HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]: 

His Majesty the King receives World Scout’s highest award

HM the King of Sweden bestows honours to praiseworthy men and women in the World Scout Movement

BCCT goes ‘arty’

New Lions Presidents ‘roaring’ to start serving the community

Second CARAT phase underway in Thailand

AmCham mixes it up at Shenanigans

From Russia, with Opera

His Majesty the King receives World Scout’s highest award

Suchada Tupchai
His Majesty Carl XVI Gustav, King of Sweden in his capacity as Honorary President of the World Scout Foundation presented His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great with the World Scout Organization’s highest award for his support and development of Scouting in Thailand.

The Bronze Wolf, the World Scout Movement’s highest award.
The presentation took place at Chitralada Palace where the Swedish monarch presented the Bronze Wolf award honouring His Majesty’s involvement as the head of Scouting in Thailand.
His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej is the Chief Scout and under his patronage, scouting has flourished in Thailand. Many programs continue to be developed to fulfill the needs of Thai young people and Thailand.
His Majesty is a role model to Thai Scouts and their fostering of relationships and preserving the philosophy with other Scouting nations in the Asia Pacific region and on a global scale. His involvement in the international committee, through royal envoys, has provided a great deal of wisdom and advice, which led to the 20th World Scout Jamboree being held in Thailand in 2003.
The Bronze Wolf is inscribed with the Scout emblem and is presented only to those persons in recognition of their outstanding service and who have made significant contributions and great achievements in supporting the World Scout Movement.
Herman C S Hui, Chairman of the World Scout Committee, H.E. Jonas Hafstrom the Swedish Ambassador to Thailand, Colonel UIf Gunnehed and Thamnoon Wanglee, President of the World Scout Foundation (Thailand Chapter) were also present at the auspicious event to honour His Majesty the King of Thailand’s achievements.


HM the King of Sweden bestows honours to praiseworthy men and women in the World Scout Movement

Their Majesties join in a group photograph with new members of the Baden-Powell World Fellowship and the Honours Program.

On their arrival Their Majesties receive bouquets from little Cub Scouts.

Thamnoon Wanglee makes his welcome address.

By Pratheep Malhotra
During the visit of Their Majesties King Carl XVI Gustaf, and Queen Silvia of Sweden to Thailand early this month to attend the celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of HM Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great’s accession to the throne, they took time out from the busy celebration schedules to meet with local scouts and preside over Baden Powell Fellowship reception at the Oriental Hotel in Bangkok on June 13.
The Baden Powell Fellowship recognizes individuals for their financial contributions to the World Scout Foundation to help support scouting around the world. Receptions and other events are periodically held in different parts of the world to bring members together and to present insignia to new members amongst who ranks are prominent business, government and Scouting leaders who want to help bring better Scouting to more young people. Members of the Fellowship also include many husbands and wives, their children, and even their grandchildren.

Sutham Phanthusak gives his report of the Baden Powell Fellowship.
His Majesty the King of Sweden is the Honorary President of the World Scout Foundation usually bestows these prestigious recognitions personally by traveling to many countries in the world.
In his welcoming address, Mr. Thamnoon Wanglee, President of the World Scout Foundation (Thailand Chapter) wished HM the King of Sweden a Happy Birthday, which he celebrated recently and went on to also extend hearty felicitations on the occasion of the 30th wedding anniversary of the Swedish Royal Couple.
Sutham Phanthusak Vice President of the World Scout Foundation (Thailand Chapter) made his report to the King of Sweden saying, ‘With us today are men and women who have continuously dedicated themselves throughout the years towards the promoting of the noble cause and ideals of the Scout Movement and more especially their contributions to the World Scout Foundation.

