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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:
Pacific Motor Show 1999

Amazing Agro-tourism

Buddhist Meditation

What’s in the Bond Store?

Get Well Soon, John

Amateur Chefs dominate Chaine des Rotisseurs

Germans discover Pattaya

People buy benefits not products!

North Eastern Heritage Handicrafts of Thailand on display

Pacific Motor Show 1999

The Pacific Park Business Center in Sriracha is hosting the Pacific Motor Show 1999, which started on the 27th August and will be ending on the 5th of September. Many car and motorcycle manufacturers are at the show displaying their models and equipment with a caravan of more than 100 vehicles.

Bullet Proof vehicles on display.

One of the highlights at the show is the presentation of locally produced bullet-proof cars. The vehicles cars are customized to special order, with the bullet proofing conversions done by the Preecha Auto Safety Company Ltd. These can be done on any type of vehicle and the finished product looks no different from an otherwise normal vehicle. The conversions meet the U.S. Standard NIJ STD-0101.03 with bullet and blast proof windows, Kevlar body armour and steel plating. The tires have Run Flat Tire Inserts capable of continuing on at 50 km/hour even after being punctured.

Coca Cola’s Mobile Simulator.

Also appearing is the Coca Cola Mobile Simulator, which cost over 30 million baht. This is the first and only simulator of its type in Thailand. Using British technology, it shows virtual reality movies. The purchase of two cans of coke and a 30 baht ticket allows you to play games such as ice jet skiing or various car racing games.

Also on display are bicycles to promote cycling for health, Car World Club is displaying vehicles used in the work area and Kawasaki is holding a Moto-cross contest in an outside arena.

Chonburi Governor Sujarit Pachimnan presided over the ribbon cutting ceremony to open the show.

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Amazing Agro-tourism

It is often said that nobody who’s willing to work will ever starve in Thailand. A 13th century king’s praise for his homeland, inscribed in stone and memorized by schoolchildren, proclaims that “there is rice in the fields and fish in the waters.” Even in hard times like today, the country’s natural wealth continues to provide hopes and a livelihood for its sons and daughters.

Thailand’s geographic location spans a length of more than 1,600 kilometers-roughly the distance from New York to Miami-which means its climate and plant and animal life are the most diverse in Southeast Asia. The country is therefore able to grow tropical, sub-tropical, and temperate lowland and lowland crops for domestic consumption and export.

Rice has always been the most important crop, and many varieties have been developed over the year to suit the climate and soil types of different regions.

Cash crops such as rubber, cassava, maize, soybean, tobacco, sugarcane and pineapple were introduced in the 1950s and 1960s. Since then Thailand has become one of the world’s major food producers, and looks set to keep its place into the next millenium.

It is impossible to talk about agriculture in Thailand and not mention the Royal Projects. The first of these were started in the early 1970s with the goal of improving the living standards of hilltribe people in the North and wean them off opium cultivation. Temperate-climate fruits and vegetables were introduced as replacement crops. These, as well as later projects, have proved very successful both in eliminating opium growing and promoting new farming methods in the northern provinces of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lumphun and Mae Hong Son, all of which offer abundant opportunity for agrotourists.

The Royal Project Foundation has four research stations and 34 development centers which work to support farmers in selecting crops, improving farm management, and helping to preserve the environment. The Foundation also helps farmers with marketing, packaging and processing. Products are marketed under the brand name Doi Kham and are available at supermarkets and at the Farmers Market near Chatuchak Park.

Traditional farm life varies from region to region. The Central Plains are known as the country’s rice bowl, but the crop is grown everywhere. Though mechanization is taking over in some parts, manual labor is still in wide use, from planting to harvesting. Rice is grown year-round in the Central Plains, but elsewhere the planting cycle is fixed. Most of the country starts planting in May or June and harvests the crop between October and December. The South, which has a different rainfall pattern, starts planting between July and September and harvests its crop between February and March.

