Publisher’s blog Prestigious Four Seasons is new home for UK Ambassador
The British Ambassador Brian Davidson will be going up in the world when the British Embassy compound closes for good in July 2019. As he leaves behind the beautiful, almost hundred-year-old official residence on Wireless Road, the ambassador can look forward to a new home and spectacular views of Bangkok from the upper floors of the Four Seasons Private Residences next to the Chao Phraya River. Located on a large parcel of waterfront land in central Bangkok, this luxurious 73-storey residential tower is one of the city’s most prestigious developments. Its website says it offers “state-of-the-art amenities, hotel-inspired interior design and the first of its kind ‘all-corner-unit’ concept, where daily life is enhanced by feelings of relaxation and efficiency, glamour and exclusivity.” The Embassy itself will be relocated to the AIA Tower on Sathorn Road. Many Brits will get their last view of the present embassy building and gardens at the annual Ploenchit Fair, which will be held there later this year.
Boat tragedy turns spotlight on Chinese businesses The latest tragedy involving the capsize of a boat packed with tourists in waters off Phuket highlights yet again the lackadaisical attitude towards safety that prevails on the island. At least 33 died and many more are still missing when the boat keeled
over in five-metre high seas. All the dead were Chinese. The boat was carrying 105 people, including 93 tourists, 11 crew and one tour guide when it toppled in five-meter-high seas. Phuket officials had earlier issued a warning of severe weather, including heavy rain and winds. And yet the boat’s operators ignored the warnings and set off in raging waters with 93 tourists on board. Later it apparently transpired that the boat, its operators and the tour company responsible for the tourists were all Chinese-owned. That doesn’t lessen the heartache and fury of families of the deceased. But it does show how, as many have suspected, Chinese companies are financially controlling certain sectors of the tourist industry, leaving little to local businesses, including even restaurants and souvenir shops. It’s all very well that up to 18 million Chinese tourists are expected in Thailand this year, but one must question the overall financial benefits to this country as it welcomes so many visitors.
BTS too successful? After 18 years of almost faultless service, the BTS Skytrain has recently experienced a number of delays and even total closure for several hours on at least one Sunday morning. In some ways the BTS is the victim of its own success – so many commuters as well as tourists have come to rely on it. Indeed, the sound of foreign languages often prevails. Perhaps tourists should pay a surcharge to use the BTS. After all, a double pricing system already exists in national parks popular with tourists.
Aussie comedy legend Greg Fleet in Bangkok Standup Asia’s next show in Bangkok features top Australian actor and stand-up comedian Greg Fleet. It promises to be one of the best seen here and will be held at the Westin Grande Sukhumvit (BTS Asoke, exit 5). on Saturday, August 11. Greg Fleet is one of Australia’s most highly respected stand-up comedians, achieving great reviews on his world tours. Besides creating and starring in Netflix shows with Jim Jeffries, he has shared the stage with Nicole Kidman, starred in Australia’s popular soap opera Neighbors and has written and performed in 26 Melbourne International Comedy festivals. Special guests include Matt Wharf (Australia) and Dusty Moore (South Africa). Early bird tickets are 600 (including 100 baht to charity), 900 at the door or 1200 baht for VIP tickets (includes freeflow drinks, meet the comedians and best seats with tables in the house). Make sure to get your tickets today! www.ticketflap.com/gregfleet-bkk18
Hole-in-one followed by double eagle
Is this the GREATEST feat in golfing history? Local lad Conor Kelly stuns with his amazing back-to-back scores in US tournament
Bangkok schoolboy Conor Kelly has stunned the world of golf with one of the most amazing achievements ever seen in the sport. Playing in an American Junior Golf Association tournament at the Country Club of Halifax (Mass.), 16-year- Conor’s scorecard old Conor hit a hole-inone, and then followed it up with a double eagle, also known as an albatross (three under par) on the very next hole. Kelly, who attends Bangkok Patana School, continued this incredible streak by birdying the par-4 10th hole, powering him to a round of five-under 67. “Is this the greatest feat in the history of golf ?!”commented the Golf Association. The odds of making a hole-in-one are 12,000 to 1 for an average golfer, and around
Conor Kelly after his amazing feat a million to one for an albatross. There is no known figure for making both in the same round, let alone in consecutive holes. Conor started playing golf eight years, says proud father Jerome Kelly, who runs LawtonAsia Insurance Brokers in Bangkok. “He is quite modest about all of this - he simply enjoys the game and is in the US at the moment as he is trying to get a place on an American university golf team. “Conor has no thoughts about turning pro – he’s more focused on getting to university.” Conor’s sister plays off a six handicap and is currently the women’s champion at Amata Spring Country Club. He is the men’s champion at the course. His Thai mother is another family member with a passion for golf, playing regularly with husband Jerome.
THE HOT LIST
13 great things ahead to see and do in and around Bangkok
01 01 Nine Inch Nails
14 August Moonstar Studio Nine Inch Nails were formed in 1988 by Trent Reznor and are known for their incendiary live experience, their intense and alienated lyrics to their controversial music videos. The band have released eight studio albums, won two Grammys, and sold more than 30 million records worldwide. www.ticketmelon.com
02 Clean Bandit
22 Aug, 8:30pm Impact Arena British electronic music band’s first ever concert in Thailand! The band’s extraordinary range of different style hit singles includes international chart-toppers “Rockabye”, “I Miss You”, “Symphony”, and “Rather Be”. Tickets B1,900-B2,600 www.thaiticketmajor.com
09 03 Expats Open Football 7-a-side
05 HomePro Home Electric Super Sale
04 The Legend of Timm Thaler
06 Hua Hin Golf Festival 2018
Every Tuesday, 7-9pm Planet Football Stadium, Pattaya This fun weekly 7-a-side football game is open to over 35’s and is an open pick-up session against a local Thai team with a minimum of 7 players and a maximum of 16. allevents.in/pattaya
5 Aug, 1pm Goethe Institut The moralistic tale of a boy with an irresistible laugh who trades his ability with an evil Baron in return for winning every bet he makes. This leads to endless misery and the loss of the laughter in his life, so he needs to reverse the curse. https://www.goethe.de/ins/th/en/ver. cfm?fuseaction=events.detail&event_ id=21304672
17-26 August, 10:00-22:00 BITEC A great home entertainment event for consumers, including TV, audio, washing machine, air conditioner, water heater, oven, and more. Discounts up to 40%! www.bitec.co.th/default-en.html
Aug & Sept Hua Hin The Hua Hin Golf Festival 2018 will be held in the months of August and September. The Tourism Authority of Thailand and PhetchaburiPrachuapKhiri Khan Golf Course Association have combined to successfully host the event over the past few years and 2018 is set to be the biggest yet. www.ghousehuahin.com/en/package
12 07 Thai International Travel Fair
9-12 Aug Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre A great opportunity to check out the latest and best offers for travel in the coming year. http://www.titf-ttaa.com
12, 14 Sept 7:30pm Thailand Cultural Centre A passionate rendering of Georges Bizet’s much-loved classic Carmen, an opera in 4 acts. Starring some of the top singers in the opera world today, the orchestra conducted by Zubin Mehta. Tickets B2,000-B10,000 www.bangkokfestivals.com
09 Boney M
15 Sept, 8pm BITEC The legendary group who capitalised on the disco movement and brought you hit songs like Rasputin, Daddy Cool, Gotta Go Home, Sunny, Ma Baker, and of course the one that became their global anthem Rivers of Babylon. Tickets B1,500-B6,000 www.thaiticketmajor.com
10 Guangzhou Acrobatic Arts Theatre 5-7 Oct & 9-14 Oct, 2:30pm and 6:30pm Thunder Dome, Muang Thong Thani “The Legendary Swordsman” is a masterpiece by Louis Cha. The story uses political satire and a hint of romance to recall the time China was going
through drastic social changes under the Communist party. Tickets B700-B1,500 www.thaiticketmajor.com
11 Mayday Global Life Tour
6 Oct Impact Arena Mayday, the Taiwanese band dubbed “The Chinese Beatles” and “Kings of the Rock Concert”, arrive in Thailand with an amazing production with spectacular visuals and sound following performances to 200,000 people Beijing Bird’s Nest Stadium. Tickets from B1,800 www.thaiticketmajor.com
12 Sam Smith
28 Oct, 8pm Impact Arena Expect to hear Sam Smith’s
string of global hits including “Stay With Me”, “I’m Not The Only One”, “Money On My Mind”, and “Like I Can”. plus recent hits “Too Good At Goodbyes” and “Pray”. Tickets B2,000-B9,000 (VIP) www.thaiticketmajor.com
13 Charlie Puth
29 Oct, 7:30pm Impact Arena Over the past three years, Charlie Puth has proven himself commercially with the extraordinary success of multi-platinum hits, “One Call Away,” “Marvin Gaye,” and “We Don’t Talk Anymore” from his platinum-selling, Top 10 debut album Nine Track Mind. Tickets from B1,800-B5,000 www.thaiticketmajor.com
profile • NAME: BRAD MCELROY • BORN: SYDNEY AUSTRALIA
• PROFESSION: BUSINESS MAN, TRYING TO RETIRE • COMPANY: THE BARBECUE STORE • TELL US ABOUT YOUR COMPANY: WE OPENED THE BARBECUE STORE IN THAILAND 20 YEARS AGO. IT’S A SMALL COMPANY IMPORTING, DISTRIBUTING AND RETAILING BARBECUE GRILLS AND ACCESSORIES. WE’RE THE EXCLUSIVE AGENTS FOR TOP END BRANDS SUCH AS WEBER, BARBEQUES GALORE, KAMADO JOE AND OUTBACK, AND WE HAVE STORES AND OUTLETS IN BANGKOK, PATTAYA, PHUKET, CHIANG MAI, HUA HIN AND SAMUI. WE DELIVER THAILAND-WIDE. OUR BARBECUE PRODUCTS ARE ALSO AVAILABLE AT HAFELE STORES. INITIALLY OUR CUSTOMERS WERE FOREIGNERS BUT NOW IT'S SPLIT 50:50 THAI AND FARANGS. INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILIES MAKE UP AROUND 70% OF OUR SALES, HOTELS, RESORTS AND EMBASSIES THE BALANCE. WE RECENTLY OPENED THAILAND’S FIRST WEBER GRILL TRAINING CENTRE AT OUR SUKHUMVIT SOI 39 LOCATION. • ANYTHING ELSE: AS A SIDELINE WE IMPORT AND DISTRIBUTE BUNDABERG RUM (BUNDY) FROM AUSTRALIA. PREVIOUSLY WE OWNED A FEW COCKTAIL LOUNGES AND A POPULAR SPORTS STEAKHOUSE, TENDERLOINS, WHICH MY FRIEND BARRY SHEA NOW OWNS AND HAS EXPANDED.
• WHAT ELSE: I’M PROUD TO HAVE BEEN A FOUNDING COMMITTEE MEMBER OF THE BANGKOK LIONS JUNIOR RUGBY CLUB AND THE NOT SO JUNIOR BANGKOK BANGERS RUGBY. BUT I’M NO LONGER INVOLVED, MERELY A SUPPORTER! DURING MY TENURE WITH DHL IN THAILAND I WAS PRESIDENT OF THE THAI AIR EXPRESS ASSOCIATION. • EDUCATION: SYDNEY INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, DIPLOMA IN REAL ESTATE VALUATION BUT I’VE NEVER PRACTICED. I BOLTED OVERSEAS AS SOON AS I GRADUATED. • FAMILY: MY WIFE CHAWEEWAN AND OUR SONS NIC 22 AND FINN, BOTH BORN IN BANGKOK. NIC GRADUATED FROM UNI IN AUSTRALIA AND NOW WORKS IN BANGKOK. FINN IS A KEEN RUGBY PLAYER BACK IN AUSTRALIA.
