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May 2015

Contents 60 FEATURE

119 DIPLOMATS

COVER STORY

91 IN THE SPOTLIGHT

38 After spending last

Tony Jah goes international

month seeking out Bangkok’s best burgers, here we present the people and places who blew our minds with their gourmet renditions of an All-American classic! When it comes to great burgers, these guys don’t clown around... 08 INSIGHT News, gossip, business, and more 14 CHINATOWN IN FOCUS Dean Barrett immerses himself in Chinatown and discovers a wealth of fascinating traditions and characters 23 GOURMET A round up of the best restaurant deals and gourmet news in Bangkok 60 FEATURE Bangkok’s amazing 26 billion baht ‘Village’ on Soi Langsuan

WRITE

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101 SOCIAL

Last month’s best events in pictures

67 EXPAT WOMEN Shopping, advice, health tips; and news from Bangkok’s best schools

14 CHINATOWN IN FOCUS

85 WHAT’S ON Exhibitions, performances, sport, and more great things to do this month 98 FEATURE Curtains up on Bangkok’s infamous ‘Love Motels’ 119 DIPLOMATS The Cambodian Ambassador talks about her country’s ancient friendship with Thailand

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GET THE DINNER YOU DESERVE From the rooop at Centara Watergate Pavillion Hotel, glittering views of Bangkok will be spread before you as you settle into one of Bangkok’s most alluring nightlife destinations. You and friends can sit, sip and sample delicacies from the imaginative cocktail list and equally temping pan-Asian menu. Let the stars continue on their courses as you enjoy yours, complemented by some good old-fashioned service and an atmosphere of nighttime glamour.

567 Ratchaprarop Road, Makkasan, Ratchathewi, Bangkok 10400 Thailand www.centarahotelsresorts.com/cwb E : cwb@chr.co.th T : +66 (0) 2 625 1234


Sukhumvit checkpoints WHAT does it say about a society when its traffic police set up checkpoint day and night on the city’s main road? This happens on Sukhumvit, now being carefully groomed to become Bangkok’s equivalent of Orchard Road in Singapore, an upmarket shopping and entertainment zone for locals and overseas visitors. The sight of a dozen or so police officers routinely manning major thoroughfares in London, Paris, New York, Tokyo, Sydney and Singapore is unimaginable, so why here?

Mandarin on the BTS WITH the huge influx of Chinese tourists very apparent on Bangkok’s Skytrain nowadays, it’s surely only a matter of time before the operators of the system add Mandarin to the platform and train announcements. Currently, they are in Thai and English which few Chinese understand. Chinese signs already proliferate in certain popular tourist destinations in Thailand, so it makes sense to address Thailand’s largest tourist group in their own language. Looking ahead, will Mandarin eventually eclipse English as the kingdom’s second language?

Red shirt riddle ONE of this magazine’s regular readers recently came up with this riddle: How democratically elected were the leaders of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), the Thai political group better known as the Red Shirts? Answers please.

Dreams and multi-level marketing THERE’S no doubt about it, Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) companies have made serious inroads here in Thailand. Promising financial independence and healthy profits, they target middle class Thais and expat wives to sell (mostly to family members, friends and work colleagues) a variety of health or beauty products not normally available in ordinary shops and supermarkets. To generate interest in joining these schemes,

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MLM operators stage glitzy rallies reminiscent of evangelical gatherings, with smart speakers extolling the virtues of membership and the vast monetary benefits just waiting round the corner. As proof of their success and wealth, these speakers park their monstrously expensive imported cars in strategic positions for all to see and gasp at. It’s a seductive performance and many people sign up on the spot, certain that it won’t be long before they too will be rolling in money. That’s the dream, of course, but rarely the reality. MLM is perfectly legal, and not a Ponzi scheme, which is illegal, and it’s true that a few participants do reap enormous rewards. But as many others have discovered, the path to those riches is littered with failure, and many friendships gone wrong.

Yellow traffic perils YELLOW box junctions are an extremely good way of preventing traffic snarl-ups at major intersections, and yet Bangkok boasts very few of these control measures. Surprisingly, in a city not known for its road discipline, most Bangkok drivers seem to understand their function and actually respect them. That’s why they’re desperately needed in notoriously congested areas like Klong Toey, where huge trucks often block junctions without a thought for other vehicles. Coupled with a spate of hefty fines (which the police are particularly adept at handing out), the sight of yellow boxes would soon deter selfish drivers and improve traffic flow.

Faster traffic lights One of the most enduring mysteries in Bangkok is why the police insist on keeping traffic lights red or green for such long periods. It’s not efficient and it certainly doesn’t improve traffic flow. When scores of motorists set off at speed on a green light change, the space between each vehicle usually increases to a point that’s equal to three cars or trucks. If the light changes were more frequent (i.e. shorter periods), almost as many vehicles would pass the junction without the need for speeding.


PUBLISHER Colin Hastings editorbigchilli@gmail.com MANAGING EDITOR Adam Purcell adambigchilli@gmail.com EDITOR Nina Hastings ninabigchilli@gmail.com ASSISTANT EDITOR Chutinanta Boonyamarn nanbigchilli@gmail.com SALES & MARKETING MANAGER Rojjana Rungrattwatchai sendtorose@gmail.com ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Thana Pongsaskulchoti thanabigchilli@gmail.com Sakuna Nupinrum nokbigchilli@gmail.com ACCOUNTING MANAGER Saranya Choeyjanya fatcatbigchilli@gmail.com ACCOUNTING ASSISTANT Janjira Silapapairson janbigchilli@gmail.com ART & PRODUCTION Arthawit Pundrikapa, Jaran Lakkanawat Nicole Gentle PHOTOGRAPHY Mini Bike Gang, WJ CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Anette Pollner, Johanna DeKoning, Judith Coulson, Maxmilian Wechsler, Paul Hewitt, Anade Chaovanapricha Veerawan Thieanwattananon

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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 Tel: 02 233 1774-6, 02 266 7141 Fax: 02 235 0174 e-mail: thebigchillimagazine@gmail.com

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Expat

News Cambodia sorts out its workers’ visa woes

■ THAI authorities are allowing neighbouring Cambodia to send teams into the country to issue passports and working visas to its nationals who entered Thailand via informal border posts without proper documentation. “So many Cambodians came here without a passport. That’s the reason why we have to send teams here to provide the proper travel documents,” explained Mrs Eat Sophea, Cambodia’s Ambassador to Thailand. “Thankfully, the Thai authorities have agreed to this strategy because they want Cambodian workers to live and work here legally.”

After obtaining a passport and Overseas Cambodian Workers Card, the workers will be assisted with obtaining visas and work permits. “Legally, every Cambodian needs a passport to travel outside the country, but many entered Thailand through informal border passes because we have a long, forest-covered border,” the Ambassador told the BigChilli (full interview on page 119). About one million Cambodians are

inside Thailand on any given day. Of these, some 700,000 are undocumented workers and their dependents, around 20,000 are residing here legally in Thailand and the rest cross the border for a short time before going back. Meanwhile, the ambassador revealed that the provisions of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) regarding workforce movement and employment across borders do not mean Cambodian workers can just come to Thailand and work without restrictions. “There need to be formal agreements between ASEAN countries on which economic sectors foreign workers are allowed to enter, mutual recognition of professional services. This applies to Thai workers in other ASEAN countries as well. To be beneficial for the countries involved, there have to be agreements such as which areas of expertise should be open to free movement of workers.”

When your smart phone OBITUARY: Chatrachai Bunya-Ananta gets wet, don’t panic Thai Inter’s powerhouse ■ IT’S the moment all smartphone owners dread – when your very expensive little friend is accidentally dropped into water. A swimming pool, bath, shower or, perish the thought, a toilet. It might have also got soaked in a heavy rain storm. Whatever the reason, there’s a good chance it won’t work ever again. And you’re left to think of all that money you’ve spent on it. Now, thanks to a British invention called ‘Reviveaphone,’ all is not lost. It’s a small repair kit that has a 95% chance of reviving your water-damaged phone. All you have to do is place your phone and battery inside the Reviveaphone pouch filled with a special solution for just seven minutes. Then simply remove the phone from the solution and place in to the supplied tray, and leave it there for 24 hours. After that it will be fully restored. The solution is reusable though less effective after each use, and is equally effective if the phone is dropped in salt water, orange juice and beer. The kit, which costs B950, works by removing the corrosive minerals that cause the real damage to a water-logged phone. There’s even a money-back guarantee. Contact: admin@reviveaphone.in.th Tel. 081 841 3010

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■ ONE of Thai Airways International’s most popular and influential executives, Chatrachai Bunya-Ananta, passed away in Bangkok last month, aged 82. Khun Chai, as he was popularly known, was vice president for marketing at THAI for 14 years from 1972. Throughout that period, he was key to making the national flag-carrier one of the world’s most admired airlines, with service standards that surpassed all rivals. By the time of his retirement in 1992, THAI was among seven Asia-Pacific carriers in the top 10 most profitable airlines in the world. He became the airline’s executive vice president in 1986, and prior to retirement in 1992 was its first non-air force president. Anyone who has flown Thai International will be familiar with Chatrachai-era touches: “Smooth as Silk”; the unforgettable logo; purple orchids; traditional Thai uniforms on departure, and modern attire on arrival. He also made sure Thai International engaged in national tourism promotions in partnership with the Tourism Authority of Thailand and other industry bodies. Many miss the enthusiastic national team spirit he personified.   Chatrachai was educated in the UK in the 1950s, attending Cardiff University where, as an outstanding badminton, squash and tennis player, he was named sportsman of the year. He retained great affection for the UK, where he met his wife Shirley Weekes. Chatrachai is survived by his wife; daughter Tania and her daughter Alexia Traill; daughter Anna, son-in-law Tom Whitcraft, and their son Nicholas Chatrachai Whitcraft. – DF


Expat

News Concerts in May at Prince Mahidol Hall Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra’s (TPO) music program in May features the following concerts at its wonderful new venue in Nakhon Pathom “And the Fallen Petals” by Chou Wen-Chung “Respiration of the Earth” Concerto for Suona and Orchestra by Narong Prangcharoen “Symphony Humen 1839” by Chen Yi & Zhou Long

The Paganini of the Oboe Christoph Hartmann, oboist of the Berliner Philharmoniker, returns to Bangkok by popular demand. Under the baton of Chief Conductor, Gudni A. Emilsson. The program features music written by famous Italian composers. Concerts: 8 May 2015 / 7pm. (Pre-Concert Talk  6.15pm) / Prince Mahidol Hall 9 May 2015 / 4pm. (Pre-Concert Talk  3.15pm) / Prince Mahidol Hall Conductor: Gudni  A. Emilsson Soloist: Christoph Hartmann, Oboe Program:  Thai Traditional Music Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata, Preludio al 1° atto Antonio Pasculli: Simpatici ricordi della “Traviata” Giuseppe Verdi: La forza del destino, Sinfonia (Ouverture) Antonio Pasculli: Gran concerto sopra

Scheherazde motive dell’opera “I vespri siciliani” Ottorino Respighi: Feste Romane

The Exotic East

Aerican conductor Delta David Gier and TPO join to present music by contemporary Asian composers Chou Wen-Chung, Narong Prangcharoen, Chen Yi, and Pulitzer prize winner Zhou Long. Concerts:    15 May 2015 / 7pm. (Pre-Concert Talk  6.15pm.)  / Prince Mahidol Hall 16 May 2015 / 4pm. (Pre-Concert Talk  3.15pm.) / Prince Mahidol Hall Conductor:  Delta David Gier Soloist:  Shi Hai-bin (Suona Soloist) Program:  Thai Traditional Music

Drunken Leprechaun

■ THAILAND’s expat pub scene welcomes an Irish newcomer this month in the form of the Drunken Leprechaun, whose first branch should be open, by the time you read this, in Patong Beach, Phuket. Bangkok will welcome a branch in July, when the pub takes over BeerVault at Four Points by Sheraton Bangkok, Sukhumvit 15. The third Drunken Leprechaun in the pipeline will be launched in Samui in November. Offering a wide range of Irish food and beers along with a fun and laidback atmosphere, The Drunken Leprechaun Bangkok comes with the promise of great deals and uniquely designed décor. Keep up to date with the pub’s news at www.facebook.com/DrunkenLeprechaunBKK.

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TPO welcomes Canadian trumpet soloist Jens Lindemann back to Bangkok. Lindemann performed on the first ever TPO concert in 2005, and returns to present a concerto by Allan Gilliland written to showcase his dazzling virtuosity.  Concerts:  22 May 2015 / 7pm. (Pre-Concert Talk  6.15pm.) / Prince Mahidol Hall 23 May 2015 / 4pm. (Pre-Concert Talk  3.15pm.) / Prince Mahidol Hall Conductor: Claude Villaret Soloist: Jens Lindemann, Trumpet Program:  Thomas Hyuk Cha: Dancing (World Premiere) Allan Gilliland: Dreaming of the Masters for Trumpet and Orchestra Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade, Op. 35 mahidol.ac.th/princemahidolhall

Financial advisers facing Hong Kong wrath ■ BLOGGERS in Hong Kong are giving Thailand’s financial advisers a hard time, at least those that operate here illegally. Supported by input from Bangkok ‘victims’ of financial scams, the bloggers have been highlighting the activities of companies that continue to operate even though they have been placed on the Securities & Exchange Commission Thailand’s ‘investor alert list’ for allegedly selling dodgy, high commission insurance policies and investment funds. One of the bloggers (www.therapeofhongkong.com) has even displayed photos of a meeting staged by one of these advisers groups, and revealed that one of its employees had faked his qualifications. Another Hong Kong blogger has meanwhile disclosed that former Chiang Mai-based financial adviser Alan Hall, who left Thailand suddenly in 2013 following the collapse of the LM group in Australia, is back in business in the UK. His website (www.ukexpatspensions.com) is operational though it is claimed that his company of the same name has been dissolved.


Expat

News

‘My Dad loved the sun. But it killed him’

■ IN 2007, Philip Collins, a Briton who loved the outdoor life in Thailand and maintained an incredible level of fitness for a 70-year-old, was disagnosed with skin cancer. Two years later, after a slow but agonising demise, he finally succumbed to the disease. His devastated son Robert, a 20-year veteran of this country’s property industry, is in no doubt what caused his dad’s cancer and hopes his experiences detailed here will serve as a warning to others who do not take seriously the myriad warning signs about the sun’s harmful effects. “Dad was a keen sportsman all his life in England, a keen competition runner and rock climber who’d take part in triathlons involving long runs, swimming and cycling well into his sixties. When he came out to Thailand to visit me and my family, he was immediately taken by the idea that the weather here would allow him to do all the things he loved so much but were not so enjoyable during the cold winter months back home. “So in 2000, he started coming to Bangkok for about six months every year, staying with me, my wife and daughter. “In Thailand’s tropical weather Dad’s enthusiasm for sport was greater than ever. He’d ride a bike for hours during the day and then go swimming. “Most of the time, very unwisely, he cycled without a shirt – he wanted to build

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up a tan that he mistakenly thought would protect him. “Sometimes I’d join him on these cycle rides, but because of my fairer skin, I smothered myself in sunblock. Dad never used it, despite my frequent warnings about the sun’s rays. “This continued on a regular basis over the next few years. “Then one day he noticed a large mole had appeared almost overnight on his chest near the collar bone. Although

Serial Killer

SKIN cancer, the world’s most common cancer, is truly an epidemic. There are more new cases annually than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung, and colon. While skin cancer, particularly nonmelanoma skin cancer, is usually very treatable when caught early, it should not be taken lightly. Skin cancers have a high rate of recurrence, and anyone who has had one runs an increased risk of developing another skin cancer, including melanoma. Additionally, people who have had nonmelanoma skin cancer have twice the risk of developing other malignancies, such as lung, colon, and breast cancers. Melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer, may metastasize (spread) to distant tissues or organs, and can be life-threatening, if not detected and treated quickly – the Skin Cancer Foundation.

he went to see a doctor, he didn’t have it removed as he was about to return to the UK for a short visit. He knew of the dangers of too much exposure to the sun and had already had other smaller moles successfully removed, so thought that a small delay on this occasion was ok. “By the time he got back to Thailand, the mole had changed in appearance. It was bigger and had a different colour and its shape had changed. A subsequent hospital biopsy showed it was melanoma, skin cancer, and because of its position on Dad’s body, was in danger of getting into his lymphatic system. “Later tests showed that the cancer had indeed reached his deep into his body, with dire consequences. It was left to me to tell my Dad, someone who’d always been as fit as a fiddle, what he now faced. “True to his character, Dad fought very hard against the cancer, continuing to exercise for the next year or so, to keep his muscles healthy. Being so fit meant he lasted longer and delayed the inevitable. “Eventually, the cancer entered his neck and caused a cancerous lump on his brain which in turn affected the movements of his entire body. He underwent a number of operations to remove the cancer, which quickly returned. He was bed-ridden and in terrible pain for three or four months. It was a terrible experience for him, and for all of us to see him suffer. “The hospital and care fees cost him more than five million baht. The sun cost him his life.” These days, Rob is still a regular cyclist, but not only covers himself completely in sunblock, but also wears special protective clothing. Having lost his father to this dreadful disease, he knows better than most about the sun’s power, and expresses no surprise that more and more people – especially fair-skinned Caucasians – are falling victim to skin cancer. “Because of cheaper travel, people from cold climates are spending more time in countries where the sun is much hotter; they’re not educated in the dangers they face, and spend hours sunbathing. “I am truly shocked when I see tourists, including tiny children, without sunblock or protective clothing, playing on Thailand’s beaches. They’re just asking for trouble.”


J O I N O U R G L O B A L L O YA L T Y P RO G R A M AT ACCO R H OT E L S . CO M


Feature

CHINATOWN: FOUR DAYS, FOUR NIGHTS Bangkok boasts one of the world’s most interesting Chinatowns, a huge and vibrant area intriguingly different from the rest of the city. Dean Barrett recently immersed himself in its never-ending alleys and discovered a wealth of fascinating traditions and characters, temples and shrines, and reminders of China of old

I

IT might seem strange that someone who lives in Bangkok would check into a hotel in Bangkok’s Chinatown but although I had been to Chinatown several times over several decades, I had never actually stayed there. As the city’s Chinatown is one of the world’s greatest I decided the only way to really explore the place is to stay in the area, especially since it was Chinese New Year. And so, finding that most hotels were already booked, I checked into the Riverview Hotel beside a Chinese temple and just a stone’s throw from the Chao Phraya River.   It was a bit basic – if you’re the type who needs a chocolate mint on his pillow do not check in here – but the hotel turned out to be the perfect choice: It was in the midst of narrow lanes with traditional temples and living quarters along the river and yet it was a mere 15-minute walk to always vibrant Yaowarat Road, the area which would be packed with tourists and booths selling everything from New Year good luck charms and Chinese couplets in gold on red paper strips to delicious Thai and Chinese delicacies.

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The view from the hotel’s eighth and ninth floor restaurant was wonderful, especially when paying a mere thousand baht (US$33) a night.  Even bikes could be rented for four hours for free.  But as I was interested in photographing I knew I would be spending my time walking and chatting with locals.    On the first full day there, tourists were all excited about the “khabuan” or parade expected to begin at about four in the afternoon. I have covered parades many times and knew enough to know that the place for a photographer would be at the assembly point where people would be in costume and I could possibly get some interesting preparation shots, rather than the usual clichéd parade shots.    I asked several people and of course this being Thailand got several different directions, even from officials, but finally I figured out that the street cleaning ladies on the corner would know because they have to clean up the mess. And so after chatting with them I headed off to find the assembly point. To make a long story short, after nearly three hours of searching, I never found it.


Finally, with still an hour to go before the parade would start I did find a massage parlor and had a much-needed foot massage. By four o’clock I sat on a box on the curb awaiting the arrival of the parade and suddenly police and military were lining the street and I was politely asked to stand. Why anyone would need to stand for a parade I didn’t know but I have lived in Thailand long enough never to question Thai logic. Asylums are full of foreigners who attempted to understand Thai reasoning and to ask why.   Nine cars sped down the street and the police and military dispersed. I asked a nearby official about when the parade was coming and his reply was, “It just came; didn’t you see the cars?” And then it hit me: The much beloved royal princess was in Chinatown for a ceremony at the nearby Odeon Circle and traditional-style Chinese gate (the gate’s position determined by feng-shui) and this is why the Thais had lined the streets. And thus began the spectacle of bewildered foreign tourists asking one another what happened to the parade. And that is why I could not find the assembly point: there wasn’t one.

But now there was a problem: Because on all the streets leading up to the ceremony on the Circle no one was allowed to cross. Which meant I had to maneuver way around the area and then back to Yaowarat Road to seek the shelter at the street-level bar of the very chic and stylish Shanghai Mansion Hotel which, thanks to whatever gods may be, had excellent frozen Daiquiris.    A few years before, I had chatted with what may be the last of Chinatown’s letter-writers, an old man who writes letters in Chinese for those elderly who cannot write or read. I set out in search of him by asking elderly people whom I thought might know, such as the calligraphy expert and women who pluck facial hair using the traditional Chinese method of cotton strings. It was the women who knew where he sets up his outdoor stand but, alas, he would not be there until a day after I left. 

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Feature

Travel Notes AS far as hotels go, the middle-class Chinatown Hotel on Yaowarat and the more upper-class Shanghai Mansion Hotel opposite are perfectly located in the middle of Chinatown and there are other hotels along the street. There are also some very clean hostels, perfectly located, such as the Old Town and the Loftel. Both are very cheap, both have cafes, but although they offer private rooms even those have to share a bathroom. (The latter offers various room types including a “female-mixed dormitory.� Remember what I said about not getting involved in Thai logic). Also, although another station on the MRT subway line is being dug, as of this writing the closest station is the end of the line at the Hualampong Railway Station. From there there are taxis, tuk tuks (samlors) and motorcycles, or if it is not the hot season and you are not burdened with luggage, you can walk. Although work for the new station is digging up an old district of Chinatown, fortunately, the area is large enough and old enough to keep its character and unique identity.

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W

What is amazing among the less fortunate in the area is how they live. Some of the wooden doorways were beautiful and almost hidden by trees. Some lived in dark rooms off dark lanes and alleys. Some of the rooms I could see into seemed almost part kitchen and part temple shrine. Some had pictures on the wall which spoke of long-ago manners of dress and the Republican era of China.    There is sometimes an aesthetic beauty in poverty, as I found in Chinatown, but I imagine those living in squalor are too concerned about making a living than to consider the possible visual beauty of their living quarters. And yet every person I spoke with (usually in Thai, occasionally in English or Mandarin) was friendly and happy to chat. On occasion, after photographing someone obviously in need, I politely asked if I could pay for the “service” and while I could, no one ever asked me for money.   The only time I received a gruff response was at the stalls selling miniature paper versions of items to be burned for the dead, items relatives and friends would be sure to want in their afterlife. There were of course stacks of Bank of Hell banknotes with the king of Hades on them, paper houses, paper cell phones, paper cigarettes, paper watches, paper dentures, paper jewelry, paper computers, paper cars, paper games, paper everything; but no books!    I explained to the shopkeepers that I am a writer and was wondering why the dead would not want to read books?! Apparently, they had no answer to that and suddenly found themselves otherwise engaged. Perhaps I shall donate some of my titles to the shops for burning for the deceased. After all, what recently deceased in the spirit world would not want to read The Go Go Dancer who Stole my Viagra & other Poetic Tragedies of Thailand?     After a few days and nights of truly immersing myself in Chinatown, it occasionally seemed that I had entered another place, an indefinable locale, almost another dimension, especially as I had booked for a later trip to Beijing just before moving into the hotel. At one point, I noticed my bank, and thought, oh, they have a branch of Bank of Ayudhya here as well. A second later I thought: of course they do, dummy, you’re still in Thailand, remember?

Once a tourist has seen the more obvious tourist attractions such as the famous Thai and Chinese temples and well known shopping streets, the real fun lies in exploring the off-the-beaten lanes, not only those along the riverfront, but also those stretching and winding their way between the major thoroughfares of Yaowarat and Charoen Krung (New Road). Start down one lane which seems sure to end in a dead end and suddenly you find it abruptly turns off and heads in another direction and eventually you emerge back out onto a major street. The true vibrancy and life of the locals is seen in these lanes with their small shrines, tiny restaurants and stalls, wall paintings, lanterns and often beautifully and traditionally decorated doorways.   Some of the characters I met I will not soon forget: the 80-yearold man burning piles of used or abandoned joss-sticks at a temple, the tattooed man living in a shack by the river, the calligrapher and his brilliant calligraphy, and the women using their cotton string women to remove facial hair. And, of course, the children; adorable and all dressed up in lucky red costumes for the lunar new year. And the Pakistani Christian refugee and his three children I met one night outside the beautiful Kalawar church brandishing his UN documents and worried about feeding his children.   Chinatown is best just before and during festivals and celebrations but is fascinating anytime. Just remember not to be afraid to enter into dark lanes and chat with people living in them.

TheBigChilli

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Personal

Finance

Swimming with dolphins or drowning with sharks: Who is looking after your investments?

■ FOLLOWING on from last month’s news item on the LM debacle where people have lost their lifetime savings due to bad investment advice, this article focuses on South East Asia Capital, whose principles of only using a panel of Regulated, Qualified Preferred Investment Partners are producing the right results for their clients and also giving them peace of mind.    

Who are South East Asia Capital Limited?

The three founding Directors formed the company in 2013, after being disenchanted with the Expatriate Financial Services industry in Thailand in general. All three Directors were qualified professionals in the UK Financial Services industry before arriving in Thailand, with over 80 years of combined industry

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experience, something that sets them apart from most of their peers.

What makes South East Asia Capital different from other companies advising expatriates locally?

We have based our business model on the UK Retail Distribution Review (RDR) that was introduced in 2013. This model is client focused, whereas nearly every other Advisory Firm here is commission focused, putting their profits before the clients. To explain further, none of our Preferred Investment Partners funds we use have initial fees or exit penalties, making us fairly unique. We also disclose all fees and charges to our clients, standard practice in the UK, however rarely done here.   Like the UK, our Preferred Investment

Partners pay us a small ongoing fee from their funds under management, taken out of their annual management charge. Of course, if they fail to grow the client’s investments the client can elect to switch out at any time without charge. Therefore South East Asia Capital can only grow as a company if our clients are happy with the performance of their investments. This creates a long term commitment to the client to ensure their savings and investments grow.    

Why use Qualified, Regulated Discretionar y Fund Managers? We all know your most important asset is your health, which is why if you are sick you go to a regulated, qualified doctor, not a witchdoctor.   After your health, the rest of your life and of those dependent on you, is


What every Investor needs to know – The Difference between “Mark to Market” and “Mark to Model” Investments. ALL underlying funds and assets that South East Asia Capital’s Preferred Investment Partners use are vetted by the relevant regulators and priced daily on recognized global indexes. This is what is known as “Mark to Market” because the assets our clients hold may be sold at any time for the quoted market price. South East Asia Capital does not guarantee investment returns as that is impossible. However, we do guarantee experience with integrity, providing our clients with low cost, highly regulated, liquid, transparent investments that suit their individual risk profile. By contrast, nearly all the funds that have collapsed taking the clients’ money with them are “Mark to Model” funds. This is where the fund has invested in property or some form of investment that has not been traded, and will only sell at some future date. Clearly in the uncertain world we live in, that future value cannot be guaranteed. However, the fund manager may apply a future value based on a business “Model”, which is often optimistic. Of course, by using this “Model” the fund can then boast of high returns, often falsely guaranteeing them. They then offer unregulated, unqualified financial advisers a high commission to promote these funds. Furthermore, these funds are often regulated in small jurisdictions that do not meet South East Asia Capital’s standards of due diligence. Often these small jurisdictions will allow the fund manager to be very optimistic with his business model, promising very high returns to lure in the vulnerable investor. In our experience, people only find out about exit penalties on these types of funds when they try and switch their investment due to its poor performance, inevitably stunted by all the upfront and ongoing commissions taken from the investment. Too often these charges are not made clear to the unfortunate investor at point of sale. controlled by your wealth. However, many people still entrust the crucial role of managing their money to people who are not regulated or qualified, financial witchdoctors who gamble with the hapless investor’s assets while charging high commissions.   We recommend you visit www.seac. asia and click on the bar at the bottom of the home page “Key Questions to ask any Financial Adviser,” all self-explanatory.  

