Rotary in Thailand: Seventy Years of Service
by Rotarian Peter Cummins
Adapted from The Rotarian November 2000
More than 1,000 Rotarians gathered at the Convention Centre of the Central Plaza Hotel in Bangkok last month to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Rotary in
Thailand and to greet RI President Frank J. Devlyn and RI President Elect Bhichai Rattakul.
The giant Rotary wheel rolls ever
One of the highlights of the evening was the parade of past and present district governors and club presidents. It was like a journey through a time machine,
but not because you saw old and worn out Rotarians who were so active in their heyday, but that these very same personalities are just as active if not more so today. Thus
confirming their true convictions of service in their clubs, in their community and in our world. In keeping with the spirit of ever moving forward, a gigantic Rotary wheel
rolled ahead of the parade and installed in its rightful place in the 70 year celebrations insignia.
RI President Elect (2002-03) HE
Bhichai Rattakul ‘The Guru’ District Governor 330 (1963-64)
From the very first, since its founding in Chicago in 1905, Rotary International (RI) sought to broaden its base and become a truly global organization.
Thus, it was 70 years ago when James W. Davidson of the Rotary Club of Calgary met HRH Prince Purachatra to discuss the establishment of Rotary in Thailand.
Subsequently, the Rotary Club of Bangkok was chartered on 17 September 1930; an English-language group of 69 charter members from 15 countries, with Prince
Purachatra the first president. In the short space of just five years, all clubs in Thailand and the former Indochina became grouped as District 80, later changed to District
46 and Prince Purachatra became the first district governor.
Gen Saiyud Kerdphol DG 3350
(1991-92) ‘Fair and Upright’
The proliferation of clubs in Thailand reflected the expansion world-wide and, by 1992, it became necessary to sub-divide Thailand’s more than 250 clubs
and approximately 6,000 members into four separate districts, specifically: 3330, 3340, 3350 and 3360.
Since 1983, the monthly publication of “The Thai Rotarian” and, in 1992, the establishment of the Rotary Centre in Bangkok, greatly improved the
dissemination of information about Rotary and Rotary projects.
HM The King: A Great Rotary Supporter
Xanxai Visitkul DG 335 (1988-89)
‘The wise’ gives the thumbs up sign for a job well done.
Certainly the major landmark for Rotary Thailand came in 1995, on the 25th anniversary of Rotary in Thailand, when His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej
graciously agreed to become the Honorary Patron of Thai Rotary. Since that time, the King has taken a most positive approach, based on his profound understanding of Rotary aims
DG 3350 (2000-01) ‘Unstoppable Steamroller
PRID Bhichai Rattakul, the first Thai national ever to be nominated for the presidency of Rotary International - for the years 2002-2003 - is keenly aware of
the King’s long affinity for and support of Rotary. “During the past decades, His Majesty has always granted an audience to any visiting RI presidents,” said Bhichai at
the 70th Anniversary dinner. The King would have long discussions with any such visiting president, displaying much knowledge of Rotary goals and ideas.
Wutichai Wanglee DG 3350
(1999-2000) ‘The Organiser’
Clifford A. Randal was one RI President (1959-1960) who became close to the King and, in fact, became the protector of the copyright and royalties in the
United States of His Majesty’s songs and compositions.
His Majesty, in fact, has addressed Rotarians at various times, one being the Royal Address at an inter-city meeting of Rotary Clubs in Thailand in November
1970, when the King remarked, “Historically the first goal of Rotary was to provide an opportunity for men of different professions to meet and recreate a communal atmosphere
of friendliness and comradeship.”
Premprecha Dibbyawan (right) ‘The
Flamboyant’ DG 3340 (2000-01) with President Erika Keller and PP Nic Demet of the Rotary Club of Jomtien Pattaya
The King then referred to a way of life guided by common sense which was being destroyed and being replaced by a savage - almost primitive - struggle known
as “the survival of the fittest”. Moral values are being swept aside, the King continued and, “it is the Rotarians who are trying to stop this trend and contribute to the
improvement of the community in which they live and to the promotion of international understanding,” His Majesty added. “To achieve this goal, acquaintance among Rotarians
is an essential precondition; ideas cannot be exchanged otherwise. By combining your knowledge and efforts, you enhance the great potential of Rotary,” the King concluded.
Supavat Poovakul ‘The Superman’
DG 330 (1977-78)
The King exhorted Rotarians to increase their potential and to expand contacts among those who can help and those who need help in the community.