• WHERE DO YOU LIVE: OUR TIME IS SPLIT BETWEEN THAILAND WHERE WE HAVE AN APARTMENT AND OUR HOUSE AT BYRON BAY AUSTRALIA. IT’S A BEAUTIFUL COASTAL RESORT TOWN. LAID BACK, WONDERFUL BEACHES. I TRAVEL TO THAILAND EVERY MONTH. • HOW LONG IN THAILAND: ARRIVED AS A BACKPACKER IN 1977 AND THOUGHT IF I COULD EVER SNAG ONE OF THOSE CUSHY GLOBAL CORPORATE JOBS IN AN EXCITING LOCATION, IT WOULD BE THAILAND! I RETURNED IN 1990 AS COUNTRY MANAGER OF DHL, THE GLOBAL DELIVERY GIANT. THERE WERE THE USUAL EXPAT BENEFITS BUT THE JOB WAS FAR FROM CUSHY. • BEFORE THAILAND: AFTER A YEAR TRAVELLING IN 1977, I JOINED DHL IN LONDON AS A COURIER IN THE WEST END. APART FROM WORKING IN A PUB THIS WAS THE BEST JOB I EVER HAD - DELIVERING DOCUMENTS AND PACKAGES TO THE STUFFY LAW OFFICES AND AD AGENCIES. LOTS OF RUNNING AROUND BUT I WAS FIT. AS THERE WERE LOTS OF ABSOLUTELY KNOCKOUT SECRETARIES, I HAD TO BE FIT. MY DHL CAREER SPANNED 20 YEARS. BESIDES LONDON I LIVED IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA, VARIOUS COUNTRIES IN SOUTH EAST ASIA, FLORIDA AND THE CARIBBEAN. I ALSO HAD TWO YEARS AS MD OF DHL AUSTRALASIA. BESIDES THE USUAL GENERAL MANAGEMENT RESPONSIBILITIES, I WAS TASKED WITH NETWORK EXPANSION WHICH I ENJOYED AND REGULATORY ISSUES WHICH WERE QUITE CHALLENGING IN THE DEVELOPING MARKETS. • DESCRIBE YOURSELF:THESE DAYS I’M A VERY HAPPY FAMILY GUY LIVING THE DREAM AND ENJOYING WHAT I RECKON TO BE TWO OF THE WORLD’S SPECIAL LOCATIONS, WITH GOOD FRIENDS IN BOTH PLACES. IT’S IRONIC THAT WHEN I LEAVE ONE TO TRAVEL TO THE OTHER I’M QUITE READY TO DO SO AND EQUALLY READY TO RETURN A FEW WEEKS LATER. • SPECIAL TALENTS: I CAN WIGGLE MY EARS. ALSO DRINK BEERS TOO QUICKLY. BTW THESE ARE UNRELATED TALENTS. • LIFE HIGHLIGHTS: HAVING THE EXPERIENCE OF LIVING AND ENJOYING A VARIETY OF DIVERSE CULTURES IN A DOZEN COUNTRIES. VISITING MACHU PICCHU WHICH WAS DEFINITELY A HIGHLIGHT. A MORE RECENT HIGHLIGHT WAS THAT I WAS IMPRESSED HOW THE WORLD WAS GALVANISED WITH HOPE FOR THE WILD BOARS. • HIGH & LOW POINTS IN THAILAND: BIT OF A COP-OUT BUT I HAVEN’T REALLY LET ADVERSITIES AFFECT HOW I FEEL ABOUT THAILAND. EVERYBODY HAS EXPERIENCES WHICH ARE UNPLEASANT FOR DIFFERENT REASONS
- WE SIMPLY NEED TO LEARN FROM THEM AND MOVE ON. REMEMBERING THE HIGH POINTS EASILY ECLIPSES ANY SHORT TERM LOW POINTS. HOWEVER, IF PRESSED, I CAN SAY THAT I DID EXPERIENCE A LOW POINT WHEN I STEPPED ON A STONEFISH IN KOH SAMUI AND THE LOCAL HOSPITAL WHERE I WAS ADMITTED FOR THREE DAYS WAS LOW ON MORPHINE. BUT THIS WAS SOME TIME AGO, IN FACT THE STORY WAS REPORTED IN THE THIRD EDITION OF THE BIGCHILLI! • MOST INTERESTING PERSON YOU’VE MET HERE: A SENIOR THAI GENTLEMAN, OXFORD EDUCATED AND HIGHLY RESPECTED. WE’VE BEEN FRIENDS SINCE 1990. BEING WELL TRAVELLED HIMSELF AND A VERY SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSMAN, I ALWAYS ENJOY THE CHANCE TO CATCH UP WITH HIM AND LEARN WHAT HE’S BEEN UP TO. THERE WERE FRUSTRATING TIMES AT DHL AS WE CROSSED A MINEFIELD OF REGULATORY CHALLENGES. HIS MENTORING AND ADVICE, DURING TIMES WHEN WE WERE EXPERIENCING REGULATORY CHALLENGES, SUCCESSFULLY GUIDED DHL THROUGH DIFFICULT TIMES. • BIGGEST BORE: BESIDES TRUMP, WHO IRRESPECTIVE OF OUR POLITICAL VIEWS IS ENTERTAINING, I FIND MOST POLLIES BORING. POSSIBLY BECAUSE I DON’T UNDERSTAND THEM. IN PEOPLE TERMS, THERE ARE NO SHORTAGES OF BORING PEOPLE IN ANY DRINKING ESTABLISHMENT YOU CHOOSE TO NAME. ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO GREET YOU WITH “HI, HOW ARE THINGS GOING?” THEN WITHOUT WAITING FOR A RESPONSE PROCEED TO TOTALLY DOMINATE THE CONVERSATION WITH HOW THINGS ARE GOING FOR THEMSELVES. • THAI BEACHES OR AUSTRALIAN BEACHES: (WHICH ARE BETTER)THERE ARE BEAUTIFUL BEACHES IN THAILAND, BUT REGRETTABLY MANY NOW SUFFER FROM LANDSIDE AND SEASIDE POLLUTION. AUSTRALIA IS BLESSED WITH PRISTINE, POLLUTION FREE BEACHES WITH CLEAR WATER AND WONDERFUL SURF. AND OF COURSE, THERE IS THE GREAT BARRIER REEF. • OUTDOOR LIFE OR INDOOR LIFE: WHEN I’M AT BYRON BAY IT'S TOTALLY OUTDOORS. SWIMMING IN THE SURF YEAR-ROUND AND I LOVE THE SOLITUDE OF BEACH FISHING. MY WIFE AND I ENJOY WALKING ALONG THE BEACH OR HINTERLAND TRACKS. IN BANGKOK, DEFINITELY INDOOR I’M EMBARRASSED TO SAY, THOUGH I HAVE RECENTLY BEGUN AN EVENING LOWER SUKHUMVIT POWER WALK. FORTUNATELY, THERE ARE PLENTY OF PLACES TO REPLENISH FLUIDS ON THE WAY!
• YOUR FAVOURITE VACATION SPOT IN THAILAND: WE LIKE MAE HONG SON AND WILL SOON VISIT KOH KOOD AND KOH MAK. • BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED: TRAVEL AS EXTENSIVELY AS POSSIBLE WHEN YOU HAVE THE CHANCE. THE EXPERIENCES GAINED BETTER PREPARE YOU FOR THE JOURNEY AHEAD. • WHERE DO YOU HANG OUT: IN BANGKOK IF I’M HANGING OUT FOR WESTERN FOOD IT'S USUALLY BISTRO 33, NO IDEA AND CHESA. FOR THAI FOOD I ENJOY THON KRUENG AND PATARA. • FAVOURITE THAI DISH: TOM KHA GAI AND HOR MOK. ALSO PLA KAPONG KAO/SEA BASS, WHICH IN AUSTRALIA IS KNOWN AS BARRAMUNDI. • LEAST FAVOURITE: NOT KEEN ON SOMTAM SAI POO DUM • OTHER THAN THAILAND, WHERE ELSE COULD YOU LIVE: THIRTY YEARS AGO IT WOULD HAVE BEEN
ANYWHERE. NOWADAYS CREATURE COMFORTS, FAMILY AND THE COMPANY OF GOOD FRIENDS ARE IMPORTANT. SO I’M CONTENT WITH THE AUSTRALIA/ THAILAND SPLIT. • DOES THE AUSTRALIA/THAI SPLIT WORK? FOR ME IT SEEMS TO WORK VERY WELL. OUR BUSINESS IS RUN BY COMPETENT STAFF MANY OF WHOM HAVE BEEN WITH US FOR OVER 12 YEARS. MY BEING AWAY FROM THE BUSINESS EVERY FEW WEEKS IS PROBABLY NOT A BAD THING! WHEN IN THAILAND I VISIT THE STORES AND CUSTOMERS. FROM AUSTRALIA I CALL OUR OFFICE DAILY FOR A CATCH UP. AND WHEN REQUIRED I CONTACT CUSTOMERS, SUPPLIERS AND OUR AGENCY. AUSTRALIA HAS A VERY STRONG BBQ/GRILLING CULTURE AND WHEN I’M THERE I’M ALWAYS ON THE LOOKOUT FOR NEW PRODUCTS AND IDEAS. I DON’T FIND THE TRAVEL ONEROUS. IT’S A DIRECT EIGHT OR NINE-HOUR FLIGHT ONCE A MONTH. AND I FIND THE BREAK FROM EACH LOCATION REFRESHING AND MENTALLY STIMULATING.
Insight Book review ‘ON THE NIGHT JOEY RAMONE DIED: TALES OF ROCK AND PUNK FROM BANGKOK, NEW YORK, CAMBODIA AND NORWAY’ BY JIM ALGIE
Family dramas, black comedy, love stories, and an insider’s look at the music business The BigChilli talks to Jim Algie about his new book
RIGINALLY from Canada, Jim Algie has been living and working in Thailand for 25 years, as a correspondent for publications like Sawasdee and Travel + Leisure, as well as writing books, and documentary film scripts. Recently, he has been working in the communications department of an NGO that combats human and wildlife trafficking. This isn’t your first book. What else have you written before this book? I’ve written travel guides like Tuttle Travel Pack Thailand, a non-fiction collection called “Bizarre Thailand: Tales of Crime, Sex and Black Magic”, which deals with many of the country’s strangest museums, attractions, legends and destinations, from the infamous Fertility Shrine and Forensic Museum and Bang Kwang Central Prison in Bangkok, to the cowboy towns of northeast Thailand, and other off-the-beatentrack places like the Tortoise Village and Cobra Town. The book which followed that one, “The Phantom Lover and Other Thrilling Tales of Thailand”, utilises a lot of those settings, ghost stories
and serial-killer tales in a collection of short horror stories. I’ve also helped write and edit the history book “Americans in Thailand” and timely “Thailand’s Sustainable Development Sourcebook”. So, what prompted you to write this new book? The Ramones were my first favourite punk band, and the first songs I learned how to play on bass and guitar were by them. When Lek, the falling rock ‘n’ punk star who is
the bad boy protagonist of the two interconnected novellas reflects on his past, growing up on an American military base during the Vietnam War, he remembers the older GIs telling him that they always remembered where they were when John F Kennedy was assassinated and how it was the end of an era. For punk rockers of his and my generation, the night Joey Ramone died marked a similar turning point. So it was written as a tribute to the good old days long gone and as a requiem for Joey Ramone.
