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Vol. XV No. 27
Friday July 6 - July 12, 2007


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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]: 

Dusit, Pattaya plays host to Thai Airways

Central officially renamed Centara

Bandara makes it two

Lufthansa briefs agents on new services and fares

Chambers of Commerce members hospitalized

Halo of Happiness

Dusit, Pattaya plays host to Thai Airways

Chatchawal Supachayanont, General Manager of the Dusit Resort, Pattaya (seated 4th from left) and Khampi Suwanarat, Chief Operating Officer of Dusit Hotels & Resorts (seated 4th from right), host executives from Thai Airways International during their recent 3-day commercial conference in Pattaya.

Dusit Hotels & Resorts and Royal Princess Hotels & Resorts led by Chief Operating Officer Khampi Suwanarat recently hosted a gala dinner for Thai Airways International (TG) at Dusit Resort, Pattaya’s Napalai Convention Hall.
Thai Airways International held its global commercial conference at the Dusit Resort, Pattaya from 19 June to 21 June 2007 to map out the organization’s sales and marketing directions in 2007 and the coming year. The conference was attended by more than 200 executives from the national carrier’s 70 branches around the world.
Following the success of TG’s three-day commercial conference at the Dusit Resort, TG executives were hosted to a night of Chinese cuisine from the hotel’s The Peak Chinese Restaurant and a musical extravaganza from Dusit Resort, Pattaya and Dusit Resort, Hua Hin’s Acting Group.

Central officially renamed Centara

The 25-year-old Thai hotel chain, Central Hotels and Resorts, was officially rebranded Centara Hotels and Resorts last Tuesday, something which has been in the works for several months.
Suthikiati Chirathivat, executive board chairman of Central Plaza Hotel (Public) Company Limited, the hotel group’s owning company, said the new name reflected “Thai-ness” and sounded more exotic, which would help create a clearer brand awareness among European customers.
He added the former name, while already well known in Asia, had created the wrong perception in Europe that the group’s properties must all be located downtown even though most of them were on prime beach locations.
Cen derives from Central (Group of Companies) and tara comes from a Thai word meaning water. The new Centara branding will help differentiate Central Group’s hotel business from its retail and food business segments. The hotel group has also renamed its spa as Spa Cenvaree. Varee is another Thai word for water.
Suthikiati said three sub-brands had been created under Centara Hotels and Resorts - Centara Grand for five-star properties, Centara Hotel and Centara Resort for four-star properties and Centara Village for village properties.
The hotel chain has 12 properties in Thailand, including the new Centara Grand and Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld with the 505-room hotel slated to open in March next year and the convention centre scheduled to open this month. It plans to expand to 25 properties within the next four to five years. (TTG)

Bandara makes it two

Bandara Resort & Spa plans to open its second property - the 200-room Bandara Silom, Bangkok, in November.
Marketing director, Mr. Somkiat Kantawat, said the property would be positioned as a resort in the city.
He said recent new hotel developments in Bangkok were along Sukhumvit Road and there was a limited number of developments in the four-star category on Silom Road.
Facilities at the new property will include an all-day dining restaurant, a wine bar, a spa, two swimming pools and a fitness centre.
The brand’s first property is the 151-key Bandara Resort and Spa, Samui. (TTG)

Lufthansa briefs agents on new services and fares

Narisa Nitikarn
Lufthansa held a seminar for its 30 representative agencies in Pattaya City and Rayong Province on June 13 in readiness for route changes and new services, including upgraded business class seating.

