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■ WITH the recent addition of a digital billboard beside the picturesque island of Ko Kret on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, one of the least spoiled areas of northern Bangkok may soon experience the full glare of modern media technology. Measuring an estimated 5 x 6m, the huge advertising hoarding is located right next to Wat Sanam Nuea, a revered local temple. To date, it has not featured any ads. Its appearance has outraged social media, with comments ranging from “appalling” and “horrendous” to “visual pollution”, “one more eyesore in an ocean of ugliness” and “yet another visual distraction on our roads”. >>

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Insight

John with his mum and wife Jade

Profile

John Everingham AFTER 40 action-packed years in Bangkok, the veteran Australian journalist and photographer whose famed rescue of his Lao girlfriend from the Communists in the 1970s was turned into a Hollywood movie, now lives in Hua Hin, where he’s often joined by his superstar son Ananda and other members of his family, including his former and present wives.

Name: John Everingham Age: 69 Born: Australia, 1949 How long in Thailand? 40 plus years; with another 10 years prior based in Vientiane, during the Vietnam war.

What brought you here? Arrived in 1967 on a motorcycle from Singapore, planning to take the overland route to Europe….until I got distracted by war and beautiful girls in Southeast Asia. Where do you live? After 40 years in Bangkok – way too long – we (with second wife Jade and two sons) moved to Hua Hin a year ago. For years many friends thought I was living in Phuket; but no, just doing business there.

How often do you visit Bangkok (or elsewhere in Thailand) and your homeland? Australia; twice in past 10

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years; Bangkok every few months; Chiang Mai annually. Your profession? Photographer, writer, publisher Companies? Artasia Press – 1985 until the 2004 tsunami. It peaked with about 45 staff in 2003-4, the boom years before the tsunami. Then True Beachfront website, but that recedes as Google turns the web into a monopoly of the big boys, starving out countless thousands of small businesses in the travel industry.

What projects have you been involved in since coming to Thailand? When still a teenager, I did some trading in the region to make small money. From 20 I became a photographer in the Vietnam and Lao wars, then a writer. In my 30s I was a magazine photographer-writer travelling widely for global magazines. In my 40s and 50s was mainly a publisher of English languages magazines in Thailand,


Cambodia and the region. After the 2004 tsunami wiped out the publishing business I’ve retreated to smaller media and online projects with few employees.

Do you have a ‘golden period’ in Thailand?

My ‘golden years’ were the 1980s, when I travelled all across Asia-Himalayas-Australia on assignment for magazines around the world. That kind of photo-journalism is now a dead profession.

Are you OK about the way Thailand has developed since you first arrived?

Thailand’s development over the past 50 years has been explosive, and the country is so much richer than when I first came. But sadly, the new urban environments are unhealthy for humans, and terrible for child development; rural areas turned ugly by lack of zoning and unchecked commerce; roads are being concreted in by strip development; beaches destroyed by greed and ignorance.  For future generations the quality of the environment and life in Thailand will be much, much lower.  Sadly. High / low points in Thailand: The common people are mostly beautiful; the rich and powerful often ugly. Worst business decision: Trusting people to do things I should have done myself.

John (left) with former wife Keo during the filming of Comeback (also known as Love is Forever) with Hollywood's Michael Landon, who played John in the 1978 movie, and Laura Gemser, who took the role of Keo.

Best business decision:

Finding a business without employees.

Most interesting persons you’ve ever met: Among the most interesting are Asians who have been educated in the West, still value their own culture, and learned to respect and live in both worlds. There’s quite a lot of them in Thailand. Most overrated people: Unfortunately, Thai culture pushes uneducated, poor people to vote for those with lots of money (i.e. power). It puts many morally corrupt people into positions of national leadership.

Craziest things you’ve done: Risked my life trying to get revealing photographs of bombed-out villages in Laos during the Laos-Vietnam War. I’ve since learned that even shocking revelations do little to change the course of human history.

Best advice you can give to a newcomer to Thailand:

Keep your mind open; overcome your ingrained cultural prejudices. Try everything the locals do, eating crickets and grasshoppers included.

Favorite food and restaurants:

It’s gotta be Lao and spicy – I was in my teen years in Laos in the 60s watching hippies at the end of the Asian trail become addicted to heroin. I became addicted to larb, som tum, sticky rice and the rest.

A youthful John gets some help for his broken-down motorbike

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Insight Any hobbies or sports? Little interested in watching others play. Surfing yes. For years I flew a motor-paraglider, and still have it hanging by my window in waiting. Someday I hope to polish it off and again go cloud swooping with the eagles. Hobbies? Breeding rare pythons (savu pythons; green tree pythons); growing unusual forest ferns and plants. Favorite place in Thailand?

Oh so many; I love beaches and the ocean, I love the mountains, I love the rainforests. From Hua Hin I can find them all – without a traffic jam.

Where else in the world could you happily reside?

Haven’t found it yet, and running out of time to look.

Any regrets?

Being restricted to one lifetime. Personal motto? A few of them, revolving

John and his two elder sons, Chester (left) and Ananda, one of Thailand's leading movie stars

You’ve been married more than once – not to a Thai – and you have children? My first wife Keo was Lao, from

Thai movie star Ananda, famous scion of the Everingham family

around the importance of personal integrity. I share those with my sons. Why the move from Bangkok to Hua Hin? 40 years in one big, crowded city?  Too long.  And only after getting to Hua Hin did I realise we should have moved much sooner. Bangkok’s traffic had been driving me crazy for years – as it does everyone.  But when I had to drive son Zen to school by motorcycle through the morning mayhem on Sathorn Road, the danger to life and limb was literally brushing by, sometimes very fast.  One small mistake – by any of hundreds of drivers – could have ruined my son’s life.  Or taken it.   Then I knew I had to raise these two boys in a safer, better environment. Bangkok now seems quite hostile, compared to the way it was when I raised my first two boys there. And among places in Thailand with an international school, Hua Hin was my choice – one I’m now happier with than expected.

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Vientiane. We have two sons, Ananda and Chester, both in their 30s. My second wife Jade is Chinese, from Kunming. We also have two sons, Zennith and Kritzataa, with the little guy yet to turn three. Weren’t there rumours of another Lao wife? Well, I was married three times, but only had two real wives. In Vientiane in 1975 after the communists seized power some new officials turned up on my door. They said my girlfriend was committing a serious crime by living with a foreigner, and she had been sentenced to re-education at Don Nang. They’d be back to arrest her, they said, in ten days. However, if she were my legal wife by then she would not be arrested. These Lao were communists, but they still had compassion. So I made a deal – which included getting married fast – then took the girlfriend to Australia. As soon as she was set up in Brisbane with a job, we separated. Then I returned to Laos to try to find the girl I really wanted to marry. That was the girl in the movie? Yes, Keo.

You swam the Mekong River to get her out – and Hollywood made a movie about it? Yes. It was called

Comeback (Also known as 'Love Is Forever'). Here’s a small fact that few people know: I swam across the river four times before being successful. And the first time I returned - unsuccessful, of course - I was scratching right along the river bottom all the way from Laos to Thailand, fearing soldiers who had seen me would drop grenades.