What can we expect inside the book? When we first meet Lek on the night that his favourite singer passed away, his music career is in freefall, he’s producing boy bands, and dealing with his mid-life crisis through a poisonous divorce, estrangement from his teenage musician son and coming off a stint in rehab. But he’s not defeated. He’s still trying to revive his music career and stage a comeback. These two novellas are a combination of family dramas, black comedy, love and loss stories, and an insider’s look at the music business. They’re different than most of the expat books about private detectives and bar girls, or spicy food and glittering temples. Which particular moments in the book are most memorable for you? In the new paperback edition of the book, I added a 130-page nonfiction bonus section called “Rock Writings and Musical Memoirs” about my 10-year career as an indie rock musician touring the world. But when I first came to Bangkok and started working as a music writer and reviewer for The Nation I had the opportunity to interview Radiohead in the back of a tuk-tuk after their first show here. I met the godfather
of gangsta rap, Ice-T, and write about his performance in Q Bar, and also another story about my favourite bytes of Bangkok music history, from shows by Guns N’ Roses to Michael Jackson and Bjork, to songs about Thailand written by the Pogues, Alex Chilton and Rush. I suppose the most meaningful story for me in the new nonfiction section deals with the premature demise of my oldest Thai friend, Wasit “Ooh” Mukdavijitr, the lead singer of Daytripper, one of the country’s most influential indie bands.
Anything new and different about the production of this book compared to your previous works? This was the first time I’ve selfpublished a book through my venture, Magic Bullet Press, and believe me; the learning curve was like mountaineering. These days writers have to wear so many hats, doing marketing and social media, producing blogs and podcasts, posting on Instagram. It’s a very tough slog. But one of the most rewarding parts of doing the first ebook was receiving an email from one of my favourite writers, Timothy Hallinan, who has written a whole thriller series set in Bangkok and starring an expat travel writer and part-time sleuth named Poke Rafferty. Tim reviewed the book for Amazon and generously offered to write the front cover blurb for the first paperback edition: “The funniest sad book and the saddest funny book I’ve read in a long time.” Is there another book in the works? I’m working on a first-of-its-kind thriller/mystery series set in Thailand and other parts of Asia. Later this year I will finish the first book and start sending it out to agents in New York. Now that I’ve gotten book reviews in newspapers and magazines all over Asia and America, and received front cover blurbs from John Burdett (author of Bangkok 8) and Tim Hallinan, I hope that will help to cut through the glut of competition. “On the Night Joey Ramone Died: Tales of Rock and Punk from Bangkok, New York, Cambodia and Norway” is available from Amazon as an ebook for US$2.99 and a paperback for US$12.99.
Domicile – what the Romans did for us! A taxing problem for expatriates By Martin Wright, The Fry Group
FANS of Monty Python’s ‘Life of Brian’ may well remember the disgruntled John Cleese character asking his crew of rebels, “What did the Romans ever do for us?” The rebels reel off a list of things such as aqueducts, sanitation, roads and justice, with Cleese’s character responding each time, “Well other than that, what did the Romans ever do for us?” Well, the Romans also gave us ‘origo’ (not a delicious pasta dish but origin/domicile) – in other words, a place where you pay your taxes. Domicile of origin has developed since Roman times but, while the British still hold on to this notion tightly, other nations focus on nationality and citizenship.
Types of domicile
There are three main types of domicile: origin, dependency and choice – and just to make things even more complicated, there is also, for tax purposes only, deemed domicile. If you are a foreigner living in the UK and are resident for 15 out of the last 20 tax years the UK is your deemed domicile. This means that your worldwide assets become subject to inheritance tax at a current rate of 40% after a paltry exemption. Thankfully there are exceptions to being taxed at this high rate but first, how do we get our domicile? A child usually takes their father’s domicile at birth unless the parents are not married, in which case it is the domicile of the mother that counts. Then, at the age of 16 in England and Wales, a child can choose another
domicile – but strangely in Scotland, under the ‘emancipation of minors’, the age of choice was once 12 for girls and 14 for boys. Clear so far? Is not always that simple. Women who married before 1 January 1974 took the domicile of their husband whatever country that was but after that date, on marriage they kept their own domicile. A British woman who married, say, an Australian before 1 January 1974 would keep her new Australian marriage domicile even if her husband then pre-deceased her – unless, of course, she decided to change it by choice. This historical anomaly can prove an advantage tax-wise as Australia and other countries don’t have inheritance taxes. However, the US said no to this under the UK/US double tax treaty and an American woman is always deemed to have her original domicile, even if married to a Brit before 1 January 1974. A UK-domiciled person who marries a foreigner is at a disadvantage as he or she can only transfer GBP 325,000 to their foreign spouse tax-free during their lifetime. Anything over that amount is a potentially exempt transfer but would be subject to a tax charge if the British donor spouse dies within seven years of the gift. On the death of the UK-domiciled spouse, any assets left to the foreign spouse will be taxable at 40% over GBP 325,000 or possibly GBP 500,000 if a family home is among the assets. The foreign spouse can elect to be treated as UK-domiciled to prevent this tax charge as the normal interspouse exemption would come into play. Sound good? Well no, because on the foreign spouse’s death they
are taxed on total worldwide assets, whereas before then tax was only imposed on their UK assets, if they had any UK assets. Care needs to be taken with such an election and of course expert advice can ensure tax is managed efficiently!
Know the new rules
Now, by another odd quirk of birth, two children born to a UK-domiciled father could have two different domicile treatments under the new rules brought in from 6 April 2017. Example: father Jack works abroad with his wife in Singapore and they have a son, John, born in the local hospital. A few years later, they are working in an African country when Jack’s wife becomes pregnant and for medical reasons, she returns to England where Nicholas is born. Each boy would appear to be treated the same for domicile – but no! Because John was born in Singapore under the new UK domicile rules, if he and his brother make Singapore their permanent home later in life, any return to the UK would have different consequences for each brother. Say the boys must return to the UK from Singapore to look after their sick mother and, after being there a year and a half, all living in the family home, mother sets the house on fire accidentally one night and they all die. (It’s a tragic scenario, but thankfully entirely hypothetical!) Under the new domicile rules, John’s estate would pay inheritance tax only on his UK asset, his half share in the burnt-down property. Nick’s estate however would pay UK inheritance tax on his half share of the burnt-down home in the UK and
Guest review by
Outstanding No Idea
T was our fourth visit to No Idea Café & Gastropub, where we once again enjoyed a warm welcome from Dave Hallam, his wife Chef Duangdern, and the many familiar faces among their staff. Our dining experience began with a generous and tasty selection of canapés, made of Duck Rillettes, Sardines, and fried Anchovies, and accompanied by Anselmo Mendes Alvarinho Contacto 2017 (Portugal). The aperitif was judged by wine spokesman Andrew MacDowell to be a nice, clean, and refreshing wine that showed few signs of four months of ageing on fine lees. All of the wines were supplied by the Club. After sitting down, we were served a Venison Carpaccio with truffle oil, marinated mushrooms, and parmesan cheese. Our food spokesman, Thomas Boedinger, thought the venison was very lean, and that its typically gamey flavor was balanced by the truffle oil and marinated mushrooms (but he felt the cheese to be superfluous). Andrew was less impressed by the accompanying wine, Neudorf Chardonnay Rosie‘s Block 2016 (Nelson, New Zealand). He judged it a typical Chardonnay, but suggested Rosie had not improved with age despite the vigneron’s claims.
Bangkok Beefsteak & Burgundy
The next course was an individual Buratta served with lavender oil, orange, and toasted coriander seeds. Despite being served still chilled (perhaps it might have benefitted from warming) everyone enjoyed this dish. I found it very refreshing, and Thomas said that lavender oil is a cure for both hangovers and Alzheimer’s. It was served together with Tongue in Groove Riesling Waipara 2014 (New Zealand), which was described by the winemaker as “rich and full yet with an elegance and purity at the same time.” However, both Andrew and I disagreed with him, and found there to be a slight musty taste to the wine (botrytis), which we thought tended to offset its several other virtues such as fruitiness. The pièce de résistance came in the form of Slow cooked marinated shoulder of Lamb, crushed potato, market greens, and condiments. Imported from New Zealand, and flavored with cinnamon, it fell off the bone. This was really
delicious, and our gourmands consumed every last morsel. With it came Neudorf Pinot Noir Moutere 2012 (Nelson, NZ), which I thought an excellent choice. The more I drank of it, the more I came to appreciate the wine; but as Andrew noted, it was quite heavy for a Pinot Noir. The dessert course was a lighter version of a typical Kiwi Pavlova – meringue served with whipped cream and fresh strawberries and blueberries. It was not only refreshing but left ample room for a subsequent selection of excellent cheeses from far and wide and for which Dave Hallam deserves special thanks. These dishes were paired with a New World Hewitson the Mother Vine Shiraz 2013 (Barossa Valley, South Australia), which Dave Halliday had awarded 96/100, saying “It has more than a bit of class”. While no one took issue with his description, a few thought it was not a particularly good match - especially for the dessert. Birthday boys Phil Shaw and Jake Meerman helped to finish the proceedings by donating bottles of Tawny Port and Johnny Walker Explorers Club, respectively. Jake then spoke on behalf of us all, offering the entire team from No Idea well-deserved praise for their efforts, though it took several more hours to empty the dining room! - David Dean
Around the world, Urbani means truffles
URBANI Truffle Bar & Restaurant has opened a new restaurant in Bangkok, presenting the most outstanding and unique Italian cuisine with fabulous truffles imported from Italy, and with a spectacular view over the heart of the city. Inspired by elegant Italian styling and decorated with vintage Italian furniture, the restaurant and spacious cocktail lounge bar seat up to 80 guests with an exclusive 20 seat VIP room with customised services. www.urbanithailand.com
on the scene Hot new restaurants, bars & cafes in Bangkok
Steampunk Brewer coffee at Casa Lapin
THE newest branch of Casa Lapin on 3rd Floor, Atrium Zone, CentralWorld brings a new identity and interior design, the highlight being its premium steampunk brewer coffee with beans sourced from some of the best roasters in Bangkok. Open 10am-10pm, come and experience a taste of premium cups, great dishes of egg on toasts and desserts. 02-264-5458 https://www.facebook.com/CasaLapin
Cali-Mex Bar & Grill has arrived!
Stylish German environs
THE stylish and new Alexander’s German Eatery in Ekkamai Soi 12 is offering four refined and modern dining experiences: Bavarian Beer Garden with pork knuckle shed, Knight’s Bar for cold cuts and cheeses, Prussian Corner with a rustic-contemporary atmosphere, and charming Fireplace Room with fine-dining. Inspiring New German Cuisine to spoil your taste buds! 02 116 5750 www.facebook.com/Alexanders-GermanEatery-2015012112046836/
CALI-MEX Bar & Grill, the American-Mexican restaurant originating in Hong Kong, has opened in Bangkok at Sukhumvit Soi 22 and brings great value-for-money and quality ingredients – Angus beef, free-range chicken breast fillets and pork shoulder from Australia, cheese from San Francisco, sustainable seafood from Vietnam and avocados from Mexico in signature dishes including burritos, quesadillas and tacos, with options for vegetarians and vegans. Open Mon - Sun, 10am-2am www.cali-mex.com 02 318 4748
Unwind in style at Yào Rooftop Bar
YAO presents the city’s first Chinese-influenced Rooftop Bar on 32nd floor of Bangkok Marriott Hotel The Surawongse, with the glittering high-rise skyline on one side and the historic Old Town landscape on the other, making it the perfect backdrop for late-night light bites and Shanghai-inspired cocktails from 5pm to 2am. 02 088 5655 www.bangkokmarriottsurawongse.com
Scrapbook Last month’s foodie functions in focus
High Tea @ Surawongse
BANGKOK Marriott Hotel The Surawongse launches “High Tea @ Surawongse” including Chef Ibuki Matsumoto’s Japanese-style pastries and savouries in The Lobby Lounge from July 14th – 21st 2018. Chef Ibuki will conduct two exclusive cooking classes on July 18th and 21st. Treats include Matcha TIRAMISU, Ricotta Cheese Matcha Pancake and Strawberry Shortcake. High Tea runs from 2pm – 5pm at The Lobby Lounge priced at B650++ per person. The exclusive cooking class is at 11am priced at B888++ per person. 66(0) 2 088 5666 www.bangkokmarriottsurawongse.com.