Thamnoon Wanglee presents the donation for the World Scout Foundation Endowment Fund to HM King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden.
‘Thailand is proud to say that at present we count on our roll 57 members of the Baden Powell Fellowship with 4 of them in the Honours Programme.
‘The numbers are growing,’ said Mr. Sutham, ‘and I am very pleased to report to you that three leading scouts in our country and one from the U.S.A have shown their intention to join the ranks of the Baden Powell Fellowship and another three are to join the Circles of membership of the Honours Programme.’
The new members joining the ranks of the Baden-Powell World Fellowship were Mrs. Usa Monsereenusorn, Miss Somchit Sirisena, Mrs. Yubol Pumsathit and Douglas B. Peterson from the USA.
The three praiseworthy men and women who joined the circles of membership of the Honours Programme were Mrs. Ladda Visavapolboon, Mr. Sataporn Ratchatasup and Mrs.Vipapan Choosupya. The Honours Program recognizes those who have attained higher levels of financial support to the World Scout Foundation.
All the recipients have had long and illustrious careers in the education field and are involved in many service organisations in Thailand not to mention their dedication to the Scouting movement around the world whose objectives are to help more young people develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes that will enable them to be responsible, self-reliant citizens and tomorrow’s leaders.

His Majesty presents the Baden Powell Fellowship pin to Douglas B. Peterson.
Of note was new member Douglas B. Peterson from the U.S.A. ‘Pete’ Peterson served for 26 years in the United States Air Force. While on his 67th combat mission over North Vietnam in 1966, he was shot down, captured, and spent the next six and a half years as a prisoner of war. Upon retirement from military service he joined the faculty of Florida State University as the Director of a specialized psychological treatment program for juvenile offenders. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives where he served for 3 consecutive terms. He was then appointed by President Clinton as the first Ambassador to post-war Vietnam.
Mr. Peterson is also the President of The Alliance for Safe Children (TASC), a global child injury prevention foundation whose mission is to help reduce child death and disability due to preventable injury in developing countries.
The World scout Foundation also encourages Baden- Powell Fellows to become members of an exclusive group known as the Founder’s Heritage, a most inspirational partnership with young people throughout the world. They simply make a pledge to include a donation to the World Scout Foundation in their wills.
Furthermore donations can be made to the Queen Silvia Fund, an endowment which enables young handicapped people, all over the world, to benefit through Scouting. It was created as a lasting gift to commemorate the 50th birthday celebration of Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden.
These commitments ensure that the donors’ legacy will continue to work to help young people achieve self-fulfilment, through Scouting and help build a better world.
Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell founder of the Scout Movement said, ‘The real way to get happiness is by giving out happiness to other people. Try to leave this world a little better than you found it and when your turn comes to die, you can die happy in feeling that at any rate you have not wasted your time, but have done your best’.

Sutham Phanthusak Vice President of the World Scout Foundation (Thailand Chapter), Jan Olav Aamlid , Asst. International Commissioner, Mrs. Sumon Samasarn, member of the National Scout Executive Board, Dr. Valerie McKenzie and Pratheep Malhotra at the reception.

BCCT goes ‘arty’

Dr. Iain Corness
The British Chamber of Commerce Thailand (BCCT) held one of their very popular networking evenings last week, with even the organizers astounded at the numbers of members and friends who turned out that night at the Art Café, Soi 16 Pattaya-Naklua Road.

Ron Sinclair, Stuart Saunders and Freddy Karlsson enjoy a tipple, perhaps discussing the merits of flossing with a business card.
There had been a late change of venues, and local chapter head, Graham Macdonald of MBMG, thanked the Art Café personnel and its owner Jo Stetten for having risen to the occasion at short notice. They certainly had risen to the challenge, with a seemingly endless line of waiters dispensing amber fluid and wine, and an army of cooks keeping the buffet well supplied.
The beverages were sponsored by Thai Leighton, whose general manager for Thailand and Indonesia, Steve Quinn, gave a very short address, suggesting that libations loosened tongues, so the thirsty should get on with it and network to their heart’s content. Many of the members present were seen to smile openly at the invitation, and needed no second calling.
The British Chamber certainly managed to bring in far more than just the UK expatriates, with newcomer to Pattaya, Ross Burbidge, having arrived here from Australia via several years in Japan with Tokachi International, seen explaining the workings of the international rally team that he manages. Sponsors with serious money were invited to chat!
Other Aussies included Peter Sterling of Milan Crosse, recuperating from two heart attacks by drinking medicinal fluids, dispensed by the smiling Art Café service staff, and Stuart Saunders, the dental floss man, complete with his patented promotional “business card” dispensers of floss for fang farriers. In the Down-under group, it was also good to see Steve Fraser from NZ, on this occasion just on a holiday visit.
Of course there were the usual core of members both from Pattaya and Bangkok, including Brit Simon Templeman (e-web solutions) from ThaiSuperBikes, Frank Timmons from the US and the lovely Thai lady Gornragan Phankum from Moody International, the QA specialists.
The BCCT, Thai Leighton and the Art Café certainly put on one of the most well attended networking evenings this year. Well done!

