Bangkok – 12 December 2001
The Amari Watergate Hotel in Bangkok was the venue for the first Fassbind Foundation charity cocktail and dinner evening held on 12 December 2001. This was an event that brought together the ‘who’s who’ in the hospitality and tourism industries in Thailand. This was quite understandable, considering the inestimable contribution made to those industries by the late Louis Fassbind, the man who earned the title “Mr. Pattaya” after spending 28 years promoting this city.
Following Louis Fassbind’s unexpected death three years ago, the local hospitality and tourism leaders in Pattaya formed the Fassbind Foundation in his memory, to be able to continue to carry out the charitable works that he had started. This included the Fassbind Medical Home in the Banglamung Home for the Aged. Prior to his involvement, there was no medical facility in the geriatric unit, and Louis Fassbind raised the entire sum to construct and equip the medical facility in 1986. After that time he also ensured its continuing maintenance and re-equipping where necessary.
Another of the aims of the Fassbind Foundation is to foster education in the tourism and hospitality industries, Louis Fassbind being acutely aware of the importance of this factor in elevating local standards and then maintaining such high levels.
At the inaugural event, the guests were treated to a gourmet dinner after a champagne cocktail reception, at which many of the attendees were meeting up for the first time since Louis Fassbind’s funeral. His personal secretary from the Royal Cliff Beach Resort for many years, Khun Ning, was resplendent in a bejewelled evening gown and was undoubtedly one of the ‘stars’ of the evening. Of course, Bruno Forrer, Louis Fassbind’s life-long friend was also present and gave a short speech to welcome everybody. In his speech he especially thanked Kurt Rufli and Roberto Jotikasthira without whose dedication this tribute to Louis would not have been possible.
Amongst the many friends who attended this testimonial to a great man were Lutzi Matzig, Franco Romagnioli, Rudi Merkle, Chatchawan Supachayanont, Hans Spoerri, Asha Sehgal, David Holden, Andrew Wood , Peter Cummins, Peter Wiesner, Ram Sachdev, Kusa Panyarachun, Patpong Ashijatapong, Poonchavee Montasevee, Dr. Iain Corness and Victor Sukseree to name but just a few.
One of the most touching moments of the gathering in Louis’ memory was the appearance of Miss Wang Chiang, a harpist whose demeanor reflected the haunting melodies, which greeted the guests on their arrival. Miss Wang came to pay tribute to Louis who had discovered her in Shanghai and was instrumental in her coming to Thailand where her talents and beauty blossomed.
During the evening the MC, Peter Malhotra, the Pattaya Mail’s publisher, kept the guests amused and informed and also delivered a short eulogy on the man Louis Fassbind and on the aims of the Fassbind Foundation. A raffle was held which netted around 110,000 baht for the Foundation, which included the sale of Pattaya Mail newspapers at exhorbitant prices.
Several collectible carpets, the personal property of Bruno Forrer, were on display and will be available for an internet auction. Details will be published in the Pattaya Mail very soon.
It was certainly a gala evening, and one which was so successful that all those present vowed it should become an annual event. It is always good for the leaders of the tourism and hospitality industries to be able to get together, and to be able to do this as a charity benefit is even more desirable. Louis Fassbind would be pleased.