dishes to the offerings. Expect classic dishes from southern Europe, northern Africa and parts of the Middle East. Other highlights include fresh seafood and caviar, surf and turf, pizza and pasta, and cakes and pastries. Available every Sunday from 12pm-3pm. B1,400 per adult; add B1,100 per person for a wine buffet. Free for kids under six. ☎ 038 253 000 :pattayahilton.com
Spa Cenvaree opens with a deal SPA Cenvaree at the newly-opened five-star Centara Grand Modus Resort Pattaya is offering 20% discount on its morning spa experience between 9am-12pm. Among the highlights is the ‘Modus Signature Sand Journey’ (B3,300++), a 150-minute treatment that includes a muscle-soothing hot sand pouch treatment and a full body massage with virgin coconut oil. ☎ 033 007 812 :centarahotelsresorts.com/cgmp
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 May 1 – 5 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. :topofthegulfregatta.com
Arabian Delights in Pattaya THROUGHOUT May, the Vistas Lobby Lounge at Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort Pattaya will offer a wide array of delectable desserts from the Middle East and Greece. Highlights include Basposa (a sweet sugar-soaked cake made from semolina), Kanafa (a Leventine sweet cheese pastry), and the popular Baklava from Greece, made with filo pastry, chopped nuts and honey. Prices start at B115++ per piece. Between 7pm-10pm, cakes will be buy-oneget-one-free. ☎ 038 301 234 ext. 4280 :centarahotelsrsorts.com/centaragrand/cmbr
Pa tt a y a e f o r e a s p a
eforea spa at Hilton Review
Top of the range treatments are the order of the day at Hilton Pattaya’s signature spa
MODERN life can be a real pain. Demanding jobs, family duties, and daily responsibilities all bring stresses and strains which, when lugged long enough on humble shoulders, result in bodies and minds that are frazzled, fatigued, and in desperate need of a thorough pampering. A blissful stress-busting experience is exactly what’s on offer at Hilton Pattaya Resort’s eforea spa, which offers a range of treatments and therapies specially designed to soothe aching muscles, eradicate toxins, dissolve dark moods and brighten the mind. Tucked away on the 17th floor, eforea spa is blissfully quiet and feels far removed from the hustle and bustle of Beach Road. As you’d expect from a spa in a five-star hotel, eforea has been carefully constructed to offer its services in a classy and calming setting – the contemporary design is simple and uncluttered and reflects its beachside location with a blend of blonde woods, beige walls, and simple splashes of colour.
A choice of seven treatment rooms are on offer, ranging from the single room and couple’s room, to the Thai pavilion, dry sauna, and a Vichy shower room – all of which feature integrated relaxing music and an aroma diffusing system releasing relaxing scents. Popular signature packages include eforea Signature Full Body Repair (B3,800), a 90-minute treatment featuring invigorating therapeutic mineral salt scrub, soothing oil massage and a relaxing facial massage; eforea Signature Radiance Facial (B3,200 for 90 minutes), a powerful anti-aging treatment that taps into the benefits of marine collagen and marine algae; and eforea Signature Correcting Facial (B3,800), a 90-minute facial correction treatment featuring a multi-acid exfoliation of the face, neck and décolleté. Other highlights include the new Two-Hour Face or Body Sensation (B5,200 per person/B9,500 per couple),
eforea spa at Hilton, Hilton Pattaya, 333/101 Moo 9 Nong Prue.
a choice of either a luxurious full body scrub, or a facial treatment which combines organic botanicals with antioxidants and vitamins; and the ThreeHour Face and Body Sensation (B6,400 per person/B12,000 per couple), the spa’s ultimate pampering experience that blends face and body treatments into an all-in-one package. eforea also offers treatments especially for men, such as Realigning Sports Massage (B2,500), a one hour treatment featuring a deep tissue, tension releasing massage; and eforea Signature ThreePart Recharging Massage (B3,000 for 90 minutes), a stress-busting full-body, deep muscle massage. All treatments at the spa finish with a serving of freshly brewed ginger tea with biscuits in the aptly-named Relaxation Lounge. Lay down, soak up the view, and, with stress suitably busted, you’ll be ready to take on the world once again.