(L to R) Paul Wilkinson, Gornragan Phankhun, John L. Hamilton, and Philip B. Lewis momentarily break off their conversation to smile for the camera.

(L to R) Steve Quinn, Som, Dr. Iain Corness and Graham Macdonald are obviously enjoying each other’s company.

New Lions Presidents ‘roaring’ to start serving the community

Suchada Tupchai
Four Lions Clubs in Pattaya held a joint installation night at the Town in Town Hotel on June 2, with new office bearers for their respective clubs assuming their positions as part of Lions International District 310C.

President Siriwan Somtua, Lions Club of Naklua-Pattaya and President Vice Admiral Songphol Yusaeng, Lions Club of Chonburi-Sattahip.
The Lions Clubs of Pattaya, Pratamnak-Pattaya, Naklua-Pattaya, Jomtien Pattaya, Chonburi-Sattahip and Sriracha joined the ceremonies.
Local dignitaries and Lions Club past and present district governors took part in the ceremonies as the new committee and presidents were installed and new members inducted.
Pakorn Phansema, Lions 310C district governor 2006-7 performed the installation ceremonies for the four clubs. The new presidents for 2006-7 are: Jaran Kanokganchana, Lions Club of Pattaya; Tassanee Khakhay, Lions Club of Pratamnak-Pattaya; Siriwan Somtua, Lions Club of Naklua-Pattaya; and Vice Admiral Songphol Yusaeng, Lions Club of Chonburi-Sattahip, all of whom duly assumed office for the coming year.

President Jaran Kanokganchana, Lions Club of Pattaya and President Tassanee Khakhay, Lions Club of Pratamnak-Pattaya.
Lions International has over 1.4 million members around the globe in 190 countries. Their motto, “We Serve”, stands proudly as a commitment to assisting the community and helping those in need. In Thailand this extends to 10 main projects, such as helping the blind and visually impaired, aiding the deaf and hearing impaired, promoting education, promoting community relations and social stability, preserving the environment, promoting health and hygiene, drug prevention, understanding international communities and promoting better relations across the globe and other free-style projects.

Lion Fueng Sithipreedanant (left) hands over the presidency of the Lions Club of Pattaya to Jaran Kanokganchana.

Pattaya Deputy mayor, Verawat Khakhay was guest of honour.

Lions carry out the traditional ritual of inducting the new members into their clubs.

Siriwan Somtua is congratulated as the new president for the Lions Club of Naklua-Pattaya.

Chanyuth Hengtrakul (center) took pleasure in coming back to the Lions den.

Second CARAT phase underway in Thailand

By Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Melinda Larson, Destroyer Squadron 1 Public Affairs
Sattahip, Thailand The Thailand phase of the exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) series officially began June 20 at the Royal Thai Navy’s (RTN) Lam Tien Naval Base Frigate Squadron 2 pier with a look back at the exercise’s unofficial and solemn beginning June 11. 

