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Successfully Yours

The Pattaya Inquisition

Marina Nointara

It comes as no surprise to find Marina (May) Nointara is a gifted teacher, as she is the daughter of two teachers. But what is a surprise is that such a charming, beautiful and young looking woman is such a successful businesswoman with many years experience.

May was born in Nan in a family of six children. May’s abilities were obvious right from the start when she excelled in school, being one of three children to win a scholarship for further education.

However, early family life was not easy, as their father died unexpectedly when May was eleven. “My mother raised six children by herself; she never remarried. She taught us how to stand on our own feet; she showed us how to be independent.”

May studied teachers training and then earned her Bachelor of Education at Chiang Mai University. She graduated from University in 1976 at the time of the revolution and chose to contribute by volunteer teaching for two years. “Everywhere there was talk of fighting and I wanted to go away and teach upcountry. I didn’t want a salary; anyway at that time a teacher’s salary was 850 baht a month. I taught the Mon people for two years in a tiny village 20 k north of Nan.” After two years her mother pleaded with her that she had done enough and persuaded her to return.

May then spent the next nineteen years on and off in Bangkok, seven of those years teaching mathematics, English and computer science in various schools and technical colleges.

During that time, May married, but divorced three years later, and has a son who is seventeen year old and the love of her life. (Her second passion is computers.)

She then tried out several different careers, as a secretary, a marketing manager and even a boutique owner. Why the career change? “My friends, everyone said money was the issue; you can’t get rich teaching so I just went with the flow. I don’t regret the experience, you learn a lot of things, but it gives you pain working like that. It is not honest, you can’t be yourself when you are trying to sell things. The best job is teaching, you can’t lie.”

May came to Pattaya in 1996 as principal of the Laem Chabang Technical College, a position she didn’t particularly enjoy, and in 1999 it was time to do something for herself and she opened her own business college in Jomtien, called “Inter Network” where she teaches Thai and English, computer courses and Internet services.

I was first introduced to May when I took a Thai conversation course and I was not disappointed. May certainly knows how to teach effectively (in spite of resistant students like me) and makes learning fun. I have come to the conclusion that good teachers are definitely born - not made.

May’s principle of gaining experience is reflected in her advice to school leavers, “Don’t keep to the one idea that now I will get a job and make money, then I will have a family. Life is not like that, you need to have as much experience as you can. Change jobs every six months if necessary. You have to be able to see the wider picture. The more you know yourself and understand, the better and happier you will be.”

May values heath as the most important attribute and when she is not working, her main interest is working out. “I used to exercise a lot, I really went crazy. I would be on the front line of the aerobic classes every time. Now I can’t exercise so much because I am working but I try to ride my bicycle for an hour every morning. Health and fitness is most important to me.”

Success to May is, “Certainly not fame. When you are famous you lose your freedom. I guess it is to be happy every day. That’s is what I want to teach my son, be honest and not selfish, and caring and loving and work hard at the right time. What I mean is that you must have something that is fulfilling and be happy every day and balance that with studying hard and enjoying with friends too.”

May believes that it is a mistake to plan too far into the future, as you may not be able to lead your own life. She would like to work less and write her own books and if she never had to work again she would just sit in front of a computer. “I really love them. If you don’t know computers you miss so much. Even if I didn’t have any arms I would find some way to create with computers. You can just learn so much just by searching the Net.”

Does her Internet cafe seem to be an odd mix with her language and business school? “Not at all,” says May. “I originally intended to just teach farangs Thai, but then I was shocked that so many older farangs did not know how to use the Internet. Sometimes we need ten to twelve computers here to teach Thai and farangs computer use, so when we are not busy it is a natural flow on to have an Internet facility. Anyway, it keeps the staff busy,” she said with a laugh. May really does love her computers, even to the extent of designing web pages (you can check hers out at

Her mother’s advice has been the blueprint for success for this happy, creative and independent lady.

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The Pattaya Inquisition

by the Pattaya Interrogator

Mike Franklin

A bit about me: Born London, 1935, educated public school and failed exams miserably. Enjoyed National Service, RAMC in Egypt. Gave up college to go into commerce and notched up forty odd years in Sales and Marketing. Best move was into Ad Agencies mid sixties starting with Masius Wynne-Williams, then J. Walter Thompson and McCann-Erickson early seventies. First Board appointment 1973 at McCanns. Own agency 1981, subsequently bought by Saatchi & Saatchi in 1986. Quit their Board 1988 to semi-retire into consultancy, and run the major Charity Pro-Am on the PGA European tour for former client, Tesco UK. Most exciting (and demanding) career clients: Tesco; Martini & Rossi; Guinness; Carreras Rothmans; and most of the others! They say that things go in cycles, and that has certainly happened here.

PI: How are you and the world getting along?

MF: Which world? I moved out of the real world seven years ago, but we do okay!

PI: How long have you known Pattaya?

MF: Have been here seven years – have started to really know it about two years ago.

PI: Where is your spiritual home?

MF: Should be the Wat in Ampur Khong near Banjobs’ family home; actually it’s in my office at Chainmai Villa

PI: What CD are you most proud of in your collection?

MF: September of My Years – Frank Sinatra

PI: How are you at cooking for yourself?

MF: Terrific – all down to Preparation, doing it, presentation accompanied by a bottle of wine and a Negroni to start it all off.

PI: Are you happy in your career?

MF: Yes. Retirement is a joke, and a short cut to old age and the bottle. What I do I enjoy, but making sure that the family is part of it.

PI: If you had to take over somebody else’s life, who would you pick?

MF: Tiger Woods or the Mayor of Pattaya.

PI: What are you like in the bathroom?

MF: Quiet and usually alone.

PI: What is it about you that is the most controversial?

MF: I am an Arian and an impulsive decision maker.

PI: When was the last time you cried at a movie?

MF: Kramer vs. Kramer - It was a family breakup film with Dustin Hoffman (an ad executive looking after the young son, with difficulty) and Meryl Streep. Very sad. I don’t know about crying, but it made me cringe.

PI: If you could have a dinner party with 4 people from the present or the past who would you invite?

MF: Payne Stewart, Jacqueline Bisset, Cleo Laine and Harold MacMillan

PI: Where are you coming from & where are you going?

MF: Sixty-six years on record is where I’ve come from. Intend to go as far on as possible and at least long enough to see my three year old daughter, Samm, grow into a young woman.

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