Who are your “Preferred Investment Partners”?

We currently have a panel of three Discretionary Fund Managers who look after our clients investments:   • http://apollomultiasset.com/ Apollo Multi Asset Management (MAM), UK regulated, Financial Conduct Authority Number 487458.   • http://www.newportpw.com/ Newport Private Wealth (NPW) Australian regulated, Australian Financial Services License Number 451820.   • http://www.skfm.com/ Siam Knight Fund Management (SKFM), Thai regulated, Ministry of Finance License Number 0007/2003.  

What is Discretionar y Fund Management?

Quite simply, you tell the manager what your risk profile is, the currency you wish to invest in and whether you want income, growth or both, and then leave all the underlying investment decisions to the professionals, literally to their discretion.   The use of Discretionary Fund Managers is fast becoming the industry standard for the UK financial services industry, with over 680 billion GBP to date now invested this way, a majority of the UK investment industry, and growing steadily.   This is largely due to the UK RDR implemented in January 2013, requiring higher qualifications from the individuals giving investment advice and thus raising the standard of advice given. It also makes the investment advice focus on growing the clients’ investments. 

South East Asia Capital demands these same high standards of advice and service for their clients.  

Can South East Asia Capital help people whose Investment Fund has been suspended or, worse, the Fund has collapsed altogether?

Yes, with suspended funds we can tell people the truth on whether they will receive anything back in the fullness of time and manage expectations accordingly. When a fund has ceased trading altogether, we can advise them on any group litigation that has been organized against the fund’s owners or Directors in an attempt to recoup some cash.  

Can you advise people on their existing investments if they are unsure of the advice they have received?   Yes, we have Terms of Business with all the major investment wrapper providers, like RL360, Friends Provident International, Generali, Skandia (now rebranded Old Mutual) and also some of the smaller ones like Cornhill and Investors Trust. We can also introduce our preferred investment partners to people who hold direct investments with fund houses and they can also benefit from some professional, regulated advice.   For a no-obligation consultation please email contactus@seac.asia. www.seac.asia

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Expat

Travel

MEET THE GM: PETER LUCAS A seasoned hotelier with over 15 years of experience in Maldives, Japan, Cambodia, Australia, and Malaysia, Four Points by Sheraton Bangkok’s new general manager comes with a wealth of knowledge from the Hilton and Carlson chains in both Operations and Sales & Marketing. What makes him tick? Read on to find out… > I became attracted to the hospitality industr y mainly from the opportunities to travel and from accompanying my father on business trips as a teenager to the Gold Coast and Whitsunday Islands (where we got to stay at nice hotels of which I was in awe). I also enjoyed the social and fun aspect of the industry through two other family holidays in my youth to Club Med Noumea and Club Med Bali. I suppose in summary, travel at an early age and staying at a few hotels in my youth inspired my passion for the industry.

themed nights into our main F&B venues of Beer Vault and amBar. Both venues will also undergo some refurbishments throughout the course of the year to enhance their already strong offerings. We will also do some enhancements to our lobby and function space. > The biggest challenge I’ve faced in my career so far was taking on a role of Director of Business Development when I had come predominately from Operations. I knew very little about Sales & Marketing, so I had to learn fast. That was a really tough first six to nine months because there is a lot more to Sales & Marketing and Revenue Management than meets the eye. However, in saying that, it continues to pay dividends up until today, and even more so as a GM, as it’s an integral part of the role.

> I studied Hospitality Management at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney (while working part time as a banquet waiter and then a receptionist at a popular hotel on Bondi Beach). > Nearing the completion of my university studies, Hilton (at the time) was offering an 18 month management trainee internship program covering all facets of Finance, Business Development, Operations and Human Resources. Being selected into this program was a big break. > Highlights of my career so far involve seeing people I have worked with develop and grow over time; watching management teams work well together; and being nominated, in my former workplace, for Hotel of the Year in 2012. > Four Points by Sheraton Bangkok

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> The motto I find most inspiring is: “Build a star team, not a team of stars.” is a ver y good sized property in a brilliant location. Rooms and meeting space are very well appointed, making it perfect for the Corporate business traveler. We also have amBar and Beer Vault – both very popular Bangkok venues in their own right with strong local followings. What’s more, the third Sunday of each month we now host pool parties with different themes and live entertainment. > A lot will be happening at the hotel over the next couple of years. We have just finished implementing nightly

> What advice would I give to anyone considering pursuing a career as a hotel GM? You’ve got to move around and get as much experience in different cultures and differing styles of properties as you can (Resorts, City Properties, Airport Hotels etc). Be prepared to spend at least two years in each role as you move up the ranks. Get to know as many different colleagues and industry people as you can. Like all industries, it’s a small one. www.fourpointsbangkoksukhumvit.com


Expat

Humour You think you are funny? SO, you think you are funny? Well, chances are you are not – not really. Being funny is one of those things that everyone wants to be. Being funny is a virtue: a virtue so important that it can make up for the lack of almost every other virtue in your character. You can be a lying, cheating, cowardly, unrestrained, thoughtless idiot, but as long as you are funny, you can get away with it. Trust me, I know. It is no surprise, therefore, that people want to believe that they are funny. And it is easy to convince yourself. You drop a ten baht coin into a beggar’s cup once every ten years and you like to think of yourself as charitable. Likewise, you get people to giggle slightly as some comment you made about your boss, and you like to think of yourself as a comedian. The big question is, were they laughing with you, or at you?

prepared for the worst. Hope for the best. Comedy needs an audience Comedy is a strange artform. Unlike other forms of performance, comedy requires an audience. You can learn a beautiful dance routine, perfect it, and then perform it to a single person. It doesn’t work that way with comedy. It isn’t comedy unless there are people there laughing. Of course that makes it difficult to practice, but not impossible. There are places to go to develop your skills, and places to try out your material. The Comedy Club Bangkok, located above The Royal Oak on Sukhumvit 33/1, is Bangkok’s only dedicated comedy venue, and offers workshops in stand-up comedy, as well as improvised sketch comedy. The Club also presents two openmic nights a month for newbies to try out their stuff.

Stand-up comedy no laughing matter

Put your ass on the line Well, if you think you are a comedian there is only one way to find out. Do comedy. And that is what open-mic nights at comedy clubs are for. They give aspiring comedians the opportunity to try their stuff in front of a live audience. You call the club, book a three-minute slot, and then perform in front of real people. Then you will know if you are funny. If they laugh, you are. If they don’t, you ain’t!

Bangkok’s Growing Comedy Scene Bangkok’s English language comedy scene is growing, with several open-mic nights popping up throughout the city. If you want to find out once and for all if you really are as funny and charming as your mother told you, contact one of the open-mic nights and book yourself a slot to try your stuff. The audiences in Bangkok are very supportive, and even if you are not funny, someone will probably buy you a drink after, just for trying.

Bangkok-based comedian Drew McCreadie on how to be seriously funny

What to do Here’s what to do: Put together (and by that I mean, actually write it down)

about 2-3 minutes of jokes (that you wrote, not stole) and string them together into a story or connected narrative of some sort. Two minutes is better than three, usually. Memorize it (and by that I mean, in your head, not scribbled on the back of your hand). Practice it in front of a mirror, over and over again. Make sure you end with a joke, not something “humourous”… an actual joke! Take a workshop if you aren’t sure what a joke is, or how it works. Then head out to an open-mic night, and try it out. Be

To book a slot at The Comedy Club Bangkok go to their website at www.comedyclubbangkok.com

This month at the Comedy Club Bangkok • Stand-up comedy with Comedy Central Comedian Tom Rhodes (USA)! Fri May 29 at 8pm. B500 in advance. B750 at the door. Includes a drink and drinks specials.

• WHOSE LINE? The Improv Comedy Show. Led by a multi award-winning improviser and featuring the best on Bangkok’s improv comedy community. Fri May 22 at 8pm. B400 with a free drink.

• Stand-up comedy open mic with 2013/2014 Finalist Hong Kong Comedy Competition finalist William Childress (USA). Fri May 15 at 8pm. B250 in advance. B350 at the door. Includes a drink and drinks specials.

The Comedy Club Bangkok, Sukhumvit 33/1 above The Royal Oak Pub (Phrom Phong BTS) www.comedyclubbangkok.com 22

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Gourmet

Restaurant news & deals | Serving Up | Recipe | Reviews

Chatuchak Cafe is promising many tasty dishes for its upcoming special promotion Page 26

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Gourmet Bangkok’s hottest dining deals and news

Anniversary deals at The Okura THROUGH MAY 31 AT THE OKURA PRESTIGE BANGKOK

Japanese Sunday Brunch

EVERY SUN AT TSU & NAMI, JW MARRIOTT HOTEL BANGKOK

A SUNDAY brunch with a difference, Tsu & Nami now serves up over 150 different Japanese specialties (including sushi, sashimi, Teppanyaki, foie gras, tempura, hot pot specials, and more) while a DJ spins house music. B1,890++ per person (add B500 for free-flow wine and cocktails). 4 Sukhumvit Rd, Soi 2. 02 656 7700 bit.ly/1xhcbwu

THE Okura Prestige Bangkok is celebrating its third anniversary with a range of special offers and promotions. For lunches and weekend brunches at Up & Above, and the set lunch at Elements, there is an ‘eat three – pay two’ promotion. Buffet lunch at Up & Above is B1,200++ per person (Mon-Fri); Saturday brunch is B1,950++ per person including soft drinks, and B2,650++ per person including free-flow red wines, local beers and selected cocktails; Sunday Brunch is B2,300++ per person including soft drinks, and B3,000++ per person including free-flow wines, local beers and selected cocktails. Elements set lunch, meanwhile, is B910++ per person (Mon-Fri). Park Ventures Ecoplex. 57 Wireless Rd. 02 687 9000 okurabangkok.com

Wine and Dine in the Dark

White Asparagus in season

THROUGH MAY 31 AT SHERATON GRANDE SUKHUMVIT

THROUGH MAY 31 AT CONRAD BANGKOK

THE brief but much-anticipated asparagus season will result in all kinds of special dishes being added to the a la carte menu at Conrad Bangkok’s Café@2. Among them: Marinated white asparagus, White asparagus cappuccino, Gratinated white asparagus and more. You can also expect to find special dishes as part of the venue’s bountiful dinner buffet, priced B1,400 per person. 87 Wireless Rd. 02 252 5538 conradhotels.com/bangkok

The Cheese Master returns

MAY 9 – 24 AT SCARLETT, PULLMAN BANGKOK HOTEL G

FRANCE’S official Cheese Ambassador to the world, Gérard Poulard, is coming to town to present his 2015 Collection of Fromages de France, bringing with him 150 varieties of French farmed cheese from the best of France’s boutique producers (think Fourme Laqueuille Memee Aoc, Rigotte de Condrieux, Bouyguette du Segala Romarin, and more). Expect to enjoy these alongside breads, cold cuts, wines, fruits and teas. Pungent. 188 Silom Rd. 02 238 1991 pullmanbangkokhotelg.com

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DINE in the Dark has introduced a special Wine Pairings menu to complement its choice of Asian, Western, Vegetarian, and Surprise menus, each served in total darkness by its visually impaired team. Opt for the Wine Pairings menu to be welcomed with a glass of sparkling wine, followed by a three-course surprise dinner paired with wines. B2,500++ per person (Tues-Sat, 7pm-9.30pm). 250 Sukhumvit Rd. 02 649 8888 sheratongrandesukhumvit.com


Gourmet Bangkok’s hottest dining deals and news

Pies to go

AVAILABLE NOW AT ZING BAKERY, CENTARA GRAND AT CENTRALWORLD

NO doubt about it, for a tasty snack on the go, fresh baked pies are hard to beat. If you fancy a hot bite next time you’re pounding the tarmac in Siam, swing by Zing and you’ll find a new selection of premium pies such as Beef & Burgundy pie, Chicken & Mushroom pie, Ham & Potato pie, and Apple & Cinnamon pie, priced at B140++ each (7am-9pm). 999/99 Rama 1 Rd. Pathumwan 02 100 1234 centarahotelsresorts.com/cgcw

Cucina de la mama MAY 15 – 24 AT DEE LITE RESTAURANT

DOUBLETREE by Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok’s Chef Egidio Latoracca is turning his attention to home for his latest promotion, which will feature a wide range of classic fami-

Weekend buffet treat

EVERY FRI & SAT NIGHT THROUGH JUNE 30 AT CENTARA WATERGATE PAVILLION HOTEL BANGKOK

FEATURING a sumptuous spread of seafood and homemade pasta, cold cuts, sushi, salad, local and international cheeses, and freshly-baked breads, not to mention a plethora of grilled meats, the new weekend buffet at Café 9 is great value for money at B950++ per person. A play area for kids makes it a good option for the whole family. 567 Ratchaprarop Rd. 02 625 1234 centarahotelsresorts.com/cwb

ly-style Italian dishes just perfect for sharing. What’s more, Italian wines by the glass will be ‘buy one, get one free.’ Book a table of six to receive 15 percent discount. 18/1 Soi Sukhumvit 26. 02 649 6666 bit.ly/1onyj gH

Sablefish Supreme at La Vue THROUGH MAY 31 AT SIAM@SIAM BANGKOK DESIGN HOTEL & SPA

GOURMET cuisine and a splendid view are the order of the day at this trendy restaurant on the 25th floor. Specially for this month the chefs are preparing a meaty chunk of sablefish steamed with thyme, black olive oil, basil tapenade, and baked vegetables. Great value at just B950 per order. 865 Rama 1 Rd. 02 217 3000 siamatsiam.com

A taste of the Middle East JUNE 17 – 30 AT CHATUCHAK CAFÉ

CENTARA Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok’s international buffet restaurant will take on a Middle Eastern theme next month, with all kinds of special dishes being added to its offerings, such as Chicken vermicelli soup; Roasted stuffed lamb leg; Sautéed shrimp Abu Dhabi; Minced kofta; Chicken thighs with lemon and garlic; and Lamb kebab. B850++ for lunch, and B950++ for dinner. Seafood Night on Friday is B1,200++ per person. 1695 Phaholyothin Rd, C hatuchak. 02 541 1234 bit.ly/1P6vO tH

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New on the scene

Namo Restaurant

HERO – Food & Gathering

BANGKOK’S first and only comic/superhero-themed restaurant has opened on Sukhumvit Soi 4 serving American and Thai food inspired by heroes of the Marvel and DC universes. Owned and operated by recent university graduate Min Arunvongse Na Ayudhya, a self-confessed comic-book geek, HERO is part restaurant, part gallery, and part community and club for comic and animation lovers. Set over two floors it’s packed full of superhero paraphernalia – very different to the other bars for which the Soi is famed! f acebook.com/herof oodandgathering

DINERS are spoilt for choice at this new restaurant on Sukhumvit 15, whose menu offers a wide range of both Indian (curries, kebab, tandoori) and Italian (pizza and pastas) cuisines. The family-run operation is set within a private standalone house and headed up by chef and owner Rahul Negi, whose CV includes stints at Lebua, Hyatt Group and SAS Radisson Group. “I am dedicated to serving the highest standard of food, and I like to keep my dishes interesting,” he says. Signature dishes include Tandoori chicken tikka (B225++), Galoti Kebab (tender minced lamb, marinated with Indian spice. B240++), and ‘I am Vegetarian’ Pizza (B280++), a fusion of Indian and Italian flavours. Chef Rahul makes all food items fresh on site – from his doughs to Gulab Jamun (traditional Indian dessert) – and all pizzas are cooked to order in a woodfired oven. 63, Sukhumvit 15. O pen daily 1pm- 11pm. 02 651 1163 eatatnamo.com

FRENCH CUISINE TURNED UPSIDE DOWN… AT J’AIME BY JEAN-MICHEL LORAIN Featuring a menu conceived and created by Michelin Star recipient Jean-Michel Lorain with the kitchen being run under the watchful and exacting eye of Amerigo Sesti and Maître d’ Marine Lorain, Jean-Michel’s daughter. J’AIME brings a new element to meals by combining the very best in both innovative and classic French cuisine with the comfortable and cosseting service of the shared Asian table, giving families and friends the chance to sample a number of the delightful dishes on offer. J’AIME by Jean-Michel Lorain at U Sathorn Bangkok 105, 105/1 Soi Ngam Duphli, Sathorn, Bangkok Tel. +662 119 4899 or email to reserve@jaime-bangkok.com www.jaime-bangkok.com

AD JML-May-Big Chilli M3.indd 1

4/20/15 5:06 PM

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Scrapbook Last month’s foodie functions in focus

Aston turns one with a feast

ASTON Dining Room and Bar’s celebrity chef, Zra Jirararat, celebrated the restaurant’s first anniversary by cooking up a seven-course dinner for a large group of VIP guests. Check out our interview with the chef in last month’s issue, available online at: www.bit.ly/1GncyZs

A Journey from France to Asia at J’Aime A 10-course menu inspired by a voyage of discovery from France to Asia was enjoyed by a large group of foodies at J’aime By Jean-Michel Lorain, U Sathorn Bangkok (www.jaime-bangkok. com). Renowned chef Jean-Michel Lorain took a break from his Michelin starred Côte Saint Jacques restaurant and hotel in Burgundy to come and cook especially for the occasion. Highlights of the menu, which featured wine pairings specially selected by Jean-Michel’s daughter, Marine, included Tandoori quail skewer with sweet and sour cucumber salad flavored with coriander; Roasted lobster served with morel mushrooms and green asparagus; and Pan-seared Wagyu with fried onions and wasabi purée.

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Recipe

Pad Thai – iTara Style Easy to prepare and quick to cook, this tasty recipe by Sawichchaya Phobamroong , Head Chef of iTara Resort & Spa, is Thai fast food at its best

Ingredients (1 portion) • 50g crab meat • 30g spaghetti • 50g pressed tofu slices • 10g shredded preserved radish • 10g dried shrimps • 2 eggs • 5g scallions • 100g bean sprouts • 10g red onions For the Pad Thai sauce • 100g palm sugar • 50g tamarind juice • 50g Thai fish sauce • 30g ground dried chilli

Method For Pad Thai Sauce 1. Mix palm sugar, tamarind juice, Thai fish sauce and ground dried chillis in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir frequently to prevent sticking and burning. 2. Heat the sauce until it turns syrupy. For Pad Thai iTara 1. Place the spaghetti in boiling water, add a drop of oil and three pinches of salt. Boil the pasta for 20 mins or until al dente. 2. Drain the pasta and leave aside.

' ok Chef Sawichchaya N 30

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3. Heat the cooking oil in a wok, add red onions and cook until aromatic before mixing in pressed tofu slices, dried shrimp and preserved radish. 4. Add spaghetti into the wok and stir a couple of times. Push the contents of the wok to the sides to make room for the eggs. Add the eggs. 5. When the eggs are cooked, stir until everything is well mixed. 6. Add the Pad Thai sauce and keep stirring until the sauce is dry. Add crab meat and stir well. 7. Add beansprouts and scallions to the Pad Thai and stir a couple of times.


Fabulous fajitas

Grilled chicken, beef, and salmon go down a treat at Coyote. See page 32.

Blue swimmer crab

Wining and dining's a real joy at Hilton Hua Hin's new beachside restaurant and bar. See page 128.

Dining Out Sashimi on Sunday Tuck into a Japanese Sunday brunch at Tsu and Nami. See page 24.

Burger special!

Find out where to enjoy superb renditions of this all-American classic. See page 38.

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Dining out

Wo rds H A R VEY W H I T E P h o t o s JA R A N L A K K A N AWAT

Coyote Mexican Bar & Grill

C

Serving hearty eats and boozy cocktails on Sukhumvit Soi 11

COYOTE Mexican Bar & Grill has long been a popular choice for expats looking to tuck into Mexican cuisine. Its former branches in Bangkok (on Soi Convent, and the corner of Sukhumvit 33) as well as its bustling operations in Patong Beach, Phuket, and Chaweng Beach, Koh Samui, have seen to that – wowing customers with hearty servings of tacos, quesadillas, fajitas and more piquant favourites, not to mention one of the largest margarita selections in Thailand (over 75!), all offered at great value for money. Shuttering the aforementioned Bangkok branches in favour or a prime location on Sukhumvit Soi 11 (next to Aloft Hotel, in the premises which formerly housed Angel City Diner), the owners have basically taken the best aspects of those venues and combined them to create the ultimate Coyote dining experience. The brand’s design and concept – terracotta décor, blonde wood tables, friendly staff decked in denim, Latino playlist – is implemented at the new

branch with aplomb, and the laid-back vibe it creates perfectly sets the scene for enjoying a hearty feast. The extensive menu, divided between nachos, snacks, soups, salads, sizzling meats, and traditional Mexican favourites, boasts tasty highlights galore. Order a plate of nachos with your favourite topping (the signature Coyote Nachos, B345++, was our pick, featuring tortilla chips topped with shredded grilled chicken, diced chorizo, melted cheese, black beans, jalapenos, black olives, sour cream, pico de gallo, and guacamole) and you’ll discover what this restaurant is all about – eye-popping portions designed to share. No surprise, then, that a full-rack of the Smoked baby back ribs (Prime Australian baby back pork ribs marinated with barbecue sauce, served with chilli roast potatoes, smoky beans and honey Dijon slaw. Full Slab: B575++. Half Slab: B385) almost take up half the table. Don’t fill yourself too quickly

though: plenty of other highlights await, including, among them, the Grilled chicken tacos (B355++ for two soft-baked shells, served on a bed of red salsa, black beans and Mexican rice); the whopping Grilled steak burrito (B395++); Chicken fajitas (B455++, served on a sizzling hot skillet); and Grilled chicken enchiladas (B385++). Fancy a dish purely for yourself? Try the Mesquite prime rib eye steak (Chargrilled Australian rib eye with cracked black pepper in chipotle gravy served with chilli roast potatoes and asparagus. B675++); or Grilled salmon Vera Cruz (A Mesquite grilled salmon fillet with a Vera Cruz sauce of tomatoes, green olives, capers and jalapenos. Served with Mexican rice and black beans. B575++). Delicious! It’s a deal: Daily Happy Hours, from 4pm-7pm and again from 10pmMidnight, offer margaritas (glass and pitcher) and local beers at buy-one-getone-free.

C oyote M exican B ar & G rill B angkok, Sukhumvit Soi 1. O pen daily N oon- 2am. coyotebangkok.com

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Dining out

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Crave Wine Bar & Restaurant

Great value comes as standard at Aloft Bangkok’s popular international buffet

CHOOSING a venue for a dinner buffet in Bangkok is like being faced with veritable feast itself – with so many great options to choose from, it’s difficult to know where to start. If you’re looking for somewhere that ticks all the buffet boxes – great location, lashings of international fare, great value – make a beeline for Crave Wine Bar & Restaurant at Aloft Bangkok Sukhumvit 11. Located away from the hustle and bustle of the street, on the hotel’s 8th floor, Crave occupies a light and airy loftinspired space that’s livened up with subtle splashes of colour – think serious enough for a business lunch; friendly enough for a family brunch; and trendy enough for an evening get together with friends.

Priced at just B990++ per person, the restaurant’s daily Dinner Buffet has over 60 items on offer, ranging from salads, soups and grilled meats, to ice cream, cake and fruits. What’s more, every Thursday and Saturday night the dinner buffet is even bigger with a special selection of fresh seafood added to the offerings (B1,290++). The dinner buffet takes on a different international theme each month, and the culinary spotlight this month falls on India. So alongside the restaurant’s usual fare you can expect to find a tempting range of aromatic curries, succulent tikkas, and tandoori specials. Another dining highlight at Crave is its all-you-can-eat 11@12 Sunday lunch

A lof t B angkok. 35 Sukhumvit Soi 11.

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Wo rds C H U T I N A N TA B OON YA M A R N P h o t o g ra ph y T H A N A P ON GS A S K UL CH O T I

(noon-3pm), which includes a hearty spread of pizzas, seafood, barbecued meats, cheeses and desserts, for just B1,490++ per person. Adding to the great value at Crave is a series of drinks packages: B200 per person for free-flow soft drinks; B599 per person for free-flow soft drinks, local beers, cocktails and spirits; and B1,200 per person for free-flow soft drinks, local beers, cocktails and wines. The restaurant also boasts a wellstocked wine cellar (over 200 bottles!) starting at only B790++ per bottle – a bargain! IT’S A DEAL! A ‘Come-Two-PayOne’ promotion is available on daily dinner buffet throughout May.

02 207 7000  www.alof tbangkoksukhumvit11.com


Dining out

Guest review by

Bangkok Beefsteak & Burgundy

Amari Watergate Bangkok The BB&B dining group enjoys a gourmet lunch with a few surprising twists

W

E learned on the day that Hans Peter Kaserer has been Executive Chef of the Amari Watergate hotel for a total of 18 years, so we were delighted to see him back in charge of our BB&B lunch for the 10th consecutive time.  In addition to several members and their regular guests, our numbers were swelled by a flock of migrating Parrots, golfers with a seemingly inexhaustible thirst for food and wine, plus two visitors from Adelaide, the birthplace of Beefsteak & Burgundy Inc. It was fitting, therefore, that proceedings commenced with sparkling Charles Steiner NV from South Australia (and complimentary draft Heineken). The first dish set a cracking pace: Lobster medallion, seared tuna, cauliflower mousse, sunflower sprouts, and fresh garden vegetables (and even a little caviar sprinkled for

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good measure). With this came BASA Blanco Do Rueda 2013 (Spain), another excellent recommendation from Winemaster Thomas Boedinger. Our wine spokesman for the day was Tony Stewart, originally from Melbourne, who found little fault with the chosen wine. Next came Light creamy clam, bacon chowder alongside a spoon of yam goong. I did not know how to treat the shrimp and eventually decided to consume it in one tasty mouthful. It worked! But the Chowder was truly exceptional. As our food spokesman of the day, Mark Guthrie commented that ‘the only complaint that could be leveled was that the soup bowls were just too small.’ The accompanying wine was Manu Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (Marlborough, NZ).  After five years away, Tony reminded us that he has not lost his appetite for critical remarks but the only one he wanted to share this time was that perhaps the order of the two whites could have been reversed. The main course was Veal fillet “Wellington style” with asparagus but Peter added a surprise extra – Foie gras. The veal was a tad over-cooked for some but the savoury stuffing surrounded by flaky pastry, the sauce and the veal

itself made this a memorable dish that Arthur Wellesley himself might have been proud of. Complementing the veal, Tony and most others thought the Harmonium 2007 Nero d’Avola (Sicily) easily earned the title of best wine of the day with high tannins, medium acid and a strong body. We also were treated to the sight afforded by Mark’s entry in the ‘No Hands’ dining competition. After a recent collision between a speeding truck and not just one but two buses, Mark sustained a broken wrist. Others in the bus also had to be taken to hospital and the crash closed Highway 7 for a couple of hours.  Appetites seemed flagging and one or two skipped the dessert (or just was it that the knowledge that cheese would follow). Lemon tart with berries compote followed the veal along with De Bortoli Deen Vat 5 Botrytis Semillon (Riverina, NSW). Mark and I enjoyed both. Finally, the defining moment of an Amari BB&B lunch came.  Four large slabs of cheese and trimmings appeared and were attacked with relish. The English Stilton seemed to attract the most compliments, but the French Brie was also delicious and the English Double Gloucester and Italian Taleggio pleased all. The service was excellent from start to finish and we were very happy to see that Peter was able to spend a lot of time with us all. Our lady server/ Mark’s nurse received special mention but it was finally birthday boy, Alan Rankin, who was prevailed upon to thank the whole team including the kitchen staff for their efforts 847 Petchburi Rd. 02 653 9000 amari.com/watergate


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Bangkok’s Best Burgers After spending last month seeking out Bangkok's best burgers, eating the equivalent of our body weight in beef (almost), and returning home each day smelling like a well-used grill, here we present the people and places who blew our minds with their gourmet renditions of an all-American classic. When it comes to serving delicious burgers, these great venues don't clown around...