☎ 03 825 3000 :eforeaspa.com TheBigChilli 133
Pa t tay a Revi ew Toscana
Authentic tastes are guaranteed at this cozy Italian restaurant, which sources ingredients from its own organic farm
WHILE many Italian restaurants in Pattaya tempt passersby with the promise of offering the authentic taste of Italy, only a handful actually deliver on this pledge. One of the finest: Luca Marchetti’s Toscana on Beach Road. Passionate about ingredients, this affable chef and restaurateur imports only the finest Italian fare. His local produce is top notch, too: just outside of Pattaya he operates his own organic farm where he rears chickens, lambs, quails, and cows, and even grows his own veggies. “If you want to stand out in Pattaya, you must offer something unique,” says Luca. “My animals are free-range and this reflects in the quality of the meat. It’s fresh, free of chemicals, and very high quality – the perfect base for my traditional dishes.” Luca says that the real secret to creating top quality Italian cuisine is to keep things simple. "Real Italian food doesn't tinker with ingredients and add
too many complex elements," he says. “Real Italian cuisine lets the nature of ingredients shine through – all those wonderful flavours and textures. Just like my grandmother used to do with her recipes, I want to ensure the tastes and textures of my dishes are at their best.” And sure enough, from the very first bite to the very last, Toscana’s food offers plenty to be excited about. The Crostini di fegato (Chicken liver pate. B200), served with freshly baked breads, boiled quail eggs, and cashew nuts, is simple yet delicious. Ditto the All uovo di quaglia (B320), a crispy thin crust pizza topped with cheese and quail eggs. For mains, the Pappardelle al Ragu ‘di agnello (Fresh pappardelle with lamb meat sauce. B390) is a must try, featuring a hearty portion of deliciously tender lamb perched atop expertly cooked homemade pasta. The Quaglie al forno con olive nostraline e polenta grigliata
Beach Road (between Soi 6 and Soi 7)
(Roasted quails with grilled polenta and raw olives. B440) is another highlight, boasting a deliciously gamey punch tempered by the salty-tang of the olives. When it comes to washing down your food, besides an extensive selection of spirits and cocktails, Toscana offers a variety of Italian wines to suit almost every taste. Bottles range in price from B800 to B20,000, and wines by glass start at just B180. Located overlooking the beach next to Toscana’s sister restaurant Moom Talay (a popular Thai restaurant whose menu is also available here), Toscana features a classic Italian trattoria design (think exposed brickwork, arched columns, and a warm colour scheme blending browns, beige and terracotta) which creates a wonderfully cozy atmosphere. Factor in the restaurant’s friendly and efficient service, and it’s a restaurant suitable for any occasion.
☎ 038 362 370 : email@example.com
Pa tt a ya
Thailand Junior Team Racing Championship Bangkok Patana wins top honours after two great days of sailing AMID perfect sailing conditions on the bay, the inaugural Thailand Junior Team Racing Championships were held at Royal Varuna Yacht Club (RVYC) in Pattaya on March 1 and 2. Competing in RVYC sponsored RS Quba two handed dinghies, were six teams from leading international schools – namely, Bangkok Patana School (Patana A and Patana B teams), Harrow International School Bangkok (Harrow), Regents International School Pattaya (Regents), Lycée Français International de Bangkok (Lycée Français) and Bangkok International Preparatory & Secondary School (Bangkok Prep). The first day of racing on Saturday saw a ‘round robin’ of elimination races with each team sailing three boats with two crew each, over a challenging course in perfect sailing conditions. At the end of day one and after five hard fought races, Bangkok Prep came out on top followed