The movie starred Michael Landon, right?

Yes, but few young people today would know Michael Landon. He was very famous in the 1980s - from Little House on the Prairie - and a really nice guy. But the wrong personality for a role in Asia. He was a cowboy. The producer/director, Hal Bartlett, did not like me by the time shooting began in Bangkok in 1982. I panned his screenplay. It was full of tired old clichés about the bad Commies, and the good guys fighting their evil. I


Insight

MONGST Bangkok foodies, there’s little dispute that the revamped Central Food Hall in Chidlom deserves to be called the city’s ultimate food destination. Bringing together the resources of a comprehensively stocked supermarket, an international restaurant combining the best offerings from Central’s leading outlets plus a line-up of highly rated independent vendors, all under the same roof, it is a brilliant idea appealing to a wide audience. But unlike other venues, this is an all-in-one concept that works for the benefit of customers. Cooperation, not competition, is the name of the game here. For example, diners can purchase fresh products like meats and seafood from the supermarket and have them cooked by the Food Hall chefs and served at the table. Only a small service charge is added. You can also choose a bottle of wine from what is one of Bangkok’s biggest cellars and enjoy it at the retail price without corkage charges. Other items, including cheese and a wonderful assortment of tasty breads and cakes, can be similarly bought off the shelf and consumed at the table at the cost price.

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At its heart is the restaurant, a food lovers’ paradise. It doesn’t boast a romantic candle-lit ambiance or overly attentive staff. And it’s unlikely to ever win a Michelin star - but Central Food Hall at Central Chidlom (to give its full title) most certainly deserves an award for being comfortable and contemporary as well as utterly unpretentious, genuinely international and outstanding value.

Nick Reitmeier: Executive Vice President - Food Halls, International Food and Alcohol Buying

The street food outlets offer a choice of famous sweet and savoury favourites dating back through generations from popular local restaurants and the world famous Four Seasons for Chinese delicacies. Delicious pork skewers, Vietnamese meatball wraps, roast duck, secret recipe grilled chicken, deep fried pork and goose stew sit alongside an array of desserts and traditional coffee. Ordering is easy. You simply can take a seat, browse all menu items – no less than 550 items - on the tablets and pay at the table; or order at the counter with food being served at your table. Individually themed counter-bars provide the foundation of the Food Hall’s dining experience. Ready prepared dishes like lasagna, beef stews, ribs, chicken and all kinds of popular local dishes are available in abundance at the Deli Bar. Signature dishes at the Tapas Bar by Uno Mas include Lobster and Calamari Paella, while the Grill Bar serves delicious flaming Piri Piri Chicken and freshly prepared handmade (build your own) pastas and sauces, plus Australian steaks, and a large selection of burgers and sandwiches. A bewildering array of sushi and seafood served with Hokkaido rice alongside live tanks of oysters and lobsters are the specialties at the Ocean Bar by Thammachart.

For a sweet treat, go for local favourites at Wanlamun, the luxury cake selection at Café de Tu, Franco-Japanese delights at DonQ or a taste of France at PAUL.

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Feature Da Vinci

DA VINCI is a family-friendly space that serves from a menu of classic Italian dishes by Chef Alessandro Eusebi. Born, raised and professionally trained in the ancient city of Rimini, he worked in many renowned restaurants in Northern Italy and proudly carries the official title of Master Pizza Chef 2010. That said, don’t miss the piping hot pizza straight out of the wood-fired oven. Rembrandt Bangkok, 19 Sukhumvit Soi 18, Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok 10110 022617090. rembrandtbkk.com

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Festive Cheer Arrives To Bangkok’s Most Prestigious Address New Year’s Eve Dinner Buffet at Parichart Court, 31 December 2018, from 6.00 pm – 10.00 pm Welcome the New Year with glasses of champagne and indulge in a sumptuous feast for all the family. Savour gourmet offerings of fine meats, seafood, salads and luscious dessert. Priced at THB 5,900++ per person, including free flowing champagne, cocktails and house beverage and THB 3,250++ for children under twelve years.

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ocated in the heart of one of the world’s most enigmatic capital cities, Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel is set to bring exquisite cheer to the City of Angels’ gourmands and revellers alike this festive season. Join in the fun and share the most wonderful time of the year with family and friends.

Christmas’ Eve Dinner Buffet at Parichart Court, 24 December 2018, from 7.00 pm – 10.00 pm Treat your tastebuds to a myriad of festive flavours from around the world, including roast turkey, fresh seafood on ice and foie gras. Visit the charcoal grill and make a stop at the yule log station for a Christmassy treat. Enjoy selected beverages and sparkling drinks as live entertainment sets the festive tone for the evening. Priced at THB 4,400++ per person, including house beverages and free-flowing sparkling wine Ferrari “Maximum” Brut from Trento, Italy and a Ferrari mobile bar at Aqua, and THB 2,200++ for children under twelve years. Christmas Brunch, 25 December 2018, from 12.00 noon – 3.30 pm Consistently recognised as Bangkok’s best, Anantara Siam’s weekly brunch takes on a whole lot of holiday zest on Christmas Day, in addition to the traditional hot breakfast items, sensational fresh seafood and salad selections, melt in the mouth carvery meats and a foie gras corner, and Japanese, Indian, Italian, Chinese and Thai specialties, all brought to life by live cooking stations, a Christmas choir and live entertainment. The pleasures of the Christmas Day brunch also include free flowing Champagne, cocktails, and other house brand alcoholic beverages and costs THB 4,900++ per person and THB 2,450++ for children under twelve years.

Christmas Afternoon Tea Buffet at The Lobby, 25 December 2018, from 2.00 pm – 6.00 pm Indulge in a special Christmas afternoon tea buffet featuring our finest gourmet savouries and sweet treats, paired with premium Mariage Fréres teas. Spend your afternoon in the blissful comfort of our plush chairs and sofas, with the gentle tinkling of a live piano as your soundtrack to the sweet and savoury delights. Priced at THB 950++ per person and THB 1,600++ per person including one glass of Billecart-Salmon Champagne.

THE COUNTDOWN Glittering Black & Gold Jazz Night at The Lobby, 31 December 2018, from 9.00 pm – 2.00 am Join the party in the heart of the city. See out 2018 in glittering style, dressed to the nines in black and gold. Countdown the last minutes of the year and dance your way into 2019 with the festive sounds of our upbeat live jazz band and DJ. Revellers can opt for a Beverage package that offers free-flow house brand alcoholic beverages and sparkling wine for THB 1,900++ per person or a Celebration Table for a minimum spend of THB 9,000++ for up to 6 persons per table. New Year’s Day Brunch at Parichart Court, 1 January 2019, from 12.00 noon – 3.30 pm Start your 2019 with our special New Year’s Day Brunch featuring a sumptuous buffet with unlimited beverages and live band. Priced at THB 2,999++ per person for non-alcohol package, and THB 1,500++ for children from 6-12 years old. * Prices are subject to 10% service charge and 7% government tax. For more information and reservations please call +66 2 126 8866 email: festivedesk.asia@anantara.com website: www.siam-bangkok.anantara.com


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RACING the open space atop Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 4 is RedSquare, the first rooftop bar in Bangkok dedicated to vodkas from around the world. The hotel is the newest addition on Sukumvit Soi 4, a short distance from BTS Nana.   The view is outstanding and, most importantly, unobstructed. No huge pillars, just a sweeping vista of the city

lights. What’s more, RedSquare offers a fresh perspective on views too, as it’s from the ‘even side’ of Sukhumvit Road. For New Year’s Eve countdown it’s just the place to be, with direct views of the fireworks and twinkling lights of the Siam and Sathorn districts.    The deco is minimalist in style and on-point. The chairs and sofas are red and the light hues filtering down on the bar counter are also red.

