Bhichai and Khunying Charoye are showered with love and affection
President Elect: H.E.
So screamed the headlines of the Pattaya Mail in December 2000. They came
from near and far - from all over the Kingdom, in fact - to pay homage to
HE Bhichai Rattakul who was confirmed as Thailand’s first-ever President
of Rotary International. He will serve from July 1, 2002 until June 30,
2003. The then RI President-elect addressed the group, saying that he was
“excited and thrilled” to see so many Rotarians from all around the
Kingdom attending the evening, to support the ideals and aims of Rotary
International and to honour Rotary Thailand’s Royal Patron, HM the King.
than be overwhelmed by the problems in our world, Rotarians are rising to
the challenge, with a renewed sense of our mission. We have realized that
there is a new urgency to our calling as Rotarians. As the voices of the
intolerant grow louder, we will answer them - but not by shouting back in
anger. Our answer will be in our actions.”
Khun Bhichai had once again taken upon himself another
major responsibility and there was no doubt in our minds that he, like
everything else that he had ever done in the service of Rotary, through
this undertaking would yet again bring honour and respect not only to Thai
Rotarians, but to all the people of this noble country. Not that this was
going to be a glamorous posting, rather the job was going to call for a
very tough and tiring year of leading one of the world’s greatest
service organizations, encompassing more than 1.2 million members in over
31,000 clubs in 166 countries.
surrounded by children of the Wat Pong School who performed some beautiful
dances to welcome him and Khunying Charoye. PP Erika Keller (2nd right)
and many teachers helped to organize the show.
It is with regret though that the late PDG Nelson
Alexander was not with us to enjoy the triumphant moment. For years,
Nelson fought hard, trying to convince the powers that be at Rotary
International, that we yearned for Khun Bhichai to serve as the very first
Thai President of Rotary International. Bhichai’s love and appreciation
for Nelson’s dedication and dream never dwindled, for on a warm sunny
day before flying off to Chicago Bhichai Rattakul and his entourage of
close aides visited the final resting place of PDG Nelson Alexander.
Bhichai Rattakul prays over PDG Nelson’s final resting place joined by
PDG Xanxai Visitkul, PDG Wanchai Ekbandit and PP Pratheep Malhotra.
In the peaceful and serene cemetery at St. Nikolaus
Church, a gentle breeze blew as Khun Bhichai laid a bouquet of flowers at
his graveside. He had come to visit and bring good tidings to Nelson, his
fellow Rotarian, close friend and confidante that it had finally come to
pass. He was now the first Thai national to be elected as the President of
president Bhichai and a senior Rotarian listen attentively to the lectures
during the daytime seminar.
PDG Nelson had been one of the staunchest campaigners
for a Thai to be elected Rotary International President. But it could not
just be anybody. It had to be his elder brother and mentor, ‘Phi’
Bhichai. He had worked tirelessly and fought endlessly with the
bureaucracy in trying to make this happen. His work was not in vain and
his dream had come true after all.
District Governor Noraseth Pathamanand, considered the professor of Rotary
in Thailand, gives a talk on “Increase of memberships and Expansion of
We are sure he was there at the historic moment when
Bhichai Rattakul received the deciding vote. Nelson will now rest more
peacefully knowing that his unfinished chore is done. Though it was just
one small job in the myriad of service that he could still have been
doing, had he not left us so early, this one is done. All the seeds that
Nelson sowed for the great cause of Rotary will by and by bear fruit and
bring greater benefits to all mankind.
governors past and present take in all the knowledge of Rotary they can
Bhichai reminisced about Nelson and said that the RI
theme for the year 2002-03 would be based on all the advice that PDG
Nelson had been giving him throughout the years.
Som Indra-payoong lights up the auspicious Bai See Soo Kwan ornament.
And so it came to pass. President Bhichai Rattakul’s
theme came to be, Sow the Seeds of Love. “Yes, my friends let us
go forth then, let us go forth to Sow the Seeds of Love. For to Sow the
Seeds of Love is to find opportunities to serve every day, every moment of
our lives. To Sow the Seeds of Love is to think of others first, and
ourselves in terms of what we can do for others.”
Sawalak Rattavanich governor of district 3350 has a light moment with Khun
Bhichai before tying the holy thread around his wrist.
