The BigChilli June 2017

Page 1

June 2017



Heartache of tragic 1993 Kader Toy Factory blaze lingers on

10 NEWS STORIES We want quality tourists, not quantity, says Tourism Minister

COVER STORY 20 Raise a drink for a

cause, Negroni Week 2017 is here: For seven days bars and restaurants across the world join forces to celebrate one of the world’s most beloved cocktails while raising money for charitable causes



Last month’s best events in pictures

Caravan to Siberia

CONTENTS 10 INSIGHT News, gossip, and opinions

70 STORIES FROM THE PAST A famous story from the past

36 THE HOT LIST 20 great things to see and do in Bangkok and beyond

102 HUA HIN & PATTAYA News and deals to help you get the most out of your trip

38 FOOD & DRINK Restaurant deals and dining news


Malaysian Ambassador is a positive force in Bangkok diplomatic circles

56 EXPAT WOMEN Shopping, advice, health tips, and top local schools

Downlo our dig ad edition ital for



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Editor’s Blog Bangkok merciless roads IT’s unlikely that any city on this planet generates more conversation about its roads than Bangkok. ‘Rot Dit’ is among the first Thai phrases newcomers or even tourists learn to say when visiting. The state of Bangkok’s streets, roads and ironically named expressways, because they’re anything but, is in most people’s minds for the very simple reason that they play a huge role in shaping our lives. A much darker side was underscored last month when a great friend of this magazine and the international community in general, Wanit ‘Eddie’ Mekdhanasarn, was involved in a fatal accident while cycling on one of Bangkok’s busiest roads. The wheel of his bike apparently got stuck in a pot hole that may have been partially obscured by rain water and Eddie toppled over as a bus was passing. He didn’t stand a chance. It was an unbelievably tragic and unbecoming end of someone who had led such a colourful and entertaining life. Unfortunately, we can’t learn much from this accident. Everybody knows Bangkok’s roads are not in the best of shape. Cyclists are especially at risk from endless potholes, shoddy surface repairs and idiotically-designed open drains. And in the pecking order of road users, they are on the bottom rung. All too often they are invisible to other vehicles. Pedestrians get little respect from road users too. Crossing a busy street is one of Bangkok’s most dangerous activities. The government apparently wants to make it safer by fining motorists who fail to stop for pedestrians using a zebra crossing. This is expected to be enacted later this year. To be fair, it is a step in the right direction, so to speak, but only the brave will venture onto such a crossing in the belief that all vehicles (especially the impatient boy racers on their souped-up motorcycles who stop for no one) will suddenly come to a halt to allow their passage. Hopefully, the highways department will install lots of flashing lights and build speed bumps well in advance of the crossing. Otherwise, the number of fatalities on the city roads will escalate. Yes, Minister, you’re doing a good job YOU have to hand it to Ms Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Thailand’s lean, not so mean and industrious Minister of Tourism and Sport. She’s doing a truly commendable job for this country, creating new ways to promote its many attractions and encouraging visitors to stay longer and spend more. After several years of increase in the number of tourists coming here, Ms Kobkarn is now advocating the need for quality over quantity, which is more or less the opposite of past official tourism policies, and not a year too soon. Hordes of ‘cheap’ or ‘zero dollar’ tour groups (which have supposedly been banned in Thailand) can’t be ultimately good for any country, least of places like Thailand with its delicate natural resources. Around the world there is a growing backlash against mass tourism, be it huge cruise ships docking in Venice, large groups of tourists on Segways dashing through the streets of Amsterdam, divers plundering sea coral, an armada of boats landing on otherwise deserted tropical islands or even the cause of higher property prices that eventually exclude locals. This is the downside of tourism. And we hope Ms Kobkarn stays true to her words and focuses on ensuring this country welcomes the kind of visitors it deserves. This issue of The BigChilli features an interview with Ms Kobkarn conducted at her ministry’s office on Ratchadamnoen Nok Road early last month. We got some 40 minutes of her time, which, given her busy schedule, was a privilege. It’s pretty certain the rest of Ms Kobkarn’s day was equally busy. The lady simply doesn’t stop. She is really amazing. For the record, Ms Kobkarn studied fine arts and has a degree in architecture from the US and was chairman of Toshiba Thailand before being appointed a government minister. She sat on the AntiCorruption Organisation of Thailand, and she’s married to Pol Maj Gen Chonnasith with two children, Pakorn and Praewa. Quite a lady! 6


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10:14 AM

Publisher Colin Hastings MANAGiNG editor Morgan Thanarojpradit editor Nina Hastings sAles & MArketiNG MANAGer Rojjana Rungrattwatchai AccouNt executives Thana Pongsaskulchoti AccouNtiNG MANAGer Saranya Choeyjanya AccouNtiNG AssistANt Janjira Silapapairson Art & ProductioN Arthawit Pundrikapa, Jaran Lakkanawat PhotoGrAPhy JL & AP coNtributiNG Writers Drew McCreadie, Judith Coulson, Maxmilian Wechsler, Kelly Harvey, Anette Pollner, Johanna Dekoning, Natalie Glebova, SeolHee Baik



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

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RIP EDDIE Bangkok’s international community was in shock last month at the passing of Wanit ‘Eddie’ Mekdhanasarn following a cycling accident. Eddie was true bon vivant who fitted comfortably into both the Thai and expat societies. He was also a great friend of The BigChilli and we profiled him several times in the magazine. In memory of one of the city’s greatest characters, we reproduce here the first of those profiles from the year 2000. 8






We want quality tourists, not quantity, says Tourism Minister New campaigns to get visitors to stay longer and spend more By Colin Hastings

■ PLUCKED from the private sector where she was an award-winning businesswoman, Ms Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul has spent the last three years as Minister of Tourism and Sports bringing new ideas and fresh impetus to this country’s vitally important tourism industry. Her appointment has proved effective, with the number of arrivals continuing to rise year on year. And they’re staying longer and spending more, all of which is in line with the government’s objectives. Ms Kobkarn is a high profile minister who uses social media to put across her messages, including a regular flow of down-to-earth photos of her using ordinary taxis and eating Thai dishes at street vendor stalls. With an architecture degree from the US and background in advertising and management as chairman of Toshiba Thailand, she is well equipped for her responsibilities. Top of her list is to increase revenue from tourism. Ms Kobkarn, wants to see an improvement in the kind of tourist coming here. “It’s the quality of these visitors that we’re looking at. The emphasis now is on revenue per head and the quality. “Last year, tourism earned 2.51 billion baht. This year will be no less, with a high target of 2.6 – 2.7 billion baht, including both international arrivals and Thai domestic travellers accounting for 0.8 – 0.9 billion baht. We’ve stopped using the number of heads as our target.” How can Thailand increase revenue without increasing numbers? “By extending the average length of stay from 8.9 days, and by increasing the average spend of 5,100 baht per day as recorded last year,” says Ms Kobkarn. And what will keep these “quality tourists” here longer and to spend more? “We have new strategies, including the Tourism Authority of



Thailand’s (TAT) ‘Twelve Hidden Gems’ campaign that highlights some of Thailand’s lesser known destinations such as Lampang, Nan, Loei, Buriram, Samut Songkhram, Ratchaburi, Nakon Si Thammarat, Chumpon, Chantaburi, Trang, Petchabun, and Trat. “In the first year of this campaign in 2015, revenue from tourism in these destinations increased by 15%. Last year they were up by another 8-9%. “We also have a strategy to link new destinations to established ones. Visit Chiang Mai, for example, and then spend time in nearby Lampang and Lampoon before returning to Chiang Mai. This will help to extend length of stays in Thailand.” Among her other initiatives is a plan to encourage the hotel industry to “go local.” “Instead of filling their in-room mini bars with the international items, we suggest they offer local products like rice crackers. In places like Chiang Rai, hotels can buy local vegetables and fish directly from local farms for use in their restaurants. “Promoting local products would go down well in big MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and events) functions with foreign participants.

“It’s a win-win situation, cutting out the middlemen,” she quips. At the time of this interview, Bangkok was swirling with controversy and indignation over the apparent ban on street food. Ms Kobkarn said then she did not know all the details of the move but insisted that it is not a total ban. “It’s all about improving hygiene and raising standards. The BMA’s (Bangkok Metropolitan Authority) plan is to standardise the situation so that vendors in future provide clean and delicious food that’s safe and hygienic for locals and tourists. “In Chinatown, street vendors are now starting to wear hats, menus in English should be available, and there must be space for people, including those with disabilities, to walk past safely. “Overall, sales will improve.” Sustainable tourism is high on the list of Ms Kobkarn’s priorities. “Our mission is to have sustainable growth. We will follow the late King’s footpath with sufficiency economy, and by looking at revenue, community and environment. We must involve all sectors of the population, especially the agrarian sector. “Responsibilities include waste water, forests, coral reefs and even garbage. Otherwise we can’t move ahead. You can wait until someone comes along and asks you to do these things.” Another key issue is security. Ms Kobkarn acknowledges that although Tourist Police numbers are at record levels, they are not enough for visitors coming to Thailand every year. “We’re looking for volunteers,” she says. “So we’re asking everybody to be a host. They’ll be the eyes of the pineapple, looking out for and helping tourists. Tour Police have more equipment to improve road safety. And owners of taxis must take responsibility for the actions of their drivers.”

Social|Last Month’s Best Events

BigChilli Lunch back with a buzz

EXPAT businessmen and hoteliers with a taste for good food, fine wine and meaningful conversation joined the recently revived BigChilli Lunch after a protracted break and enjoyed a superb five-course menu specially prepared in his inimitable style by Chef Herve Frerard at Aldo’s Bistro. Among those attending this select luncheon group were Jeremy King, Nigel Tovey, Kevin Beauvais, Andrew McPherson, Brian Sinclair Thompson, Marcel Dubbelman, Peter Formhals, Andrew McDowell, Dominic Faulder, Trevor Allen, Justin Dinsdale and BigChilli publisher Colin Hastings.



NomineeS Thailand International Business Awards

Expat Entrepreneur: Susan Field

The extraordinary life and amazing times of a remarkable lady Susan Field is one of the few female expats who actually live up to the term ‘Old Asia Hand.’ For three decades, this charming Brit used her base in Hong Kong to work around the region as a travel writer and owner of a public relations company. Her latest venture is The Palms Retreat, a ‘bijou’ resort on the island of Samui in southern Thailand. In this exclusive interview with Colin Hastings, Susan talks of her fascinating life and remarkable times in Asia.


hat first brought you to Asia? I have been connected to the hotel industry since I was 16 years old. When my mother remarried, her new husband was a hotelier. So I lived in a hotel for a few years in Scarborough then joined them in the family hotel business in Devon. After that I worked as a cook in Austria for a winter season, followed by a housekeeper position for a Nigerian Prince and his family (I could write a book on that alone!) – then I got a position as a systems administrator at London Hosts, which ran 250 pubs in Central London. I was living in London in my mid 20’s – then my flatmate got a job in Hong Kong. It was to change my life as I followed her months later. Then what next? When I moved to Hong Kong, I got a job with a catering publication and after writing a feature about Ramada Group, the company appointed me as Group PR Manager. So I have



always been linked to the industry. In 1990, I started my own PR company (ImpactAsia Ltd) and our focus, due to my knowledge in the area of hospitality, was in the same industry. Over the years, the company morphed into specialising in luxury hotels, travel, upmarket restaurants, art shows, fashion, wine/drinks, retail and even motor cars when we bagged the Rolls Royce business in Hong

Kong and China. I took time out to join a retreat in 2014 and I enjoyed the head space it gave me from my usual 15-hour days. I had time to think and relax my brain. It was a turning point and I realised I was ready for a change, so I sold a majority stake in my business in 2011 and stepped down in late 2013 after overseeing the transitional period in my role as CEO.

Now you have a project in Koh Samui. Tell us about it. The Palms Retreat is tiny, and I prefer the word ‘bijou’ as it has just three villas. And that is what our guests like because the service is very individual and personalised. Also, our guests get lots of help from our yoga and other exercise instructors – much more than if they were in a class of, say, 20. It is located in the premium northeast area of Koh Samui, with lovely beaches and yet only 15 minutes from the airport. To complement the activities we run on a daily basis (yoga, meditation, aqua power aerobics), we use a nutritional programme called Amrita, which we

purchase in powdered format and mix up to make shakes by mixing them with fresh coconut water and a whole range of healthy-giving fruits and vegetables, such as banana, strawberries, papaya, kale, celery, beetroot etc. Guests also enjoy one healthy meal per day which is sometimes a tasty vegetarian Tom Yung Goong or a salad. We do not serve any meat but sometimes use fish in our recipes. The rates start from around 6,000 baht per night, depending on the length of stay and room category. Why did you choose Koh Samui? I have a long history with, and love

for, the island. I first visited it in 1986 and built a villa here in 2007. After 30 years in Hong Kong, I needed a change. Also, I slashed my living expenses by at least 80% by moving to Thailand! I love it here! Who is your typical guest? There is no ‘typical guest’. I admit that most people come for weight loss but sometimes they come because they need some head space, some peace. Usually, it is a combination. We have solo guests and couples, women and men who come from UK/Europe, Australia, USA and from Singapore, Japan, China and Hong Kong, as well as, increasingly, from India and the Middle East. How long do they normally stay? Between five and 15 days but we have a few who stay for a month.



NomineeS Thailand International Business Awards

What’s the overall reaction so far? Really, really positive! We have an ‘Excellent’ rating on Trip Advisor and one lady actually said ‘it changed my life’. People love it here.

in the marketing and PR, and also overseeing the interior design. In addition to these two roles, I also still handle a few PR consultancy roles from time to time, which I really enjoy.

How much time do you spend at the resort? As much time as I can but as I have a very capable and friendly manager, Khun Air, and a great team, I leave them to the day to day running. Sometimes I take part in some of the activities or have lunch with the guests. We have some fascinating people - it’s great meeting them and hearing their stories. The rest of my time is spent on my other businesses; I liked the name Impact in Hong Kong so when a friend in Samui, Rodney Waller, asked me to consider teaming up with him to launch a new development company, I thought ‘why not’? Impact Samui was born! We started off buying old properties on the island, reconfiguring the layout and bringing them totally up to date in terms of the interiors, the plumbing, electrics et cetera. My main role is

When you’re not staying at the resort, where do you live? I live about five minutes’ drive from The Palms Retreat in a lovely house with a huge and beautiful garden. I bought it last year and together with my partner, we have virtually completely renovated it. After living in the city for so many years, it is bliss having a garden to potter about in!



What are your major problems running the resort? I don’t really favour the word ‘problems’ – I prefer ‘challenges’! And like any business, there are sometimes challenges, but to be honest, it is a small business and not too difficult to own and run. Thankfully I have good people! After 30+ years working in Asia’s tourism/travel industry, what have been the major changes in terms of destinations, style, markets, attitudes – and what’s the future, etc.? There are so many. Perhaps the biggest change has been in the consumer demographics; now that China has opened up so much, its people are exploring the world in droves and increasingly looking past the usual destinations such as London and Paris, by going to the Maldives,

Thailand and other exotic destinations. Also they are looking for new experiences as they are ever hungrier and as such they need to be catered for. Also young people in general are travelling independently more frequently, and need different products to those their parents may like. They want to hang out with their peers and so hotel groups are creating different products catering specifically for them – for example, Andaz (Hyatt) ; ALoft (Hilton); SO by Sofitel. There are many others too. Very important is ‘connectivity’ and ‘hip’ – travellers now must be able to be in touch 24/7.


an you recount some of your favourite memories of your time in Asia. Why not read my memoirs? – hang on, I haven’t had time to write them yet! OK, so in terms PR corps, the one that sticks in my memory is Harry Ramsden’s fish and chip shop which I brought to the region in the 1990s. It’s a long story but culminated in front page coverage in the Financial Times. I took a portion of fish and chips down to Star Ferry and gave it to a rickshaw driver to sample. The FT reporter was English so I told the translator to say that he thought the food was delicious’. The old man took a bite and literally said: “Yuk, I would never eat this.” However, the picture of his wrinkly smiling face, complete with Chinese hat, appeared on the front page of the FT saying “I love these fish and chips – I’ll definitely be taking my family.” This episode will always stay with me! Three on the Bund marked my first strategic move into the China PR market. It was feted as the very first ‘integrated luxury lifestyle’ concept in China and I helped to launch it, handling the international PR. I was so lucky to have that opportunity. I also loved working with Sofitel Metropole Hanoi in Vietnam on the occasion of their 100th anniversary, and the Goodwood Experience for Rolls Royce Motor Cars in Shanghai was fun. So many memories. I could go on forever. I am just blessed to have had such a wonderful career.