The curated vodka journey at RedSquare includes the finest vodkas from North America, Eastern and Western Europe, Asia as well as vodka inspired cocktails from Africa, and South America.   Try the Siam Sunrays and signature Mojito. Enjoy classics like Bloody Mary or create your own mix with a medley of vodkas. The menu is comprehensive and showcases the different combinations at play. There is even a drink for chocolate lovers!   A good selection of light bites goes perfectly well for an evening in the sky. Recommended dishes include the Spiced Prawn Burgers, Seared Marinated Salmon in Miso Sauce and the Atlantic Smoked Salmon on Blinis.   If minimalist is your style, and vodka is your drink du jour, then RedSquare is a great place to hang out and socialise. It’s impressive. New Year’s Eve promotion 2,900 baht net per person 4 hour top shelve open bar 6 -10 pm, DJ Special Offer: Get 10% Discount till 15th December 2018 Please call : 02-080-5325

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UST like that, December is upon us. The month for reflection and celebration. At Jamie’s Italian, the celebration begins with A Festive Feast Menu. On their Instagram page @jamiesitalianbkk, it says Jamie Oliver’s Italian restaurant serves fantastic, rustic dishes, using recipes that have

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been tried, tested and loved. We came in hungry on a weekday afternoon and it felt like an early Christmas.  The Duck Liver Pâté was a great starter and the accompanying balsamic onions were the perfect dose of sweetness. At Jamie’s, they use freerange ducks. The next dish we tried was the Porcini Mushroom Soup - and it was divine! The aged Parmesan and truffle lifted it up to another level and the homemade focaccia took in all that goodness in a bowl. Each spoonful was a burst of joy.   The three other options for starters are Salmon Bruschetta, Beef Carpaccio and Retro Prawn Cocktail. For Mains, we have a hearty selection of Osso Bucco Alla Milanese, Salmon Fillet, Festive Roast Chicken, Mushroom & Truffle Ravioli and the main star on this menu - the Fillet Steak (250 baht supplement). The steak was served on a huge plate and one can’t help but focus on the roasted bone marrow that towered over the beef counterpart - it was

the perfect presentation. We gently scooped out the marrow and had a feast, before extending the happiness with the tender Prime Angus Beef; bathed in red wine sauce, wild mushrooms and black truffle.   All mains are served with a generous side of rosemary roasted potatoes, parsnips, carrots and local greens. These sides were a light meal in themselves, and oh so fresh! Smoothies and juices are available from the à la-carte menu.   To end the feast on a sweet note, we recommend the homemade pudding with brandy cream (Christmas Pudding) and the Festive Sundae - which combines layers of ice cream with berry compote, caramelised orange & chocolate sauce. Complimentary tea and coffee available. Jamie’s Italian Bangkok Siam Discovery 989 Room G06, Ground Floor, Rama 1 Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330 T: +66 22 555 222 http://www.jamiesitalian.co.th


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HE Club’s President Tom is a regular diner at Indus (Sukhumvit Soi 26) and he led 15 fellow guests to enjoy the first Indian meal the Club has staged since 2006. It proved to be an excellent choice and it is highly unlikely that we will wait another 12 years for a reprise.   Forsaking the beef (and the duck and Pinot with which he will be ever associated), wine spokesman Ralph Bernet galloped through his account of the wines on offer, pausing just long enough to praise the Juliane Eller Sylvaner Juwel 2016 (Rheinhessen, Germany) with which proceedings had commenced. Our Chef had proposed the following starters with Khumb Galouti (Finely minced button mushroom kebeb with a Kashmiri spice blend on warki prantha) served first followed by Tandoori Creamy Broccoli, Kebab-E-Malai (Boneless tender chicken marinated in yogurt, cheese, coriander, and lime) and for me a first, Ajwainin Fish Tikka (Seabass, hung curd, carom seed, with a dash of garam masala).  

All were tasty and beautifully cooked. Food spokesman Jock Tulloch singled out Khumb Galouti (a modern fusion dish, he speculated) and the coriander flavoured chicken. A second white wine, Terlano Winkl Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (Alto Adige, Italy), gave Andrew McDowell and others no cause for complaint; Robert Parker had awarded 93 points to a very nice wine. The main dishes were numerous and mouthwatering; the centre piece was Raan Sikandrai (seven hours slow cooked pulled leg of mutton marinated three days in advance).   Also featured were Laal Maas (a spicy meat curry from Rajasthan), Butter Chicken (charcoal smoked chicken tikka), Daal Makhani (black

lentils), accompanied by Saffron Pulao Rice, Assorted Indian Breads and Tandoori Roti (plain nan, butter nan, garlic nan, lachha Prantha), Aloo Gobhi Adraki (cauliflower & potatoes with Indian herbs & spices) and Kachumber Salad.   All were enjoyed in abundance, and were declared to be exquisitely rich and delicious by Jock, who confessed he was sated and tempted to curl up in the corner and sleep. Wine master Thomas Boedinger had left the diners a free choice of wine and beers and there was even a Shiraz, Glaetzer Bishop 2015 (Barossa Valley, WA) on offer.   I drank it with the dessert course (Gulab Jamun (deep fried reduced milk dumplings soaked in rosewater & cardamom), Pistachio Kulfi (Indian ice-cream) and fresh fruits) and found the wine matched Halliday’s score of 94 and to be traditional full-bodied high-octane Barossa shiraz. Finally, we sang in honour of Thomas’s upcoming birthday and drank a very large glass or two of Chivas Regal 18 years Limited Edition First Fill French Oak Finish donated by him, which was wonderful.   Donning a specially chosen teeshirt, Thomas was prevailed upon to present our thanks to GM Yash Pal Thakur and his team which had done a great job throughout the service. Indus Contemporary Indian Dining#71 Sukhumvit Soi 26, Tel. 02-258-4900 Mobile. 082-342-1765 www.indusbangkok.com

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For my third and fourth seasons, I moved to Chicago under Keith Hac, who’s reckoned to be the best coach in American football. In the first year, playing in front of crowds of up to 4,000, our team Chicago Bliss lost in the final – but the following year we were unbeaten and won the championship. of rugby made the switch to this new code relatively easy, and Jayne quickly became an important member of the Brisbane Panthers. By coincidence, promoters for the American-based Legends Football League (LFL) were in Australia to launch an all-women’s league. Jayne, who had already displayed considerable talent as a wide receiver and corner back, was duly recruited

by the Queensland Brigade to take on the playmaker role of quarterback against teams from New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia. After one season, the league was disbanded – not through lack of popularity, having attracted a substantial TV channel following, but for other reasons unrelated to the sport. It wasn’t game over for Jayne, though. Her strong throwing arm,