Thus began another great mission in the already
action-packed life of H.E. Bhichai Rattakul, Scholar, Gentleman, Loving
Husband and Father, Diplomat, Politician, Poet, Philosopher, Teacher…
but best of all a Great Humanitarian and a Rotarian.
Noraseth Pathamanan pay their respects to Khun Bhichai.
In the year as RI President, Bhichai travelled to
almost every corner of the globe.
While on a visit to Bangladesh in August 2002, RI
President Bhichai Rattakul met with Acting President Muhammad Jamiruddin
Sircar with whom he discussed Rotary’s humanitarian activities.
President Rattakul described the Rotary supported Concentrated Language
Encounter literacy project as one of the organization’s most successful
programs in the country, as an effort aimed at improving the quality of
life for distressed people. “By supporting the education of young boys
and girls from disadvantaged families, we help to lay the basis for
development,” said President Rattakul. “I appreciate the Bangladesh
government’s partnership with Rotary in the delivery of humanitarian
services to those who need them most.”
Premprecha Dibbayawan pay their respects to Khun Bhichai.
Conflicts on and near Turkey’s borders lent urgency
to a Quest for Peace Conference held in Izmir, last October, at which RI
President Bhichai Rattakul and other Rotary leaders, prominent
politicians, and others explored possibilities for peace. Reminding the
audience of Rotary founder Paul Harris’s remark, “The way to war is a
well-paved highway and the way to peace is still a wilderness,”
President Bhichai Rattakul urged Rotarians in attendance to build a better
world, from the grassroots up, through “the vital work that supports
peace – work in health care, vocational training, conflict resolution,
hunger alleviation.” He singled out the Rotary Centers for International
Studies in peace and conflict resolution as an outstanding example of
Rotary service nurturing international goodwill.
President Peter Thorand of the Rotary Club of Taksin Pattaya bids Khun
Bhichai a warm welcome.
RI President Bhichai Rattakul met with Pope John Paul
II on October16. In his audiences with the Pope, President Rattakul
explained that each year Rotary spends some US $105 million to support
humanitarian activities across the world. He also pointed out that the
organization has committed US $493 million toward the efforts of the
Global Polio Eradication Initiative to help immunize almost two billion
children in the world against the poliovirus. “This is a major financial
commitment which demonstrates Rotary’s desire to improve the quality of
life in its own community and the international community,” Bhichai
President Peter Malhotra of the Rotary Club of Jomtien-Pattaya humbly ties
the holy thread on the wrist of Khunying Charoye.
In his opening address at the presidential conference
in Panama City, Panama, held in March, President Bhichai Rattakul called
the Panama Canal “an engineering marvel that is a testament to the
awesome power of international cooperation and humanity’s determination
to find a way past the barriers that separate us. It seems most fitting
that we have gathered at this international crossroads to discuss how we
might navigate the barriers of culture, language, and geography so that we
can help our troubled world,” he said.
Bhichai and Khunying Charoye had a wonderful time at the fellowship.
Meanwhile, Rotary International and the International
Reading Association, a leading literacy organization, are joining hands in
their efforts to develop community service projects to promote literacy
worldwide. RI President Bhichai Rattakul said, “By joining forces, the
two organizations will be able to maximize resources in their worldwide
literacy programs. Members of the two organizations will begin their
cooperation by sharing information and resources and formal agreements
will follow if members from both sides work smoothly and successfully
together … At present, an estimated 900 million people - about a quarter
of the world’s population - cannot read or write in any language. Many
adults in both the developed and developing world lack the skills they
need to hold down a job or perform basic tasks required by everyday
life,” said President Rattakul, while explaining the rationale of the
Bhichai donates funds towards the alleviation of the suffering of those
affected by floods in Chantaburi last month.
In August this year RI President Bhichai was at the
Presidential Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which provided an
opportunity for Rotarians in Asia and the Pacific Region to promote
international peace and development, exchange ideas on topics of regional
importance, and establish project partnerships. “I believe it is
organizations like Rotary that make the greatest contribution to world
peace. It is Rotary service that relieves human want and suffering,”
said RI President Bhichai Rattakul. The RI president also said that the
conference’s enormous turnout was a testament to Rotarians’ commitment
to the cause of peace. “We have created together a new sense of
purpose,” he said. “We are committed to playing a more active role in
preventing conflicts around the world.”