Lufthansa’s Ratanapan Smathanawin, Service Team-Passenger Sales (seated left) and Chompunud Sirisopana, Key Account Manager host a presentation on the airline’s new services and additional routing changes to local travel agents.
Ratanapan Smathanawin of the passenger sales service team and key account manager Chompunud Sirisopana gave the presentation, which was staged at the Aisawan Resort and Spa.
Chompunud said that Lufthansa was rolling out its new B747-400 Business Class on July 1, with 50 seats available that allow 180-degree adjustment with a 2-meter length.
There was also an announcement on Lufthansa’s Private Jet service, with three other airlines now participating, namely Thai International Airways, Swiss Airlines and Austrian Airlines. This service operates under the condition that customers must travel at least one way with Lufthansa. Agencies were briefed on the need to understand the different tickets and price levels for each airline.
Ratanapan said that fare changes would also take effect from July 1. Business Z Class to Europe, North America and South America would be available only from Monday to Thursday. If passengers need to travel from Friday to Sunday, then they must reserve Business D or C Class tickets.
For Lufthansa customers traveling to Europe or America but living in Chiang Mai or Phuket, there is a new special price from Thai International Airlines to fly to Bangkok.

Chambers of Commerce members hospitalized

Dr. Iain Corness
Around 60 members of the British Chamber of Commerce Thailand (BTCC) and a smattering of members from the German-Thai Chamber of Commerce (GTCC) were ‘hospitalized’ last week in Pattaya. This was not, however, a new epidemic, but was a combined chambers networking evening held at the Bangkok Hospital Pattaya.

Binny of Taj Restaurant (left) has his blood pressure checked.
The choice of venue had two important features. Firstly it allowed the chamber members to gain some concepts of the scope of the hospital, and secondly it also gave the hospital management, led by Director Dr. Pirus Pradithivanij, Deputy Director Dr. Narin Boonjongcharoen and Assistant Director Kamjorn Suryasin an opportunity to meet the leaders in the local expat business communities.
Several members of the British Chamber were afraid that a networking evening at a hospital would be a ‘dry’ event, but it was not, with more than adequate supplies of wine and amber fluid for the thirsty and food for the hungry. Executive director of the BTCC, Greg Watkins was seen imbibing enthusiastically with the deputy executive director of the GTCC, Stefan Buerkle.

Dr. Iain Corness addresses the combined chambers during their visit to the hospital.
It was pleasing to see that this event also attracted many attractive Thai ladies, who used the evening to sell their companies and their products, including Kannokan Higuma (assistant manager Dok Krai Lakeside Hotel), Srisuda Bampen (sales and marketing manager Red Mango publishing) and Piyanuch Thanasakrungruang (GM Pattaya Dot Com).
There was also more than a fair smattering of Aussies who had sneaked in, including Stuart Saunders (the dental flosser), Paul (Tinfish) Whyte, and the duo of Ian’s (the tall and the large). Other nationalities who availed themselves of the opportunity to network with the two influential chambers included Americans Frank Delgado (producer Radio Bangkok) and Alan Verstein (several new businesses every week), and continentals Patrick Bernard (Yellow Pages) and Rene Neef (MD Konitz Asia) and Hong Kong’s Darren Yang (overseas marketing manager Tikon).

BHP Director Dr. Pirus Pradithivanij provides chamber members with some concepts of the scope of the hospital.
Of course the usual stalwarts of the BTCC were all there, including the vice chairman, Graham Macdonald (a good Scottish name), AA insurance broker’s Peter Smith (a good English name), the ‘crane man’ Kevin Fisher (just back from four months lifting things in Laos), Tony Hanscomb (have camera will travel) and Maurice Bromley with the delightful Juanita.
Hospital director Dr Pirus was delighted with the response and intimated that this would become an annual event, and the lovely ladies of the various departments in the hospital were kept busy taking blood pressures and advising on all sorts of conditions, from heart bypasses to face lifts (though some of the chamber members had probably left it all a little late)!

Halo of Happiness

Andrew Watson
What piece of work is a man, how infinite in faculty, how noble in reason! There is no greater joy than giving, nothing more beautiful than seeing happiness radiate from young people’s faces. What kind of special person is it who can induce such inner contentment? What manner of man (or woman) can generate such a halo of happiness?