Jayne modelling for Sprayground, a fashionable back-pack company in New York City

developed during her time as a volleyball player, together with a natural tactical flair had caught the eyes of several American coaches and she was offered contracts to play quarterback for women’s teams in Omaha, Los Angeles and Atlanta. She chose the latter and joined the Atlanta Steam. Although technically still at university in Australia, she was allowed to continue her studies via on online course. “It was with Atlanta Steam that I really learned the game,” says Jayne. “For the next season, the Los Angeles Temptations offered me a starting position, which I hadn’t had at Atlanta, so I moved there. Our team won three games and lost one. “For my third and fourth seasons, I moved to Chicago under Keith Hac, who’s reckoned to be the best coach in American football. In the first year, playing in front of crowds of up to 4,000, our team Chicago Bliss lost in the final – but the following year we were unbeaten and won the championship. “That gave me great pleasure because on the league commentators had said before the competition started that I wasn’t a championship quarterback. Proving everyone wrong was the best feeling ever. “Playing quarterback is more cerebral, not physical,” adds this extremely friendly and intelligent young lady in answer to her critics.

Jayne modelling a traditional Thai costume and getting back to her roots

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School Report

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E started off with outstanding results from our students’ IGCSE, AS and A level results. We were delighted to receive notification from Cambridge Assessment Examinations that our students had received six High Achievement Awards for A level subjects including English language, English Literature and Biology and at IGCSE level for first language Japanese and foreign language Japanese.   This is an amazing achievement and the highest number we have received in one year.    In October, our Primary students were busy making their mark on the Traill Hall of Fame. Our Years 6 to 8 students were hugely successful in the FOBISIA Primary Maths Challenge and Kid’s Literature Competition. 

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In November, teams of secondary science students from Years 9 and 10 competed in the KLESF (Kuala Lumpur Engineering Science Fair) 2018 Competition in Malaysia.  Out of 455 entries from students from 10 countries, our Year 9 team finished an impressive 4th place in the Biological Science Category. This will qualify them to present their work at the upcoming International STEM Challenge in April 2019 being held in Singapore.   Our dance groups, musicians and drama students throughout the school have all been busy taking part in inter-school competitions and performances.    Our sports teams have been adding to our trophy display throughout the first term.  Our dedicated coaches continue to challenge our players to be the best they can and it certainly pays off in competitions. 

Traill hosted the annual Dragons Cup Basketball Tournament in November, with teams from Japan, Thailand and the Philippines.  In what were thrilling competitions, our Under 14 and Under 16 boys had to battle to prove themselves champions.   We are lucky at Traill that we have such a wonderfully happy and supportive atmosphere within the school, where our students are taught never to be afraid to try something.  This makes for such an exciting and diverse range of interests and talents.   We are all looking forward to the start of Term 2, but in meantime, we would like to wish everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous Christmas and New Year.

www.traillschool.ac.th


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PERATING even a small airline is an extremely costly undertaking, starting with the acquisition of aircraft, hiring qualified personnel, especially pilots, and obtaining all the necessar y certifications and documents. Thus, it might surprise a lot of people to learn that at least 79 civilian airlines have been launched in Thailand over the past 50 years. They include scheduled, charter, private and cargo carriers. Some took off without a hitch and continue to fly under their original logo, while others survived after mergers and name changes. Still others folded after a short run, and at least 44 airlines were announced but never actually got off the ground.   Like all industries, civil aviation in Thailand has had its ups and downs. There have been accidents resulting in fatalities of passengers and crew, as well as near misses in which only expensive equipment was lost. In the past three years a number of Thai airlines were temporarily banned or faced certain restrictions in foreign countries, mainly because of safety issues. This prompted a severe scolding of the nation’s airlines by the authorities.

ON A MORE POSITIVE NOTE, THE THAI AVIATION INDUSTRY ON THE WHOLE CAN CLAIM A VERY GOOD SAFETY RECORD, AND AIR TRAVELERS WORLDWIDE ASSOCIATE IT WITH EXCELLENT SERVICE. AT THE PRESTIGIOUS SKYTRAX WORLD AIRLINES AWARDS 2018, THAI AIRWAYS WON THREE AWARDS AND BANGKOK AIRWAYS TOOK HOME TWO AWARDS. FOLLOWING IS A LIST OF THAI AIRLINES FORMED SINCE 1968 THAT ARE NOW OR WERE FORMERLY OPERATIONAL: 1968 → Bangkok Airways Genealogy: Krungthep Sahakol Company Limited > Sahakol Air > Bangkok Airways. 1969 → 1973 Airser vices 1969 → 1974 Bira Air Transport 1969 → 1976 Air Siam Genealogy: Varan Air-Siam > Air Siam.

1969 → 1984 Sky of Siam 1976 → 1976 Avia -Thai International

1988 → Thai Airways International (Thai Airways or THAI) Thai Airways Company or Thai Airways (TAC) merged with Thai Airways International on April 1, 1988. 1990 → 2009 PBair

1990 → SFS Aviation Genealogy: Si Chang Flying Services > SFS Aviation. 1991 → Executive Wings Genealogy: Siam Land Flying Co., Ltd. > Executive Wings. Executive Wing was established in 1998 and Medical Wing in 1999. Siam Land Flying Co., Ltd is a part of the Charoen Pokphand Group.

1978 → Thai Flying Ser vices 1995 → 2008 Sky Eyes Airways 1979 → 1980 Erewan Air

1986 → Air People International

1995 → 2018 Orient Thai Airlines Genealogy: Cambodian International Airline > Orient Express Air > Orient Thai Airlines. 1995 → MJets Genealogy: Minor Aviation > MJets

1987 → Thai Aviation Ser vices

1987 → 1993 Tropical Sea Air 1988 → 1988 Brom Air

1996 → 1996 Princess Airlines 1998 → 2003 Angel Air

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Feature 1999 → 1999 Siam International Aviatio 1999 → 2012 Phuket Air

2000 → 2004 Air Andaman 2002 → 2014 SGA Airlines (Siam General Aviation Co., Ltd.) The airline previously operated as an arm for Nok Air under the brand Nok Mini. The company ended their partnership in 2014. 2002 → 2014 Nok Mini Siam General Aviation Co., Ltd. previously operated as an arm for Nok Air under the brand Nok Mini. The company ended their partnership in 2014.

2004 → ?? JetGo International The airline is reportedly out of business. 2004 → Nok Air Genealogy: SkyAsia > Nok Air Thai Airways is the second-largest shareholder in Nok Air. 2005 → 2009 SkyStar Airways

2005 → Bangkok Helicopter Ser vices

2005 → Fun Flying Thai Air Ser vice

2006 → 2008 Thai Global Air 2003 → 2004 Thai Pacific Airlines 2006 → 2008 Coco Seaplane 2003 → 2004 ThaiJet Airways

2003 → 2006 Jet Asia 2003 → 2010 One-To-GO Airlines The airline integrated into Orient Thai Airlines in 2010. 2003 → Thai AirAsia

2004 → 2005 Flyhy Cargo Airlines

2004 → 2006 Thai Air Cargo

2006 → K-Mile Air 2007 → Thai Platinum International Airlines Genealogy: Blue Sorakom >Thai Platinum International Airlines. According to official the airline, formed in 2017, should be flying in 2019. 2007 → 2008 Thai Global Airlines 2007 → 2009 Destination Air Shuttle

2007 → 2009 Air Phoenix 2004 → 2006 Thai Sky Airlines

2004 → 2010 Solar Air A relaunch is planned. 2004 → OrientSKYs Genealogy: XJET Limited > OrientSKYs.