‘Nuclear Wing Challenge’ Contest
Many people turned up for the 4th July contest at every Hooters location, to launch the acclaimed hottest dish in the world called ‘Nuclear Chicken Wing’ using the world’s hottest chilli, the Carolina Reaper pepper. 10 pieces of Nuclear Wing are served with 1 pint of beer at the regular price.
Made with Passion to Fulfill Yours!
At Mallard, we create food that makes you feel alive. Come try our rustic Mediterranean food with fine cooking techniques.Let our exquisite menu be the start of your farm-to-table culinary journey.
We guarantee your satisfaction. Be our guest.
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Food& Drink Bangkok’s hottest dining deals and news
Gourmet Italian At St. Regis JOJO Restaurant at The St. Regis Bangkok Level 1 has launched a brand new gourmet Italian menu with contemporary flair and artistic presentation. Tradition meets innovation and guests can enjoy exquisite taste sensations with the freshest ingredients combined and developed into original Italian recipes including ‘Mushroom & Truffle Soup’ (B500++), ‘Risotto with Fresh Herbs & Aged Balsamic’ (B650++) and ‘Tortelli Alla Norcina’ (B520++). +66 2207 7777 www.stregisbangkok.com
“We Are Roasting” at FLOW Enjoy Luxury Lazy Lunch CHATUCHAK Café International Restaurant at Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok invites you to “Luxury Lazy Lunch” every Saturday from 12.00 to 18.00 hrs, featuring Asian and Western dishes plus lavish Thai, Indian and Chinese specialities, plus imported cheeses, desserts and kids buffet. In addition to the buffet, every guest is entitled to half a lobster and freshly cooked foie gras. Prices range from B2,000++ per person to B4,000++ per person depending on content. +66 (0)2 541 1234 ext. 4151
THE first Saturday each month brings Carvery Night at the Millennium Hilton Bangkok’s Flow restaurant with 8 different carvings of prime quality roasted meats, plus seafood on ice, sushi, and free access to the private Cheese Room - the first of its kind in Bangkok. Priced at B2,200 nett per person, B900 nett for children aged 6 to 11. FLOW Restaurant, lobby floor, from 6pm-10 pm. Advance reservations required. +66 (0) 2442-2000.
Chef Man Moon Cakes Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn Bangkok will celebrate the Moon Cake Festival at Chef Man restaurant, presenting authentic moon cakes in traditional flavours, including assorted nuts, durian paste, lotus seed paste and red bean paste, many with double egg yolks. A new signature flavour is Salted Egg Yolk Moon Cake (must pre-order). Available from the now to the 24th September 2018, price per box is B685 – B780. 02-210-8100 ext 7515
Tomahawk 400g On Us CHAR Restaurant at Hotel Indigo is offering juicy, full-flavoured Tomahawk steak imported from Australia on a special promotion - “Sunday Tomahawk 400g On Us” every Sunday - pay ONLY 600g and get 1kg of TOMAHAWK RIBEYE CHOP at B1,680++ discounted from B2,800++. With a choice of sauces, it’s really worth it so don’t miss out! 02 207 4999 email@example.com
Man Ho Exclusive mooncakeS Authentic Chrysanthemum Delights at Yamazato FOR the chrysanthemum season, award-winning Yamazato Restaurant on 24th floor of The Okura Prestige Bangkok presents Gozen lunch platter and 8-course Kaiseki dinner. Highlights include Momiji sea bream, goby, chestnuts, ginko nuts, saury fish, and modori bonito. Lunch 11:30am - 2:30pm, dinner 6pm - 10:30pm. Priced at B1,300++ for Gozen and B4,500++ for Kaiseki. From 3rd - 23rd September 2018 02 687 9000 www.okurabangkok.com.
JW Marriott Hotel Bangkok’s Man Ho Chinese Restaurant launches its 2018 mooncake selection with its mooncake jewellery box, featuring four different flavours, durian, jujube, lotus seed, all with egg yolk plus the new green tea with red bean paste. They come in a red leather box which also fits as a jewellery box. Available June 1 to September 30 at B1,188 nett per box or 158 baht per piece, with 20% discount for advance orders before 31st August. 02 656 7700
Hand-crafted Mooncakes at Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok
Mother’s Day at Ramada Plaza CELEBRATE Mother’s Day at Ramada Plaza Bangkok Menam Riverside from 10th-13th August and indulge in the international buffet at Terrace@72 Restaurant and when you book a day in advance, get a FREE imported “Alaskan King Crab” plate (Lunch THB 790++ Dinner THB 1,400++ plus free flow soft drinks). 02-688-1000 ext. 80118 firstname.lastname@example.org
CELEBRATE the Mid-Autumn Festival with Mandarin Oriental’s hand-crafted mooncakes, with four sumptuous flavours: Custard, Lotus Seeds with Egg Yolk, Durian with Egg Yolk, and our new Black Sesame with Melon Seeds. This year, Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok presents two elegant boxes from 6 August to 24 September 2018: The ‘Oriental Luxury’ gift box includes 8 mooncakes, only 1,000 boxes available at B1,888 net per box. The ‘Oriental Classic’ gift box includes 8 mooncakes priced at B798 net per box. +66 (0) 2 659 9000 ext. Mooncake office
Mid-Autumn Festive Charm Mooncakes PAGODA Chinese Restaurant at the Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park is presenting a wide selection of dazzling traditionally baked favourites and mini baked mooncake, all hand-crafted with the finest ingredients. The packages are exquisite festive boxes that are ideal gifts to family, friends and colleagues. Choose from 5 traditional baked favourites including truffle, durian, lotus or pork, or the mini baked mooncake with vanilla custard. Whichever type you select will impress recipients! Order now and pick up during 1 August - 26 September 2018. 02 059 5999
What’s popping at Octave Rooftop Lounge & Bar
Surf-and-turf on Friday Nights SHANGRI-LA Hotel Bangkok’s NEXT2 Café on Friday nights offers “Surf and Turf” buffet selections with steamed and fried seafood, meat dishes, salad, sushi, and carvery, priced at B2,200 net per person. Highlights include Canadian Lobster, Squid Ink Brioche Bun, Roasted Lobster, Seared Wagyu Steaks, and River Prawns served in small bamboo baskets with Herb Butter. 0 2236 7777 or 0 2236 9952 email@example.com
FOR the month of August at Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit, the Octave Rooftop Lounge & Bar is offering Popcorn Chicken bar snack which comes with sweet chili sauce and sour cream onion dip for only B260++ per helping. There are also Tiki-style cocktails “Monkey Bay” and “Smuggler’s Cove”, both inspired by the summer season and its fruity flavours, at B360++ per glass. Octave Rooftop Lounge & Bar opens daily from 5pm – 2am. 02 797 0000
‘3-in-1’ Progressive Dinner Menu CENTARA Grand at CentralWorld’s three sky-scraping rooftop venues, UNO MAS, Red Sky and CRU Champagne Bar, presents “Progressive Dinner Menu” so you can experience all three rooftop bars and restaurants during the same evening. This all-in-one package is priced at just B2,999++ per person and includes food and drinks at UNO MAS, Red Sky and CRU. To learn more call 0-2100-6255
The Best in Jazz
Giant River Prawns UMAMI Fallabella G Floor Siam Paragon has fresh giant river prawns from Ayutthaya, delicately prepared Japanese or Italian style with seasonal ingredients. Their unique taste is worth sampling as an individual dish or a set. From B590++
THE St. Regis Bangkok presents the Best In Jazz at The St. Regis Bar on the 12th floor from 8pm to 11pm on Fridays or Saturdays until 29th September 2018. Two extraordinarily talented international artists treat guests to inspired live and toe-tapping jazz sounds: Keithen Carter from Chicago on Saturdays and Coco Rouzier from Washington DC on Fridays. +66-2207-7777 www.stregis.com/bangkok.
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The five-star life Patrick Both, General Manager of the Anantara Siam Bangkok, talks to Maxmilian Wechsler about running a luxury hotel
PPOINTED General Manager of the 354-room Anantara Siam Bangkok in January 2016, Patrick Both oversees a staff of 640 employees, 120 of whom work in the kitchens. Facilities open to non-guests include 15 banquet rooms, a ballroom that holds up to 550 people, various food and beverage outlets, a gym and a number of retail shops. Mr Both says he loves the diversity of hotel life but admits it sometimes has the feel of a “big factor”. “The hotel is open 24 hours,” he says, which means he’s always on call should something come up that needs his attention. Mr Both was born in Germany 41 years ago. “I started off working for Hilton where I did my apprenticeship and after that transferred to Langham Hospitality Group in London. Then I moved over to Kempinski where I spent many years before joining Anantara. I have been with the company for nine years. I am now two and half years in Bangkok. Before that I was in Abu Dhabi. We are rotated around depending on where our skills are needed.” Of all the places he’s worked, Mr Both said that London and Bangkok are probably his favorites, with Beijing and Shanghai not far behind. “Anantara Siam is our flagship property in Southeast Asia. Before I was asked to come here I was at Anantara Qasr Al Sarab in Abu Dhabi, our flagship property in the Middle East. That was a great job, but when you get the opportunity to work in Bangkok you obviously are going to take it. My family and I were happy to move here.” Anantara Siam sits on Ratchadamri Road opposite the green space of Royal Bangkok Sports Club. The hotel opened its doors in 1983 as the Peninsula, then got re-branded as the Regent and again as the Four Seasons. “In 2016 the property took on the Anantara brand, and I think this name will stay for a very long time.”
Asked about his daily routine, Mr Both said: “Unfortunately the first thing I do in the morning is look at my mobile phone because obviously e-mails are coming in the whole day. Then I normally go to the hotel gym, have breakfast and dress for work. I wear a suit most of the time. Years ago, I wouldn’t have thought that was possible, but you get used to it. I have around 10 suits. I have a very good tailor in Bangkok. “I come down for work around 7.30am. I like to walk the floors first thing, see how breakfast is going and check on the banquet rooms, and so on. Next, I go through reports, like the revenue report, and check on arrivals of VIPs and groups coming in throughout the day. Basically, I am preparing for the day ahead, although most preparation is actually done by the day before. I look at things that may have gone wrong, handle complaints if there are any, and look at where we need to allocate resources to avoid problems. “Then I normally go to a morning meeting attended by the directors of finance, food and beverages, rooms, engineering, human resources, the front office manager and all the managers of various departments. This happens every day. “The nice thing about hotels is that diversity of the work. Obviously guest satisfaction is a high priority and this means talking to a lot of people. There are always a lot of projects to oversee and lots of sales and marketing angles to consider. In addition to the regular morning meeting I generally have other meetings scheduled with team members.” Mr Both was eager to talk about the 19th World Gourmet Festival at Anantara Siam from September 3-9. The festival brings a stellar lineup of thirteen chefs from twelve Michelin-starred restaurants, placing the Thai capital at the center of the international culinary stage. “Top chefs from Korea, Japan, the United States, Portugal and elsewhere will host two dinners each in the Biscotti, Madison, Spice Market or Shintaro restaurants,” said the GM. “Since its inception the World Gourmet Festival has grown in prominence to feature a line-up of
some of the best chefs, winemakers and food experts from across the globe for a week-long celebration of outstanding food and superb wines.” Enlarging on his usual daily routine, he says: “I personally welcome most of our VIP customers. These aren’t usually entertainment stars, dignitaries or presidents, but rather potential investors in Anantara projects, regular guests that come very often, people
Bangkok has always been one of the most competitive cities in Southeast Asia as far as the hotel business is concerned, and now with so many new five-star properties coming into the market the competition is obviously even more intense. You have pretty much every brand in the market here. There have always been always ‘price wars’ between hotels in Bangkok. who are very much in the public eye or just clients who are very important to us for one reason or another. “The best room in the house is the 360 sqm presidential suite, which costs 180,000 baht per night. Some very well-known people have stayed there over the years, including US President Barak Obama, music star John Legend, and movie actor and
producer Steven Seagal. There have been many other VIPs registered to the presidential suite who I can’t name. “We host about 120 weddings in a year, as well as many seminars and conferences and social events like national day celebrations parties. “Bangkok has always been one of the most competitive cities in Southeast Asia as far as the hotel business is concerned, and now with so many new five-star properties coming into the market the competition is obviously even more intense. You have pretty much every brand in the market here. There have always been always ‘price wars’ between hotels in Bangkok. “In our meetings we compare prices of our competitors and we are constantly analyzing the market. There is a now a lot of business coming in from new market sectors, like the Chinese and online sales.”
