HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]: 

Thank you Mother Earth and Mother Rice

Aussies host business people with fun and sundowners

Hundreds turn up to sing “Happy Birthday” to Chanyuth Hengtrakul

Siam Winery, pok dum and poo jaa

Thank you Mother Earth and Mother Rice

8th Naklua Rice-harvest

Suchada Tupchai

Residents of Naklua district held their 8th annual rice-harvest festival at Naklua Public Park towards the end of last month. Many tourists and residents attended the event.

The festival has taken place in Chonburi for many generations. It aims to apologize to Mother Earth and Mother Rice in order to bring good luck and prosperity to agriculturists. It also helps establish good relations within the community.

In the past, the festival was usually held at the old Naklua cemetery, but it changed venues several times until, recently, it has been set at the Bodhi Tree court in Naklua Public Park.

The festival this year was different from previous years as many new activities were arranged - including slingshot competitions, a marine boxing contest and a wood pole climbing race. In the afternoon, there were also traditional Thai games and activities for children.

At 6 p.m. the rice-harvest ceremony started with a local-belief parade, imitating the images of three worlds - Heaven, Earth, and the Underworld.

At the close, participants gathered to have dinner together, reflecting the unity of the community.

Niran Wattanasartsathorn, the mayor elect, tests his aim during the slingshot competition.

 Eager children wait for the wild ghosts and angels to appear.

Shimmy up the pole and grab the prize.

A pair of youngsters take part in the marine boxing contest, a “striking” symbol of Naklua.

Having dinner together reflected community unity.

It appears the whisky may have tasted better than the food.

I want to be a ghost when I grow up.

Wild ghosts in the rice-harvest festival wait to receive food from the people.

Young wild ghosts ham it up for the crowd.

Aussies host business people with fun and sundowners

by Brendan Richards
Photos by Tony Malhotra

The Australian Chamber of Commerce Thailand finally held its Seaboard Sundowners Networking evening last Friday. The event had been previously postponed due to a clash of dates with the British Chamber’s (Thailand) gathering and the Pattaya municipal election.

Sponsors and AustCham committee members, Urs ‘Mee’ Mosimann (front left), executive assistant manager, Hard Rock Hotel, Rod Skinner (front centre left), Transcraft Boats, and Roland Nicolich (centre right), F & B director, Hard Rock Hotel flanked by two lovely ladies accompanying Rod. Back Row (l-r) Rob Bridge, AustCham executive director, Gary Woollacott, AustCham committee member for communications, Julianne Rogers, AustCham Programme, Functions and Associations, Andrew Heycott, AustCham Industry Focus Groups and Ian Davey, Australian Embassy trade consul.

Local and Bangkok-based business people gathered at the Sky Bar above the Hard Rock Cafe for the evening that was sponsored by Transit Maintenance, aka Transcraft Boats, headed by Rod Skinner, and the Hard Rock Hotel.

For the thirsty, there was plenty of good Aussie wine and beer and a vast array of food laid on by the Hard Rock team.

An all-Aussie affair (L to R) John Richards, Premier Land & Development, Ian Davey, Australian Embassy trade consul and Peter Cummins, yachtsman extraordinaire and special correspondent for the Pattaya Mail.

Rob Bridge, Australian Chamber of Commerce Thailand (AustCham) executive director, headed the chamber team, with the lovely Chanakarn Peeratantikun, Austcham office manager, greeting everyone as they joined the event.

(L to R) Julianne Rogers and Pat Dickson enjoying the night at the Hard Rock’s Sky Bar.

Among the notable present was Julianne Roger, Thailand manager for Qantas and British Airways. Julianne revealed that the number of passengers flying into Thailand was up. The downside, though, is that the Airports Authority of Thailand has increased landing fees for major airlines.

PC used his microphone time well, telling everyone about the upcoming PC Classic.

Ian Davey, Australian embassy trade consul, was relaxed, wisely ditching his suit. He said the discussions for Australia’s Free Trade Agreement with Thailand were progressing well and could very well come into effect by January next year.

Rob Bridge welcomed a mixed crowd to the networking night, promising more events on the Eastern Seaboard throughout the year. He also thanked the sponsors for their support.

One of the first vessels off the Transcraft Boats production line. This 3-meter dinghy was built locally by Rod and his team.

Rod Skinner said since the start of the new venture a great deal of interest had been shown by the boating community and that business was promising. He proudly pointed out one the first products to roll off the production line, floating the hotel’s huge swimming pool.

Hotel heavies Roland Nicolich, F & B director and Urs “Mee” Mosimann, executive assistant manager, entertained the guests and kept a close watch on operations through the night.

(L to R) Julianne Rogers, Thailand manager for Qantas and British Airways, Rob Bridge, AustCham executive director and Gary Woollacott, Kapient Recruitment CEO taking a break before attempting to resolve audio visual difficulties for a presentation.

The crowd of regulars were in attendance - Ian and Pat Dickson, Pat Gosset. Even PC (Peter Cummins) was promoting the upcoming regatta, and the Lambrino crew from Kirwan Industries was floating about.