NomineeS Thailand International Business Awards

Expat Entrepreneur: Kevin Beauvais, CEO InVision Hospitality

Life’s sweet now for hotelier Kevin after two tough decades After 20 years in Thailand, American hotelier and entrepreneur Kevin Beauvais has finally reached a point in his life where he can put a catalogue of unexpected career challenges behind him and look forward to a secure future in the region’s burgeoning hotel industry


S CEO of InVision Hospitality, the hotel management company he founded 10 years ago, Kevin runs two successful hotel brands offering over 1,000 rooms in 12 properties operating in Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam. While the past decade was filled with setbacks, disappointments and crises beyond his control, Kevin is now enjoying corporate stability and the prospect of even better returns in the future. “It’s taken longer to reach this point of maturity than I had expected,” admitted 57-year-old Kevin, who spent 25 years with Marriott International before going it alone. “By 2019 InVision Hospitality will have 3,000 rooms in our portfolio – and that’s not just wishful thinking, those are signed contracts to date.” “Life’s looking good now and I look forward to financial independence by my 60th birthday,” he said quickly adding that retirement is not an option. “What would I do if I sold out? Set up another company?” InVision’s two hotel brands comprise of GLOW – a spirited midtier chain which he says competes with the likes of Holiday Inn Express and Marriott Courtyard – and MAI HOUSE – a more cultural five-star experience with the first property



Kevin and wife Therese

open on Patong Hill in Phuket soon to be joined by Ho Chi Minh City 2018 and Hoi An Beach in 2019. Kevin mentioned it was important to him to cover both bases, capturing the diverse market of leisure and business travellers in Southeast Asia. “We’re a small company signing 12year management contracts in three countries. I’ve always said the goal is to be good, not big. We’ll never go public because I have no desire to be a big operation. I love running my own company, and don’t want to work for anyone else.”

Reaching this stage has not been easy for Kevin. He first arrived in Thailand in 1997 as opening General Manager of the five-star JW Marriott Bangkok. Three months into that job and the hotel market in Thailand crashed due to the Asian financial crisis. “The owners of the hotel had a 100% offshore loan and were desperate. Overnight we had to work twice as hard just to pay the mortgage and get things done. It was a defining challenge in my career, and I couldn’t be prouder of the outcome and the entire team that turned that dire situation around and made JW Marriott Bangkok one of Thailand’s premier hotels,” he recalls. “We started by focusing on the hotel’s F&B operations. For instance, we created an amazing buffet that no one had seen before, with our chefs continuously cooking small dishes for guests instead of the normal practice of simply putting out large buffet plates. “There was no corporate business because of the financial crisis, so we looked at the leisure market and we quickly filled the hotel with tourists. We also worked with nearby Bumrungrad Hospital for medical tourists. “We built up an amazing and very loyal team of associates who were

extremely proud to be part of the Marriott work family. Ten years after I left the JW Marriott, 75% of my original team was still with the hotel.” Kevin was subsequently appointed Country Manager of Thailand, which eventually saw him in charge of ten properties under the JW Marriott and Marriott brands – Operation Smile - Kevin and Therese are big supporters Marriott Executive scattered across the globe. “We Apartments and MVCI resort – bought round-the-world tickets and integrated timeshare facilities. This spent three months flying to places brought him into contact with Bill like Russia, where we spent three Heineke, boss of the Minor Group, weeks in St Petersburg and Moscow, and one of this country’s major hotel as well as Italy, Holland, France and operators. back in the US. Kevin convinced his fellow “We blew loads of money, but it American entrepreneur to rebrand his Royal Garden Resort properties in really recharged our batteries. And then, we bought two more world Pattaya and Hua Hin which Heineke tickets and did the whole thing again. agreed and after upgrades, both It was a fantastic adventure! became Marriott resorts. “When I got back from our travels, I knew I had to do something different his close cooperation and work for myself. There were led in 2003 to Kevin offers. For example, Four Seasons becoming Chief invited me to join them, but I politely Operating Officer declined knowing I had the desire to and Director of open my own shop.” Minor International PLC where he And so began Kevin’s life as the established a corporate operational boss of his own company, the InVision structure that enabled the expanding Hospitality, which opened in 2007. It company to manage and grow its didn’t get off to an auspicious start as hotel brand portfolio, including Four the launch coincided with the major Seasons, Anantara and Marriott. global economic crisis of 2008, along Under Kevin’s guidance, Minor with ongoing political upheavals in International added seven more Thailand. hotels and successfully introduced To ease the financial situation, the Thailand-based Anantara brand Kevin sold 51% of the company to to the global market. After two tough years “and one day” with Minor, Kevin investors in Nepal – that country’s first millionaires. The relationship decided it was time to take a break didn’t work out. “They didn’t from corporate life and start planning deliver what they had promised and for his future. eventually I gave them back two “I had been working a pretty times the amount they had invested. hectic schedule,” he says. “So my They kept the Zinc name, I kept my wife Therese and I decided to take a company” he recalls. year off and enjoy life a bit. I’d made “It took me 27 years to save the a good living and had tucked away money that went into that venture and plenty of savings, so I felt I was in a within five years it was gone. It was a good position financially – not bad for brutal time for me.” a young kid from the Midwest!” It wasn’t just his choice of partners The over-riding plan was to that caused the setbacks. “We had “reconnect with family and friends”


too big a team,” he says. “That was a mistake. We also employed big company people who could swim in their own lanes but were not entrepreneurial enough in a time of crisis. Our first two or three teams were highly compensated, too much so for a start-up, and it caused a great strain on the finances during those turbulent years.” To distance himself from his former investors, Kevin changed his company’s name back to InVision Hospitality and reorganised its structure. “This year, we’re proudly celebrating our 10th anniversary half the size and a much more nimble organisation than we used to be. We’re also far more productive. “Now, life is great.” Kevin spent 25 years with Marriott International, working his way up from a Management Trainee to General Manager in just eight years, and was part of the pre-opening team for Courtyard by Marriott in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Later he was appointed Resident Manager of the 1,200-room Boston Copley Marriott before arriving Thailand as opening General Manager of the five-star JW Marriott Bangkok and Country Manager for Thailand. Kevin serves as Chairman for Operation Smile Thailand, a non-profit medical foundation that helps children afflicted with facial deformities such as cleft lips and palates. He is a former President of The American Chamber of Commerce Thailand and is a founding and active Director for the American Chamber Charitable Foundation. Kevin sits on the Eagle Scout Review Board for the Boy Scouts of America, having been a boy scout himself in his younger days. He was also Chairman of the Youth Career Council for UNICEF in 2002. Regarded as an industry expert in developing and implementing customised formulas for maximising results and return on investment, Kevin is a regular panellist and speaker at hospitality management and investment conferences.




Raise a drink for a cause:

Negroni Week 2017 is here From June 5-11 bars and restaurants around the world will join forces to celebrate one of the world’s most beloved cocktails while raising money for a wide range of charitable causes


ARK your calendar, the international Negroni Week is back! For seven days bars and restaurants around the world will join forces to celebrate one of the world’s greatest cocktails while raising funds for charitable causes. First launched in 2013 by Imbibe Magazine and Campari as a celebration of one of the world’s great cocktails when participating bars mixing Negronis and donating a portion of proceeds sold to charity. Tapping into the ever-growing contemporary classic cocktail phenomenon and the rising popularity of bitter flavours, Negroni Week Thailand 2017 is set to be better than ever. Here are the first 50 participating bars in Bangkok that signed up for their good causes this year:



1. 2. 3. 4 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35.

Vogue Lounge The House on Sathorn WTF Gallery and Café Bangkok Heightz Seven Spoons Sheepshank Public House ChangChui 1881 by Water Library MIKYS Cocktail Bar Sorrento Sathorn Mejico Up & Above Bar, The Okura Prestige Bangkok Track 17 Brick & Bone Backstage TUBA Design Furniture & Restaurant AINU Bar Toro Bangkok Morimoto Bangkok Soul Food Mahanakorn CÉ LA VI Bangkok Vesper Cocktail Bar & Restaurant Il Fumo Charcoal and Cocktail HEAP Cafe’ & Restaurant Decanterat, The St. Regis Bangkok Salt Revolucion Cocktail Bangkok Eat Me Restaurant Bronx Liquid Parlour Freebird Bangkok - Modern Australian Cuisine Harvest Restaurant Gypsy Spells Peek-a-Boo Rabbit Hole Canvas

36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50.

Havana Social Above Eleven Charcoal Tandoor Grill & Mixology Cantina Wine Bar & Italian Kitchen Junker & Bar Just a drink (Maybe) NEST Rooftop Lounge Bourbon Street Bangkok Osito Unique Spanish Q&A Bar Maya Blend Bistro & Wine Bar Mellow Restaurant & Bar Moon Glass the Social bar & Bistro Theo Mio Italian Kitchen

About The Negroni

The Negroni Week festivities will kick off with Negroni Week Launch Party on June 5 at VOGUE Lounge This year's event is being organised by Independent Wine & Spirit (Thailand) Company Limited and VOGUE Lounge. All proceeds from the event will be donated to the Chaipattana Foundation, a non-governmental organisation initiated by the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej that serves to provide prompt, timely, and necessary responses to problems affecting the Thai people through various development projects. VOGUE Lounge, MahaNakhon CUBE, 6th Floor, 96 Narathiwat Ratchanakharin Road. 02 001 0697.

Aroma Negroni

Said to be invented in Florence in 1919 when Count Camillo Negroni contemplated ordering an Americano – a simple blend of Campari, vermouth and soda – but requested it with a slug of gin instead of soda, inspired by his last trip to London and its prevalent gin scene. The bartender was pleased to honour Count Camillo Negroni’s request and added an orange garnish rather than the lemon wedge of the Americano to signify the new drink he had created, the Negroni was born. One of the most famous, one can always find a mixologist who can make a perfect Negroni. The original recipe, an iconic combination of ingredients, is almost a century old and continues to be enjoyed by mixologists and Campari enthusiasts alike. The International Bartenders Association (IBA) lists Campari as an official ingredient for the classic Negroni, and thus, there is no Negroni without Campari.

By Vogue Lounge




AWARDWINNING FILM SCREENINGS AT RIVER CITY BANGKOK FILM CLUB Asia’s premier art and antiques hub presents eight internationally acclaimed films by eight top directors



OR the month of June, the River City Bangkok Film Club will be screening eight international awardwinning films by eight top directors, including: Blood Of My Blood (Portugal), Villa Touma (Palestine), Trishna (UK), Jan Dara (Thailand), Down The River (Azerbaijan), When Love Comes (Taiwan), Animal Town (South Korea), and Queen (India). Each screening will be held on the 2nd floor of the River City Bangkok complex and are free-of-charge to visitors.



TRISHNA (2011)




The opening film, directed by João Canijo, won over critics and audiences at numerous festivals around the world and was Portugal’s Oscar-entry in 2011. It’s an intimate and moving domestic drama that presents a rare, inside portrait of Portuguese society, with some splendid individual performances.

This memorable debut film by renowned Israel-based Palestinian scriptwriter Suha Araf centres around three aristocratic Christian sisters who lead isolated lives in the city of Ramallah. But their lives turn upside down when their young niece comes to live with them and starts a secret affair with a Muslim activist.

Directed by Michael Winterbottom, one of Britain’s top contemporary filmmakers, this film created a stir at many film festivals across the globe. It’s a torrid love story-based on British novelist Thomas Hardy’s classic novel ‘Tess of the Durbervilles’, colourfully and sensationally set in India, with Slumdog Millionaire heroine Frieda Pinto playing the lead.


JAN DARA (2001)






Based on an erotic Thai novel, this film was translated for the screen by renowned Thai filmmaker Nonzee Nimibutr (later re-made in 2013 by another noted Thai director) and created huge waves with its daring sex scenes. Its cast is predominantly Thai with a famous Hong Kong actress taking one of the lead roles. There will be a Q&A session after the screening.

This debut film by Azerbaijani director Asif Rustamov, is the unforgettable drama of a tough father who ignores his son and cheats on his wife until a tragedy tears him apart.

This moving domestic drama, considered to be the best film by renowned Taiwanese director Tso-chi Chang, won much acclaim at top international festivals. It follows an array of diverse and memorable characters in the tale of a unique polygamous family in Taipei.

For more information, please contact 02 237 0077 ext 622/701 River City Bangkok 23 Charoen Krung Soi 24 Talad Noi Bangkok


QUEEN (2013)



This film, which is part of a trilogy by one of South Korea’s top contemporary filmmakers, Jeon Kyu-Hwan, created waves at many film festivals around the world. It centres around a child-molester who comes out of jail and tries to lead a normal life until he encounters an unexpected person.

In the closing film, directed by Vikas Bahl, top Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut plays a shy Indian bride who goes on a solo honeymoon to Paris after her fiancé leaves her at the altar. She meets many unforgettable individuals, experiences amazing adventures, and comes back to India a changed woman, where her fiancé suddenly re-appears.






Hotel of the month

Raweekanlaya Bangkok An exclusive wellness cuisine resort in the centre of the old city ■ NESTLED in Bangkok’s old city (Rattanakosin) is the Raweekanlaya Boutique Wellness Cuisine Resort. Originally built as the residence of the royal governess, Khun Tat Pheungboon Na Ayutthaya, of His Majesty King Vajiravudh (King Rama VI), this exclusive wellness cuisine resort has been restored to replicate its 19th-century origin. Recently, the entire complex was expanded with the original design in mind. This urban wellness resort spans over 900 sq m of ground with lush greenery highlighted by the 120-yearold Banyan tree. Featuring 38 unique guest rooms designed to reflect the heritage of Old-Siam with contemporary touches, each room has been built to suit the available space. All rooms reflect a sophisticated interplay between modern comforts

and traditional Thai décor of the Rama VI era with added artistic elements. Drawing inspiration from His Majesty’s work, each room has been uniquely appointed with a poem from

Thai literature depicting the Thai culture and society at the time. In order to include the adjacent land facing Krung Kasem Road, various walls across the resort's buildings feature hand-painted artwork or depictions from modern Thai history. Divided into two wings, the City Wing rooms face the main road with views of the Krung Kasem Canal leading to Chaophraya River, while the Garden Wing rooms are located in the



main residence building of the royal governess of His Majesty Rama VI. The Raweekanlaya Dining Room is a wellness cuisine restaurant where the food is crafted with the emphasis on health and sustainability. Every dish includes healthy and natural ingredients such as organic brown rice, sea salt, and seasonal organic produce from small-scale farmers. While a number of products are sourced from local and international artisan producers, a small organic fruit and herb garden is also located on the grounds where guests can pick the herbs of their chosen dishes under the slogan, “You Pick, We Cook”. Other facilities include an outdoor pool, the Imperial Spa, a fitness centre, and a pool bar where healthy fruit juices are made and served fresh for guests. Raweekanlaya Bangkok. 164-172 Krung Kasem Road, Bangkok. 02 628 5999.

Travel By Natalie Glebova

Bali: Island of the Gods Our most recent family travel adventure was to the spiritual haven and the place that should be on every family’s list – Bali


T has been one of our top travel destinations even as a couple BB (before baby) so we wanted to see what it would be like to go there as a trio. This was Maya’s 12th destination and second time to Indonesia – what a wanderlust baby she is! Travelling there was easy, with directs flights from Bangkok to Denpasar. Pack all essential items in a separate diaper bag or carry-on, in case your luggage gets lost. We always have diapers, formula, bottles, and change of clothes, food, and toys in the carry-on luggage. We stayed at Villa Bagherra – a private villa that is big enough for six people. It also has full-time staff working there, including 24/7 security guard, and two housekeepers. Ketut, one of the housekeepers, prepared our daily breakfast and was available to do laundry, ironing and even booking private massage sessions for us. The tap water in Bali is not safe to drink so we used a steam steriliser to sanitise bottles and utensils for Maya. It is handy to have microwavable boxes when you travel. Any hotels will gladly pop that in the microwave for you. For formula and drinking water, we used boiled or bottled water instead. For the fun activities, there are plenty of beach clubs in Bali. Most of them are family-friendly so we enjoyed our days hanging out by the pool. For the cultural experience, there are an abundance of temples. We checked out Uluwatu temple overlooking the ocean. Maya was



impressed by the chanting and the eye-catching costumes. Another temple we visited was Tirta Empul in Ubud which is about an hour’s drive from Seminyak known as the Holy Springs Temple. People believed that submerging in the sacred pool will bring them blessings and good fortune. The water was quite

cold so we didn’t take Maya to the pool. We stayed overnight in Ubud at a small charming hotel with the beautiful jungle infinity pool where Maya enjoyed a nice swim. It is also wise to pack enough toys and entertainment to distract the baby since traffic in Bali can be horrendous at times.

Expat Sport

Story by Scott Murray Photo by Tadamasa Nagayama

SPORT CORNER-TITANIUM CAPTURES FIRST SHL TITLE Sport Corner-Titanium beat Hooters Nana at 4-3, winning two straight games in their best-of-three championship series to capture the inaugural Siam Hockey League title AT the inaugural Siam Hockey League’s (SHL) Championship Cup held at The Rink at Central Plaza Grand Rama IX, Hooters Nana held leads of 1-0, 2-1 and were ahead 3-2 going in the third period but lost control of the game and their momentum halfway through the third when Jouni Heinonen, scored the second of his three goals before scoring the winning goal with seven minutes to play. It was a remarkable comeback for Heinonen, who only two months ago couldn’t even skate because he was in so much pain due to a groin injury. Captain Mike Wilson scored the other goal for SC-Titanium on the night. One could have called this the Jouni Heinonen-Michael White show because not only did they trade hat-tricks but Mike White accidentally poked the puck to Jouni, allowing him to score the winning goal. White had the goal of the night, when stepping out of the penalty box, he took a pass from Janthapong “Moo” Tengsakul on the blue line, streaked in on goalkeeper Gabor Toth dazzled him with a brilliant head fake and tucked in behind the Russo-Hungarian netkeeper. Toth stopped 23 of the 26 shots directed his way, while his counterpart Thai national team goalie Pattarapol “Dream” Ungkulpattanasuk turned aside 18 of the 22 shots. Gabor had the best goalie rating during the playoffs and made the big saves when needed. Goal-scoring in the playoffs was dominated by SC-Titanium. Zak Garofolo finished atop the scorer’s table with two goals and eight assists, followed by sharpshooter Heinonen, the playoff MVP, with seven goals and two assists. Regular season leading scorer John Schachnovsky finished third with three goals and five assists. Hooter’s



Mike White was the only non-SC-Titanium player to sneak into the top five scoring four goals and two assists to finish fourth. Panithi “Jeto” Nawasmittawong was fi fth with two goals and four assists and earned the “Best Thai player of the playoffs” award. Hooters Nana dug deep in this game, outshot SC-Titanium and with a couple of lucky bounces could have pushed the series to three games. In fact, Hooters had a number of players that won multiple championships in the SHL’s predecessor, the Thai World Hockey League (TWHL), and it was thought their playoff experience might give Hooters an edge. But SC-Titanium just played so well together as a team and never seemed to panic under pressure. Steve Lavender, a partner in Sport Corner, was on hand with some of his staff, to hand out the championship trophy to Captain Mike Wilson of Sport Corner Titanium. The score in the final game was a fitting end to the season; organizers worked hard to achieve parity in the league and the majority of SHL matches were closely-decided contests. Game one of the final series was a 10-1 blow-out in SC-Titanium’s favour, there had been some fear that the substitute players Hooters Nana received in their 2-0 semi-final series defeat of the Sukhumvit Spitfires had played a key role in their advancing to the final series. SC-Titanium had defeated their semi-final counterpart AWARE two to one in a much more closely fought series. The MVP of the SHL’s regular season was Donny Kerfoot, who led Sukhumvit to a first-place finish, but the Spitfires could not parlay their regular-season success into playoff success.