During a break brought on by the weather, Utilitiesman Constructionman Tang Tchandja, of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 40, teaches Spider Solitaire to a Thai student at a school where NMCB 40 is conducting an engineering civic action project. The project is part of the Thailand phase of exercise CARAT. (U.S. Navy photo by Engineering Aide 3rd Class William Siebuhr)
On that day, Sailors from the CARAT task group ship USS Salvor (ARS 52) began six days of dive operations on wreckage in the Gulf of Thailand believed to be that of the lost World War II submarine USS Lagarto.
“U.S. Navy divers from Salvor along with a Royal Thai Navy diver were able to visit the wreck, a necessary step toward positive identification, thereby helping us fulfill our commitment to honor our war dead,” said Alexander A. Arvizu, deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok.

Capt. Al Collins, Commander Destroyer Squadron 1 and the five-ship exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) task group speaks as Rear Adm. Surasak Roonreangron, Royal Thai Navy (RTN) Commander Frigate Squadron 2 stands by during the opening ceremony for the Thailand phase of CARAT. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class John L. Beeman)
While the Salvor divers’ findings, including seeing the word “Manitowoc” engraved on the submarine’s propeller point heavily toward positive identification, information including underwater video and still photographs are being sent to the Naval Historical Center in Washington for further analysis. Lagarto was one of 28 submarines built in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Lagarto and its crew of 86 was last heard from on May 3, 1945.
Salvor’s crew now joins Sailors from the rest of the five-ship CARAT task group in conducting a variety of training events with Royal Thai Navy counterparts designed to promote understanding and professional development.

Builder Constructionman Apprentice Eric George, of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 40, teaches English as a second language to a class of 50 Thai students. George is teaching up to five, one-hour classes each day during NMCB 40’s ongoing engineering civic action project at the school. The project is part of the Thailand phase of exercise CARAT. (U.S. Navy photo by Engineering Aide 3rd Class William Siebuhr)

“This exercise is a testament to the importance of the alliance between our countries,” Arvizu said. “The waters surrounding Thailand are among the most important in the world. Our ability to train together will help us ensure that commerce flows freely, fisheries are protected, and illicit trade is curbed in the region.”
CARAT is a series of bilateral maritime exercises held annually throughout Southeast Asia. Thailand is the second of six phases for the U.S. Sailors.
“Today being a Sailor means more than going to sea and protecting the sovereignty of our individual nations and the sea lanes of communications,” said Capt. Al Collins, Destroyer Squadron 1, CARAT’s task group commander. “Unlike most jobs, our profession demands that we become citizens of the world.”
Sailors and Coast Guardsmen from each of the five CARAT task group ships stood in ranks next to their RTN counterparts for the ceremony.  The Sailors will quickly transition from standing at attention together to working side by side during the rigorous week-long exercise.

Thailand (June 21, 2006) - Royal Thai Navy diver Ensign Mongkol Boontun and U.S. Navy diver Damage Controlman 2nd Class John Marshall are raised from the water on a diving stage from rescue and salvage ship USS Salvor (ARS 52) during familiarization dives as part of the Thailand Phase of exercise CARAT. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class John L. Beeman)

Visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) symposiums will provide the tactical training that will be used during realistic pierside and at-sea boardings.  VBSS and law enforcement teams from the U.S. Coast Guard cutter USCGC Sherman (WHEC 720) will share their expertise and exchange boarding techniques with their RTN and Thai Coastal Defense counterparts. Maritime interdiction operations are a primary focus of the exercise series and legal professionals from both navies will review international rules of engagement together.
“Out there we face a three dimensional threat – in the air, on the surface and in the ocean’s depths,” Collins said. “Together we are confronting these challenges; together we are finding ways to maintain control in an every-changing complex maritime environment.”
At the deckplate level, Sailors will share how they tackle shipboard floods and fires.  Firefighting, plugging and patching, and shoring techniques will be demonstrated during damage control demonstrations.
In the aviation arena, SH-60 Seahawk aviators and maintainers from Helicopter Squadron Lite (HSL) 37 detachment 5 will host a presentation on search and rescue techniques, anti-submarine warfare, and flight control systems.   
During the at-sea phase, RTN S70 helicopter pilots will hone their skills during deck landing qualifications on USS Crommelin (FFG 37).  In a display of interoperability, the S70 pilots will conduct a vertical replenishment (VERTREP) on USS Hopper (DDG 70) while the SH-60 conducts a VERTREP and refueling with HTMS Taksin
Royal Thai Marines and RTN Sailors will embark USS Tortuga (LSD 46) for an early morning amphibious raid to be held on the last day of the at-sea phase. The Sailors and Marines will be transported to the beach by landing craft air cushion (LCAC) from Assault Craft Unit 5 detachment Western Pacific. 
Diving and salvage operations from Salvor, gunnery shoots, and mine laying exercises round out the broad range of events designed to enhance interoperability.
Ashore the two navies will contribute their time and energy during numerous community service projects assembling wheelchairs, donating hygiene and medical supplies, and interacting with blind and orphaned children.
“By working together through our series of civic action and community service projects in the exercise area, we are showing our compassion and demonstrate our commitment towards all mankind,” said Collins. “We are Sailors sworn to protect, but we always work for peace and understanding in all our travels.”
Additionally, during medical and dental civic action projects, healthcare professionals from both navies will share their expertise in the medical field and provide medical and dental services in a nearby province, while U.S. Navy Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 40 construct a multi-purpose building at a local school.
As many as five RTN ships and two Coastal Defense Command patrol boats will take part in the exercise.
Commodore Collins is embarked aboard Tortuga, which operates from Sasebo, Japan, as part of the 7th Fleet’s Forward Deployed Naval Forces. Collins’ staff is based in San Diego. Hopper, Crommelin and Salvor are homeported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and Sherman in Alameda, California.
The CARAT series will continue through August with exercises in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. CARAT Singapore ended June 13.

CARAT is an annual series of bilateral maritime training exercises between the United States and six Southeast Asia nations designed to build relationships and enhance the operational readiness of the participating forces.

Even through challenging weather, Seebees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 40, and local Thai volunteers, press to complete the foundation of a new building at a local school. The work is part of an ongoing engineering civic action project during the Thailand phase of exercise CARAT. (U.S. Navy photo by Engineering Aide 3rd Class William Siebuhr)

AmCham mixes it up at Shenanigans

Brendan Richards
The American Chamber of Commerce Thailand’s Young Professionals (AmCham YPC) group made their way to Pattaya for their inaugural networking night. Held at Shenanigans, the evening was the result of repeated requests by members to include the region in their list of event venues.

(From left) Rainer Roessler, Thai RDF Co Ltd. director and Harard Sandow, BFSG Group mixed it up with the young professionals.
An intimate group turned out early for the night with many more making their way to the popular Irish Pub for a chance to meet fresh faces and soak up the festive atmosphere of Pattaya, especially during the World Cup matches.
AmCham YPC committee members wee first to arrive on the scene with the bubbly Sandy and Pro-Log Limited’s Michael Parnham helping to kick start the event. Little was needed, as Simon and his team were well-prepared for the group.
The AmCham YPC is aimed primarily at the up and coming members of the business community but is not limited by it; this was evident with the presence of many senior members (by comparison) such as Harard Sandow from the BFSG Group who mingled easily with the small younger crowd.

(From left) Vikster and Lou Lou Lare
Tim Hansen, Membership Relations, Co. Ltd director and Tim Hadsel Mares made their presence felt with their mingling and jovial conversation.
The small powerhouse, Fasai Srichan, Eclipse Management Ltd Marketing & Communications manager was seen handing out invitations ‘left, right and center’ for the opening of the company’s new restaurant ‘Circle’ due to open in Bangkok on June 29, also coinciding with the YPC’s next event in Bangkok. Fasai was well-counted amongst the pulchritude present, which also included Kantamas Chongsupamongkol, Vikster and Lou Lou Lare, the lovely Lalida Muanpimthong and Rojjana Rungrattwatchai, both account executives for Big Chili Magazine, and Pornpassorn Muthukhan, Global Validators inc. sales & marketing executive, aka Balmy.
Simon and his team at Shenanigans, who provided never-ending refills to the snack buffet, were constantly on hand, in true Shenanigans style, eagerly keeping glasses filled and everyone in a cheerful mood through the night.
The next event in the region has yet to be announced but many of those who attended are looking forward to it. Further details on AmCham can be gleaned from their website: http://www.amchamthailand.com.