The nature of his job means that for days on end Mr Both rarely leaves the hotel compound. “My contract says I work five days a week but mostly it is six days and often I work the entire weekend. There’s so much to do.” Anantara’s owner, the Minor Group, provides a nice apartment for him and his family. “My wife and child stay with me and we are quite happy here. I try to spend as much time as possible with them. My wife Ola also works for the company as area director of revenue. It is a very strategic job. She manages revenues for five properties we have in the Maldives.” Asked if he gets bored spending days and nights at the hotel, Mr Both said: “Absolutely not. The nice thing in our business is that no day is the same. There’s always something interesting happening. “I have lived outside of Germany for 23 years now, working in 11 different countries. I make an effort to learn the local language, but I can only speak German and English well. I have a car with a driver at my disposal but I usually use the BTS. I love being in Bangkok, but I don’t know how long I will be here. I can get the order to go somewhere else any time. Minor Group is expanding rapidly. We have around 150 properties worldwide.”
Why I learned to love the method in Bangkok’s madness Moving to Thailand after a quiet life in Peru, a student at the New International School of Bangkok found the city’s buzz initially very unsettling. But slowly things improved By Alexander Templeton
When I moved to Bangkok in the summer of 2014 I could never have imaged how different my life was about to become. I moved to Thailand after spending four years in the suburbs of Lima, Peru. Day to day life in Lima was quiet and mostly uneventful; the sky a permanent grey from the cloud cover that seemed always to hang over the city, and to find anything interesting would require at least an hour’s drive. Nothing could have contrasted that as much as Bangkok did. My first impression was of polluted air, congested streets, sidewalks blocked by street vendors and potholes, and sweltering heat from Thailand’s harsh sun. Then, of course, there was the nonstop movement of the city. On any street, at any time of day, there are thousands of people going from one place to another, hundreds of flashing advertisement boards showing off their products, and towering skyscrapers for as far as the eye can see. From where I had come, the experience was overwhelming. But as I spent more time in Bangkok, I slowly began to fall in love with it. The longer I stayed the more I began to see the method in the madness. The city never became any less busy but I began to understand why everything was the way
it was. In other cities you’d likely need to have a car in order to get anywhere interesting, but Bangkok has a seemingly infinite supply of enthralling activities to do and places to be, and all of it is completely accessible by anyone with a working pair of legs. Get off at any BTS station and you’ll find laser tag, trampoline parks, artificial surfing, virtual reality arcades, paintball, and a whole host of other activities that would have merited an hour-long road trip in another city. There’s a sort of game I like play every once in a while, that I’d recommend to anyone that enjoys exploring. It goes like this. Set off in a random direction and every time you come to an intersection, toss a coin. Comes up heads, turn right. Comes up tails, turn left. Repeat until you get to some place you have never been. Through this method I have gotten to explore parts of Bangkok that many never see, away from Sukhumvit and the areas directly off the BTS or MRT. Doing this even a few times already imposes a sense of the absolute magnitude and grandeur of the city. You could walk around all day and still have seen barely a fraction of what there is to see. Anyone that went to the top of the Ghost Tower when it was still
open can tell you how awesome it is to see Bangkok spread out in every direction as far as the eye can see from 30 storeys up. Now, having been in Bangkok for four years and counting, it no longer feels like a city to me, but a fine tuned machine designed around eradicating boredom. For young people the marvels of the city are especially enjoyed. The ability to go anywhere and do anything, without having to rely on someone with a car gives a level of freedom that you really couldn’t find anywhere else. Even with shallow pockets there is still a huge amount to explore and discover for hardly any money. Those annoying street vendors that block sidewalks? Turns out you can get a full meal for 40 baht from them. The crowded sky train overflowing with ads? Because of it you can cross the entire city for under 50 baht. The metropolis is a place of infinite possibilities, regardless of the weight of your wallet. When I first arrived in Bangkok I really didn’t like it, but through my four years living here, the city has finally given me my answer to the question which is always so difficult for expat kids: “Where is your home?”. I know that no matter where I move in the future, I will never forget my time being lost in this amazing concrete jungle.
Outstanding KIS students are globally welcomed by top universities Congratulations to the graduates of KIS International School Class of 2018! The class is a close-knit group of 34 students from 13 countries, which has been offered 112 places by 79 universities in 10 countries, most being top-ranked in their country and in the world. They also received scholarships worth more than USD 2 million.Â Â Subjects studied will include aviation, psychology, environmental science, marketing, medicine, media & reporting, marine biology, engineering, film, screenwriting, fashion, maths, business, finance, design, architecture, computer science, music production, science, design, communication and international justice & human rights, at universities in Canada, USA, UK, Australia, Netherlands, Hong Kong, and more. We wish them all the best for their bright futures! firstname.lastname@example.org www.kis.ac.th
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Year on Year Excellence at Traill Same commitment for more than 50 years to provide students with every opportunity possible to become successful in whatever career they choose
T Traill International School we are celebrating yet another excellent year of IGCSE and A Level results. It is no surprise to any of the teachers and staff that we have a reputation for outstanding results, and our plan is that 2018/19 will continue this pattern. Like every exceptional school, Traill’s Board of Governors and Senior Management team have in place a long term academic development plan to ensure that our students continue to
receive a first class education. Whilst strategies have changed over the years to take into account curriculum changes, one thing that has remained constant since the creation of the school in 1966, is the philosophy that smaller class sizes greatly benefit both the teachers and the students. With an overall school ratio of 8:1, the teachers are able to offer students individual attention. As a result teachers are able to focus on students’ strengths and weaknesses and amend their bespoke education plan accordingly. It is this level of attention that has been proven to be key to our success.
It isn’t just the academic strategies that are subject to long term planning. The quality of the educational experience of our students is of paramount importance to the Traill Board of Governors. A constant review of the school’s facilities is therefore carried out throughout the academic year. An action plan is put in place over the summer break to maintain and improve the existing facilities to an excellent standard, to coincide with the start of the school year. This year’s action plan has also included improvements to the nursery/ kindergarten areas which now have the benefit of additional classrooms, an enclosed bike track and most importantly, increased security. So with another year academic year underway, it is clear that Traill’s management are as committed today as they were 52 years ago, to providing students with every opportunity possible to become highly successful in whichever career path they choose.
Rugby School Speech Day
Rugby School Thailand celebrated the end of the first academic year on Friday 6th July 2018 with a Speech Day filled with prize-giving ceremonies and a divisional cricket match, evoking smiles of pride and pleasure from those attending
WHITE BOOSTING CREAM FROM KOREA
HOW TO BEAT WRINKLES BY L’ORÉAL
BRIGHTEN AND BOOST YOUR SKIN WITHOUT MAKEUP
BEAUTY RULES THE WORLD
KARMARTS Public Company Limited, a certified cosmetic importer and distributor, launched Cathy Doll Ready 2 White White Boosting Cream with the innovation “Nano Triple Encapsulation”, at Siam Paragon Department Store attended by many celebrities. This Boosting Cream is imported from Korea and its encapsulated bursting beads will take car e o f your skin deeply. https://www.facebook.com/cathydollclub
UNILEVER Thai Trading Company Limited recently launched “POND’S Instabright Tone Up Milk Cream”, with technology from Korea, that instantly boosts skin radiance, nourishes and revives your skin’s smooth condition, and conceals blemishes. The event was held at Central World, 1F, Central Court Zone, with celebrities. www.ponds.com
L’ORÉAL Paris three new products with new innovations to help fight signs of ageing: Youth Code Pre Essence, Revitalift Laser X3 and Revitalift Dermalift. The event at “#NEVERSURRENDER by L’Oréal Paris Revitalift” on 1st floor, Fashion Hall, Siam Paragon was honoured by gorgeous celebrities. www.loreal-thailand.co.th www.facebook.com/lorealparisthailand
SARUTA 333 Limited launched ‘RED RED’, a high quality cosmetics brand at affordable prices. The event was honoured by Preecha Duangpetch and other top celebrities. ‘RED RED’ follows ‘Beauty rules the world’ concept, made from the best natural resources produced to global standards. Highlight products are powder and lipstick inspired by the world’s remarkable ladies. ‘RED RED’ is now available at e Eveandboy shops .
On a mission - the American violinist whoâ€™s documenting the tribal music and customs of the Golden Triangle
By Ruth Gerson
Victoria Vorreiter has trekked to remote mountain villages in Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and China to keep alive cultural traditions before they disappear
HAT happens when modern life encroaches on the lives of indigenous and tribal cultures? The answer is the erosion of customs and ways of the people which it touches, causing within a number of years for them to disappear into oblivion. With the hustle and bustle of daily life it is easy to overlook these people, and only notice the loss of their culture when it is too late. Fortunately, there are some individuals who are tuned to these dilemmas and who have made it their lifework to preserve these treasures before they have totally vanished. Victoria Vorreiter is such a person. Victoriaâ€™s focus has been on music, it having played a major part in her life as a trained violinist. However, one cultural element cannot be isolated from the rest and inevitably other elements are drawn in, such as festivals and ceremonies that facilitate the music, the interaction of the
Spa & Wellness
Get fit, firm and confident!
LifeStyles on 26, the gym and fitness centre Centara Grand at CentralWorld, is now offering safe, fun and beginnerfriendly Muay Thai boxing classes from just B400 per class every Thursday at 18.00–18.50 hrs with no membership required! Our trained instructors will help you improve cardiovascular strength as well as stamina, agility and muscle strength. 02-100-6299 www.centarahotelsresorts.com/ centaragrand/cgcw/services
Soothe away your stress!
Melt away those stress pains with Salt Pot Muscles Melter at Spa Cenvaree in Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok until 30 December 2018, for B3,500 net per person. Based on an ancient Thai remedy using a blend of coarse salt and medicinal herbs used as a compress, Salt Pot Muscles Melter treatment releases tension in the shoulders and lower back muscles. 02 541-1234 ext 4292 and 4567 email@example.com
Oriental Spa’s 25th Anniversary
To commemorate its 25th Anniversary, the Oriental Spa has launched the “Essence of Thailand” treatments – “Spirit of Isaan” and “Lanna Ceremony” drawing upon ancient traditional techniques from North and North East Thailand to deliver comprehensive 2.5 hour treatments. Treatment begins with a private consultation so the treatment is specially tailored to leave the body, mind and spirit in perfect harmony. Available from 9am to 10pm, prices from B3,900++ to B9,000++ +66 (0) 2 659 9000 firstname.lastname@example.org
DIPLOMATS p Meet the people uniting nations
Her Excellency Evren Dağdelen Akgün Key drivers in their regions, Turkey & Thailand mark the 60th anniversary of their relations
Diplomat: H.E. Evren Dağdelen Akgün
Key drivers in their regions, Turkey & Thailand mark the 60th anniversary of their relations
Words MAXMILIAN WECHSLER
ER Excellency Mrs Evren Dagdelen Akgün took up the post of Turkish Ambassador to Thailand in February last year and has quickly won a reputation for being one the most active and interesting members of the Bangkok diplomatic corps. Sharp, vibrant and dedicated to her country, the ambassador answered all questions, including the sort that tends to make many diplomats uncomfortable. During an interview at the ambassador’s Bangkok residence it was a pleasant surprise to meet and speak with His Excellency Mehmet Suat Akgün, Turkish Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam, who was visiting his wife.