Expat Sport

Chris Kays MeMorial rugby TournaMenT 2017 16 teams joined this year’s Chris Kays Memorial Rugby 10’s Tournament with the Royal Thai Police regaining the trophy SATURDAY’s game began when all of 16 participating teams were divided into four groups. The games were played in a round robin format to determine the ranking for the knockout tournaments to be played on Sunday. A short period of rain helped cool things down, however, made the game more interesting. The game saw strong performances from all teams and many of the games were very close with two drawn games in the preliminary rounds being awarded to the team that scored first. The Royal Thai Police showed that they meant business and won all three of their pool games and was qualified from pool A. The biggest surprise was the Elephant Brutal who topped pool D beating former champions, Southerners Gold, on their way to Cup qualification. The two new teams Sam Yan Rangers and O.V’s performed well and both qualified for the cup quarter finals with the Royal Thai Police. They were joined by Southerners Black, Southerners Gold, Bangkok Bangers, and RPL Military Vikings. The hosts, Bangkok Japanese and two Hong Kong sides, Hong Kong Scottish and Valley Griffins dropped down to the plate. Whilst Arch Thai, Bangkok University, I Animals and La Vache Rouge dropped to the lower division, with the bonus of a late start on Sunday. Both Valley Griffins and La Vache Rouge had put up a plucky display but unfortunately the weather conditions and the standard of the opposition were just too much for them and they withdrew from the tournament, vowing to return next year with a stronger squad. Sunday kick off was promising. The now well-known Pattaya Trickle Down format was in effect, this puts the Big Boys on early and gives the others a slightly later start. The quest for Cup, Plate, Bowl and Shield got under way and many first time losers were surprised to find that they had to play more games than if they had won.



Both semifinals of the cup were hotly contested and the Royal Thai Police showed just what a potent force they are in Thai rugby as they coasted to a relatively easy victory against new boys Sam Yan Rangers 14:0. In the second semifinal, the Elephants finally ran out of steam and were eventually soundly beaten by the guile and experience, not to mention age and weight of a Bangkok Bangers team playing thinking rugby 21:0. So the stage was set for a classic final between the youth and fitness of the Royal Thai Police and the age, experience and weight of the Bangkok Bangers. The Cup Final was to be the former champions Royal Thai Police against the resurgent Bangkok Bangers. This was bound to be an epic clash of youth, fitness and finesse against age, brawn and experience. The match started at a frantic pace and the Policemen especially played some scintillating rugby, whilst the Bangers defended as if their lives depended on it. Eventually the dam broke and the youth and fitness gained the upper hand. The Police put on a magnificent display of hard running rugby and by the end were scoring almost at will. So the Royal Thai Police regained the trophy with a runaway victory 40:0! However the Bangers never gave up and fought valiantly until the final whistle and were magnanimous in defeat. After the final whistle everybody crashed into the pool and the presentations were made to all trophy winners. A highlight was the first time presentation of the Mike Cobb Bowl, which fittingly went to the students of Bangkok University. Jim Howard the Chairman of Pattaya Panthers RFC commended everybody for the great spirit in which the tournament had been played and the outstanding quality of rugby throughout. A vote of thanks is due to all the organizers supporters and sponsors without whom a tournament like this could not happen.


Kids’ show reveals our love of stupidity By Drew McCreadie

■ Recently the comedy club Bangkok hosted its first comedy show for children. It was a tremendous success, with two sold out shows on a Saturday afternoon, lots of laughs, and best of all (as organiser chris Wegoda declared) no pee on the floor when it was all over. What children laugh at is an interesting insight into the fundamental elements of comedy. Of course, the performer (chris Henry) performed an obligatory ‘fart joke’, which the discerning audience accepted with grand approval. But what was most interesting to me, as a

This month at the Comedy Club Bangkok The Early Late Show & Epic Gameshow Improvised parody of late night TV and gameshow genres with special guests. Friday, June 2 at 8.30pm. B400 in advance. B500 at the door. Include a drink and drink specials. Stand-up Comedy Open Mic See more international special guests joining newcomers and Bangkok’s ever more seasoned comics for a great night’s laughs. Friday, June 9 and June 23 at 8.30pm. B250 in advance. B350 at the door. Include a drink and drink specials. BALLOONANTICS - The Kids Comedy Show Chris Henry is back with his hit children’s show BALLOONANTICS at the Comedy Club Bangkok (ages 4 years or older). Sunday, June 11 at 2pm. B450 in advance. B600 at the door. Live Improve Comedy A night of improv hilarity. Friday, June 16 at 8.30pm. B400 in advance. B500 at the door. Include a drink and drink specials. Headliner Stand-up Comedy Show Fun filled night to celebrate the end of the month with laughter. Friday, June 30 at 8.30pm. B600 in advance. B800 at the door. Include a drink and drink specials. The Comedy Club Bangkok Sukhumvit 33/1 (above Royal Oak Pub)



comedy professional, was how many of the jokes were based on someone being stupid or wrong. Apparently we humans think an error is hilarious. the show started with Henry stepping on stage and greeting everyone with a big “HellO”, facing the wall with his back to the audience. the children screamed with delight! He’s facing the wrong way! What a fool! A similar gag (familiar to those who have witnessed British Pantomime) involved Henry standing in front of hundreds of balloons, asking the audience, “Do you know where the balloons are? I forgot where I put them!” to which the 4+ years old crowd screamed “Behind you!” as if their lives depended on it. What kind of adult can’t remember where he put balloons? He’s so dumb! Henry twisted up a balloon into a dog shape, then twisted up the second balloon promising a cat, but the shape is exactly the same! “It’s a dog!” the young crowd bellows on the verge of an out and out revolt! Henry can’t seem to understand what they mean! He’s so stupid! the two balloons are exactly the same! Why can’t he see that? What an idiot! He holds it up and cries out “Simba” to the lion King

soundtrack and all is forgiven. But his mental abilities are still in doubt. And so it continues; stupidity received with great approval. And just in case you think it is just Henry looking stupid that is so appealing (and it certainly is: he was wearing a kilt after all), be assured that this crowd was ready to judge any adult of low intellect. A few of the parents were brought up on stage and gently humiliated by being dressed up as teenage Mutant ninja turtles, to the delight of the kids. Seeing grown-ups acting silly is delightful, apparently. they didn’t even know all the ninja turtles’ names! Uneducated buffoons! And so the show ended with each kid being assured they would get a balloon (you know, to teach them the valuable lesson that life is fair.) there were still some tears and screaming, and a few parents threatening some time-outs, but ultimately everyone managed to get a balloon in the colour of their choice and the show was over. Henry packs up his bag of balloons and heads to his next South-east Asian country to more sold out shows, maybe he’s not such an idiot after all.

By Kelly Harvey


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


01 LR Through June 25 BANGKOK CITYCITY GALLERY THE self-taught animator, director and music composer, Wisut Ponnimit, proudly presents his latest solo exhibition. LR quietly simulates living and opens up chances for viewers to contemplate their actions and decisions made at every moment of their lives.

02 Muay Thai Live: The Legend Lives Through June 30 The Stage at Asiatique The Riverfront AN epic live-show that chronicles 300 years of Thai boxing history through a stellar combination of fights, stunts, drama, music, and electrifying light and sound effects. The award-winning production is created and directed by Ekachai Uekrongtham, the criticallyacclaimed director of the Skin Trade, Beautiful Boxer, and the hit Singaporean musical theatre production Chang & Eng. Tickets: B1,200 – B1,500 for adults and B500 for children

03 DJ Run Festival Thailand June 3 Makkasan Airport Rail Link Station RUNNING is easy when you’ve got the right music to listen to. Run through the high-energy 5km course while DJs play live through the speakers to get you running to the beat. Get those endorphins flowing together with your friends, then dance like there’s no tomorrow at the after-party dance festival. Tickets: B1,070 pre-registration or B856 each during pre-registration for a group of five




04 Laguna Phuket Marathon

07 River City Bangkok Film Club

June 3 – 4 Laguna Phuket LAST year saw 6,000 runners from more than 60 nationalities take to the trail for this family-fun affair. In conjunction with the Laguna Phuket Foundation, the event is held in support of educational and social development of local communities, marine and natural environmental conservation. Five distances are available: 2km, 5km, 10.5km, half marathon, and marathon.

June 3 – 25 River City Bangkok FOR the month of June, the River City Bangkok Film Club will be screening eight international award-winning films by eight top directors, including: Blood Of My Blood (Portugal), Villa Touma (Palestine), Trishna (UK), Jan Dara (Thailand), Down The River (Azerbaijan), When Love Comes (Taiwan), Animal Town (South Korea), and Queen (India). Each screening will be held on the 2nd floor of the River City Bangkok complex and are free-of-charge to visitors.

05 Masala Wedding Fair June 3 – 4 Bangkok Marriot Marquis Queen’s Park Hotel NOW in it’s 6th edition, the two-day event will showcase close to 100 exhibitors presenting the best of fashion, jewellery, Bangkok food and wine and wedding destinations.

06 Noise Market June 3 – 4 Museum Siam THE sixth biannual market is bringing back the noise. Focusing on the concept of precycling, this year’s market promises to bring indie art, craft, design, music, books, and films to the fore as always. Enjoy a friendly atmosphere where children can run, families can sit back and relax, artists can draw, readers can think, musicians can rock, experimentalists can test, and tourists can shop.

08 Resident Art Show June 10 – 27 Sathorn 11 art space OVER the past six months, Sathorn 11 art space’s resident artists for 2017, Chonket, Tinna, Prapote, Preecha, Pisanu, and Somchoke, have been working on individual exhibits that will represent their own individual style and personal expression in a combined art showcase.

09 Skechers Blacklight Run June 17 Makkasan Airport Rail Link THE brightest, most fun 5km run is back! Whether you sprint it, run it, or walk it, it doesn’t matter, simply enjoy it and have fun. Join the 5km run as well as the pre-run party and post-run party with Dj Kenneth G.



10 Bangkok Airways Samui Marathon June 25 Central Festival Samui AS part of the Bangkok Airways Boutique Series, the Bangkok Airways Samui Marathon will see racers run 42km, 21km, 10km, or 5km across Koh Samui. Open to racers of all ages.

11 International Day of Yoga

June 18 Chulalongkorn University FOR the 3rd year, the Embassy of India will host the International Day of Yoga (IDY). This year’s event will take place at the Chulalongkorn University Playgrounds (opposite the main auditorium) at 7am. Enty is free and all participants will receive a t-shirt, refreshments and water. Yoga Mats will be pre-placed at the venue. RSVP at

12 Britney Spears

June 23 – 24 Impact Arena, Muang Thong Thani OH baby, baby, Britney Spears is coming to Bangkok! The pop icon will be heading to the Big Mango for the first time this June. Time to whip out those CDs and start practising the words to Hit me baby, one more time. Tickets range: B3,500 – B12,000



13 Columbia Trail Masters Episode XIII

16 Phoenix

July 9 Chonburi Agriculture Extension and Development Centre COMBINING the beautiful outdoor scenery of hiking with the physical challenges of running, the legendary trail running event returns for the 13th time. Four distances are available: 3km, 10km, 25km, and 50km.

August 17 To be confirmed THE French alternative rock band is set to perform in Bangkok for the first time as part of the Singha Light Live Series Vol 2.4. Known for their synth pop, alternative rock and new wave sound, fans can expect to hear hits If I Ever Feel Better, Lisztomania and Trying to be Cool.

14 Krabi International Triathlon

July 23 Nopahrat Beach SWIM, bike and run your way through the beautiful surroundings of Krabi. Join as an individual and compete in the Triathlon Individual or Sprint Individual categories, or as a team for Triathlon Team category.

15 Oh Wonder

August 3 DND Club THE London-based alt-pop duo, best known for Without You, Livewire and All We Do, will be making their Bangkokdebut. The duo consists of Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West and will be promoting their second studio album Ultralife.


17 Krabi Adventure Race Trophy August 19 Nopparat Thara, Mu Ko PiPi National Park FRESH air and the beautiful scenery of Krabi is waiting for bicycle racers. In teams of two racers team, participants can choose between the Extereme course for extreme athletes or the Adventure course for racing newcomers. Bikes are also available for rent upon booking for B1500.

18 Foo Fighters

August 24 Impact Arena, Muang Thong Thani AFTER 21 years, the Grammy Award winning rockers will be making their return to Bangkok. Foo Fighters was formed in 1994 by former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl after the death of Kurt Cobain and Nirvana’s dissolution;

since then the band has gone on to win four Grammy Awards and has sold 30 million album copies, including Sonic Highways, Wasting Light and In Your Honor. Tickets range: B2,500 – B6,500

19 Ed Sheeran

November 16 Impact Arena, Muang Thong Thani THE Grammy Award-winning British singer and songwriter’s Southeast Asian Tour dates for Bangkok have finally been confirmed! Information regarding ticket prices are to be released on June 8. Stay tuned to our Facebook page for updates. thebigchillimagazine

20 Shawn Mendes

December 11 Impact Arena, Muang Thong Thani AS part of his Illuminate World Tour, the Canadian pop singer and songwriter is making his Bangkok debut at the end of this year. The 18-year-old rose to international stardom with his first studio album Handwritten. His second album Illuminate features hits Mercy and Treat You Better. Tickets range: B2,000 – B5,000

For more hot events, and to submit your own, go to

TheBigChilli 37

Food& Drink Bangkok’s hottest dining deals and news

Sassy Sunday brunch SUNDAYS AT PRIME SUNDAY Brunch in the heart of Sukhumvit has never been a more delicious prospect than now that PRIME international all-day dining restaurant and PRIME+ urban grill restaurant & bar have combined forces to present a new irresistibly indulgent array. Located side-byside on the 7th floor of the also new wave Compass SkyView Hotel at the top end of Sukhumvit Soi 24, the hotel’s ace US executive chef and team present an exquisite array guaranteed to make Sunday sparkle. Priced at B2,200 per person with a special ‘Come 2 Pay 1’ offer. Available form 11.45am – 3pm. 02 011 1111.

Party for Lobster Lovers

Spicing up Sukhumvit NOW OPEN AT COMPASS SKYVIEW HOTEL A HOT new Latin-inspired venue has arrived on the 32nd floor of Compass SkyView Hotel, steps from Phrom Phong skytrain station. An equally alluring magnet for friends, colleagues and couples, Mojjo Lounge Bar boasts breath-taking city views, stylish sofas, creative menus of food and drink, and optional indoor, terrace, and cigar bar seating. 02 011 1111.

THROUGH JUNE 17 AT DON GIOVANNI DINERS at Don Giovanni can enjoy a diverse menu of special lobster dishes including steamed Boston lobster, wild berry salad rocket leaves bouquet B 1,850++, spaghetti with Boston lobster B 1,690++, pan fried Boston lobster served with Madagascar vanilla sauce B1,890++, and many other delicious options. 02 541 1234 ext 4151.

Around the world with burgers THROUGH JUNE 25 AT HARD ROCK CAFÉ BANGKOK THE World Burger Tour is back and ready to take guests on an international adventure. Taste unique burgers with flavours from around the world including: the Spinach and Chickpea Burger from New Delhi, India; the Tango Salsa Burger from Buenos Aires, Argentina; the Kimchi Burger from Seoul, South Korea; and the Banh Mi Burger from Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. Prices start at B739++. 038 426635. hardrockbangkok



Pling prawns and shuck oysters THROUGH AUGUST 31 AT PULLMAN BANGKOK GRANDE SUKHUMVIT WHY choose between all you can eat pawns and oysters when you can have it both? Savour the finest of both, along with grilled as well as iced prawn varieties and succulent French oysters. Available every Sunday to Thursday from 6pm – 10.30pm. Priced B1,299++ per person including soft drinks. 02 204 4161.

Memorable French meals AVAILABLE NOW AT LOVE ME TENDER OFFERING memorable French home-style cooking dishes that will satisfy all French foodies at affordable prices. Love Me Tender has three branches: Love Me Tender Le at Chong Nonsi, Love Me Tender à la plancha on Sukhumvit 39, and Love Me Tender at Food Loft on the 7th floor of Central Chidlom.