His Majesty also supported Thai Rotarians when they pooled their resources to help alleviate rural poverty - a cause close to His Majesty’s heart,
especially during present economic hardships.
One particular Rotary programme was the Ban Nern Dindaeng Development Project undertaken in Prachuap Khirikan Province which contributed much to the quality
of life of the people. This paralleled, to a certain extent, the King’s theory of a “self-sufficient economy”.
Niwet Khunavisarut ‘The
Pioneer’ DG 3340 (1992-93)
Thais and Rotarians alike share the same view about the diligence which His Majesty demonstrates in relieving the plight of the rural poor, exemplifying the
Rotarian credo “Service above self”. Thai Rotarians thus take His Majesty as the paragon of service to society and the community, showing the way forward to a better future
for the world.
Two major achievements for Rotary Thailand have been the “Polio Plus” programme and the eradication of illiteracy. In the case of polio, a concerted
four-year campaign, from 1987 - 1991, by Thai Rotarians, enabled the Ministry of Public Health to announce that there had only been one suspected new case of polio by mid-1991,
as against 17 new cases in 1989. A massive public-awareness programme implemented by Rotary became the conduit for the Polio Plus campaign to extend beyond Thailand to Laos,
Vietnam and Burma.
MR Ophas Kanjanavijaya ‘Helpful
and kind’ DG 335 (1989-90) and Mukh Wongchavalitkul ‘The Learned’ DG 336 (1989-90)
As part of its Health, Hunger and Humanity Programme, the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International provided a grant of $US402,400, dedicated to the
elimination of illiteracy in Thailand. Started as a pilot project in just four provinces, the campaign soon engulfed other parts of the Kingdom and it eventually focused on the
first six years of school, with a new Literacy Programme developed by the Ministry of Education, Srinmakharinwirot University and Rotary Districts 3350 and 3360. Some 30,000
teachers and more than a million children have benefited from this assistance.
Lady Rotarians of District 3340
perform a traditional Thai Dance
So successful has this been that several countries, including Bangladesh, Brazil, India and Zimbabwe have based their own programmes on the Thai model.
Rotary in Thailand
Two past district governors Krit Indhewat and Xanxai Visitkul recently reflected on Rotary’s contributions to the betterment of Thai society. PDG Krit
pointed out that, “Rotary service has now spread to all 76 provinces and it continues to make a notable contribution to alleviating the plight of the poor, particularly in
the rural communities where poverty is most severe.”
PDG Xanxai stressed that, “We are fortunate that Rotary International has a progressive, democratic organizational structure. More Thai-language
information about Rotary and wider dissemination of Rotary ideals will help to build better Rotarians for the future.”
Picture Postcard - Britain’s Hedgerows
by C. Schloemer
For well over a thousand years, hedgerows have been a distinctive feature of rural Britain; the stitching that holds the fabric of the countryside
together. From a distance, they give the landscape form and definition. Up close they give it life, filling fields and byways with birdsong, butterflies and the furtive
rustling of small animals. The wildflowers that spill from their bases, foxgloves and buttercups, scent the air with their perfume. Walk up any hill on a sunny day and
stretched out before you lies a checkerboard of small hills and small fields stretching away to a distant horizon. Winding lanes, squeezed together by plump hedgerows, wander
along farmsteads, groves of woodland, and villages. Hedgerows don’t just enhance the countryside. They make it.
It is easy to forget that in a landscape so at one with nature, the British countryside is largely accidental; the by-product of centuries of practical
pursuits. The features that ennoble it, the neat fields, the meandering stone walls and hedges, the village greens and duck ponds were put there for a purpose, even though
they also function as adornments. For hundreds of years this symbiosis held sway. And in much of Britain, it still does. But for how much longer? A revolution in the
technology and economics of farming, urban sprawl, and the creep of suburban shopping malls are shrinking Britain’s countryside and subjecting it to more upheaval in a
lifetime than in the whole of the preceding 500 years. The hedgerows are disappearing at an alarming rate. The sad fact of the matter is that they aren’t needed any more.
Hedgerows were built mainly to keep livestock contained. Historically, farmers were
self-sufficient on their tiny farmsteads. Now farming is big business. Farmers drained their ponds and marshes, and ploughed under the miles of greenery which wasted precious
land to plant single cash crops. Modern dairy farming methods don’t allow cattle to graze unattended through the countryside. And miles of hedgerows are expensive and time
consuming to maintain. They need to be trimmed, woven and protected from disease to keep them healthy.
