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mean you can feel rested and relaxed any time of the day. Your personal belongings will feel right at home next to the superior finish of the luxury apartments and golf course villas.

Idyllic location

Rejuvenating environment Sansara is the place to escape the hustle and bustle of an urban lifestyle, to experience the healthy air of Hua Hin and to let your mind expand as far as the eye can see. Taking inspiration from nature the organic touches and open plan spaces

Sansara is only a short, free shuttle ride into Hua Hin town for shopping and evening events while still being located at the world-renowned Black Mountain Golf course, Asia’s only European PGA course, where you can enjoy cool mountain air. Travelling is just as easy, thanks to the excellent highway connections you can quickly be at the international airport flying to an astounding 54 countries.

To find out more about joining the community contact: 02 683 0088 info@sansara.asia www.sansara.asia facebook.com/sansarablackmountain

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Editor’s Blog A few tips to make 2017 a better year THE world’s leaders have 12 months to make 2017 a better, happier, fairer and more peaceful year than 2016. We wish them good luck. It’s not going to be easy. Here in Thailand the challenges ahead are enormous, and we wish our leaders lots of luck. It’s not going to be easy. Meanwhile, on a lighter note, the BigChilli has compiled a list of petty social grievances without which life here would be a whole lot more pleasant. Tipping in restaurants: Make it discretionary. Only good service deserves a gratuity. Water scam: End the practice of asking customers “sparkling or still” before revealing the cost (usually ridiculously high) of said water. Motorbikes on the sidewalks: An outright ban, please, with hefty fines for offenders, or even citizens’ arrest (probably not advisable). Only white wine with Thai food: End the pretence that red wine complements the local cuisine. It doesn’t. Ban restaurant rankings: They’re boring and meaningless. And many restaurants pay to get to the top anyway. Don’t forget – one man’s meat is another man’s poison. Overhaul immigration procedures: Despite attempts to streamline the various processes, there’s always a hidden surprise or two. Force Skytrain passengers to remove large backpacks before boarding a train: It makes sense. Ban fruit wine: It’s an insult to genuine wine producers. Besides, it’s horrible. Lower the excise duty on wine, but not food: Wine is too heavily taxed. Keep out foreign foods; Thailand has more than enough of its own. Ban whistles: Only those currently issued to security company personnel. Farang Added Tax: Get rid of it. Despite living, working and paying taxes in Thailand, expats are still expected to pay sometimes 10 times the price a Thai person is charged. Suspend visas of moaning farangs: We live in a great country. Stop knocking it!

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This issue in

NUMBERS

1

Interview with Mr Prasoon Makherjee, first-generation entrepreneur and philantropist, Chairman of Outback Steakhouse. Page 14.

5

Five of our most favourite urban villages in Bangkok. Page 18.

39

There are 39 types of crimes DSI are empowered to investigate. Page 20.

1969

The year the Royal Agricultural Station Angkhang was founded. Page 24.

20

The distance of a bomb-loaded truck from the Israeli Embassy. Page 96.

25

The amount of years Timor-Leste struggled prior to restoring its independence. Page 101.


Publisher Colin Hastings editorbigchilli@gmail.com MANAGiNG editor Morgan Thanarojpradit morganbigchilli@gmail.com editor Nina Hastings ninabigchilli@gmail.com sAles & MArketiNG MANAGer Rojjana Rungrattwatchai sendtorose@gmail.com AccouNt executives Thana Pongsaskulchoti thanabigchilli@gmail.com AccouNtiNG MANAGer Saranya Choeyjanya fatcatbigchilli@gmail.com AccouNtiNG AssistANt Janjira Silapapairson janbigchilli@gmail.com Art & ProductioN Arthawit Pundrikapa, Jaran Lakkanawat PhotoGrAPhy JL & AP coNtributiNG Writers Drew McCreadie, Judith Coulson, Maxmilian Wechsler, Kelly Harvey, Anette Pollner, Johanna Dekoning

TheBigChilliMag

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

The BigChilli Company Ltd., 1/7 5th Fl. Room 504, Siboonrueng Bldg. 2, Convent Road, Silom, Bangrak, Bangkok 10500 ☎ 02 233 1774-6, 02 266 7141 Fax: 02 235 0174 :thebigchillimagazine@gmail.com :thebigchilli.com Strip AD_Operation Smile_Aug16.indd 1

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sea port in Myanmar, Sihanoukville Port in Cambodia, and Vung Tau Port in Vietnam, as well as a hub for logistics, and regional marine transport and travel.   The Royal Thai Navy’s deep-sea port of Chuk Samet at Sattahip will be developed for yachts and cruise liners.   A high speed double-track rail system linking Bangkok, Pattaya and Rayong is planned, along with ferry transportation from Pattaya and Chuk Samet to Chaam on the western side of the Gulf of Thailand, and from Pattaya to Koh Chang.

Other investment projects include a new highway linking Bangkok with Chon Buri, Pattaya, Map Ta Phut, Laem Chabang, and U Tapao. This highway will eventually extend north to Nakhon Ratchasima. The first section of the double-track railway is from Chachoengsao to Khlong Sip Kao and Kaeng Khoi, and the second section from Bangkok to Rayong.    Under the EEC plan, more promotional privileges will be granted to investors in this new economic zone. A One Stop Service Center and a fund for

competitiveness development will be set up for entrepreneurs. Other EEC plans include the second phase of the Suvarnabhumi Airport Development Project, which will involve the construction of a rail link between Suvarnabhumi, Don Muang, and U-Tapao. Two inter- provincial motorways  costing some 140 billion baht are also planned. One will link Ayutthaya’s Bang Pa-in district with Nakhon Ratchasima and Nonthaburi’s Bang Yai district with Kanchanaburi.

Chef Herve Frerard rejoins Aldo’s Bistro

■ EXECUTIVE Chef de Cuisine Herve Frerard, one of Bangkok’s most experienced chefs, has returned to Aldo’s Bistro at the Ascott Bangkok on Sathorn Road to oversee the relaunch of the Cascade Club’s prime social and entertainment venue. Chef Herve was the opening chef of Aldo’s in 2005 and since then has been the proprietor of his own restaurant, Le Beaulieu, served as an advisor to the Royal Project Foundation, and opened Café Parisien, Milano Café and Eiffel Bakery at the Glasshouse Sindhorn.   Herve welcomed the chance to be associated with the Cascade Club again and the opportunity to creatively programme the dining, wine bar, and poolside areas of Aldo’s into a revitalised social, dining, and entertainment icon.   Since August, Aldo’s Bistro has been steadily undergoing a host of physical changes and

upgrades that includes kitchen equipment, painting, lighting, furniture, fabrics, poolside sala renovations, new bar amenities, and outright discarding of old items. Khun Jaruwan Kaset, one of Thailand’s most knowledgeable sommeliers, is another former employee who has returned to Aldo’s. She has been working with the staff to completely change the wine list, wine by the glass offering, and the bar’s ability to provide high quality drinks and classic cocktails. Khun Jum is also overseeing the evening front of house service.   Chef Herve is now busy introducing a new Aldo’s breakfast, business lunch, and an evening menu that has expanded into poolside BBQ and smoked meats, and organising personalised small and medium sized parties and events that only the Aldo’s environment can provide. 

Cascade Club upgrade

Meanwhile, during the first quarter 2017, the Cascade Club is completely upgrading the strength area of its world class gym facility. This will include new custom designed ‘Rep Tile’ laminated fitness flooring.   Equipment being changed and introduced in new frame and upholstery colors are additional free weight area equipment from Hammer Strength and Life Fitness Signature Series, and includes new body weight equipment, racks, and Olympic benches.   The Functional training area will introduce new cable machines, a jungle arrangement, and a new Escape Octagon HTS 90 corner unit that will be a favourite for the personal trainers.   In the centre of the gym, a new Octagon HTS BOA Rail will provide more opportunity

for boxing, kick training, suspension training, and other small group training programmes. Over the years the Cascade Club has upgraded its cardio vascular equipment approximately every three years. This is because the manufacturers in the fitness industry introduce new lines or major changes every three years or so. This is a tremendous benefit to Cascade Club members because the club is always at the front of the envelope in introducing new technology and designs. Many clubs never upgrade their equipment and the average time between upgrades is 7-8 years. TheBigChilli

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THE

& proudly announce THE

Thailand International Business Awards 2016 New date: Tuesday, March 7, 2017 BUILDING on the success of the Expat Entrepreneur Awards 2014, the BigChilli is joining forces with the British Chamber of Commerce Thailand (BCCT) to launch a new initiative aimed at recognising Thailand’s most successful and dynamic businesses and entrepreneurs. Awards exist in order to acknowledge excellence in performance, process and creativity, to compare against peers, to highlight best practice and to reward supporting staff. By participating in TIBA you will raise your profile, grow your networks and develop new commercial opportunities. A team of independent judges will review the nominations and select the winners in each of the categories. All nationalities of company and individual are welcome to enter whether they are nominated or self-nominated. Nominations are open to any company registered in Thailand regardless of size or affiliations. For more information see:

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The aim of a restaurant business should not just be the creation of wealth but a pool of satisfied people—everyone from customers to staff, business partners and vendors—that is our recipe for success The food industr y is ver y intimate and personal. It is where we bring people together over good food and a friendly atmosphere. Bringing Outback Steakhouse into Southeast Asia was a challenge. Southeast Asia is a very diversified region but the restaurants still see at least a 10-15% annual growth in all markets since the first launch in Singapore. Through the years, the Outback Steakhouse experienced many crises; SARS epidemic in Singapore or the military coup in Thailand but not one restaurant in all five markets has been closed and the standards have never been compromised throughout. Outback Steakhouse is currently operating in 13 A-class sites across Asia. It is amazing how wellinformed our customers in Thailand are about Outback Steakhouse, our products, and our food. It is crucial that Outback Steakhouse stays absolutely consistent with the quality of food and services including the delivery orders.