Mrs Akgün graduated from university in 1990 and joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in Ankara in 1993 after placing at the top in her entrance exams. “I was assigned to one of the most important departments in the ministry Policy Planning, a department which has an overview of everything. So, I started out in a sort of lucky way at the ministry. “From the start I was getting a general perspective on foreign policy and diplomatic relations,” said Mrs Akgün. Later she was chosen along with a colleague to attend the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium, where she earned a Master’s degree and met a lot of colleagues who are now in the EU hierarchy. After finishing at the College of Europe she was immediately posted to the Turkish mission to the EU in Brussels. “This was my first posting and it was exciting because it was the time when Turkey was concluding its Customs Union with the EU.” She stayed three years in Belgium and her next assignment was a “rotation post” in Uzbekistan, where she was third and then second secretary at the Turkish embassy in Tashkent. After two years in Uzbekistan she returned to the MFA in Ankara and was assigned to the EU department. Her next posting was Washington DC for two years, and
that’s where she married Mr Akgün, who was at the time posted to the Turkish embassy in Baku, Azerbaijan. After the marriage she took a one-year leave from the ministry because the newlyweds couldn’t get posted together. “I went to Baku and lived with my husband there. He cut off his posting there by one year and we returned to Turkey together. I went back to work at the EU department in Ankara and then we were posted together in Belgium, my husband to NATO and me to the EU. We stayed in Belgium until 2011 and then returned to Turkey together. “I went back to the EU department in Ankara and then was made Deputy Director General (DDG) at Policy Planning, where I started out. Being a DDG is the pathway to an ambassador’s rank in our system. My husband and I stayed together close to five years in Ankara before I came here. “This is my first ambassador’s post the term is normally four years. I had never visited Thailand before I came to take charge of our embassy. I found out that I was coming here while on an official visit to China. We arrived in Beijing late at night. I had just gotten off the plane and was feeling jet-lagged when our foreign minister phoned and said: ‘You are going to Bangkok as Ambassador’. “I started my term here in February 2017. I have now been in Thailand one and a half years. and I honestly think that working in Asia is an enriching experience. I feel very lucky to be in Thailand, such a dynamic country. “Our embassy in Bangkok opened in 1958. There are four Turkish diplomats including myself at the embassy and five Thais. We are also accredited to UNESCAP. I was accredited ambassador to Laos when I first came here, but at the end of last year we opened an embassy in Vientiane. We now have embassies in all ASEAN countries. Indeed, with 240 missions abroad, we have the fifth largest global diplomatic network.”
Bilateral relations “Official relations between Turkey and Thailand began in 1958, the same year our embassy opened. We are now celebrating our 60th year and a series of events to mark the anniversary will be organized.
“To this end, we will soon be signing a declaration of intent between our two culture ministries. We are planning a lot of activities that will be starting in a couple of months. Among these activities are a musical presentation from Turkey in December, as well as film and food festivals, children’s puppet and art shows, an archeology seminar and so on. “Besides vibrant bilateral relations, Thailand and Turkey also cooperate in a number of multilateral platforms, especially UN related. ASEAN is now a big focus for us, and we entered into a sectoral dialogue partnership last year. We are very thankful that Thailand supported us in this respect. We have a special relationship with ASEAN and we will be doing a lot of projects with ASEAN countries. When Thailand takes over the chairmanship of ASEAN next year, we will have even more contacts with Thailand also in this context. “The trade volume between our two countries is about US$2.1 billion both ways. We are importing from Thailand products like diesel engines and parts, fibers and sun panels. We export pipes, wheat, nylon fibers, diesel engines and parts. We export and also import car parts and chemicals. The trade balance is in Thailand’s favor, but actually we have recorded a big increase in exports in recent years. We are in the process of negotiating a free trade agreement with Thailand and we’re hopeful this will help increase trade both ways. “We estimate that 70,000 to 75,000 Turkish tourists visited Thailand in 2017. Nearly 31,000 Thai nationals visited Turkey in the same period, which is a big increase from the previous year. In fact, Thailand was among the five countries reporting the biggest increases of tourists. We are very happy about this. Our peoples need to get to know each other better. Thai nationals holding ordinary passports and travelling to Turkey for touristic purposes are exempt from visa up to 30 days. “What we are hearing is that Thai tourists who visit Turkey are very impressed, have a great time and that they want to go back for more. This encourages more of our Thai friends to visit. Turkish Airlines with its large network is extremely convenient in this regard. They offer a nine-hour direct flight from Bangkok to Istanbul twice every day. “There are also direct flights between Phuket and Istanbul. We started the route in July 2017 which was the 300th international destination for Turkish Airlines. Turkish Airlines also brings many tourists from Latin America, northern Europe and Russia to Thailand. Actually, the Bangkok route is one of the most profitable for the airline. “Thai tourists are particularly impressed with Cappadocia in central Turkey. It is a very special place, about three hours by car from Ankara. It’s known for unique geographical formations that look like chimneys. It was a location for one of the Star Wars movies. You can take balloon flights over the chimneys, which is something Thai visitors tell us they really enjoy. The region has a very long history and was an enclave for early Christians. There are many ancient underground cities that visitors can tour. “Not all Turkish citizens living abroad register themselves but judging from those Turkish citizens who come by for consular matters we estimate there are 2,000 to 2,500 Turks in Thailand. Around 900 Thai nationals
reside in Turkey, mostly employed in the service sector. There are about 400 Thai students and some spouses as well, and some Thais with CP Company, which has an investment in Turkey.”
HE ambassador said she finds a lot of similarities between Thailand and Turkey and between Thais and Turks. “The dynamism in this part of the world is remarkable and there is a similar dynamism in Turkey. We have taken a tremendous leap forward, especially in the last 15-16 years. Our GDP is now worth US$850 billion. Our economy ranks 17th in the world and 6th in Europe. “The population is about 80 million people, half of them under the age of 31. It is a very young, vibrant and well-educated society. We are growing really fast, and we are attracting significant FDI and a lot of international visitors for purposes other than tourism: Turkey is a magnet for people seeking quality health care and education. A lot of university students from around the world are coming to Turkey. “Our economic development allows us to go out into the world and make our own contribution. Turkey today is providing official development and humanitarian aid to other countries in the amount of over US$8 billion. This made us the largest donor in the World in 2017. “The development of Turkey has been quite phenomenal. Our economic capability has grown tremendously and we reported 7.4% growth last year. On average we’ve had around 5-6% growth for many years. We have been using this economic development to make big investments both in Turkey and our neighboring environment. We are in the middle of a region with a population of 1.6 billion people. I am observing intently the dynamic projects that Thailand is undertaking in terms of regional connectivity and we are doing the same thing. “We are carrying out projects for the enhanced connectivity of Central Asia such as Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil, Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum natural gas pipelines and BakuTbilisi-Kars railway line. “We are aiming to create a synergy between our TransCaspian East-West Middle Corridor Initiative (Middle Corridor) and the Belt and Road initiative. Edirne-Kars High Speed Railway is a strategic project for Asia and Europe. It will constitute an integral part of the Euro-Asia Transport Corridors, connecting with the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway. “It is a crucial component of the Trans-Caspian East-West Middle Corridor. It plays an indispensable role in reviving the Modern Silk Road, facilitates uninterrupted connection between Asia and Europe. Edirne-Kars High Speed Train will be of vital importance in completing the missing links along the Middle Corridor. Marmaray, inaugurated in 2013, provides uninterrupted railway connection between Asia and Europe traversing the Bosphorus. “In 2016, we opened the undersea tunnel called the “Eurasia Tunnel.” It is the first two-level undersea road tunnel in the world. The impressive civil engineering project significantly improves commuting times for citizens and businesses in Istanbul and allows vehicles to cross
between Europe and Asia under the Bosphorus Strait. The 14.5 km tunnel connects the European side and the Asian sides with 5.4 km of the route under the Bosphorus.” The Ambassador noted that “under the Middle Corridor initiative, we are pleased to note that the BakuTbilisi-Kars railway has become operational as of October 30, 2017. This new connection will greatly facilitate the connection between Beijing and London via Istanbul. “We are also nearing completion of one of the largest airports in the world. Istanbul New Airport will open on October 29, our Republic Day. It will be 76 million sqm in area, four times as big as the airports of Frankfurt, Amsterdam or Beijing, with a starting capacity of 90 million passengers per year which will be brought up to 200 million. “The Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline just became operational. It forms the most important link in the southern gas corridor from the Caspian Sea which provides natural gas to Europe. So we are also contributing to the energy security of Europe. The TransAnatolian section of the corridor will carry six billion cubic meters of natural gas to Turkey and 10 billion to Europe. This is a very important link. While we are working on megaprojects like these, we are also striving to extend the commercial and economic benefits they bring to the people of Turkey and the region.”
“Our own economic development has allowed us to turn around and help others. Our foreign policy is enterprising and humanitarian,” said the ambassador, who pointed to Turkey’s neighbor to the south. “We have been hosting about 3.5 million Syrians for the past seven years. “Consider, in Europe some governments faced failure because they have tried to take in far fewer people who had been forcibly displaced. Taking in 3.5 million Syrians and giving them education, health and various social services is a big undertaking. The last figure I have is that we’ve spent more than US$31 billion on care for the Syrian refugees. Only less than 7% of them are in camps. “We have now special regulations in force that allows them to work. They can work as those under temporary protection. It has been a successful social experience
because Turkish people have been very welcoming to these people after seeing how their country has been torn apart and that they need to be helped. Helping those in need is a policy that is backed by our people.” When asked about relations between Turkey and other neighbours, the ambassador said: “Enhancing political dialogue and cooperation with neighbours and the countries in our wider region is a priority. So, we have established High Level Strategic/Cooperation Council mechanisms with 23 countries, increasing our bilateral trade volume by up to six or seven-fold.” Asked if Greece was one of them, and also about bilateral relations, she replied: “Greece is one of them. In fact, we signed 54 agreements in this context. But there are some issues between Turkey and Greece concerning the Aegean Sea which is a common sea between Turkey and Greece. “The freedom of the high seas and the air space above, which now both coastal states and third countries enjoy, should not be impaired. Turkey and Greece being the two littoral states have legitimate rights and interests in the Aegean Sea. These involve their security, economy and other traditional rights recognized by international law. “International airspace over the high seas is not under the sovereignty of any nation. According to international law, the breadth of national airspace has to correspond to the breadth of territorial sea. So, one cannot have a 10 mile ‘national air space’ over territorial waters of 6 miles. Therefore, Turkey’s basic line has been that the meaningful and result oriented negotiations to be held between Turkey and Greece should be the only way for a settlement of the Aegean issues. “By the way, President Erdoan paid an official visit to Greece last December, which was the first official visit at this level between Turkey and Greece since 1952.” Asked about Armenia, the Ambassador pointed out: “We were one of the first to recognize Armenia’s independence in 1991, providing humanitarian aid and supporting its integration with regional institutions. But favorable conditions for diplomatic relations with Armenia have not materialized. “Upon occupation of Azerbaijani territory in 1993 by Armenia, direct trade from Turkey to Armenia was interrupted, and the border closed. In line with our will to normalize relations with Armenia the protocols were
Kapadokya Cappadocia is a center of attraction in Central Anatolia has unequal natural and cultural components such as a moonlike landscape, underground cities, cave churches, etc.