Seafood hero live in action

THROUGH JUNE 31 AT BENIHANNA THE Japanese Steakhouse at AVANI Atrium Bangkok Hotel is giving seafood fans a huge luxury treat with a Canadian lobster Teppanyaki special. Ensuring this ocean special is bursting with freshness, live lobsters are flown in all the way from Canada and are the hero of “eatertainment”. The Canadian Lobster Teppanyaki Sizzle set menu includes a Benihana salad, Benihana soup, garlic fried rice and prawns, priced at B2,100++ per set. 02 718 2000-1.

The Naked Burger THROUGH JUNE 30 AT 25 DEGREES THE Naked Burger throws caution to the wind – and the bun – to serve up a succulent 200g Wagyu beef patty dressed for modesty with mushrooms, avocado, roast tomato, grilled onion, jalapeno peppers, a crispy egg, asparagus, iceberg lettuce, cheddar cheese and garlic aioli. Accompanied by tasty potato wedges, it’s a feast to remember. And all for just B380++. 02 352 4192.

Get ginormously gastronomic THROUGH JULY 31 AT CHATRIUM HOTEL RIVERSIDE BANGKOK THIS July the Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkok is offering a ginormous selection of the finest fare perfectly complemented by the panoramic views of the Chao Phraya in what is simply the best location on the river. A virtual smorgasbord of sensational food is guaranteed to satisfy even the most demanding diners at the River Barge Restaurant, while at Silver Waves Chinese Restaurant a special menu has a tempting taste of the sea. In the lobby, choose your of perfect pastry; homemade Boston cream pie, red velvet cake or a Mississippi mud pie. 02 307 8888.

Champaign Brunch for the whole family FIRST SUNDAY OF EVERY MONTH AT UNO MAS SPEND some quality time with your family and friends while feasting on a wonderful selection of outstanding dishes including seafood on ice, smoked fish, caviar, tapas counter, foie gras terrine with Spanish figs and quince paste, cecina dried beef with Argentinean tenderloin carpaccio, tuna tataki with escalivada and black olives, and more. Priced at B3,555++ per person inclusive of the sommelier’s fine selection of international drinks and Champagne, unlimited G.H. Mumm No.1 Pink Champagne. Available from 11.30am – 2.30pm. 02 100 6255.



Desirable Dish

Sauces Choose between bordelaise or spicy Thai jeaw

72-hour seared beef short rib steak Succulent beef short rib steak with sautéed vegetable and potatoes – at Love Me Tender

Sautéed vegetables Fresh vegetables for a balanced meal.

Seared beef short rib Made with Sous-vide products, trusted by the world’s most renowned chefs.

Sautéed potatoes Cooked to perfection

Chef behind the dish CHEF Jean-Pierre Guillaud from Cuisine Solutions is the pioneer and producer of Sous-vide products. Currently the partner of restaurant Love Me Tender, he aims to offer memorable French home-style cooking dishes that should satisfy all French foodies at affordable prices. Love me tender has three branches of; Love Me Tender - Le Bistro at Chong Nonsee (02 678 2048), Love Me Tender - à la plancha on soi Sukhumvit 39 (097 067 6350), and Love Me Tender at Food Loft on the 7th floor of Central Chidlom (02 793 7070).



Meet the Chef What’s your cooking philosophy? Passion. Why are the world’s best chefs French (or not)? That’s a myth.

SERVING UP Fernando Roman

Executive Chef, Amari Watergate Bangkok

How many hours a week do you work? 65 - 80 hours.

If you weren’t a chef what would you be? An astronaut or a fisherman.

Favourite dish cooked by someone else? Most BBQ pig’s difficult head. ingredient to cook with? How do Liver. you keep in touch with latest food trends? Social Media.

Biggest mistake when you were a junior chef? Carrying 10 litres of jus in two 5-litre buckets at the handles.

Best advice you’ve ever received? You’re as good as your last meal. Greatest achievement to date? Travel around the world as a chef.

Best meal you’ve ever had? My mom’s cabbage stew. Utensils you can’t do without? Sous Vide machine.

Music you listen to while cooking? Instrumental jazz.

focus 42


Most influential chef? Anthony Bourdain.

Worst customers? Asking for a wagyu steak to be cremated.

Chef in

Biggest culinary myth? Putting oil in pasta.

Favourite cookbook? Larousse Gastronomique.

What do you like to do when you’re not busy cooking? Fishing.

■ WITH years of experience in hospitality and culinary field, this passionate chef is always willing to go the extra mile. His expertise involves designing creative menus that are not only delicious but also health-conscious. Amari Watergate Bangkok. 847 Petchburi Road. 02 653 9000.

cut out and keep

Recipe Seared black cod, poached white asparagus & bean ragout with tarragon New Executive Chef Matthias Mittnacht of Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong Hotel shares his recipe for this seasonal dish at La Tavola & Wine Bar -----------------Ingredients-----------------• 150g black cod fillet • White asparagus • Cherry tomatoes • White cannellini beans • Onion • Bay leaves • Tarragon • Parsley • Milk • Shrimp bisque • Tomato sauce • White wine • Vegetable stock • Butter • Olive oil • Salt • Pepper

--------------------Method--------------------1. Pan fry the cod with the skin side down, then bake in the oven for 6 minutes at 180°C. 2. Boil the white cannellini beans until cooked.

3. In a hot pan add olive oil, chopped onion, white beans, white wine, tomato sauce, shrimp bisque, chopped tarragon and chopped parsley. Slow cook until the beans are soft, then add cherry tomatoes.

4. Poach the white asparagus in milk and vegetable stock with bay leaves, butter, salt and pepper for 3-4 minutes. 5. Place bean ragout on plate then top with cod and asparagus.

Chef in focus

Chef Matthias Mittnacht 44


ALTHOUGH hailing from a beautiful town in Bavaria, Matthias is no stranger to Bangkok having spent almost half a decade working in this bustling city. With almost 20 years of experience in culinary arts working alongside many world-renowned chefs, Matthias now shares his years of expertise and huge repertoire of cooking techniques with the chefs of Flavors, La Tavola & Wine Bar and Fei Ya – passionately leading the Renaissance Bangkok’s Food and Beverage team to even greater heights of innovation, customer satisfaction and excellence. Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong Hotel. 518/8 Ploen Chit Road, Bangkok. 02 125 5010.

This dish is available for lunch and dinner from Tuesday to Sunday throughout June

Dining Out

Benihana Five courses to share paired with five cocktails too good to share


By Kelly Harvey

LMOST two years on and the Japanese steakhouse at the AVANI Atrium Bangkok is still serving up the tastiest show in town. Known for its slicing, dicing, sizzling and searing ‘eatertainment’, Benihana has just added a new element to its live cooking show: cocktail pairing. Five new cocktails have been added to the menu and perfectly paired with signature dishes and a few other favourites. As always, the dishes are perfect for sharing, but the cocktails you’ll want all for yourself.


First up, the Yuzuke (B 290++) made with Tanqueray gin, Cointreau, sake, yuzu juice, egg white, and rose syrup. The soft taste of gin and subtle aroma from the rose essence provides the

perfect accompaniment to the Benihana Salmon Tuna Tartar (B550++). Next, the Hiroaki Banana (B290++) paired with Benihana’s signature sushi rolls, the Rocky’s Mountain Sandwich (B400++). Made with Ketel One vodka, Midori, banana liqueur, Malibu, lime juice, pineapple juice, and sun-dried banana syrup, the Hiroaki Banana is beautifully fruity and fragrant. For mains, the Samurai Mule (B320++) made with Ketel One vodka, lime juice, falernum syrup, and Fentimans ginger beer paired with the Scallop Teppanyaki set (B800++). A mild drink but extremely refreshing. The set is also served with Japanese onion soup, Hibachi vegetables, Benihana salad, steamed rice, and prawn appetiser.


TheBigChilli BigChilli

The Benihana Sour (B320++) made from Bulleit bourbon, lemon juice, cherry blossom and cucumber syrup, egg white, and Angostura bitters, provides a well-balanced flavour that is well suited for beef. Particularly, the Saga striploin A4 set (B3,900++) and garlic fried rice. Lastly, the Kemuri (B290++), a combination of Suntory Hakushu, yuzu juice, syrup, plum bitters, and egg white. A sweet and sour explosion of flavour paired with the chocolate praline cake (B210++) to end off the feast.


While the dimmed lighting, dark woods and deep reds create a romantic ambience, the chefs will have you laughing, oohing and aahing non-stop at their hilarious antics and masterful culinary skills.


Valet parking is available at AVANI Atrium Bangkok. AVANI Atrium Bangkok, 1880 New Petchburi Road, Bangkok. 02 718 2000-1.

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Dining Out

Colonnade The legend continues at The Sukhothai Bangkok’s jazzy Sunday brunch


VERY Sunday at noon, The Sukhothai Bangkok’s international restaurant transforms itself into a haven for food connoisseurs and presents a brunch worthy of legendary status; continuing to attract guests with an ever improving and wider selection of quality cuisine, a larger live food station and exciting live entertainment from American jazz diva Coco Rouzier.


Any buffet aficionado knows to begin their culinary journey with a fresh array of seafood and crustacean specialties. Five types of European oysters are on offer, freshly shucked



to order. Next to which you will find Alaskan king crab, Maine lobster, Sicilian brown crab, snow crab leg, and rock lobster. The newly expanded Japanese section offers a mouthwatering selection of sushi and sashimi inculding engawa, foie gras, hamachi, hotate, unagi, tamago, suzuki, hogigai, maguro, ikura and many more. Switching to cold cuts and salads, you’ll find a variety of hams, salamis, and signature salads. Alongside which is a pate and terrines section complete with foie gras pate, black truffles, port jelly, terrine whole duck foie gras and duck rillettes, served with brioche bread and pickles, in addition to panfried foie gras made to order. A must-try are the Sukhothai signature soups: lobster bisque flambe with Pernod and lobster butter, and truffle and wild mushroom cream soup with fresh sliced black truffle. Moving on to mains, you’ll find roasted Wagyu prime rib with Yorkshire puddings and red wine sauce, roasted pork porchetta, as well as baked ‘Glacier 51’ toothfish wellington and spinach cream at the carving station. Several Thai specialties from the hotel’s famed Thai restaurant, Celadon, are available at a live station, including khao soi braised lamb or chicken. End your feast with a selection of

more than 25 varieties of farm house cheese, chocolate eclairs, chocolate torte, deep dish pavlova, cheese cake, The Sukhothai signature chocolate truffles and sticky toffee pudding, plus a live station for A la minute tiramisu with your choice of liquors and crepes suzette. Made to order mango and sticky rice is also available. The Sunday brunch is priced at B3,000++ per person for food only or B4,500++ per person for food accompanied by free flow wine and champagne.


The colonial-era setting transports you back in time and provides a touch of luxury, while the jazz band’s melodic tunes are the perfect backdrop for a relaxed and enjoyable Sunday afternoon.


Valet parking is available at the hotel. The Sukhothai Bangkok. 13/3 South Sathorn Road. 02 344 8888.

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Dining Out

Baba IKI


RI Panwa, located in Panwa Cape, on the scenic southeastern tip of Phuket, is known the world over as one of Thailand’s most luxurious resorts. Morning, noon, and night you’ll find yourself immersed in nature, surrounded by stunning ocean views, and spoilt for options of food and beverages. The Japanese restaurant, IKI, is located above the Baba PoolClub and offers both indoor and terrace sitting areas – both offering equally exquisite ocean views. The menu presents a variety of Japanese favourites including: a wide range of appetisers, sashimi, sushi, maki, tempura, yakitori, tonkatsu, teppanyaki, udon, don, chirashi, and zaru soba. Taking pride in their quality of dishes, team IKI consists of only chefs that have been trained by master chefs; namely the sushi, sashimi and yakitori chefs were mentored by the legendary Iron Chef Boontum and uphold many of his techniques and cooking secrets.


For starters, the Shirao Salad – crispy silver fish, mixed green salad, and tobikio with skippy dressing (B650++), or the Himachi Tacos – guacamole sauce, cherry tomato, spring



Japanese delights with panoramic ocean views

onion, red onion, green chilli, scallion, and lime (B400++) make for great nibbles before heavier courses. The sashimi and sushi sets come with five pieces per a la carte order, or diners may opt for the Sashimi Delight with two pieces of eight kinds of sashimi (B2,400++) or the Sashimi Highlight with two pieces each of five kinds of sashimi (B1,600++). The Hidagyu Striploin (B3,900++) and Canadian Maine Lobster (B1,800++) are must-try dishes from the teppanyaki menu. Each dish is served with fried mixed vegetables, garlic rice and clear soup. For something a little lighter, diners can opt for yakitori – charcoal grilled skewers of succulent meat or vegetables. Choose between lamb, pork, beef, fish, chicken or a variety of vegetables.


Named after the Japanese word for ‘drink’, a popular term among Japanese when drinking, you may hear chants of ‘Ikki Nomi’ as friends motivate each other to go ‘bottoms up’. Indoors, the live teppanyaki and sushi stations add a theatrical element to the mix as you watch the master chefs at work, while the terrace offers relaxing scenic views and sounds of nature.


Parking is available at the resort. Baba IKI opens daily from 12pm–11pm.

Sri Panwa. 88 Moo 8 Sakdidej Road, Tambon Vichit, Phuket. 076 371 000.

Scrapbook Last month’s foodie functions in focus

La Scala's last party THE Sukhothai Bangkok's Italian restaurant La Scala hosted its last party before closing for rennovation. The beloved restaurant will reopen in six months with a refreshing new look.

Below Eleven releases its new flavours TWO talented chefs, Hervé Mouly and Hervé Frérard, recently launched their new flavours of Below Eleven French ice cream and sorbets. The unveiling was held at Viva & Aviv The River at River City Bangkok, where they introduced the four new flavours: Chalong Bay Rum Raisin, Summer Time Berries Sorbet, Just Mango Sorbet, and Valrhona Dark Choc.



Dining Out

Rib Room & Bar, Landmark Hotel


NE has to say that the meal was truly excellent in every respect. The nibbles served at the bar were tasty with herring on a slice of toast, my personal favourite, but the cheese and the ‘grissini’ were popular and much admired. With these came Frederic Lornet Cremant du Jura Brut VV NV (France), a very nice dry Chardonnay made by methode champenoise. Wine spokesman Simon Rindlisbacher spoke with affection as the Départment of Jura borders the Canton of Jura in Switzerland. Nearly filling the largest table at the Rib Room with 23 diners, we were served with a second amuse bouche, a French answer to an English Shepherd’s Pie; tasty with Gallic hints of cheese found in the topping and with beef cheek beneath. Dining had started in earnest with Le tartare de boeuf “Ma façon” (Beef tartar, shallot Mayonnaise, black garlic, fried garlic, Shallot tempura, burnt leek powder); the beef was a choice cut and particularly juicy and the condiments on the mild side rather than excessive doses of Worcestershire Sauce and Tabasco so often found. For me, the accompanying wine, Château Siran S de Siran 2012 (Bordeaux), was the best wine of the day. Next came La Queue De Boeuf en soupe à L’oignon (Braised Oxtail, white wine onion puree, pearl onion, fried onion powder, Comté cheese emulsion, and double boiled beef consommé) paired with Cims de Porrera Priorat ‘Vi di Villa’ 2010 (Spain). Mark described the soup as wonderful; Simon enjoyed the wine



and remarked on the unusual label, the origins of the co-operative, and the fact that the wine is a blend of Carignan and Grenache varieties. In a not to be repeated deference to white wine buff Andrew MacDowell, Andrew was allowed to swill Schwillinsky Schank Barbara Öhlzeit Grüner Veltliner 2014 (Austria) once the crown cap had been removed. It is said that Grüner Veltliner is an exotic alternative to Sauvignon Blanc; we failed to secure Andrew’s confirmation that this is the case.

We found Roti De Boeuf, 270day grain fed Ranger Valley roasted rib eye, on the carving table with Executive Surgeon Chef Phillipe Gaudal in command of the scalpel knife. The slices of beef were cooked to perfection and were married with Artichoke puree and orange glazed parsnip, marrow bones on toast, and beef jus and presented for all to see, admire and devour. This and the accompanying Oreno Tenuta Sette Ponti 2012 (Tuscany) proved a heavenly coupling! Both Mark and I loved the parsnips and appreciated the promptness with which horseradish and other condiments arrived. The wine was a little young according

Guest review by

Bangkok Beefsteak & Burgundy

to Simon and I thought that James Suckling with 97/100 was too fulsome with his praise. The blend is 50% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Petit Verdot and we were told best drunk from 2017 through 2026. We clearly failed to wait! Fromage (Manchego cheese, Bresaola & quince paste compression) and dessert (Ganache Caramelia, Hazelnut, Vanilla and Tonka bean ice cream) followed, with Duemani Altrovino 2013 (Tuscany) providing the fourth red wine of the lunch. Concluding, Simon again paid tribute to the choice of wines Thomas Boedinger has undertaken in the past three years. Mark was concerned that the cheese had been made with sheep’s milk but the Bresaola (from beef) finally preserved the all-beef record. The cheese course proved to be a novel way of presenting airdried beef and slices of cheese in the form of a wafer; “Had we consumed the restaurant’s bread ration?” Mark postulated, as the bread as always was excellent. The dessert was both delicious and a feast for the eyes. Once again we tendered our sincere thanks for a truly excellent meal and the courtesy extended to our Club by GM Douglas Glen and Executive Chef Philippe Gaudal, both of whom spent a lot of time with our group. Throughout, the service was extremely professional and unobtrusive and all present were more than pleased to pass on our compliments and thanks to the whole team. 138 Sukhumvit Rd. 02 254 0404.