We tried branching out into Outback Grills but the attempt was not successful. What I learned was that it is not worth it to dilute our brands. People love Outback Steakhouse and that is how we will stay. The changes in today’s fastpaced lifestyle are causing the F&B industr y to shift its focus from casual dining to fast-casual instead. People are more likely to order delivery food instead of going to the restaurants like they used to. So we have to adjust and adapt to the new trend while making sure that the quality of food and services are not compromised. The best advice I ever received was a former president of Outback Steakhouse International. He said, “ We’re not in the business of furniture. We’re in the business of food.” My proudest moment was when I was chosen to greet President Obama and the First Lady at a business banquet in India. I was one of 20 business people chosen from the 200 attending the banquet to greet

Outback Steakhouse Southeast Asia is owned and operated by Universal Success Restaurants Pte. Ltd. under the Universal Success Enterprises Group of Companies. It was founded in 1995 by Mr Prasoon Mukherjee. This multinational and diversified company operates in Southeast Asia and India. The main businesses include USE Infra for Industrial Parks & Townships, USE Power for Power & Ports and Universal Success Restaurants (RSRS) for Hospitality. Outback Steakhouse is also involved in various corporate social responsibility programmes.

• USE and Outback Steakhouse: donated funds to SOS Children's Village in the Philippines

• USE and Outback Steakhouse: donated necessities and funds to help victims of Typhoon Haiyan

• USE and Outback Steakhouse: helped rebuild homes in Tacloban, Philippines

• USE and Outback Steakhouse: A Friend of a Child • • • • • • • • • •

programme, committed to supporting the education of three scholars USE and Outback Steakhouse with WE International Philippines: Feeding programme in Smokey Mountain USE and Outback Steakhouse Starserve Programme: hosted celebrity fundraiser to benefit the children of Asociacion de Damas de Filipinas USE, Outback Steakhouse with Malaysia AIDS Foundation: donated RM60,000 to Kids AIDS Foundation USE, Outback Steakhouse visited orphanages in Jakarta during Ramadan season USE and Outback Steakhouse donated funds to YCAB Foundation USE and Outback Steakhouse: donated funds to help the Christian Missionary to run the schools USE: provided Cyclone Aila relief USE: Nayachar Island Health Awareness & Checkup Camp blankets and clothes distribution USE and Outback Steakhouse: donated US$6,000 as financial support to Thai Buddhist monks and kids orphanages Outback Thailand re-opening: donated funds to Srisangwan School

them and I chose to introduce myself as the Chairman of Outback Steakhouse. The First Lady was so excited she asked whether there is an Outback Steakhouse in India. My personal motto is honesty and integrity. Because developing trust takes time and commitment.

It is important that we live up to the commitment no matter how difficult it is. I believe Outback Steakhouse is an institution. It has been accepted, trusted and loved worldwide for over 40 years and I can see it grow for decades more.

4th floor, Siam Discovery, Rama 1 Road, Pathumwan 10330. 02 658 0202. www.outback-sea.com FB: Outback Steakhouse Thailand

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Insight

MUSICIAN KEITH NOLAN IS A MAN OF MANY TALENTS, WHEN HE IS NOT PERFORMING WITH HIS BAND HE CREATES WELLNESS AND SPA MUSIC FOR 5-STAR HOTELS, WRITES SCI-FI MUSIC, AND HAS TWO SHOWS ON CAPITAL TV NAME: KEITH NOLAN. AGE: 51. BORN: DUBLIN, IRELAND. EDUCATION: KEVIN ST COLLEGE, DUBLIN. DEGREE IN ELECTRONICS. HOW LONG THAILAND: 17 YEARS. SPECIAL TALENTS: COMPOSE MUSIC - CLASSIC, BLUES, POP, AND AMBIENT. ANYTHING ELSE: PLAY PIANO, ELECTRONIC KEYBOARD, AND GUITAR. REGRETS: NOT SEEING MY TWO YOUNGER SISTERS GROW UP. IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT YOUR LIFE, WHAT WOULD IT BE: I’D LIKE TO BE BETTER AT PRIORITISING WHAT I DO IN BUSINESS. BEST FRIEND: ALL THE MUSICIANS IN MY BAND. FAVOURITE RESTAURANT: NEW SUSHI BAR IN PHYLL SOI 54. TOP BAR: LIVE MUSIC VENUES SUCH AS APOTHEKA, SOUL BAR, AND SMALLS. MOST INTERESTING PERSON YOU’VE MET: ROBERT DE NIRO, LENNY KRAVITZ, AND AL GREEN. FAVOURITE MEMORY: PLAYING WITH YOTHU YINDI, AN ABORIGINAL BAND, IN FRONT OF 80,000 PEOPLE AT GLASTONBURY MUSIC FESTIVAL. MOST LUCRATIVE PERIOD OF YOUR LIFE: 1994-96 WHILE WORKING IN VIETNAM. WHERE ELSE WOULD YOU LIVE: HO CHI MIHN, VIETNAM. BEST HOLIDAY: BACKPACKING IN INDIA. MILESTONES: TOURING WITH YOTHU YINDI. ALSO, STARTING THE BLUES AND JAZZ ON SUKHUMVIT AT CHECK INN 99 FOUR YEARS AGO. LOWEST POINT: BEING BROKE IN BANGKOK NOT LONG AFTER MY DAD HAD PASSED AWAY. I WAS AT ROCK BOTTOM. HIGH POINTS: OPENING A MUSIC STUDIO. IT WAS A REAL LIFE-CHANGER. WHO WOULD

Profile

YOU LIKE TO PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE: GEORGE CLOONEY. Keith and his band ‘Cotton Mouth and the bangKoK bellends’ play at apotheKa (Wed), Whisgars, suKhuMvit 23 (Fri), vertigo 2 (sat), and spasso (sun), plus WeeKends at CheCK inn 99. he also has tWo shoWs on Capital tv - a booK shoW (beyond the lines) and MusiC shoW (aCCess all areas) With Capital tv; Creates Wellness and spa MusiC For 5-star hotels, and Writes sCi-Fi MusiC. reaCh Keith at WWW.KeithnolanMusiC.CoM. 16

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Insight

Who is Bobby Raja? Everybody has either met or heard of Bobby. He’s unquestionably Bangkok’s best known and friendliest tailor. Some expats even refer to him most affectionately as ‘Bobby Taylor.’ But few know the man behind the beard and the turban. In this BigChilli profile, Bobby—born Suwanpal Singh Gulati—talks about himself and his family business, now in its 52nd year

I

was born in Ubon Ratchathani, northeast Thailand, in 1965. My grandfather moved there from Punjab, India, in the early 1950s and opened a shop selling imported fabrics. During the Vietnam War, Ubon airport was used as a base for US military operations, which resulted in a huge influx of American air force and other personnel into what had always been a quiet and remote region of Thailand.   The thousands of GIs stationed in Ubon were in the market for clothes – shirts and suits. Back then, the town had only one Chinese tailor who neither spoke English, nor did he understand the needs of these western customers. Inevitably, the fittings were poor and the finished product often disappointing. My father, who worked at the family shop, had a good command of the language so many Americans asked him to translate their requirements into Thai. A business opportunity obviously presented itself, so the family fabric shop soon took on an additional role – a

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Interview by Colin Hastings tailor shop. To advertise the new service, my father placed one small mannequin in the shop window. On his return from India, Grandfather Gulati was not pleased with this new development and made his objections clear. Eventually, he too saw the business opportunities and agreed to a name change for the shop to ‘Raja’s Wolf Pack Tailors.’ (The airbase at Ubon had been nicknamed ‘Home of the Wolf Pack’ by the GIs). My father is the oldest of eight siblings. In the late1970s, the family relocated to Bangkok on the invitation of a friend and officer attached to JUSMAG (Joint US Military Advisory Group). We opened our first shop here in the early 1980s on land that’s occupied today by the Landmark Hotel. We relocated to Nana Plaza on a 30-year lease, but when the new owners of the building quadrupled the rent, we moved to our present location on Sukhumvit between Soi 6 and 8.

was very disciplined and the education was tough, but we students learned a lot. Later I attended Assumption University in Bangkok, where I graduated Summa Cum Laude in Business Administration. So I am a Sikh raised in a Buddhist country and educated at a Catholic boarding school. My wife, a Sikh who was born and raised in Bangkok, and I are blessed with three wonderful children. The eldest is a girl who works as a full-time speech therapist. She recently helped out at Operation Smile, a charity we support. My son studied in the US and has now joined the family business, and my youngest daughter is an international student. 

For my early education I was sent to Mussoorie in northern India to attend a Catholic boarding school, St George’s, run by the Irish Brothers. It

My father is up at 5.30 am ever y day for his daily walk around Benjasiri Park. Being the eldest, he didn’t attend high school as he had to look after his

I work mostly in the shop from 10.30 am to 8.30 pm Monday to Saturday, On Sunday morning my family attends the Sikh temple in Pahurat, the textile market area of Bangkok. 


Feature

Time’s up for foreign criminals who think Thailand’s a soft touch Thanks to greater international cooperation, it’s much easier for the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) to detect crime and obtain evidence, so watch out those foreigners involved in crimes ranging from passport forgery, call centre scams, credit card fraud and illicit drugs to the sexual exploitation of children and even murder Maxmilian Wechsler talks to Director of Bureau of Foreign Affairs and Transnational Crime

M

Y message to foreign criminals who plan to come to Thailand to do their dirty work is, think again! If you commit a crime here you’ll be caught and thrown in jail,” said Paisith Sungkahapong, Director of the Bureau of Foreign Affairs and Transnational Crime (BFATC) under the Department of Special Investigation (DSI). Mr Paisith acknowledged that in years past Thailand was regarded as a safe haven for foreigner criminals and fugitives, but he emphatically asserts that those days are over.   “The DSI is now a highly efficient, effective, and well equipped law enforcement organisation and we work closely with many foreign counterparts. This allows us to gather information on foreign criminals and fugitives more easily and it allows us to find them easily if they enter the country.” Director Paisith has been with the DSI since the civilian agency under the Ministry of Justice was formed in 2002. He held several key posts and achieved the civil service rank of C9 before he was appointed BFATC Director in July 2015. He recently made time in his busy schedule to talk to The BigChilli at the high-rise DSI headquarters on Chaeng Wattana Road. He was wearing the new dark blue DSI uniform which is not yet familiar to the general public.   “We have been trying to update our uniforms for years and the government finally approved this design in September. Every DSI officer is obliged to wear the uniform on Mondays, for special occasions and ceremonies and when conducting the operations.” 

