Blind students perform well in annual sports day competition
Governor Pracha Taerat presents the opening
speech to cheer up the blind student athletes.
Governor Pracha Taerat sounds the gong to
open Pattaya Redemptorist School for the Blind’s Sports Day 2007.
Chonburi Governor Pracha Taerat on February 8 conducted the opening
ceremony for Pattaya Redemptorist School for the Blind’s Sports Day
2007, with Lewis “Woody” Underwood, chairman of the Jesters Care for
Kids charity drive committee, Nittaya Patimasongkroh, chairwoman of the
YWCA Bangkok-Pattaya Center, and Pratheep Jongsuebtham, Banglamung
District chief also present.
Orora Sribuaphan, director of the Pattaya Redemptorist School for the
Blind, presents a report on Sports Day.
The teams were divided into three colors, yellow, blue and green. Events
included a relay race, running, a relay coconut shell walk, a shore
walk, and men’s football. More than 50 competitors took part.
Before the events began, pupils from the primary and secondary classes
performed an aerobics dance, followed by secondary school students from
class 2 with a fencing contest.
Governor Pracha said that a sports event like this is a great challenge
for the blind participants but that it teaches them to develop abilities
that sighted people may not have, and encourages them to be more
The Pattaya Redemptorist School for the Blind is under the patronage of
Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, and was opened on
May 18, 1987.
The school is registered with the Ministry of Education as a charity
school, and is open to blind students aged from three to 20 years. Both
boarding and day-school faculties are available.
A sports day has been held every year since 1993. School director Mrs
Orora Sribuaphan said that the school has participated in disabled and
national disabled competitions held by the Department of Physical
Education, the Sports Authority of Thailand, and the Thai Disabled
Association. The school has also sent students to compete in overseas
events, including swimming in Spain and Sweden, athletics in Sydney,
running in Canada, and the New York Marathon.
Students from secondary school class 2 perform a fencing routine.
Students from secondary school class 2
expertly perform the ritual dance that is part of the fencing routine.
Students on the green team perform aerobic
The yellow team stretches during their
aerobic dance routine.
Student athletes wearing their team colors
line up during the opening ceremonies.
A student athlete runs the ceremonial torch
into the competition grounds.
The school’s marching band leads the
athletes into the stadium.
Local charities to benefit from Beach B-B-Q
by Christina Boden
On Sunday February 4, the Charity Club of Pattaya hosted a Charity Beach
B-B-Q at the Pinnacle Resort Na Jomtien.
General Manager Ingo Rauber showed his support by producing a mouth
watering B-B-Q buffet that was enjoyed by around 100 people. Many of the
hotel guests supported the charity event by either attending or donating
to the causes.
thanks everyone for coming and explains some of the charities the club
The Charity Beach B-B-Q was the club’s first event for 2007 and it was a
great start to the year. The money raised will be used to buy
wheelchairs for those in need in Isaan, and to help a local orphanage
that is in need of a lot of help in the Huay Yai district.
The Charity Beach B-B-Q was a bargain at only 500 baht, which covered
the extensive seafood and meat B-B-Q prepared by the Pinnacle Resort
chef, and a 45 minute boat trip on one of the two catamarans sponsored
by Blue Wave Watersports Asia.
Owners Antony Chapman and Gary Baguley of Blue Wave Watersports Asia,
which is based at the Ocean Marina Yacht Club, not only donated the use
of the two 25ft catamarans to the event but also generously donated a
sunset cruise for 4 people as a raffle prize.
The guests were entertained on the beach by the Pinnacle’s House band,
the SY Band.
As always the Charity Club held a raffle, with prizes donated by
Patrick’s Belgium Restaurant, Blue Wave Watersports, Cafe New Orleans,
Rosie O’Grady’s, Duncan Stern, Symphony Restaurant, The Rabbit Resort
In total the event raised 67,000 baht.
The Charity Club of Pattaya would like to extend a heartfelt thank you
to all those that came and supported the event, donated to the event and
the biggest thanks must go to the GM at the Pinnacle Resort Ingo Rauber
who helped with so many of the preparations and made sure that the event
was such a fantastic success.