Scrapbook Last month’s foodie functions in focus

The next evolution in cocktails is revealed CHEF Joan Dot and Director of Restaurants Nicolas Loreau hosted an exclusive event for guests to experience the style of mixology and libations at CRU Champagne Bar, as well as unveil the next evolution of cocktails. The evening began with dinner and entertainment at UNO MAS Spanish restaurant before David Nowak, Executive Assistant Manager, lead guests through the newest libations at CRU Champagne Bar.

‘Hit the Road’ at Double Tree by Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok DOUBLETREE by Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok presented its latest promotion with an amazing selection of roasted and grilled meats and shellfish under the ‘Hit the Roast’ themed buffet at Dee Lite restaurant. The new buffet provides a varied selection of items from the roast and grilled menu, Asian appetisers, and many more.



School Report

Harrow Bangkok climb for charity

HARROW Bangkok held a fundraising event where children climbed the total distance of Matterhorn Mountain (4,478m) inside Harrow Bangkok’s bouldering wall. The whole team managed to climb a distance of 4,928m collectively, exceeding the height of the Matterhorn. The funds raised from this event went to The Healing Families Foundation in Chiang Mai.

First ‘Pre-Vocational Education’ Programme

THE Yaowawit School, Kapong, founded by German philanthropist, Philipp Graf von Hardenberg, formed the Yaowawit Pre-Vocational Academies to combine life skills with academics in order to create the best practice education,model. The launch was presided over by H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.

BIST and ISS celebrated a collaboration BROMSGROVE International School Thailand (BIST) and the International School of Samui (ISS) celebrated a collaborative partnership with a ceremony held at BIST Windsor Park Campus. Thanks to this collaboration, Year 11 students from ISS have a clear path to a UK Sixth Form curriculum of A-Levels and/or the Diploma programme at BIST.




reality arrives at KIS classrooms

KIS welcomed its new ICT programme which creates digital layers of the physical world that the students can see by using Android and iOS devices. A Grade 10 student did his personal project on augmented reality showing how the technology can be used in marketing to make products come alive. We can all stay tuned for more to come with the technology advancement from KIS.

School Report

‘A*’ for accelerated learning Fifteen-year-old Phu Sakulwongtana, part of Traill International School’s Accelerated Learning Programme, has been unconditionally accepted at London’s University College


RAILL student Phu Sakulwongtana, who graduated last year to complete a gap year in the technology industry, returned to Traill to share his recent and most glowing success story yet. However, Phu is no stranger to success; despite being just 15 years of age, Phu has done nothing but excel all his life. Phu was quickly identified as exceptionally talented after he joined the primary school at Traill. Moreover, it was recognised that just fitting him into a typical international school programme would hinder his progress. He became part of Traill’s unique accelerated learners’ programme which enabled him to learn with his peers whilst studying to a much higher level. This programme has the capacity to accelerate the most able students through school at a pace which is appropriate to their individual needs. In most cases it is by one or two years, but in Phu’s case, it was by four years. Phu started at Traill with very limited English. By Year 9 he had taken all his IGCSE’s and got A*’s in all of them. He took three levels within one year (four months for Physics A-level) and got an A* and two A’s when he was just 14 years old. Leading a balanced school life at Traill, Phu really enjoyed being in the warm family environment of Traill School, taking part in all activities and being part of the school basketball team. So what was Phu’s most recent success story? He has now accepted an unconditional offer from University College, London, still at only 15 years old, to read Computer Science. Our congratulations go to him for this phenomenal achievement, and we will watch with great interest for his future achievements through university and beyond.



“Who has the best chilli in Bangkok?”

COOK-OFF Wanted - Chilli Heads Bangkok’s hottest fun-filled family occasion DON’T MISS OUT

July 1, 2017

At Bangkok Patana School (Sukhumvit Soi 105) American Independence Day Picnic Tent with tables and chairs provided All contestants welcome 500 baht donation for entering

Benefiting AMCHAM Thailand Charitable Foundations *Games *Prizes *Entertainment *Food *Beverages *Contests For information email : or call 081 837 6855

Expat Women

In the spotlight:

Earthcollide and Girls Rock Asia Bangkok-born music sensation Earthcollide reveals what led her into the always unpredictable world of live music performance and why she established the Girls Rock Asia competition in 2016


ORN into a middleclass Thai family she was named Rapeeporn Anantariyakul (Earth), her first taste of the world that would eventually become her whole life was when her father bought her a Yamaha guitar at the age of nine and sent her to guitar lessons at the Yamaha School for classical guitar. However, her house was robbed and her prized guitar stolen, prompting her to follow the wishes of her parents and focus on graduating with a degree in creative advertising from Bangkok University. After graduating, she bought a Taylor guitar and her desire to buck the trend and follow a radical career path began to surface. Her father was against her becoming a musician. His desire was for his first-born child to follow in his footsteps and enter the corporate life. “He could not see a future for me as a musician. But, I have been working so hard to support myself and take care of my family, so I think he must feel better now.” “To be honest, I started to sing for a living purely by chance. I didn’t want to get a job in an office, living the same routine. I taught myself to speak English when I became a



singer so I could sing western music and earn better money – that’s the reality of the music scene here.” Two years later, she started accepting engagements at large 5-star hotels, famous western pubs and top restaurants both in Thailand and overseas. Up until 2009, she performed mainly as an individual artist, though often with an accompanist on guitar. It was in 2010, after accepting an invitation to perform at one of Bangkok’s biggest expat events – the Ploenchit Fair, that she engaged a number of musicians to start a band, calling them “Collide”. “I was then chosen in 2011 to be the first ever Thai lead vocalist to perform at the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix, which featured many other famous international artists, including Shakira, Shaggy and Linkin Park. By accident, the organisers announced us at the event as ‘Earthcollide’, and I found this pretty cool as a new word so I took the name for myself.” Now busy with the Girls Rock Asia – a self-funding organisation aimed to put together the first ever all-female battle of the bands featuring female musicions mainly from Southeast Asia region – she decided to put her own album on the back burner.

Girls Rock Asia 2017 Girls Rock Asia strives to put together the first ever all-female battle of the bands featuring female musicians mainly from Southeast Asia. “It has been a slow start to 2017, but with a lot of serious planning taking place, the Girls Rock Asia cosponsor, RSM (Thailand) Limited, has now set us up with a properly registered company called Girls Rock Asia (Thailand) Limited, so all of the Girls Rock Asia patents, copyrights and financial affairs can be managed properly. We have had two successful events recently featuring the Girls Rock Asia bands, with the first seeing appearances by Earthcollide and the Stalkers, The Simple Band and Ms.Appetizer at the April Fool’s Day Rock Festival in Hyde Park (Don Muang) and the second at Molly Malone’s Irish bar in May featuring The Grumps, The Simple Band, Earthcollide, the Stalkers, and the Mighty Mice.” Another Girls Rock Asia concert will be held on June 17 (venue to be confirmed) with details on the 2017 battle of the bands being announced to the media and followers at the event.




Be mindful of your children’s screen time

By Judith Coulson


CREENS have become so embedded in our daily lives that it’s hard to imagine turning them off for a whole week. Besides the fact that many, if not most, children use them for homework, they are also how we get work done, get questions answered, communicate, shop, and relax. For many families, they are also how they keep the children occupied. How do you go a day without all that — let alone a week? According to the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), 8 to 18-year-olds spend an average of seven hours a day on screen media. Some of that is homework, but clearly, it’s not all homework. Pre-schoolers spend two to four hours, toddlers two hours, and a third of babies under a year are spending more than an hour watching videos or playing games every day. It’s not all awful, of course. There is certainly high-quality educational content out there. However, children aren’t always watching that highquality educational content. And even if they were, when you are watching a screen you are generally sedentary,

not interacting with others, and relying on the screen to entertain or guide you rather than entertaining or guiding yourself. This has implications for the health and development of children. Excessive screen time is associated with a higher risk of obesity. It can lead to poorer problem-solving and social skills and poorer grades. It’s been linked to Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and other behavioural problems. That’s why many educators and paediatricians think families need to be mindful and build some safeguards into their daily lives and family culture. Here are some suggestions:

1. Rearrange the living room so

that the television isn’t the centre of attention. This is a tip from the CCFC which is very useful. Sure, watching TV together is fun; everyone enjoys family movie nights. But if all the furniture faces the TV, not only is the natural tendency to turn it on when you sit down, but the message is that it’s what the living room is for rather than talking to each other, playing a game, or doing anything else but watching TV.

2. Keep TVs out of bedrooms.

They just don’t need to be there. And when it’s bedtime, laptops and phones should be out of there too; increasingly, screens are interfering with sleep, especially for teens.

3. Don’t turn on the TV during

meals and put the cell phones aside. Talk to each other instead. Family dinners have all sorts of benefits for children, from increasing their vocabulary to improving their nutrition to building better bonds between children and parents to helping keep teens out of trouble.



4. Don’t have automatic screen

times. So many families have the habit of turning on screens in the morning, after school, or during dinner preparation. It’s not always terrible to do this; having a child watch one age-appropriate programme while you do a few chores or just relax can be helpful. But be thoughtful about it. Does this really help? Is there an alternative, like engaging the child in cooking, or having them get homework done? Make sure it’s the best choice for the moment.

5. Make sure you’ve got supplies

for creativity. Like paper, crayons, markers, and paints. Head to a craft store; bring your kids along and invest in some supplies for making things. Buy toys that encourage creativity and imagination, like building blocks, cars, or dollhouses. There should be lots to reach for when you are tempted to reach for a screen.

6. Pack books, small toys, playing

cards, or paper and crayons whenever you head to anywhere you may get stuck waiting for your child. When I travel and have to wait in the airports, or during flights, it seems to me like the only thing parents ever have on hand is their phones. There are so very many alternatives; help your child learn that.

7. Head outside. In general, children spend much more time indoors than they used to (we all do). Whether it’s heading to the park, going for a bike ride, walking around the block, or kicking a soccer ball in the backyard, make an effort to have some outdoor time at least every day. It disengages you from screens and literally engages your children with the world.

8. Make a family media plan. The

American Academy of Paediatrics has some great interactive tools to help you take stock of and plan how and when your children and family use media. You should be in charge of media, not the other way around. As a mother, I know that is not always easy, but the earlier you start setting rules, the easier it is to keep them in the long run.

Judith Coulson is a Certified Corporate Wellness Specialist, Medical Nutritionist and Lifestyle Coach working with individuals, executive teams, schools and companies based in Thailand and Hong Kong.,

Expat Women


EMPIRE International Group hosted the launch of Balmain’s latest sunglasses, Rosie Vintage Gold Edition, limited to only 200 pairs globally. This exclusive launch celebrated the brand heritage and its success story through elegant party.


HABITO Retail Mall, the United States Embassy in Thailand, and ‘Dress the Dream’ social enterprise organised a charity event ‘Habito x Dress the Dream’. Inviting women to donate unused suits and dresses through the online fund drive. Proceeds after expenses will be donated to the Association for the Promotion of the Status of Women under the Royal Patronage of H.R.H. Princess Somsawali.


PREMIUM fashion brand for women, ‘Canitt’ reveals summer enigmatic charm in its Spring/Summer 2017 Collection, ‘Call of the wild’ presenting inspiration of a Safari style outfit in an exclusive collection.


THE new Thomas Sabo Sterling Silver Collection features African designs, powerful colours and floral patterns makes a real impact with its distinctive attention to detail of and expressive messages. TheBigChilli



Expat Women

Expat life getting you down? Professional counselors Anette and Johanna are here to help.

Q What do I do now? I suppose I am in a crisis. But it’s one of those slow moving crises that start out really small and creep up on you when you’re living your life. Last year I broke up with my exboyfriend. We’d been together for five years, and we had been planning to start a family. Now, I am single again. And for me, that means that some doors are closing. I don’t want to have a child on my own like some of my friends. For me, a family means two partners and their kids. And I don’t find it easy being thrown back into the dating pool. Right now it feels as if everyone is younger, fitter and somehow more positive about the future than me. But the worst thing is: I don’t recognize myself in what I have become. I’m 42, childless and single. My grandmother would have called someone like me a spinster. And that word carries a lot of contempt. I’m afraid I feel some of that contempt, too. I feel like a failure. I want to say, no, that’s not me. But it is me. A single spinster of an uncertain age. Unless I am incredibly lucky within the next few years, I will end up with much of my life plan unfulfilled. What kind of life can I expect? Florence, 42, UK




• 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.

Dear Florence I think this is a very brave letter. You are indeed facing a crisis, and you are feeling the cumulative stress of a life time. You had the usual expectations from life, including a partner and kids. A family. And now you have ‘ended up’ single. Part of what is happening to you is a grieving process. You are grieving the plans you made, you are grieving the loss of some of your options in life, and you are probably also still grieving your relationship, and perhaps other relationships that came before. Breaking up is always painful, and doing it several times is another cumulative stress factor. What you are also confronted with is that life is not limitless. Second chances are not endlessly available. That is very frightening. And if you feel that you are not living the life you want to live, it can be hard to stay hopeful and positive. I think it is even braver that you are facing up to the terrible, degrading image that has been created, over so many hundreds of years, of women who have ‘failed’ to meet the conventional milestones of marriage and motherhood. Women are judged whatever choices they make. But the image of the ‘spinster’ is one of the most judgmental. It is of a ‘useless’ woman who is at best an object of ridicule, and at worst someone who deserves only contempt. It is almost impossible not to be affected by that huge, relentless societal message, however much we work on empowering women to embrace and enjoy many different kinds of life paths. Many women feel this contempt towards themselves, although not many would be willing to admit it. This is what is called ‘internalised’ in psychology. Something comes towards you, and you are forced to absorb it, probably from an early age (little girls still play Princess and Wedding a lot). At some point you can’t tell any more whether it is your own genuine feeling or someone else’s negative judgment. This is a major life crisis, however slow moving it may feel. I think it’s a good time to seek professional help – not because you are sick, but because you would surely benefit from someone who doesn’t judge you – a counsellor – to talk it through with you. Yes, your life has a different shape from what you initially expected and hoped for. But being a single woman in the prime of her life is not shameful, ridiculous, or useless. The challenge is to grieve the past, and the future that never will be, and then build a new life plan for the life that is. All the best for the future

Q I helped them. Why wouldn’t they help me? I am so tired. It seems everyone I meet expects me to help and support them, especially family and friends. But I feel that whenever I need someone to do the same for me, they are too busy and tell me they are ‘swamped’ and therefore can’t help. I don’t mind helping friends or family. In a way, it is my philosophy. “Community is family and friendships are to give and take, to support each other, to laugh and to cry together.” When I talk with others about it they all agree, but when I need someone there is no response. I used to help my friends with baby sitting (I enjoy children). I helped several of them to move. I assisted my family financially so my younger sister could finish her education. Now I need some support for myself. My boyfriend left me with a three months old kid. I am without a job (looking desperately for a parttime position) and I feel so tired. My sister has an excellent job but when I mentioned that I could use a bit of help, she answered she has many responsibilities herself already. I asked some friends if they would be willing to take care of my three months old child, so I could get some free time or go job-hunting, but until now - nothing. Is that fair? Is there something wrong with me? I feel lonely and disappointed. How do I get out of my feelings of despair? Michelle, 29, Bangkok


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

Dear Michelle You have a nice ideal and you tried to “live it”. After you gave others so much, you feel it is now your turn to receive because you are in need. But your family and friends are giving you a big NO. It seems your ideal (that others agreed to) turned out to be onesided and you were the giver. You are in a difficult position – both economically and emotionally. You have a young baby and your boyfriend just left you! This requires an enormous adjustment and mourning process from you. No wonder you feel overwhelmed and turn to others for help. Your disappointment in family and friends whom you expected to be there for you as you were for them is also a difficult emotional experience. And so you start wondering ‘is there something wrong with me?’ You turn the rejection you are experiencing against your own self. Here is a question I would like you to ask yourself: what is the reason why you so eagerly help others? Are you a people-pleaser? And if you are, do you know the underlying reason for that? There are different kinds of being a ‘people pleaser’: 1. Pleasing others in order to have a relationship 2. Pleasing others, so they will acknowledge you 3. Pleasing, in order to avoid conflicts 4. Pleasing, because it is your principle or value 5. Pleasing, but at the same time hoping that this will be a way to get what you want from others. 6. Pleasing, because we want to give, without expecting anything in return This last one is something we can develop. We please or help others because we want to give this (as a gift) not as a duty. We are asking for help when we need it, but not with the attitude others should help us because we have helped them. It’s not a transaction. It’s a gift from the heart. Having said that, however, it seems to me that your disappointment in family and friends, the fact you have a young child and are left by your boyfriend is indeed a lot to carry alone. I would strongly advise you to find professional support in this life situation, in order to get to know yourself and others better and discover some patterns which you could adjust in your life.

NCS Counseling Center Anette Pollner Adv. Dipl. Couns., is one of seven international counsellors at NCS Counseling Center in Saphan Kwai. She got her training in London and the US and worked as a staff counsellor at Bart’s Hospital in London. Johanna DeKoning MS is the Clinical Director of NCS. She trained in the Netherlands and Australia. Contact: 02 279 8503,,




Suunto RIMOWA THE classic suitcase made from aluminium has released the RIMOWA Electric Tag Topas Sport Multiwheel, allowing travellers to check in from anywhere without having to wait in a long line at the airport. Once you’ve checked in online, you can also check in your suitcase using the RIMOWA Electronic Tag and RIMOWA application. Currently, only two airlines offering this check in services for RIMOWA Electronic Tag are Lufthansa and EVA Air.