There are fascinating rituals surrounding each step of farming, and harvest time is the best time to stop by and see the farmers at work, especially in villages where farming is not yet commercialized. It is possible to visit the rice fields during harvest time, and at some facilities, such as Maejo University in Chiang Mai, you can try your hands at planting or harvesting the rice in their demonstration fields.

Fruit and salt farming flourish in the provinces on both coasts of the Gulf of Thailand. The Eastern provinces receive the southwest monsoon that makes them greener and wetter than the rest of the country. They produce quality rambutan, mangosteen and some of the best durians for local and overseas markets. Provinces southwest of Bangkok are also fruit growers, though the list varies from one to the next, and cottage industries long ago sprung up to absorb oversupplies. A visit to these quaint little factories offers an opportunity to sample their products and take home some of the best.

Thailand’s agro-tourism to a large extent shares a boundary with eco and cultural tourism, since farm life is inseparable from local culture and heritage. Agro-tourism centers run by the Department of Agricultural Extension offer tours of local farms with nature exploration and home stay in the villages. Some agro destinations can be enjoyable stops on a long trip, offering sightseeing, education and shopping opportunities in one package.

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Buddhist Meditation

Any of us have at one time or another found the toll of living in the modern world hard to bear. Stress, depression and disillusionment are some of the diseases of modern times that leave us yearning for a solution, a cure, so to speak. More and more people are turning to meditation as they fail to find the answer through worldly paths.

Meditation is found in some form or other in all major religious traditions. Even those who are not religious use it to focus the mind, to hone it, so that it works better. In Buddhism, meditation is the integral to the eight-fold path to enlightenment. One trains one’s mind so that it can see the four-point Supreme Truth that forms the core of Buddha’s teachings: suffering, what causes it, the end of suffering, and the path to that end. Even if you are not interested in Buddhism, meditation is a valuable training that can be applied to daily life, for it helps with concentration and when done correctly can lead to a state of peace and calmness that’s beyond worldly joys.

There are two main branches in Buddhist meditation: samatha (calmness, concentration) and vipassana (insight), which stresses mindfulness. This doesn’t mean that the two are entirely separate, since you cannot be mindful unless you have at least some level of concentration.

The techniques of samatha meditation are many, some older than Buddhism, others developed after the time of the Buddha. Among the most commonly practiced here is anapanasati, or “mindfulness with breathing.” This technique was advocated by the Venerable Buddhadasa Bhikku (1903-1993), founder of Suan Mokkh Forest Monastery in Surat Thani. Meditators at Suan Mokkh (Garden of Liberation) follow the 16 steps of anapanasati as laid down in Pali texts.

Mantra meditation, in which you repeat a few words over and over, is also widely practiced. Followers of this technique may chant “Buddh” as they inhale, and “dho” as they exhale. The words may vary, but the purpose of chanting is really to get the mind focused. Yet another widely taught technique is kasinas, where meditators concentrate on an object outside themselves, such as the flame of a candle, or a crystal ball.

Sati, or mindfulness, is key to vipassana meditation. You train yourself to be aware of the body’s action, the rise and fall of your chest as you inhale and exhale, the movement of your feet and legs as you walk, as well as your feelings, your thought, and finally, the state of mind you are in.

Walking, sitting and lying meditation are but a few of vipassana techniques. When the mind is untrained, concentration can be shattered by the slightest stimuli-noise, smell, heat, hunger, pain, etc. The key is to become aware of what happens, but not dwell on it. Still, a novice can only ward off so much distraction, and that’s one reason why vipassana retreats are usually held in peaceful and isolated settings.