Nemrut The Mount Nemrut, with its summit at 2,206 meters above the sea level, is one the highest peaks of the Mesopotamia, and contains the tomb of King Antiochus I of Commagene, where a number of gigantic statues of gods, each weighing 6 tons and 10 meters tall are erected.
signed in 2009. However, in Armenia the protocols were recalled from the Parliament of Armenia and declared null and void in March of this year. They are still on the agenda of the Turkish Parliament.
Turkey’s successful fight against terrorism at the door
“The crisis in Syria is a big problem for Turkey and the region. It also brings political instability right to our border. The human and humanitarian cost is tremendous as well. And that political instability provides a fertile ground for terrorist groups like DAESH. “Successfully concluding the Operation Euphrates Shield last year, we cleared our borders with Syria from DAESH and established a safe haven free of terror, enabling the displaced Syrians to return. We are currently fighting a number of terrorist organizations that present risk and threat to our national security, in addition to DAESH, also the PKK, PYD and YPG. Our counterterrorism operations are carried out with zero civilian casualty; and on the basis of international law and in accordance with our right to self defence. “Our resolve to fight against these terrorist organizations is firm. This is the understanding behind our full support to all international efforts to this end since day one. “You need to be a strong country both economically and politically in order to carry out effective counter-terrorism operations. We are also calling upon our friends to display solidarity with us for our fight against PYD/YPG. “We are also faced with the group, the Fettullah Organization (FETÖ). As you may know there was a terrorist coup attempt in Turkey in July 2016. It was hatched by this organization, which is like a cult. It has
Bosphorus Bosphorus is a natural waterway connecting the Black Sea and Sea of Marmara and dividing Asian and European sides of Istanbul. A Bosphorus cruise would offer wonderful sights including six Ottoman palaces and many other landmarks of stanbul.
concealed itself in the middle of Turkish society under the banner of a religious leader called Fethullah Gülen who professes to be an Imam of the world. “His ultimate aim seems to be, according to what he preaches, the leader of a caliphate stretching around the world. He has created a big cult-like enterprise where he has set up media houses to shape public opinion, schools inside and outside Turkey – so it is almost 750 schools worldwide. In some places their schools are being closed down or put under state control. “His radical cult calls itself a charitable organization, but is involved in money laundering, financial crimes, its members who on the surface may appear to be just like you or me, are consumed with working toward achieving their leader’s nefarious ends. There is no doubt that FETÖ wanted to take over the Turkish state. “They might be teachers in a school in a small village in Africa or they might be teachers in Asia. But FETÖ’s goal has been to obtain finances and influence in order to infiltrate the Turkish government and sometimes the governments of the countries where they are based. They are using charitable ideas to reach people’s minds, to indoctrinate and recruit. “They bombed our Parliament and planned to assassinate our President and Prime Minister on July 15, 2016. Bombs were falling in my neighborhood in Ankara one Friday night. We had just come back home from work and started to eat dinner, hoping for a nice weekend, and then everything changed. “All of a sudden jets started to fly really low. It was like they would smash against our apartment. I went to the window and saw four jets flying low over Ankara. They took over TV stations and they shot at the people and officers who tried to stop them. They bombed the intelligence and police headquarters in the middle of Ankara.
Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul
“These terrorists had been concealing their people in the military and in bureaucratic organizations, waiting for the right moment to launch a coup to take over the Turkish state. “That night they killed 251 people, injured more than 2000, bombed our parliament, which is very close to my home in Ankara. They were dropping bombs from planes and shooting from helicopters at people on the streets both in Istanbul and Ankara. The chief of general staff of the Turkish armed forces was kidnapped on that night. “To be clear, it wasn’t the Turkish army that staged the terrorist coup two years ago. It was a group within the army that was working for Gülen. He was steadily infiltrating his men into important positions in Turkey. Lower ranking officers – Gülen disciples, together with FETÖ affiliated civilians were running the operation, this terrorist attack. Without hesitating a second, our people gave their lives standing against the plotters on July 15th and thwarted a very sinister plan. We now mark July 15th as Democracy and National Unity Day. “We are very protective of our democracy and are determined to fight FETÖ with what it despises most, democracy, rule of law and morality. We are now bringing Gülen’s group to justice for their crimes. Hundreds of court cases bring to surface the dark underbelly of this organization. Investigations into its structures are under way in many countries, its global crime apparatus is shrinking.”
Rising above challenges
“Despite the July 15, 2016 events we continue to sustain a remarkably high growth-rate. The stability, togetherness and unity of the country are all strong. We have tremendous social and economic power that we can rely on. With a population of 80 million and a large work force, we are a big and vibrant market. The purchasing power parity – GNP per capita – is almost US$29,000. The investment climate in Turkey is very modern and liberal and so are our labor laws. As I have mentioned, the infrastructure in Turkey is also very modern and technologically advanced. “Although Turkey went through some internal and external challenges, it is a fast developing country which is negotiating membership in the EU - its strategic foreign policy objective; is a founding member of OECD, Council of Europe, member of NATO, OIC, strategic partner to
African Union, G-20 member, a key partner in security and energy issues in its region and beyond. A country whose production used to be agriculture-driven, Turkey is today an industrial producer, exporting 72% of its automotive productions, its army today using defense industry products made domestically, including frigates, attack helicopters, UAVs which are also exported. “My country has a very rich culture and many-layered history that predates Stonehenge. The world’s first coin was minted in Anatolia. The world’s first written peace treaty was made between the Egyptians and Hittites of Anatolia at Kadesh. Turkey is home to the well-known War of Troy, as well as to two of the seven wonders and two of the three libraries of antiquity (Ephesos and Pergamon). “From the historical Blue Mosque or the Ottoman Topkapı Palace to the contemporary project of the first three-level subsea tunnel in the world to connect the two sides of Istanbul, Turkey is a land where cutting edge modernity meets the beauty of the traditional, and I want to take this opportunity to invite all our Thai friends to come and visit my country of marvels.”
“My daily routine varies a lot from day to day. There is of course routine diplomatic work done in my office but there are also many things I have to do outside the embassy like meet with officials and attend diplomatic functions. I don’t have a lot of free time, but when I do I like to read, shop and take photographs. Sometimes it’s just window shopping, and actually that’s a way for me to get a sense of amazing Thai culture. Being a woman gives me an edge in discovering Thai traditional ways, because I think women tend to look more into the details of crafts, art and fashion.” In addition to Turkish Mrs Agün can also speak French, German and English. “As for Thai, I haven’t had the time to thoroughly go into it. When I do something I want to do it properly.”
CV of Her Excellency Evren Dağdelen Akgün Her Excellency Mrs Evren Dağdelen Akgün was born in Ankara March 9, 1968 and is a graduate of Agnes Scott College (Georgia, USA), Faculty of International Relations. She holds an MA from the College of Europe (Brugge, Belgium). She joined the MFA in 1993. Since that time Ambassador Akgün has served in the following positions: 1993 -1995: Attaché, Policy Planning Department, MFA. 1995 -1998: Third Secretary, Permanent Delegation to the EC (EU), Brussels, Belgium. 1998-2000: Third Secretary, Second Secretary, embassy in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. 2000 -2001: Second Secretary, EU Department, MFA. 2001-2003: Second Secretary, First Secretary, embassy in Washington DC, USA. 2004 -2007: First Secretary, Chief of Section, EU Department. 2007 -2011: Counsellor, Permanent Delegation to the EU, Brussels, Belgium. 2011-2013: Head of Department, EU Department, MFA. 2013 -2017: Minister, Deputy Director General for Policy Planning, MFA.
By Christian Schulz
FTER making cycling trips over the last 20 years through the centre and on the eastern side of the Tibetan plateau, as well as across a number of the Himalayan slopes in Ladakh, Nepal, and Bhutan, the most Southwestern region of China (Xinjiang) appeared as a relatively unknown place worth exploring. The Pamir Mountains are a mountain range in Central Asia formed by the junction of the Himalayas with the Tian Shan, Karakoram, Kunlun, and the Hindu Kush ranges. They are among the world’s highest mountains known as the “Roof of the World” since Victorian times, presumably a translation from Persian. Xinjiang, the largest of China’s administrative regions have borders connecting eight countries - Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. Until recently, its population was mostly Uighur with a Tajik and Uzbek background where Muslim and Islam is an essential part of their lives and identity. Their language is related to Cyclists sharing the high altitude plateau with local yaks
Rain in the barren valleys triggering a flash flood careful maneuvering through jeep tracks
Turkish, and they regard themselves as culturally and ethnically close to the Central Asian nations. The region’s economy mainly revolves around agriculture and trade, with towns like Kashgar thriving as hubs along the famous Silk Road which is rather a complex network of routes. Over the years, development has brought new residents. This so-called ‘autonomous region’ showed signs of growing Han Chinese influence. In the year 2000 census, Han Chinese made up 40 percent of the population, as well as large numbers of troops stationed in the region and unknown numbers of unregistered migrants. The long journey to reach Kashgar via Urumqi was one of the easier logistical hurdles to overcome when accessing this rather off-the-beatentrack location. Obtaining a visa and
Cycling in thin air and getting rewarded with 360-degree views of distance peaks in Tajikistan and Afghanistan
natural stone and plastered with dung where herdsmen watch their goats and sheep on the slopes brought some life into this seemingly barren land. Small alpine flowers added colours to the overall rocky ground. The first few days at higher elevation were followed by long downhills towards the lower areas, entering valleys and enjoying the apparent rise in temperature. Only the earlier specially
â€˜Farangsâ€™ meet the locals
becomes a significant factor as it can change from one minute to the next. While wind and the sudden drop in temperature are not pleasant, getting caught in fast-gathering mist and clouds risks disorientation. Discipline in making sure the group stays together is essential as a night spent unprotected in the bare mountains in sub-zero degrees with possible snow storms is nothing to look forward to. The nights, we spent in tents. Some felt the impact of the altitude
as we continuously trudged on at 3000 to 4000m above sea level, but at least the well-insulated sleeping bags helped guard against the cold. The early morning sunrise was the best time to enjoy the scenery the sky was mostly clear, and the fresh light uniquely illuminated the surrounding peaks. After a quick breakfast, some minimum bodily hygiene routine, and a final check of the bikes, clean legs pushed the pedals on. The occasional simple four-walled hut made from
Yaks grazing on the sparse vegetation
obtained permits allowed access to these more remote but more inhabited areas. Here, regular police checkpoints required a regroup followed by a very detailed check of passports and permits by the very strict Han Chinese soldiers. No photos allowed! The steep valleys were lined by tall, vertical rock walls and boasted some cold, fast-flowing rivers. The occasional village which appeared like a green oasis was inviting. The inhabitants welcomed the rare sight of some western-looking enthusiastic cyclists. The locals are very friendly, though not blessed with riches we were welcomed into their simple houses where tea and bread were served. The locals make a living by growing maize, sunflowers, walnuts, and vegetables. Here and there, a few sheep, goats, or cows provide milk and occasionally meat. Water for drinking or irrigation is obtained from nearby streams. It was surprising to note that electricity had already reached the bigger and more frequented valleys. However, donkeys are still the primary means of transport.