Despite the depredations of recent decades, hedges of considerable antiquity still dot the landscape. There are some hedges that are so old they actually
have names. No one knows when hedgerows first became a feature of the British countryside. Parish records from over a thousand years commonly refer to them. Archaeological
excavations give evidence that they existed in Roman Britain as early as the second century A. D.
Older still are the hedge banks. These are the rock and earthen barriers which are sometimes, though not always, topped with living shrubbery, on the
Land’s End peninsula of Cornwall. Dating back to the Bronze Age, these banks are among the world’s oldest artefacts still in use. In Southern England alone, perhaps as
many as one fifth of all surviving hedgerows date from Saxon times; a living link with the Dark Ages. Some date back to Roman times. Because they are older than almost any
man made thing in a particular area, they can tell us a lot about the past. A hedge may reveal the outline of a Roman medieval field system, or the course of a parish
Some British hedgerows in woodland areas are home to some 800 different kinds of
plants, from the common cowslip to rare ferns and orchids. Woodland birds use the hedges at least part of the time, as do most small mammals. They have no choice. The
denuding of the land has robbed the indigenous wildlife of alternatives. Foxes, rabbits, harvest mice, house mice, dormice, shrews, weasels, and voles all depend on the
hedgerows as a place to breed, hunt or shelter. Oddly enough, almost the only small animal that does not use the hedges is the hedgehog. In modern Britain, it is essentially
a suburban creature.
Government policy concerning the preservation of ancient hedgerows has been inconsistent. However, in the early 1990s the Ministry of Agriculture unveiled
a Hedgerow Incentive Scheme and allocated millions of Pounds to be spent on restoring neglected hedgerows. One factor likely to slow restoration efforts is the shortage of
people with the skills to do the job. Young people are not interested in standing sodden, in merciless rain, weaving and trimming miles of hedgerows. Hedging is a skill which
rests in the hands of the old and middle aged men of Britain. It is a winter job. The cutting must be done while the wood is dormant. Otherwise you kill the hedge.
Left alone, any hedgerow will eventually become a line of trees. And every hedge is different. Some of the skilled hedgers have been doing this job for
decades. They are a glorious form of artwork which must not be lost.
The Residence Garden now officially open
Ib and Kannikar’s baby takes 9 months!
After a gestation period of only nine months, the new Residence Garden Boutique Apartment Hotel on Thappraya Road is now open. This new baby of the Ottesen
family was welcomed by a large crowd of friends and well-wishers last Monday evening, with the Danish Ambassador, H.E. Niels K.Dyrlund coming down from Bangkok to preside over
the opening ceremony.
Danish Ambassador, H.E. Niels K.
Dyrlund and his wife cut the ribbon to officially open the new Residence Garden.
H.E. Niels K.Dyrlund reminded the guests of the important role that Denmark has played in the past in relationships with Thailand, and how pleased he was to
see that Danish endeavours today have resulted in such an excellent result as this new hotel. Danish holidaymakers have increased over the recent years, he said, and His
Excellency hoped that many would stay at the Residence Garden.
Rick (2nd from right), Harpic
(right) and her sister Kerry (center) with Ms. Oy (2nd from left) and Ms. Tuk (left) enjoying the grand opening party.
The guests were entertained by an amusing speech from emcee Peter Malhotra who gave some interesting snippets about Ib Ottesen himself, a man who came to
Thailand almost 30 years ago with a guitar under his arm and 2000 baht in his pocket, and is now one of the most respected businessmen in Pattaya.
Ib’s son Allan (right) and his
friends from Denmark enjoyed the festivities.
Chart Thai party political aspirant and managing director of Sophon Cable, Chanyut Hengtrakul took time off from the hustings to congratulate Ib and Kannikar
and said that Pattaya owed them its heartfelt thanks for improving the city’s image.
Ms. Lek (Pattaya Granite) presents
a bouquet of flowers to Kannikar, as Sokait (3rd from right) and his wife Noi (4th from right), owners of Paradise Villa offer their best wishes.
But it was the many well wishers that had come to see Ib and Kannikar’s new boutique hotel that really showed the respect that the local community has for
this hard working couple. People such as fellow hotelier Michael Vogt of the Amari Orchid Resort, fellow musicians Rick, Harpic and Julie, and many fellow Scandinavians such as
restaurateur Bent Laarshold - they, and scores of others, were there to congratulate them on another job well done.
Never ones to miss a good party,
Pattaya Mail’s managing director Peter Malhotra (2nd from left) and PMC’s Doctor Iain Corness (right) offer Ib and Kannikar their heartfelt congratulations and best wishes
The party celebration for Ib and Kannikar’s new baby continued with some fireworks to celebrate the opening and provide some amusement for the large crowd
of guests; however, like all parties, it had to come to an end and now the serious business of maintaining and promoting the new hotel will be taking up their time.