Meditation teachings are widely available in Thailand. You can attend a class at one of the teaching monasteries for an afternoon or evening. Wat Mahadhatu near the Grand Palace, for example, has two meditation training centers open to locals and tourists. Or you may join a vipassana retreat, which usually takes a weekend or longer. A number of retreat centers, most of them located in the provinces, run intensive courses of up to four weeks on an ongoing basis. All vipassana retreats require you to follow the Five Buddhist Precepts. These include refraining from harming all living beings, from taking what is not given, from improper sexual behavior, from lying and incorrect speech, and from taking liquors and drugs that will cloud the mind. Some retreats may require that you take the Eight Precepts, which in addition to the first five include refraining from dinner, from all forms of entertainment and bodily decoration, and from sleeping on high mattresses.

Respect for one’s teacher is inherent in Thai culture. At the start of a vipassana session, you must attend an opening ceremony, where you pay respect to the meditation masters and present them with traditional Buddhist offerings of incense sticks, candles and flowers-usually three lotuses or a hand garland. There is also a closing ceremony, where you thank your teachers and bid them a formal farewell. Even if you cannot stay for the duration of the course, be sure to perform this ritual before you leave, since not doing so is considered very rude.

Once you get enrolled in a course, be sure to follow only the technique taught there. Mixing techniques will only confuse you. Usually, you are given instructions daily, and are required to report your progress-or lack of it-to your meditation master on the following day. After the interview you will be given advice and new instructions, or old ones to repeat.

All-white, modest clothing is required at vipassana retreats. Check ahead if there is a shop on the compound, or if you have to bring your own. At most monasteries, simple accommodation and food are provided, usually free of charge. Talking, reading and writing are discouraged, as they will distract you from your meditation. And meditators are not allowed to leave the retreat compound unless absolutely necessary, so be sure to bring enough change of clothes, toiletries and personal items for the duration of the course.

For first-time meditators, it might help to attend a day session or two before you join a long retreat. Bangkok has a number of meditation centers offering day classes in English. Many temples around the country also teach samatha and vipassana meditation. Contact the nearest office of the Tourism Authority of Thailand for a list of local temples where English-speaking classes can be arranged.

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What’s in the Bond Store?

Another ceaseless worker for Pattaya’s needy, for the Pattaya International Ladies Club and for Pattaya’s name has been Catherine Bond. During her Presidency of PILC she was seen at so many functions she became known as “the ubiquitous Mrs. Bond”! Her leaving here after a three year stint cannot go without mention.

Catherine joined PILC for its networking possibilities and worked her way through from the Membership Committee to the Presidency. Her method of operation has always been professional, and that professionalism shows today in even such small things as the PILC Membership booklet.

She admits to “... always being an instigator” and before coming to Pattaya was involved in charity fund raising in America. Here she really developed and when the United Charities of the Eastern Seaboard was formed she became the UCES inaugural Chairwoman.

Through these positions she became a very public persona, but while help for those in need became a driving force there was a hidden agenda being nurtured in her bosom as well. And that is the name of Pattaya itself.

Catherine has been very disappointed in the publicity the international press has given Pattaya. “Is there no sex in London?” she said with the pent-up emotion coming through in her voice. “No crime in America? No pornography in Germany?” She continued, “These guys are just not doing their footwork. They sit in the bars in South Pattaya, a very small part of the city, and write the ‘easy’ stories to sell to their readers. It makes me irritated! Boy, my blood is getting hot just talking about it.” Catherine certainly wears her heart on her sleeve.

It came as no surprise to find that even as she was packing for her return to the United States she was finding the time to assist Arlette Cykman, the Chairwoman of the PILC Holiday Bazaar, to arrange this year’s event. When Catherine gets wound up, it is very difficult to stop her. “It’s going to be a fabulous Bazaar. It’s on the 1st of October. Everything’s under one roof and the Royal Cliff Beach Resort has been just so-o-o-o helpful, Khun Panga, Mr. Wasser and everyone.”

This interview was done on her last rushed day in Pattaya and I asked her the obvious question as to whether she will miss this city. “I have enjoyed this place just so much. You’re making me wistful now. I am so sad to leave. I have family in the States and I’m excited about seeing them again, but at the same time I don’t want to leave Pattaya.” She was quiet for at least ten seconds and then suddenly brightened up, “Hey, planes fly both ways, you know!”