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2007 → Heliluck Aviation Ser vices

2008 → 2015 Intira Airline Genealogy: Business Air > Intira Airlines.


2008 → VIP Jets

2009 → 2014 U Airlines Genealogy: Crystal Thai Airlines > U Airlines.

2009 → 2015 Happy Air

2009 → 2015 Legacy Air Mr Puttipong Prassarttong-Osot, Bangkok Airways’ President (4th from left), together with airline management, attended the award ceremony.

2009 → 2018 Jet Asia Airways The airline is reportedly restarting.

2010 → 2012 P.C. Air

2010 → 2012 Sunny Airway

2010 → 2017 Siam Air The airline is reportedly restarting.

2011 → 2012* Thai Regional Airlines

2011 → 2016 City Airways 2011 → Thai Smile Airways Genealogy: Thai Wings > Thai Smile Airways. The airline is a wholly owned subsidiary of Thai Airways.

Skytrax Awards 2018 THE national carrier Thai Airways received three prestigious awards at the Skytrax 2018 World Airline Awards held at The Langham Hotel in London on July 17. Skytrax is a United Kingdom-based consultancy which runs an airline and airport review and ranking site. The World Airline Awards were initiated in 1999 to recognize leaders in Skytrax’ annual worldwide airline customer satisfaction survey. This year’s awards are based on the results of a survey conducted between August 2017 and May 2018, with responses from more than 20 million participants who flew with 335 airlines in total. The survey evaluates product standards and various airline services, starting with check-in at the airport. The majority of questions address inflight services, including cabin and seat comfort, crew service, meals and entertainment. THAI was awarded World’s Best Economy Class Airline title and World’s Best Economy Class Onboard Catering for the second year in a row, and the Royal Orchid Spa at Suvarnabhumi Airport was named Word’s Best Airline Lounge Spa for the fourth consecutive year. THAI is ranked by Skytrax as the tenth Best Airline in the World, and received Skytrax awards for Best Cabin Crew in Thailand and Best Economy Class in Asia. THAI also got some very good scores in other categories.   Bangkok Airways won two Skytrax awards for World’s Best Regional Airline and Best Regional Airline in Asia. The airline scored well in several other categories and was ranked 21st in the 100 World’s Best Airlines. Both airlines were represented in London by executives who collected the awards. 

2011 → Advance Aviation Jet

2011 → South Wings (Thailand)

2012 → ?? Jaras Aviation

2012 → 2018 Asia Atlantic Airlines Genealogy: Asia Pacific Airlines > Asia Atlantic Airlines. The airline is reportedly restarting. 2012 → 2018 R Airlines The airline is legally incorporated into Skyway Airways Co., Ltd.

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Feature 2012 → NewGen Airways New Gen Airways is a trading name for NewGen Airways Co., Ltd., formerly Sabaidee Airways Co., Ltd.

2014 → ?? JetGo International The airline is reportedly out of business. 2014 → Thai VietJet Air

2013 → 2017 Kan Air 2014 → Thai AirAsia X 2013 → 2018 Thai Express Air The airline is reportedly restarting.

2013 → Asian Air

2013 → Thai Lion Air

2013 → Budget Lines

2014 → United Offshore Aviation

2014 → NokScott

2016 → Bangkok Jets The airline is operated by AC Aviation Co., Ltd. 2017 → Wisdom Airways

FOLLOWING IS A LIST OF THAI AIRLINES FORMED SINCE 1968 THAT NEVER TOOK OFF: 2004 → Sukhothai Airways 2004 → Onyx Airlines 2006 → Chiang Mai Airways   2006 → Sabai Airline (Spark Air)   2006 → Eagle Air   2006 → Euarng Luang   2006 → Global International   2006 → Siam Express Airways   2006 → Phetchabun Airlines   2007 → Neo Siam Airways   2007 → Holiday Airlines  

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2007 → Royal Orchid Airlines 2007 → Sawasdee Airways   2007 → Southern Airways   2007 → Sun Freight Logistic   2007 → Thai Star Airlines   2008 → Siam World Air ways   2008 → T.A.G. Airlines Co.   2009 → Aero Pro   2009 → Asia Budget Air   2009 → Krabi Airlines   2010 → Quality Airways   2011 → Asia Majestic Airlines   2011 → Thai Lite  

2011 → AVA Airlines (Asia Valued Airlines) 2011 → Thai Tiger Airways   2011 → King Sky Diamond Airline   2011 → Nakhon Chiangmai Air   2012 → Chaba Airlines (Siam Global Air)   2012 → Infinity Airlines (Infinity Asia Airlines)   2012 → Journey Jet   2012 → Mastertech Airline   2013 → Nine Star Airways   2014 → Olympic Aviation Ser vices  

2014 → SEA Aviation 2014 → Azur Helicopter (Thailand)   2014 → Asia Connect Airlines   2014 → Thai Tour & Trans Airways   2014 → Air Inter Transport Co. 2014 → Air Singhara   2014 → SiamJet Airlines   2015 → Skylar Airways   2015 → Small Planet Airlines Thailand   2015 → National Air Charter

*Star symbol indicates the year is uncertain


Airline accidents

Some non-lethal aviation mishaps:

Some flights with fatalities:

October 6, 2013

August 4, 2009

August 4, 2009: A Bangkok Airways ATR72-212A flight carrying 68 passengers and four crew members on a domestic flight from Krabi International Airport veered off the runway and hit a not-in-use control tower building at Koh Samui Airport. The captain was killed and 10 people were seriously injured. The plane was totally destroyed and the airport was out of commission for two days.

October 6, 2013: A Nok Mini Airlines Saab 340B aircraft on a domestic flight out of Chiang Mai with three crew members and 25 passengers veered off the runway during its landing at Udon Thani International Airport, causing the nose landing gear to collapse. The pilot took the decision to hit the earthen wall on the side of the runway, bringing the plane to stop. Damage to the plane was extensive.

September 16, 2007: A One-Two-GO McDonnell Douglas MD-82 aircraft on a domestic flight from Don Muang International Airport crash-landed in bad weather at Phuket International Airport. The plane

September 16, 2007

reportedly rose sharply over the runway, stalled, crashed into an embankment on one side of the runway and burst into flames. Five of seven crew members and 85 of the123 passengers were killed, including one who died in hospital due to burns a few days after the crash. Forty people were injured, many seriously, and the plane was completely destroyed.