The Charity Club’s next event will be on Mon April 23rd, St. Georges Day
at the Caddy Shack Soi 8 off Thepprasit Road. Contact Malcolm or
Christina through charityclubofpattaya@yahoo .com or www.charityclubof
(L to R) Ingo Rauber and Christina Boden
thank Mrs Renate Krueger for her kind donation of 200 euros to the
Charity Club’s Beach B-B-Q.
Pinnacle Resort put on a great B-B-Q.
Raffle prizes are always a big hit at
Charity Club parties.
Cold beer on a warm day…
Good friends make for a great party.
The party enjoyed a great turnout.
Did you hear the one about…
Blue Wave Watersports’ yacht sails off into
Blue Wave Watersports takes some of the
partygoers out for a little cruise around the bay.
BCCT golf networking with Bromsgrove at Chaophya Park Hotel
Greg Watkins, BCCT
Bromsgrove International School Headmaster
Andrew Wood, GM Chaophya Park Hotel
The British Chamber of Commerce Thailand held its second golf networking
evening at the Chaophya Park Hotel, Bangkok, on the evening of Thursday
February 8. The event was jointly hosted and sponsored by Bromsgrove
International School and Chaophya Park Hotel.
The hotel has a unique golfing facility, a state-of-the art two tier 247
yard driving range, the only one of its kind situated in a Thailand
hotel and the focal point of the BCCT Golf Networking Evening.
Bromsgrove International School enthusiastically promotes sports
involvement at the school and golf is an obligatory subject on the
curriculum for all students. The school is conveniently situated
adjacent to Windsor Park Golf Club providing excellent daily facilities
for the students to practice, so it is not surprising that Bromsgrove
has within its student base 5 top level junior golfers, ranging in ages
from 8 to 13 years old. These students have represented Thailand in the
2005 & 2006 Callaway World Junior Championships in the USA, are world
champions and were present during the evening to demonstrate their
skills and, for a second year, to challenge the British Embassy to a
The proceedings were formally opened by Greg Watkins, BCCT executive
director, who introduced the newly elected BCCT chairman, Rodney Bain
who spoke briefly about his appointment and the road ahead for 2007.
Jeffrey Topp, Bromsgrove International School Headmaster and joint
sponsor of the evening spoke about the progress and developments at BIST
that included a new boarding facility with currently 50 students staying
on campus. Finally, it was General Manager Andrew J. Wood to speak about
Chaophya Park Hotel & Resorts and the pleasure of co-hosting the BCCT
golf networking evening for the second year, and now established as an
annual event on the BCCT calendar. Aside from the excellent and varied
finger buffet, soft drinks were available as well as beer, including
rather smooth John Brown dark ale.
Bromsgrove musicians and choir provided a background to the golfing
activity and a prelude to the highlight of the evening - the Bromsgrove
vs. British Embassy target match.
Steve Buckley, director of trade & investment at the embassy, once again
stepped up to the plate and accepted the Bromsgrove challenge. However,
although gracious in defeat in 2006, and with a Bromsgrove line-up on
the tee of six world class junior golfers, re-enforcements were called
in the form of BCCT member Trevor Allen. Trevor, a keen golfer of
considerable ability, although somewhat below pro standard, is known to
be rather handy with the wedge that would be the selected club for the
target flag to be nailed.
Steve and Trevor were allowed three balls each while the Bromsgrove
juniors, namely Nond, Cherry, Pailin, Sup, Mook & Tonkhao would only
have one shot a piece. When all had struck it was, subject to accurate
measuring, clearly a tie. So for expediency a play-off was agreed
between Steve Buckley and 9 year old Pailin, a Callaway Girls Junior
World Champion in 2005. A fine wedge shot from Pailin sealed the match
with Bromsgrove junior golfers triumphant for the second year. It was
all good fun and another very enjoyable and successful BCCT Golf
Networking Evening at Chaophya Park Hotel co-sponsor with Bromsgrove
International School Thailand.