by Patana A, Regents and Lycée Français, qualifying all four teams into the finals on Sunday. Sunday’s sailing conditions were once again perfect as the four finals’ teams prepared for a competitive day’s racing. In the first semi-final Bangkok Prep produced one of the shock results of the competition, beating an enthusiastic Lycée Français 2-0 in a best of three races. In the second semi-final Patana A beat Regents in what was considered to be the upset of the day as Regents were considered one of the strong favourites going into the Championship. The Final was set amid tense moments pre-race as the Bangkok Prep and Patana A teams measured the many and varied tactical opinions being offered. By this time the parents’ and supporters’ enthusiasm grew to fever pitch beachside, adding to the general carnival if somewhat partisan atmosphere. After a hard fought battle in windy conditions, Bangkok Prep
were narrowly beaten by Patana A who won the Championship; Regents came in third place with Lycée Français fourth, followed by Patana B who beat Harrow in the play off for fifth and sixth respectively. RVYC Commodore David Littlejohn congratulated all the sailors for their competitive spirit and thanked all schools, parents and members who contributed to such a spectacular event. Presenting the awards the Commodore added, “We’ve had a spectacular weekend of match racing and it’s encouraging to see the professional level of youth sailing in Thailand. I would also like to thank the international schools involved, the commitment of the parents involved and our generous sponsors, Bangkok Pattaya Hospital, The Pizza Company and Kingdom Property.” www.varuna.org
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D ea ls and Promotion s • The Ascott Limited: Until Apr
s ’ e t a M s rate
30, Ascott’s nine properties in Bangkok will offer a ‘Songkran Hot Deal in Bangkok’ promotion with daily rates starting at B1,600++ per night. The deal includes a Songkran survival kit. ☎ 02 344 2500 the-ascott.com
• Amari Emerald Cove Koh Chang: Available from Apr 12-16, the
family r o s d n Frie land? i a h T g visitin now about k Let them e deals thes
hotel’s ‘Songkran Splash Package’ starts at B12,160++, featuring daily breakfast, Songkran dinner buffet on Apr 13, and more. Rates apply for a minimum of two-nights stay. ☎ 039 552 000 amari.com/emeraldcove
• Tower Club at lebua:
Available from Apr 11-17, the hotel’s ‘Songkran Compliments’ package offers rates starting at B7,000++ per suite per night for two, inclusive of daily breakfast buffet, round-trip airport transfer, daily BTS SkyTrain pass, and more. Must stay a minimum of three nights to qualify for the deal. ☎ 02 624 9555 lebua.com/tower-club
• Hua Chang Heritage Hotel Bangkok: The ‘Songkran Escape Package’
offers a one night stay in a Deluxe room at B3,950. Package includes breakfast buffet for two, classic summer set of Khao Chae for two, Wi-Fi, and more. Offer ends Apr 24. ☎ 02 217 0777 huachangheritagehotel.com
• W Bangkok: The hotel’s ‘Urban Splash’ package, valid for stays between Apr 7-18 (must book by Apr 12), offers rates starting at B6,555++/B7,500++ per night (single/double, respectively) inclusive of breakfast, Wi-Fi, ticket for a pool party at WET Deck, and more. The ‘Summer Lovin’ package, valid for stays until Apr 30 (must book by Apr 15), offers rates starting at B5,200++ per night, inclusive of breakfast and more. ☎ 02 344 4000 whotelbangkok.com.
• The Sukhothai Bangkok:
Between Apr 12-20, the hotel’s ‘Songkran Escape’ package offers a Superior Room at just B5,500++ per room per night (room only). The deal comes with B1,000 hotel credit per stay, Wi-Fi, and a ‘Songkran Survival Kit’, including waterproof bag and water gun. Must book before Apr 17. ☎ 02 344 8888 sukhothai.com
• Four Points By Sheraton: Valid for stays between Apr 11-20, the ‘Songkran Celebration’ deal offers rates at B2,557 per night. ☎ 02 309 3000 fourpointsbangkoksukhumvit15.com
• Centara Hotels & Resorts: The hotel group’s
‘Songkran Splash Fun’ rates range from B990++ per night for a Superior room at Centara Mae Sot Hill Resort to B13,050++ per night for a Luxury Pool Suite at Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket. Breakfast is not included. Offer ends Apr 18. Find the full list of deals at centarahotelresorts.com/ songkran-holiday/
• GLOW Elixir Koh Yao Yai Resort: Until Apr 30, the ‘Advance Purchase Promotion’ offers 15% discount when booking 14 days in advance for a Superior Villa (starting at B4,250 per night); and 20% discount when booking 30 days in advance (starting at B4,000 per night). Promotion is valid for all room types. ☎ 087 808 3838 zinchospitality.com/glowbyzinc/kohyaoyai