September 11, 2005

September 11, 2005: A Phuket Air NAMC YS-11-500R aircraft on a domestic flight from Don Muang with four crew-members and24 passengers skidded off a runway while landing at Mae Sot Airport. The plane hit a fence and the aircraft was damaged beyond repair. October 22, 1994: A Thai Airways International Airbus A300B4-103 was damaged beyond repair after its right wing was hit by the nose of Thai Airways MD-11. The plane was performing an engine run-up when it apparently went out of- control, overrunning the parking block at Don Muang airport.

December 11, 1998

December 11, 1998: A Thai Airways International Airbus A310-204 with a crew of 14 and 132 passengers left Don Muang on a domestic flight to Surat Thani Airport but stalled and crashed in a rice field on its third attempt to land during bad weather with low visibility. Eleven crew members and 90 passengers lost their lives. The plane was completely destroyed. August 31, 1987: A Thai Airways Boeing 737-2P5 plane with a crew of nine and 74 passengers on a domestic flight from Hat Yai International Airport to Phuket stalled during its descent to landing and crashed into the sea about15 kilometres from the airport. All 83 people on board died.  

July 9, 1969

July 9, 1969: A Thai Airways International Sud Aviation SE-210 Caravelle III plane with a crew of seven and 68 passengers took off from Hong Kong and was approaching Don Muang in very bad weather when the ISL (Instrument Landing System) failed. The plane made a “heavy landing”, forcing the main gear through the wings. No one was injured, but the plane was reportedly damaged beyond repair.

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DIPLOMATS p Meet the people uniting nations

His Excellency Mohsen Mohammadi Ambassador slams sanctions but promises Iran will endure

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EXCLUSIVE

Diplomat: H.E. Mohsen Mohammadi

Ambassador slams sanctions but promises Iran will endure Words MAXMILIAN WECHSLER

HIS Excellency Mohsen Mohammadi, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Thailand, covered a wide range of issues in this exclusive inter view. Besides the usual topics of bilateral relations and economic cooperation, the Ambassador was more than willing to delve into more controversial areas, including US sanctions and their effect on his countr y, international terrorism and Iran’s role in the Middle East and in Syria.   This is his first ambassadorial assignment, beginning in Januar y 2016. He is also ambassador to Myanmar and Laos.

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eographically, Iran is located in West Asia and is considered as a part of Middle East,” began the Ambassador. “With 1.65 million square kilometers it is the 17th largest country of the world, and with population of nearly 80 million people it is 18th. Together with its 15 neighboring countries (a market of 550 million people), Iran can be considered the junction of Europe and Africa and South and East. “Based on a British Petroleum 2015 report, Iran holds the world’s largest proven natural gas reserves (17% of the total) and fourth largest proven oil reserves (10% of the total). Iran is also rich in many other natural resources. The Persian Gulf and its strategic ‘Strait of Hormuz’ is one of the world’s most important strategic regions, and Iran is the main provider of its security. “It is said that nowhere is more important than the Persian Gulf in the continuation of growth of the global economy and international stability. Why? Because it contains 63% of the world oil reserves; provides more than 41% of the world’s oil consumption; contains 30% of global gas reserves and the daily passing of 15 to 17 million oil barrels through the Strait of Hormuz. “Backed by more than 7,000 years of written history, Iran is 10th in the world in terms of tourism attractions, fifth in ecotourism and 23 sights of Iran have so far been inscribed by UNESCO as the world heritage. With all these Iran being known as the cradle of civilization. “With 24 million of young high educated and well qualified human resources, Iran has been ranked sixth in the world for Nano Technology Articles, the producer of the first Nano-organic iron chelate fertilizer in the world and producer of Nano fibers with new morphologies via the synthesis of functional aureole Nano fibers.

Economy

“Iran has the 18th largest economy in the world, with an estimated GDP for 2017 of US$439.5 billion. Besides being a major exporter of oil and petrochemicals, we also supply much of the world with carpets, dried fruit and caviar. We are ranked highly in the production of cars, clothing, food, cement and agricultural products for export.  Regarding the current economic situation in Iran, Mr Mohammadi said: “I can say that Iran has adopted a comprehensive strategy encompassing market-based reforms, as reflected in the government’s 20-year vision document and the sixth five-year development plan for 2016-2021, which is comprised of three pillars. These are: economic development, progress in science and technology, and the promotion of cultural excellence. “On the economic front, the development plan envisages an annual economic growth rate of eight percent. The reform of state-owned enterprises and the financial and banking sector, and the allocation and management of oil revenues are among the main priorities of the government outlined in the five-year plan. “Following a contraction of 1.6% in 2015, the Iranian economy bounced back sharply in 2016, with a 12.5% growth rate. Preliminary data for the first half of 2017 indicates a year-on-year GDP growth of 4.5%. Iran’s non-oil exports are now rapidly approaching the $20 billion mark and concomitantly Iran is preparing to export approximately twenty-five million tons of petrochemicals per year (including olefins, xylene and methanols) and by the year 2020, approximately 35 million tons of LNG. “The government has provided a very comprehensive law in terms of dynamism and agility in economy and

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Azadi Tower, Tehran

Kandowan village, Tabriz

Western Iran Mountain

Extra points Ambassador asked to be allowed to make a few additional points: “In conclusion and referring to about 40 years of Iran phobia and poisonous propaganda constantly promoted and injected into the world public opinion against Iran by some media, which are at the service of the evil intentions of some great powers, I would like to share some facts about the reality of my country: • Iranians enjoy a unique identity different from other races in the region; • We have our own calendar and our New Year starts on 21st of March. Last year we had a joint New Year celebration with other countries of ancient territory of Iranian civilization on 21st of March in UNESCAP; • Iran in accordance with its constitution neither seeks to dominate nor will ever submit to domination. Iran believes that the era of regional and global hegemony has long passed. Iran is an empire due to its civilization and its culture, not through military domination; • Iran has always promoted peace, good neighborliness, and the creation of a world opposed to violence and extremism; • In our Shiite religion, extremism and bloodshed have no position. We are a nation seeking peace, justice, dignity and equality in rights; • Iranians are infinitely hospitable, as far as believing that the guest is a ‘friend of God’. Last year, former ambassador of Italy, spouse of Colombian ambassador and deputy head of Brazil mission in Bangkok travelled extensively in Iran and their memories of their journeys can confirm my claims; • Poetry and literature have been always one of  the most important aspects of Iranian life, Great poets like Attar Neishabouri, Omar Khayyam, Hafiz, Saadi and Molavi, are the most famous and people all over the world enjoy the latent wisdom in their lyrics; • Iranian music played with Persian instruments creates a combination of passion and pleasure for every listener; • Iran is one of the pioneers of the growth of science growth throughout the world. Great scholars such as Khwarizmi, Khajeh Nasir and Ibn Sina had great impact on developing different fields of science. Today’s Iranian scientists inside and outside of Iran, such as Majid Samiei, Ali Javani, Hashem Rafie-Tabaar, Nader Enghetaa, Firouz Naderi and the late Maryam Mirzakhani, are celebrities in various arenas of global science. Several brilliant startups have been launched by these people and many companies in Silicon Valley or universities around the world are taking advantage of their presence; • Iranian women have played an outstanding and undeniable role in scientific, artistic, sporting and other advances. More than 60% of college graduates are female and nowadays the participation of women in various fields is more significant than ever.”