The highlight of the
evening was the Bromsgrove vs. British Embassy target match.
Real estate seminar answers many
questions for foreign investors
(L to R) Cynthia Pornavalai,
Sunantapat Chalermpanth, Paisan Bundityanond, Governor Pracha Taerat,
Pattaya Provincial Court Judge Mrs. Prathumporn Kamnerdrit, Kitti
Patpongpaiboon, Supap Wade, and Nigel J. Cornick tackled the question, “Is
the (real estate) boom over?”
Pattaya’s first ever real estate seminar, posing the
leading question “Is the boom over?” and held last Friday was a success,
with as many as 650 people from many different sectors of the real estate
business turning up in Jomtien.
The seminar was organized by AREA, or the Agency for Real Estate Affairs,
Thailand’s Valuation and Research Center, and Quality FM 106.60 MHz.
Paisan Bundityanond, founding president of the Real Estate Association of
Thailand and managing director of Rabbit Resort was the master of
ceremonies, and six speakers who were authorities in different fields
addressed the gathering.
Chonburi Governor Pracha Taerat gave the opening speech, stressing on areas
such as building regulations and standards, and ensuring that entertainment
venues met the city’s regulations. He also expressed his concern over the
available volume of water supply and whether it could meet the fast growing
needs of the city.
“The decrease in MLR (has) stimulated the real estate
business” - Kitti Patpongpaiboon
First to deliver his comment over the controversial question “Is
the boom over?” was former vice governor of the Bank of Thailand and
chairman of the Loans for Households Association, Kitti Patpongpaiboon.
Kitti described the trend of interest rates over the past 20 years, and the
volume of mortgage lending in the market since he was appointed chairman of
the Government Housing Bank in 1982. In 1988 the bank had released 73
billion baht, and it went up over 10-fold to as high as 790 billion baht in
1997 before the Asian economic crisis hit. He said last year the total of
outstanding mortgage lending was 1.33 trillion baht.
Annual mortgage lending in 2002 was 164 billion baht, 46 percent higher than
in 2001. And in 2003 it was 296 billion baht, 80 percent higher than in
2002. The amount went down only 5 percent in 2005 and 10 percent in 2006.
There is a chance that 2007 will again see the amount decline, but it is
likely to be by a small amount.
Kitti also spoke on the minimum lending rate over the past three years. In
2005, MLR was 5.75 percent and it then went up to 7.75 percent. The economy
slowed down due to the rising inflation rate and global oil prices that
jumped from 35 dollars a barrel to 70. Subsequently, prices have declined to
the range of 50-60 dollars a barrel this year.
National gross buying power went down by 20 to 25 percent and that certainly
affected sales of houses and condominiums.
He said the Gulf War and the oil price crisis in 1990 had raised Thailand’s
MLR to as high as 18 percent. It started to climb down to 12 percent in 2000
and to 5-6 percent in 2005.
The decrease in MLR stimulated the real estate business from 2000 onwards.
In January this year the government announced a 0.25 percent cut in MLR, and
Kitti said there is a possibility that we will see a further cut of 0.75 to
1 percent of MLR this year.
If MLR comes down by 1 percent, our buying power will increase by 10
percent. This augers well for the Pattaya real estate business, which would
see a brighter future prior any other part of Thailand.
Gross domestic product in 2005 was 4.5 percent and it went up to 5.1 percent
last year. Nevertheless Kitti said that we might see a slowdown due to
uncertainty of interest rates and government’s financial plans, and
cautioned that we might see a threat of an oversupply in high-end market
“In Chonburi province, Pattaya and Banglamung real estate
business is growing” - Dr Sopon Pornchokchai
Dr Sopon Pornchokchai, president of AREA, the largest real estate
information center in Thailand and himself an experienced valuer, urban
planner and real estate analyst revealed that in Chonburi province, Pattaya
and Banglamung the real estate business is growing. There are currently over
110 property projects underway, with a total of 13,707 units selling at a
total value of 64 billion baht. He said 50 percent of all the units are
Of these units, 35 percent are detached houses, 55 percent condominiums, and
about 10 percent townhouses, duplexes, and shophouses.