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BFATC BACKGROUND

Transnational focus The DSI was formed to tackle wideranging and complicated cases including suspected transnational crimes. Director Paisith explained that the BFATC was set up at the same time as the DSI and is one of the most important bureaus in the organisation. “We are responsible for handling all transnational crime in Thailand, although we often work together with the Royal Thai Police (RTP). “There are 39 types of crime we are empowered to investigate under the DSI Special Cases Act. These are defined as complicated criminal activities committed by influential persons or organised criminal groups, and include foreign exchange and currency crimes, government procurement fraud, consumer protection violations, trademark, copyright and patent infringement, money laundering, violations of security and exchange commission regulations, revenue code and customs

violations, illegal trade in liquor and tobacco and trafficking in persons. “Crimes we are particularly focused on now include the sexual exploitation of children and passport forgery, and we have a good record of arrests and convictions in these areas. We are also responsible for cases of international fraud, like the call centre scams where smooth-talking criminals cheat people over the phone. They lie to potential ‘clients’, promising a high return on investments and then ask them to transfer money to them. This crime is mainly perpetrated by Chinese syndicates. “We also look at credit card fraud and we have cracked some cases involving Eastern European offenders. In 2015 we cooperated with the Office of the Narcotics Control Board and the Narcotics Suppression Bureau to bring down an illegal drugs network in one of the tourist islands down south. However, our agency is not directly responsible for

“Working closely with foreign law enforcement agencies allows us to detect criminal activities and movements in Thailand much more easily”

ABOUT 50 officers are assigned to the BFATC. The whole of the DSI has about 1,200 officers working out of Bangkok headquarters and five regional offices in Chiang Mai, Chonburi, Khon Kaen, Pattani, and Surat Thani. Unlike other DSI bureaus which have only one operational function, the BFATC has two functions which are handled by five distinct divisions. Two divisions conduct investigations, and the other three divisions are concerned with matters of international cooperation, for example the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT), extraditions, MoUs, following international protocol and handling translations and interpreters.  “When staff is recruited for our bureau we look for people who can speak and write English well,” said BFATC chief Paisith Sungkahapong. “Our people are all assigned to the Bangkok headquarters, but when required we send our officers to provincial offices. “I have two deputy directors and five division chiefs here. We are very busy, sometimes working during weekends. Law enforcement is a 24-hour job. We usually do five to ten big cases and 15-20 preliminary investigations a year, and that’s a lot of work,” said Director Paisith.

narcotics suppression. “Sometimes we investigate murders that involve foreigners as victims or perpetrators. Terrorism is handled chiefly by military, police and intelligence agencies, but we are the part of the law enforcement community that shares and gathers information on terrorist activities. “We begin the information gathering process on cases in two ways. The first is when another agency asks us to investigate

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Feature HORRIFIC CASeS HANDleD By THe ROyAl THAI POlICe

BACKGROUND OF PAISITH SUNGKHAHAPONG Education 1980: Certificate of English as a Foreign Language (UK)  1984: Diploma in Art (UK)  1998: Bachelor’s Degree in Law  1995: Master’s Degree in International Relation  Training  1989: Police Training: Royal Police Academy  1997: Immigration Control: Japanese International 1998 Diploma: Federal Bureau of Investigation Academy (US) 2000: Supervisory Criminal Investigator Course: International Law Enforcement Academy  Past Experience  1989 -1990: Office of Police Secretary  1990-1991: Inspector General Office, Royal Thai Police  1991-1996: Immigration Bureau  1996-2002: Interpol Bangkok: Royal Thai Police (rank Pol Lt-Col) 2003-2011: Chief of Foreign Affairs Division, Department of Special Investigation (DSI), Ministry of Justice 2011-2013: Senior Investigator supervising the AntiHuman Trafficking           Centre (AHTC), DSI  2013-2015: Director, AHTC, DSI  2015-Present: Director of Bureau of Foreign Affairs and Transnational Crime, DSI Honour Award 2009: Good Performance Government Official of Ministry of Justice   Mr Paisith is married with two children a possible criminal activity. We will then start a preliminary investigation, and if we find sufficient cause we will open up a Special Case. The second is initiating an investigation ourselves. This happens when intelligence generated within the DSI indicates something unlawful is going on. We then send our people to investigate and open up the case,” said Director Paisith.

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DIRECTOR Paisith stressed that not all crimes committed in Thailand by foreigners fall under the purview of the BFATC or DSI. This year, for example, some particularly gruesome cases involving foreigners have come to light. November this year saw the arrest of an Israeli man who reportedly dismembered a fellow countryman and cemented the pieces inside a wall of his house. In September three English-speaking foreigners ‒ two allegedly Americans and a Brit ‒ were arrested at a house where the dismembered body of another foreigner was found in the freezer. Another case involved a Spanish suspect who police believe abducted and tortured a foreign man in order to obtain ransom money. He too apparently dismembered his victim and discarded the parts in the Chao Phraya River. He was arrested in Cambodia and handed to the Thai police. Despite their high profiles, none of the three cases was investigated by the DSI but by the RTP since they had adequate resources to do the job.

A

sked whether crimes committed by foreigners in Thailand are increasing or going down, he answered, “This is a good question, and one I can’t answer offhand. We would have to look at the whole statistics. But I can tell you that it is now easier for us to detect crimes and obtain evidence, in large part because people often capture crimes being committed on their mobile phone cameras. Then too, CCTV is being installed at more and more locations. This makes it much easier to locate foreigners in Thailand than, say, 10 years ago. As well, the Immigration Bureau photographs everyone when they present their passport upon arrival and departure.”

International cooperation “We cooperate closely with a number of embassies in Thailand, most of which have a police attaché or liaison assigned to their mission. We sometimes get requests from embassies to locate a fugitive or someone with an arrest warrant out for them. In such a case we often work with the Immigration Bureau and the police. When we apprehend the wanted person we notify the authorities concerned for further action. “Foreign police liaisons in Thailand have set have up an organisation called Foreign Anti-Narcotics and Crime Community (FANC) which now includes 24 countries. We signed a memorandum of understanding (MoUs) with FANC as soon as the organisation was founded. We also have MoUs with individual countries and the Australian Federal Police, as well as the UK’s National Crime Agency. We will soon sign MoUs with the US Homeland Security Investigations and the Australian Border Force.  “Working closely with foreign law enforcement agencies allows us to detect

criminal activities and movements in Thailand much more easily. This is made possible by new technology, some of which is pretty amazing. “We also work closely with the RTP. We don’t see the police as competition; they are more like brothers. Sometimes we have joint social or sporting events. If we find that an investigation we are conducting doesn’t fit the Special Case category we refer it to the police. Likewise, if the RTP is involved in something that is fit with our responsibilities they refer it to us. “We have a Special Case Committee, chaired by the Prime Minister, which includes representatives from various agencies concerned. At present we are working on four Special Cases and about 15 preliminary investigations that may develop into Special Cases.” Director Paisith explained that we can conduct basic surveillance like following a pedestrian or a vehicle. “However, if we want to conduct electronic surveillance then we have to submit a request to the court for a warrant and we have to present evidence to the judge why this is needed. “The military works with us in some situations, for example assisting in arrests. When we do a big operation, especially in the provinces, we need the support from the military as well as the local authorities and the law allows us to make the request.” Director Paisith said increasing globalisation and international travel have led to a corresponding increase in transnational crimes. “The criminals can now travel from country to country very easily. That’s why we work so closely with foreign law enforcement agencies. Foreigners who come here to commit crimes, including high-tech or white collar crimes, or hide out from foreign law enforcement organisations, are very likely to find themselves taking up residence in a Thai prison,” he concluded.


Travel

Doi Angkhang: King Bhumibol’s northern wonderland

W

HEN a hotel in Thailand equips all its room with electric blankets, you know the future is looking warm. This is the first of many surprises in the gorgeous hill resort of Doi Angkhang, located in the distant mountains of northern Thailand, a shout or two from the Burmese border.

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The hotel is the Angkhang Nature Resort, which recognises the need for special guest comforts in a place which experiences some of the lowest temperatures anywhere in the kingdom. The electric blankets are, of course, optional but with the thermometer dropping to 13 degrees C in January, they can be most welcome. The hotel is set beside the Royal Agricultural Station Angkhang, the first research centre of its kind founded by King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 1969. The station researches and cultivates temperate climate fruits, flowers,

By David James


and vegetables. At present, it boasts a surprisingly diverse range of temperate fruits such as raspberries, peaches, plums, kiwis, and strawberries, and more than 60 species of vegetables, including carrots, Brussels sprouts, and peas. Also cultivated are some 50 species of temperate flowers such as carnations and roses. Set in a valley 1,400m above sea level, and covering an area of almost 2,000 rais, the station is surrounded by thickly wooded mountains creating one of the most beautiful natural scenes in Thailand. In northern dialect the word “angkhang” means bowl, while “doi” means mountain. Doi Angkhang is 1,930m high and offers stunning views of the plateau below and the many other mountains in this still largely pristine corner of Southeast Asia. The station is a wonderful testimony to the late King and his amazing foresight

and dedication in finding ways to improve the life his people, for as recently as the 1960s Doi Angkhang was a remote and isolated region where refugees from Yunnan in China and various hill tribes lived by illegal logging and growing opium, peaches and rice. Without education or medical treatment, they existed in poverty. Chairman and Director of the Royal Project Foundation, HSH Prince Bhisadej Rajani, says the King first visited the region in 1969, where he saw for himself that there

providing education for children, a medical centre for the villagers, and good quality roads with links to Fang, Chiang Dao and Chiang Mai. Visitors to the station can wander at leisure through landscaped flower and bonsai gardens, vegetable beds as well as displays of exotic and indigenous plants. It also boasts a rockery. Other facilities include a restaurant and guesthouse, which is often booked for months in advance. The entrance fee is 50 baht per vehicle and 50 baht per

were poppies and peach trees, but the hillsides had been extensively deforested through slash and burn cultivation. To remedy the situation, the King purchased land to set up the first agricultural research station for temperate fruit, vegetables, trees and flowers. “His Majesty asked us to find temperate fruit to grow on Angkhang, because he thought that income from the fruit would be higher than from poppies,” explained Prince Bhisadej. Visitors to this magnificent region can see evidence of other goals set by King Bhumibol. The hillsides are now recovered in new forests and agricultural plots, including tea plantations neatly arranged on terraces, which have helped eliminate poppy cultivation. There are in addition four schools

adult. Bicycles can be rented and pony rides around the project are available. Several campsites are located here too. It takes about three hours to drive to Doi Angkhang from Chiang Mai. The journey passes through some of Thailand’s most spectacular scenery. Drivers should be aware that the road from the foot of the mountain is steep and involves many tight bends, so it’s not for the inexperienced. The mountain location, cool climate and beauty of the surrounding countryside are outstanding. You may not need those electric blankets, but do take a light jacket or sweater. TheBigChilli