It was a great social-business event put on by the Aussies, with more promised through the year. The next one will be held at the Marriott Resort & Spa in June.

Hundreds turn up to sing “Happy Birthday” to Chanyuth Hengtrakul

Suchada Tupchai

Chanyuth Hengtrakul, adviser to the minister of tourism and sport and managing director of Sophon Cable TV Co Ltd held his 51st birthday party at his North Pattaya home on April 26.

Chanyuth and Wilawan gather around the Birthday cakes with their relatives.

Many people from all walks of life attended the party. The atmosphere was relaxed, with various kinds of food provided for the guests. Moreover, a fabulous show by “Sansern Normaitong” and his dancers impressed everyone.

vice-president of Chonburi Provincial Administrative Organization, wishes Chanyuth and Wilawan well.

During the party, the guests arrived and presented gifts and bouquets of flowers to the host and his wife, Wilawan.

The toasting ceremony started at 9 p.m. Many guests of honor took turns wishing a happy birthday to Chanyuth, including Rewat Pollukin, Chonburi Provincial Administrative Organization vice-president, and Farook Wongborisut, representative of the Pattaya Muslim Club.

Rattanachai Suthidechanai presents an emerald Buddha image to Chanyuth on behalf of Santsak Ngamphiches.

All of them mentioned the birthday man’s integrity and the devotion he has always had for the community, and wished him good luck in becoming an M.P.

Two cakes were provided, one was his birthday cake and the other was a surprise for his mother and father-in-law, Bundit and Sermthong Pornkijprasarn, who also celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary.

The climate was full with family warmth and love.

Farook Wongborisut (2nd from left), representative of the Pattaya Muslim Club, presents a bouquet of flowers to Chanyuth.

Pratheep Malhotra, managing director of Pattaya Mail Publishing Co Ltd gives a present to Chanyuth.

Thanet Supornsaharungsi, president of the Pattaya Business and Tourism Association, presents a gift to Chanyuth.

Premrudee Jittiwuttikarn, King Seafood restaurateur, with Chanyuth and his wife, Wilawan.

Sophon Cable TV’s staff presents a bouquet of flowers to say happy birthday to their big boss.

Guests of honor take a moment from the fun to pose with the birthday guy.

Siam Winery, pok dum and poo jaa

By Miss Terry Diner

An invitation to lunch came from the effervescent young Kim Wachtveitl from Siam Winery, home to the Monsoon Valley wine label. “Can you recommend a good Thai restaurant in Pattaya, because I have some wines I would like you to try which go with Thai food,” he asked. I replied that we should perhaps look at the Larn Thong Terrace at the Royal Cliff Beach Resort, or if not there, the noodle cart at the end of my street did a reasonable kwiteo nam moo daeng. Fortunately the ‘Cliff’ won out and we arranged to meet there!

There was a method to all this, as I knew the high standard of the food from Larn Thong would not disappoint, and I also knew that the captain of the Royal Cliff Wine Club, Ranjith Chandrasiri, could be prevailed upon to join in this wine tasting. It always is comforting to have someone with me of the stature of Ranjith Chandrasiri, an accredited wine judge, whilst I freely admit that I am just someone who knows what I like! I have many friends in the same situation!

The important reviewing factor with these Monsoon Valley wines was that they had to be judged relative to the Thai food we were about to eat. Kim Wachtveitl explained that there was a difference between drinking wine, for the wine’s sake, and drinking wine to go with certain foods, to heighten the enjoyment of the food, and the wine. Both Ranjith and myself were au fait with the concept, and we began with spicy eggplant salad (yam makeua yao), deep-fried crabmeat in the crab shell (poo jaa) and a most interesting dried shrimps and herbs on kale leaf, topped with molasses dressing (meang kana), and thank you again, Kim, for showing me how to put this one together!

The wine chosen to go with these was the Monsoon Valley Malaga Blanc. The first impression was the lack of colour in the glass, this is not a heavily wooded wine or one left to age in wood casks. The second impression was the very aromatic nose. Lots of it. The third impression was that this wine did indeed go well with our first courses, for me the poo jaa being exceptional and complemented by the Monsoon Valley Malaga Blanc.

The next courses included a stir-fried morning glory in oyster sauce (pad pakboong nam man hoy), deep-fried garoupa with saam rod sauce (pla kao tod krob saam rod) and red curry with roasted duck (kaeng ped ped yang). To go with these we had the Monsoon Valley Red and the Monsoon Valley Shiraz to try. The Monsoon Valley Red is made from the local pok dum grape (70 percent) and syrah (30 percent) and for me was the more suitable to go with the red curry duck in particular. In fact I kept returning to this combination of red curry and Monsoon Valley Red. Whilst the Shiraz seemed better to quaff, for my palate the Red seemed better suited to the spicy food.

Both the Malaga Blanc and the Red are available from better wine distributors, and the even better news is the price, with both under B. 400 a bottle. At those prices it is not a risky undertaking. I would suggest that you try combining Thai food and Thai wine next dinner party. It sort of makes sense!