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protecting investments and any other necessary competent facilities, which are the most important factors in any trade and investment decisions for foreign investors as well.”

Bilateral relations

“The relationship between Iran and Siam goes back to the Sassanid Empire era. The first official Iranian political mission in Siam was established in 1686. In modern times, official diplomatic relations began in 1955. “The historic visit to Iran by their Majesties the King and Queen of Thailand in April 1967, the celebration of their wedding anniversary in Iran and the visit of Her Royal Highness Maha Chakri Sirindhorn to Iran in 2004, are the signs of excellent relations between the two countries both before and after the Revolution in Iran. “The Islamic Revolution even made the relations stronger because of the ‘Look East Policy’ of Iran in which South East Asia found a special position in expanding political and trade relations. “After the lifting of the unfair and politically motivated sanctions against Iran in July 2015, we have witnessed positive developments in relations with Thailand. In January 2016 Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs Don Pramudwinai led a large delegation to Tehran and co-chaired the 9th Joint Economic Commission. “Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak came to Tehran the following mounth and signed six documents relating to cooperation in various areas. Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Javad Zarif visited Thailand in March 2015. Hassan Rouhani, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, came to Thailand in October 2016, and Vice President Mohammad Bagher Nobakht came here in May 2018. “Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, was scheduled to attend the planned October 2018 Asia Cooperation Dialogue Summit in Tehran. This meeting has, however, been postponed to next year due to the request of some other member states. “The exchange of so many high-ranking delegations demonstrate the profound will of the authorities of our two countries to begin a new era of cooperation,” Mr Mohammadi stressed. The ambassador said trade between Iran and Thailand


is also on the upswing. “In 2017 total trade both ways reached US$955 million, which show an astonishing increase compare to US$435 million in 2016. “Both sides have always paid attention to the cultural dimensions of our relationship as well as the economic, which is why our cultural center in Bangkok is very active. I invited everyone to enjoy the traditional Persian paintings there and participate in the Persian language courses. “More than 137,000 Iranian tourists visited Thailand in 2017. There are some common efforts by both sides to increase the number of tourists between the two countries particularly the Thai tourists to Iran. “Due to the good knowledge and experience of Thailand, Iran is going to cooperate with this country to exploit the potential of tourism and hotel industries. Right now there are four weekly direct flights by Iran’s Mahan Air between Tehran and Bangkok. “Iran and Thailand are two great nations with unique capabilities, which can completement each other. The relations between the two countries on the basis of historical ties, common values, mutual benefits and respects, have developed on a very positive trend and a very bright future of friendly and constructive relations and bilateral cooperation is predicted.”

Pink Mosque, Shiraz

US sanctions

U

nfortunately, since the presence of the new US administration in the White House, the world community is surprised daily by US denial of its bilateral or international commitments in the framework of already agreed treaties and conventions, based on President Trump’s high-stakes ‘America First’ policy.   “The Trans-Pacific Partnership, Paris Climate Accord, NAFTA, the global trade system, Asian-Pacific trade deal, trade war with China, some parts of the United Nations system, stances against G7, leaving 1987 missile treaty with Russia (INF) and so on – these are just some examples of this erratic behavior. These have inflicted considerable damage to multilateralism, international law and the prospects for resolving disputes through diplomacy. They have challenged US credibility and trustworthy as well. “It seems that US government is going to retry again the dangerous defeated policy of ‘hegemony’ on the basis of solely US nationalism and US national interests. “On the same path, in May 2018, in defiance of warnings from the UN, the European Union, the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) signatories and many other international players, President Trump announced his unilateral and unlawful decision to withdraw from the JCPOA, in material breach of Security Council Resolution 2231 of which the JCPOA is a part, and signed an executive order to re-impose unilateral sanctions against Iran, which were lifted under the nuclear deal. “This is while most world powers, including Russia, China, and even its closest allies such as the European Union, Britain, France and Germany, have repeatedly stressed the need to keep the agreement, which was the result of hundreds of hours of arduous bilateral and

Fatima Masouma Shrine, Qom

multilateral negotiations. This ignored the fact that the Islamic Republic of Iran has scrupulously fulfilled its undertakings under the JCPOA, and the IAEA has consistently verified the Islamic Republic’s compliance. “By doing so, the US Government violated its commitments under the JCPOA, failed to comply with unanimously-adopted UNSCR 2231, breached the Charter of the United Nations and showed their contempt for international law, and breached the explicit pledge of the US government in the Algiers Declaration of 1981 by openly declaring a policy of direct interference in the internal affairs of Iran. President Trump and his secretary of state even openly threatened the rest of the world that any nation complying with Security Council resolution 2231 and does not cease dealing with Iran will be punished! “World leaders and many US politicians have reacted to US withdrawal from Iran’s nuclear deal. Even Barack Obama issued a statement, saying ‘the decision to put the JCPOA at risk without any Iranian violation of the deal is a serious mistake.’ “Even the UN top court (ICJ), tacitly criticized the US over its hardline stance toward the country following President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran Nuclear Deal and ruled that the US must comply with obligations violated by re-imposing sanctions on Iranian people. “As President Rohani said: “It is the first time in the history of the United Nations that such a general invitation to violate the law’ is coupled with threatening law-abiders with punishment! “With all this, Iran unlike the United States, remains committed to the nuclear deal, on condition that other governments also comply with their commitments on the basis of the JCPOA. EU, Russia and China have actively

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rejected the US sanctions, pledging to maintain trade ties with Iran and show no signs of following Washington’s sanctions either. “In 12th Asian- European Summit on October 27-26 in Brussels, 51 member states announced that maintaining the nuclear deal with Iran reflects respect to international agreements and to the promotion of international peace, stability and security. “It can be said that such actions by US alongside some human rights double standards, especially its positions against some recent humanitarian crimes, have sacrificed America’s old fake human rights protection claims. They are increasingly isolating the US administration internally and internationally, and only a small handful of US client states in our region welcome it.”

Sanctions effect

D

uring the past 40 years, the Iranian people have heroically resisted and foiled aggression and pressure by the US, including its imposition of unilateral, extraterritorial and even multilateral sanctions; coup attempts; military interventions; its support of the Iraq invasion; the shooting down an Iranian passenger plane by the USS Vincennes in July 1988 that led to the murder of 920 innocent passengers; supporting Mossad in the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists; sabotage of Iran’s nuclear peaceful program through cyber-attacks; fabrication of fake documents to deceive the international community over Iran’s peaceful nuclear program and so on. “Basically, one of the American goals of imposing of sanctions has been to dissatisfy Iranians and to create a gap between the people and the government.  But it has failed to achieve this goal because of the bad record of US policies in Iran as well as the revolutionary mentality of Iranians. “It cannot be denied that Iran’s economic growth has slowed, while in some areas the lives of Iranian people have been affected, especially in obtaining humanitarian technologies, advanced pharmaceutical products for humanitarian purposes, airplane safety and so on, which have resulted human casualties. “But anyway, fortunately we are a wealthy country and by paying more, we were successful in tackling most of the problems and in the provision of necessary goods and technologies, despite sanctions. In addition, the sanctions led Iranians to be more independent in providing their needs by themselves and to stay on their own feet. “One thing must be keep in mind is that recent unilateral US sanctions have a fundamental difference with previous ones and the current juncture is not as difficult as the previous ones, because now only three or four countries are accompanying the US. “Other global powers encourage business with Iran and reject the Trump administration’s policy. The EU is calling on companies to disregard threats from Washington and is seeking more ways to work with Iran. The Russian foreign ministry announced that Moscow is ‘deeply disappointed by US steps to re-impose its national sanctions against Iran, and that Russia would continue to work with other