Dancers from the Bhoddisamphan
School perform an enchanting Thai dance.
The Pattaya Mail also congratulates the Ottesen’s on their latest venture, one which will undoubtedly be as successful as their Captain’s Corner
Restaurant and the original Residence Suites Apartments.
Christina’s surprise charity concert pays off
The surprise charity concert held at the Green Bottle Pub starring Christina Betourne resulted in a wonderful charity event. The concert was organised by
the YWCA and the Lion’s Club of Pratumnak and was supported by the Pattaya Sports Club, Rotary Club of Jomtien Pattaya, the Green Bottle Pub and the Pattaya Mail.
Presenting the donations are (L to
R) Jomtien-Pattaya Rotary Club P.E. Alvi Sinthavanik, Diana Group CEO Sopin Thappajug, Pol. Lt. Col. Jirat Phichitphai, Mike Franklin, Elfi Seitz from the YWCA, Pattaya Mail
MD Peter Malhotra (hiding behind Elfi), Pratumnak Lion Nitaya Patimsongkhro, and Pratumnak Lion president Kovit Tiantongnukul.
With 23,970 baht raised at the event and following Christina’s wishes, the donation was handed over by Mike Franklin on behalf of the Pattaya Sports Club
to a surprised Pol. Col. Jirat at the Ban Phoonsri Uppathum Drug Treatment Center in a small ceremony.
Among the guests attending the presentation were Sopin Thappajug, CEO of the Diana Group, Kovit Tiantongnukul, president of the Lions Club of Pratumnak and
Peter Malhotra MD of the Pattaya Mail.
The donated funds will go towards improving facilities at the rehabilitation centre, such as the addition of a computer for vocational training and
language training to all those staying at the Ban Phoonsri. This new knowledge will enable them to re-enter society with new self confidence.
Royal Cliff thanks the media and travel agents
The managing director of the Royal Cliff Beach Resort, Panga Vathanakul welcomed members of the media and travel agents to the resort last weekend. This
annual Xmas party is given to thank the media and travel industry for their support during the year, and is also an opportunity to apprise the partygoers of the latest
developments at the resort.
Media hounds always welcome a
good, free buffet, and the Royal Cliff outdid themselves at this year’s thank you party.
General manager Andrew Wood also reminded those present of the past developments such as PEACH (Pattaya Exhibition and Convention Hall) and the Cliff Spa
and invited everyone to look at the newly opened Royal Cliff Sports and Fitness Club (if you would like to see it, Sundays are “open house” for a few weeks).
ISR staff cut loose at Christmas party
The staff and teachers from the International School of the Regents took time out
from the classroom and offices to hold their annual Christmas party at the Moon River Pub. Beginning with a welcome drink, they began to relax after a hard year educating
young minds. The staff very much enjoyed the spread put on by the Moon River, which was followed by lots of Christmas cheer.
As new the band came on stage the tempo of the evening changed. The relaxation therapy seemed to be working as the evening progressed, and the normally
stern faces smiled, sang and danced the night away.
New OLaLa Beach Cafe treats Redemptorist Street Kids to a day on the beach
To celebrate its recent soft opening on Dongtan Beach, the new OLaLa Beach Cafe organized a day at the beach for the children of the Pattaya Redemptorist
Street Kids Home. Forty-three children from the home in Banglamung enjoyed a filling lunch and fun leisure time playing games on the beach. Santa Claus also paid a visit to
the children, and smiling faces were everywhere as Santa handed out gifts.
Santa popped in for a visit during
the OLaLa Beach Cafe & Rotary day at the beach for the children of the Pattaya Redemptorist Street Kids Home.
The chairman of the fundraising committee, Bruno Keller from the Rotary Club of Jomtien-Pattaya organized transportation for the children. The children
were also given colorful T-shirts to commemorate the day.
Bob Lee, director of marketing and sales for OLaLa at both Soi 7 and the Beach Cafe summed up the benevolence by saying that, “It’s chance to give
something back to the community”.
Well Bob, Olala and the Rotarians certainly did, for the day was a great success and no one was left out - even the grown-ups had a great time.
The Filipinos celebrate Christmas in style
In true Christmas fashion the Filipino community turned on the hospitality and fun for their annual Christmas party. A host of guests from the Pattaya
community joined in the celebration, which was held at the Town in Town Hotel. A buffet dinner was offered with special Filipino style roast pork. Some of the highlights of
the evening included the New Image Band from Bangkok, plus the raffles and lucky door prizes.