(From left) Kevin Morgenstern, Relocation sales manager and Karnjana Jantawaro

The small powerhouse Fasai Srichan, Eclipse Management Ltd marketing & communications manager was seen handing out invitations to the opening of Circle in Bangkok in addition to their already successful Coyote restaurant on Soi Convent.

(From left) Michael Parham, Pro-Log Ltd., Pornpassorn (Balmy) Muthukhan, Global Validators Inc. sales & marketing executive, Zan Hollrorff and Michael Eiting.

(From left) Michael Parham Pro-Ltd. being sweet-talked into advertising by Lalida Muanpimthong and Rojjana Rungrattwatchai, account executives for Big Chili Magazine.

(From Right) Kantamas Chongsupamongkol, accounting manager of Cyprus Accounting Solution Co., Ltd, Tong Hoe Khong and Weng Wai Ho, engineering consultant of Delphi Automotive System (Thailand) Limited.

(From left) Tim Hadsel Mares, Elijah Bilotta, David Hammond and Tim Hansen, XL Results Foundation Co. Ltd membership relations director taking time out.“

From Russia, with Opera

Caspian Pike
Those fortunate souls willing to forego the perhaps dubious pleasure of the World Cup, preferring instead the stirring grandeur of the Bolshoi Opera, were richly rewarded by another outstanding evening’s entertainment.

Dr Nikolay Pomoshchnikov and his wife Olga, staunch supporters of the arts.
In celebration of the sixtieth anniversary of His Majesty the King’s accession to the throne, the audience were treated to world class renditions of arias, duets and Russian folk songs. It was an intoxicating cocktail, incorporating Donizetti, Bizet, Rossini, Verdi (of course) and a sprinkling of most welcome Russian composers. Rakhmaninov is a personal favourite and it was wonderful to hear his “Romance of a young Gypsy man” from “Aleko” sung with such rolling passion by Tenor Alexey Dolgov.
Perhaps mischievously, lulled into a contemplative state by the honeyed sounds so easy on the ear, I always find myself imagining the artists in different guises. Dolgov, a graduate of Moscow State Conservatory, has the build of an Olympic gymnast and the pure blond luscious looks which might have been lifted straight from a Soviet ‘Socialist Realism’ poster, proclaiming ‘perfection in masculinity!’ I could see him in a red vest, with ‘CCCP’ across the front, and those little white gym shorts. Honestly, he was good enough to almost cause you to consider changing your inclination!

World-renowned Soloist Larisa Rudakova wowed the audience with beautiful renditions of classic arias.
Pianist Elena Ostroukhova, an honoured Russian artiste, has been working in the Bolshoi Theatre since 1977. She has worked all over the globe, from the Rimsky-Korsakov Festival in London to Bolshoi Theatre performances in Japan, USA, Greece, Turkey, Spain, Italy and Hong Kong. Such was her professionalism and apparently innate talent, (her ease of movement across the keys suggested as much) that the insolent fluttering of the sheet music early on in the performance was never going to perturb her.
Once more I drifted and was slightly disturbed to find the image of Rosa Kleb emerging to prominence. The image passed, no sooner than it should have done, for I was shaken from my reverie by the duet of “Michaela and Jose” from “Carmen”. Alongside the erect Dolgov, “singing with his face” as my wife whispered to me, was Larisa Rudakova, a Soprano of immense reputation. In light of the flurry of top quality artists from all over the world that have descended upon Pattaya in recent months, it’s worth considering just how big these people are.