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Eric Prince Nationality: American Occupation: Journalist Top 10 movies: • Count of Monte Cristo • Slumdog Millionaire • Coming to America • Ghostbusters • Children of Men • Forrest Gump • The Green Mile • Rocky I • Rocky II • Pulp Fiction tied with Django Unchained

Lee Anne Smith Nationality: South African Occupation: Teacher Top 10 Movies: • Wizard of Oz • Lord of the Rings Trilogy • Grease • The Lion King • The Sound of Music • The Notebook • Gone Girl • West Side Story • Avatar • Titanic

Blake Sibbit

Daniel Giles

Nationality: Canadian Occupation: Real Estate Agent Top 10 movies: • Fight Club • Revolver • Stay • Perfume • The Illusionist • Primer • Machinist • Law Abiding Citizen • The Dark Knight • Enter the Void

Nationality: British Occupation: Consultant Top 10 Movies: • Seven Samuari • The Godfather: Part 2 • In the Mood for Love • Apocalypse Now • Breathless • The Big Lebowski • A Clockwork Orange • Drive • Oldboy • Dr Strangelove

Iain Kendall Nationality: Scottish Occupation: Teacher Top 10 movies: • City of God • Waking Life • Human Traffic • Pulp Fiction • Waltz with Bashier • Trainspotting • Shutter Island • Network • Sin City • The Shawshank Redemption

Daniel Morales Nationality: American Occupation: Teacher Top 10 movies: • Schindler’s List • Star Wars • Shawshank Redemption • Second Hand Lion • The Green Mile • What Dreams May Come • Pulp Fiction • Se7en • The Godfather • 12 Years a Slave

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Feature

Soi Suan Phlu and Soi Convent

RUNNING along Sathorn Road on opposites sides of the klong are sois Suan Phlu and Convent. Sathorn Soi 3, more commonly known as Soi Suan Phlu, is an eclectic little village that has been capturing expats’ attention with its warm community feel and array of food and drink venues. Whether you’re in the mood for coffee and cakes, good wine and boozy drinks, good ol’ Western food, Italian, French, Thai, or even British-style Chinese food, Suan Phlu has it all and all within walking distance. Soi Convent is much smaller than Soi Suan Phlu but has just as much to offer, with its Irish pub, French restaurants, cafés, bistros, an Indian curry house, and not to mention plenty of Thai food stalls lining the pavement. Lumpini MRT station is just a short walk away from Soi Suan Phlu and Sala Daeng BTS station provides direct access to Soi Convent, making both of these urban villages extremely accessible.

1. Molly Malones 2. Indigo 3. Himali Cha Cha & Son 4. Vesper Cocktail Bar & Restaurant 5. Eat Me 6. Heritage Café Bistro 7. Bistro Convent 8. Naga Café 9. Kom-Ba-Wa 10. RenDez-Vous 11. Wine Up Wine Bar & Bistro 12. Smalls 13. Junker and Bar 14. Café Neighbor 15. Noodle Nid Noi 16. Uncle John 17. I’M Petra 18. TJ’s Curry Kitchen 19. Breizh Crepes 20. Nando Kitchen 21. Golden Bowl Western Style Chinese

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SEPARATED by busy Sukhumvit Road, sois 8 and 10 constitute one of the most popular and busiest entertainment areas in Bangkok for expats and tourists. The emphasis is on value for money, with lots of inexpensive outdoor bars, pubs and restaurants, music venues, lounges and a couple of fancy diners. Soi 11 was recently cleared of its pavement vendors and streetside eateries by the local authorities since this is, after all, a major link road, and although a few are creeping back, a semblance of urban normality has been restored. Changes will continue early 2017 when an entire block containing several renowned restaurants and bars is demolished. Several condos are under construction and another building is being renovated, easing the way for El Gaucho to have a second stab at this busy street (the first El Gaucho is now an Indian outlet).  Soi 8 is a dead-end street so there’s no irritating through traffic. It’s made for walking. Parking is problematic but both sois are easily accessible from Nana BTS station.

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1. Havana Social 2. Above Eleven 3. Charcoal 4. Flow 5. Wolff’s 6. Apoteka 7. Firehouse 8. Marshmallow 9. Chilli Culture 10. Dubai 11. BREW – Beers & Ciders 12. Oskar Bistro 13. Levels 14. Coyote 15. Kazbar 16. Mulligan’s 17. AVA Wine Bar 18. Hillary 3 19. Australian Pub 20. Sugar 21. Check Inn 99 22. Zaks 23. Café 11

Havana Social

24. Old German Beerhouse 25. Pomodoro 26. Bawarchi 27. Rosabieng 28. Gallery 29. Chez Pape 30. Tapas Café 31. Charley Brown’s 32. The Alchemist 33. Cheap Charlies 34. Zanzibar 35. Bombay Restaurant & Lounge 36. Lazy Goose 37. Red Hog Bar & Tattoo 38. Viva 39. American Bar & Grill 40. Kiwi Bar 41. Via Vai 42. Monsoon 43. Kinnaree 44. Det 5 45. Stable Lodge 46. Prai Raya

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Feature

Soi Ari and Phaholyothin Road

1. Pla Dib 2. Kimchi Hour 3. Mad 4. Jim’s Burgers and Beers 5. Khua Kling Pak Sod 6. Paper Butter Burger 7. Steve’s Café & Cuisine In Town 8. Wholly Cow 9. O’ Glee 10. Summer Street 11. Casa Lapin 12. Panary Café 13. Basilico 14. Aree Bar 15. Fatbird 16. Salt 17. House 46 Café & Restaurant 18. 103 + factory 19. Porcupine Café 20. Chubby Cheeks 21. Marlin Café 22. Casa Azul

KNOWN to be the quieter side of Bangkok, this tree-lined stretch of streets has much to offer. Usually off the typical Bangkok itinerary, this neighbourhood – located just north of Victory Monument – is populated by various hip and stylish cafés, restaurants and bars. Equally mixed between upscale residential areas and hipster hangout spots, this neighbourhood is home to many great dining spots. Whether you are hungry for fresh seafood, juicy burgers, or wood-fire oven baked pizzas; Thai fusion dishes or homemade traditional Thai menus; Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, or Korean; or just looking for a place for a buzzing night out with friends, this neighbourhood has it all. Parking can be a problem at some venues since they only offer street parking while some venues will have valet parking available. However, all visitors can easily access these restaurants and cafés via Ari BTS Skytrain station and everything is just a short walk away.

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Dining out

Outback Steakhouse Bringing the world’s number one premium Western dining concept to Bangkokians at Siam Discovery

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UTBACK Steakhouse reopened its doors at Siam Discovery shopping mall with a brand new look and an expanded food and beverage menu. As one of the largest steak restaurant chains in the world, the restaurant prides itself on its selection of flavourful food, friendly and attentive service and a totally laid-back atmosphere. The Australian-themed steakhouse offers an array of high quality and delicious beef, tender steaks, succulent chicken, juicy ribs, fresh seafood, and pasta dishes. The refreshed look includes a beautiful wooden bar on one side of the restaurant with the far wall decorated by an Australian map and another with kangaroo crossing sign. The newly installed contemporary ceiling design lends to the restaurant an expansive look providing the ultimate dining experience.

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Signature dishes Starting with the ‘Aussie-tisers’: the Typhoon Bloom (B269) – hand-cut fresh onion strings dusted with Outback’s own secret seasoning, stacked high and

cooked until golden served with Outback’s spicy signature bloom sauce; followed by BBQ Pulled Pork Fries (B369) – fries topped with BBQ pulled pork, melted mixed cheese, pico de gallo and drizzled with spicy Ranch dressing; and Kookaburra Wings (B349) – chicken wings tossed with a savoury blend of Outback’s secret spices


mixture and paired with creamy Blue Cheese dressing and celery. The main dishes started off with the Baby Back Ribs (B699) – falloff-the-bone ribs grilled to perfection with tangy BBQ sauce served with Aussie Fries; Alice Springs Chicken (B479) – flame-grilled chicken breast topped with sautéed mushrooms, crisp strips of bacon, melted Monterey Jack and cheddar with honey mustard sauce served with Aussie Fries; and Firecracker Salmon (B489) – grilled fresh salmon glazed with Firecracker sauce and topped with fresh mango salsa served with fresh seasonal vegetables.

The signature dish was Roasted Garlic Butter Sirloin (B899) – 8oz of juicy sirloin beef with sautéed garlic, pepper and parmesan butter served with a choice of two fresh-made sides. Concluding the meal was an irresistible Dessert Duo (B349) – a mixture of two of Outback’s most popular desserts, Chocolate Thunder from Down Under and New York Cheesecake with a choice of raspberry or homemade chocolate sauce.