Bhichai is just as thrilled as these two lovely Rotarians during the Bai
See Soo Kwan ritual.
In April at the annual conference of Rotary
International in Great Britain and Ireland (RIBI), Prince Charles, who is
an honorary Rotarian, noted that while nobody needs reminding that water
is essential for life, affluent societies easily forget that in much of
the world many people do not have access to a safe, clean, and reliable
water supply. “[For] many communities across the developing world, the
provision of clean water is the first and most essential step out of a
life of poverty,” he said. “On behalf of WaterAid and all the
beneficiaries in Tanzania I would like to thank Rotarians most warmly and
with heartfelt enthusiasm for their dedication and support, and for
working together in partnership with WaterAid.”
Bhichai is just as thrilled as these two lovely Rotarians during the Bai
See Soo Kwan ritual.
RI President Bhichai Rattakul, who also attended the
conference, praised Rotarians in Britain and Ireland for fulfilling Paul
Harris’s vision through their support for community and vocational
service projects. “We know that peace means much more than the absence
of armed conflict. Peace means freedom from fear - not just the fear that
comes from violence but the fear that comes from poverty and not having
food, water, shelter, education, and healthcare,” he said. “I have
spent the hours of my life in a variety of roles, including as a
politician. And I can say with total conviction that I believe it is
organizations like Rotary that make the greatest contribution to world
peace. As our world struggles to find peaceful solutions to global
tensions, Rotary service nurtures international goodwill. Rotary service
relieves human want and suffering. Rotary service answers hate with love,
fear with hope, and distrust with cooperation.”
Khun Bhichai is unstoppable. There were numerous other
tasks that he performed, but we couldn’t possibly fit them all here. The
presidential term comes to an end and it’s time to go home. A battle has
been won, but the war against poverty, injustices and suffering is far
from over. The campaign is left to the new RI President, Jonathan
Majiyagbe, to carry on the work. President Jonathan outlined his four
points of emphasis for the year – poverty alleviation, health concerns,
literacy and education, and promoting the family of Rotary. “Our clubs
are where we find the core of our Rotary family,” he said. “I ask
every club to form a Family of Rotary Committee to find more ways to
create and nurture that atmosphere of warmth and caring.” Bhichai
Rattakul continued to build on this theme. “I have been a Rotarian now
for 45 years,” he said, “and I know that no one experiences the true
magic of Rotary without personal involvement in service – without
lending a hand. It is this person-to-person contact that Sows the Seeds of
Love - that makes our world a better place.” He urged Rotarians to
continue their work for peace and tolerance, especially in an uncertain
economic and political environment.
Now that Khun Bhichai has completed his tenure as R.I.
President, this remarkable Rotarian has come home after serving Rotary
with the utmost of dedication and sacrifice. This great feat has earned
him the highest merit and respect not only from Rotarians in Thailand but
also from every citizen of this country. He is after all the very First
Thai to have ever undertaken this distinguished and challenging
assignment, yet accomplishing his mission with the highest distinction.
Over 400 Rotarians from District 3340 gathered at the
Ambassador City Jomtien last week to welcome home our hero Bhichai and his
devoted wife Khunying Charoye. Khun Bhichai talked about his experiences
as RI president, saying, “I enjoyed going around the world to see first
hand what Rotarians could do to help the less fortunate, but I really
missed home very much.”
Rotarians performed the Bai See Soo Kwan
ceremonies, as if to say, “It’s all right. You are home with us now
and have nothing to fear.” We wonder what can this man of immeasurable
strength have to fear. Fear of fear itself, or is it the fear that we just
can’t do Rotary’s work fast enough, or are able to encompass all those
who really need our attention. But we will continue to do the best we can.
‘Lend a Hand’.
by Pratheep ‘Peter’ Malhotra Past President,
Rotary Club of Jomtien-Pattaya, Excerpts courtesy of Rotary International
Miss Terry Diner
As a fitting finale for the last Chaine des Rotisseurs
dinner to be held at the ‘old’ Bruno’s venue, owner Fredi Schaub
invited his friends Chef Gianni (Gianni Ristorante) and his Sommelier
Massimo from Bangkok, to join him to prepare a culinary “Journey through
Italy”. For the members of the fine dining organization’s local chapter,
it was to be a memorable evening.