Gadgets galore Gadgets and gizmos for every occasion

Audemars Piguet WHEN the original Royal Oak models first appeared in 1972, it was notable for several reasons - it was the world’s first luxury sports watch; it was imposing, yet impressively thin; and, despite being the most expensive watch of its type on the market, it was available only in stainless steel. The luxury watch brand has recently released its new models in the Royal Oak range: Royal Oak Extra-Thin, Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar, and Royal Oak Tourbillon Extra-Thin Openworked.



THE world’s renowned sport watch brand Suunto, has recently released its latest range of watches. The Suunto Spartan Collection – now available at Suunto Thailands’s official online store on 11street – is equipped with GPS, the Movescount service and smartphone application, showcase durable and bright color touch screen and robust materials on the outside, and sports expertise and training insights on the inside. The watch collection supports over 80 sports with the likes of climbing, cycling, fitness, free skiing, snorkeling, triathlon, extreme sports and many more.

Dyson Digital Lab at Siam Discovery SIAM Discovery – The Exploratorium, the biggest arena of lifestyle experiments, underlines its positioning as the icon of innovative lifestyle—providing everyone with a chance to experiment, create and cultivate their lifestyle preferences. IT devotees shouldn’t miss out a chance to grab such technological innovations in the digital world. Look out for the latest gadgets on the market including: GoPro HERO5 Session camera, Fitbit Charge 2 fitness wristband, Jabra Elite Sport wireless earbuds, Beoplay H5, Beoplay A1 portable Bluetooth speaker, JBL Under Armour Heart Rate headphones, JBL E55BT wireless headphones, Garmin Fēnix 5X GPS and fitness watch, and the Moleskine Smart Writing Set.

DYSON has unveiled its latest generation cord-free vacuum, the new Dyson V8. The Dyson V8 boasts a powerful V8 motor weighing in at only 2.6kg which can last up to 40 minutes. All tools feature a new quick release catch enabling the user to change smoothly between handheld and stick mode, making cleaning easy and effortless. The mini motorised tool removes pet hair and groundin dirt from stairs, in the car and on furniture. With the max mode, it provides 115AW of suction while the noise is 50% quieter than the previous generation.

Razer RAZER received significant attention for the latest advent in its award-winning personal computer line, a laptop concept dubbed ‘Project Valerie’. It stands as the world’s first portable laptop with three built-in 4K monitors. Each 17.3-inch IGZO display is equipped with NVIDIA G-SYNC™ technology that is capable of producing the smoothest possible frame rates for an ultimate gaming experience.




Heartache of tragic 1993 Kader Toy Factory blaze lingers on Hundreds of deaths and injuries caused by an industrial ďŹ re in a building with poor safety standards, recalls Maxmilian Wechsler




Kader factory products


INETEEN ninety-three was an eventful year in Thailand, with visits by Nobel Peace Prize laureates Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama and a concert by pop superstar Michael Jackson. The first Thai broadcasting satellite was launched in Guiana and a controversial new law requiring motorcyclists and their passengers to wear crash helmets came into effect. But for many, 1993 will be remembered as a year of tragedy. The collapse of the Royal Plaza Hotel in Nakhon Ratchasima province in August killed 127 people and seriously injured hundreds more, but that didn’t top the list of manmade, avoidable catastrophes. That grim distinction belongs to the May 10 Kader toy factory fire in Nakhon Pathom, which according to the official report left 188 workers dead and almost 500 injured. It was the worst industrial disaster in Thai history. The workers at Kader were mostly young women from poor rural families living in nearby villages. According to some survivors, they were told the fire was minor and that they should continue working. The fire started in Building One and spread to Buildings Two and Three. Because the fire started shortly before the shifts were changing there were many more workers present and many more casualties. Fire investigators found that ground floor emergency exit doors in Building One were locked, apparently to prevent theft. The stairwells collapsed soon after the fire started, leaving hundreds of workers on the second, third, and fourth floors with no choice but to make a perilous jump from windows to escape the heavy smoke and flames. Many of them didn’t survive the fall or were badly injured.

The aftermath of the fire

According to emergency crews, bodies were piled up in narrow corridors leading to the exits, near the locked doors or underneath the collapsed staircases in Building One. Many of these workers died from smoke inhalation. Officially 188 workers, 174 women and 14 men, died and another 469 were injured. However, The New York Times reported on May 13: “An Interior Ministry spokesman told reporters Tuesday night that the death toll had reached 213, while a local television station reported a count of 240.” Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai arrived at the scene of the disaster in the evening of May 10. According to press reports, he asked a provincial engineer who was also at the scene: “How could you let this happen? You allow them to run a factory like this without inspection.” The engineer reportedly had no answer. A police inspector told PM Chuan that initial investigation showed one of the factory exit doors had been locked, and an assistant police chief described the buildings as ‘obviously sub- standard’. The PM pledged that the government would urgently address fire safety issues. Late Thai Industry Minister Sanan Kachornprasart said: “Those factories without a fire prevention system will be ordered to install one, or we will shut them down.” The Kader fire and the abysmal safety practices in place were the big story in Thai tabloids and TV news broadcasts for weeks, and it also generated a lot of interest from foreign media and international organisations. The International Labor Organization (ILO), the National Fire Protection Association and the now-defunct International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) assigned staff to

compile reports on the tragedy and campaigned for higher fire safety standards and compensation for victims and their families. The publicity and the public outcry helped to hold the government to its promises, resulting in regulations that stipulated improvements in the design and construction of factories and more stringent fire safety measures and enforcement policies. It probably goes without saying that these regulations are not always met with compliance.

Fire and rescue operation At around 4pm on Monday, May 10, 1993, a small fire started on the first floor of Building One, part of the E-shaped structure that included Buildings Two and Three of the Kader toy factory on Phuttamonthon Sai 4 Road in Nakhon Pathom’s Sam Phran district. The part of the building where the fire started was used to package and store the finished products. Other parts of the factory contained raw materials, which were also highly flammable. The factory made plastic dolls and soft toys such as stuffed rabbits, elephants and pigs for an international market, mainly the United States. The toys were produced for Disney, Mattel, Tyco, Kenner, Toys-R-Us and other leading companies. Among the items manufactured there were Cabbage Patch and Bart Simpson dolls, both very popular at the time. Because of all the combustible materials, security guards were unable to extinguish the flames and the fire quickly spread to all four stories of Building One. About 20 minutes after the fire started guards called the fire department. The first firefighters arrived after about 20 more minutes to find Building One perilously close to collapse. Less than



Feature more than 20 hospitals in Nakhon Pathom, Nonthaburi and Bangkok provinces. According to medical sources, about half of the injured were treated for smoke inhalation and most of the rest for multiple fractures, including skull fractures. Many workers were treated for burns as well. A large number of life-saving surgeries were performed. It is very difficult to find follow-up medical records on the injured. For example, it is believed that a significant number of victims suffered permanent paralysis, but the exact numbers are not known.

Finding fault Phutthamonthon Sai 4 Road

an hour after the Nakhon Pathom fire brigade was called the building came down, trapping many workers inside. By then the fire had spread to Buildings Two and Three.


verwhelmed by the scale of the disaster, the Nakhon Pathom crew chief called for additional units from Bangkok, about 30 kilometres away. But because of the usual evening traffic congestion in the capital and around the factory, it was some time before fresh firefighting crews arrived. Before it was over about some 300 firemen with 50 fire engines were battling the fire, along with a large number of volunteers. It wasn’t enough to prevent the collapse of Buildings Two and Three; Building Two came down at around 5.30pm and Building Three about 30 minutes later. Fortunately almost all of the workers in these two buildings were able to escape unharmed. Building Four and other buildings in the factory compound were unaffected by the fire. Fleets of ambulances and other vehicles ferried injured workers to

For two weeks after the tragedy relatives streamed to a makeshift mortuary near the factory to identify their loved ones. The bodies of many of the victims in Building One were burned beyond recognition. Around 200 soldiers from the First Development Regiment were deployed to help search through the debris and remove bodies from the rubble. It took over two weeks to recover the bodies of all victims. Meanwhile, survivors’ reports

Memorial to Kader victims



emerged claiming that no fire alarm had sounded in Building One. Fire alarms did go off in Buildings Two and Three, and only a few minor injuries were reported in these buildings. It’s unclear whether fire alarms in Building One were out of order or even installed. Many workers said they had no clue there was a fire until they could smell smoke. There were reports that fire safety drills had been nonexistent. Sprinkler systems were not installed in any of the buildings. There was a public clamour to determine who was at fault. The first culprit produced was a factory worker, Viroj Yusak. He was accused of starting the fire by carelessly discarding a cigarette. Despite conflicting reports and theories on how the fire started, Viroj was convicted in a Nakhon Pathom court and sentenced to 10 years in jail. It should be noted that investigators were unable to make a positive determination of what started the fire because the section of Building One where it started was totally destroyed. Moreover, stories from survivors didn’t match up. The investigators put these theories forward: (1) As the fire started near a large electrical control panel, problems with the electrical system might have been the cause; (2) Arson; (3) A carelessly discarded cigarette may have been the source of ignition; (4) The fire may have started when sparks from a shorted circuit ignited

Compensation fight

Diorama of Kader fire at the Thai Labour Museum, Bangkok

synthetic materials used to stuff toys. It will probably never be known which if any of these theories is correct. What does seem clear is that disregard for proper fire safety practices was a major factor in the high casualty toll. Yet no one besides Viroj was ever held legally accountable in any way for the tragedy. A Nakhon Pathom court allegedly cleared 14 Kader executives, including the factory’s managing director, an engineer and a shareholder, of all charges. The only legal recognition of Kader Industrial’s culpability was a fine of 520,000 baht. In the aftermath of the disaster, the ICFTU published a report titled, “From the Ashes – A Toy Factory in Thailand”. The report gave some background on the corporate structure of the toy company. Here are some excerpts: “Kader Industrial (Thailand) Co., Ltd. began manufacturing in 1988 and set up the Thai Chui-fu Holding as a publicly listed company in 1990, with 20 percent shares traded in Thailand’s stock market. “In Thailand, Kader was set up as a foreign joint venture with the CP (Charoen Pokphand) Group. The Thailand-based CP Group, in turn, created a company in Hong Kong known as Honbo Investment. Honbo Investment and Kader Industrial then formed another company, KCP Toys, also listed in Hong Kong.”

Legacy of negligence


n February 2011, the ILO Encyclopaedia of Occupational Health and Safety website presented its own report on the Kader fire: “Case Study: The Kader Toy Factory Fire” also saying: “Kader Industrial (Thailand) Co., Ltd. was first registered on January 27, 1989, but the company’s licence was suspended on November 21, 1989, after a fire on August 16, 1989, that destroyed the new plant. After the plant was rebuilt, the Ministry of Industry allowed the factory to reopen on July 4, 1990. “Between the time the factory re-opened and the May 1993 fire, the facility experienced several other, smaller fires. One of them, which occurred in February 1993, did considerable damage to Building Three, which was still being repaired at the time of the fire on May 10, 1993. “Several days after the [February] blaze a labour inspector visited the site and issued a warning that pointed out the plant’s need for safety officers, safety equipment and an emergency plan.” Other reports on the May 1993 fire point out that the factory was poorly designed and constructed; fire exits drawn in the building plans were not actually constructed; external doors that did exist were locked; the building was reinforced with steel girders that quickly lost integrity and collapsed because of the high heat.

Academics, trade unions and nongovernmental organisations joined victims, their families and supporters in efforts to receive proper compensation. The coalition resulted in the ‘Working Group for the Support of Kader Workers’. Under pressure from the Working Group, CP eventually acknowledged its connection to the factory. The Working Group threatened to organise an international boycott of Kader products and attracted media attention sufficient to bring Kader representatives to negotiations for increased compensation. According to the ICFTU report: “A memorandum of agreement was signed on July 13, 1993, and resulted in a several fold increase of compensation coverage by Kader. Up to US$12,000 was added to the total compensation package per individual by Kader instead of the original US$4,000 that was offered. This was subject to the victims and families agreeing not to later pursue legal action for compensation.” From the ICFTU report: “Kader agreed to pay additional medical costs not covered by government compensation. Monthly education payments for the children of deceased parents and minimum payments to short-term workers would not have been included as compensation either. “Kader agreed to pay for additional medical costs not covered by government compensation. Monthly education payments for the children of deceased parents and minimum payments to short-term workers would not have been included as compensation either. “Kader also agreed, eventually, to offer suitable jobs (in an eventual new operation) to injured workers, to the relatives of the victims and to the workers previously employed there for three or more years. Finally, Kader agreed to pay all outstanding salaries, overtime payments, annual holiday payments and all amounts for compensation to the government for disbursement.”




Caravan to Siberia It’s a land of beauty and endless opportunities, says a Thai billionaire after an epic journey to Russia’s Far East By Maxmilian Wechsler

Vikrom Kromadit's caravan


IKROM Kromadit is not your average billionaire. As much adventurer as entrepreneur, he is the founder and CEO of AMATA Corporation, one of Thailand’s leading industrial estate developers. A title



he takes no less seriously is that of ‘Emissary of Goodwill and Friendship’ given by the Thai government. He was appointed to promote bilateral ties at the people-to-people level between Thailand and other countries along the route of his ‘Caravan Asia’, an epic journey undertaken by Mr Vikrom

and 20 people in the summer of 2013. The caravan of mobile homes made their way from Bangkok to Lao and China and on to Vladivostok on the Pacific coast of the Russian Federation. From there the caravan took a route through unspoilt wilderness and the Siberian cities

of Irkutsk, Kransoyarsk and Novosibirsk. After a side trip to Kazakhstan, the adventurers returned to Bangkok by way of China and Myanmar.


he door to Mr Vikrom’s office on the 6th floor of the Kromadit building on New Petchaburi Road opens onto a large indoor garden fitted with Thai-style wooden houses. Inside one of the houses, with Deng a large lovely dog that he says is ‘like a bodyguard’ lying close by, Mr Vikrom talked about his experiences and what compelled him to take the ultimate road trip. Actually, he said, this was the third Asia Caravan; the first was the GMS Caravan 2011 (Greater Mekong Subregion) and second in 2012 was through China and Mongolia. “I first learned about Siberia when I was just a kid. I was fascinated for some reason and I really wanted to know how it looks and what it’s like. I learned about Lake Baikal in southern Siberia. It’s the largest freshwater lake in the world. If you learn about some place when you are small you naturally want to see it when you get older. “Russia always seemed so far away from Thailand, so I was excited when I had the chance to go to Moscow for the first time in 1982. I went with a Thai delegation that included former Foreign Minister and Chief Air Marshal Siddhi Savetsila,” said Mr Vikrom, who has written several books that have been translated into eight languages and sold around seven million copies.

disappointed. Not only the landscapes but also the people in Siberia are different in comparison with people in the western part of the Russian Federation. They seemed very humble and friendly, especially when they found out I was from Thailand. “In general, Russians have a very good attitude toward Thailand, and I think this is partly because we share a long history of good relations. When I was at a seminar in Moscow I asked the crowd: ‘How many people would

like to visit Thailand?’ Everyone in the room said they would like to go, and about half said they had already been and would like to go again. This made me happy. I feel that the response to Thai people is warmer in Russia. “I still remember talking in 1982 with two Russian ministers who were looking after the economy in Russia’s Far East. They called the Thai and Russian peoples ‘the best of friends’. These words came back to me often when I was on the road in 2013.

Caravan Asia 2013 “In 2013 we started off in Bangkok, drove through Lao and then entered China. Everywhere we went I was doing my best to promote good relations with Thailand. I was like an ambassador at large. I made speeches at seminars and other events in every country we visited. But the main reason for the caravan was that I wanted to see something different. And during my two-month drive through Siberia, I was not Vikrom Kromadit in his Bangkok office




On the road in Siberia


ur group included an interpreter, which made things a lot easier. The weather was perfect, but of course, the trip would not have been possible in the winter. Temperatures can reach 30ºC below zero. I would like to go back in the winter with the right preparations. “All in all I really enjoyed the trip and I was very comfortable living and sleeping in my mobile home. It was very well equipped, with a good kitchen and an office. None of the vehicles had any mechanical problems on the way. Most, but not all of the roads are very well maintained. The caravan on the road

These types of vehicles consume a huge amount of fuel, and I had to plan carefully to be sure we didn’t run out. I also had to make sure we had all the food and other provisions we needed. “What I really liked about Siberia was the camping. We parked our vehicles at some very beautiful locations. We could stay anywhere along the road. For security, we had three Russian military bodyguards following us. They were real professionals. As it turned out they weren’t really needed, but it seemed like a good idea because we weren’t sure what Siberia would be like. It proved to be very safe in all aspects, and that goes for every country I have travelled in so far. “I was very happy in the mobile home but I did make a four-hour journey on the Trans-Siberian railway just to get the feel of it. I really loved it, just sitting back and watching the magnificent countryside out the window. I would highly recommend the train to anyone. I am thinking that I should make the trip from Moscow to Vladivostok. Maybe I will do it next summer,” Mr Vikrom said.