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Le Beaulieu fine rench restaurant is in this round up es indeed. ut there’s a caveat burgers are onl available on the restaurant’s terrace so don’t e pect to be rubbing shoulders with angkok luminaries while chomping into our patt and what’s served here can’t be classed as a traditional burger more of a chef ’s creation. ne da a friend visited the restaurant for a chat and asked if I could make a burger e plains the restaurant’s owner and chef erve rerard. It was a big hit so I decided to keep it on not as part of the restaurant’s menu but for people who’d like a uick bite on the terrace. his uick bite ’ however is still constructed with the

same care and attention as an dish at . he brioche is baked fresh dail the g patt is made using percent ag u rump from ustralia and percent ardo di Colonnata premium lard from Colonnata a small cit in the puan lps shallots are cooked for two hours in duck fat and the creation is finished with the strong and slightl sweet tastes of melted Comt cheese. he results ma not be traditional but wow the sure are delicious. reat value at ust served with fries .

Athenee Tower (Lobby), 63 Wireless Rd. Tel: 02 168 8220 www.le-beaulieu.com

Firehouse Pub & Restaurant I angkok’s specialist burger movement had a birthplace irehouse would probabl be it. pened three and a half ears ago and named in honor of firefighters the restaurant is uni uel decorated with what is surel the countr ’s largest collection of anti ue and vintage firefighter helmets irehouse was amongst the first restaurants in angkok to show diners here that burgers have gourmet credentials and toda it continues to receive heaps of praise for signature gems such as the Firehouse Burger featuring two g fresh-ground beef patties on a doubledecker bun spic alape o ma o diced red onions dill pickle slices lettuce and Cheddar cheese and BaconBlue Burger g fresh-ground beef smothered in rich blue cheese sauce and topped with bacon grilled red onions and ma o. o make its burgers irehouse uses prime cuts of beef from he Pon ang ham livestock cooperatives whose cattle is crossed with the finest rench breeds Charolais and imosin.

Patties are made fresh dail using three cuts of beef and seasoned onl with salt and pepper so that all the delicious flavours of the meat shine through. s for bread irehouse sources custom-made buns from angkok-based baker ustro Pro which speciall makes them to perfectl match the bulk and width of irehouse’s delectable patties. Impressive. Sukhumvit Soi 11 (opposite Q Bar) Tel 02 651 3643 www.firehousethailand.com

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Great American Rib SINCE opening in 2004 on Sukhumvit Soi 36, GAR has won the hearts and palates of diners of all nationalities and gone on to open two more branches – one in Hua Hin (6/4 Silom Pavilion), and another in Central Embassy – and continues to win more fans with its classic barbecue American fare. Sure, most diners come for the Hickory smoked ribs (B495++ HR/ B775++ FR), marinated overnight for ma imum flavour but its burgers are worth a try too. The Classic Burger (B225++) – featuring 280g Thai-French beef, loosely ground and seasoned with salt and pepper so the meat can speak for itself – is served naked within a toasted soft bun, with a garnish on the side, so you can build it as you wish. Other options include Cheese Burger (B295++); and Bacon Cheeseburger (B325++). All come served with a generous portion of curly fries.

UNDER new management for the past three months, Bangkok Burger Company has undergone something of a taste revolution. Its once overlong menu has been replaced instead with a more carefully considered range of options – all made with 150g Australian Black Angus beef, no less – and Gabriel, the American expat in charge, is focused on delivering delicious burgers made with high quality ingredients. “We make our own mi in house and flavour it ver simpl to allow the natural flavours to come out he sa s and this is vastl superior to what we were selling in and earlier. ther little tweaks include the use of bacon from Bangkok butcher of the moment, Joe Sloane of Sloane’s Artisan, as well as the addition of grilled onions to some of the recipes and over 15 homemade sauces to choose from. The proof, as most chefs say, is in the pudding – well, burgers, in this case – and BBC’s The N.Y.C burger (B330++) is a tasty treat indeed, featuring house guacamole, bacon, rocket salad and sundried tomato mayo. Also check out The Moody Blues (B280++), topped with Gorgonzola blue cheese, bacon, cranberry-onion marmalade, rocket salad and garlic mayo.

Sukhumvit Soi 36, midway between Sukhumvit Rd and Rama IV Rd (BTS Thonglor) Tel: 02 661 3801 www.greatrib.com

Bangkok Burger Company operates two branches Silom (Saladaeng Soi 1), and Siam Paragon, GF. www.bangkokburgercompany.com

El Gaucho Argentinian Steakhouse BUILDING on the popularity of its bustling restaurant on Sukhumvit Soi 19, El Gaucho Argentinian Steakhouse recently opened a new branch on Sukhumvit Soi 11, and it was here, just last month, that we faced one of the biggest burgers to feature in this round-up – the Homemade Wagyu Burger (B890), 250g of ground Wagyu beef served proudly displaying its plump, charcoal chiseled body, on top of an open toasted bun. With quality to match the quantity, this medium-cooked burger’s a real crowd pleasure. Just don’t expect to be able to eat it easily with your hands. Comes served with fries, lettuce, tomato, onion, ketchup and mayonnaise. Another good option is the Homemade Cheese and Bacon Burger (B450), a blend of four cuts of beef, served with cheese and bacon, and the same sides as the Wagyu burger. 40 40

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Sukhumvit Soi 19 & Sukhumvit Soi 11 www.elgaucho.asia

Bangkok’s biggest burger contest: Round two FANCY winning a year’s supply of free burgers? Who doesn’t! Well get working on building up your appetite because you’ve got until May 16 at 25 Degrees Burger Bar to do just that. All you have to do is tuck into a belt-buckle-busting 1kg Ground Wagyu Sirloin Beef burger, topped with 200g Mixed Mushrooms, 350g American Cheese, 150g Yellow Cheddar Cheese, 100g Onion Rings, and 350g Crispy Bacon – basically a weekly shopping list consumed in one go. Finish the lot in under 30 minutes and you’ll get it for free (otherwise it’s B1,200++). What’s more, successfully complete the challenge and you can claim one free burger at the restaurant each month for a year (regular size, of course). www.facebook.com/25DegreesBangkok


Burgers at home Where to buy top grade beef in Bangkok • Food Glorious Food: The retail arm of Choice Foods Thailand has been importing and processing high quality produce now for over four decades. Inside the store, you will find a large range of imported meats and other food items, such as Wagyu Beef, Saltbush Lamb, Jamon and – you’ve guessed it – burgers. Black Angus Beef Burgers (150g) are B92 per piece; Wagyu Beef Burgers (150g) are B131 per piece. Sukhumvit Soi 71 on the corner of Soi Pridi Phanomyong 37. Tel: 02 713 0030

• Accidental Butcher: Top quality imported meats are the order of the day at this popular butcher’s on Sukhumvit 63. www.theaccidentalbutcher.com

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• Passion Delivery: Delivery Works with over 25 food and drinks producers to bring over 200 artisan products direct to your door, including Premium grass fed Wagyu burgers (150g. B250 per piece) and Tasmanian Angus beef burger patties (170g. B175 per piece). www.passiondelivery.com

1,000 890

El Gaucho Argentinian Steakhouse

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Daniel Thaiger & Nerd NO doubt about it, the Daniel Thaiger burger truck has been a runaway success in angkok. ince parking up for the first time in 2013 in its usual position opposite the food stalls at the entrance of ukhumvit 38, the truck’s owners Mark (a Los Angeles native and one hai have amassed a legion of fans who follow their quality-focused operation (to ensure high standards they keep their menu slim plain beef or pork burger bacon and cheese burger, a pork-and-oat burger, tuna or cheese melt and the occasion promotion to special events and back again all in the name of tast hand-crafted burgers served in soft buns fresh from Conke ’s aker . So popular, in fact, is their business, that they recently branched out and together with ame ver a caf and bar featuring a wealth of board console and PC games for patrons to pla on honglor opened erd an onsite kitchen grilling the same great burgers as sold in the truck several burgers uni ue to erd beef salmon lamb and pork options as well as parmesan truffle fries and a choice of malt milkshakes. The signature Thaiger Burger (B139 at the truck; at erd features a freshl ground all beef patty topped with lettuce, tomato grilled onions and the special haiger sauce think uic tast slightl mess and

690++

Hard Rock Cafe Bangkok

500

all the better for it. The Mr. Steve (B169 at the truck; at erd meanwhile carries on the delicious theme this time also topped with Cheddar cheese. clusive to Nerd is The Cowboy featuring grilled onions alape o Cheddar cheese double bacon, and Thai whiskey barbeque sauce. ake note the aniel haiger truck normall opens from ues- at from . pm has onl around seats and invariabl sells out fast usuall before pm so get there earl . pect big ueues and at least a minute wait. Check their acebook page before going to ensure they’ll be open. erd’s kitchen is open on . pm. pm; ues- un . am- . pm and . pm- . pm.

Food Truck Sukhumvit 38 (Mon-Sat); Nerd – Game Over, Liberty Plaza, Sukhumvit 55. www.facebook.com/DanielThaiger

450++

450++

Le Beaulieu

New York Steak & Burger

390++

Lady Brett Tavern

350++

Roadhouse Barbecue

340

No Idea

330++

330++

25 Degrees

Firehouse Pub & Restaurant

325++

Great American Rib

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Smashed Burgers

300

Tenderloins Sports Bar & Steak House

280++

250

Bangkok Burger Company

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Orn The Road

139

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25 Degrees Roadhouse Barbecue R a little over seven ears Roadhouse arbecue on the corners of urawong and Rama IV Roads has been the go-to venue in angkok for authentic stateside flavours Ribs rubbed with viscous sauces steaks charbroiled mediumrare chicken wings loaded with spice. nd its signature Cheeseburger . Regulars get percent discount made with percent ustralian beef and topped with a choice of cheese merican blue cheese or Cheddar as well as grilled onions smoked bacon saut ed mushrooms and grilled peppers and served with lettuce tomato rench fries coleslaw and pickle is a triumph. Chef and owner ana Caron a Portland aine native is passionate about his craft and when it comes to building a burger onl the finest ingredients will do. Check out Secrets of the grill ’ page to learn how he does it. Roadhouse Barbecue, 942/1 Rama IV Rd., Surawongse Rd. Tel: 02 236 8010 www.roadhousebarbecue.com

C on the ground floor of the Pullman angkok otel this burger and wine bar is part of a -based chain which launched at Roosevelt otel os ngeles in and now has four outlets under its moniker the others are in California and untington each . he name refers to the precise temperature difference between a raw and well-done hamburger and the sweet science of burger making is evident here in e pertl cooked ustralian irloin patties. he signature Number One is egrees’ most popular option featuring carameli ed onion crescen a prelibato gorgon ola bacon arugula and housand Island dressing so man rich flavours it practicall begs to be devoured but don’t miss the opportunit to Craft Your Own adding all kinds of sauces and toppings and imported cheeses to create a wobbling meat marvel of enga tower proportions. he secret to making a great burger is a secret laughs the restaurant’s ous chef am on. ut using onl fresh high ualit ingredients is certainl one of the ke s. est of all egrees is open hours a da so ou can get our munch on an time ou like. Pullman Bangkok Hotel G, 188 Silom Rd. Tel: 02 238 1991

Iron Fairies popular honglor hangout Iron airies first opened its whimsical doors its food menu was focused on a slim selection of carefull crafted burgers. oda a

full range of international options are on offer but the original meat goodness still pulls in the punters as well as an e tensive range of cocktails live a performances and the venue’s distinctive steam-punk design which looks like the set of a arr Potter movie. ight different homemade burgers are on offer including the impressive Fat Gut’z Beef Burger an oversi ed beef patt topped with brie bacon cos lettuce red onion and spic homemade ketchup all artfull placed between a toasted soft bun served on a chopping board and pieced through the middle with a steak knife. um

402 Soi Thonglor. Open daily 6pm-2am. Tel: 02 714 8875 www.theironfairies.com 42

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Smith -to-tail dining hub mith is well-known for its delectable meat dishes made using humanel and organicall sourced produce. ou can bet our craftsman’s hammer then that when it comes to cooking a superior burger mith has hit the nail well and trul on the head. nsconced within a homemade et-black s uid ink bun the restaurant’s signature Black Label Burger comes served on a wooden slab and is uite simpl bursting with flavour. he

restaurant’s head chef oom also calls this burger he ower’ a fitting name as he constructs each lack abel urger from the ground up like a foreman charged with building a lu ur propert . irst the meat g of ustralian ag u rump that’s ground ust right percent meat percent fat for the perfect te ture and consistenc and then seared before grilling with a mi of rosemar garlic th me mustard and chilli. hen the veggies Iceberg lettuce beef tomato

Secrets of the grill Dana Edward Caron, owner and chef of Roadhouse Barbecue, on how to make a great burger The secret to making a great burger starts with the meat. The best burgers are 80 percent beef, and 20 percent fat; and most people make them around the 85 – 15 percent ratio. A good option is Australian chuck, which, when ground well (and that means twice – once through a large grinder, the second through a smaller one, to ensure the meat’s tender) you get the perfect grain that’s strong and holds

red cabbage and carameli ed onions. nd finall the cement which holds ever thing together melted ouda cheese and a fragrant sauce that blends ma o all spice i on mustard plain oghurt oregano salt pepper and a dash of cinnamon powder to lip-smacking effect.

1/8 Sukhumvit Soi 49. Open Tues-Sat 5pmMidnight; Sun 11am-Midnight. Tel: 02 261 0515-6 www.smith-restaurant.com

up – perfect for burger making. Then – the real secret to cooking a great burger – make sure you cook your meat on a very hot, real charcoal grill. This should have a cast iron top to ensure you get the best tastes (and a lovely crisscross pattern on the meat). Cook the meat for three minutes on each side (that’s one and a half minutes on each side, four times) for medium, and add two minutes to the process for medium-well, and another two minutes for well-done. Did I mention the bread? That’s very important too. Buy from a baker who specializes in burger rolls and don’t scrimp on quality. Toast your bun before adding your patty, then top with your favourite cheese and sauces. Enjoy!

Hard Rock Cafe Bangkok THE Bangkok iteration of this renowned franchise has been fl ing the flag for the Hard Rock brand for the past 24 ears. rue to form it serves heart portions of all- merican food while music videos beamed from ard Rock Cafe in rlando keep the atmosphere livel and fun and make for great conversation starters as on ovi’s hair reall that big in the ’ s for instance. peaking of big ard Rock’s Legendary Burgers o meat monsters made using premium ngus beef live up to their name b dominating the plate and packing plent of flavour. or ma imum meat satisfaction tr the new Tango Burger two single patties la ered with slowcooked lopp - oe Cheddar and ack cheeses tang barbecue sauce and finished with blue cheese and horseradish ma o. or the Fiesta Burger la ered with roasted alape o salsa melted ack cheese freshl made 44

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guacamole pico de gallo crisp lettuce and vine-ripened tomato. . ll burgers are cooked medium-well unless ou ask otherwise and served on a toasted bun with seasoned fries. ord of warning ake a health appetite. hese beasts are huge. Siam Square, Soi 11 (BTS Siam), Tel: 02 658 4090-3 www.hardrock.com


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Did you know Meaty facts • The Walla Walla Washington Newspaper was the first, in 1 9, to report on the e istence of the hamburger. • Hamburgers get their name from the Hamburg steaks that German immigrants took with them to the S. • In 1921, Walter A Anderson (a short order cook) and E.W. Ingram (an insurance e ec) founded White Castle, the first and the oldest burger chain, in Wichita, ansas. Their first burger sold for a nickel. • Americans consume 13 billion hamburgers a year, enough to circle the earth 32 times. • Black Bear Resort Casino, located in innesota, holds the world record for the biggest burger. It weighs in at 2,01 pounds and is 10ft in diameter. • Animal rights group PETA once offered NY 15,000 to the New York town of Hamburg to change its name to eggieburg. • The best way to cook and serve a burger is medium rare: crispy outside and pink inside. • During WWI, the S Government tried to rename hamburgers liberty sandwiches,’ so they wouldn’t have to use the German word. The Americans also called Sauerkraut Liberty Cabbage.

Lady Brett Tavern LEADING the charge of all things cool on Sathorn Soi 12, the nightly thriving Lady Brett (neighbour to, and from the same team behind, Rocket Coffeebar) specialises in quality meats charbroiled to perfection in a Josper wood and charcoal oven. The restaurant’s stylish design (inspired by a New York-style tavern) and laid-back vibe make it the perfect spot for chomping into a fine burger and ad rett does not disappoint. On our visit last month we could hardly contain our groans of delight when devouring the Grilled Beef Burger (175g. . a be it’s the fact the burger is grilled over a fire fuelled b binch tan hardwood charcoal from aos and seasoned with hickor wood chips and young bamboo. Maybe it’s because it’s topped with the perfect ratio of Chipotle mustard, horseradish mayo, lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickles and aged cheddar. Maybe it’s all of these things. Whatever the reason, there’s something magic going on between the lid and bottom of the multigrain bun that the burger’s served in. And we like it. 149 Sathorn Soi 12 Open Mon-Sun 5pm-Midnight Tel: 02 635 0405 www.ladybrett.com

No Idea WITH a brand new chef in charge of its kitchen, this popular gastropub on Sukhumvit 22 has undergone a few culinary changes of late – including the introduction of a new bistro menu featuring international eats with a focus on premium ingredients. Said chef is New Zealand national Blair Mathieson, best-known in Bangkok for his stints at Quince and The Siam, but who also boasts international experience working at the acclaimed Pier restaurant in Sydney, Australia, and the one Michelin starred Leatherne Bottle restaurant, in Berkshire County, UK. No surprise, then, that his Black Angus Beef Burger (200g. B340) is masterfully adept at tickling tastebuds. Made with four cuts of high quality Black Angus beef, carefully combined for the perfect grain it’s full of flavour and uic to boot, and goes down a treat with the accompanying Cheddar cheese, vine tomato, pickles, onion, and mayo. Sukhumvit Soi 22 Tel: 02 663 6686 www.noideabkk.com

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New York Style Steak & Burger OWNED by former model Khun ‘Lina’ Naalinlat – a self-confessed ‘steak freak’ angkok’s first ew ork t le teak urger restaurant at Park ukhumvit follows the fine e ample set b its sisters in hanghai and ei ing b offering prime

Certified ngus eef and freshground burgers – all at reasonable prices. he signature g Manhattan Monster grilled to order and seasoned with sea salt and black pepper onl lives up to its name b towering over the accompan ing fries like a meat version of the mpire tate uilding or od illa if ou prefer to imagine a monster an e e-popping stack of bacon cheese fried egg homemade pickle and onion rings all held together atop the patt b a wooden stick pierced right through the middle. ranted it’s might difficult to s uee e it all

P CI I I in smashed burgers’ that is fresh ground g patties that are pressed flat on the grill so the go crisp on the edges this popular countertop eater on the si th floor of the shopping center provides a great e cuse to take a break from shopping. longside a selection of sandwiches salads and shakes the menu features eight burgers to choose from ranging in price . he signature Smashed Burger is served in a buttered brioche bun baked fresh dail and topped with pickles alape o peppers crisp smoked bacon crisp shallots cheddar cheese and mashed urgers’ sweet barbecue sauce. Price includes crinkle cut fries. MBK Center, 444 Phayathai Rd. Tel: 02 662 0557 www.facebook.com/smashedburgers

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28, Sukhumvit Soi 22. Open daily 11am11pm. Tel: 02 262 0920 www.facebook.com/ NYsteaknburger

Jim’s Burgers & Beers

Smashed Burgers

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down into a feast ou can actuall handle with our hands but the effort’s more than worth it. ime to start fle ing those finger muscles and our aw .

of the uiciest and messiest burgers we sampled on our burger round up was The Lava Cheesy Burger at im’s ri amphan oi . nl one bite in and our hands were smothered in its molten chees goodness which also pooled on the table making us look like dribbling fools. till the flavours were bold the hipster-packed confines of im’s narrow ew ork-inspired interior fun it seats onl around people so book ahead to avoid disappointment and the selection of beers impressive including amongst others rew og Punk IP and eihenstephaner Vitus on tap. on’t fanc chees fingers for the rest of the night pt for the The Apocalypse Burger or US Philly Steak Burger both . Charcoal and whole wheat buns are also available. Ari Samphan Soi 3 Tel: 02 000 9585 www. on.fb.me/1b9sErT


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Tenderloins Sports Bar & Steak House NOTABLE for successfully marrying a crackling bar and an excellent grill featuring some of Bangkok’s best and most reasonably priced steaks, Tenderloins has a lot going for it. The menu is short, but features beef from Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and the USA. The burger list includes eight options to choose from, including the signature Tenderloins Burger, topped with cheese, bacon, beetroot and egg; and, our favourite, the Chili Burger, which

Orn The Road

its chargrilled burgers served in striking, black charcoal buns. The signature Orn’s PARKED daily outside the Jewelry Trade Burger (B160 for regular Thai-French beef, or pork; B260 for premium ThaiCenter on Silom Road, this gem of a food truck is owned and operated by Khun Orn, French beef) is seasoned with salt and pepper and comes topped with Cheddar former part-owner of the old Woodstock Bar and Grill, which was well-known for the cheese, a thick slice of buffalo tomato, quality of its American eats. Since hitting the and crisp lettuce – a solid, classic burger. streets months ago her first burger truck If you’re after a bit more zing on your tongue, though, we suggest you wrap (she plans to launch another, on Thonglor, your mouth around the Black ‘N soon) has gained a glowing reputation for Blue Burger (B180 for regular ThaiFrench beef, or pork; B280 for premium Thai-French beef) whose patty is cooked with Cajun spices, and which comes topped with grilled onions and blue cheese sauce; or the Cajun Burger (B160 for regular Thai-French beef, or pork; B260 for premium Thai-French beef), a spicy treat that’s not for the faint hearted. Add B30 for fries. Additional toppings are also available. “The secret to making a good burger starts with the

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run out of beef burgers. So we munched a Pork burger instead. Tasty, it was, but unfortunately not suitable for this round up. Made fresh daily with ground Australian beef, and ranging in price from B150-B190, the beef burgers do sound promising though. We look forward to returning to give them a whirl. www.facebook.com/PaperButter

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7/8-9 Sukhumvit Soi 33 (BTS Phrom Phong). Tel: 02 258 4529 www.tenderloins33.com

meat,” says Khun Orn. “You must have high quality meat. Cook over charcoal, use a tasty bun, add high quality veggies and sauce, and you’re sure of a delicious burger.”

Silom Rd (in front of the Jewelry Trade Center) Usually open 11am-7pm (check Facebook to ensure they’re open) www.facebook.com/orntheroadbkk

• Mother Trucker: This superbly named food truck went off-road for an “Epic Upgrade” in April, so unfortunately we didn’t get chance to sample its much touted goods. They’ll be back in business by the time you read this, though, and if the internet clamour’s anything to go by – British actor Jason Statham’s a fan, apparently – well worth a look. Keep up to date with their locations at www.facebook. com/MotherTruckerBKK/timeline.

• Paper Butter: When we visited this new food stall in Soi Ari at 7.30pm on a Friday night they’d already

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comes loaded with chilli con carne, and served with guacamole and chilli beans. All burgers are priced B300 each, and are homemade daily using 100 percent ground Australian beef. Tasty.

• Escapade Burgers & Shakes: The popular Phra Athit hangout famed for its burgers was hosting a concert the night we dropped by to sample its wares. So it was take-away only. No problem, you’d think, but then it started to rain. Still, we huddled in a dark corner on the street, wolfed down a burger, and then ran to the cover of a bar – realising after our mad dash that we’d forgotten to take a photo of the burger or write any notes in the process. We will be back (with professional heads on, and maybe a plastic poncho!).

Have we missed your favourite? Let us know at thebigchillimagazine@gmail.com


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Chef’s Table

Catering news from Thailand and the world

British food suppliers face closure

Bangkok Chefs Charity Gala Dinner returns on June 29

FOR the seventh year running, Executive Chefs from 20 of Thailand’s most prestigious five-star hotels and Thai Airways International, will cook up yet another grand feast at the “2015 Bangkok Chefs Charity Gala Dinner,” scheduled for Monday June 29 at the Royal Ballroom of Mandarin Orien-

Multichannel grocery shopping booms in Thailand by 306% YoY

MULTICHANNEL grocery shopping is surging across the globe, according to a major new study by the customer science company dunnhumby. The report has analysed the shopping habits of seven million people in 14 countries in Europe, Asia and the Americas. The report reveals that huge growth is taking place across the full spectrum of multichannel market development, with nascent markets such as Thailand growing by over four times year-on-year. Even the most established online grocery categories are still enjoying significant growth globally. The three categories with the highest share of online sales – frozen meat, baby food and care, and canned food – have an average annual online growth rate of 21%. The report underlines how a developed multichannel strategy is vital for brands. The vast majority of online shoppers are multichannel consumers,

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tal, Bangkok. The event, which features a 10-course menu, will be organized as usual by Nuntiya and Patcharin Hame-ung-gull of Gourmet One, and presided over once again by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. Funds raised will go towards the Border Patrol Police Schools under Her Royal Highness’s Patronage. Tickets are B12,500 per seat (for tables of 10). Expect more info in next month’s issue. www.on.fb.me/1JaZxjr with less than 1% of the global population shopping online only. In Thailand, baking and stationery products saw huge growth (by 416% and 619% respectively) as the Thai public becomes more aware and knowledgeable about online sales channels. Brands are also more likely to succeed if their target market closely matches the profile of the typical online shopper – generally younger, affluent consumers with young children.

MORE than 100 British food suppliers could be forced out of business as supermarkets cut prices in an effort to keep their customers, according to a report by the BBC. There are more companies in financial distress in this sector than in any other, say insolvency specialists Begbies Traynor. The number of food firms in “significant distress” nearly doubled in the last three months of 2014. The food retail industry itself is also showing signs of financial problems. The report says that about 4,550 food-selling businesses are currently struggling, compared to 2,878 a year ago. The number in significant distress rose from 733 in the last quarter of 2013 to 1,410 in the last quarter of 2014.

The report also shows that not all brands are benefiting equally from the growth of multichannel, with many experiencing a decline in their online performance or their online sales growth is lower than in-store. “It is clear from the survey that consumers are changing the way they make purchases. As new online channels become more sophisticated, Thai consumers will continue to explore their options when it comes to multichannel shopping and brands need to be flexible and take all opportunities available, said ”Teeradet Dumrongbhalasirt, Head of Connect Media, dunnhumby Thailand. The dunnhumby Global Trends Unit identifies the customer trends that will shape the future of the retail industry. It uses dunnhumby’s behavioral and attitudinal data on over one billion customers worldwide to enable decision makers to formulate superior forward looking strategies. The report can be downloaded here: www.dunnhumby.com/uk/multichannelmovement


Se cti on ! Ne w

Top Wyndham Award for Bangkok hotelier Klaus Sennik

Qatari investors nab three top London hotels

THE Barclay brothers have abandoned their four-year battle to seize control of three of London’s most prestigious five-star hotels, Claridges (pictured), The Berkeley and The Connaught, selling out to Constellation Hotels Group which in turn is backed by Qatari investors. The sale of their 64 percent interest in the hotel company Coroin for an undisclosed sum marks an end to one of the most expensive shareholder feuds in recent British corporate history, generating millions of pounds in bills for legal advice and corporate investigators. Sir Frederick and Sir David Barclay, best known as the owners of the Telegraph newspaper titles, launched an audacious corporate raid in January 2011 on Coroin, believing a number of the group’s owners were too financially weakened to fend them off.