A survey has revealed that of all the units in Pattaya and Banglamung in
January this year, 26 percent, mostly detached houses and condominiums, were
being sold at 3-5 million baht a unit. Buyers are business people and
investors, both Thais and foreigner, and retired or long stayers.
Sopon said the future of the Eastern Seaboard is interesting; for Pattaya,
Bangkok and Suvarnabhumi Airport would increasingly be linked by
expressways, toll ways, and rapid railways resulting in the region becoming
“Real estate … is far from over and can grow a lot bigger”
- Sunantapat Chalermpanth
Chairman of KTGY Inter-Association Ltd Sunantapat Chalermpanth
said the real estate business is far from over and can grow a lot bigger. He
said he wants to see more variation in prices, and more acceptable and
reasonable prices in the market. Clustered town homes might boom this year
because this sector of the market takes fewer funds to develop and the
demand is still apparent.
Townhouse developers would find no difficulty in getting construction
approval from the city, whereas in some countries, to build a house project
on or near the beach there has to be a public hearing before a project can
Sunantapat said many housing projects in Bangkok, such as the one in Kaset
Nawamintra district are selling at a very far-fetched price for a specific
group of buyers. He said in that area, a house on a 300 square wa piece of
land is selling for 130 million baht.
“Currently there are over 100 real estate businesses in
Supap Wade, owner and managing director of Premier Homes Real
Estate Co Ltd and a real estate developer since 1996 pointed out that back
in her starting years there were only six to eight real estate businesses in
Pattaya. Currently there are over 100 of them, and selling prices range
between 2 and100 million baht.
“(In Pattaya) upscale real estate is growing fast” - Nigel
Chief executive officer of Raimon Land Plc, Nigel Cornick, who
joined Colliers Jardine in Bangkok in 1991 as managing director starting
with a staff of 12, addressed the question, “Why invest in Pattaya?”
The answers is that it is the leading tourism destination, located only 147
kilometers from Bangkok, having national airport situated in between, and
where upscale real estate is growing fast. It is a major weekend holiday
city that received approximately 6 million visitors last year, 65 percent of
whom were Chinese, Russian, and Korean. Another one million visitors were
British, American, and German.
In 2006, the average price of a condominium was 91,500 baht per square meter
with a total sold value of 5 billion baht.
“Foreigners can lease land but only up to 30 years” -
Partner and head of the Banking and Finance Group Cynthia
Pornavalai delivered the most popular topic of the seminar, the legal issue
over land and house ownership for foreigners and foreign-owned companies in
She started off with the first rule that foreigners cannot own land, but can
own buildings and constructions on a plot of land. She clarified this by
explaining the meaning of “foreigners”. She said they include foreign
individuals and corporate entities established under foreign law, or
incorporated in Thailand with the majority of shares held by foreign
Cynthia said foreigners can lease land but only up to 30 years and the
long-term lease is registered against the land. Lease term may be extended
for another 30 years by contract but such extension is not registered
against the land. She explained the law over condominium ownership, that
they can be owned by foreigners but only up to 49 percent of the aggregate
units of the condominium building.
Money that foreigners would pay to purchase condominiums should be from
abroad or from a foreign account in Thailand. She also explained new rules
set up by the Ministry of Interior concerning applications for acquisition
of land by juristic person that foreign shareholding and documentation in
support of application for partnership and limited company registration.
Lastly she explained the Bank of Thailand notification refereeing 30 percent
cash reserves for loans where Thai companies are required to withhold the
amount in a non-interest bearing account with the BOT.
The seminar ended with a question and answer session where many acquired
more information concerning land ownership and laws enforced by the Thai
government for them to be able to own property legally and with confidence.