Basking in nature and friendship Mr Vikrom was impressed with the warmth shown to him by everyone he met in Siberia and says he made many good friends on his journey. He explained that there are basically two groups of people in Siberia: the natives who have been there for thousands of years; and Russians, who started coming from the west in the 17th century. “The Russians don’t appear to be any different from the indigenous locals they are very well integrated into the population. However, they are very different from Russians you meet in Moscow. “Probably the most fascinating aspect of Siberia for me was the great natural beauty. I am very keen on nature. Everywhere along the route, tall trees towered above us. One of the highlights was Altai in southern Siberia. It reminded me of Switzerland. “Siberia is bigger than Canada, America, China and India. It is about 26 times larger than Thailand, but the population is only about 40 million. It is so big and so rich in natural resources, truly a land of great potential. There are many areas of opportunity, for example in agriculture. The soil is A stopover on the scenic route



Mr Vikrom making friends

so rich and there is so much of it. Generally speaking, you can grow crops four or five months a year. “I met with some Russian government officials in Siberia, including ministers and governors. They were all very nice, whether it was a minister or governor, and we had friendly discussions. They all seemed knowledgeable about Thailand “I visited a few universities and I found them to be excellent. Some people might be surprised to learn that there are many Thais studying in Siberia. Some came to see me when we were in Omsk.”


sked about business opportunities for Thai companies in Siberia, Mr Vikrom said: “Siberia is in the North Asia and we are in the South. We have different products and therefore we can trade. We can do business. “There is also a lot of opportunity in terms of tourism. Thais are used to the tropics, but many enjoy cooler temperatures sometimes. It makes

Some of Mr Vikrom's books

Altai in Siberia

sense for Thais to visit Siberia to experience a different climate, just like Russian tourists do when they come to Thailand. I would recommend to Thai people that they visit Siberia during April and May when the weather is hottest in Thailand. “It seems to me that Thai people and others in Southeast Asia don’t know much about Russia and Siberia. If we visit people in very different lands it will improve understanding and also create opportunity.” What impressed Mr Vikrom most about the people in Siberia was their simplicity and basic values. “They aren’t interested in luxury items. I came to this conclusion after meeting with ordinary people there. They keep very clean and tidy homes. From

the outside, some homes might look old but on the inside, they are nicely decorated, well arranged and above all, clean. This applies not only to private homes but also to restaurants, hotels, schools and other places. “Like all Russians, Siberians enjoy life. They love to eat and drink and love to talk if they know you well. They are active and very creative. Again, I felt that when people learned I was Thai they immediately became very friendly. “My experiences of Siberia were overwhelmingly positive. The only real negative is the infrastructure is not yet up to par if Siberia is to reach its enormous potential. Driving across Siberia was like a dream come true, and I am already planning the next trip.”

The caravan stopped overnight for repairs




Two cycles of ThaiRussian friendship By Maxmilian Wechsler


HIS year the Kingdom of Thailand and the Russian Federation celebrate 120 years of diplomatic relations. In an exclusive interview with the BigChilli, Russian Ambassador to Thailand, H.E. Kirill Barsky provided some perspective on this diplomatic milestone. “It is remarkable that our two countries have been friends for such a long time,” said the ambassador. “It is also very symbolic because it adds up to two cycles of 60 years, which is revered by Oriental peoples as a complete life cycle. So the friendship between our two countries spans two life cycles, and I am sure we will continue to be friends through many more cycles. The origin of the friendship is a very interesting story and one that is dear to hearts of millions of Thai people.” The story began when the Crown Prince of the Russian Empire, Nicholas Alexandrovich, visited the Court of King Rama V (King Chulalongkorn) while on his epic Eastern Journey in 1890-91. The trip included around 22,000 kilometres that took the Crown Prince to Northern Africa and India before a long homeward stretch that brought him to Japan and finally to Vladivostok in north-eastern Russia. Siam was a major stopover for the voyagers in March 1891. “King Chulalongkorn was 15 years older than Crown Prince Nicholas, but both were very progressive and shared a lot of the same values. The historical record shows that the two young men established a very good personal relationship. This was reflected in a visit by King Chulalongkorn to St Petersburg six years later when Nicolas was Emperor of Russia,” said the ambassador. “In 1897 King Rama V made the strategic decision to visit European



capitals to demonstrate that the Kingdom of Siam was independent and powerful and wanted to be accepted by them on friendly and equal terms. At the time France and the Great Britain were in the process of finishing the colonial conquest of Southeast Asia. Siam was the only remaining independent country in the region. King Rama V decided to make St Petersburg his first destination and to use his friendship with Emperor Nicholas II to strengthen his position with other European powers.

King Rama V, is also very symbolic. The Prince called Nicolas II ‘father’ in his letters to him. “Russia and Thailand are now collaborating on a commemorative stamp with the famous photo of the two monarchs in its centre. The stamp will be issued in both countries this coming July,” Mr Barsky announced, adding that a famous Thai sculptor is working to present the iconic scene in stone. “In 2007 Her Majesty Queen Sirikit was the guest of honour at another reception held at the Peterhof Grand Palace to celebrate the 110th anniversary of Russian-Thai relations. The event was orchestrated to recreate the setting in which King Rama V was the guest of honour. The interior of the ballroom was decorated the same, the dinner menu was the same and the cutlery, utensils and even the waiters’ uniforms were the same as those worn 110 years before. Her Majesty Queen Sirikit has remarked that the event produced a very powerful impression on her.”

King Rama V with Emperor Nicholas II at Peterhof Grand Palace in 1897

Modern diplomatic relations

“The strategy worked. He was received as an equal partner by the emperor. The famous photograph of King Rama V sitting next to Emperor Nicholas II at the Peterhof Grand Palace near St Petersburg was published immediately in magazines across Europe (photo). Historians believe that this wise move by King Rama V played a significant role in keeping his nation independent and also in changing European attitudes toward Siam. “If you read the correspondence between Nicholas II and King Rama V - it is all public now in archived documents - they called each other brothers. The fact that Nicholas II ‘adopted’ Prince Chakrabongse, a son of

“Over the years there have been ups and downs in our relations, and of course we were on different sides in the Cold War period, but there have never been any serious conflicts or hostilities between our two countries. Relations have been on the upswing since 1988 when then Prime Minister General Prem Tinsulanonda visited the Soviet Union. This was followed by visits from His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn in 1989 and Her Royal Highness Princes Maha Chakri Sirindhorn in 1993. “In recent years our relations and cooperative efforts have improved dramatically. This is manifested in an intensive political dialogue, growing

H.E. Kirill Barsky

economic and trade cooperation and broadened cultural exchanges, especially in the areas of education and tourism. Thailand has become a top destination for millions of Russian tourists in the past 15 years. “I am especially happy that with the absence of any political problems we are finding we have more and more in common. This is shown by the mutual understanding of the Russian President Vladimir Putin and Thai Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha to strive for a strategic partnership between our two nations in the future. “Russia belongs to the European civilisation, but at the same time it is a civilisation unto itself, “said Mr Barsky. “We share the Christian religion and certain historical roots and anthropogenic types with Europe, but the culture is unique because over many centuries we have imported elements from many other cultures. This is because Russia lies in the centre of the Eurasian land mass and has been subjected to all kinds of exchanges, both peaceful and violent. Russia was conquered by many countries and tribes and we fought always to be free. We have had so many wars throughout our history. Finally, we liberated ourselves from all rivals.”

Development of Siberia Ambassador Barsky said that an increasing number of Thais are interested in Russia as a tourist

destination. They include Vikrom Kromadit, who in the summer of 2013 led a caravan of luxury mobile homes across Siberia. The ambassador applauded Mr Vikrom for letting his adventurous spirit lead him to the beautiful and remote region. He then gave some background on some past and present major development projects in Russia’s northern wilderness.


n 1891, the same year that Crown Prince Nicholas visited King Chulalongkorn, Russia embarked on a very ambitious project to connect the European part of Russia -which includes St Petersburg and Moscow with the Far East of Russia, the city of Vladivostok, by railway. The Russian government very skillfully tackled the challenges presented by the vastness of Russia and completed this important and massive infrastructure project in 1916. The Trans-Siberian railway stretches 9,288 kilometres, making it the longest railway on Earth. “It absorbed a huge amount of money from government coffers and modernization of the railway is a never-ending priority. In 2002 the government completed the electrification of the whole TransSiberian railways. This crucial land bridge connects the Asia-Pacific region with Europe. The cargo transit capacity is 100 million tonnes per year. The Pacific coast city of Vladivostok at the eastern terminus of the Trans-

Siberian railway is becoming a hub of the Asia-Pacific region. “We are expanding the port of Vladivostok to accommodate shipments of Siberian natural gas to our overseas partners in liquid form. The gas will reach Vladivostok via a pipeline now under construction as part of the ‘The Power of Siberia’ project. We are also expanding 11 other seaports along the Pacific, but Vladivostok is the main one. “Energy is one of Russia’s greatest strengths, and President Putin has developed a major initiative to take advantage of this, called the Asian Energy Super Ring. The ring will connect Russian energy supply centres with storage facilities in Japan, South Korea and China. “One of our major projects in the Siberian region is the construction of the Vostochny Space Launching Station, which is almost completed. The big new city of Tsiolkovsky is being built close by. Another important project is the development of nine new special economic zones called Territories of Priority Development. Under the Social Economic and Development Program for the Far East and Baikal region for 2014-2025, the government is allocating a budget of US$9 billion and we expect to attract an additional US$13 billion from private investment. The project aims to build 20 new airports and a number of new land roads, and create 400,000 new jobs. Ultimately the goal is to provide resources and incentives to enlarge the population of the Far East from the current six million to 11 million people. “Because of the gorgeous landscapes, Siberia is attracting a growing number of tourists. The taiga forest covers thousands of square kilometres and encompasses magnificent rivers and mountain ranges. The Pacific coast of Russia is amazing. Vladivostok is cold in the winter but in summer time it is a paradise. In the far north is Kamchatka, a land of volcanoes which is a favourite among ‘extreme tourists’. I want to invite the people of Thailand to come to Russia. They may not be able to take an extended tour as Mr Vikrom did, but they will find that a trip on the Trans-Siberian railway is an experience one never forgets.”




p Last month’s best events in pictures



Social|Last Month’s Best Events

Girls Rock!

GIRLS Rock Asia launched its inaugural concert at Molly Malone’s Irish Bar in Silom’s Soi Convent. The concert was sponsored by RSM Thailand and featured exciting acts from Earthcollide (the Founder of Girls Rock Asia) and her band the Stalkers, the Mighty Mice and winners of the Girls Rock Asia 2016 Battle of the Bands, The Grumps, as well as Finalist, The Simple Band.



Diageo World Class Thailand National Finals 2017

ORGANISED by Diageo and Moët Hennessy (Thailand) Ltd., the Diageo World Class Thailand National Finals 2017 were held at the Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit with the full endorsement from Tourism Authority of Thailand. The event saw Ronnaporn Kanivichaporn from Backstage Cocktail Bar crowned as the World Class Thailand Best Bartender of the Year 2017. The Thailand’s Signature Cocktail Award went to Kitibordee Chortubtim – also from Backstage Cocktail Bar – for his ‘Basil Flip’ cocktail that has now been endorsed by the TAT as Thailand’s new national cocktail.



Social|Last Month’s Best Events

Queen’s Cup Pink Polo 2017

CAMPARI kept the audience and guests refreshed at the Queen’s Cup Pink Polo 2017 tournament which took place at the Thai Polo & Equestrian Club Pattaya.



CLUB SX, making its debut

CLUB SX hosted its launching party at Pullman Bangkok Grand Sukhumvit which was attended by various Thailand’s A-list celebrities.



Social|Last Month’s Best Events

Artist Playground by Pullman

PULLMAN Bangkok Grande Sukhumvit Hotel presented another successful installation of Artist Playground by Pullman with the ‘Work Hard; Paint Harder’ edition. Guests enjoyed an evening of painting, good food, and drinks.

First international hotel brand in Phuket Old Town

HER Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn presided over the launch of the Novotel Phuket Phokeethra hotel’s spectacular grand opening festivities. Attending the event were some 350 guests including the Governor of Phuket, Vice Governors, the Army Area Commander, Governor, Prosecutor, Ambassadors, travel agents, corporate personnel and local media. 86


Next Step of 22 Steps

HOTEL Indigo Bangkok Wireless Road has deďŹ ned a totally new concept for its signature bar, to be renamed 22 Steps Craft House, serving the best selection of craft beers from around the world.



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Siam@Siam celebrated 10th anniversary

SIAM@SIAM Design Hotel Bangkok recently celebrated its 10th year anniversary with a special gala dinner and grand lucky draws.



Splendid Pool Party at amBar

FOURPOINTS’ amBar Pool Party featured Pool Bar liquid refreshments and classic poolside bites plus an awesome line-up of DJs.



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Redifining the typical ‘Business Brag’

RENAISSANCE Hotel recently hosted its sixth annual Global Day of Discovery, highlighting hidden gems around the globe from underground art scenes to exotic local cuisines.



HUGO concert at Hard Rock Café Bangkok

HARD Rock Café Bangkok recently hosted the HUGO concert, featuring his latest album Dum Sanit (Pitch Black) with his band members Jay Monthon, Utt Uttsada and Nop Pornchamni.

Riverlution at Royal Orchid Sheraton

ROYAL Orchid Sheraton Bangkok recently launched a new riverside party called ‘Riverlution’ – a weekly party by the river every Friday and Saturday night from 8pm till midnight.



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Wine Made By US, Moment Made by You

JACOB’S Creek recently launched a new campaign: Wine Made By US, Moment Made by You at The Commons.

A new Spanish wine captures the guests

PERNOD Ricard introduced its latest wine brand from Spain, Campo Viejo, which includes ruby-red Reserva and cherry-red Tempranillo. The launch of Campo Viejo was warmly attended by celebrities at Uno Mas, 54th floor, Centara Grand at CentralWorld. 92


FANTA TWIST PARC COCA-COLA (Thailand) recently launched ‘Fanta Twist Parc’ under the ‘Twist Parc, Fun with a Twist’ concept launching the new packaging design for the first time in Thailand.



TCC Group is debuting the nation’s largest integrated district, One Bangkok, a new global landmark destination to reflect Bangkok’s exciting diversity and rich cultural heritage.



ICONSIAM together with the Chaipattana Foundation and Allied Organisations initiated the ‘Preserving and Improving Chao Phraya River with a Sustainable Water Management Project’, aiming to proceed on the late King’s philosophy.



THE leading smartphone brand, Vivo, recently launched Vivo V5 and Vivo V5Plus highlighting innovative features such as a 20-megapixel front camera in an affordable price range. TheBigChilli


Social|Last Month’s Best Events TAT NEWSROOM


THE Tourism Authority of Thailand launched its second TAT Newsroom Blogger Campaign, ‘Uniquely Local, Uniquely Thai’. A group of international bloggers and journalists were invited on ‘Exploring Bangkok’s Hidden Riverside Heritage’ walking tour of Charoen Krung as part of the launch.



MERCEDES-Benz (Thailand) Co., Ltd. again strengthened its status with the E 350e – the latest plug-in hybrid saloon under ‘EQ-Electric Intelligence by Mercedes-Benz’ brand.



SIAM@SIAM recently celebrated a refreshed look of its 202 rooms. The Heritage Floor has been converted into accommodation rooms decked in Rama VI’s colonial style architecture, while the lobby has been converted to a more traditional Thai design.



TESTED and developed over three years, Traveliko finally launched a socially conscious hotel booking platform that has transformed the industry landscape in recent years.



DIPLOMATS p Meet the people uniting nations

H.E. Dato' Nazirah Hussain

Malaysian Ambassador is a positive force in Bangkok diplomatic circles

Page 96



Diplomats: Her Excellency Dato' Nazirah Hussain

Malaysian Ambassador is a positive force in Bangkok diplomatic circles



ER Excellency Dato’ Nazirah Hussain’s first major encounter with Bangkok’s vibrant diplomatic corps was at the Shangri-La Hotel in September 2011. Many of the guests at the Malaysian National Day reception were asking about the woman in the beautiful hijab who was hosting the festivities. At the time she was barely three months into her assignment and a virtual unknown. More than five years on she’s still here and easily one of the most recognisable and most active diplomats in Thailand. A short interview with the ambassador appeared in the May 2012 issue of The BigChilli, and she recently made time in her busy schedule to provide an update in her office at the impressive Malaysian embassy compound off South Sathorn Road. The embassy consists of several low-rise buildings surrounded by tall buildings that weren’t there in the past. A number of other embassies in Bangkok are now in the same situation and in some of them, it’s a source of discontent. Ambassador Hussain declined to comment on this point. “I enjoy living at the embassy compound because it’s not far from my office,” she said with a laugh. “The embassy was opened in 1956, actually just before we gained independence from Britain in 1957. We have about 30 Malaysians working here plus 20 Thai staff. The visa section is separate from the embassy compound but close by. We also have a consulate in Songkhla.” Ms Hussain made it clear that she feels “very lucky and privileged” to be posted in Thailand. “It is a wonderful place, and the best part is the Thai people. They are hospitable and welcoming. Thailand is truly the ‘Land of Smiles’.”