Under the tutelage of Nick Hersey, Artist in Residence at The Regent’s School Pattaya, children from the Fountain of Life express their artistic talents.

Meet Nick Hersey, Artist in Residence at The Regent’s School Pattaya, who for the past month has been working with the children at the Fountain of Life on a project which fuses imagination and self-knowledge and travels to the heart of what visual arts in general and painting in particular, can and should be doing.
Being a painter myself, perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised at the empathy and indeed admiration I felt for Nick’s work, especially as it fuses art with two more of our shared passions, education and working to improve the lives of the less privileged members of the our local, regional and global communities. It’s the kind of work that all international schools should be doing and The Regent’s School and (I’m pleased to say my own employers) Garden International School have been leading the way in recognising that with every right, there comes responsibility.
The project with the Fountain of Life in Pattaya formed a part of a continuing theme in Nick’s work, that of working with disadvantaged children and using art as a form of what he calls “free expression” to allow the children to learn and develop as individuals, in a way that they would perhaps not have the chance to do otherwise, given their situation. The choice of subject concentrated on self portraiture, a literal metaphor perhaps for children deprived of a sense of identity.
“It provided an opportunity for them to think about and to develop their understanding of who they are, whilst developing their sense of self-esteem,” explained Nick.
Working with a group of around twenty students aged between 7 and 15 years old, Nick held two sessions a week, each lasting about two hours. The first lessons were used to establish what the students already knew about drawing.
“They got stuck right in by making drawings of each other and I introduced some basic techniques,” enthused Nick.
Subsequent sessions involved experimentation and exploration with different media, examining colour theory, developing colour mixing techniques and studying the form and structural measurements of the head. Then one day, they looked at themselves in the mirror.
Effervescent with enthusiasm, Nick described the “language challenges” he faced, mandating lessons be conducted predominantly through demonstration, sign and gesture. Nick expressed amazement at the remarkable understanding that can be established without the use of spoken word. Breaking into a broad smile, he spoke of the amusing and interesting deviations from the project which occurred as a result of this type of communication.
Of course, an important part of any project like this is the relationship that the artist establishes with the students and Nick was conscious of trying to break down the inherent respect and distance that the children displayed to him “by default” as a foreigner. He felt it wasn’t conducive to producing the right kind of creative atmosphere to have a teacher on a different, elevated level to that of the students. That’s one of Nick’s things; it is important for him that any barriers are broken down: “Inhibition is the greatest obstacle to creating an honest and revealing self portrait,” which after all, was his objective.
But it required a sensitive, caring guiding touch, too; “Studying their own reflections was a real challenge for some of the children, who found it difficult to look at themselves for extended periods of time.” Emotionally, for children who tend to have low self esteem, compounded by the fact that they do not ‘legally exist’ in the eyes of the authorities, the project was a real challenge. But it was a project with real purpose, where by capturing themselves on paper, children had the opportunity to affirm themselves, to say who they really are, to recognise their own resilience and the courageous content of their character.
Liam’s Gallery, San Francisco in Pattaya with Hogwarts staircases to boot, was a fittingly splendid setting to house an exhibition of the children’s final pieces. You should have seen their faces as Sister Joan ushered them into as new world of dazzling colour and light! There were their paintings, resonant, vibrant, alive, rays of sunshine, an affirmation indeed. It was deeply moving.
Typical of Nick Hersey was the praise he heaped on the parents of the Regents School whose generosity had paid for the materials. Liam was a most congenial host for the conclusion to a beautiful idea. Except that, one hopes that this might be just the beginning.
Nick Hersey may be moving on to Shanghai but a standard has been set and now there is a shining example to follow, a flame to be carried. And there are plenty of capable and compassionate international school students ready to fulfil what is surely one of their responsibilities to their community as the world lurches uncertainly forward, to do what Nick Hersey has done, and to make a difference.
Be sure to catch the television coverage on PMTV, Friday, July 6.

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