The British Ambassador HE Asif Ahmed addressed 50 British Chamber of Commerce Thailand (BCCT) members and guests last weekend at the Amari Orchid. Far from being the dry and dusty discourse that some attendees were dreading, HE Asif turned out to be an amusing and eloquent speaker, and not afraid to speak his mind.
He was introduced by board member Chris Thatcher, who also made mention of the sponsors Caelan Wright Asia, Manpower, Cromwell Industrial Supplies and St. Andrews International School.
HE Asif began his off the cuff address by saying that his wife was not with him, but being in the company of the business people present, this gave him a perfectly credible alibi.
David Cumming, general manager of Amari Orchid Resort welcomes His Excellency Asif Ahmad, British Ambassador to Thailand.
He went on to say that he wished to have a better understanding of Thailand, and not just Bangkok. He mentioned a trip to Ubon Ratchathani where he dined on fried cockroaches (perhaps his aides should have told him they are actually water beetles).
HE Asif spoke on the importance Thailand has in the world arena and brought forth information that many of his listeners did not know, such as the fact that Thailand is the only manufacturer of Strepsils in the world, and is therefore the supplier to the world, Tesco’s investment in Thailand was their largest in the world last year and the local Durex factory purchases banned sex toys for research purposes only.
Graham Macdonald presents a token of appreciation to HE Asif Ahmad after his most enjoyable and informative talk.
Paradoxes such as colored protests existed while industry went through a boom. He also spoke on the ‘Noddy view’ regarding the ‘colored politics’ in Thailand and stated that only 14 percent of eligible voters followed the red/yellow shirts. He also stated that the Isaan villagers were bored rigid with color politics.
He mentioned aspects of Thai life such as ‘English teachers’ crossing the borders every 90 days and said that this was not a true business model.
Graham Macdonald (left), chairman of BCCT, could not resist introducing Pratheep S. Malhotra (Peter), MD of the Pattaya Mail Media Group and Dr. Iain Corness (right), world renowned doctor, writer, motorcar racer and columnist, not to mention TV personality for PMTV to HE Asif Ahmad.
It had been a most enjoyable evening, the buffet spread was excellent, though when the menu items began with German cold cuts and Maki rolls, the diehard Brits were a little worried that the Amari Executive Chef Jens Heier had forgotten this was a British event. However, they were not forgotten, as the next item was the traditional British dish – Chicken Tikka!
The evening finished with HE Asif Ahmad indicating that British Embassy staff will be visiting Pattaya on June 3, so save your questions till then, perhaps.
Dressed up to the nines for the special occasion (L to R) Alain Deurwaerder, MD Ducati Motor (Thailand) Co. Ltd., Attakorn Saropala, Trade and Investment Manager British Embassy Bangkok and Mike Allin MD of Solids Handling & Process Engineering Co., Ltd.
A must read, HE Asif Ahmad holds a copy of the Pattaya Mail as introduced to him by Peter Malhotra and Dr. Iain Corness.
(L to R) Roger Wilson, key account manager for Nissan/GKN Driveline, Paul Millar, MD Boots Retail (Thailand) Ltd., and Graham Macdonald, chairman of the British Chamber of Commerce Thailand afford HE Asif Ahmad a warm welcome.
As dusk falls, Paul Melling, Standard Chartered Bank (Thai), Simon Matthews, Manpower/director BCCT, Joe Cox, Defence International Security Services and Joe Barker-Bennett, managing director of JMBB Consulting Co. Ltd., operator of Crestcom International Inc., enjoy pre dinner cocktails.
Representing sponsors for the evening were Jaemi Hodgson, marketing director Thailand, Cognita Teaching Excellence; Seesa-ang Tantiyartyanont, PA to Head of School, St. Andrews International School Rayong Campus, and Attakorn Saropala, trade and investment manager with the British Embassy Bangkok.
The sponsors gather for a group photograph with HE Asif Ahmad (centre). (l-r) Paul Millar, CEO Boots Retail, Andy Harrison, Headmaster St Andrew’s International School Rayong, Simon Matthews, CEO Manpower Thailand, Andrew Apperley, Joint CEO Caelan Wright Asia, H.E. Asif Ahmad, British Ambassador, Chris Thatcher, Vice Chairman BCCT, Mark Manolas, Joint CEO Caelan Wright Asia, Kevin Fisher, CEO CEA Thailand, Patchararacht Tanasetpiwt ‘Jack’, Manager of CES Cranes & Equipment Services, representatives for Cromwell Tools and Soft Sling on the Eastern Sea Board and Graham Macdonald, Chairman BCCT.