Background “I was brought up in Kota Bharu, in Kelantan state, which borders Thailand,” said Ambassador Hussain. “My father



was an educationist and my mother a housewife. We later moved to the capital, Kuala Lumpur, where my father was employed at the Ministry of Education. I went to university in KL and joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in 1981. I knew early on that I wanted to make a contribution to society and serve the people of Malaysia.” Ms Hussain has held key positions in various MFA departments including the Americas Division and Policy Planning, where she served as Principal Assistant Secretary, then Undersecretary and finally as Director General before she came to Thailand. She was also Director General of the ministry’s ASEAN Department. Positions abroad include Second Secretary in the High Commission of Malaysia in Canberra, First Secretary and Counselor for the Malaysian embassy in China and Deputy High Commissioner of Malaysia in Singapore. She was High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and Maldives. “When I began my term in Thailand in June 2011 it was my fifth overseas posting and second as ambassador. I couldn’t have been happier when I got the news that I was to be ambassador to Thailand. After six years I am still delighted to be here, and I am especially happy with the positive developments between our two countries in that time. This year we celebrate the 60th anniversary of bilateral relations. We gained independence in 1957, and Thailand was one of the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with Malaysia. “Our relations have always been good, but I can honestly say that they are now better than ever. This includes in the fields of trade, security, defence, sports, education, peopleto-people interactions and culture. My relations with officials from Thai ministries, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, are excellent. The relations between our countries continue to strengthen and expand,” said Ambassador Hussein. Someone who knows the ambassador well is Narong Vongsumitr, a consultant to the Centre for Muslim World Policies at the Faculty of Economics, Chulalongkorn University, and foreign relations adviser to Aziz Phitakkumpon, Sheikhul Islam (Chularajmontri) of Thailand.



Canopy Walk at Danum Valley in Sabah

“Her Excellency is extremely popular with the Muslim community here,” said Mr Narong. “We admire her very much because she is working hard to strengthen relations between Thailand and Malaysia. She is humble, simple and friendly to everyone. She is also very smart and can quickly recognise a person’s character. She has made many friends while in Thailand and everyone has the highest admiration for her.”

talks with the other side, and there has been progressing on that front. “The media always highlights when something bad happens, but when nothing happens for 24 hours and then another 24 hours they don’t report it. People in other places get the impression that it is one violent incident after another, but the people who live there see things differently. Day-to-day life goes on as normal. Children go to school. If you go there and travel you will feel safe like in other Thai provinces.” Ms Hussain has visited the South a number of times since coming to Thailand and last year was accompanied Malaysia’s Consul-General on official trips. “I usually visit schools in the South to discuss education issues, especially how to bring about more awareness of the importance of education. “Many residents in the far South have dual nationality and move between the two countries. It is the same situation on the ThaiCambodian and Thai-Lao borders. When I talk to ordinary people in the southernmost provinces I find that the big majority are looking forward to more development in the three provinces within Thailand. The younger ones speak more Thai than Malay. Most people make a living from agriculture, mainly rubber and palm oil. When the rubber price goes down they are affected. “Many people also engage in crossborder trade. My embassy is trying to bring people on both sides of the border together to encourage the development of small businesses. We have made some progress. Last September the Thai Deputy Commerce Minister went to Kelantan to attend an expo and seminar on halal SMEs in Kelantan, and we are optimistic that this will yield productive initiatives. We are working together to implement programs to train people in halal food preparation and processing.

Southern unrest


he ambassador didn’t shy away from the subject of violence and unrest in Thailand’s three southernmost provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala, which border Malaysia. She said education and economic development are the keys to ending the conflict. “Malaysia is also affected by the unrest in the South and we are trying to help the Thai authorities as much as we can,” said the ambassador, adding that there is good cooperation between Malaysian and Thai authorities in facilitating Langkawi SkyCab



Tea plantations on Cameron Highlands

“Thailand and Malaysia are both members of the ASEAN community. We have to have peace not just between countries but in our countries. Fortunately, Malaysia has remained peaceful so far, but we cannot be complacent and we cannot rest. We have to be always on guard because there will be always people who want to create problems. We must know how to overcome the problems, and that is through education and economic development.” The ambassador said there is very good cooperation between law enforcement agencies in Malaysia and Thailand in keeping track of insurgents, and also in other areas. “Smuggling of motor vehicles from Malaysia into Thailand still continues. The cars are mostly taken to third countries; Thailand is a transit point. Through working with the Thai police many stolen cars have been returned to Malaysian citizens. “International crime syndicates traffic narcotics both ways across the border. Sadly, there are many drug addicts in both countries, but we work very well with the Thai authorities to suppress the illicit drug trade. In recent times we have been able to shut down five syndicates.”

A day like no other Ms Hussain said that out of all the many significant experiences she’s had since taking her post in June 2011, none compared to the passing of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. “On the day the death of His Majesty was announced, [October 13, 2016], I was attending an ASEAN- EU meeting in Bangkok. Our Foreign Minister was here as well. The news made such a profound impression on the gathering. “This is a very sad time for the Thai people, and being here to witness the immense love of the Thai people for His Majesty has been overwhelming. All of us in the diplomatic corps share the grief and anguish of the Thai people for the passing of the monarch who contributed so much to making Thailand such a wonderful place.”

Same but different “Every day is a little bit different for me,” said the ambassador. “My schedule is certainly busy, but there is a lot of variety. I have a lot of duties and activities every day, and there are always social functions, including on weekends.

We are involved in sports events, social welfare and charity events, and things like school openings. I also attend National Day receptions and diplomatic lunches and dinners.” “Some days I have to do something related to defence or deal with the Royal Thai Police when they, for example, return cars that were stolen in Malaysia and smuggled to Thailand. Sometimes I am occupied with trade and investment activities, and some days I go to different universities to talk about bilateral relations, ASEAN and other subjects. “Other days I stay at the embassy, taking care of internal matters and attending meetings here. The common denominator in my schedule is that I’m almost always busy. But I like to be busy; if we are not busy then we cannot contribute.” The ambassador admitted she has little privacy because there are always people around, but she doesn’t mind. She feels that goes with the territory and it’s far outweighed by the privilege of representing Malaysia in Thailand. She pointed out that while the two countries established formal diplomatic ties in the modern era in 1956, the traditional relationship between the neighbouring states goes back over a thousand years. She explained that Malaysia is a federation of 13 states and one federal territory with three sectors. “Every state is in charge of its own affairs, excluding foreign affairs, defence and security. Malaysia is a constitutional elective monarchy. The King of Malaysia commonly referred to as ‘Yang di-Pertuan Agong’, is selected from the nine sultans of Malay states for a term of five years. The other four states that do not have sultans are ruled by governors.

Injur y leads to understanding


lthough Ambassador Hussain has been very happy during her time in Thailand, she did suffer the misfortune of a broken leg after slipping in the embassy compound in 2015. Even with the best of medical care, it took almost one year for her to fully recover. Despite her injury, she continued to work and even attended various functions in a wheelchair, with staff always at her side. “Thai authorities and Thai university officials who invited me to give speeches were very kind and assisted me during the time I was in the wheelchair. I wanted to send a message that disabilities, whether temporary or permanent, need not stop a person from contributing.” The experience brought home to her the significance and value of the Paralympics Games. “Malaysian Paralympians did very well in the 2016 Summer Paralympics Games in Rio de Janeiro, as did their Thai counterparts. We need to encourage people to fully accept those with disabilities and not be ashamed if they have a friend, sister or child with a disability. Instead, we should all be supportive and help instil the right values and confidence in them and give them the chance to compete.” Ambassador Hussain then brought up another important sporting event, the upcoming South-east Asian Games (SEA Games) to be held in Malaysia during August. “On April 1 many Thai and Malaysian sports figures participated in a promotional event in KL for the




Legoland Malaysia

SEA Games called ‘Rising Together Baton Run’. The event was attended by the Thai Minister of Tourism and Sport and our Sports Minister as well.”

Malaysia’s economic miracle


ccording to official statistics for 2016, the population of Malaysia was 31.7 million people, about half the population of Thailand. Malaysia’s GDP last year was US$246.7 billion, compared to Thailand’s US$382.6 billion. Malaysia’s total exports amounted to US$189.41 billion (manufactured goods 82.1%; agricultural goods: 9.0%; mining goods 8.2%). Malaysia recorded a growth of 4.25%, while the figure for Thailand was 2.8%. Malaysia’s per capita income was about US$10,000 compared to US$5,878 for Thailand. “The trade between our two countries has been steadily increasing in recent years. Thailand is our second biggest trading partner in ASEAN after Singapore, and the 5th biggest in the world,” Ms Hussain said. Major exports from Malaysia to Thailand are machinery and parts, chemicals and chemical products, transport equipment, optical and scientific equipment, petroleum products, rubber products, beverages, tobacco, processed foods, electronic products, crude petroleum, iron and steel products and manufactured metal products. Thailand’s major exports to Malaysia include natural rubber and many of the same product categories which are imported from Malaysia, such as chemicals and chemical products, machinery and parts, electrical and electronics products, processed foods, metal and petroleum products and optical and scientific equipment, as well as plastic, paper and pulp products. Some of the larger Malaysian companies present in Thailand are Petronas, ZICO Law, Sime Darby, Maybank Kimeng, DRB-HICOM, Proton, Malaysian Airline, Top Glove, BOH and CIMB GROUP, RHB and Ingress. “One of our goals is to become a high-income country,” said Ambassador Hussain. “A National Transformational 2050 (TN 50) plan was announced by Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in October last year. It succeeds the Vision 2020 (Wawasan 2020) plan announced by former Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad in 1991. One of the goals was for Malaysia to be a self-sufficient industrialised nation by the year 2020. We are well on the way to making this a reality.”



“There has been an increase in the number of Malaysians visiting Thailand and vice versa. This is a win-win development for Penang street art both sides, and the embassy is actively involved in encouraging Thais to visit Malaysia. There are so many places in Malaysia I would recommend, including Langkawi, which is an archipelago made up of 99 islands on the west coast and the country’s best-known holiday destination. “Sipadan is wonderful if you like to dive, while Sarawak is great for ecotourism with its rainforests, mountains and huge caves. From Kuala Lumpur, you can take a side trip to the Cameron and Genting Highlands. There’s so much to choose from. “Chinese tourists make up the biggest group of visitors to Malaysia, but about one million Thai tourists came in 2016, compared to about two million Malaysian tourists in Thailand. Large numbers of Malaysian tourists come during the New Year holiday and also Songkran. Some only go to Hat Yai just across the border but many come to Bangkok as well. They like to shop, mainly at Chatuchak Market, MBK and the Pratunam area.”

Personal remarks Ambassador Hussain likes to travel around Thailand, sometimes as part of her official duties and sometimes on personal trips, especially on weekends. ‘‘I have visited, among other places, Chiang Mai and Phitsanulok in the North and Nakhon Si Thammarat, Krabi, Songkhla, Hat Yai and of course the three southernmost provinces. Recently I was in Nong Khai and in Bueng Kan, which is the newest, 76th province in Thailand located in the Northeast. I went there for ‘Red Cross and Rubber Day” held in February. Not long ago I went to Krabi to attend a tourism seminar. “I like Thai food, especially spicy dishes like Som Tam. I have a few favourite Thai food restaurants and we cook it sometimes at the embassy.” Ambassador Hussain said a diplomat must find beauty in any country where he or she is posted. “It’s hard to say which place you have served is the best. Every place is special and different. If a diplomat says a place is no good, it may be the diplomat who is no good. But there’s no doubt that finding beauty is a very easy matter in Thailand. I am enjoying every minute I am here and I am happy to continue to work hard to ensure that our two countries strengthen diplomatic, cultural and economic relations and bring them to new heights.” Asked about her future plans, the ambassador answered: “When they call me back to Malaysia I have to go. Normally the ambassadorial term for Malaysian diplomats is three years. I have been here twice that. I’m in the bonus round already so I can’t be greedy.”

Hua Hin

THROUGHOUT June Shine Spa is  offering the ‘Kaffelicacy’ package. Enjoy 150 minutes of seamless purification and rejuvenation. Priced at B3,000 per person or B5,800 per couple. Advance reservations are required. 032 708 000

01 01 Stirring spa experiences with coffee 02 Romantic escape for two 03 Mosquito Market to Centara Soi 1 04 Veranda Resort Hua Hin – Cha Am



CELEBRATE romance at the seaside  paradise of Sheraton Hua Hin Pranburi


Villas. The ‘Romantic Escape’ package starts at B7,500 and is inclusive of breakfast buffet for two. 032 708 080

CENTARA Grand Beach Resort &  Villas Hua Hin welcomes local vendors to

the hotel grounds for Centara’s ‘Mosquito Market’ where locals and participants will enjoy local food trucks and street food all in one place. 032 512 021-38



AFTER its re-launch as a hip resort in  Hua Hin, Veranda Resort Hua Hin – Cha

Am, Mgallery by Sofitel showed off its luxurious zone where every corner is perfect for selfies and guests can enjoy additional comfort during their stay. 032 709 000

Yet another of Putahracsa’s newest outlets, Ob-Oon Deli Boulangerie - Patisserie brings you the finest selection of fresh baked goods in all of Hua Hin.

Well Hotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20  UNTIL October 31, book one night and get one night

free or book two nights and get two more nights free. The hotel will double your stay and only ask you to pay for your own breakfast on the free night upon check in. The compulsory breakfast on free nights is B450++ per person per night. Rates start from B4,900++ for a Deluxe Room, B6,850++ for an Executive Room and B8,850++ for the Executive Suite for one night plus one free night. 02 127 5995.

X2 Vibe Sukhumvit Hotel

LOCATED on Soi Sukhumvit 52, just 30 minutes from Suvarnabhumi Airport and convenient access to the BTS Sky Train, X2 Vibe Bangkok Sukhumvit Hotel offers guestrooms, suites, restaurants, a swimming pool, and more. The hotel is currently offering special introductory rates starting from just B1,100, including stay in a Standard Room with breakfast for two. Valid from now through 31 October.

Mates’ Rates Friends or Family

visiting Thailand? Somerset Ekamai  Let them know TO celebrate the opening of Ascott’s about these deals first mixed-use development ‘Somerset

02168 7533.

Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok

UNTIL October 31, Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok is offering the ultimate breakfast deal package with extra benefits at any time and at any grand restaurants of the hotel. Prices of the ultimate breakfast package start at B 3,400++ for Deluxe Room.

Ekamai’, special introductory rates are available from now through October 31. Stay in the Urban Community rooms from B1,300++ per night or in the Serviced Residence units from B2,800++ per night. 02 204 4400.

02 541 1234.

Spa Cenvaree at Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld THROUGH December 31 get two hours of head-to-toe pampering and total relaxation at Spa Cenvaree, Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld with the ‘Spa Buffet’ promotion. Choose your own combination of treatments from a special menu. Priced at B3,300 per person.

LifeStyles Fitness Centre at Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld

02 100 1234 ext 6511, 6516.

SUAN Bua, Hagi and Le Danang Restaurants at Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok are offering a unique healthy dining concept combining fresh new menus with Spa Cenvaree treatments. The all new wellbeing packages include healthy meals, healthy drinks and a stress-reducing, 60-minute massage.

SAY goodbye to boring conventional workouts at LifeStyles Fitness Centre on the 26th floor, Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld with two of the most popular fitness classes Yoga Fly and Zumba. Yoga Fly classes are available on Mondays from 7.45pm – 8.45pm and Zumba classes are available on Mondays from 6.30pm – 7.30pm and Thursdays from 8pm – 9pm. NonMembers pay B400 per session, or save by buying 10 sessions for B3,500 or 20 sessions for B6,000.

02 5411234 ext 4151.

02 100 6299.

Sa Cenvaree at Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok



Great American Burger Competition Pattaya THE ‘Great American Burger Competition’ organised by the United States Embassy in Thailand congratulated Hilton Pattaya as the winner of the grand prize. The 10 competing restaurants had a cook-off to create the amazing US-style burgers by using the required ingredients, including US beef, US potatoes, Washington apples, and California cheese.

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THE World Burger Tour is back!  The legendary burgers have been

01 World Burger Tour at Hard Rock Café Pattaya 02 Winner the Best American Burger 2017

HILTON Pattaya’s Executive Chef, Matthew Dowdell and team prepared the  creative American Burger by using American beef, California cheeses, US potatoes, and Washington apples at the Great American Burger Competition that was held at CentralFestival Pattaya Beach on April 28-30. 038 253 000



designed and are now on tour until June 25 at Hard Rock Café Pattaya. Prices starts at B739. Rock your taste buds today! 038 421 673

Dance’17 Hard Rock Pattaya HARD Rock Pattaya with Boss Dance Studio and Metro Grooverz recently hosted the sixth edition of Dance’17 Hard Rock Pattaya. The winners are appointed as ‘Ambassador of Hard Rock Hotel Pattaya’ to participate in all initiatives in the whole year.

Ramayana celebrated its 1st anniversary RAMAYANA Pattaya – the number one water park in Thailand ranked by TripAdvisor – and its executives recently celebrated its first year anniversary with fun and exciting activities.

TheBigChilli 107

Popular Paul celebrates his 70th birthday PATTAYA’S expat community came together to help popular long-term resident Paul Markham celebrate his 70th birthday at Hemingways Restaurant & Bar. Paul has lived in Thailand for almost 40 years, dividing his time as a businessman between Bangkok and Pattaya. It was a great night of fun, good food courtesy of Hemingways and music featuring Yves Baron ‘Le Tenor’ who entertained the large gathering with a repertoire of songs from famous operas. He was followed by the evergreen Shayachon ‘Rose’ Yangpreedan, who had the crowd tapping their feet with her delightful renditions.



Host of the Optimist World Championships 2017

With 60 year’s of sailing history in the kingdom, the Royal Varuna Yacht Club welcomes all sailors and participants to the Optimist World Championships July 11th - 21st, 2017