Pascal Schnyder and Hans Banziger discussing the finer points of the
culinary Italian tour with Hugh Millar and Louis Noll.
With the Bailli, Louis Noll the ebullient presiding, and
the Charge de Mission, Hugh Millar giving his usual witty descriptions, the
evening began with much expectancy. For Fredi and friends, there would have
been a certain air of anxiousness too, as many of the members of the Chaine
des Rotisseurs are the epicureans of the food industry, with chefs such as
Pascal Schnyder (Casa Pascal), Hans Banziger (Paradise Restaurant) and Chris
Kridakorn-Odbratt (Royal Thai School of Culinary Arts in Bang Saen) amongst
the awaiting diners. Wines too would be under the scrutiny of people such as
Ranjith Chandrasiri, the captain of the Royal Cliff Wine Club and the
driving force leading to the recent Wine Spectator Award of Excellence
awarded to the Royal Cliff’s Grill Room.
and Massimo of Gianni’s Restaurant in Bangkok, Louis Noll, Fredi Schaub
and Hugh Millar presented the certificates of appreciation at the end of the
After the Amuse Bouche to refresh any jaded palates, the
evening began with a tartar of veal, marinated in virgin olive oil (from
exceptionally ugly olives) and lemon with a bouquet of summer leaves,
complemented by the wine, an Antinori 2001 Chardonnay made from 100%
Chardonnay grapes and coming from Castello della Sala in the northwestern
corner of Umbria’s border with Tuscany, more famous for the wines of
Miow and Lat bring beauty and charm to the Chaine dinner
Amongst other courses, as part of the Italian evening,
was a saltimbocca of prawn and scallops. Charge de Mission Hugh Millar
explained that saltimbocca means basically bite sized. The prawns and
scallops were wrapped in Italian bacon, seared in a pan, and then baked in
the oven, then served with layers of potato chips, white beans, sun dried
tomatoes and a light herb sauce.
Peter, Otto, Chris, Elfi, Steve and Hans live it up at Bruno’s.
The wine that was chosen for this was a Corvo Bianco 2001
from west central Sicily and made from the Cataratto and Grecanico grapes.
Hugh described it as rich, fragrant and elegantly fruity, harmonic, joyful
and vivacious, but had the good grace to admit that it sounded like a
And so the Chaine continued on its culinary excursion
through Italy and through a timbale of pasta with a ragout of duck and black
taggia Olives with an Avignonesi 1999 Rosso di Toscana wine, followed by the
signature cuisine for all Chaine des Rotisseurs dinners - the roast, in this
case, a roasted tenderloin of beef Rossini with an Italian Cabernet
Sauvignon, a Tenuta Caparzo 1994 ‘Ca del Pazzo Brunello di Montalcino from
Gianni’s private collection (and can you get any more Italian than that)!
After seven courses and seven wines, there was no one who
was left hungry, and there was no one who had not learned something from the
Italian sojourn. Appreciation was expressed to not only chefs Fredi and
Gianni and the roving sommelier Massimo, but also to the kitchen brigade at
Bruno’s and Nattapong, the head chef, accepted certificates on behalf of
the hard working chefs behind the scenes in the kitchen, while Veerapong
accepted the certificates on behalf of the exemplary service staff.
While this was the last official dinner at the ‘old’
Bruno’s Restaurant in north Pattaya, the Chaine des Rotisseurs is eagerly
awaiting the opening of the ‘new’ Bruno’s in Jomtien in November, and
no doubt will be arranging another culinary evening at the new venue. In the
meantime, the ‘foodies’ of Pattaya will continue to enjoy Bruno’s, and
all it stands for, at the current address.
The next Chaine des Rotisseurs dinner will be held at the
Little Hill Restaurant on October 26. Hans and Dickie Frei, who have been
stalwarts in the Pattaya food circles, will no doubt have many surprises for
the members of the Chaine. Further details can be obtained from the Bailli,
Louis Noll at the Mata Hari Restaurant.