ONE of Thailand’s most experienced hoteliers, Klaus Sennik, has picked up a prestigious award at the annual Wyndham Hotel Group brand conference in Las Vegas. Klaus, GM at the Ramada Plaza Bangkok Menam Riverside hotel, was named ‘2014 General Manager of the Year’ for the South East Asia/ Pacific Rim region. He was presented with the award by Wyndham Group President Geoff Ballotti and the company’s regional Managing Director Barry Robinson. Special guests at the three-day conference in Las Vegas were former US presidents Bill Clinton and George W Bush. “This award is a major highlight of my career and it reflects in part the passion and dedication of our team in Bangkok to pursue the goals and objectives set by the Wyndham organization,” said Klaus Sennik. “I was deeply moved by this award and by the very kind and sincere words of congratulation that I received from the hotel owners in Thailand. It was certainly an unforgettable honour to attend such an important Wyndham conference in the presence of two former US presidents.” Klaus Sennik was appointed General Manager of the Ramada Plaza Bangkok Menam Riverside in 2011. Wyndham is the world’s largest hotel organisation as measured by the total number of properties in its portfolio.

Extra size wine glasses hides real calorie count

Nothing like French toast

FRENCH toast is currently the toast of British diners, with food writers like Grace Dent of the London Evening Standard calling it “the greatest new pudding in London for 2015,” with its “buttery, syrupy, sticky middle, crispy edged, hot from the pan sweet stodge.” The Guardian newspaper quotes Olive Magazine, which says: “Never has a slice of French toast been so large, or satisfyingly squidgy.” It has clearly come a long way from those slices of stale bread dipped in egg and fried, the eggy bread of a 1970s childhood, sprinkled with a bit of sugar and maybe a splodge of jam. “It took America, of course, to turn French toast into an extravaganza, stuffed with cream cheese or peanut butter or banana, soaked in bourbon custard and piled ludicrously high with towers of berries and whipped cream,” added the Guardian.

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THE trend for large wine glasses in UK outlets has fuelled a rise in the number of ‘invisible’ calories people are inadvertently consuming through alcohol, the chair of the Royal Society for Public Health has warned. Professor Fiona Sim told Britain’s Daily Telegraph that the slow increase in the volume of glasses meant few people realise how much they had consumed, or were aware how calorific alcohol can be. A 175ml glass of wine contains around 160 calories, the same amount as a slice of madeira cake, but many bars and restaurants now serve wine in large 250ml glasses or even larger.

“There is no reason why calories in alcohol could be treated any differently from those in food,” added Prof Sim.

Guest chef Gilles Reinhardt at Pullman JUNE 3 – 6 AT WINE PUB, PULLMAN BANGKOK KING POWER

PULLMAN Bangkok King Power is welcoming back Chef Gilles Reinhardt on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the 3 Michelin Stars of Paul Bocuse’s L’Auberge Du Pont de Collonges restaurant in France. From June 3 – 6 (dinner only), Chef Gilles will cook up his signature French nouvelle cuisine served in a choice of three, four and five-course set menus at Wine Pub, including, in the five-course set, ‘Black Truffle Soup V.G.E’ – one of the highlights of Paul Bocuse’s establishment and created especially for former French President Valery Giscard d’Estaing at the Elysée Palace of Paris in 1975. The three-course set menu is B2,999 per person; four-courses is B3,999; and five-courses is B5,555. Read our interview with Chef Gilles on page 56. Pullman Bangkok King Power, 8-2 Rangnam Rd. Thanon Phayathai Ratchathewi Tel: 02 680 9999 www.pullmanhotels.com


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Meet the Chef What’s your cooking philosophy? The most important thing in my cooking is the quality products I use. The most talented chef won’t do anything good unless he has top quality ingredients. Also, it’s also important to be happy! I like my job and I always feel good when I am cooking. I lead the team and I strive every day not to make good food but excellent food! Keeping our three Michelin stars is a daily challenge for all of us. This is why I make a point of being a role model for our young employees. Your favourite motto? “Whether modern or classic, there is only one cuisine: the one that tastes good!” What do you consider to be your biggest achievement so far? first ob was in a ne- ichelin-Star restaurant, and it was all I was waiting for. As we were a small team, I started cooking meat and then worked at all the other posts: pantry, pastry…I even washed dishes! Later, I had the chance to be the Chef of the Finance minister in Paris. I realized that an unlimited budget can boost creativity! It really was an amazing experience that lasted a year. Then I spent three years at ‘Les Crayères’ which is a Three-Michelin-star restaurant in the Champagne region. I improved my professional skills and technical know-how there. And after that, I went back to Paul Bocuse Collonges, as a sous chef. At 28, I was one of the youngest to be awarded with the eilleurs uvrier de France title. It was the result of my efforts and determination. I was so happy! Monsieur Paul himself

SERVING UP Gilles Reinhardt

Ahead of his guest appearance at Pullman Bangkok King Power next month (see page 54), we speak to The Executive Chef of L’Auberge du Pont de Collonges, Paul Bocuse’s three-Michelin Starred restaurant in Collonges au Mont d’Or, France, about his cooking philosophy and the challenges of running an award-winning kitchen

Most influential chefs? Monsieur Paul is my inspiration, known more for his respect of tradition than for his modernity. He contributed a lot to the recognition of the post of Chef – he is the one who takes the cooks out of the kitchen. Lots of them are grateful to him, and I owe him everything! Your favourite dish to cook? he first dish I remember cooking is a roasted chicken with a ‘Gratin Dauphinois.’ I think I made this for a family meal, it is typically what ou can find on a rench table for a family meal! Best region in France for food? Every region has its own specialty and cooks it in their very own unique way. Lyon food is very rustic and never fancy; like home cooking. We use a lot of pork, liver, fat, belly, intestine and most of the insides with stuffing to create our own nose-to-tail gastronomy. Most difficult dish to cook? he most difficult ones are always the simplest. I share the same thoughts as Vincent Van Gogh, who said Commeilestdifficile d’ tre simple or ow difficult it is to be simple.’ his is reflected in m approach to cooking.

gave me the medal with tears in his eyes; he was so touched! I sensed that I had to win this award or I might have lost his trust.

What is your signature dish? To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Paul Bocuse (see page ??), I will of course present the famous ruffle soup V. . . which is made of black truffles and foie gras in a beef consommé, and covered with a pastry hat. It is one of the highlights of Paul Bocuse’s establishment and was created especially for former French President Valery Giscard d’Estaing, at the Elysée Palace of Paris in 1975.

About the chef ■C illes was awarded the famous eilleurs uvriers de rance in b the then rench President ac ues Chirac. It is the most prestigious award for a chef and members of the pubic are able to distinguish a holder by the red, white and blue collar of their chef ’s jacket, representing the French Tricolore. You can try Chef Gilles' food for yourself in Bangkok next month, when he takes control of the kitchens at Pullman Bangkok King Power’s ine Pub from une - . ull details on page . Pullman B angkok K ing Power, 8- 2 Rangnam Rd. T hanon Phayathai Ratchathewi

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02 680 9999 pullmanhotels.com


Feature

STREETS AHEAD Exploring Bangkok’s Hottest Sois. Part 4 Wine & Dine in S tyle

ean & Te a Le af Th e C offee B

C re p es & C o

Soi La n g su a n

Eat Me et Swe et

other, WITH Lumpini Park at one end, Chidlom BTS at the (inrants and a host of excellent hotels, shops, and restau Asia’s cluding Gaggan, voted number one in the prestigious , Soi length its along 50 Best Restaurants 2015 competition) hed uis disting nable, fashio most Langsuan is one of the city’s look – it for word our take just don’t neighbourhoods. But has to the Crown Property Bureau, whose faith in the area a huge – t projec e Villag uan Langs its of launch the resulted in baht, condominium project, costing a whopping 26 billion 60 for which will focus on green, luxurious living (see page the full story). the But, wait, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Back to of kinds all nd fi you’ll and today present. Walk along the Soi cash. your with part places to tempt you to First, Gaggan. Securing a table for the night here ed has always been difficult, ten times so since it scoop the and h thoug ahead Book . award ed ention the aforem Gaggan owner rewards are worth the wait, because chef and have chefs no Anand boldly takes Indian cuisine where

G aggan 58

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Dha laa Coffee Shop

Tri plet s

B ras se

G aggan

rie


taken it before – think dishes such as Chowpati Year 2050, a wobbly creation that resembles a peeled soft-boiled egg, made by delicately dripping yoghurt into an alginate bath, which causes a thin gel membrane to form around the yoghurt. As soon as you pop the parcel in your mouth it explodes with a riot of flavour. Amazing. Then there’s Crepes & Co, a longtime expat favourite (it was a L L Si x To Twelve C afe established in 1996) specialising in ’ & So cia l B ar traditional and creative crêpes, and delicious home-style Mediterranean recipes; aLL Six To Twelve Cafe’ & Social Bar, a trendy neighbourhood hangout serving fusion and international comfort food as well as an extensive range of boozy cocktails; Eat Meet Sweet, selling pasta and steaks and its signature pork belly; and Stonehouse Bistro & Bar, whose recommended menu includes options such as Seared tuna salad, Herb Med ici Kit c h en & B a r crusted Australian lamb rack, and Seared Hokkaido scallop. Ba r Bist ro & e Some great dining experiences s u o h S tone await inside the fabulous Hotel Muse, an award-winning boutique hotel with a striking design (think turn-of-thecentur y grandeur given a contemporary, whimsical twist), the most recent of which, Babette’s The Steakhouse, opened just last month to much fanfare and now serves some of the finest slabs of impor ted grilled meat in Bangkok. The hotel’s rooftop bar, The Speakeasy, Roof 409 B ang ko k B a r & Bis is a great spot for a date, and its Italian tro Wine Lof t restaurant, Medici Kitchen & Bar, manages to be opulent and laid back at the same time, the hallmark of any good Other interesting options in the Soi include Triple restaurant aping the cuisine of the countr y ts Brasserie, ser ving French-inspired dis hes and a selection of pastas; boot. shaped like a No. 43 Italian Bistro at Cape House Ba ngkok (a luxury ser viced apartment and hotel), which lives up to its nam e by ser ving, you’ve gue ssed it, Italian bistro item (daily buf fet lunch is a bar s gain at just B390 per per son); and Per Te, a cozy Italian Restaurant and bak ery ser ving home-cooked comfor t food. Le Boeuf, a new outlet tha t’s also calling itself the Ste ak & Fries Bistro, is already winning plaudi ts on social media for its plain and clear culinary focus. It’s located on the ground floor of the Marr iott Mayfair Ser vice Suite, half way down Soi Langsu an. For cof fee, tea and soft dri nks swing by Dhalaa Co ffee Shop, or The Ninth. For beers, wines or cocktails hit up the afo rementioned rooftop bar at Muse, or head to The Portico Langsuan, where you’ll find Wine Loft and D’Orsay French Re Th e S p e a ke staurant (which also off as y ers reasonably priced dishes made using fine imp orted ingredients). Altern atively venture to the top of the Mercur y Ville Mall (which has many Jap ane se restaurants), where you can sit outdoo rs and enjoy a splendid vie w of Chidlom while sipping a beer or two at Ro of 409 Bangkok Bar & Bistro. l A wealth of restaurants, bars, hot els, and apartments. Eas y access to Chidlom BTS and Lumpin i Park. The Crown Proper ty Bureau is about to inject 26 Billion baht into a development project in Langsuan, safeguarding its future as a distinguished neighbourhood. L We can’t afford to live there!

Ma ll Merc u r y Ville

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Feature

By Maxmilian Wechsler

Coming soon!

Bangkok’s amazing 26 billion baht ‘Village’ on Soi Langsuan Huge city centre condominium project by the Crown Property Bureau will have more than By Maxmilian Wechsler twice the amount of open green space required by regulations

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AMID the surge of ever grander, taller and more luxurious condominium developments in Bangkok, the Langsuan Village project by the Crown Property Bureau (CPB) aims to stand out from all the rest. CPB says the eco-friendly development under construction in the centre of the city near Ploenchit Road will have residents thinking they are “living inside a park.” Announced by CPB Director-General Chirayu Isarankun Na Ayuthaya in September last year, the 56-rai plot is situated on Langsuan and Sarasin roads. This marks the first time in its 67year history that CPB, which administers the crown’s extensive property holdings and investments (see sidebar), has undertaken to develop a property completely on its own. The project is managed by CPB subsidiary Siam Sindhorn Company. The BigChilli met with Chalaluck Bunnag, director and CEO of Siam Sindhorn, at his office at the Sindhorn Building on Wireless

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Road. The office tower is only a short distance from the construction site and houses the sales offices for Langsuan Village. Mr Chalaluck said that before this project CPB acted mainly as a landlord, leasing land to low and middle-income earners, government agencies and non-profit organizations. Only seven percent of the total land owned by CPB has high potential economic value and have been utilized for commercial purpose.   “We wanted this property to adhere to a very high standard for the benefit of CPB’s stakeholders, and we didn’t want limitations imposed by outside developers. With the bidding methods used in the past, it was hard for developers to follow our standards as they have to maximize their profit. As for CPB, the goals of the work in the Langsuan plot do not just pertain to generate public benefits but also to increase the quality of life among local people and communities. We also want to place


unique. We want to set the standard for Thai property market. “Normally, prospective buyers are shown only a model of the buildings and not the surrounding areas. In this model you can see that we are surrounded by Lumpini Park and the US and Dutch embassies, which also have plenty of open green spaces. Add this to Langsuan Village’s own green areas  how can there be a better location in the middle of the city? Furthermore, all cables and the car park will be underground.”   After looking at the model, there’s no question that Langsuan Village is taking a different approach than the projects under construction in almost every vacant plot of land in Bangkok. All too often sales people promise a good living environment and birds-eye view of the city nicely featured in glossy brochures

Chalaluck Bunnag, director and CEO of Siam Sindhorn

great emphasis on the environment of a development. We want to construct high quality buildings that will last at least 100 years and provide residents with comfortable living.” The main parcel of land is approximately 52 rai (one rai is 1,600 square meters) stretching from Langsuan Soi 1 all the way to Sarasin Road. A smaller land plot is located just behind the Mater Dei School which measures about four rai.      Mr Chalaluck revealed two large-scale models of Langsuan Village that also include the overall surrounding area. The parklike atmosphere of the project was clearly evident in the models. “We have more than twice the amount of open green space required by regulations. The requirement is 30 percent, but we have 65 percent. All the green areas make our development

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Feature

A five storey modern art musuem is included in the project

and media adverts – only for buyers to discover later their view is simply the wall of another tower.   Many condos are built in narrow sois (alleys), creating bottlenecks in the city’s already horrendous traffic. What’s more, too many projects skimp on quality during construction, making it difficult to guarantee market value in the long run.   Mr Chalaluck said with conviction that none of these problems will plague Langsuan Village. “We use the name ‘Village’ because we want to make residents feel it is a community, with everything they need here. But this is a ‘city village,’ not a rural one. Langsuan Village will consist of about 1,700 residential units in 14 buildings. In fact, we could build more units that could accommodate up to 10,000 people, but we are building only for 4,000 – 5,000 people so it won’t be too crowded. This is in line with our development concept of ‘Living in the park.’”   “The project is purely residential, not commercial. We have one relatively small retail area for the convenience of residents such as a supermarket, food and beverage, salon, flower shop, laundry shop and general repair shop.   “There will be four 30-year plus 30year renewable lease condominiums. The first condominium, Sindhorn Residence, is

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already under construction. So far about 95 percent of the bookings have been made by Thai people. We will start the construction of the other buildings in the third quarter of 2015 and the whole project should be completed by 2019. The complex will have three serviced apartment buildings and a 200-room luxury hotel. Anyone can rent the serviced apartments, but we expect many expats will choose to do so because of the good location and environment.” “We also have a five-storey health centre. It will house emergency treatment facilities, doctors and dentists offices, a skin and beauty clinic, a physical therapy and rehabilitation clinic and a spa. Fully equipped ambulances will be on 24-hour standby to transport patients to nearby hospitals if needed.       “There will be a five-storey modern art museum exhibiting paintings and sculptures. We will have there a permanent collection from Her Serene Highness Princess Marsi Sukhumbhand Paribatra and also rotational exhibits. The permanent collection will be on one floor and the other four will be used for the rotation. The museum building will have meeting rooms and workshops. In the front we will have a three rai park for children and cultural activities. Altogether, Langsuan Village will have about 14 rai of parks.” CROWN PROPERTY   Mr Chalaluck said the underground parking allows the development to have BUREAU IN FOCUS much more green space and helps keep the THE Crown Property Bureau (CPB) was atmosphere free of pollution. The parking founded in 1936 under the Crown Property area will be three storeys deep and contain Act, B.E. 2479 and after amendments spaces for more than 1,500 vehicles. under the Crown Property Act B.E. 2484   “We will have a shuttle bus service, free and 2491, it was promulgated and became of charge, operating on private roads in the a juristic person in February 1948. Village. The buses will stop at locations inThe CPB is responsible for adminside Langsuan Village and also go to Central istrating the crown property. The CPB’s Chidlom and the Chidlom and Ploenchit BTS property is based in Bangkok and has stations. It might be extended to other places twelve provincial offices. but this is still under consideration. Actually, The CPB is currently managed by seven the farthest any residential building is from directors headed by the chairman of board, the BTS Ploenchit station is only about 500 who is always the sitting finance minister, meters, about a ten minute walk.” currently His Excellency Sommai Pasi.   Chirayu Isarankun Na Ayuthaya has Selling itself been the Director-General of the CPB and   the Grand Chamberlain of the Bureau of Mr Chalaluck called Langsuan Village a Royal Household since 1987. “prototype,” and without giving specifics According to Chalaluck Bunnag, Direchinted that CPB has plans to develop more tor and CEO of Siam Sindhorn Co., Ltd., of its own projects in the future. Asked why the CPB owns about 41,000 rai of land there hasn’t been any big media advertising mostly in Bangkok. About 93 percent of campaign or giant billboards along the highthis property is used for low and midways promoting Langsuan Village, he said dle-income earners, government agencies the best way is through word of mouth. and non-profit organizations. Only seven   “When people learn about the project percent have been utilized for commercial they are amazed at the technology we are purposes. implementing, like the installation of easy


replacement pipes and exhaust systems in the kitchens, noise protection between units and fresh air circulation inside the apartments. Our buildings will actually be ‘green buildings.’ We applied for certification from the US Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and we will be among the first condominium development in Thailand to obtain the LEED certificate. I can tell you, that it is not easy.” “We designed the buildings to be easily maintained, so the property will always look new. All the concrete is reinforced to withstand a powerful earthquake. We did 3D modeling based on the most accurate information on earthquakes available in this region. We simulated a 7.5 Richter scale earthquake originating in Kanchanaburi province. We also simulated an 8.0 earthquake from Myanmar and a 9.0 from the Andaman Sea. Based on the results we strengthened some structures and adopted other anti-earthquake measures. None of this was cheap, but it is worth the effort and expense to assure the safety of residents.”   One outstanding feature of Langsuan is the walking street, which will be a 300 meter stretch of retail space along Langsuan Road. The walking street is well designed housing the high-end food and beverage outlets and retail shops.      “We are cooperating with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration to improve all the footpaths along Langsuan, Sarasin and Tonson roads. We are also working with the BMA to pump clean water into Tonson Canal, which is now quite dirty, and with the Metropolitan Electricity Authority to put all the wiring underground.   “We have a number architects working on the project, but only two engineering firms (structural, and mechanical and electrical), one landscape company, and one prominent contractor for the whole project. We need the landscaping and engineering systems to be in harmony, but we need different architects because it promotes creativity. Siam Sindhorn wants the world to know that we have good Thai architects. In developing Langsuan Village we hope to achieve many benefits for Bangkok residents.”  

W Tying up loose ends

Asked about the former tenants on this large tract of land, Mr Chalaluck acknowledged that many people used to live on the main 52-rai parcel.

“Normally we would let tenants renew the lease contracts every three years, but in the year 2000 the lease renewal was ended. Tenants continued living in their place on a monthly basis. This went on for ten years before we started talking to them. In 2010 we informed the tenants that the land was going to be developed and we also gave them compensation, which is not our legal obligation. We gave every single tenant a 40,800 baht for one square wah (four square meters) of the leased land. This is not a small amount, and a lot of people were pleasantly surprised.”   “In addition, the 135 vendors who have been selling for a long time along soi Langsuan and Tonson, will be given a place to continue business inside Langsuan Village – and we’ll let them operate for nominal rent. This is for the community also.”   Mr Chalaluck said that the cost of the project, excluding the land, will be a whopping 26 billion baht. “Siam Sindhorn leases the land from the CPB for 60 years. The money to construct the project will come from loans from the CPB and banks, and our own money. While most developers take no responsibility of the property after it’s completed and units are transferred to customers, we will stick around and always be responsible for maintenance and so on.” “One good thing about this project is that the leasehold has no limit for foreigners. They can own units 100 percent. We have already bookings from 10 Japanese customers who want to stay together. Langsuan Village is the ideal place for foreigners as well as Thais.” “The serviced apartments will be fully furnished and we can help those who wish to buy condominium units with interior decoration. If you ask me, how Langsuan Village compares to other projects in Thailand, my honest answer is there’s no comparison. However, I am not saying that we are better than the others; it’s just that our concept is different. We don’t have much experience in property development but we work hard and we have hired the best people to help us.   “Langsuan Village will be a landmark of Bangkok. This is our assignment from the CPB, to make something beautiful for our city. As I said, we want to set a new standard for the Thai property market. I want to tell to all retired executives, both foreigners and Thais, that we will build one apartment building exclusively for them. The units will be senior-friendly, emphasizing on the safety of senior citizens. Tenants can rent for one, five or ten years, it’s up to them. It will be also the first of its kind in Thailand, and right in the centre of the city.   “In fact this is my plan: I will live in Langsuan Village as well. I have already found that walking from the Village to my office takes exactly 4 minutes and 45 seconds,” said a smiling Mr Chalaluck.

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Feature

On the highways with Thailand’s HOGs

By Ruth Gerson

Lots of motorcycle clubs exist here, but there’s only one genuine Harley Davidson owners’ club

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IN the movie ‘Wild Hogs’ John Travolta and his ageing mates go on an adventure-filled motorbike trip across the United States. But what are Hogs? In fact, HOG is the acronym for Harley Owners Group, a motorcycle club with a difference. And as the name implies, a pig or a boar’s head is the emblem of HOG groups worldwide. Mention of motorcycle clubs generally conjures up images of scruffy, overweight and heavily tattooed men and women ostentatiously riding oversized motorcycles, and making lots of noise to ensure their arrival is always noticed. The truth is motorcycle clubs vary enormously, from conservative, passionate riders to ‘rough riders’ and in some cases ‘outlawed ’groups. In Thailand there are over 50 motorcycle clubs (MCs as bikers refer to them), but only one HOG club. A HOG club can exist only if there is an official Harley Davidson dealer in the country. It was therefore a long and bumpy road to the formation of HOGs Thailand. The present club is young, having been legally registered as recently as 2012. This however was not the first attempt in putting together a Harley riders club. In the mid-1980s the then Harley dealer, G-Force, formed an unofficial club with the name of HOG Krungthep, which lasted for ten years. The club met its demise with the onset of the economic crisis of 1997 which affected many of its members. After floundering for a couple of years, the club closed in 2000. The Harley Davidson Group (HOG) organization is well structured. Founded in the United States in 1983 and centered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, it boasts over 1,000 HOG chapters worldwide with a membership of over one million people.

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To create a new chapter certain steps must be followed. Initially, a prospective club must register in the United States and join HOG International, a step taken by the Thai chapter known as Samakom HOG Prathet Thai (the HOG Association of Thailand) about ten years ago. Around the same time the now official Harley Davidson dealership opened its doors in Thailand. The current dealership, Power Station Motorsport, is owned and managed by Kim Swensson, a US citizen, who employs four expatriates well versed in motorcycle mechanics. The company was vetted for performance by the Harley home company, which sends experts from the United States from time to time to train and acquaint the staff with new features of the motorcycles. HOGs Thailand is defined as a riding club and is the marketing


arm of this Harley Davidson store which moved to its new location on the east section of Rama IX Road over a year ago. Beside the numerous motorcycle models, the store showcases Harley merchandise, including clothing, mugs, glasses and wall hangings. The HOG club is run like a business. There is a thirteen-person board of directors, eleven men and two women, comprising affluent and influential members of the Thai society. Harley Davidson bikes are not cheap, costing anywhere from 630,000 baht to over two million baht. The Rama IX store displays 32 models, from the heavy duty custom-made bikes and tourers to the lighter weight Dyna and Sportster. The latter is the best seller and popular with women and teenagers; although the average Harley owner is over thirty years of age there are some avid teenage owners.   People who wish to join the HOG chapter must be residents of Thailand and own a Harley Davidson bike. Membership fees are reasonable at US$45 for an annual membership in HOG International (a requirement) and B1,800 for the Thai chapter. Membership currently stands at around 1,350 mostly Thai nationals plus some 50 expatriates. The club is overwhelmingly male with just ten female members. Benefits of membership include bike tours, experiencing new adventures and meeting people who share similar interests. Member Khun Anuthep Srichawla says: “Riding brings us closer together, even the newcomers. There are numerous activities on the annual calendar and members are connected via an electronic newsletter. As most members are upstanding people in Thai society, they take their social responsibilities seriously by organizing fund raisers. “Although supporting a charity is not a requirement of a HOG chapter, it is encouraged. In the US, the official charity supported is Muscular Dystrophy while the Thai chapter selects local needy organizations and causes.” While the original company dates back to 1903 when a Mr Harley and three members of the Davidson family opened a factory for motorbikes in Milwaukee, the name hog came about in the 1920s, when farm boys would mount a live pig on their bike

B

to celebrate winning a race with other bikers. Harley clubs known as Road Hogs can be found in the US, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Europe. Members tend to be serious bikers who often include family members on their road trips. The emphasis is on a riding brotherhood, avoiding conflicts with other riding clubs. The Mild Hogs are mature (older) riders whose motto is “Ride for the journey not the destination!” Iron Hogs is for current and retired law enforcement officers and firefighters. Members are required to own a v-twin engine, which must be manufactured by a North American company. The club is known for raising money for worthy causes. Then there are the Vicious Hogs, an all-African-American riding club, and the best-known club of all, Hells Angels. Giving motorcyclists a bad name are Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs, also known as One Percenters because of their limited following. HOG Thailand’s annual calendar includes rides in Thailand and abroad, such as the recent outing to Sipsongpanna in southwest China, and along the spectacular Route 1 in California where they joined a US HOG group. Their motto is “Our goal is the trip not the destination!” And for members like Thassaneeya Pimpila, better known as Poo Lyman, motorcycle outings have another meaning: “It is more than just riding – it is a meditation for me. When I ride I concentrate on myself and forget everything.”

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Put your feet up and indulge

Pretty in pink: Thea’s Spring 2015 Collection is available now. Page 70.