I had to take a phone call at that moment and as I spoke Catherine took my pen and wrote in my notebook “See you at the Bazaar! I’m returning at the end of September.” And she was gone, but somehow I think that Pattaya and Catherine Bond will never be separated for too long. You can catch Catherine (and the Bazaar) at the Royal Cliff on the 1st of October!

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Get Well Soon, John

by Dr. Iain Corness

John Richards has been one of the great stalwarts of the Jomtien-Pattaya Rotary Club, and a principal mover in the local charity scene. During his Rotary Presidency year 1998-1999 he became very well known in the Pattaya area and was an enthusiastic supporter of groups like the United Charities of the Eastern Seaboard and civic projects such as the Road Safety Education Programme.

Six weeks ago, John suffered a severe stroke which has left him partially paralysed down his right side and unable to speak more than a few words. Following intensive care treatment and physical rehabilitation therapy at the Bangkok-Pattaya Hospital he improved to the extent that he could at least walk and feed himself again.

Unfortunately, the response with speech and word recognition has been much slower. Consequently, the decision was made, in conjunction with John’s family, to repatriate him back to Australia where this type of speech therapy can be procured. This has only been made possible by the generosity of many people in our community. As John required a medical escort for the trip, Pattaya Mail’s Mirin MacCarthy, who is a trained nursing sister, volunteered to take him, as well as co-ordinate medical referrals through Dr. Iain Corness’ General Practice Group in Brisbane.

In Pattaya, John’s medical and hospital expenses were picked up by Bryant Berry from Northern Thai Realty, while a large number of people contributed to finance the trip. Amongst those were people such as Georges and Ursula Rothstein, who only knew John in passing but recognised a need, to his colleagues in Rotary and even a donation from Delaney’s Irish Pub. John thanks you all.

John requested an open return air ticket and that was purchased, as he still has hopes of being able to come back to Pattaya, a city that has meant so much to him. The Pattaya Mail, in conjunction with all those who have contributed or who knew him, wish him a speedy rehabilitation and a smooth adjustment to his changed circumstances.

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Amateur Chefs dominate Chaine des Rotisseurs

That 700-year-old bastion of good food and wine, the Chaine des Rotisseurs turned on a very different gustatory evening. Instead of the usual venue of a top restaurant, the Chaine revitalised the concept of “progressive dinners”. However, instead of the guests travelling from house to house to sample the different courses, our local Chaine, the Bailliage de Pattaya under the direction of the Baillie Jean-Fernand Wasser, brought five chefs together at Sutham Phantusak’s residence.

Sutham and his wife Orawan and daughters celebrate his birthday at the end of the dinner.

Around 50 people attended this unique gastronomic event, with most of the local “foodies” very prominent. Amongst these were the Thai Garden Resort Vogts, the Mercure Betournes, the Royal Cliff Beach Resort’s Thenisch and Wasser, the Little Hill Freis, the Sher-E-Punjab’s Benni and Garry and even the Bangkok-Pattaya Hospital’s Neera and Jack.

Don’t look so worried Hans, most of it is edible.

But it was the food and wine they had come for and perhaps also a more than passing glance at the chefs themselves and what they could turn out. Sutham presented an interestingly light Chateau de Sequin Bordeaux 88, followed up by a Chateau Bel Air Bordeaux Raillon 95.

The soup was one of the starters and this was a tomato soup with more than just a little bite. Chef Bruno from Bruno’s restaurant refused to divulge the hidden ingredients, but it certainly was not Heinz 57 Varieties!

The next was Thai appetizers, prepared and cooked by City Councillor Sutham Phanthusak himself. These were a Tod Mun Pla (fishcake) and an interesting Moo Yang, a southern Thai dish. Since the dinner was held at his home and several of the Woodlands Resort staff were hovering at his elbow, one felt that Sutham may have just been given a little help. Whatever, the end results were adjudged as excellent.