An evening with Hildenbrand South African Wines
It was, indeed, a splendid evening, organized recently by president of
the South African Thai Chamber of Commerce, Maurice Bromley, for a
"wine-tasting deluxe" of South African wines.
star of the show was diminutive blonde and most personable South African
vintner, Reni Hildenbrand, presenting her own vintages of Hildenbrand Wines
and olive oil.
Held at the newly-opened Cuvee Lounge Bar, located in the center of the
burgeoning pre-Jomtien area, with such illustrious neighbours as Bruno's,
Pan Pan, Indian by Nature and Mata Hari, among the many gourmet eateries
which have moved away from the hassle of Pattaya, the Cuvee is an
outstanding venue for such an event - or, for any event, I would opine.
The star of the show was diminutive blonde and most personable South African
vintner, Reni Hildenbrand, presenting her own vintages of Hildenbrand Wines
and olive oil.
Formerly a German architect, then, upon the untimely demise of her husband
in Johannesburg in 1988, Reni "changed tacks", so to speak. Against her
mother's wishes, Reni decided to follow a childhood passion - wine-making -
taking over Klein Rhebokskloof, in Wellington, S.A., a spread sadly in need
of repair but one which was already endowed with olive trees, the first ever
planted in the Republic.
The restoration of the 300-year-old property and its historic buildings was
a monumental task and to help finance it all, Reni went to Tuscany to garner
from the Italians the secrets of producing olives and olive oil,
simultaneously opening the Klein Rhebokskloof Guest House, the first in the
area and still a major tourist attraction.
The measure of her success is that the Rhebokskloof olives and olive oil are
much sought after, not only in the Republic, but world-wide. She became an
official olive oil taster and her first book, "Olives and Oils in South
Africa", was published in 2003.
Now to turn to the main event of the evening, the wine tasting. It has been
a long, hard road for this lovely lady who, on arriving as a "farmer" in the
Cape area, had to face the harsh reality of a male-dominated farming
culture. The hard-bitten Afrikaaner land-owners were slow to accept a female
in their midst - further irritated that the lady could not speak Afrikaans.
But, what a lady - and what a wine-maker.
Following her instincts that "wine is not only about its taste, but about
its place of birth," Reni concedes that "the hands which nurtured it through
the process form grape to wine and the memories of tasting it with its
The elegant crowd then moved on to taste a magnificent array of wines. The
whites included a "Chardonnay Barrique", a pale gold, fermented and matured
nine months in French oak, revealing a perfect harmony of oak and fruit, a
balanced dry beverage.
"Chardonnay un-wooded" revealing true citrus with a long refreshed and
The "Chenin Blanc" and the "Semillon" were both crisp and dry, fruity, with
Then, to my amazement, Reni introduced a "Shiraz Rose". My experience with
rose wine ran to a few bottles of Mateus and some brands from Southern
France when I resided there. Chilled, they made a nice lazy afternoon drink
in the Southern climes of the Mediterranean.
This was different. It was a class wine and I noticed that the 12 bottles
which Reni had proffered were rapidly emptied. Reni called it "a fresh
nouveau style, 100 percent from bush Shiraz - with spice and youthful plum
erupting on the palate".
Right on, Reni, I say.
After some lengthy sampling of the great range of reds - Cabernet Sauvignon
Barrique, Cabernet Sauvignon Un-wooded, Shiraz, Malbec - one could only
wonder why has it taken so long for South African wines to become so
popular. The reds were fruity, deep red and purple in colour and resonating
the French and Hungarian oak flavours. Delicioso!
Noting that all Hildenbrand wines presented were 14 degrees-plus, the
participants at the marvelous evening moved cautiously down the stairway
leading from the Cuvee Lounge, with Reni's words ringing: "I want my wines
to be individual, to taste of where they come from … I will not interfere
with nature but let the environment develop my unique style."
"There is nothing typical about my wines," Reni added, "they are as unique
and individual as each and every one of us," Reni concluded.
As an individual, then, my only problem thereafter was to remember where I
The wines on the night
included Cabernet Sauvignon Barrique, Cabernet Sauvignon Un-wooded, Shiraz,
Malbec and Shiraz Rose.