Atmosphere This Australian-themed steakhouse is a perfect reflection of the Australian spirit: warm, fun, and down-to-earth; offering high-quality dishes, innovative menus and friendly service at an affordable price. The casual and familyoriented environment encourages all customers to just kick back, relax and enjoy their meal. Parking Parking is available at Siam Discovery. Opening hours Open daily from 11am-10pm. 4th floor, Siam Discovery, Rama 1 Road, Pathumwan 10330. 02 658 0202. www.outback-sea.com FB: Outback Steakhouse Thailand

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Dining out

Guest review by

Bangkok Beefsteak & Burgundy

Enoteca Italiana

Final lunch of 2016 took place at Enoteca in the company of Alex, Nicola and Chef Stefano III

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ITH a record number of diners (26 in total), the proceedings started most promptly with Egg Nog from the Nowak kitchen, glasses of Prosecco and tasty nibbles. The weather was kind and the diners were found to be in festive mood. An amuse-bouche of gazpacho provided a tasty introduction to the meal soon followed by Fassona Beef Tartare (with slow cooked Egg yolk and Tobiko caviar)– a beautifully presented dish of unseasoned lean beef typically sourced from Piedmont; this was a very nice dish and complemented by Cosatamolino Vermentino 2014 Argiolas (Sardinia) which earned praise from Fritz Mayer, our wine spokesman, being a wine with a nice finish. Nicola was able to give us a full explanation of the ingredients used in the dish. Next came Jerusalem Artichoke, Rabbit and Cardoons. The latter are widely found in Italy which I learned to have the appearance of celery but “are delicate, addictively delicious, distinctly artichoke-y” and apparently require lengthy preparation. With the well-cooked rabbit, this made for a mouthwatering and unique dish demanding compliments from our food spokesman, Robert Lea. Fritz was once again able to give his approval of the accompanying wine, Costera 2014 Argiolas (Sardinia), dark ruby red,

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well rounded and excellent balance. Traditional home made Ravioli with Butter and Sage followed. This was another dish originating in Piedmont and was made on this occasion with ham and beef along with herbs and spices though the Italian name (Agnolotti) offered in the menu suggested that the lamb was used for the filling in the past. The generous serving was tasty and satisfying. It was served with Cifra 2013 Igt. Due Mani (Tuscany), described by one critic as a very light, fruit forward

somewhat short of an adequate match for the guinea fowl. The wine had some peppery notes in its favour but only scored a possible 3.5/5 in Fritz’s opinion. Two very ripe and tasty cheeses were at hand just as last year (Verzin di Beppino Ocelli and Testun al Barolo) which were again thoroughly enjoyed, followed by Chocolate Fondant (dark chocolate from Venezuela croccante plus praline ice cream). This concluded a very nice finish to the meal but the

wine who enjoyed it, but who felt it was a “drink alone, without food” wine. As Fritz noted, complexity was missing, with the wine was good on the palate but offered limited after-taste. I really enjoyed Guinea Fowl in Two Ways. The breast was moist and succulent and I loved the filling that accompanied the meat from the leg. Robert, with some prompting from Mark concerning the merits of the breast, also heaped praise on the dish. The accompanying wine, Monti Garbi Ripasso 2013 Doc. Tenuta Sant Antonio (Veneto), was also a fruity offering. It is a blend of Corvina and Corvinone 70%, Rondinella 20% and Croatina and Oseleta 10% grapes, and some diners thought it fell

birthday boys (Daniel, Pieter, and Graham) were at hand to receive congratulations from the rest of us and our thanks for the additional libations they brought. There remained the pleasant task of offering our appreciation to Alex and Nicola and the remainder of the service team for their hard work, not only during the meal, but also for the not inconsiderable efforts required to restore the seating to normal for the evening service. Enoteca Italiana 39 Sukhumvit Soi 27. 02 258 4386. enotecabangkok.com


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Scrapbook Last month’s foodie functions in focus

An Italian Affair with Riccardo Catarsi SCALINI restaurant invited guests to experience modern interpretations of classic Italian dishes presented by guest chef Riccardo Catarsi in a special four-course set menu. This unique event also featured an exclusive wine tasting presented by S.C. Bangkok Marketing.

Artisanal ice cream delivered to your doorstep BELOW ELEVEN, the French artisan ice cream, recently opened its newly-designed website – www.below11.com – to launch its home express delivery service. Ice cream aficionados in Bangkok can now order natural ice creams in a variety of flavours and have them delivered within one hour, from 3-10pm, seven days a week.

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Wooded whiskey and sultry cigars PREMIUM cigars and whiskey flights were the talk of the night at Pullman Bangkok Grande Sukhumvit’s whiskey and cigar evening at the InBlu Terrace. Guests were also treated to a special live performance by Live3Trio direct from Hong Kong while the band is in Bangkok for a limited time. Festive feasts and cultural shows ESTEEMED guests and members of the media were treated to a preview of the Anantara’s festive Christmas buffet – featuring turkey with all the trimmings and traditional desserts – as well as the dynamic new cultural dinner and show of The Adventures of Hanuman at Riverside Terrace.

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Scrapbook Last month’s foodie functions in focus

Johnnie Walker limited edition blended Scotch whiskies ENJOYING the world’s bestselling Scotch whisky has become a global ritual since 1820. Recently, Johnnie Walker rolled out its new limited edition blended Scotch whiskies that speak volumes of its rich liquid heritage, relentless quest for layered flavour and commitment to innovation.

Exclusive Silver Jubilee Tea Pairing by Dilmah BANGKOK Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park and Dilmah invited guests to experience great selections of the world’s best tea from its birthplace in Sri Lanka at the Exclusive Silver Jubilee Tea Pairing by Dilmah event held at the hotel’s Lobby Lounge. Guests were greeted by Food & Beverages Director,Dieter Ruckenbauer and the man from the family behind Dilmah Dihan C. Fernando.

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Expat Women

FaBlaB MultiBrand Store

WITH the constantly changing fashion trends, Sirada “Jib” Hannakin Chairman of FABLAB Multi-Designer House joined hands with fashion guru and famous models to create a multi-brand laboratory that gathers the best and freshest online fashion brands and young designers into a single destination.

l’oréal helpS prevent MSdS

nano ShiSo Body Butter By thann

THE premium skin and hair care product, Thann, launched a new skincare product in winter to help provide extra moisture to the skin. Choosing from high quality natural sources around the world, Nano Shiso Body Butter will keep the skin healthy and shiny.

THE Global Alliance for Musculoskeletal Health NGO and L’Oréal joined hands to create a new programme called ‘L’Oréal Professionnel with you against MSDs’. Aiming to prevent MSDs in hairdressers worldwide, the programme offers a 15-minute daily exercise regimen and a free mobile application ‘15’ Coach’ to help prevent MSDs and monitor the impact of their programme.

Zwilling grand opening

CEO of Minor Corporation PCL, Mr James Richard Amatavivandhana, representative of Zwilling J.A. Henckels - the world famous premium kitchen products and cutlery from Germany - celebrated the grand opening of the first flagship store in Thailand at Gaysorn Shopping Centre.

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A d v i c e Expat life getting you down? Professional counselors Anette and Johanna are here to help.

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Q A • Anette Pollner Adv. Dipl. Couns., is one of seven international counsellors at NCS Counseling Center in Saphan Kwai. She trained in London and the US and worked as a staff counsellor at Bart’s Hospital in London.

I am jealous of my friend I feel a little ashamed writing this, and of the feelings behind my letter. I am really quite jealous, and I am worried that my jealousy will destroy an important friendship. But on the other hand I worr y that if I let this go, and don’t respond, I’m not taking care of myself and pushing myself under the carpet, so to speak! I’ve lived in Thailand for eight years now. A ver y good friend of mine, who has visited a few times, decided to come to Thailand last year. At first, I was delighted. I was looking forward to spending time with her and having an ally in the often difficult struggles as a foreigner in Thailand. And at first, it seemed as if my dream had come true. I introduced her to all my friends, I gave her tips and made connections for her. I even helped her to find an apartment. Nobody did anything like that for me when I first got here. But now I feel that my friend has taken advantage of me. I found out that she has started to meet with some of my friends without inviting me, I have realized that she made ver y useful connections that she never told me about, and now she has started a ver y similar business to mine, thanks to those connections, is doing ver y well. I am jealous, I feel betrayed, and at the same time, I’m telling myself not to make a fuss and just be happy for her. But is she happy for me? Can you help me to sort this out? Veronica, 27, Canada

Dear Veronica This is a very complicated situation. I can really understand that you feel torn apart by your emotions. The source of your problem is a deep inner conflict: can you trust your friend or has she betrayed you? And what is the balance between helping and being helped. What is support and what is mutual support? If you feel that your friend has taken advantage of you, you must feel both used and abandoned. If you look at all these questions above, can you see a way to ask your friend these questions? Ultimately, only she can answer them. You are asking yourself if your assessment of the situation is real and fair. And that is also a good question. An honest conversation with your friend can probably answer some of this. But if you are, at least, a little bit justified in what you feel, then this conversation could be quite tricky. In order to get as genuine information as possible, and in order to protect yourself and your feelings, maybe it would be best to start that conversation on a lighter note. Try not to accuse your friend of anything, but just tell her you would like to know how her time in Bangkok has gone so far. Is it what she expected? Is it better or worse? What does she enjoy the most? In other words, try to keep the focus on her, even if it is difficult. You need information so that you can understand what is happening. And if your friend is still a friend at all, she will hopefully also ask you how this time has gone for you. Answer honestly but cautiously. Set yourself some boundaries for sharing so that you won’t be overwhelmed. I realize that a conversation like this can be very tough. But on the other hand, it is always best to go straight to the source. Otherwise you will have to guess, as you do now. Don’t feel ashamed of your emotions, even if they turn out to be a little over the top. Jealousy between peers is very normal. Some psychologists attribute it to our sibling jealousy that comes from an old family pattern (and that applies even if you don’t have your own brothers and sisters). Also, Bangkok used to be ‘your world’, and now she is making it into ‘her world’. Not easy to deal with that, on both sides. And I agree with you: don’t brush yourself under the carpet. The way it looks to me, it is probably better to actually have that conflict with your friend and take the consequences (both of you) than to drift apart with a bitter feeling, based on assumptions. I hope you can resolve your conflict with your friend, and I hope even more that you will be the best of friends to yourself! After all, you are two old friends very far from home…