Zees Chaine dinners - Zey are a fun night. Oui?

The next course was very different. Pattaya’s favourite Norwegian, Jan-Olav Aamlid presented some cold delicacies from his home country. As he had just returned from Norway it was more than probable that these were brought in as hand luggage! Jan-Olav presented some of the best salmon this writer has ever eaten. In addition there was whale and red wine sausage and another couple of cold meats including Rudolph in red wine as Jan-Olav called it. The rest of us called it reindeer!

The next chef was that ever smiling man of few words, Peter Malhotra, who presented “Indian Surprises”. These were Vegetable Jalfreeze, a Butter Chicken, Paneer Pasanda (home made cheese stufeed with peanut butter paste), the scrumptious Mutton Vindaloo complimented with pillao rice, plain and garlic naan. With much flourishes, Peter managed to get several layers of butter chicken on his once immaculate chef’s jacket and tocque, but kept on smiling. The fact that a couple of his kinfolk from the land of the mighty Ganges were standing very close and whispering instructions in sotto voce Punjabi made one feel that the redoubtable Peter probably had more than a little help - especially as the curries were very, very good!

Just a little more cream ... it needs a few more calories!

The desserts were supplied by Monika Rottmann, better known as one of the driving forces in the Seaboard Sound musical group, than as a chef. However, those who are in the Rottmann circle of friends know that Monika is actually a very talented culinary queen and the German Layer Pudding (translation) was guaranteed to put three kilo’s on anyone, it was so rich. Monika attended to everything in the desserts tent and there were no little elves or hidden helpers in evidence.

Once again, the Chaine des Rotisseurs put on a wonderful evening for the local gourmands and if you have not been to one, you should keep a careful watch on the Clubs Directory in the Pattaya Mail to find the details on the next one.

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Germans discover Pattaya

The German speaking community in Pattaya was delighted at the response given by the Bangkok based German-Thai Chamber of Commerce on a visit to Pattaya last week.

(From left) Volker Fischer Deputy Chairman-Thai Glass Industries Plc, Dr. & Mrs. Paul R Strunk Excuive Director-German-Thai Chamber of Commerce, Ulrich Weber President-German-Thai Chamber of Commerce, Hans-Kurt Schäfer Senior Vice President-Commerz Bank, Marion Vogt and Michael Vogt - GM Thai Garden resort.

At the informal ‘get together’, a ‘Stammtisch’ in German, the Executive Director of the chamber, Dr. Paul Strunk admitted he was quite taken aback by the numbers who had attended. In Bangkok, the last Stammtisch attracted less than 30 members, while the Pattaya event ended up with around 125 German speaking people filling the Moon River Pub.

Hosts at the Moon River, Michael and Marion Vogt, managed to send urgent messages back to the kitchen as the numbers kept increasing for the Thai buffet. Michael also added that he was very pleased to be able to promote Pattaya in this way to his colleagues in the chamber.

Frieder and Margret Weiler of GTZ Sriracha with guests from Austria.

Dr. Strunk mentioned that his chamber had noted the way the British Chamber of Commerce Thailand and the Australian-Thai Chamber had come to the Eastern Seaboard to service their respective communities and it was time the German chamber did likewise. With so many large German companies in the Eastern Seaboard, it was only natural that they should eventually come to Pattaya, too. He said, “In the past 20 years, Pattaya has come forward with the best progress and best industrialisation in Thailand.” Dr. Strunk also made mention that the chamber is 35 years old in Bangkok, so is one of the more established chambers of commerce.

The President, Ulrich Weber, also addressed the Stammtisch and said how encouraged he was by the way Pattaya had come on, being in the centre of the Eastern Seaboard industrialised community, but having a fine record for pleasurable pursuits such as golf and water sports.

Vikrom Kromadit CEO of the Amata Group (centre) flanked by Prof. Dr. Ernst Günter Schilling German Director of the Thai-German Institute, Hans-Kurt Schäfer, Senior Vice President-Commerz Bank and lovely guests.