President of the AFT Art Nievke was pleased with the turnout and wished everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
The Pattaya Mail would like to wish Art, his family and the entire Filipino Community a Merry Christmas as well.
A very special Christmas at The Fountain of Life
The Fountain of Life celebrated Christmas with their 3rd annual Christmas Pageant. The children danced and sang in front of a varied audience. Long time
sponsors, the Jesters, were present along with people from the PILC, Pattaya Sports Club and the British Chamber of Commerce in Thailand.
Jesters MC president Woody
Underwood presented Sister Joan and Sister Jemjit the bankbook for an account containing almost 2.2 million baht - funds raised from this year’s charity drives.
They say Christmas is a time of miracles and giving, and so it was, with the official opening of a new classroom donated by the British Community in
Thailand. However, the miracle of the day was when the Fountain of Life received notification giving them official status as a full-fledged charity known as The Good Shepherd
Foundation. Sister Joan, Sister Jemjit and the Jesters heralded this as a miracle, since the documents had been submitted over a year ago. Apparently, it was the Children’s
Fair and a visit by the governor of Chonburi that placed everything in the fast lane.
Being a recognized charity opens the doors wider for assistance, not just in Thailand but internationally as well.
The surprises didn’t stop there either. After lunch, Lewis ‘Woody’ Underwood, the president of Jesters MC presented the sisters the bankbook for an
account containing almost 2.2 million baht - funds raised from this year’s charity drives.
Shortly after that, the rumble of Harley Davidsons could be heard, as well as bells from the rooftop when Santa slid down the stairs to give Christmas
gifts to all the children.
So who doesn’t believe in Santa now?
MoJo puts a magic slant on Boxing Day
In the Western world, December 26th is known as Boxing Day, stemming back from the days when the landed gentry gave their staff Xmas boxes on the day after
the 25th celebrations. MoJo Night Club, better known for its easy listening jazz, has done something this year to put a little magic into Boxing Day as well.
This Tuesday the 26th there will be a magic show starring the young professional
Thai magician, Ken, who was recognised in September of this year, in Bangkok, as one of the top five conjuring talents in Thailand today. This performance will also
incorporate a balloon show, the results of which you will be taking home as your own present from Ken - and MoJo.
To make the evening even more magic, MoJo has also brought out Hardy, a famous world champion German magician, who will be bringing with him special
autographed magic boxes containing tricks with instructions in several languages.
Monika Rottmann (the Mo in MoJo) says she wants to promote all types of performing artists through her new Jomtien Complex Condotel venue, and felt that
incorporating magic and Boxing Day would make this festive season even more memorable.
The cost for the evening (which starts from 4:30 p.m.) is only 290 baht for adults and includes a BBQ, salad bar and balloon present. Children between 4-14
are only 130 baht. Monika recommends booking, either directly at MoJo or by phone 01 268 6836.
Kalae Pattaya, a new antique outlet
Pattaya home decorators and those who just enjoy being surrounded by antique furniture have a new outlet to source these fine pieces. Called Kalae Pattaya
Art & Decor, it has opened on the corner of Sukhumvit and North Roads and is an offshoot from the very successful Kalae gallery in Bangkok.
One example of the fine antiques
that can be found at Kalae Pattaya Art & Decor on the corner of Sukhumvit and North Road.
Many of the antique pieces are from China, but there is also a selection of Indian and Tibetan artefacts and furniture. Prices start at 200 baht and go
through to around 50,000 baht for a well documented Chinese antique piece.
Japanese girl “kidnapped”
Kyoko Togawa, the Japanese guest relation’s officer from the Royal Garden Resort in Pattaya has been kidnapped! After being here for the past two years,
the effervescent 31 year old has been head-hunted by the Oriental Hotel in Bangkok to join their Japanese guest relations team in the capital.
Kyoko, originally from Narita in Japan, said that this was something she had never expected, but she also realised that this was an opportunity that she
could not pass up, despite feeling very sad at leaving the Royal Garden Resort.
These sentiments were echoed by the Khun Somsak, her general manager, and by Bjorn Richardson, her resident manager, who fully understood her situation and
were quite proud that one of the Pattaya staff had been selected for the high profile Oriental Hotel.
Copyright 2000 Pattaya Mail Publishing Co.Ltd.
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Tel.66-38 411 240-1, 413 240-1, Fax:66-38 427 596; e-mail: email@example.com
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