An appearance by the newly appointed South African ambassador to Thailand highlighted the first joint chambers of commerce meeting of 2017 in Pattaya.
The event was generously sponsored by Bromsgrove International School, Amari Pattaya, Macallan Insurance, Jones the Grocer, Pattaya Realty, CEA Project Logistics, Pattaya Mail, WHA and Q Cars.
H.E. Geoffrey Doidge joined more than 130 members from the British, German, Singaporean, Australian, Dutch and Belgian-Luxemburg chambers for the South African-hosted networking event at the Amari Pattaya Jan. 20.
Introduced by South African Chamber of Commerce counselor Allan Riddell, Doidge came to Bangkok after serving as deputy whip for the African National Congress and as minister of public works.
SATCC President Graham Macdonald also welcomed the guests and asked for a minute of silence to mark 100 days since the passing of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
Amari executive chef Shaun Venter created a number of dishes for the occasion, biltong air cured beef, a braai station serving boerewors and roast beef brisket. A carving station with piri piri chicken and honey roasted ham, curries, frikkadels, seafood stew and a vast selection of desserts also were prepared.
The overall sentiment from the businesspeople gathered was that they had seen some small signs of improvement in the business climate and expected the next few months to look brighter than 2016, which for many was written off as their worst year in business in Thailand.
Speaking with the Pattaya Mail, Ambassador Doidge said he arrived in Thailand three months ago and expected to be posted here for four years.
Doidge previously was South Africa’s ambassador to Sri Lanka and stayed on for five years due to the nature of several projects there, including assisting the island nation with its peace treaty with Tamil rebels and the subsequent reconciliation process.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was patterned on South Africa’s post-apartheid commission of the same name and was set up to investigate atrocities committed during Sri Lanka’s civil war.
Doidge said his home country’s commission was unique in that it was the first of its kind to grant amnesty in exchange for people telling the truth about war crimes and human rights violations.
Doidge said the commission brought South Africa together, educated people and paved the way for a new way forward.
The next joint chambers event will be Feb. 17.