Local German speakers were pleased to see the Bangkok crowd give such a boost to Pattaya, with people such as Monika and Peter Rottmann and Bruno and Erika Keller doing everything they could to help the Vogts make the guests feel very welcome.

The evening was such a resounding success that the German-Thai Chamber have already resolved to visit us again in the near future. Let us hope that they will not wait 35 years this next time.

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People buy benefits not products!

by Richard Townsend, Corporate Training

But how do I discover the real benefits of my product or service? The best way is to have sales staff complete a features/advantages/benefits analysis.

The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines a feature as a - ‘distinctive or characteristic part of a thing’ and an advantage as a - ‘better position, superiority, favourable circumstances’. A benefit is defined as - ‘do good to, receive benefit (by thing)’.

Product features should be fairly obvious to anyone selling their product for more than a few weeks. If you have staff that has been selling a product for some time and they don’t know its features you really should (no offence intended) advise them to change their profession. Acknowledging that some products are more complicated than others the fact remains we can’t sell what we don’t understand. Try to get some sense out of the average computer sales person and you will see what I mean.

Can your sales staff list down six to ten of the most important features of your best-understood product or service? Why not ask them just for fun?

Then check that they only have features listed buy checking if what they have written qualifies under ‘The Concise Oxford’ definition, i.e. is it a real product feature. Examples may be: it has two handles, it is conducted over 3 days, it has a 3-litre engine, it has river views, or it has a 400-megahertz ‘Pentium’ chip.

Then have them give each of the features at least two advantages. In the Pentium chip example the advantages could be: faster processing, quicker programme loading, superior movie viewing or quicker web browsing.

The final step is to have them review the features and advantages in light of the definitions; think about what the benefit is and turn the advantages into real product/customer benefits. To do this it is best to line the three headings up side by side and turn the three categories into a sentence joining them with the words (feature) which means (advantage) which gives you (benefit). An example is... this computer has a 400-megahertz chip...’which means’... faster file processing...’which gives you’ increased work output over a shorter time period. In the case of the two handled pot it could be ‘this pot has two handles which means it is better balanced when being carried improving your chance of getting from A to B with out spilling the contents. The three steps are essential to get to the real benefit.

People do things for their reasons not ours.

If this is true (and it is), then it stands to reason that if we are going to make a sale to someone, we best find out his or her reasons for buying. One useful technique for doing this is to look at a useful motivation reference point that is common among many buyers.

Buying Criteria Guide:

S - Security/Safety
P - Performance/Power
A - Availability/Appearance
C - Comfort/Class
E - Economy/Ecology
D - Dependability/Durability

These BENEFITS are often referred to as the SPACED benefits and with a little thought the criteria can be applied to all products and services.

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North Eastern Heritage Handicrafts of Thailand on display

The North Eastern Heritage Handicrafts of Thailand is on display with traditional Thai music from the area performed for viewer’s enjoyment at the Royal Cliff Beach Resort until the end of September.

The North Eastern Heritage consists of a wide range of handicrafts including cotton and silk fabrics, basketry, and herbal medicines expressing an ancient culture. Traditional lady’s skirts and scarves, wall tapestries, cushions, shirts, trousers, and lengths of silk and cotton for apparel and home d้cor are available.

Traditional Thai music will be performed at the handicrafts exhibition at the Royal Cliff Beach Resort.

The people have been carrying on the tradition with many generations of experience producing intricate and eye pleasing weaves from the North Eastern Region. Natural dyes are used in the coloring of the fabrics, painstakingly hand-woven on traditional looms. Many of the designs are commissioned by ancient royal courts, preserving the weaving heritage of North Eastern Thailand.

The project encourages development in the North Eastern region helping to improve living standards and is supported by the Small Industry Finance Corporation (SIFC) and the European Union (EU). The project also promotes the establishment of social services at a community level.

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Updated by Chinnaporn Sangwanlek.