Brittle nails can be the sign of ill health. Here are the warning signs Page 68

Hot new products and stores demanding your attention Page 70

Judith Coulson reveals the top ten foods for healthy hair Page 80 TheBigChilli

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Expat Women

Health

Why fingernails are a window to the soul ■ PAINT them, chew them, cut them and scratch them, nails are something we mostly take for granted. But nails, it transpires, are also an important barometer of one’s health. A woman whose nails developed horizontal ridges from under every cuticle following a bout of pneumonia was told by a doctor that the changes were probably a phenomenon known as beau’s lines, which result from a temporary disturbance in growth. The growth of new nail is extremely sensitive to a number of external factors such as pregnancy, the weather, age, stress and illness. Infections like pneumonia tend to inhibit growth and affect the formation of new nail, leaving a temporary deformity that moves up the nail as it grows. Other changes include spoon shaped nails, which may be due to iron deficiency, fragile, crumbling nails (thyroid trouble) and dark purplish longitudinal streaks under the nail (heart trouble). A sudden change known as clubbing in which there is loss of the natural angle between the nail and the cuticle, may indicate a sudden underlying illness, from cirrhosis of the liver to lung cancer. To check for clubbing, hold your finger horizontally in front of you and then view the nail side on; it should rise slightly as

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it emerges from the cuticle and heads towards the fingertip. “Just like the eyes are the window to the soul, so are the nails,” says Tamara Lior, MD, a dermatologist with Cleveland

What your nails say about your health Nail Appearance/Associated Condition • White nails Liver diseases such as hepatitis • ellowish thickened slow-growing nails Lung diseases such as emphysema • ellowish nails with a slight blush at the base iabetes • Half-white half-pink nails kidney disease • Red nail beds Heart disease • ale or white nail beds Anemia • itting or rippling of the nail surface soriasis or in ammatory arthritis • Clubbing a painless increase in tissue around the ends of the fingers or inversion of the nail Lung diseases • Irregular red lines at the base of the nail fold Lupus or connective tissue disease • ark lines beneath the nail Melanoma Tips for Strong, Healthy Nails To strengthen your nails avoid infections and improve their appearance try the following tips

Clinic Florida. Lior says she once convinced a patient to have his lungs checked after noticing a bluish tint to his nails, a sign that he wasn’t getting enough oxygen. Sure enough, he had fluid in his lungs. Warning signs for many other conditions, from hepatitis to heart disease, may also appear in the nails, according to Joshua Fox, spokesman for the American Academy of Dermatology. “Changes in the nails can be a sign of a local disease like a fungus infection or a sign of a systemic disease like lupus or anemia.” He adds that it is possible to tell if a person has anemia by looking at his or her nails. Pale, whitish nail beds may indicate a low red blood cell count consistent with anemia. An iron deficiency can cause the nail bed to be thin and concave and have raised ridges. Heart disease can turn the nail beds red. Obsessive-compulsive disorder can show up in the nails through persistent nail-biting or picking, Fox says. Even common disorders like thyroid disease can cause abnormities in the nail beds, producing dry, brittle nails that crack and split easily. He lists the following 10 examples of nail changes that could indicate a serious medical condition.

• Keep your nails clean and dry. • Avoid nail-biting or picking. • Apply moisturi er to your nails and cuticles every day. Creams with urea phospholipids or lactic acid can help prevent cracking. • File your nails in one direction and round the tip slightly rather than filing to a point. • on’t remove the cuticles or clean too deeply under your nails which can lead to infection. • on’t dig out ingrown toenails. See a dermatologist if they become bothersome. • Avoid nail polish removers that contain acetone or formaldehyde. • Bring your own instruments if you get freuent manicures. • If you have artificial nails check regularly for green discoloration (a sign of bacterial infection). • Eat a balanced diet and take vitamins containing biotin. • Finally ask your doctor to take a look at your nails during your ne t checkup. Fo says this is becoming more routine because the nails offer such a uni ue window into the health of our bodies.


Expat Women

Shopping

Hot products and stores demanding your attention

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News

Education

School Report New kids’ party packages at Novotel NOVOTEL Bangkok Ploenchit Sukhumvit has launched a new Kids’ Party Package starting at a very reasonable B450 per person (minimum 30 guests). Held over three hours, each party features a colourful themed setting with balloons and table centerpieces as well as special kids’ menus. Additional highlights and activities at extra charge include bouncy castles and other fun toys, along with mascot appearances, magic shows and games featuring surprise gifts for all. The hotel is located next to Ploenchit BTS Station Tel: 02-305 6000 www.novotelbangkokploenchit.com

Summer Camps

• KIS: June 15 – July 3. Opt for the Basketball Clinic coached by the school’s athletic and coaching coordinator, Samuel Holloway, alongside National Basketball team player Darungpong Apriomvilaichai; or the Swimming Clinic coached by

Peter Cseri, head coach at PB Corners. Registration deadline May 15. www.kis.ac.th • Bromsgrove International School: June 29 – July 12. Summer Sports Camp for ages 8-18. A two-week programme with world class football coaches and Olympic Games swimmer www.bromsgrove.ac.th • The Regent’s International School Bangkok: June 29 – July 17. Early Years & Primary Camp (ages 3-11); Secondary Camp (ages 12-18); Secondary IELTS Course (12-18); Secondary Mandarin Course (ages 12-18) www.regents.ac.th

NIST selected to pilot Harvard Business School Course

HARVARD Business School’s new online course aimed at teaching business fundamentals – called CORe – will be piloted at NIST International School this year. Taking place over 11 weeks, starting in June and finishing in August, the course covers the fundamentals of business analytics, economics for managers and financial accounting. All of the content was designed by Harvard faculty and staff, as was the online platform. www.nist.ac.th

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Bromsgrove opens new Performing Arts Centre

BROMSGROVE International School Thailand invited His Excellency Mark Kent, British Ambassador to Thailand, to formally open its state-of-the-art Performing Arts Centre. Highlights of the new building, which further enhances Bromsgrove’s excellent provision in the Arts, include a stunning 500-seat auditorium and a dozen bespoke, 21st Century learning spaces.


School Report

Harrow

Harrow International School Bangkok, where music starts from day one ■ IT is said that the best time to start music education is in the mother’s womb. At Harrow International School Bangkok, we do the next best thing, we start music education from our youngest toddlers because we believe that music is so important to a child’s development. There has been extensive research on the benefits of music linked to language development, social skills, reasoning skills and cognitive development, but the main

obvious benefit is that children love music. This is evident in the smiles of all children when singing and dancing in class or even in the playground as they move around or play with their friends. In the Early Years from Toddlers to K2, children have the chance to explore their music-making through songs, chants, finger plays, movement, instrument play and musical stories. This is where we start helping our little ones become future musicians. By Year 1 and Year 2 in Infant School, the children are ready to start learning an

appropriate instrument for their age. We also cater to our young enthusiastic singers by offering an early choir group, The Sing A Long Club. Our Pre Prep children in Years 3 to 4 benefit from an instrumental programme where children are able to try different instruments and learn one particular instrument which will lead into Year 6. All the while at the heart of music education in school, the children still continue to sing, dance, play and enjoy their music making. We have so many Clubs and activities in the Lower School which children may join. These include The Junior Orchestra, Junior Choir, Sing A Long Club, Ukulele Club, Amazing Strings, Fantastic Strings, Thai Music Club, and Cello Club. In Addition to all these music activities, there are also many performance opportunities for our enthusiastic performers with many different concerts and assemblies throughout the year. We encourage every child to enjoy to sing or play their instrument. Yes, music is everywhere here and we are proud of it! – By Terry Luna, Head of Lower School Music www.harrowschool.ac.th

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School Report

Traill

What makes an International School “international”?

A valuable education is built on cultural understanding, writes Gordon Espley-Jones ■ WITH the proliferation of schools claiming to be “international” both here in Thailand as well as throughout the world, I think that it is important for school leaders, teachers and parents to reflect on exactly what that means and what the characteristic features of a truly international school are. Many parents see international schools as a means of enabling their children to broaden their options in life by leaving school with more internationally recognized qualifications and with the ability to speak English fluently. It is a shame if this is all they wish to gain, as a truly international school has so much more to offer. Many schools call themselves international, simply by offering a curriculum which is foreign to that of their host country, usually British or American, although the variety is increasing at a staggering rate. In addition, the language of instruction is usually different to that over their home country and is usually English. I would argue that, if that is all that is different, then all you have is a foreign school abroad, which is very different to a truly international school. The real value of an international education lies less in the curriculum and the qualifications but more in the values

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of understanding, empathy and teamwork between students from different cultures. It is not sufficient just to have this as part of the school’s mission statement, or to have the annual International Day celebrations. It must be firmly embedded in the curriculum from an early age, starting from Intercultural Studies in the primary school up to Global Awareness/ Perspectives for the more senior students. At Traill International School, we have found the most successful vehicle to deliver this part of the curriculum is through the Modern Languages

department, as language and culture are inextricably intertwined. We have found this to be very popular with both students and parents and we are currently investigating ways of expanding it further. My three children spent all of their school lives in truly international schools around the world and, for me, the ease with which they can relate to, and work with, people from different cultures from around the world, is testament to the value of a truly international education. www.traillschool.ac.th


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BROMSGROVE International School Thailand formally opened its state-of-theart Performing Arts Centre with a special ceremony presided over by His Excellency Mark Kent, British Ambassador to Thailand. For more info about the center see page 72.

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Expat Women

Health

1.

2.

Salmon for shine

FISH such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel are packed with healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Your body can’t make these healthy fats, so you have to get them from food or supplements. They help protect you from disease, and your body also needs them to grow hair and keep it shiny and full.

Grow with Greek yogurt

IT’S packed with protein, the building block of your locks. Greek yogurt also has an ingredient that helps with blood flow to your scalp and hair growth. It’s called vitamin B5 (known as pantothenic acid) and may even help against hair thinning and loss. You may recognize pantothenic acid as an ingredient in numerous hair and skincare products. Natural Greek Yogurt can also be used as natural hair conditioner (see directions under http://go.shr.lc/1FBHRdm).

Top 10 foods for healthy hair By Judith Coulson

Did you know Greek yogurt can help your locks grow faster? Here’s what else you should be eating for nourished and beautiful hair…

3.

Spinach to battle brittle hair

LIKE so many dark green leafy vegetables, spinach is full of amazing nutrients. It has tons of vitamin A, plus iron, beta carotene, folate, and vitamin C. These work together for a healthy scalp and mane. They keep your hair moisturized so it doesn’t break. Want to mix it up a little? Kale is another great green choice.

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4.

Guava to prevent breakage

THIS tropical fruit brims with vitamin C. It protects your hair from breaking. One cup of guava has 377 milligrams of vitamin C. That’s more than four times the minimum daily recommended amount.


5.

Whole grain cereal to prevent loss

GETTING too little iron can lead to hair loss. But you can find this important nutrient in whole grain cereal, grains, and pastas, as well as soybeans and lentils. Beef, especially organ meats like liver, have lots of it. Shellfish and dark leafy greens do too.

6.

Lean poultry for thickness

WHEN you don’t get enough protein, hair growth “rests.” Since it stops and older hairs fall out, you can have hair loss. To get protein from meat, pick lean options like chicken or turkey, which have less saturated fat than sources like beef and pork.

7.

Sweet potatoes to fight dull locks

HAVE dry hair that’s lost its shine? Sweet potatoes are filled with an antioxidant called beta carotene. Your body turns beta carotene into vitamin A, which helps protect against dry, dull hair. It also encourages the glands in your scalp to make an oily fluid called sebum that keeps hair from drying out. You can also find beta carotene in other orange vegetables like carrots, pumpkin, cantaloupe, and mangoes.

8.

Cinnamon for circulation

SPRINKLE this spice on your oatmeal, toast, and in your coffee. It helps with blood circulation, bringing oxygen and nutrients to your hair follicles.

9.

10.

YOUR protein and iron bases are covered when you eat eggs. They’re rich in a B vitamin called biotin that helps hair grow. Not having enough of this vitamin can lead to hair loss. Biotin also helps strengthen brittle fingernails.

THESE are rich in zinc. When you don’t have enough of this mineral in your diet, you can suffer from hair loss (including your eyelashes!). Cells that build hair rely on zinc to help them work their hardest. You can also find this mineral in beef, crab, lobster, and whole grain cereal.

Eggs for growth

Oysters for fullness

Judith Coulson is a Medical Nutrition & Lifestyle Coach, specialized in drug free disease prevention and health promotion, for individuals, schools and executive teams. Contact Judith@coulson-holding.com

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Expat Women

Advice Send your problems to: thebigchillimagazine@gmail.com

Problems solved

fer in silence. Send in your problems suf n’t Do ? wn do you g tin get life t pa Ex nsellors Anette and Johanna and get advice from professional cou

Q

Gripped by grief

death of your cat and is a loss and you have to grieve the What makes it hard somehow make your peace with it. self you should not your for you is that somehow you tell should be reasonI am writing you about a you that feel so emotional about it and strange situation. I have always able or down to earth. harder it will bebeen a rational, down to earth The more you tell yourself this, the bee hav I ly late but person, to be acknowledged. come to allow your feelings of loss ted star It al. tion emo y ver come tion when you lose It is normal to feel sadness and emo She . died cat my r afte k wee one loved it so much. your pet. Even more so when you ral, normal, had been with my family for 12 All your reasoning that this is natu valid and true her. be d years and I love perhaps even good for the pet, may would she e hom ved arri I n miss your cat, whe you ing that fact Ever y even but it doesn’t take away the one day she that w kne I ing when you me. even for ry ing Eve wait you. e be ther who was a companion for ing older, but I gett for food, for was you, she for as y, ing awa wait s e pas ther ld wou arrived home she was emo h muc so me ct a connection between did not expect it would affe mutual affection, and she offered tionally. two living beings. ided it was her owledge your The cat herself more or less dec Allow yourself to miss her and ackn tly quie n ofte sat eat, to sed time to die. She refu feelings of sorrow. night I saw her it you can give in front of the window. The last You buried her already but maybe e to hide. plac a nd fi to ying res you have and tr pictu was the she looked like yourself some time to go over lap. my on ing even le ious existence of who prev the the te” sat Then she make memories, to “celebra ed lter she a in The next mor ning I found her this cat in your life. a place in your life. corner and she was dead. After a while your loss might find ied bur I and her, of s ure underneath the I have some nice pict If not there might be deeper issues I and cat my s mis I . loss a le that are triggered her, but I feel such grief. Loss of other things or peop doesn’t it w eho som but ral’ natu is reason that ‘this by this loss. about this with seriously and help me. I feel ashamed to talk Take yourself and your own feelings over the top an as ed rience ceiv per expe le be ld peop r cou it others as do not dismiss them. How othe p! Hel ? this dealing r ove and ng get I copi do of way How r . reaction things in their lives is thei life and own your dle han to have you with life events, but your own way. Niki, 41, from Ger many deal with events and challenges in yourself permisgive to you help will this I do hope s, no matter what sion to experience your own emotion others say or think. Dear Niki, ■ The situation you are describJohanna De Koning ing is not that uncommon. Most people don’t talk much about it, but what you are experiencing is grief. You loved your cat and it was part of your life for 12 years and now it is gone. That

A

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Q

Jaded expats raise concerns

I am new to Bangkok (relatively – I’ve been here for three months now) and I love it here. Thailand is beautiful, the people are ver y friendly and life is so much easier

than back home. I think I’m about to fall in love with a ver y pretty girl who also likes me and I would love to stay (I’m sure it’s easy to get a job) but what’s really beginning to get to me is the attitude of many long-term expats. Whenever I talk to them they tell me all sorts of stories about the negative side of Thailand. It seems most of them have been deceived, used for their money (some by the Thai women they live with or even married), and suffered in various ways which they are only too happy to explain to me from all the things that are, in their opinion, wrong with this countr y. If I stay here, I can’t see how I will be able to avoid them, although I would expect to speak Thai quite well in a few more months and have many more Thai friends (I already have quite a few). But obviously I want to have some foreigners as friends, too. But listening to them really brings me down and they also make me feel naïve and even stupid maybe. But the last thing I want is to become like them. What can I do?

And maybe, and I mean that in a positive way, you could perhaps use their stories to learn something for yourself. If you take away the bitterness that you perceive, maybe there is a little bit of reality in their warnings. Maybe it is a good idea to base big decisions like relocating to the other side of the world on research and fact finding rather than feelings alone. Maybe it would be worth finding out how easy it really is to get a job (and all the requisite paperwork for a long-term visa). Maybe you can ask others how long it took them to learn Thai and how they did it. Maybe it is a good idea to test your budding relationship with the Thai girl you mention, not just through your feelings but also in more practical ways. There is bound to be a big cultural difference between the two of you, and that needs a lot of work, even for a very loving couple. If you feel you can, why don’t you ask the ‘negative expats’ at what point their attitude towards Thailand changed, and how they felt when they first got here. I agree with you, you will probably have quite a bit of contact with foreigners here and you will probably want to. But most of all, don’t let other people’s problems and fears dictate how you live your life. Enjoy! And welcome to Bangkok. Anette Pollner

Harr y, 24, from the UK

A

Dear Harr y,

■ This is a wonder ful time in your life. You have come to a country that you can fall in love with. How often does this happen? So I think this is a time to simply enjoy. And, yes, it will probably not last forever, just as it seems it didn’t last for all those other expats. Has it occurred to you that maybe they, too, were once in love with Thailand and their current negativity is that of a disappointed lover? As time goes on, of course, your experience becomes more complex. On the other hand, complaining about the place you live is a sure sign that someone feels, in some way, at home there. These long-term expats are after all still here, aren’t they? In spite of what they say?

• Johanna DeKoning MS is the Clinical Director of NCS Counseling Center. She trained in the Netherlands and Australia.

• 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.

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

TheBigChilli

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Y O U R U L T I M A T E W H A T ’ S O N G U I D E F O R M A Y 1 5

What’s on

pArt pPerformance pSport pFootball pMovies & Albums pBooks

Irish hit-makers Boyzone are bringing their 20th anniversary tour to Bangkok. Page 87.

Catch the Dutch DJ, producer and drummer live at Levels Page 86

The American singersongwriter brings her catchy tunes to BKK Page 87

Veteran pop and rock bands from the UK bring the ’60s back to life Page 87Page 84 TheBigChilli 85


Pulse City beat

May

What’s On ART

STAGE

SPORT

CULTURE

• We Came

• The Butterfly’s

As Romans

Spirit Charity Concert

M ay 25

J une 9

Live House Studio Bangkok (JJ GREEN)

Thailand Cultural Centre

FLYING in from Troy, Michigan, the American melodic metalcore band is sure to whip up a mosh pit frenzy with its signature fusion of metal and punk, including tracks from its three studio albums – To Plant a Seed (2009), Understanding What We’ve Grown to Be (2011), and Tracing Back Roots (2013). Tickets B900 thaiticketmajor.com

20 great things to see and do in Bangkok & beyond...

POP singer Tata Young is just one of the big names lending her talents to this charity concert organized by LifeRevo Foundation in cooperation with Bangkok Charity Orchestra. The performance tells the story of a butterfly pupa before it becomes a butterfly – themes of transformation and development which perfectly match the concert’s goals (all revenue, after expenses, will be donated to the Deep South Relief and Reconciliation Foundation). liferevo.org

lcharityorchestra.org

• DJ Jay Hardway J une 11

Levels, Sukhumvit Soi 11

ELECTRO house will be the order of the day when Dutch DJ, producer and drummer Jay Hardway takes control of the turntables at Levels. Tickets: TBA

levelsclub.com

• Phuket International Rugby 10s M ay 29 - 31

Thanyapura Sports & Leisure Club

The 17th edition of this popular annual tournament will once again bring together 20 teams (plus 12 veterans teams) from around the world for three days of action-packed rugby.

• Flores De Mayo, Santacruzan M ay 23

Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit 22

MEMBERS and friends of the United Filipinos in Thailand (UFT) will gather to celebrate the Philippines’ annual ‘Flowers of May’ festival with a grand gala dinner featuring cultural performances and the traditional Santacruzan – a beauty pageant held in honour of Helena of Constantinople.

Tickets: B1,800 (contact Ms Angie dela Rosa on 086 375 3058 or Ms Bernadette Kongsawasdi at 081 830 8632).

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• Laguna Phuket

phuketrugby10s.com

International Marathon

• Bangkok Comedy

J une 7

Various dates

Laguna Phuket Resort

The Comedy Club Bangkok

OVER 6,000 participants from over 50 countries are expected to take part in the 10th edition of this gruelling annual run. Five options are on offer: marathon, half marathon, 10.5km run, 5km walk, and 2km kids run.

RIB-tickling performances by American comic William Childress and Comedy Central Comedian Tom Rhodes are just two of the highlights at Bangkok’s first dedicated comedy venue this month. Full details on page 22.

phuketmarathon.com

comedyclubbangkok.com

• Samui Regatta M ay 23 - 30

Koh Samui (Chaweng Beach)

THE final event in the 2014/15 Asian Yachting Grand Prix Championship will feature some of the region’s top racing yachts crewed by more than 500 competitors from over 22 countries. Expect top quality competition on the waves, nightly beach parties, and an event-capping five-star gala dinner at Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui, Chaweng Beach. samuiregatta.com

• In The Woods T hrough M ay

Neilson Hays Library

CREATED over the last three years in Bulgaria, Thailand and China, Marie Chantal Biela’s second solo exhibition in Bangkok includes single and multiple run lithographs, on stone and plate, printed on a full range of colour paper. Is it a glance, view or emotion? In the woods, anything can happen.

195 Surawong Rd 02 233 1731 neilsonhayslibrary.com


• Words on Water

• My Companions 2

• PAT Mini Marathon

M ay 25

M ay 14 – J uly 14

M ay 31

Chulalongkorn University (Main Hall)

Centara Grand at CentralWorld (Sky Lobby)

Klongtoey, Bangkok

THE Festival of India in Thailand draws to a close this month with an exclusive literature event featuring five of India’s leading authors. Among them: Vikas Swarup, whose book Q&A was translated into the multi-Oscar winning film Slumdog Millionaire.

Music of the ’60s

INSPIRED by friendship and love, Suraporn Lertwongpaitoon’s latest exhibition features a series of cartoon-style dogs, etched in wood and placed on vibrant backgrounds.

M ay 16

festivalofindia.com

M ay 24

Impact Arena, Muangthong Thani

THE reunited Irish-hit makers are bringing their 20th anniversary tour to Bangkok. Expect to hear earworms such as A Different Beat, Isn’t It A Wonder, Picture Of You, and No Matter What, as well as other crowd pleasers from their six studio albums. Tickets range B1,200-B5,000 thaiticketmajor.com

• Jack and the Beanstalk 24, 30 &

Muangthai GMM Live House (CentralWorld, 8th Fl)

999/ 99 Rama 1 Rd., P athumwan 02 100 1234 centarahotelsresorts.com

31

DoubleTree by Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok

DESIGNED for children aged 4-9, Bangkok Community Theatre’s wonderfully inventive version of the classic fairy tale involves the audience in the action throughout (kids can go in costume to add to the fun). Performances will be held twice daily – 1.30pm and 4pm. Limited tickets so book early.

Sukhumvit Soi 26. Tickets: B220 per person. bangkokcommunitytheatre.com

Tickets range B2,500-B7,500 thaiticketmajor.com facebook.com/ ME G Thailand

runthailand.com

• Frequenting Ley Lines

VETERAN pop and rock bands from the UK such as The House of the Rising Animals (House Sun, Don’t Bring Me Down), Ob-La-Di The Marmalade (Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da, Baby Make it Soon), Mike Pender’s Searchers Sweets For My Sweet Sweet, Sugar and (Sweets Spice), The Tremeloes (Twist Dance), The And Shout, I Can Dance Troggs (Wild Thing, Love Is All ), and more ’60s favourAround), and ites will bring to life their classic hits in Bangkok. Starts at 5pm.

• Boyzone

M ay 23 &

• British Invasion:

STARTING and finishing at Klongtoey Port, The Port Authority of Thailand’s annual mini marathon is now in its 64th year. Two distances are available (4km or 10.5km) and entry is just B250 per person.

T hrough M ay 24

CHOMP The Comfort Cafe

ENGLISH artist Hannah Theodoorou makes her solo exhibition debut in Bangkok with a series of drawings, paintings, sculptures and tapestries which explore the merging point in which memories of reality and fantasy meet. Sam Sen Soi 1 (Thanon L amphu) 084 098 8633 facebook.com/ chompcafe

• Katy Perry M ay 14

Impact Arena, Muang Thong Thani

• Full Metal Dojo 5: Made in Thailand M ay 9

Live House Studio Bangkok (Chatuchak)

ORGANISED to promote grass roots Mixed Martial Arts development in Thailand, Full Metal Dojo’s Thai-only Amateur MMA event features fighters from the country’s best combat sports gyms. Live rock music, DJ performances, auctions, and shopping opportunities add to the fun. Doors open 5pm. Show runs 6pm-11.30pm.

Tickets: B1,500 or B2,000 thaiticketmajor.com facebook.com/ fullmetaldojo

CATCH the American singer-songwriter performing her chart-topping – and dance inducing – singles such as I Kissed A Girl, Firework, and Roar, as well as songs from her fourth studio album, Prism. Tickets range B2,000 – B6,500 thaiticketmajor.com

• Supersports 10 Miles International Run J une 14

CentralWorld, Bangkok

SUPERSPORTS’ popular annual Bangkok run returns this month with a choice of 10 miles, five miles, or two miles circuits, each starting and finishing outside CentralWorld shopping mall (Ratchadamri Rd). amazingfield.net

• Thailand Rugby Nines J une 6

Pattaya

THAILAND Rugby League’s inaugural Thailand Nines Tournament kicks off this month with an action-packed event featuring 24 Mens teams. All going to plan, the tournament will be hosted each year in a different city (Bangkok, Pattaya, Hua Hin, Phuket, and Chiang Mai), as well as include Women’s and Junior teams too. Details were scarce at time of writing, but expect them to be posted nearer the date on www.trlrugby13.com. on.fb.me/ 1P 3uJF

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THE THEBUTTERFLY’S BUTTERFLY’SSPIRIT SPIRIT June June 9, 2015 9, 2015 7pm 7pm at Thailand at Thailand Cultural Cultural Centre, Centre, Main Main HallHall

"Rebuilding "RebuildingLives Livesfor forNepal" Nepal" LifeRevo LifeRevo (www.liferevo.org) (www.liferevo.org) in collaboration in collaboration with with the Bangkok the Bangkok Charity Charity Orchestra Orchestra (www.charityorchestra.org) (www.charityorchestra.org) is organizing is organizing a charity a charity concert concert in response in response to the torecent the recent catastrophe catastrophe in Nepal in Nepal under under the name the name "The"The Butterfly’s Butterfly’s SpiritSpirit Charity Charity Concert". Concert". The proceeds The proceeds fromfrom the ticket the ticket salessales will be willdonated be donated to help to help victims victims of of the earthquake the earthquake disaster disaster in Nepal in Nepal through through the Rotary the Rotary ClubClub of Kathmandu. of Kathmandu.

The event The event will be willheld be held on June on June 9, 2015 9, 2015 at the atThailand the Thailand Cultural Cultural Centre Centre (Main(Main Hall).Hall). The Bangkok The Bangkok Charity Charity Orchestra Orchestra and the andnewly the newly formed formed Bangkok Bangkok Charity Charity Choir, Choir, under under the baton the baton of itsoffounder, its founder, Chulayuth Chulayuth Lochotinan, Lochotinan, will perform will perform an exciting an exciting mix of mix classical of classical and pop and pop programme. programme. This This special special eventevent will feature will feature performances performances by renowned by renowned artists artists including including MissMiss Thailand Thailand World World 2014,2014, KhunKhun Maeya Maeya Nonthawan Nonthawan Thongleng, Thongleng, KhunKhun RoseRose Sirinthip, Sirinthip, and Khun and Khun PurePure Ekkapan Ekkapan Wannasut Wannasut (Winner (Winner of the ofKPN the KPN Award Award Singing Singing Contest Contest 2010). 2010). TheyThey will be willjoined be joined by Khun by Khun Rasaek Rasaek Ratthantanakul, Ratthantanakul, a pianist a pianist and the andFounder the Founder of LifeRevo of LifeRevo . The. The Butterfly's Butterfly's SpiritSpirit is theiscourageous the courageous transformation transformation that the thatcaterpillar the caterpillar takestakes to to become become a butterfly, a butterfly, it signifies it signifies rebirth rebirth of a nation of a nation in recovering in recovering fromfrom natural natural disaster.

disaster.