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parties to the agreement to preserve trade with the Middle East nation’. “China condemned the measures reinstated against Tehran and said, ‘China’s commercial cooperation with Iran is open and transparent, reasonable, fair and lawful, not violating any United Nations Security Council resolutions’. “I firmly believe we will manage to pass this critical juncture as well, as we did in the past. We are working with our other partners. As an example, the EU has a three-pronged action plan that consists of guaranteeing European Investment Bank (EIB) services to Iran, activating the ‘blocking statute’ to safeguard European firms active in Iran against US secondary sanctions, and securing direct credit transfers to Iran’s central bank that would bypass the US financial system. “We are also working hard to develop our own measures, exploring the potential for using crypto currencies, settle cross-border trades, using barter mechanism, setting up a new international bank messaging system to rival Swift, the current global standard, removing US dollar from our trade and so on. “There are so many other advantages that Iran, by exploiting them, can overcome US policies against Iran. Just as an example, over 5.2 million tourists visited Iran last year. The goal is to increase this amount to 20 million per year which will increase the country’s tourism revenue from its current US$6 billion to US$25 billion per year. Such features cannot be affected by unilateral sanctions.”  

Iran’s role in the Middle East

“Historical review indicates that Iran’s geopolitics have always forced our country to play a significant role in view of its capabilities, both before or after revolution. Playing such a role has been expected not only by the countries of the region, but also is a requirement of regional order and balance. “So this feature is not specific to the post-revolution era. Even before the Islamic revolution, Iran had the same role in the region as a reliable regional power. For example, Iran military forces arrived in Oman in 1973 at the request of the government of Sultanate of Oman against Dhofar Rebellion and saved the country from communist domination. Notably, Oman as an Arab country, asked a non-Arab country of Iran for help and not any other Arab country. “Due to excellent relations between Iran and the West, especially the United States, the superior and uncontested role of the Shah as a gendarme in the region and Iran’s involvement in the suppression of the Dhofar movement in Oman, was recognized and encouraged by them and even by Arab world (except Iraq). “From the very beginning of the establishment of the Islamic Republic in Iran, the powers who lost their interests in Iran and the region, as well as the leaders of some countries who were in a fear of the effects and echoes of Islamic revolution and achievements in Iran on their dominant monarchies, launched attacks and plots in order to destabilize and overthrow Islamic Republic of Iran.


These included organizing terrorist groups and separatist movements, eight years of war imposed by Iraq with military and financial support, propagation of Iran phobia, forming and supporting extremist deceptive Islamic terrorist groups and factions against Iran, such as Taliban, Al-Qaida and finally ISIS et cetera. “All these extremist groups with fake and distorted face of Islam, became themselves a threat to those countries who created and supported them, and a threat to security and stability of the region as well. “As I mentioned, Iran always plays a decisive role in the stability of the region and its neighbors. Iran considers force and military changes in any country as a threat to the stability of the region. So when people and governments of Syria, Iraq and the Kurdish autonomous region were not able to resist ISIS and asked Iran for help, we responded to these requests and gave them advisory military assistance. “It was Iran that defeated ISIS in the region and continues its anti-terror mission as long as the legitimate governments in Syria, Iraq or other countries want it to do so. But today, playing the same regional role as in the Shah period, Iran is not welcomed or recognized by the powers who lost their interests in Iran and the region, or by some regional leaders who are in a fear of the same fate as the Shah. “Let me point out here that our military achievements, including our missile systems as well as our entire defense expenditure, are a fraction of those US clients in the neighborhood (some, third in the world in terms of military budget) who race to buy hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of the most sophisticated weaponry, including missiles with longer ranges than Iran’s. Our military goal is only about self-defense and detent. “If it were not for Iran’s efforts, the whole region would be now dominated by ISIS which would act as a source of expansion of terrorism and extremism. The international community has realized the importance of Iran’s positive role in resolving the crisis in the region as well as standing against illegal drug trafficking westwards and preventing the undeniable threat of immigration waves to Europe. Any unrealistic approaches should be abandoned when assessing this role. “We are in a close cooperation with Russia and Turkey as the main regional powers in this regard and oppose any interference by outside powers. Only the people of each country should decide their own future via a free referendum in a stable and peaceful condition. “Now, with the end of war in Syria close, Iran as an invited friend to Syrian nation has been welcomed along with other world community members to extend a helping hand in reconstructing its ruined infrastructure. Humanitarian issues always has the lion’s share in Iran foreign policy. “We are ready to participate in the reconstruction of Syria’s important energy sector. The Iranian Mapna Group Company as a first step has signed a memorandum of understanding with Syrian Public Establishment of Electricity for Generation for the construction of a 540 megawatt combined cycle power plant in port city of Latakia.”

CV of H.E. Mohsen Mohammadi Assignments: • 1991-1993:  Desk officer of Pakistan affairs, 2nd Department for West-Asia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). • 1993-1997:  Second Secretary, Embassy of Iran in Taskhent. • 1997-1998:  Desk officer of Uzbekistan, 2nd Department for Central Asia and Caucasus, MFA. • 1998-2001:  Deputy of the 2nd Department for Central Asia and Caucasus, MFA. • 2001-2004:  Deputy Head of Mission in Helsinki, Finland. • 2004-2006:  Desk officer of European Parliament in 1st Department for Western Europe, MFA. • 2006-2007:  Desk officer of Biological Weapons Convention, Department for Disarmament and International Security, MFA. • 2008-2011:  Minister Counsellor, Embassy of Iran in Berlin, Germany. • 2011-2012:  Desk officer on Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and Conventions on Chemicals, National Authority for Conventions on Chemicals, MFA. • 2012-2016:  Head of 2nd Department for Central Asia and Caucasus, and National Secretary for Shanghai Cooperation Organization, MFA.

Personal

In closing, Mr Mohammadi talked briefly about himself and his life in Thailand. “What has most fascinated me in the nearly three years I have lived in Thailand is the politeness and genteel nature of the Thai people. You get a sense of satisfaction and contentment, tolerance and patience, of peaceful coexistence among the people regardless of their religious beliefs. So I enjoy very much walking around here and communicating with the people. “As for my hobbies, I love handicrafts, wood carvings and antiques and I sometimes buy antiques from markets in Bangkok. I also love Iranian classical music, mountaineering and hiking.”

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Strip AD Expat investment BC Dec18_m2.pdf

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The BigChilli December 2018  

Thailand's best-read expat magazine. Find out what's hot in Bangkok and beyond. December 2018

The BigChilli December 2018  

Thailand's best-read expat magazine. Find out what's hot in Bangkok and beyond. December 2018