The author with a friendly local
Snowy peaks of the Pamir Mountains
Street vendors in Kashgar – all Halal
On Day 5, we found an earlier heavy rainfall had triggered a landslide covering the dusty jeep road for a few hundred metres. Since this massive stream of boulders, rocks and mud were still in motion, it was far too dangerous to cross. Despite this being our earlier planned and permitted route, we had to find an alternative. Adjusting the course by cycling up the nearby valley and trying to set up the tents for the night in a different village caused a significant issue with the local authorities (in almost every village there is already an official of Han
The music shop in Kashgar
The historic Id Kha Mosque in Kashgar, dating back to 1442
‘Red’ seems to be a favourite colour
Chinese background ensuring Beijing’s views are followed. Although the reason was obvious, it took some long and intense negotiations, always trying to avoid any loss of face, for the official, to finally agree and grant permission to spend the night in a village “not as scheduled and approved” by the authorities. Visiting a local school, we had a very warm welcome from smiling school kids and their teacher. It was sad to note that presents like
Kashgar’s camel market
exercise books and writing utensils we had brought to donate were not welcomed by the authorities. Despite the strict control, the area is not too far from the Afghanistan and Pakistan borders and close to an area under Taliban rule, it was, in a way, a good feeling that the watchful eyes of the authorities reduced the chances of people getting kidnapped. After some further days of gentler riding through valleys of rustic beauty, moderate temperatures, friendly locals, with basic facilities, the return to Kashgar were like a transformation back to reality. This lively city, which reflected the cities in Eastern Turkey of 30 years ago, provided many modern amenities as well as heritage, like the historic Idkha Mosque, built in 1442 and traditions like the local camel market. The stay in the former Russian Consulate-turned-hotel, the variety of food, and the well-appreciated local beer completed another adventure for this group of longtime friends which dates its origin to running with the Hash House Harriers in the ’80 and ‘90s in Taipei. On to ongoing friendship and new vistas in the years to come.
p Last monthâ€™s best events in pictures
Social|Last Month’s Best Events
PORSCHE CELEBRATES 70TH BIRTHDAY AT SCTD
Sportscar Together Day (SCTD) in Bangkok celebrated 70 years of Porsche sports cars. More than 300 Porsche cars arrived at Show DC Oasis Arena and throughout the day guests were entertained by celebrities including singer-songwriter and top DJ.
TISSOT T-RACE MOTOGPTM LIMITED EDITION
TISSOT, the leading innovator of high-quality Swiss timepieces for over 165 years, announces the launch of the exclusive Tissot T-Race MotoGP™ Limited Edition 2018. This special collector’s piece is designed in celebration of the Chang International Circuit, Buriram province on the 5-7 October 2018. TISSOT will soon be launching more exciting campaigns for Thai fans. www.tissotwatches.com. 102
TAT INVITES FOODIES TO JOIN FOOD TRIP DESIGN CONTEST Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is holding a 20-food-trip-design contest under the campaign “Locallicious : Eat Local Meet Local”. This campaign aims to promote tourism in 55 second-tier provinces and support local tourism. “Locallicious” was officially launched on 10 July 2018 at Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok, presided by Mr. Yuthasak Soophasorn, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, and participated by campaign sponsors such as PlanB media, Air Asia, Wongnai Media, Hotelquickly, Major Cineplex. www.thelocallicious.com
BANGKOK BANK CYCLEFEST 2018 RETURNS TO PATTAYA
Over 3,000 cyclists of all ages and rider levels will come together for the return of Bangkok Bank CycleFest 2018, to be held from 24-25 November 2018 at the Siam Country Club Pattaya. The “Ride for All” concept returns in 2018 with more categories across all ages and rider types including a Family Fun ride and a new Off Road ride, finishing once again with a great festival. www.BangkokBankCycleFest.com
THE GREAT ROOM IS OPEN!
Established in Singapore CBD in 2016, The Great Room has opened 30,000 square feet at Gaysorn Tower in Bangkok providing space for private focused work, corporate entertaining, and meeting rooms for casual collisions. The business club, co-working space and personalised services exude a warm and inviting ambiance for ‘the new corporate neutral’, fostering new ideas and important associations which banish the workday blues. www.thegreatroomoffices.com email@example.com TheBigChilli 103
Stay Two Nights Get One free with Best Western®
From now until 31 December 2018, guests who book two consecutive nights at participating hotels in Thailand, Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, Laos and Malaysia can now get a third night completely FREE! (terms and conditions apply). So plan your next adventure with the Discover Asia promotion via our website.
MATES’ RATES Amazing offers
“Suite Experience” Package for 25% Discount
Take advantage of Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok’s latest package offer – “Suite Experience”. Luxurious facilities, services and special benefits available from now until the 30th December 2018, and 25% discount off all Best Available Rates for a stay for at least two consecutive nights with complimentary Club Executive privileges, spa or dining credits and much more. Terms & Conditions apply.
for friends, family or visitors holidaying in Thailand
+662 541 1234 ext. 4202, 4204 firstname.lastname@example.org
A special 3 USD upgrade at Dusit Thani Krabi!
Royal Orchid Sheraton Surprises Giveaway!
Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers celebrates its 35th anniversary throughout this month with prizes and experiences. The highlight is Feast’s buffet where 1st person dines at full price and 2nd person pays only B35++, and for every B2,000 spent in the hotel you receive a lucky draw to win complimentary accommodation at JW Marriott Khao Lak Resort & Spa, Sheraton Samui Resort, Renaissance Pattaya Resort & Spa and more.
02 266 0123 http://www.royalorchidsheraton.com/35anniversary.
To celebrate Dusit Thani Krabi Beach Resort’s 3rd anniversary, all bookings made between now and 31st July for stays from 1st July - 31st August can be upgraded to the next room category for just 3 USD! Enjoy your stay in even more luxury and take advantage of all the resort enhancements from the past 3 years! +66 (75) 62 8000 www.dusit.com/dusitthani/krabibeachresort/
Ace of Hua Hin Resort is offering exclusive accommodation deals starting from B4,000 with 10% off on top for Krungsri credit card holders. These special offers are available only from 30th August to 2nd September 2018. 032 421-777 line@aceofhuahinresort
Wellness hotel launches Well Healthy package
Well Hotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 new Well Healthy Package covers a 3-night stay with daily breakfast, a 60-minute Thai or Indian Head massage for two, and a threecourse healthy lunch or dinner for two. Also free access to the daily fitness class, free mini-bar and 25% discount Well Spa and Eat Well Café. Package from B9,700 and is valid for bookings until 31 December 2018 with stays until 31 March 2019. +66 2 127 5995 www.wellhotelbangkok.com
LUXURY CLUB SUITES
Experience the luxury of Club InterContinental Pattaya Resort for only B8,000++ when you book a Club InterContinental® Suite for a stay between 15th July and 15th September 2018. Club privileges include Club Lounge access, Afternoon Tea, Evening Cocktails and Canapés, and personalised butler service upon request, plus many more!’ +66 (0) 38 259 888 email@example.com
Beyond Bangkok Red Bean Green Tea Cream Frappe
Café Kantary locations all across Thailand have a special from 1 July to 31 August; it’s creamy Green Tea crowned with a paste of red beans and a mini-mound of real matcha cream. Be sure to join us and order one two! Only B130. www.cafekantary.com
3 exclusive craft desserts
Escape hotels and Dandelion Café offer their exciting “Sweet Treat by Escape x Dandelion Café” to create three dessert dishes inspired by the mountains and mermaids. The three delectable creations are exclusive to Escape Hotel Hua Hin and Escape Hotel Khaoyai from today until 13th January 2019 at the starting price of only B195. www.escape-hotel.com 032 653 456, 092 823 2590
Savoury Dishes from Tea throughout July
Hilton Pattaya invites you to experience our special creations made from tea throughout July. Flare Restaurant (level 15, 6pm - 10:30pm) introduces traditional Japanese dishes, Drift Lobby Lounge & Bar (level 16, 11am - 11pm) recommends mouth-watering desserts and appetisers, and Horizon Rooftop Restaurant & Bar (level 34, 6pm - 11pm) presents a combination of Japanese ingredients and Italian cuisine. Available every day throughout July. +66(0)38 253 000 pattaya.hilton.com
Authentic Cantonese cuisine at White Lotus
Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa welcomes Chinese guest chefs Bacon He and Liao Jinshuang from Guangzhou to showcase their authentic Cantonese menu from 20 July to 8 August exclusively at White Lotus Restaurant & Skybar, featuring an exquisite wine dinner on 3 August which will be priced at B1,600 nett per person. In addition an à la carte selection will be available from B250 nett per dish and set menus from B1,000 nett. +66 0 32 538 999
InterContinental Resort Pattaya is offering a nourishing two-hour Ritual of Sakura package combining massage and deep acupressure, leaving your skin healthy and glowing for B3,500++ per person or B6,500++ per couple. In addition until the end of August you can experience the delectable delight of white asparagus in four signature dishes starting at B460++. +66 (0) 38 259 888 www.pattaya.intercontinental.com
Sicilian Chef joins soon-to-open Hyatt Regency Bangkok Sukhumvit Frederik Farina, who started with Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok in 2005, is now the Executive Chef and Director of Food & Beverage at the Hyatt Regency Bangkok Sukhumvit, overseeing all the culinary attractions at Bangkok’s first sky-high multi-purpose event venue and tapas bar as well as a two-level rooftop bar, directly accessible by sky-bridge to the Nana BTS Skytrain station. +66 2168 7800-06
Special Dishes in Pranburi
Sheraton Hua Hin Pranburi Villas has interesting offers in August including Afternoon Tea Time every day, Local Market La Pran on Fridays, and BBQ By The Sea every Saturday. Prices range from B550++ (for 2 people) to B1,490++ (per person) with special prices for children and extra discount for SPG members. 032 909900
Hyatt Open Golf Tournament 2018
Hyatt hotels and resorts in Thailand will host the 9th annual Hyatt Open Golf Tournament on 1st-2nd September 2018 at and in association with Banyan Golf Club, Hua Hin. The winner of this 36hole tournament, the Hyatt Open 2018 Champion, will be awarded the Hyatt Open Trophy, a traditional silver Claret Jug. Special packages start from B22,300 net for one player and B31,300 net for two players based on twin sharing room. +66 3252 1234 firstname.lastname@example.org
Smoked Sushi Sophistication At Hagi The Barai Weekday Special
Enjoy 50% discount on the second night for all Barai Suite bookings at THE BARAI, an award-winning residential suite and spa, for bookings and stays from now until 31 October 2018. Book a Barai Suite on weekdays (Sunday – Thursday) for minimum 2 nights and get special discount 50% for every second night, using the Special Code BAR50 www.thebarai.com , +66 3251 1234
Every Tuesday to Sunday for dinner, Hagi Japanese restaurant at Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin welcomes Japanese food connoisseurs with their latest creation Smoked Sushi Sophistication, all delicacies smoked to the ultimate sophistication to please every palate. Savour an exquisite depth of flavours and textures from highlight pairings too. Prices from B470++. +66 (0) 3251 2021-38
Flowlow – Traveller’s Friend
Flowlow – Traveller’s Friend hosted a grand opening ceremony at Grand Ballroom Bhukitta Hotel & Spa Phuket. Flowlow incorporates Andaman travelling information, emergency instructions, travel insurance, and e-payments into QR Code wristbands replacing tickets and enabling purchases using Flowpay. The project has partnered with many Thai organisations to support travellers in Phuket & the Andaman Sea, Phuket Smart City, and Thailand’s Tourism 4.0. 062-156-2465
Delicious August Promotions
Sheraton Hua Hin Resort & Spa has tasty promotions for August including Oyster Sunday Brunch on 5th, Indian Chinese Japanese Buffet every Tuesday, all-you-can-eat Italian every Wednesday, and Got Wings to Fly every Thursday. Prices range from B499++ to B1,300++ with special prices for children. 032 708000
Brunch of the Month Vana Nava Sky at the Holiday Inn Vana Nava Hua Hin presented Sky English Brunch at the end of June and a Spanish Brunch at the end of July. The Hua Hin Womenâ€™s Club welcomed many guests and media to enjoy the Sky Brunches.
Hard Rock’s 47 Rockin’ Years
Hard Rock turned 47 years mid June and its founders, Hard Rock Hotel & Café Pattaya, celebrated the anniversary with Hard Rock Heals and philanthropic activities from June 11 until June 14, including piano class, a lunch concert, beach clean-up and a fantastic party.
Thailand's best-read expat magazine. Find out what's hot in Bangkok and beyond. August 2018