LifeRevo LifeRevo aimsaims to support to support projects projects for helping for helping children children in Thailand in Thailand to to develop develop creativity, creativity, courage, courage, and self-confidence and self-confidence to make to make their their dreams dreams comecome true.true. Therefore, Therefore, through through this concert, this concert, LifeRevo LifeRevo will also will also showcase showcase its project its project in in association association with with “TJ Run “TJ Run for Charity” for Charity” (www.tjrunforcharity.com) (www.tjrunforcharity.com) to celebrate to celebrate its its achievement achievement in donating in donating part part of itsofproceeds its proceeds fromfrom sponsored sponsored charity charity run to run to purchase purchase children's children's playgrounds playgrounds in theinsouthern the southern province province of Thailand.

of Thailand.

We appreciate We appreciate you support you support and look and look forward forward to seeing to seeing you at you the atconcert. the concert. If youIf wish you wish to make to make a donation, a donation, please please kindly kindly contact contact KhunKhun Airadha, Airadha, LRF LRF Manager, Manager, Mobile Mobile 088 486 088 9994, 486 9994, E-mail E-mail : donation@charityorchesta.org

: donation@charityorchesta.org

Organized Organized by by

LRF LRF

Sponsored Sponsored by by


Maeya Maeya Nonthawan Nonthawan Thongleng Thongleng (Miss (Miss Thailand Thailand World World 2014) 2014) / / Rose Rose Sirinthip Sirinthip / Pure / Pure KPNKPN (KPN (KPN Awards) Awards) / Richard / Richard JoeJoe / / Chulayuth Chulayuth Lochotinan Lochotinan / Bangkok / Bangkok Charity Charity Orchestra Orchestra (BCO) (BCO) andand Choir Choir

Tickets Tickets 500500 / 800 / 800 / 1,200 / 1,200 / 1,500 / 1,500 THB THB Tickets Tickets available available from from 14 May 14 May 2015 2015 at www.charityorchestra.org at www.charityorchestra.org

Media Media Partner Partner


Pulse City beat

Screen

5/28

THE VOICES

JURASSIC WORLD

SOME people never learn. Twenty-two years after the events of Jurassic Park, the harebrained scientists are at it again – this time creating a genetically modified hybrid mutant dinosaur, known as Indominus Rex, which is bigger, scarier, and hungrier than a T-Rex. A lot for park-ranger Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) to contend with, then, when the dino-poo inevitably hits the fan once again. Ruuuuun!

6/11

ALL is not what it seems in this bizarre and twisted tale about a man called Jerry (Ryan Renolds) who meets an attractive woman (Gemma Arterton) during a company picnic. Returning home to regale his pets with his exciting news – Jerry’s somewhat surprised when his furry companions open their fang-lined mouths to reply.

TOMORROWLAND

5/21

EXPECT Sci-Fi thrills galore when former boy-genius inventor Frank (George Clooney) and curious teen Casey (Britt Robertson) embark on a mission to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space – where their actions directly affect the world and themselves.

5/28 SAN ANDREAS

MUSCLE-BOUND action hero Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson finds himself up against his toughest adversary yet in this disaster movie directed by Brad Peyton (Journey 2: The Mysterious Island). Johnson stars as Ray Gaines, a talented Los Angeles Fire Department rescue pilot, whose whole world is turned upside down when an earthquake rips through California putting his daughter’s life at risk. Johnson may normally dispense legions of baddies using just his little finger, but Mother Nature? – now that’s a different story.

New albums

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Best Coast California Nights (Release Date: May 5)

Thee Oh Sees Mutilator Defeated At Last (Release Date: May 18)

Paul Weller Saturn’s Pattern (Release Date: May 12)

Hot Chip Why Make Sense? (Release Date: May 19)

Snoop Dogg Bush (Release Date: May 12)

Tanlines Highlights (Release Date: May 19)

Brandon Flowers The Desired Effect (Release Date: May 18)

The Vaccines English Graffiti (Release Date: May 26)

TheBigChilli

T O PPI N G T H EU K C H A RT S M A Y 1995 1.Robson & Jerome – Unchained Melody 2.Oasis – Some Might Say 3.Livin’ Joy – Dreamer (remix) 4.Perez ‘Prez’ Prado & His Orchestra – Guaglione 5.Scatman John – Scatman 6.Wet Wet Wet – Julia Says 7.Ali Campbell – That Look In Your Eye 8.Billie Ray Martin – Your Loving Arms (remix) 9.Machester United Football Squad featuring Stryker – We’re Gonna Do It Again 10. Paul Weller – The Changingman

TheBigChilli 90


Pulse City beat

In the Tony spotlight Jah

Thailand’s superstar goes international ■ THE former stuntman from Surin, Northeast Thai-

land, who grew up dreaming of one day becoming another Bruce Lee or Jackie Chaan, is now a global star, thanks to his appearance in two top-rated movies, Fast and Furious 7 and Skin Trade. In this exclusive interto Lekha Shankar at the premiere view, Tony Jaa talks to  of Skin Trade. How has your English-language improved so much? I’ve been working hard at it for two years, by watching tapes and a lot of English films. The same way you learned about martial arts, right? Yes, I learned a lot from watching the films of Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan before I started regular training. Do you still live in Bangkok, and how’s your daily schedule?   Yes, I stay at Pathum Thani, outside Bangkok. I wake up at 6am every day, train, meditate, pray. I have faith in many Gods – Buddha, Shiva, Christ. I also like to sing, and improve my voice. What was the experience of your first Hollywood film ‘Fast and Furious 7’ like?   It was a huge learning experience! The Hollywood stars were very friendly, but also very professional, and I learned a lot from them. My role was small, but my chief aim was to introduce aspects of Thai culture, like doing the Wai, and saying ‘Sawadee Krub.’ Tell us about ‘Skin Trade’ I’m proud that 95 percent of Skin Trade was shot in Thailand, with a Thai crew and Thai director (Ekachai Uekrongtham). It showed what Thai people can do. I spoke my own English dialogue, did my own stunts, and felt very satisfied. What about the kissing scene with you and the lead actress?   That was a first time for me – till then my romantic scenes were with elephants! Having been brought up in Surin working with elephants, I guess they have a special place for you, right? I love them totally. I can control them better than human beings. Any more movie roles planned? Yes, there are many in discussion, and my manager Mike Selby is handling them. Any advice for those who want to get into the film industr y? The main point is to remain totally focused. Don’t forget your target, never lose your motivation, and always work from your heart. Is that why fans are so important to you? Yes, it’s my fans who have made me what I am today. I was totally inspired by my film-heroes, and I want to inspire my fans too. I’m proud that I have fans all over the world, from India to Australia to the US.

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Pulse City beat

Football Focus B Y PA U L H EWI T T

In memory of Coach Tak R espe c ted f ootbal l c oac h A ttaphol Bus pak om has pas sed aw ay, age d j us t 52

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THAI football is in mourning following the sudden, shocking death of Attaphol Buspakom, commonly known as ‘Coach Tak,’ aged just 52. The hugely respected head coach died on the April 16 after being taken ill eight days earlier with a blood infection related to a kidney transplant operation he had undergone earlier in the year. Thai and foreign players alike, coaches, chairmen and fans all around the country expressed their grief and condolences through traditional media and social media. Khun Attaphol’s playing career was an impressive one. He spent the vast majority of his career with Port Authority of Thailand FC (today’s Port FC), but also spent time with Pahang FC in Malaysia. He also won 85 caps for his country, scoring thirteen goals. His first coaching assignment was at BEC Tero Sasana whom he initially joined as assistant coach in 2001, becoming head coach a year later. He could hardly have got off to a better start, leading Tero all the way

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to the AFC Champions League final where they were narrowly defeated 2-1 over two legs by Al Ain of the UAE. Domestically, he led Tero to consecutive second-place finishes in the TPL. Short, fruitless spells followed at Geylang United of Singapore, Krung Thai Bank (now Bangkok Glass), and TTM Samut Sakhon. Success was just around the corner, though, as he joined newly promoted Muangthong United in 2009 and promptly led them to the TPL title in their first ever season in the top division. Harshly, bizarrely sacked by Muangthong in early 2010 and replaced by Rene Desaeyere, Coach Tak was quickly snapped up by another club with big ambitions, Buriram United. In his first season at the Thunder Castle, he took the team to a second place finish in the league and a League Cup final. In 2011, he led Buriram to a historic domestic treble. The league was won in dominant fashion as Buriram finished fully sixteen points ahead of second place

Chonburi. In the FA Cup final, Muangthong were seen off 2-1, and Thai Port were beaten 2-1 in the League Cup final in a reverse of the 2010 scoreline. In 2012, Buriram performed poorly in the TPL, finishing a distant fourth, but again bagged the domestic cup, double beating Army United 2-1 in the FA Cup final and Ratchaburi 4-1 in the League Cup. Despite the indifferent league campaign, Newin Chidchob kept the faith with his coach and was repaid handsomely when Coach Tak first got Buriram through the one-legged play-off match to gain entrance to the Champions League group stage (Brisbane Roar beaten 3-0 in a penalty shootout following a goalless 120 minutes), and then caused a sensation by getting through the group stage and into the knockout rounds. Buriram’s achievement magnified by the fact that Muangthong – the reigning TPL champions – finished bottom of their group on one point. Yet here is where Coach

Tak’s Buriram adventure ended. The same night as his side secured a 2-2 draw against FC Seoul, guaranteeing their progress to the last 16, club owner Newin announced that the club was to dispense with their head coach’s services: “Under agreements and conditions held between me and Coach Tak, there are some agreements by which we cannot abide. I am here to announce that Buriram United and Coach Tak have to depart on a separate way from now on,” so said Newin on that fateful night. The Buriram supremo didn’t explain the details of those “agreements and conditions” but many feel that the coach wasn’t adhering to certain tactical and selection demands made by Newin. Of all Coach Tak’s achievements throughout his playing and coaching career, sticking to his principles when under pressure from Newin, at the cost of his job, may rank as his finest, or certainly his proudest. In May 2013, he took the head coach job at perennial underachievers Bangkok Glass. He led the Glass Rabbits to a respectable fifth-place finish (considerably higher than they finished the seasons before and after), and another FA Cup Final appearance, the coach’s third in a row. Unsurprisingly, Buriram awaited in the final and exacted a 3-1 defeat on Coach Tak’s new charges. He was released by BG in June 2014 and soon joined relegation-threatened Police United as head coach in August. He arrived too late to save the Cops from the drop, but Police wisely retained his services as they looked to bounce back at the first attempt. Indeed, when Coach Tak was taken ill, his team were top of League 1. Attaphol Buspakom. October 1, 1962 – April 16, 2015. Rest in Peace.


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TheBigChilli 93


Pulse City beat

Expat Sport Words SCOTT MURRAY Photographs TADAMASA NAGAYAMA

T

 HK (orange) & KL (white) face off in the final

THE Kuala Lumpur Cobras culminated a year of a hard training and conditioning by winning the first open tournament in their history, defeating the two-time defending champions Hong Kong Tigers 4-1 to take the +35 Open San Miguel Light Cup, the premier title in Bangkok’s City of Angels hockey h ockey tourney. KL captain Rich Hutson, commenting on o n the victory, said: “We had a solid tourney n ey and a really good mix of guys. Wee actually started talking about wanting W to win this thing after last year when we won the rec division, which was KL’s very first win of any tournament in all the years that we have competed. This year was the first win in an open division for any KL team. We won the KL tournament for the first time last year, which was our first tourney win, but you can’t really count that

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as it’s such a small tourney.” How did KL prepare for the tourney? “First, we all were training for more than eight months – believe it or not. I was sending the guys workouts and videos and believe it or not everyone was doing them in their own time. This was a team of really like-minded guys who were all committed to winning. “We had an extremely fit team and this allowed us to roll three lines. We have a good team of guys who can only play one tourney a year because they are teachers and can never get time off, so City of Angels is the one. “We had a new goalie that moved here last year who played well for us. Most important, we had Sheldon Flaman and his brother Dallas, both Saskatchewan boys. Sheldon played with us last year. This year,

 KL goalie on guard

he brought his brother out for a holiday and he played with us too. “Dallas played in the WHL for five seasons. He played four years in Prince Albert and one year in Kelowna. From there, he played for the St Francis Xavier


 an

iguel Light & o

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arang

ar

o

ate off after ta ing a hot to the hi

anadian in action

X-Men in the Canadian University League. While there, they went to the CIS National finals three times and won it once. After school, he went to the US and played one year in the Central League with the Topeka Tarantulas, then one season in the ECHL with the Columbia Inferno followed by two seasons with the Oklahoma City Blazers. “Sheldon, a defenseman, was the glue to our team, and had a similar career. He played in the CHL with Fort Worth and Oklahoma. He also played in the UHL with Adirondack and in the Chinook Hockey League with Bentley. Both these guys are incredible hockey players and were the final pieces to our team. The bad news is Sheldon is moving back to Canada in a few months so there goes my solid ‘D’ and I highly doubt we will ever persuade Dallas to come again. “We have some real long time Cobras. Janne Haapalainen has been here since 2000 and Matt Pritchard since 2001. Patrick Potvin (51 years old) also has been here since 2001. I have been here for five years but this is my second tour of duty. I played with the Cobras ten years ago for a couple of years and then moved to Europe and have now been back in Asia for five years. I have been captain of the Cobras for four years. The team that we have right now is 21-1 in the last four tournaments we have played. That would be our KL tournament (which we won twice going 5-0) and of course the City of Angels the last two years. Our toughest games always come from Bangkok which is the only team to beat us. “It might all sound a bit dramatic for a men’s beer league hockey tournament (laughs)…but we really did want to win and beat Hong Kong. We made the commitment and followed through and I am really proud of this group of guys.

 l ing arang ( lac ) & andoo o en ic Hotel & e ort u

Hockey in Asia has brought so much to my life and the life of the others. Playing in the City of Angels tourney is like Xmas time for our team. We stay at the same hotel, go to dinners together and do everything. We really love the experience and we are already waiting for next year!” The two leading scorers in the tournament both happened to be Cobras: Jeff Hritzuk with nine goals and four assists and Dallas Flaman with six goals and seven assists. The City of Angels tourney started in 2008 with two teams from Bangkok, Singapore’s Rusty Blades and a squad from Beijing. This year 20 squads from around the world competed in three different divisions: six in the +35 Open; six in the +35 Rec; and eight in the +40 Rec division. The Flying Farangs entered two teams in the tourney, “A” and “B”, the former led by Geoff McIntyre and the latter by Stephen Sproule. The “A” team lost in a shootout to Kuala Lumpur in the semi-final after battling back to take the game into overtime on a goal by McIntyre, who was the leading Farang point-getter in the tourney with two goals and six assists. The B team made it to the +35 Rec Movenpick Hotel & Resorts Cup losing to Pandoo Nation by a score of 4-2. The line of Sproule, Devin Keer and Marcel Bouwens

ation (white) in the

was particularly effective for the B squad. The +40 Rec Tier I, the LightHouse A Go Go Cup, saw two teams from Beijing square off, split their teams and tie. While the +40 Rec Tier II title, the JOG Sports Cup, was won by the New Delhi Scared Bulls who defeated the Shanghai Red Guard 2-1.  The scorekeeping and time-clock was handled by Chuck Chaiyakul and Alex Manton and they both did a great job of recording the stats and making sure the games ran smoothly. Head referee Richard Alanthwaite and his team of referees did great work as the games were incident free for the most part, and the zebras did a good job keeping the rough stuff under control. The hotel banquet was held on the roof of the new Movenpick Hotel & Resort on Sukhumvit Soi 15, where the band 5 Hole (featuring Flying Farangs Michael Nightingale, Michael White and Janne Kankaanpaa) played to encore after encore. The organizer of the tourney as always was Scott Whitcomb and with help from his dad, Brad, and his lovely wife, Jeab, the Whitcomb family did a super job once again of staging the City of Angels tournament, which was held at The Rink, 7th floor of the Central Plaza Grand Rama IX shopping mall.

TheBigChilli 95


Pulse City beat

Expat Sport ana iggott League

hair er on

W hether you’ re new to netbal l , hav en’ t pl ayed in years, or are af ter a m ore c om pe titiv e gam e, this popul ar l eague c aters f or al l aspe c ts of the spor t

ensure that netball in Bangkok is accessible and successful each season. With the ongoing support and determination from this team of wonderful ladies, the league has provided expat and local women with an opportunity to continue playing (for some it’s a chance to learn a new sport), meet new people and to build strong friendships – both on court and off! NIST International School remains the netball league venue today, with games being played on Monday evenings from early September through until April (with some breaks throughout to accommodate public and school holidays). There are currently 12 teams participating in the league across two divisions, Word-of-mouth attracted interest from with players of all ability levels encouraged NETBALL was introduced to Bangkok in many – with six expat teams keen to register to join in and have some fun. 2002 by a group of women determined to and participate in this new sporting event! Whether you are new to netball, continue their passion for the sport while By the end of 2002, the Bangkok Netball haven’t played in years or are after a more living abroad, and to develop friendships competitive game, the netball league within the expat circles. While working out League (BNL) had be established; with a committee of volunteers organizing weekly caters for all aspects of the sport so please the logistics of how to establish an actual games and umpiring, courts outlined and get in touch. netball league, a tennis court in On Nut Aside from the court time, the committee was found and it was time to practice some teams excitedly preparing netball uniforms for their weekly outing. also hosts a number of social events netball skills and enjoy the opportunity to In 2004 the netball moved to a new throughout the season – encouraging the be able to run about and have fun. Hard courts at Bangkok Patana School indoor venue at NIST International School social development off the court while on Sukhumvit Soi 15. Within a short space supporting our league sponsors: Aspire were secured some months later, with Fitcorp Asia (Platinum), Zaks Wine Pub, netball lines being added – thus becoming of time, the interest level of local expats had grown so much that teams were Bangkok Prep International School, and the first true netball home. It was time to asking to register – no one wanted to miss Harrow International School. form a committee and get this league up The new season will kick off on and running – with the very first committee this new exciting opportunity! Today, the Bangkok Netball League September 1, 2015. We would love to hear meeting to be chaired by Angela Baker continues and has moved from strength from you! with the support of Jenni Jones, Kerry to strength with a group of volunteer Meaden-Kendrick, Janet Williams, Nicole committee members working hard to netballbangkok.com Holder and Kesa Sribedyand.

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Feature

Curtains up on

Bangkok’s

‘Love Motels’ Maxmilian Wechsler takes an intimate look at the city’s infamous ‘sanctuaries of secrecy’

T

HEY are scattered around the Bangkok metropolitan area, easily identifiable by parking slots in front of the ground floor rooms. A customer who drives into the parking space is quickly shielded by a curtain drawn by an attendant. Since the name of the game is privacy at these so-called “love motels,” the buildings are specially designed to protect the identities of the car’s occupants as they enter and leave a room.   Most short-time tenants are there for sex, but rooms are sometimes also used for illegal and questionable activities best carried out under the cover of anonymity.   Love motels are usually two or three storeys high and some are built in the shape of a U. This allows them to provide the maximum number of spaces available for the purpose they are designed for.   Often the buildings are anonymous as well, with little or nothing to identify them as motels. Most do not have names but can be identified by signs featuring two or three digits. Such establishments generally escape the notice of most foreigners, but locals are very much aware of them and what goes on there.

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A number of places have caught the attention if not the patronage of some foreigners, such as the recently demolished “Penthouse” love motel inside Sukhumvit Soi 11, where a luxury multi-storey residential condominium is now under construction.   According to one Thai official, a motel is classified as a place where you can park your car in front of the room. He said the By motels Ruth Gerson government stopped issuing permits to build new a few years ago, but the old ones are still allowed to operate and use the curtains.   “There’s always a way for new motels to get around the law,” said the official. “For example, applying for a hotel permit and adding curtains after it has been inspected. The inspection is done once a year, so before the inspector comes, the curtains will be removed, parking slots outside the room camouflaged, and other temporary alterations are made. After the inspector leaves, everything is put back as it was before.”   The curtains continue to be used in many love motels for the simple reason that most customers prefer to be hidden from view. Even where there are no curtains, in some motels, there is absolutely no lighting outside the rooms, something that would normally be a big turn-off to people just looking for a safe place to sleep. But the darkness helps to protect customers from prying eyes, including those of private detectives hired by suspicious spouses.   The amenities in love motels range from shoddy, basic furnishing with decades-old TV sets to rather luxurious but tastelessly decorated rooms with coloured lights, water beds and strange-looking apparatus that belong to a Roman orgy.    Regardless of the quality of the accommodation, they all serve the same purpose: secrecy. Mostly they’re used for sexual trysts by unfaithful husbands or wives, sex tourists or teenage lovers who have nowhere else to go. However, police files include cases in which they have provided the setting for kidnappings, extortion, theft, drug deals, forced detention and even murder.   Sex workers have been known to bring clients to a motel just to rob them because they know it is easy to leave the room without being noticed. There are also reports that some law enforcement, security and intelligence officers use them as safe houses to interrogate suspects, or to meet with secret agents.


Security brings changes

Some say love motels are the forerunners of the short-time hotels that can now be found in many parts of the city.   Roadside motels started to appear in Thailand in the mid1930s. Back then, they were without curtains and used mostly by long-distance travelers to take a rest. Over the years their purpose has changed. Today love motels are usually hidden on narrow sois near “entertainment areas,” such as Ratchadaphisek. Some are located right in the centre of the city and many along and off major roads and highways on the outskirts of Bangkok.   One decades-old and popular motel located off Wireless Road doesn’t have rooms on the ground floor. Customers drive to a designated parking slot with walls on both sides and walk up a circular staircase leading into the room, guaranteeing confidentiality. The room charge is 250 baht for two hours.   Demolition of the infamous Penthouse on Sukhumvit Soi 11 should not be taken to mean that love motels are a thing of the past. They are still being built. For example, one luxurious motel was opened along a main road on the outskirts of Bangkok. A large billboard beside the highway proclaims in Thai, and in English: “Love XX Hotel”   In fact, this is misleading because the place is most definitely a motel, complete with curtains as well. Other motels have been re-decorated and upgraded to lure customers. However, because of the connection to criminal activities in recent years, the owners have been forced to make concessions to security. In addition to the ban on curtained parking spaces for new motels, almost all newly constructed short-time hotels that have been granted building permits have central rather than room-front parking. Some older motels have voluntarily removed their curtains. At some places the locks have been removed from bathroom doors and the doors have even been removed to deter crime. At one new motel the wall of the bathroom is glass and quite transparent.   Another important development is that CCTV cameras have been installed at the entrances and exits of a number of establishments, although this is obviously not appreciated by customers looking for anonymity.     But as long as there’s a demand for such sanctuaries of secrecy, these specialist hotels will be around in one form or another. And while their conservative counterparts spend lots of money on advertising, love motels and other short-time hotels don’t bother. A steady stream of customers is guaranteed, especially after dark until early morning.  Besides, the last thing the owners want is publicity. Though they have been here for decades and are located all over Bangkok, almost a part of the local folklore, very little has been published about their real function. The proprietors will do anything possible to keep what transpires quiet. Some don’t allow foreigners because they offer underage girls to customers. When there is trouble or a crime is committed they will usually offer incentives to the police to conduct their investigation discreetly and not inform the press. Once a year, however, they cannot escape the media spotlight. It is an annual ritual for

newspapers to dispatch reporters to cover police teams assigned to watch for teenagers involved in extra-curricular activities on Valentine’s Day.

Inside love motels

The BigChilli visited several traditional love motels. We took photos of the rooms and spoke to people connected to them, including staff, local and foreign prostitutes and motorcycle taxis.   “Our customers are mainly foreigners because Thai men prefer motels in other areas,” said a room attendant at one curtained motel in the centre of city. His job is to collect room fees from customers, check the rooms before and after they are rented and close and open the curtains for vehicles parked outside.   Wearing slippers and a fluffy uniform, a man who claimed he had worked there for about 20 years and “seen it all” was hesitant to talk at first, but after a sizeable tip he started to spill the beans: “In the past, we had a number of robberies and even murders here, committed mainly by dark-skinned foreigners. The victims were usually Thai prostitutes working in the Sukhumvit area.     “It is not only love birds who use the rooms but some tourists rent upper floors because it is cheap, and sometimes various units will bring suspects to the curtained room on the street level for a chat.   “Every room generates good money because they turn over frequently. We can sell the room sometimes 8-10 times during a 24-hour period. Most customers pay 360 baht for short-time, which allows them to stay up to three hours. But most of them will leave earlier, maybe after one hour or less than two hours. The room will be immediately cleaned up and ready for a new customer within five minutes.”      Curtain motels in the Sukhumvit Soi 3 area are popular with Bangkok’s infamous ladies of the night hoping to lure customers, particularly visitors from the Middle East.   Despite the dangers, including being robbed by tourists, assault and even worse, the women continue to ply their trade in these establishments.

“Though Love Motels have been here for decades and are located all over Bangkok, very little has been published about their real function. The proprietors will do anything possible to keep what transpires quiet.”

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A door with no lock and a bathroom with no door – standard procedure at many Love Motels

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“I always carry my handbag and even clothes to the bathroom,” said one young woman. Another said she always carries a cutter to protect herself in case of a disagreement or scuffle. Crimes are also committed by prostitutes, often transvestites, who lure foreigners to the motel, order a coffee or a soft drink and slip in something to knock them out. After the man is unconscious, they will steal what they can. Motorcycle taxis stationed near one love motel confirmed that police and government officers from other security agencies use the motel for various purposes. Apparently the motel attendants don’t ask them for the rental fee.

A place for abductions There have been several well-publicized reports of people being abducted and detained in love motels. Probably the most famous case is that of Saudi Arabian businessman Mohammad al-Ruwaili, who was allegedly kidnapped and held in a Chim Phlee love motel in the Khlong Tan area of Bangkok before being murdered by five policemen in February 1990. A January 2010 indictment from a Thai court charged that the police officers beat the businessman in an effort to extract

a confession that he was involved in the earlier killings of three Saudi embassy officials. The five policemen were acquitted by the court in March 2014. In another case that made headlines a British couple claimed they were falsely accused of shoplifting a Givenchy wallet from the King Power duty-free shop in Suvarnabhumi airport in June 2009, and then held against their will for several days at the Valentine Resort love motel.   The couple said they were threatened and forced to pay a bribe of 8,000 baht to secure their release. The couple said a Sri Lankan man negotiated a “bail” payment. The Sri Lankan told them the money was to induce a character known as “Little Big Man” to withdraw the case against them.  

Easy in, easy out

To rent a room at a love motel is a very simple matter. In fact, anyone of any age can rent a room and check in without showing ID. This contrasts with normal hotels where customers must fill out a form and produce identity. The cost of rooms depends on the class of the hotel and the amount of time a customer wants to stay. Prices range from 320380 baht for three hours in a lower class motel to 500 baht-plus for a better place. The rooms can also be rented on a daily basis for between 600 and 800 baht per day.   Some working women apparently rent rooms on a daily or even monthly basis, often sharing with one or two friends. They may bring customers there, with the full knowledge of the motel staff.

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Social Last month’s best events in pictures

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Social|Last Month’s Best Events

CAMPARI ACADEMY FINALS

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BAR owners, mixologists and industry experts were out in force for the final round of the Campari Academy Thailand awards, held at the Met Bar of the Metropolitan by COMO, Bangkok. Four finalists, whittled down from a pool of 100 of the nation’s best bartenders, wowed the crowd with their classic campari cocktails. Winning the title on the night, and walking away with a B10,000 cash prize and a year’s contract as Campari’s bartender, was Supharat Thongmeesuk. The event was organized by Independent Wine & Spirit (Thailand), importer and distributor of the Italian aperitif in Thailand.

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Social|Last Month’s Best Events

SWORD MEETS BOTTLE AT THE REMBRANDT

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

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Social|Last Month’s Best Events

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SOUNDSET SUNDAYS

PATHUMWAN Princess Hotel hosted a special Playboy Thailand edition of the monthly Soundset Sundays event series. Over 500 guests arrived at the hotel’s expansive poolside terrace to party with Playboy Thailand Bunnies and enjoy performances by DJs Tall Sasha (San Francisco), Jason Kwan (New York) and Zidov Akuma.