Health

Getting to know your bones Managing Director of The Natural Healing Centre, Dr M. Chase Schneier, explains how chiropractic can help people of all ages

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HIROPRACTIC is the branch of health care that focuses on the relationship between your spine and nervous system. By relieving mechanical stresses in your spine, it seeks to improve communication between your brain and every cell in your body leading to better health. It’s like a way to improve your mobile phone signal to give you a clearer and better connection. When your brain and body are communicating well, you have better health. For over 120 years, chiropractic has been helping people of all ages, including newborns, pregnancies, and the very aged. Cases are very wide-ranging, but most often include backaches, headaches, arm and leg numbness, pain or weakness, and other muscle, nerve and bone complaints. Chiropractic has also been successful in helping many other conditions including sports injuries, digestive, breathing, and even sleep problems, and many other health concerns. Many people today come in for care just to stay healthy without any initial complaint. Of course, we always examine people to see if a referral is in order. With newborns and children, the birthing process or even caesarian births can be very traumatic to the newborn and affect their health into childhood and beyond. Some of this can be traced to twisting of the spine. Chiropractors have seen millions of babies for conditions ranging from colic, or gas, to sleeping difficulty. And all the falls, twists and

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posture stress of growing up can also lead to health problems for children into adulthood and might be helped with a visit to a chiropractor. With sports injuries, most chiropractors are additionally experienced in working on joints like the knees, shoulders, wrists, elbows, ankles, and hips. Making sure your muscles, nerves, and joints work properly can only improve your game. When someone comes in for care, first we must assess whether that person is a likely candidate for improvement under chiropractic care. We take a full history and perform orthopedic, neurological and specific chiropractic testing. We will ask for x-rays or other diagnostic tests if necessary. Then we will decide if it is safe to treat this person or if a referral is in order. We will then discuss our findings and describe our care and what they can expect as a result of our treatment. The individual treatment times vary from case to case and clinic to clinic. On average it may take 20-30 minutes per treatment. The actual number of treatments varies according to the case and patient compliance. Generally, the care involves an initial assessment of spine and overall health condition. If indicated, then treatments ranging from physical therapy, done by licensed physical therapists, to specific spinal manipulations done by chiropractors may be performed. These are most often gentle and painless as chiropractors are well trained to avoid

injury. Statistics have proven beyond doubt that chiropractic is very safe and effective with very low injury rates compared to other health professions. It is so safe and effective that even the US military and many professional and Olympic athletes use chiropractic. Chiropractors are massively trained in our profession and know all about the human body. Most importantly, we know when a case needs a referral and know not to harm people. It’s like needing surgery but going to the local butcher rather than the surgeon to have it done. They may know how to cut meat, but is that what you really want? Here in Thailand, there have been chiropractors for over 25 years. However, it has been government approved here for about 9 years. To practice as a doctor of chiropractic, students must pass difficult National Board Exams. Each country has its own exam requirements in order to be approved. In Thailand, there has been a difficult government test in place for about 9 years. The exam is so difficult that there are only 29 governmentapproved chiropractors here in Thailand. Dr M. Chase Schneier B.S.Pennsylvania University, D.C. Palmer Chiropractic Member: International Chiropractic Association, Thailand Chiropractic Association. Visit thaichiro.com, or visit thailandchiropractic.org for a list of approved chiropractors in Thailand.


Social

p Last month’s best events in pictures

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T 12.30am in the wee hours of Friday, March 11 a six-wheel truck, license plate number 71-7888 Bangkok, transporting a square object covered with a tarp, entered the underground parking lot of Central Chidlom. The truck exited the car park at 9am on the same day, turned left onto Chidlom Road and promptly collided with the motorcycle taxi owned by 21-year-old Boonserm, who had just let a customer off at the department store and was parked in an entry-exit zone. The collision caused considerable damage to the motorcycle but left Boonserm unharmed. The truck continued on its way but after it had gone only 15-20 metres it was forced to stop by two other motorcycle taxis who had witnessed the collision. One of the motorcyclists approached the driver of the truck and asked him why he left the scene of the accident. According to their testimony, Boonserm soon joined them. The driver opened the window and without saying anything offered him three green banknotes of a foreign currency, probably US bills.

When Boonserm refused the pay-off the driver reluctantly stepped out of the truck and walked slowly towards the rear of the vehicle. A very upset Boonserm insisted that they walk back to the spot of the accident. The truck’s driver, who spoke in a foreign language, gestured that he needed to make a phone call. After the driver entered Central Chidlom he was never seen again.   In an interview with Bangkok Post published on March 20, 1994, Boonserm described the truck driver as a goodlooking Middle Eastern man about 170 centimetres tall, clean-shaven with moustache and wearing a gray safari suit and black leather shoes.   The truck was driven by the police to the local Lumpini district police station on Wireless Road, where Boonserm filed a complaint. Eventually, the owner of the truck, a Thai woman named Linchi Singtongam, was notified of its whereabouts. The truck was parked outside the police station until she came to pick it up. In the meantime no one suspected it contained such an incredibly lethal cargo. 

When Ms Linchi came for her vehicle on March 17, she told the police that she had rented the truck out. She immediately noticed that alterations had been made, including the installation of dark film on the driver’s side windshield and the removal of two posts from the platform bed, increasing the storage space. Ms Linchi told the police of the alterations and they decided a thorough examination was in order.   It was discovered that a spring had been attached to the chassis which allowed the truck bed to support more than a tonne of weight. Under the tarp police found a very large water tank, two containers of oil, a battery and a leather bag with Arabic letters on it. When they broke the lock on the tank they found it was full of a white granular substance that looked like fertiliser. They were overwhelmed by a rotten smell and the odour of diesel fuel.   Further search revealed various metal objects and metal tubes connected by wires starting about 30 centimetres below the top of the tank. The wires were connected in a circuit that led to the truck’s cabin, ending in two manual switches beneath the driver’s seat.

Bomb experts determined that the tubes contained C-4 plastic explosive, with two detonators linked to each tube

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Feature AFTERMATH

Ramzi Ahmed Yousef

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HE narrow escape from a large-scale act of international terrorism shocked the nation. In 1994 a car or truck bomb set off by foreign nationals was an almost unthinkable scenario in Thailand. Since that time there have been car and motorcycle bombs successfully detonated in southern Thailand by separatist insurgents, although the bombs have fortunately been much less powerful than the one concealed in the truck that rammed Boonserm’s motorcycle. The first car bomb ever set off in Thailand was near the Marina Hotel in the border town of Sungai Kolok in Narathiwat province on the evening of Feb 21, 2005. The explosion killed five people and injured more than 40. Bombs housed in stolen passenger cars, pickup trucks and motorcycles bombs continue to be detonated remotely in southern Thailand. There have been no reports of suicide bombers.   In 1999, five years after the incident on Chidlom Road, the arrest of Hezbollah operative Pandu Yudhawitanata in Manila shed new light on the case. Under interrogation Yudhawitanata, an Indonesian national, allegedly provided a lot of information on Hezbollah including the terrorist organisation’s cells in Thailand and the role they played in the failed 1994 truck bombing. Among other vital intelligence, investigators learned that Hezbollah was planning attacks against Israeli and American interests in Southeast Asia and in Europe.   Hezbollah ‒ Party of God ‒ is a militant Shia Muslim military, political, and social organisation based in Lebanon, where it was established in 1985. With the backing of Teheran, Hezbollah enjoys considerable power and has been accused of carrying out terrorist activities, including bombings against a number of Jewish and Israeli targets. Hezbollah has been designated a terrorist organisation by the United States and most other Western countries, as well as Israel, the Arab League and the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf.   One of the Hezbollah operatives fingered by Yudhawitanata was Kuwaiti-born militant Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center (WTC) bombing in New York. He and his associates constructed that powerful bomb, placed it in a stolen van and detonated it in the underground garage of the WTC. Six people were killed and over 1,000 injured.   After the bombing he was the most wanted terrorist in the world, but somehow he managed to travel around. Trained in the construction of sophisticated bombs, Yousef arrived in Bangkok in the first part of 1994 and allegedly constructed the truck bomb and coordinated the plot against the Israeli embassy. He is believed to have departed the country before the bomb was discovered.   Yousef was arrested in Pakistan in February 1995 and flown to the United States, where in November 1997 he was found guilty of the WTC bombing and sentenced to life in prison without chance of parole, plus 240 years. He is serving his sentence at the ADX prison near Florence, Colorado, the most secure prison in America.   A senior Thai police officer said that the mixture of explosives used in the 1993 WTC bombing was similar to what was found inside the truck bomb in Bangkok and added that he was confident the target was the Israeli embassy. That viewpoint is supported by later events. In the months after the unsuccessful Bangkok attack Hezbollah-linked terrorists successfully attacked Israeli targets in Buenos Aires and London with car bombs.   A suicide bomber blew himself up in a Renault van that was packed with an estimate 300-400 kilograms of explosives outside the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) building in Buenos Aires shortly before 10am on July 18, 1994. The blast killed 85 people plus the bomber and injured over 300. It was the deadliest terrorist attack in Argentine history. The bomb in Buenos Aires, same as in Bangkok, consisted of an ammonium nitrate fertiliser, fuel oil explosive mixture and was detonated by a suicide bomber. The only difference is that the Bangkok bomb was much bigger.   The two London bombs were smaller in a comparison to the one in Buenos Aires and suicide bombers weren’t used to detonate them. Around midday on July 26, 1994, an Audi 100 packed with 20-30 kilograms of explosives blew up outside the Israeli Embassy in London injuring 20 civilians, fortunately none seriously. Thirteen hours later a bomb concealed in a Triumph Acclaim targeted London’s Balfour House, the head office for several Jewish organisations, including Joint Israel Appeal. The bomb slightly injured six people walking past.  

