Vol. X No. 48
Friday 29 November - 5 December 2002

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by Parisa Santithi



Successfully Yours: Rob Astbury

by Dr. Iain Corness

Rob Astbury is one of the directors of Pattaya Properties, a company which is involved in property development and sales in Pattaya, but not time-share, he was quick to point out. He is a man who has a very successful record in real estate, but he is also a man who has experienced the depths of despair. A despair so deep the average person would not have been able to crawl out of it, but Rob Astbury has used those lows to not only develop himself, but to be of benefit to others.

Rob is an Australian, born in a small country town in the state of Victoria. The youngest of five boys, he was a typical Aussie schoolboy in many ways, mad about football (Aussie Rules) and developed into an athletic champion. This was not because Rob was a natural athlete, in fact in his initial athletic foray he had come last and been the butt of schoolboy jokes, but because he then trained harder than anyone else, he succeeded. Even at that stage in his life he had discovered the principle of cause and effect. “I didn’t think I was as good as the others so I worked harder at it and prepared myself.”

He loved music and used to listen to the DJ’s on radio. Following secondary school, he enrolled in Radio School in Melbourne and after 8 months got his first job in a country radio station as an announcer. From there, it was the round of radio stations, working his way steadily up the ladder.

His next career development was accidental. While doing traffic reports from a helicopter they were forced to make an emergency landing, which they did on Australian TV Channel 10’s helipad. He was met by an old friend who said the TV station was looking for a sports newsreader. In one accidental meeting he joined the glittering world of TV.

He stayed with Channel 10 for five years, becoming the number 1 sports presenter in Australia at that time. He was then offered the largest contract for a sporting media personality in the history of Australia to join Channel 9. He accepted and worked there for another five years.

His next significant life movement was again accidental. While covering a sporting event in Western Australia he was injured in a traffic accident when a car being pursued by the police rammed the stationary taxi he was in. He suffered severe neck and back injuries, requiring prescription analgesics very regularly. This in turn led to a dependence on them, which was then followed by drug abuse. His career and his health hit a very low ebb.

There was a very expensive and very public court case over the accident. His problem with drugs became common knowledge and he became unemployable by the media. The results of his claim should have been enough to tide him over, but his solicitors were dismayed when the final judgement was not in Rob’s favour. Suddenly, the former media star was left holding a bill for $3 million for legal expenses. A fire sale of everything that he had gained in the super-star years was necessary, and when everything was sold he still owed $300,000 to his solicitors.

His family, other than his mother, disowned him. Nobody would give him a job. He actively contemplated suicide; however, his mother who had stood beside him, was a woman with tenacity, grit, faith and a very good woman. Rob thought, how could he let this woman down? He decided to plug on.

I asked him how did he feel about his rejection by some of the members of his own family. Did he harbour resentment? His answer was an immediate, “No animosity. People are people.”

He moved to another part of Australia, put the glamour days behind him and began work in a real estate office. The knowledge that hard work could help him overcome obstacles was to be his saviour. He beat the drug addiction on his own and became a public campaigner to motivate others who were experiencing this problem, and he also rose to become one of the top ten salesmen in the 560 office company within two years.

But that was not enough for Rob Astbury. The boy who won athletic championships was now the man who kept working harder than anyone else to become Marketer of the Year and finally Salesman of the Year. He paid off all his debts. He was his own man again.

Around this time he made acquaintance with an old school friend who was running an advertising agency in Bangkok and Rob visited the Kingdom. “I was blown away by Bangkok. I made Thai friends. I began to see more of the country.” Then three years ago he was given accommodation in Pattaya and on his first morning downtown went into the offices of Pattaya Properties. He was offered the position of international financial property consultant. “I though about it for about ten seconds, and took it!”

Rob’s definition of success is: “Where you reach a standard or a point where you don’t think you can do any better.” For a man who has won many awards, this is probably very true for Rob Astbury.

He now feels that he is no longer under pressure, as he was in Australia, and can relax and enjoy some other interests and hobbies. He has a house and garden he enjoys. He has a long term plan to try and do something constructive about the road toll in this country, and has become an active worker for the less fortunate through the Pattaya Gay Festival and support for the Heartt 2000 charity.

His advice to the youth was a simple, “Follow your heart. Don’t ask too many questions of people. Just do it. There are too many devil’s advocates out there trying to stop you.”

Rob Astbury is certainly someone who has followed that advice.

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