Tenor Alexey Dolgov and Larisa Rudakova perform “Michaela and Jose” from “Carmen”
Larisa Rudakova has been performing as a Soloist at the Bolshoi Theatre since 1993. She won the Grand Prix at the 32nd Francisco Vinias International Singers Contest at Barcelona in 1994. (What was she doing in a car? No formula one jokes, please). In 1995, according to the BBC, she was one of the five best young opera singers in the world. In 1997, she was proclaimed “Honoured Artist of Russia”. In 2002 she was awarded with the “Order of Friendship”. In short, Larisa is top of her game, as experienced and mature an artist as you are likely to find; and when you hear the quality, you also feel the quality. It fills you with a sense of awe, you bathe in great happiness. I was genuinely astonished by Larisa’s control over the smallest notes. The sound came close to my idea of what beauty is; strength with mercy. There was such powerful potential inside this woman, (and sometimes she let rip) that when the sweetest, slightest sound emerged, as in Alibiev’s “Nightingale”, it was a most moving moment; exquisite.
Larisa and Alexey Dolgov complimented each other as songbirds should. I felt sure that I saw joy in Alexey’s eyes, joy in performance but also in appreciation; for the music, for the occasion, for Elena Ostroukhova and for his partner Larisa. Joined at the soul they were, whilst they sang. The “Romance of Nemorino” by Donizetti poured forth both their pleasure and their mirth. A balcony and trellis wouldn’t have been out of place for Alexey at times, Larisa his ‘Juliet’, he’d have scampered up to her in no time with a physique like his. He’s a prize winner as well of course, awarded a special prize in 2005, at the E.V. Obrazcova music contest in St Petersburg.
Among an audience properly infatuated by the gentle caress of sweet sound and the arousal of unfettered emotion, there were to be seen, some of the largest (and some of the prettiest) smiles this side of Moscow. Two of them belonged to Dr Nikolay Pomoshchnikov, Minister Counsellor to the Embassy of the Russian Federation and his divine wife Olga, positively glowing; perhaps pining for the Urals?
Another belonged to Pattaya Mail’s very own Peter Malhotra, immaculately coiffured, who is behind most of the good things, which happen in Pattaya. He was taking the opportunity not to work.
On the record, I have to say that I’m delighted that the Royal Cliff Beach Resort and the Pattaya Mail take the initiative and interest in securing performers of this quality for the Pattaya public. Much the same could be said for Khun Mongkol Chayasirisobhon of the D&M Music studio in Bangkok.
Of course, the graceful Khun Panga Vathanakul, Managing Director of the Royal Cliff Beach Resort was there, looking resplendent, nay glamorous. Then I spotted the two most spectacular smiles of all. Sisters, I thought, but no. Mother and daughter apparently, but how ageless Carolyn Robbins looked, even alongside the rare beauty of her daughter, Brooke. All this pleasure assailing the senses. The puritan in me felt momentarily over indulged, but the feeling passed, sooner than it should have done.
“Oh My Sweetheart”, a Russian folk song, swept me out to the steppes and “Green Grass” brought me home again. Larisa and Alexey touched my heart one last time with “Brindisi” from “La Traviata” and lulled me to contentment with “Be My Love” by Brodszky.
It was done. Well done. We rose and hollered for more. Ranjith Chandrasiri, Deputy General Manager of the Royal Cliff, led our appreciation, which was profound and these fabulous Bolshoi Artists disappeared into the night.
You can watch highlights of “A Grand Night at the Bolshoi Opera” on Pattaya Mail TV on Saturday July 1st.

Bolshoi Opera artistes - Ms. Elena Ostroukhova (2nd left), Mr. Alexey Dolgov (3rd left) and Ms. Larisa Rudakova (centre) pose for a photograph with Mrs. Panga Vathanakul (3rd right), Honorary Consul of the Russian Federation and the Managing Director of the Royal Cliff Beach Resort, Dr. Nikolay Pomoshchnikov (2nd right), Minister Counsellor and Charge d’affaires, the Embassy of the Russian Federation, Mr. Ranjith Chandrasiri (1st left) the Resort’s Deputy General Manager, and Mr. Peter Malhotra (1st right), Managing Director of Pattaya Mail at “The Grand Night At The Bolshoi Opera”.