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Social|Last Month’s Best Events

WORLD DRAUGHT MASTERS

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T Thailand leg of the fifth Stella Artois World Draught Masters” competition was capped in grand fashion with a celeb-studded Masquerade Night held at Grand Postal Building Charoenkrung. The bartenders selected to represent Thailand in the egional Final 01 in Singapore were Kaisak Prakobkitcharoen, from 7th Street raputsorn oochomchuen, from Mulligans and utthapoom Sahaysuk, from OBS ree. mong the I guests on the night were eneral Surarit Chandratip, resident of Brewberry Co., td and Mr icholas ihon, eputy ead of Mission, The oyal mbassy of Belgium.

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Social|Last Month’s Best Events

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LIMA DUVA OPENS IN STYLE

LIMA Diva Resort Ko Samed celebrated its grand opening with a Black & White themed dinner party capped with a fireworks display. The party was hosted by Lima Resort Group owners K. Dermphan oovidhya and . Supichaya Chaimueanvong.

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Social|Last Month’s Best Events

AMWET POOL PARTY

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A SPLASHING time was enjoyed by a large group of revelers when amBar, Four Points by Sheraton, Sukhumvit 15, celebrated Songkran with a pool party. The bar will now host a pool party with a different theme every month. Keep up to date at www.facebook.com/amBarBangkok.

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Social|Last Month’s Best Events

HILTON MAKES A SPLASH

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-S OT ntertainment’s fun-packed monthly parties the Splash Out ool arty at ouble Tree By ilton Sukhumvit Soi , and the T IF enthouse arty at ilton Sukhumvit Soi wowed the crowds once again with live entertainment, drinks deals, and a chance to win some great prizes. Find out about upcoming events at www.facebook.com gspot.ent.

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ZAMA ROOFTOP OPENS IN SAMUI

O Samui’s first rooftop restaurant and bar (at rana esort andana, www.pranaresorts.com) celebrated its grand opening with a party showcasing everything the restaurant has to offer innovative fusion cuisine, an impressive selection of wines and champagnes, creative cocktails, and a superb atmosphere.

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GOLF FOR A CAUSE

A DAY of golf and fundraising fun was enjoyed by a large group of golfers and eexecutives xecutives at the 4th Beaumont Partnership Annual Golf Day, held at Thana City Golf and Sports Club. Capped with a charity auction, the event raised over 850,000 baht for the Beaumont Partnership Foundation Ruam Pattana School, which provides free education for students from underprivileged families in Chaiyapum.

AD RSM_Aug12.pdf 1

8/31/12 2:58:57 PM

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BLACKHEAD ROCKS AMARI

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POPULAR Thai rock band Blackhead played all its greatest hits in an exclusive performance at Henry J. Bean’s Bar & Grill, mari Watergate Bangkok. Free- ow drinks fuelled the fun till late into the night.

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Social|Around town

MAHASAMUTR COUNTRY CLUB HUA HIN UNVEILED

PACE Development Corporation Plc. unveiled MahaSamutr Country Club Hua Hin, a members-only country club offering a comprehensive range of activities as well as the highest quality of facilities. Tailored to suit families, MahaSamutr Country Club is being operated under the supervision of a team of world-class professionals. Among the club’s highlights is a massive 45-rai man-made lagoon with crystal clear, turquoise waters – the largest in Asia. Full details at www.mahasamutr.com.

NESCAFÉ AND MINI JOIN FORCES

NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto by Nestlé (Thai) Ltd. launched a new limited edition coffee machine in collaboration with MINI. The new machine was unveiled at a party at W Hotel, where celebs such as ‘DJ Push’ Puttichai Kasetsin and Ploi Horwang enjoyed an afternoon of socialising and learning more about the machine’s MINI Cooper inspired design. The NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto MINI Limited Edition is available now, priced at B7,490.

THAILAND IN FOCUS

THE Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), main sponsor of “Thainess Through the Lens of the Master Shot,” a photography exhibition featuring stunning images from 12 cities around the kingdom, officially launched the exhibition with a press conference at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre. The guest of honor was Mr Wiwatchai Boonyapak, Director of Marketing, Tourism Authority of Thailand, who welcomed numerous VIPs and other guests at the event.

ZALORA JOINS SEARCH FOR TOP MODELS

ONLINE fashion store ZALORA announced its partnership with FOX International Channel for the third season of its hit reality TV series, Asia’s Next Top Model. Held at Enigma Cinema, Siam Paragon, the press conference was hosted by Mr Jose Alberto Ojeda Alberola, CEO of Zalora (Thailand), and Mr Sinsupot Charoenkultawat, Senior Marketing Communication Manager.

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Social|Last Around Month’s town Best Events

SPYDER OPENS SHOWROOM WITH A DEAL SPYDER Auto Import Co., Ltd celebrated the launch of its new showroom on Bangna Trad km 4 by introducing two new promotions – one for potential Porsche owners (a nine-year guarantee, or 100,000 km, if you buy a Porsche from Spyder), and one fo otential oyota o ne a fi e yea ua antee o if you buy a ellfi e Alphard or Harrier).

SUPERSPORTS ON THE CATWALK

SUPERSPORTS released its summer collection of sportswear with a fashion show at CentralWorld. Much to the delight of the crowd, hunky celebs Es and Typhoon and beautiful actress Min Pechaya were among the models showcasing the popular store’s latest gear.

SUSHI DEN OPENS EIGHTH BRANCH

SUSHI Den Japanese Restaurant opened its eighth branch in an o on the oo of utu e Park Rangsit. Like other Sushi Den’s in town, the 45 seat restaurant operates in a kaiten style, which means diners can select their dishes from a conveyer belt running through the restaurant. This new branch also has special premium highlights that differentiate it from other branches

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DIPLOMATS Meet the people uniting nations

Her Excellency Mrs Eat Sophea The Cambodian Ambassador talks about her country's relationship with Thailand Page 120

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Her Excellency Mrs Eat Sophea|Cambodia

Words MAXMILIAN WECHSLER Portrait photographs JARAN LAKKANAWAT

Watching over an ancient friendship – and a million Cambodians

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HER Excellency Mrs Eat Sophea has been the ambassador from Thailand’s neighbour to the east for just over a year. In that short time she has already become recognized and respected for her abilities and hard work by Bangkok’s large diplomatic community, Thai government organizations and also the thousands of Cambodian citizens who live in Thailand. It is her first ambassadorial assignment, which inevitably adds stress to the job. What’s more, the fact that her country shares a border with Thailand means she has a heavier workload than most ambassadors from more distant countries.   The BigChilli was therefore grateful that Eat Sophea was willing to spare time for a recent interview that took place in the reception area of the Cambodian embassy on Pracha Uthit Road (Ramkhamheang Soi 39). You can’t miss the distinctive pink façade of the chancery building, which incorporates elements of ancient Khmer architectural design, or the Cambodian flags flying out front bearing an image of Angkor Wat. The Khmer

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heritage is also evident inside the chancery, where a large photo of His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni is displayed.   Not surprisingly, her schedule is quite full, which is only natural given the two countries’ proximity. “We have many issues that arise because of our common border. In fact we still have the demarcation of the border to be done. Many people cross every day. There are so many Cambodian workers in Thailand, and sometimes they have problems or get in trouble. There are also many cooperative projects between Cambodia and Thailand.   “As ambassador, I must be on standby 24/7. If I want to go out of Thailand, whether on working days or during public holidays, I need to ask permission from headquarters in Phnom Penh. I try to do my best, and persevere to achieve what I must.”   Mrs Eat Sophea was born in the Cambodian capital at a time when the country was edging towards entanglement with


the Vietnam War. Second among six siblings, she spent the first seven years of her life in Prey Veng Provice in eastern Cambodia, where her father was posted as chief of the Provincial Cooperative Office. “My family moved to Phnom Penh soon after the country was plunged into civil war, after the 1970 coup that deposed Prince Norodom Sihanouk. I experienced firsthand all the drastic changes that befell my country.” The civil war ravaged the country from 1970-1975, before the regime of the genocidal Khmer Rouge, from 1975-1979, during which over two million people were either killed or died of starvation and disease. From 1979-1989 the socialist People’s Republic of Kampuchea reeled under political and economic sanctions and protracted guerilla wars. Next came the relatively peaceful but still turbulent transition period to the democratic state of Cambodia, from 1989-1993.   “In 1982, I got a scholarship to study in India, where I met the man I would marry four years later. He was my classmate during our three-years of study at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. My husband was already a staff member of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of Cambodia before going to India. The Indian government gave 15 scholarships to Cambodian students; my husband and I were among the lucky ones. My father, who was an official of the MFA, helped me get the scholarship. The education I received in India was high quality and it helped chart the course of my career,” she said, which is borne out by her excellent English language skills.   “I joined the MFA in 1985 after I returned. There was quite a demand for people who were able to speak and understand English.” She has never regretted the decision to pursue a career in diplomacy, although she admitted that the demands of her work had made it impossible to spend as much time as she’d have liked with her two daughters, now 26 and 21, when they were young.   

Head of mission

“I arrived in Thailand on April 9, 2014 and presented my letters of credentials to His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn on August 14. Prior to this, I had been to Thailand a number of times as part of Cambodian delegations. The first time was in November 2001 as part of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s delegation.  “The usual term for a Cambodian diplomat is three years. However, my predecessor was recalled after five years, and a few ambassadors have remained in the post for more than two terms; so it really depends on what the government sees as best.

Cambodian dancers

Cambodia's 61st Independence Day

“Before my appointment, I was an under-secretary of state in the area of international cooperation, covering Africa and the Middle East. It was a short stint though. The position I held the longest was as chief of the cabinet of the foreign minister, from 2004 until the later part of 2012. I would describe myself as a jack-of-all-trades. I know a lot of things, but don’t have great depth in any area,” Mrs Eat Sophea said.   “In previous assignments with the MFA I was in contact with many ambassadors and foreign dignitaries. Therefore, I feel at ease in diplomatic circles. But being ambassador in a foreign country is more challenging than working in Cambodia because whatever I say and do is seen as representing my country. “I arrived in Thailand in an eventful period. On May 7, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was removed and the military takeover ensued in the same month. It was a memorable experience to see Cambodian people leaving Thailand en masse in June 2014, with huge media coverage of the unfolding event. I could not help but feel rather apprehensive, considering there was so much tension between Cambodia and Thailand not too long ago,” said the ambassador. She added that she had nonetheless had great experiences here, including “the most memorable and pleasantly fascinating moment” when she presented her credentials to the Crown Prince along with five other ambassadors.   “We have been at this embassy on Pracha Uthit Road since 2007. It is comparatively small and not as big as the one we had before on Rajdamri Road. The white building behind the chancery is a residential block for the Cambodian staff. My residence is in the back of the compound.   “Living at the embassy is convenient for me because I don’t need to spend time travelling. I can stay as long as I like in my office and my boss at the MFA can call me at any time. I am assisted by six diplomats and a few local recruits. This is hardly sufficient, considering that there is so much interaction between our two countries.   “There is a counselor in charge of political affairs who is what I would call the deputy head of mission. I am also assisted by three other counselors, one in charge of labor affairs

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Her Excellency Mrs Eat Sophea|Cambodia

and the other two in charge of commercial and cultural affairs. I have two more Cambodian staff. They are both second secretaries, one in charge of consular affairs and the other in charge of administration and relations with countries that have diplomatic ties with Cambodia but do not have a mission there.”

Duties and responsibilities

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Besides overseeing bilateral relations between Cambodia and Thailand, Mrs Eat Sophea also serves as her country’s permanent representative to UN-ESCAP. Apart from that, she coordinates and facilitates communications between Phnom Penh and the diplomatic missions of 29 countries in Thailand that have accredited ambassadors to Cambodia. “My role as an ambassador is basically the same as every ambassador. There’s a ceremonial aspect of the job, attending various functions, and in Thailand there are plenty of them. They offer good networking opportunities and I try to attend all that I am invited to, but there are so many and they often overlap. Sometimes three or four events are going on at once. Therefore, it is not possible to accept every invitation. I have to choose and select. This is difficult because I feel they are all important. “I try my best to engender maximum cooperation from all quarters to promote business, trade and cordial relationship between Cambodia and Thailand. There is a huge consular responsibility, considering that we have close to a million Cambodians who live and work in Thailand. Many Cambodians also cross

the border daily for reasons like medical checkups and tourism. Bangkok is also a transit point for many Cambodian delegations. “There are various high-level delegations visiting Thailand and, of course, border issues. There is also an administrative role in which I have to determine the best use of limited resources to run the embassy effectively. It is also my duty to promote trade and cultural exchanges and cooperation in areas of security, transnational crime, drugs and human trafficking.” Mrs Eat Sophea said she gets excellent cooperation from the Thai MFA. “I can call and ask them to speed up matters that I have requested assistance on, for example. I have access to many people at the MFA and they are quite helpful. Actually, I feel welcome here. “I have been in Thailand about a year now and I very much wish to explore all parts of the country. I have already been to some wonderful places. I attended a health conference and Lanna exhibition in Chiang Mai, a very lovely province. I went on a cultural and study trip to Lopburi and Saraburi provinces and Cambodia National Museum, Phnom Penh

Silver Pagoda, Phnom Penh

Angkor Thom, Siem Reap Monument of Independence

had the opportunity to visit Sufficiency Economy projects under the patronage of His Majesty the King of Thailand. I have also taken working tours of Sakeaw, Samuth Prakan, Sisaket, Ubon Ratchathani and Phuket provinces. “My most recent trip was to Udon Thani, where I visited the Ban Chiang World Heritage site, the beautiful Red Lotus Lake and also the prehistoric Phu Phrabat Historical Park, currently a candidate for the World Heritage list.” 

Bilateral relations “By the contemporary historical record, Thailand and Cambodia established diplomatic ties in 1950. However, it is a well-known fact that a close relationship between our two peoples has been in place many hundreds of years. We have so much in common. Buddhism Apsara dancers at Angkor Wat

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Angkor Wat

Ta Prohm Temple

Apsara dancers

Cambodian beach

is the main religion in both countries; our clothing, customs, performing arts and the food we eat are difficult to tell apart. “I am pleased to say that the relationship between Cambodia and Thailand is currently warming up, after a tense period from 2008 to 2011. There has been a considerable exchange of high-level visits in recent months. Prime ministers Hun Sen and Prayuth Chan-o-cha have agreed to reinvigorate bilateral cooperation. “During Prime Minister Prayuth’s official visit to Cambodia last October, three memorandums of understanding were signed, on tourism, railway connections and the elimination of trafficking in persons and protection of victims of trafficking. PM Prayuth’s visit was preceded by a visit by Deputy Prime Minister Tanasak Patimapragorn, Thailand’s minister of foreign affairs. Prime Minister Hun Sen has also met with PM Prayuth on a number of other occasions, for instance on the sidelines of the 5th Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Summit held in Bangkok last December. “The Cambodian and Thai foreign ministers co-chaired the night meeting of the Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation held January 15-16, 2015, in Siem Reap. This framework covers

many areas of cooperation. The meeting achieved significant outcomes and helped strengthen the relationship between the two ministers. There have been many meetings between senior military officials of the two countries as well.” Turning to economic matters, the ambassador said two-way trade between Cambodia and Thailand amounted to US$4.6 billion in 2013 and US$5.1 billion in 2014. Most of this is Thailand’s exports to Cambodia. Thailand is the third largest exporter to Cambodia, supplying the country with petroleum, machinery, beverages, construction materials, steel, fruits and vegetables, textiles and various other consumer goods. Thailand represents only a three percent share of Cambodia’s export market. The products exported are mostly agricultural and fish products. She was hopeful that trade and other economic exchanges between Cambodia and Thailand will increase with the recent agreement to expedite the upgrading of four regional border checkpoints into international checkpoints, and Thailand and Cambodia’s plan to cooperate in the development of special economic zones in border provinces.

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Her Excellency Mrs Eat Sophea|Cambodia

Cambodian workforce and the AEC “About one million Cambodians are inside Thailand on any given day, according to official figures. Of these, around 700,000 are undocumented workers and their dependents, about 20,000 have been recruited through the formal process and are residing legally in Thailand, and the rest cross the border for a short time before going back,” Mrs Eat Sophea said. “I do not have figures on the number of Thai people living in Cambodia, but

HE MRS EAT SOPHEA IN FOCUS Name: Eat Sophea Date of birth: December 16, 1964 Place of birth: Phnom Penh, Cambodia Marital status: Married to Mr Keo Chhea with two daughters, Rangsey (26), and Anita (21)

EDUCATION 2004: Master of Public Policy and Administration, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia 1996: Post Graduate Diploma in International Law and Diplomacy, Indian Academy of International Law and Diplomacy, New Delhi 1991: One-year Certificate course in English Proficiency, Regional Institute of English Language, Chandigarh, India 1985: Diplomatic Course, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia 1985: Bachelor of Art in English, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India

CAREER Currently Ambassador of the Kingdom of Cambodia to Thailand Aug 2012- Jan 2014: Under-Secretary of State in charge of Africa, Middle East and Planning, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and international Cooperation (MFA. IC.) 2008-July 2012: Under-Secretary of State and Chief of the Cabinet of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia 2004-2008: Chief of the Cabinet of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia 1997-2003: Bureau Chief for Central Europe of the Europe Department, Bureau Chief for East Asia of the Asia-Pacific Department, Deputy Director for East Asia and the Pacific, Asia II Department, MFA.IC 1994-1997: 2nd Secretary, Embassy of Cambodia in New Delhi, India 1991-1994: Official and later Deputy Bureau Chief of the East Asian desk, Economic and Cultural Cooperation Department, MFA.IC May 1985: Began employment with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Information Bureau

AWARDS 2009: Medal of the Kingdom of Cambodia (Chevalier Class) for exceptional service to the nation 2007: Medal Monisaraphoin (Commander Class) for exceptional service to the nation

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certainly it is comparatively small. “Of course, having so many of our citizens here presents a significant responsibility for embassy staff, myself included, because every day a certain number of Cambodians here will need assistance for whatever reason. They call the embassy and we give them instructions on what to do according to the circumstances. If they get into trouble with the law, we will contact the local authorities to find out how to help them.   “Most Cambodian workers employed are here in lower level jobs in three sectors: construction, agriculture and fishing. Right now, our two governments are in the process of legalizing the undocumented Cambodian workers and their dependents here. Unregistered workers and their dependents have registered to obtain permits to live and work legally here in a campaign conducted by the Thai authorities from June to October 2014.   “The Cambodian government has dispatched inter-ministerial teams to Thailand to issue our citizens passports and the Overseas Cambodian Workers Card. After the workers obtain both documents, they will be assisted with obtaining visas and work permits. The inter-ministerial teams work under the supervision of a secretariat based at the embassy, but the interviews and data collection are done locally, at the provinces they work in. We send mobile teams to them.   “Legally,” she continued, “every Cambodian needs a passport to travel outside the country, but many entered Thailand through informal border passes because we have a long, forest-covered border. So many Cambodians came here without a passport. That’s the reason why we have to send teams here to provide the proper travel documents. Thankfully, the Thai authorities have agreed to this strategy because they want Cambodian workers to live and work here legally.”   The ambassador said the provisions of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) regarding workforce movement and employment across borders do not mean Cambodian workers can just come to Thailand and work without restrictions. “There need to be formal agreements between ASEAN countries on which economic sectors foreign workers are allowed to enter, mutual recognition of professional services. This applies to Thai workers in other ASEAN countries as well. To be beneficial for the countries involved, there have to be agreements such as which areas of expertise should be open to free movement of workers.”   At the conclusion of the interview, Mrs Eat Sophea talked briefly on personal matters. “My husband is currently working in the ASEAN Secretariat headquarters in Jakarta, Indonesia. We communicate very often but I miss him a lot. We cannot be posted to the same country. This is an occupational hazard for couples who both work in the foreign services, and it is true for most countries, not only Cambodia. Husbands and wives should be together, but in order for us to be together, one of us would have to quit our job. “In my free time in Thailand, I have not yet done much besides visit shopping malls, surf the internet and learn Thai,” said the ambassador. “But when I have a chance I would like to visit new development projects as I do at home. I am always fascinated by new architectural and interior designs, as well as handicraft products.”

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HUA HIN

Cha Am •

ranburi • And beyond...

Banyan Golf Club has three great events teed up this month. Page 126.

News & deals

Hua Hin’s hottest promotions and deals await inside Page 126

Dining out

Wining and dining’s a joy at Hilton’s new restaurant and bar Page 128

Social

Hua Hin’s best events captured on camera for your viewing pleasure Page 134 TheBigChilli 125


Hu aH i n

N ews and Deals

Golf tournaments at Banyan Meetings with a twist LANNIN a corporate event or meeting away from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok? Until Sept 30 the InterContinental Hua Hin Resort is offering a Meeting and Splash ackage’ with rates starting at B4 555 per person per night in a rande elu e Room inclusive of meeting facilities daily breakfast spa discount and more including an all-day pass at ana Nava Hua Hin waterpark. Must book a minimum of 10 rooms per night to ualify. ☎ 032 616 999 www.intercontinental.com/huahin

Roll back the years at Spa Cenvaree

BAN AN olf Club Hua Hin has three special events teed up this month On May 9 is the ualifying round of the olf Citi en airs Series Thailand 2015 competition (B2 00 per person) on May 17 the club will host its popular olf BB inner (B2 800 per person or B950 per person for BB only) and capping the month on May 27 is the ower Tee Competition tee times from noon followed by snacks after the game (B1 00 per person). ☎ 032 616 200 www.banyanthailand.com

THE stresses and strains of daily life have a nasty knack of etching age-enhancing wrinkles onto anyone’s visage the curse of a semi-permanent frown! Fortunately however there are some delightful ways to beat back the process including treating yourself to a thorough pampering. That’s e actly what’s on offer this month at Spa Cenvaree whose new Centara Signature treatment is specially tailored to rela your body and mind and leave you feeling mightily refreshed. The two-hour treatment includes a body scrub with seven different types of grains (including wheat germ barley oatmeal soy beans and more) followed by a full body massage using essential oils. Bliss. B2 00 per person B4 00 per couple ☎ 032 512 021 www.centarahotelsresorts.com/chbr

Romantic dining at Rest Detail ROMANCE is made easy at Rest etail Hotel Hua Hin which is now offering a special set dinner specially tailored for love-birds and served in the tran uil surrounds of the hotel’s poolside restaurant. B3 900 per couple. ☎ 032 547 733 www.restdetailhotel.com

Sand Coffee now open AFTER a uick refurbishment Sand Coffee on the ground oor of Andreas Italian Restaurant and rill (read our review at www.bit.ly/1 E1B3b) has reopened offering a wide range of sandwiches salads pastas and burgers as well as a few local favourites. To complement its menu the caf also serves milkshakes and smoothies erroni draft beer wine by the glass illy coffee and avoured sodas. Want to cool down in the heat? Head straight for the Italian gelato. Open daily from 9am- pm. ☎ 089 150 7928 www.andreas-ristorante.com

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H u aHin D ini ng Out

Wo rds VEER AWA N T H I EA N WAT TA N A N ON P h o t o s JA R A N L A K K A N AWAT

Chay Had Seaside Restaurant and Lounge

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Wining and dining’s a real joy at Hilton Hua Hin’s new restaurant and bar

OPENED just last month, Hilton Hua Hin’s trendy new restaurant and bar has been carefully crafted from the ground up to offer an enjoyable experience for everyone – whether that’s tucking into a family lunch, sipping sundowners on a date, or simply lounging in the sun with a cocktail in hand. A sun-kissed restaurant by day and chic cocktail lounge by night, Chay Had boasts a great location right next to the beach and offers a well-considered food menu featuring Thai and Western favourites plus the all-essential seafood for which Hua Hin is famed (think crab, squid, and fish delicacies as fresh as they come). In charge of the kitchens is Executive Chef Sean Venter, a South African native with over seven years in the trade, including stints in London (working under renowned chef ’s such Jean Christophe Novelli and Anthony Worrall Thompson) and Dubai (at Burj al

Arab, the world’s most luxurious hotel), and this rich experience translates here into artfully plated dishes packed full of flavour. The Lemongrass prawns, tamarind, mango, Togarashi mayonnaise (B220) is a great way to start a meal – sweet, sour, fresh and fragrant – as is the Tuna tartare taco, avocado, iceberg lettuce, crispy wonton, sour cream (B260) – the crispy taco shell giving way to an abundance of flavours For mains, the Kurobuta pork chop, savoy cabbage, bacon bits, Edamame beans, jus royal (B580), and Confit duck curry, foie gras, mustard pickle, crispy egg noodles (B650) are both highly recommended. And if you’re a seafood fan, don’t miss the Blue Swimmer Crab with Singapore-style chilli sauce (B890), or the signature Rock lobster, wok-fried, black pepper sauce, capsicum (B1,900) – simply delicious!

Still have room for dessert? Chay Had’s signature Thai Tea Crème Bruleè puts a local spin on the traditional French favourite to scrumptious effect; and Thailand’s traditional Mango with sticky rice (B160) goes the opposite direction, getting a European twist with the addition of white chocolate ice cream. Tasty, too. To wash down your food, Chay Had offers an extensive selection of wines, spirits, beers and soft drinks – all reasonably priced – and daily happy hours from 5pm-8pm offer selected tipples at just B120. The first Sunday of each month Chay Had hosts a superb all-you-caneat Sunday brunch (11.30am-3pm) featuring oysters, prawns, smoked salmon, prime roast beef, Foie Gras, gourmet cheeses, and much more, for just B1,499 per person. The perfect excuse to spend a long and lazy afternoon by the beach! Chay Had is open daily 11am– Midnight.

H ilton H ua H in Resort & Spa33 N aresdamri Road, H ua H in Prachuabkirikran

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Electric Mango Steak House & Grill - expect the unexpected

THB

499

m 6pm o r f y a d y ever

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Electric Mango Steakhouse offers superior quality dining with prime meat from Australia and America. We grill all our meat great care and attention to ensure the best flavor. We offer great wines from around the world to accompany your dining experience, selected by Thailand best Sommelier. Thai food is represented as well, and we put heart, honor and effort into giving ‘ you value for money when visiting us at Hua Hin Soi 112. Feel free to bring the young ones, we have indoor and outdoor playground where they can enjoy before and after dinner. It’s all about happiness! Reservation please call: 085 7867 539 or event@electricmango.club


Accommodation

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

Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa ■ This imposing resort in the centre of Hua Hin is regarded as one of the best family hotels in the region. Accommodation features comfortable rooms and suites, providing guests with a living space that exhibits contemporary Thai design flair and good in-room amenities. There are also 11 Spa Suites available. The awardwinning White Lotus on the 17th floor of the Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa offers sky-high dining at down to earth prices. 33 Naresdamri Road. Tel: 032 538 999

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

Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin ■ Set within 13 hectares of landscaped gardens, the property dates back to 1923 and is one of Southeast Asia’s most renowned hotels. The luxurious colonial-era beachfront resort features 207 beautifully appointed guestrooms and suites, each one offering comfort and convenience. The Pool Villas include four Deluxe Spa Villas with queen sized twin bed, lounging area, bathroom with rain shower, and oversized Jacuzzi bathtub. Refined dining is available at Sala Thai, Hagi, the Railway Restaurant, and Palm Terrace. Guests can unwind in the Elephant Bar. 1 Damnernkasem Road, Hua Hin. Tel: 032 512 021-38

Evason Hua Hin and Six Senses Spa ■ This resort-spa is situated at the heart of 20 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens and faces the Gulf of Thailand. Pool villas and guest rooms are connected by a series of wooden walkways that meander between lush greenery. This is a retreat for those seeking time to relax and recharge. In The Restaurant guests can sip exotic cocktails, ice-cold beer or boutique wines while watching chefs cook and construct creative appetizers. The award-winning Earth Spa is one of the most visually striking in Thailand. 9/22 Moo 5 Paknampran Beach, Pranburi. Tel: 032 632 111 130

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Villa Maroc Resort Pranburi ■ Inspired by Morocco’s distinctive architecture, Villa Maroc combines Thai beachside living and service with some of the most luxurious furnishings from the North African Kingdom, making it a unique addition to Southeast Asia’s accommodation scene. The resort is located in Pranburi approximately 30 kilometers south of Hua Hin town. You can tuck into European, Middle Eastern and Thai cuisine at Casablanca, enjoy cocktails and shisha pipes at the Sisha Bar, relax in bliss at Sherazade Hammam & Spa, and much more. 165/3 Moo 3 Paknampran, Pranburi, Tel: 032 630 771 email: rsvn@villamarocresort.com

Baan Bayan

■ This fine resort features one of Hua Hin’s finest examples of early 1900’s architectural style. The beachfront resort has been faithfully restored to its former glory by the family who once lived there. Guests staying at Baan Bayan can experience the glory of a bygone era in its colonial style structure, yet without sacrificing the modern day comforts and amenities. It has 21 rooms comprising of three suites, 10 sea view rooms and 16 rooms with views of the courtyard or tropical garden. 119 Petchkasem Road. Tel: 032 533 544


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•Since 1996 •F ine D ining •C rispy Pizza •D elicious I ce C ream

Come and join us for lunch or dinner in our fully air-conditioned restaurant. Enjoy a romantic dinner with splendid ocean views on our beautiful rooftop terrace.