New embassy

The near miss with catastrophe in Bangkok prompted the decision to move the Israeli embassy to a more secure location occupying an entire floor of an office building in Sukhumvit. After a year of special construction the new embassy was opened in May 1995 and there it remains. The residence of the ambassador was also moved. 98

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Hossein Shahriarifar

Bomb experts determined that the tubes contained C-4 plastic explosive, with two detonators linked to each tube. The granular substance was ammonium nitrate mixed with diesel. Combined with C-4 explosives, this was the makings of a huge explosion. If the policeman who drove the truck from the scene of the accident to the police station or anyone else had flipped switches beneath the seat in the week the truck was parked outside the station it would have caused enormous destruction.   After all the explosives were carefully removed, the water tank contained one further shock for police examiners: the mangled and decomposing body of Thai national Chom Thila, an employee of Ms Linchi. Both his arms were broken and he was reportedly strangled with a rope. Ms Linchi told police she had agreed to rent the truck to a man who hadn’t produced the required identification as long as Chom was the driver. He paid for her routine business decision with his life.   Ms Linchi said that on March 8 two foreigners of Middle-Eastern appearance signed a contract to rent the truck for three days for the purpose


of transporting sofas from Bangkok’s Sukhapiban area to Chiang Mai. The price specified was 12,000 baht.

Good fortune in Land of Smiles

Following the discovery of the bomb materials and the dead man, the story surrounding the minor traffic accident quickly developed into front-page news. Bangkokians thanked their lucky stars and Boonserm became an instant hero. The case also got a lot of attention from top officials including Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai, Army Chief General Wimol Wongwanich, Interior Minister General Chavalit Yongchayoot and National Police Chief General Pratin Santiprapob.   He immediately ordered increased security at embassies, including these of the Israel and the United States, international schools and other locations where foreigners congregate such as a synagogue. The General also asked the media to refrain from naming certain Middle-Eastern countries as sponsoring the planned attack because it could damage relations between Thailand and friendly countries.   Because the accident took place near the Israeli embassy, which was then located on one-way Lang Suan Road, many officials and media sources speculated this was the target, but some analysts said it could just as easily have been the US embassy only a few hundred metres away. Moreover, the blasts in Buenos Aires and London which targeted Israeli interests in July of that year gave sway to the theory that the Israeli embassy was the target.    Explosives experts said the bomb would have completely destroyed the Israeli embassy compound, which was described as a “fortress”, and caused extensive damage to all buildings within a two-kilometre radius of the compound and a tremendous loss of life.

One foreign security officer noted that if the Israeli embassy was the target, nearby Mater Dei School would have been a scene of horrible carnage, as would several residential buildings in the area and the always busy Central Chidlom shopping complex.    The technical report from the Royal Thai Police stated: “The perpetrator of the crime made the bomb himself using uric acid fertiliser combined with diesel to heighten the strength of the explosion. The bomb was placed in a 1,600-litre water tank and was combined with 14 detonators and 8.17 pounds of C-4 plastic explosive, to propagate the explosion. The 14 detonators were connected to a detonation circuit that integrated a 12 volt/60 amp battery. Two switches served as current controllers for connecting and disconnecting the circuit. In order for the explosive device to be detonated, the switches would have had to have been in the connected position. Passage of a current through the circuit would have exploded the device.”   Immediately after the truck’s contents became known Thai police, military and intelligence services began a massive hunt for the would-be perpetrators. They were reportedly joined by Israeli and American anti-terrorists specialists.   Investigators established that on August 19, 1993, two foreigners inquired about renting a house at No. 7/176 in the Sinthani Avenue housing project on Sukhaphiban 1 Road in Bangkok’s Bungkum district. On the following day they signed a contract and the rent was fixed at 15,000 baht per month for a period of one year. A 32,000 baht deposit was paid on the day the contract was signed.   t approximately 10am on March 8, 1994, four employees of Ekachat water tank distributors delivered two tanks to the house. A police report says a search of the house yielded 52 objects of interest,

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Following the discovery of the bomb materials and the dead man, the story surrounding the minor traffic accident quickly developed into front-page news

including a large water tank identical to the one found in the truck. Other evidence included a pair of black rubber gloves, 28 bags of fertiliser, an electric soldering device and a piece of tarp the same colour and texture as the tarp that covered the back of the truck and that Chom’s body was wrapped in.

Catch and release

Following an extensive investigation, on May 26, 1994 the Thai police issued arrest warrants for Hossein Shahriarifar (age 25, alias Housein Dastgiri), and Mohammadi Lotfollah, both believed to be Iranian nationals, in connection with the case.   On June 2, police arrested Shahriarifar, along with Babak Taheri and Basr Kazemi in the southern Thai town of Hat Yai on suspicion of making the truck bomb. Taheri and Kazemi were released on August 16 because of a lack of evidence against them. Lotfollah apparently fled the country.   On Aug 18, 1996 Shahriarifar pleaded not guilty in South Bangkok Criminal Court to charges including murder, possession of explosives and complicity in an attempt to blow up the Israeli embassy in Bangkok. He was convicted and subsequently sentenced to death, but the Supreme Court overturned the verdict because testimonies from eyewitnesses failed to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that he was the driver of the truck carrying the bomb.   During the trial Attorney General Opas Arunin presented witnesses who claimed they saw Dastgiri [Shahriarifar] and driver Chom together purchase the water tank that was used to conceal the bomb. Six witnesses reportedly picked Dastgiri out of a lineup. Nevertheless, Shahriarifar was released from the prison on February 19, 1998, leaving many to ask whether justice had been served.   In the end it was probably Boonserm’s efforts to obtain justice for himself from the truck’s driver that spared Bangkok from tragedy. In the Bangkok Post interview Boonserm also said he was still angry that the shiny motorcycle he had bought just two months before and was making 2,800 baht monthly installments on was severely damaged, but he was happy that the accident prevented the terrorists from carrying out their plan. “I am glad I was able to help save many lives. I believe the spirit of the dead driver also helped,” Boonserm said.

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Diplomat: His Excellency Joaquim Amara

Ambassador hopes to set Timor-Leste on a Thai-style trajectory Words MAXMILIAN WECHSLER

“I would like to convey my greetings, long life and best wishes to His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, King Rama X who ascended to the throne.”

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MBASSADOR Joaquim Amaral has been working hard to represent and promote the Democratic Republic of TimorLeste in Thailand since his arrival here in January 2016. This is his first ambassadorial post and first overseas appointment. Except for an overnight stay at a hotel near Don Muang airport on the way to Vietnam in 2003, the ambassador’s first experience of Thailand was when he arrived early last year to take his post. He remarked that there are some big differences between the fledgling democracy he represents and the “wonderful and highly developed country” he sees from the window of his embassy office on the 7th floor of Thanapoom Tower on New Petchburi Road. Ambassador Amaral praised the excellent infrastructure, communications and standard of living here and expressed hopes that his country can follow Thailand’s lead in development and tourism as well as in implementing the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy envisioned by His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. He is well aware that good relations with Thailand are important since Timor-Leste is a small island nation and is soon expected to become the 11th member of ASEAN. Timor-Leste applied for membership in ASEAN in 2011 and is now just waiting for approval from the leaders of all 10th ASEAN members.   “Every ASEAN member has already expressed support for our inclusion into the grouping, so it is only a matter of time before it happens,” said the ambassador. “We are already invited to all ASEAN meetings, with the status of observer.”   102

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Background

Ambassador Amaral presented his credentials on August 18, 2016 to His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who at that time was the Crown Prince. “I am the second ambassador of Timor-Leste to the Kingdom of Thailand,” said Mr Amaral. “During our struggle to restore independence during, I was an activist in the clandestine resistance movement. I wasn’t fighting in the jungles. Our group worked with students and collected information from the guerrilla fighters to transfer it to diplomats or the media. “My last position before becoming ambassador here was a policy adviser on infrastructure to the Minister of State and Coordinator for Economic Affairs and Minister of Agriculture. Our embassy here is quite small. There are only nine staff members, five are diplomats from Timor-Leste and the rest are local staff,” said Mr Amaral. His official car is not a Mercedes-Benz or BMW like most other ambassadors, but a 2008 Toyota Camry. “I am very happy with this car. It’s comfortable, spare parts are readily available,” Mr Amaral said. Asked about his daily routine, Mr Amaral said: “I wake up early morning and have my breakfast and then go to the office. I usually meet with my staff, including with my secretary, to discuss the agenda for the day. Then normally there are other meetings to attend, at the embassy or outside, and in the evenings I often attend a reception, dinner or other social event with other members of the Bangkok diplomatic corps. I enjoy interacting with the diplomatic community in Thailand very much; everyone is very nice and friendly to me. We meet often for various functions and also visit different places in Thailand.”  


HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn gives audience at a workshop on children and youth development in September, 2016

Photos courtesy of the Timor-Leste embassy

Transitioning to statehood

“Timor-Leste restored its independence after a long and difficult struggle lasting almost 25 years, on May 20, 2002. As a new nation born in the 21st century, Timor-Leste has supported international communities from the outset. In the first year after the restoration of independence, we set out to rebuild our country from the ashes of the violence of the past, lay the foundations of a functioning democratic state, heal the wounds and reconcile our divided communities; and normalise relations with past external foes. Today the country is stable and enjoys peace,” said Mr Amaral. “Timor-Leste has adopted a semi-presidential system of government. The president, H.E. Mr Taur Matan Ruak is the head of state and the prime minister, H.E. Dr Rui Maria de Araujo, heads the government. The president is elected directly by the people and members of Parliament are chosen in a separate election. The Parliament designated the prime minister, who comes from the majority party or alliance. We are small island country with a population of about 1.2 million people, about 200,000 of whom live in Dili, the capital. The rest mostly reside in the country’s more than 400 villages.” The ambassador said that Timor-Leste has diplomatic relations with more than 100 countries, and more than a dozen of these have ambassadors residing in Dili, including Australia, Brazil, Cuba, New Zealand, Portugal, the United States, European Unions and eight ASEAN member countries. He emphasised the role Cuba has played in helping Timor-Leste make the transition to statehood. “We have received a lot of support from Cuba. Since 2006, the Cuban government has granted scholarships to about 1,000 Timor-Leste students to study medicine at universities in Cuba. They have already returned home and are filling positions in every field in the health sector. “At present we have at least one doctor and two nurses in every village in the country. There are also about 150 Cuban doctors working in Timor-Leste. They are medical specialists who operate sophisticated medical equipment. We share the expenses with Cuba. The government only supports living allowances. “Cuba also supported the establishment of the Faculty of Medicine at the National University of East Timor. Cuba

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doesn’t supply us with medicines; we import these mostly from Indonesia or India. “The cooperation between Cuba and Timor-Leste began during a summit in Kuala Lumpur in 2003 when our former President Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão asked the late Fidel Castro for assistance in the health field. Castro quickly agreed and said: ‘You can send as many medical students to Cuba as you need.’ “In fact, the people of Timor-Leste have had a good relationship with Cuba since 1975. Activists in our struggle for independence visited Cuba many times,” Mr Amaral said. “Fidel Castro was at a meeting in Malaysia in February 2003 that also included Mr Gusmão, former President, Dr Jose Ramos Horta and former Prime Minister, Dr Mari Alkatiri. Our relationship with Cuba has consistently been characterised by a spirit of mutual respect, friendship and good will.” The government of Timor-Leste offered sincere condolences after learning of the death of Fidel Castro on November 26 last year, releasing a statement that said in part: “Timor-Leste is extremely grateful to Fidel Castro and the Cuban people for the brigade of health professionals who have provided medical assistance, the granting of 1,000 scholarships to young Timorese to study medicine in Cuba, the provision of technical assistance to eliminate illiteracy and partnerships in sport.”

Economics

M

r Amaral said natural gas and oil are TimorLeste’s most important natural resources, accounting for 80-85 percent of exports and 93-95 percent of the country’s revenue. “We import from Thailand fully assembled automobiles and spare parts, rice and sugar. To attract investment, Timor-Leste has established an agency for investment and export promotion (Trade Invest) to promote, divulge, coordinate and facilitating investment and export. So far some Thai companies have shown interest and visited Timor. Some have already submitted investment proposals to Trade Invest. My task also to promote, encourage and invite Thai people and the private sector to visit Timor-Leste.   “Timor-Leste has strong potential as a tourist attraction, with beautiful natural beaches, good sand and friendly people. But we only have hotels with three or four-stars. We need to attract investors to build hotels and basic infrastructure, organise tourist packages and link different parts of the tourist destination. In this respect Thailand is a great model for Timor-


The sceneries of Timor-Leste

T Leste to follow. Comparing Thailand and Indonesia, where I studied, both are well developed economically and both have outstanding natural resources to attract tourists. But Thailand is so far leading in the tourism sector. This is because of the very sophisticated way to manage this sector.”

Bilateral cooperation

“Thailand established diplomatic relations with Timor-Leste soon after it became independent, and our respective embassies were opened in 2008. The two countries held consultations on technical cooperation meeting at the government level on September 26-28 last year in Bangkok to review a program of cooperation for the next two years. Our countries enjoy very good relations and dynamic interaction, and this is a strategic plus for many reasons. For one, Thailand is one of the most important members of ASEAN and a very strong supporter of our membership bid. Thailand consistently supports Timor-Leste development in the areas of agriculture, health, education and capacity building of human resources.      “Like tourism, agriculture and fisheries are areas in which Timor-Leste can learn a lot from

the Thai experience, and areas where the government has made an effort to forge strong cooperation. We are keen to encourage more Thais and private sector visits to Timor-Leste with regard to investment in areas such as fisheries, tourism and natural resources.”

imor-Leste is also benefitting from its involvement in the Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA), through which it receives assistance from the Thai government. The TICA was established under the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs in October 2014 by a royal decree to administer international development assistance. It is principally responsible for the implementation of cooperative development programs in neighbouring countries, but also in other regions of the world. The TICA oversees various forms of cooperation such as development projects, volunteer and expert exchange programs, fellowships and scholarships. “Timor-Leste was introduced to the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy (SEP) of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej through TICA. One particular pilot project emphasised the establishment of a Model Village and Technology Transfer base on SEP in Hera village near Dili. The activities under the project are for example: technical and on the job training for Timor local staff, dispatching Thai experts and Thai volunteers as well as equipment and materials used on the farm. “It is a very interesting agricultural project and it has achieved great success for the farmers. Since the project completion, farmers have witnessed a significant impact in their daily lives, maximising the use of their own

Timorese women wearing traditional dress

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A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIMOR-LESTE

What is now the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, and before commonly known as East Timor, was colonised by the Portuguese in the middle of the 16th century. The Portuguese missionaries who arrived spread the Catholic faith throughout the island. Disputes between the Portuguese and Dutch ended in an 1859 treaty which gave the western part of the island to Holland and the eastern part to Portugal. During World War II, the Japanese military occupied Portuguese East Timor. Thousands of Timorese fought bravely and many died while fighting with allied forces that included Australian commandos. Following the defeat of the Japanese, Portuguese resume his administration until East Timor declared independence on November 28, 1975 and was invaded by Indonesian military forces a few days later. Indonesia then declared the island its 27th province. A struggle for independence followed for over 24 years, resulting in an estimated 200,000 deaths. On August 30, 1999, in a UN-supervised referendum, the majority of Timorese voted for independence from Indonesia. The Indonesians left Timor-Leste in late 1999, then until 2002 the country was administrated by the United Nations. The restoration of independence of Timor-Leste was announced on May 20, 2002. By unanimous decision of the General Assembly Timor-Leste became the 191st United Nations Member State on September 27, 2002.

resources while household workers have been made aware of environmentally friendly agriculture practices. This has resulted in more income from farm productivity and creates greater self-reliance. We are hopeful that the project can be developed and extended to the next phase as an alternative model village learning centre on sustainable development to other villages in Timor-Leste. I believe it can be implemented because there are many similarities in terms of season and agriculture. “Another successful agriculture project, initiated by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, deals with providing school lunches for children. The schools have their own gardens where they grow vegetables and also look after ponds where fish are raised. The project was started with two public primary schools in January 2014 during a threeday official visit by the Princess. In September 2016, under the initiative of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Foundation in Thailand, the Princess extended the project to another two public primary schools in Ermera. “A number of school teachers involved in the project and a representative from the Ministry of Education of TimorLeste were invited to Bangkok to join other teachers from the Philippines and Indonesia in a week-long workshop which is a part of the Collaborative Project on Children and Youth Development under the Patronage of Her Royal Highness. The main objective is the strengthening the capability of school teachers in implementing children and youth development activities in their schools. On this occasion, Her Royal Highness graciously granted an audience and took photographs with the delegation. “In order to facilitate the training program, and to disseminate information and share lessons learned from the successful implementation of the school lunch project, the Royal Household at Chitralada Palace worked with the Attaché of Education at the Embassy of Timor-Leste in Bangkok to produce relevant information in English as well as Thai. “The translation is considered as a manual to facilitate the training program which also includes videos, books and pamphlets. Recently Ministry of Education has spread the concept of school agriculture for lunch to every school nationwide.

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“The government has a very good relationship with the Thai Royal Family. HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn visited Timor-Leste in January 2014. It was for us a major historic event to have such a high dignitary visit our country. During her stay, she visited many schools.” Following are excerpts from a speech by Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, Mr Gusmão on January 7, 2014 at a dinner to welcome and honour the Princess: “Her Royal Highness is well known for her dedication and hard work in support of children, improved education and health care and the protection of the disadvantaged and the vulnerable. She leads by her example, and over her three days in TimorLeste she will be busy visiting schools, health clinics, farms, community cooperatives and NGOs. We are honoured that she is interested in our country and our culture.” During her visit the Princes launched the ‘Zero Hunger Challenge’ campaign in Timor-Leste. The goals of the campaign are to eliminate hunger, to make sure that every man, woman and child is provided with adequate food and to ensure that food systems are sustainable and resilient. The project is also supported by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific and the Food and Agriculture Organisation. “Another recent and important visit to my country was from Thai Minister of Education, H.E. General Dapong Ratanasuwan, in July 2016,” said the ambassador. “We are still in the process of finalizing the signing a MoU agreement on educational exchanges between two governments. I hope the matter will be finalised early in the coming year. At this time about 100 Timor-Leste students study at different universities in Thailand, including Mahidol, Assumption, and Rajamangala. Those students are receiving financial support from the Timor-Leste government.”

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n November 2016, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Timor-Leste, HE Mr Hernani Coelho visited Thailand as a representative of the president, H.E. Taur Matan Ruak to pay respect and present wreath condolences to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej at the Grand Palace. These high rank visits symbolise the close relations between the two countries. There has always been friendship and mutual cooperation with the introduction of His Majesty the King’s Philosophy of Sufficient Economy Project in Hera.”

Personal

“My wife, Mrs Josefa Alvares Pereira Soares and I met in Timor-Leste and we have no children. She is a member of the Timor-Leste Parliament, so she must live there; therefore I am alone in Bangkok,” said Mr Amaral, who speaks four languages: Tetum, English, Indonesian and Portuguese.    “For relaxation, I like to watching TV and get regular exercise but my favourite pastime is to travel around Bangkok and see its hidden corners. I also sometimes go outside Bangkok, for instance to Ayutthaya, Pattaya, Ubon Ratchathani and Rayong. Recently I went to Kanchanaburi where I visited the museum, the train, the River Kwai Bridge and the World War II cemetery. It was a very impressive and wonderful visit,” Mr Amaral said.


Hua Hin

Radisson Blu Hua Hin grand opens in style OVERLOOKING the Gulf of Thailand, Radisson Blu Resort Hua Hin set new standards for design and style when it celebrated its grand opening on November 25, 2016. Bringing new heights of class, design and signature services to Thailand’s riviera.

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The BigChilli Jan 2017  

Happy New Year! Read Thailand's best-read expat magazine. Find out what's hot in Bangkok and beyond. January 2017.

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