The Sunday, March 27, 2011 meeting at the Amari’s Tavern by the Sea was a special day for the Pattaya City Expats Club. The club was celebrating its 10th Anniversary. There were several distinguished guests in attendance to offer their congratulations and well wishes.
Needless to say, there was a bit of reminiscing about the start of the club in March 2001 and its history over the past 10 years from two of the founding members and several past chairmen of the Board of Governors. The formalities ended after the audience was entertained by some lovely children from the Pattaya Orphanage and a ceremonial cutting of the cake that was provided in honor of the occasion by the Amari Resort.
Sermsakdi, Richard Silverberg (MC), Michel, Max, Sithisin Ramyarupa, Senior Vice President of Bangkok Bank, Pravit, Manager of Bangkok Bank on Second Road, Elfi Seitz, editor of Pattaya Blatt, Pattaya Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome, Drew, Preben and Richard pose for posterity.
To start things off, Master of Ceremonies Richard Silverberg called on Michel de Goumois, current chairman of the club’s Board of Governors, to say a few words and introduce the distinguished guests and past club chairmen.
Michel thanked everyone for coming to this 10th Anniversary celebration and mentioned that he became a member of the Club in 2003. He said what he really liked about the club was its free and easy environment, the opportunity to meet and make friends with so many people from many countries, and it’s Open Forum where anyone was free to make comments or ask questions. Michel also acknowledged the work of many others who currently or over the years gave of their time, money, and effort to make the club a success.
Max Rommel, founding member and former Pattaya City Expats Club Chairman, current Board member, and the Club Historian, spoke of the beginnings of the club one decade ago.
He first called on long time member, former board chairman, and current board member Richard Smith. Michel said the club really owed a lot of its success to him as he was for several years the person who did just about everything to keep the club going and growing.
Richard led off the reminiscing by mentioning that he joined the club in 2002 and has been involved in all aspects of its earlier years – getting speakers for the weekly meetings, writing the weekly Newsletter, and running the club’s first website. He briefly commented on his experience with the club and why he enjoyed being a member. One aspect of the club’s success is that others have stepped into the duties that in the earlier years consumed so much of his time.
Michel then called on Max Rommel, a founding member, former club chairman, current board member, and the club’ historian to say a few words. Max spoke of the beginnings of the club and how it was started by a few individuals that saw the need for an organization of expats that could help each other by sharing their experiences. From its first meeting with only a few individuals, it quickly outgrew its initial meeting place and about 8 years ago started meeting at the present location. Max said that he has kept records and mementos since the club’s inception and is in the process of developing a commemorative book celebrating the club’s first 10 years, which will be available in the near future.
Pattaya City Expats was fortunate that Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome was able to take some time from his busy schedule to congratulate the club.
Michel then asked local businessman and former chairman Drew Noyes to say a few words. Drew described how the club developed its first governing documents, necessary for acceptance by the Provincial governor so that expats could meet together as the Pattaya Expats Club, the reasons for its later name change to the Pattaya City Expats Club, and how it survived a significant difference of opinion on whether it should become a commercial organization or continue as a social organization. He said these difficulties were overcome and the club has continued to be a social organization whose primary purpose is for expats to continue to help their fellow expats. Drew concluded by highlighting several notable events in the club’s history.
Founding member Preben Hanson was also in attendance for this great occasion and he also reminisced on the founding of the club and the events surrounding its early years.
The celebration concluded with Toy from the Pattaya Orphanage thanking the club for its friendship and assistance to the orphanage and in return, wanted to participate by having several of their young charges perform a couple of dance routines in front of a banner they had made congratulating the club on its 10th Anniversary.
Preben Hansen, also a founding member, shares the club’s early history with members.
Amari’s resident manager, Max Sieracki also offered his congratulatory message as he presented the cake donated by the Amari, which was ceremoniously cut by Michel with the assistance of the founding members and former club chairmen.
Also, during the celebration, congratulatory messages were provided by distinguished guests Mongol Thamakittikhun, Banglamung District Chief; Itthiphol Kunplome, Pattaya City Mayor; Sithisin Ramyarupa, Senior Vice President & Manager, Central Region 1 – Provincial Area for Bangkok Bank; Pravit Pukasem, Vice President & Manager of Bangkok Bank’s Pattaya 2nd Road Branch; and Elsie Seitz, Executive Editor of Pattaya Blatt Newspaper.
Also on display were congratulatory letters received from Mongkol, Itthiphol, Toy, and Sermsakdi, who were in attendance, as well as from the Governor of Chonburi Province, the Deputy Governor of Trat Province, the Photographer to the King, the President of the Pattaya Business & Tourism Association, the Executive Director of Bangkok Hospital Pattaya, the Executive Director of Phyathai Sriracha Hospital, and Vice President Karen Campbell of the Bangkok Bank.
At the conclusion of the celebration, Richard Silverberg then updated everyone on upcoming events and conducted the club’s popular Open Forum, which is always informative; where questions are asked and answered about living in Thailand, Pattaya in particular.
Long time friend of PCEC members, Pravit, manager of Bangkok Bank on Second Road, wishes the club all the best for the future.
Nai Amphur (District Chief) of Banglamung, Mongol Thammakittikhun, congratulates the club on its achievements, including the Cross Culture Programme providing free English lessons for Thai staff in Pattaya government offices & businesses, and to Royal Thai Navy at Sattahip.
Toy’s “Angels”, otherwise known as the delightful children from Pattaya Orphanage, perform a traditional Thai dance to help PCEC members celebrate its ten years.
Founding member Preben, Michel de Goumis (Current Chairman), and former Chairmen Drew Noyes and Richard Smith make short work of blowing out the candles.
Drew presents Sermsakdi with the first piece of tenth birthday cake, recognising all he has done for PCEC, especially in regards to cultural issues and government liaison.
Toy (rear, 2nd from left) and staff of Pattaya Orphanage pose with the their ‘angels’.