8/4 N aresdamri Rd. H ua H in. O pen D aily 11.30am - 2.30pm & 5pm - 10.30pm Reservation 032- 512- 250, 08- 1852- 2136 and 08- 7103- 9439 E-mail : Claudio.mammamia@gmail.com Strip AD_Mammamia_Mar15.indd 1

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Accommodation

Papa John’s Grill Restaurant & Beer Garden

La Paillotte

■ In business for over 13 years, this popular diner has established a large and loyal clientele of locals and returning holidaymakers. The secret to the restaurant’s success is the owner’s welcoming nature and an extensive menu of good honest well cooked food. Papa John’s is a spacious open-sided restaurant with a bar area ideal for pre-dinner drinks while you survey the excellent selection of dishes on the menu. Try the fillet, T-bone or rib-eye, each very reasonably priced. The ideal venue for European comfort food and a drink with friends.

■ This charming French restaurant is the ideal place to enjoy an evening of fine food in relaxed surroundings. The fresh and colourful décor brings to mind citrus-scented Mediterranean evenings, as do the excellent range of aperitifs, wines, beers and digestifs. Although the culinary roots of La Paillote’s cuisine are classically French, the kitchen team enhances a rich culinary tradition with contemporary touches. An a la carte menu and nine set menus are available. Open daily from 11am till late.

1/54 Soi Moobaan Khao Takiab, Nong Kae, Hua Hin Tel: 032 514 295

174/1 Naresdamri Road, 77110 Tel: 032 521025

Chom Talay

■ This delightful beachfront restaurant is a great spot for alfresco dining. Pushed up against the water’s edge it has an easy going charm, good food and drink. The menu features a wide selection of delicious seafood dishes. Of note is the stir fried mud crab with X.O. sauce. A piquant tom yam with fresh prawns, pineapple and the flesh of young coconut offers an interesting variation on a classic dish. Open from 11am till 10pm. Phetkasem Road, Hua Hin, (next to the airport). Tel: 032 547 253-4

White Lotus

■ The Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa’s signature Chinese restaurant serves up a wide range of authentic Szechuan and Cantonese dishes, including a signature Roast Peking Duck with pancakes, which is a must try. Factor in the restaurant’s elegant contemporary design and breathtaking views of the ocean and mountains, and it’s no surprise that it never fails to impress first time visitors. Dinner is served Tues-Sun 6pm-10.30pm; Dim Sum Lunch on Sat, Sun and Public Holidays from 11.30am-2.30pm. Tel: 032 538 999 Email: fb.huahin@hilton.com

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Mcfarland House

■ FAMOUS for its history, McFarland House is a two-storey open-sided traditional Thai house set on the beachfront. This casual bar and dining pavilion offers snacks, Thai and Western cuisines served tapas-style and element set menus. A wide range of fresh fruit juices, cocktails and wines by the glass are available. The relaxed and chilled-out atmosphere is complemented by background lounge music. McFarland House is also an excellent choice for Sunday Brunch. 91 Hua Hin, Khao Takiap Road Tel: 03 252 1234 www.huahin.regency.hyatt.com

The Veranda Grill ■ The Veranda Grill offers both a relaxed outdoor atmosphere on the beachfront, as well as an indoor dining experience, featuring exceptional views across the Gulf of Thailand. The setting is perfect for sampling some of the sea’s freshest delights. You can choose from a wide selection of authentic Thai cuisine along with continental dishes, all of which are carefully prepared to the chef ’s exacting standards. Veranda Lodge, Hua Hin Beach, 113 Soi Hua Hin 67, Petch Kasem Road, Prachuab 77110 Tel: 032 533678 email: huahin@verandalodge.com www.verandalodge.com


H u aH i n

S o c ia l

Chay Had opens at Hilton HILTON Hua Hin Resort & Spa celebrated the grand opening of its new beachfront restaurant and lounge, Chay Had, with a party highlighting everything the restaurant has to offer – a sophisticated interpretation of the East meet West style of informal eating and drinking with attention to detail and quality ingredients, adding a new and exciting dimension to Thai fusion cuisine.

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Hu aH i n

S ocial

Songkran celebrations at Centara CENTARA Grand Beach Resort and Villas Hua Hin celebrated Songkran in customary fashion with a day of activities perfect for families, such as offering alms to monks, embarking on a Songkran parade around town, and tucking into a special dinner buffet featuring the nation’s most popular dishes. Highlights of the night included a Miss Songkran Beauty Contest, lucky draws, and live performances by Wine and Roses and Norman King.

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COAST CO PATTAYA

Kok Chang • Wong Amat •

omtien • Bang Saray • Sattahip • Rayong

Mercure Pattaya Ocean Resort is offering a special deal for advance bookings. Page 136.

News & Deals

The Eastern Seaboard’s hottest dining and hotel promotions Page 136

Gourmet

Flames restaurant is serving up a special meaty treat Page 136

Mate’s Rates Friends or family visiting Thailand? Let themknow about these deals Page 140

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Pa tt a ya

N ews and Deals

Luxury for less at Cape Dara THE lu ury Cape ara Resort is offering special accommodation rates right through Sept 30. Simply book a unior Family Room ara Suite ara Beachfront ara rivate ool or Family Suite via the resort’s website and you’ll receive 40 percent off the going rate. ☎ 038 933 888 capedarapattaya.com

A taste of New Orleans NEW Orleans food fans take note. Ca un and creole dishes prepared from beef chicken and fish will be served up daily for dinner (buffet and a la carte) from un 22-25 at California Steak Kameo rand Hotel. The promotion will be kick-started with a sumptuous dinner buffet on un 22 (B 50 per person half price for kids under 12). ☎ 038 621 626 kameocollection.com

Summer savings at Mercure LANNIN a family getaway for the summer? Mercure attaya Ocean Resort’s Advance urchase’ deal offers 30 percent discount to anyone who books online 30 days in advance. A great option for a weekend trip with the kids. Read our review of the resort here www.bit.ly/1EPIMN0 ☎ 02 659 2888 mercure.com

Salmon specials HA ANA Bar Terra o Restaurant at the Holiday Inn attaya is offering a salmon-focused special menu this month featuring dishes such as Salmon papillote with spinach Spicy Ca un Salmon with pesto mashed potatoes eep fried salmon and Tiger rawn served with mi ed salad and had Krapow salmon served with steamed rice. B550 per dish. ☎ 038 725 555 holidayinn-pattaya.com

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Gourmet dish at Centara RAN Mirage Beach Resort attaya’s e cellently implemented Lost World’ theme never fails to wow visitors with its nooks and crannies la y river huge pools and private beachfront it’s simply massive. Its restaurants are impressive too particularly its beachfront steakhouse Flames which this month is cooking up a an-seared foie gras paired with chargrilled Australian steak with prices starting at B740 . inner starts pm. ☎ 038 714 981 centarahotelsresorts.com/cmbr


Hilton on the staircase HILTON Pattaya celebrated Earth Hour by hosting its second annual Staircase Race, a thigh-burning run – from levels 1 to 34 – specially arranged to raise energy saving awareness amongst the hotel’s team members. Almost 100 team members joined the run, and the fastest competitor reached the 34th floor in just four minutes.

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N ews and Deals

Kids’ Day Out at Royal Varuna Yacht Club THE Royal Varuna Yacht Club (RVYC) joined the Rotary Club of Bangkok South and the Pakkred Home for Handicapped Children to organize a Kids’ Day Out. Around 300 handicapped and underprivileged children visited RVYC, where they enjoyed a delicious meal and a day full of fun activities. The event was sponsored by Shrewsbury International School, and also joined by other regular supporters such as Castrol, Bumrungrad Hospital, Coca Cola, Mandarin Oriental Hotel and Wall’s Ice Cream.

FOBISIA Sailing Championships THE Federation of British International Schools in Asia (FOBISIA) Sailing Championships, hosted by Harrow International School, was recently held at Royal Varuna Yacht Club in Pattaya Bay. The schools represented were Bangkok Patana International School (BKK Patana), Bangkok Preparatory International School (BKK Prep), Harrow International School (Harrow), Kellett International School from Hong Kong (Kellet) and Regents International School (Regents) with a total of 46 competing sailors. Two sailing categories were sailed at the regatta. The individual competition was in the International Optimist dinghy and the team racing event was held in RS Quba dinghies. The combined score between both categories would determine the Fobisia Champion.

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After close scores in the individual event, both Harrow and BKK Patana found themselves on equal points with four wins each in equal third place, likewise Kellett and BKK Prep scoring six wins in equal first place. The final positions were decided in knockout races. BKK Patana overcame Harrow in the third versus forth sail-off. In the grand finale, the first race was a very tense affair and was decided by a very slim

margin at the finish. In the second race of the final, BKK Prep again were behind Kellett at the start, but used all of their sailing skills, tactics and determination to get back to the front. With this result, BKK Prep, led by Arthit Romanyk – a captain team, were crowned champions both of the team racing and just securing the overall title. – Jordan Rumsby fobisia.org www.varuna.org


Tr a vel

D ea ls and Promotion s

s ’ e t a M s rate

GLOW Trinity Silom: Until Dec 31, a ‘Stay 3 Nights and Save 20%’ promotion is available on Superior Rooms, Deluxe Rooms and Premier Rooms. Rates start at B1,840 per night. ☎ 02 231 5050 glowbyzinc.com/silom X2 Kui Buri: Until Oct 31, the hotel’s ‘Super Saver Promotion’ offers 60 percent off its usual rates, starting at B3,568++ per night for a Deluxe Garden Villa to B5,947++ per night for a Deluxe Pool Villa, inclusive of Champagne breakfast, one time mini-bar replenishment, and free snacks. ☎ 032 601 412 X2LOBBY.com

family r o s d n Frie land? i a h T g visitin now about k Let them e deals thes

Phuket Panwa Beachfront Resort: The hotel is celebrating its third

anniversary with special rates ranging from B2,555 per night for a Panwa Room to B6,555 per night for an Andaman Loft Pool Suite. Stay in a Panwa Room for two nights (B5,555) to receive a free upgrade to a Panwa Sea View room. Rates include breakfast for two, late checkout and free WiFi. Offer ends Oct 31. ☎ 076 302 900 phuketpanwabeachresort.com

Swissôtel Nai Lert Park Bangkok: Stay two nights in one of the

hotel’s Thai-European Garden View rooms and you’ll get a third night free. Rates start at B3,500++ per night. The deal is open for booking until Jun 30 and valid for stays until Sept 30. ☎ 02 253 0123 swissotel.com/hotels/bangkok-nai-lert-park

The Okura Prestige Bangkok: Until Dec 25, the ‘Okura

Experience’ promotion offers rates starting at B11,500++ per night in a Premier Club or Prestige Club. Package highlights include daily international buffet breakfast (or Japanese breakfast set), unlimited access to the Okura Club Lounge, high speed internet access and more. Must book a minimum of two nights to qualify. ☎ 02 687 9000 okurabangkok.com

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Centra Central Station Hotel Bangkok: Special summer

rates, available until the end of the month, range in price from B1,999 per night for a Superior room to B2,399 per night for a Premium room. Includes daily breakfast for two, a free one-hour foot massage for two, and 30 percent discount on F&B. ☎ 02 344 1699 centarahotelsresorts.com/csb

Hua Chang Heritage Hotel Bangkok: Until Jun 30, the hotel’s

‘Anniversary Package’ offers rates at B4,999 per night for a Deluxe room (must stay a minimum of three consecutive nights). Package includes breakfast buffet for two, complimentary Thai afternoon tea set for two, one-way airport transfer, complimentary room upgrade to Premier Deluxe room (subject to room availability) and 3pm checkout. ☎ 02 217 0777 huachangheritagehotel.com

Eastin Yama Hotel Phuket:

Until Jun 30, the hotel’s ‘Half-Board Package’ offers rates at B2,499++ per night for a Superior Seaview room, inclusive of daily breakfast, one dinner per stay, round-trip airport transfers, and free WiFi. Must book a minimum of two nights to qualify. ☎ 076 303 457 eastinyamaphuket.com


Royal Varuna Yacht Club

RYA Summer Sailing Courses

RYA Stage 3

For aspiring racers and club sailors who would like to improve their racing skills. Under the guidance of our RYA Racing Coaches students will learn the many aspects of sailboat racing to compete at local and national regattas.

To develop singlehanded sailing skills at a higher level, covering a variety of practical boat control skills such as the five essentials, man over board, coming along side and racing.

Advanced skills

RYA Stage 1-2

The first step for any junior to learn sailing, this course is a fantastic introduction by learning the basic controls boats while gaining water confidence and having fun.

Start Racing

Let your children discover the sport of sailing at the best place in Thailand! Our fully accredited RYA courses are fun and action packed, learning a truly unique activity that requires students to demonstrate technical skills and provides them with a h si a ha n ou’ su is d how ui ou hi d wi a n sai in wh n under guidance from one of our fully qualified and experienced RYA Instructors. Sailing is fun, safe, breeds self-confidence and a positive outdoor pursuit.

Learn new sailing skills such as handling a spinnaker and a series of maneuvers to promote ‘good sailing’. This course will cover the RYA sailing with spinnakers and seamanship syllabus using a variety of boats.

5 day (30 hour) courses for children aged 8 - 16 years 6,800 THB members 10,800 THB non-members 29 June - 3 July | 6 - 10 July | 20 - 24 July | 3 - 7 August

Email sailtraining@varuna.org or call 038-250-116 for more information and book places. Also, Advanced Racing Skills and Adult Sailing courses are available.

286 12 20150 286 Moo 12 Pratamanak R Road, Nongprue, Banglamung, Chonburi 20150 f ffice@ varuna.org W: www.varuna.org T: 038-250-116 E: office@


Final Word

Fiction

Monsoon Midnights Special places in Bangkok, as experienced by the Bangkok Women’s Writers Group Dear reader, Welcome to ‘Monsoon Midnights,’ a short story by the Bangkok Women’s Writers Group. The storytellers of the BWWG come from all over the world but they all have a special place in this city, somewhere surprising, obscure and unexpected, as yet undiscovered. Follow us to these hidden places right here, month after month. The first volume of Monsoon Midnights (18 stories by 12 authors with beautiful illustrations by the BigChilli graphics team) is available on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1tj8fJr.

T

NIGHTFALL OVER BANGKOK There are some very high places in Bangkok. Places where you can look out and see the city like an interactive map spread out beneath you. Visitors to Bangkok sometimes complain that there is not enough impressive architecture to enjoy. No outstanding areas of natural beauty. Other cities are surrounded by mountains, or cling to the ocean shore. They might have intricate palazzos and bonsai gardens, and they might have whole quarters of beautifully restored historic buildings. Basically, Bangkok doesn’t have an opera house. I feel a fierce loyalty to this city, and so I don’t like to hear it talked about like this. But the truth is that I’ve even heard people (and not just strangers) call this town ugly. Ugly! Maybe, these people say, it is a good thing when night falls and then we don’t have to see Bangkok any more. At night, they say, the city still is nothing much (except very vast, but what is size if there is no beauty?), but at least you don’t have to see the buildings, the roads, the cars. All you see is coloured lights and shadows. Well, let me tell you this: we don’t need any of this. Because, for eight months out of the twelve, Bangkok puts on much grander spectacle. Our stage is 1,600 km2, and the action takes place all the way from ground level to the stratosphere, our light show outshines the power of the sun and our sound effects can leave you (temporarily) deaf. In the concert hall, the tempo of the music raises or lowers your heart rate. We do that too, but at a much more impressive scale. Our spectaculars provide a full body experience. Like the orchestra tuning up, but our bodies are the orchestra, all 12 million of us. The temperature rises, slowly but inexorably. You sweat, your tissue expands, your joints hurt, the air becomes harder to breathe. You look up into the sky, and just as night falls, you can glimpse the buildup there too. The hot wind blows in clouds, clouds that have

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come from far away, travelling on the moisture circuit around the equator, slowly assembling like a chorus, then swiftly swelling sideways and up, all the way to the stratosphere, where they lower their heads and brood over the city. If you know this work of art, you know what will happen. If you don’t, if this this your first time at our show – well, you’re in for a treat… The thickness in the air presses down on the city. Our customary night lights cast reflections on the underbelly of the power clouds. The moon, briefly looking out, gets pushed back by the supercharging supercell. A truly international cast. We slouch around in our big, heavy bodies, inflated with anticipation of the storm. Let’s make sure we have enough cold water. Let’s not talk. Let’s sit down. Like theatre goers we reach into our sweets bags and unwrap the candies with the maximum of noise and bother.

Monsoon midnights, the greatest show on earth By Anette Pollner

IT’S been raining down onto this deep delta for millions of years. The clouds dance around the sea in spirals, touching the far Himalayas where the Monsoon was first born when the mountains burst out of the cracks of the continents. But now we have created a city that romances the Monsoon sky. And the very feature that makes Bangkok so unappealing to some, is what helps to intensify that spectacular love story. Bangkok is a 1,600 km2 mineral body, a vast, almost uninterrupted area of rock and rare elements that used to sleep in the ground. A sideways mountain 15 times the height of the highest Himalayas. And just like those magical mountain peaks, the city lures the wild electricity of the season. Oh the suspense. We know it will come, our bones know it. We smell it, power and hidden rain. How long until it breaks? We


turn the lights out. They do that in the opera house, too, when attractively charged minerals await its adoration. the curtain is about to rise. We relax, remove our night time sunglasses with a Our hands, trying to lighten the tension, find each other in silly laugh (although no one has seen us, we are sure), and the candy bag. We laugh. We look down. contemplate going to bed, after all. Or we can try… And miss the first flicker. But not the sound. Distant growls. Wow. Could be the rubbish collectors (only out at night), could be a That blast is so bright, it illuminates the room and tuned up motorcycle. No. It’s the overture. everything in it like an x ray. The speed of light is faster than our Ah, let’s sit back. eyelids. Even if you were to close Wild zaps of light appear all those lids, trying to woo sleep, they HE Bangkok Women’s Writers Group, founded in over the horizon. Unpredictable, would be pierced by this light. 2001, and led by Anette Pollner (who also writes eluding all established patterns, And as we are still trying to the recurring ‘moon intro’ stories in this series but playing with our anticipation. A in her famous neo psychedelic style), is where creative regain our sight, imprints of fierce very sophisticated composition… thin fire lines pulsing wherever women from all over the world meet to workshop their Hairline cracks all over the we look, thunder strikes our ears. writing in a supportive and inspiring environment. night sky. White hot lines of power Windows shake, trees tremble. Many of our members are published and prize winning sear down, 20,000 degrees white ‘It must be close.’ authors, but we are open to all women who are hot. The thunder arrives late ‘It hit the neighbour.’ passionate about writing, including complete beginners. but ripples the air all around us. ‘I wouldn’t like to be outside.’ The BWWG’s first publication (before ‘Monsoon Louder. Louder. Every lightning ‘It hit our house.’ Midnights the short story collection,’ available on bolt has a different, unexpected As we still speculate, another Amazon) was a Thai English language bestseller, shape. Every thunder has a blast, another crash that seems to ‘Bangkok Blondes,’ and various pamphlets. We different texture. stop our hearts. regularly give readings around town and have been part This incredible concert, Then silence. of international festivals and cultural exchanges. Please louder than the amplified dead A silence so complete that, contact bkk_writers@yahoo.com for more information. beats from the nightclubs and surely, it can’t be real? This month’s storyteller is Anette Pollner, the leader drunken karaokes murdering We look out the window, eyes of the BWWG since 2007. Anette has published several songs, louder than the occasional still struggling to stop the white hot novels and many stories and articles under various world class performance by a one splinters razed there by the bolts secret pseudonyms in the UK and US with a media day visitor at the National Stadium, presence in the Guardian, the Telegraph, the BBC as of lightning that, surely, must have louder than anything in this, the struck our neighbour’s house. Or well as local magazines and TV shows. She also leads loudest city in the world, goes on very unusual creative writing workshops in Bangkok (44 ours? Do we smell burning? We are for hours, circling the irresistible exposed up here. But have good workshops so far, 50 by end of this year) and believes in precious crystal. protection. Do we? the power of the ‘writer within.’ Oh yes whatever others may Then we see. The darkness. claim we truly are the city that The city lights that burn all never sleeps… night, all year, are out. The thunder rolls and rolls. Orchestra of the sky. And its All around us. As far as we can see with our little eyes, still sound is heard even further, all the way to the coast, to the recovering from the assault of the mile high glitter, night covers ancient cities north, spreading out east and west where the streets and all. storm will go next, or maybe it won’t. Maybe it will cross the Someone makes it to the light switch and, yes. There is no border. power. The ladders of light are kilometres high. Some spread out Immediately, someone thinks of the fridge. Will the food into a thousand veins, some just divert their force into a claw of spoil? Already, the heat is rising. Part of the big silence is the three long thin fingers, desperately clawing at the ground. absence of the aircon. No fan, no rumble. But some of these bright shards of lights never reach it. No WiFi. They do what they rarely do in other, tamer places (places Of course we can call the electricity board on our phones. with only indoor opera): they sear down from a cloud very high Like thousands of others, getting nowhere. in the sky, just ducking under the stratosphere, but are then No TV. thrown back up by a lower tier. A crazy line of fire that zooms The nightly show now turns into human drama. With from cloud to cloud balcony, desperate for release, but never audience participation. Or are we even the audience any more? getting there. The earth is still dry, the crystal desired but Are we actors in this play? Should we sing? untouched. Maybe. Since there’s no other source of music, or at least The lightning advances now in earnest on our street, still there won’t be when our little batteries run out. jumping back and forth (but we are not deceived, we know the By which time, surely, we will starve since the contents of plot). the fridge will be rotting out of its door. The sky is split many ways, the many tiers of clouds glow in Should we go out, enjoy the darkness, enjoy the silence? different colours. But how are we going to get down? Purple, blue, red…the hot light, hotter than the sun, rips No elevator. glaring ladders onto our retinas. And, wouldn’t it be dangerous? This city which embraces Time to wear our stylish sunglasses? At night? Why not? women and children walking free through its maze all night The lightning seems to recede, not away from the stone suddenly elicits fear. desert, but shifting to another part where perhaps more Then another lightning strike. This time, we can see where it hits.

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TheBigChilli

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Final Word

Fiction It’s the high rise across the street. There’s an enormous blaze at the top. But no fire. It, too, has good protection. Nobody still answers our phones. Maybe we really should conserve the batteries. We feel vulnerable. Can it be that the sky is mightier than this city? Another blast, so close, so bright. But we cannot close the curtains. And then the rain comes down. The rain, as always, comes suddenly, with no preliminary drizzle. If you are out and about, you will not have time to seek shelter. In less than a minute, you will be drenched to the skin. (Another sensory experience rarely offered by indoor opera). If you are sheltered, you stay put. During the day time, malls and shops become overpopulated arks, stuck on mineral reefs. One moment there is a cloud filled sky, streaked by strings five times hotter than the surface of the sun, outblazing the moon who looks like an old faded street lamp, and the next moment the air is filled with water. You will gasp like a reverse fish. Rush to the windows to the doors the balcony. Wherever there is the slightest sliver of a chance, the spray will slither in. We had that last time, when we forgot to close the tiny window at the top… no one believed it could happen. For the rain to get in through that tiny slit, it would have to rain sideways…We laughed, and it did. And now, in the darkness… Who knows where those flashlights are. And we don’t have candles, the aircon blows them out. The aircon. Now we really miss it, with all those windows closed. They close very well. It’s getting hot in here. While outside, the rain hammers the walls and the roofs. The silence is over. Even the cars are drowned out. Literally now. Other nights, we sit and enjoy the onslaught of water while we are dry. And have light, and the aircon is running… and stream a movie, maybe, on the excellent, fast WiFi… Now we are cut off indeed. As we look out and down, all we can see is nothing. Where is the city? It has disappeared from the evidence of our senses. Where is the thunderstorm, even? We feel disoriented, as if falling in space. We need to sit down. Gravity still works at least. Splashes of water hit the glass. Even the glass of the tiny top window we forgot last time. Yes, again, it is raining sideways. Not much oxygen left out there between the chains of liquid pouring down. Not much oxygen left in here either, with the windows so well insulated and the aircon off. Is it that or are we just tired? We slump to the bed. The rain is still louder than our voices.

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TheBigChilli

The city is – who knows where. We are here. Inside this room. That’s all we know for sure. Just before dawn, we wake. Maybe our eyes, behind their thin lids, thought dawn had come. But it’s only the lamps in the room. The power must be back! Somewhere the TV is hissing, trying to turn itself back on. We can also breathe again, yes, the aircon works. Time to open the fridge? Let’s give it a while. We don’t want to see the soggy food. And the city is back. The lightning has moved on, not all that far, we can still see a few flickers. Our sideways Himalaya still has the monsoon in its grip. But far enough so we can catch the feeble face of the moon who, poor thing, has been outshone all night like a local amateur back in the chorus when international stars give their spectacular guest appearance. Never mind, the moon is here all year and will come back into its own. And then, the rain stops, suddenly, just as the sun comes up. Swiftly, and without fuss. We open the windows. All of them. We step out on the balcony, still wet, water waiting to flow down the drain, as water does all over the city right now. Ours must be patient and wait its turn. The city takes a big breath. The air is cool. We can’t believe it. We don’t even need the aircon now. The air smells of rain, and rainy earth, and freshness. All the many particles that stuff up the city plume have been washed away, back into the ground where they belong. The birds scream. We breathe out. We hardly find the strength to turn off the lights and the TV and whatever else has returned to serve us. We leave the windows open, just a slit. The rain won’t return this morning. We sink into sleep, our eyes fall shut before our heads hit the pillows. One hour left to the ring of the alarm clock. If it still works after the power out…but our hands don’t reach out. We are already dreaming. As we dream, the clouds move on. Most of them have dissolved, they no longer reach the stratosphere. Much humbler, they travel to another country or two. As for this city, the show will return. The biggest show a city has to offer. Bigger than the circus, bigger than the IMAX, bigger than a concert with Madonna. The monsoon is our opera. The moon, of course, will return too, as it always does, just in time for our next story in a month’s time… Anette Pollner, leader of the BWWG


The first volume of Monsoon Midnights (18 stories by 12 authors with beautiful illustrations by the BigChilli graphics team) is available on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1tj8fJr. TheBigChilli

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The BigChilli May 2015  

For 15 years Thailand's best-read expat magazine. Find out what's hot in Bangkok and beyond. May 2015.

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