After suspending meetings for the first months of the year, the Pattaya City Expats Club held their first meeting of 2022 on Wednesday, April 13th.Over 75 members and guests were in attendance to hear speaker Barry Kenyon’s talk on “Pattaya Through the Eyes of the Media 1992-2022.” His presentation provided a look at how the local and international media have responded to the many changes in Pattaya over the past 30 years.
Barry has lived mostly in Pattaya during those 30 years. He has worked in various capacities for the British Embassy, including being the Honorary British Consul in Pattaya and a volunteer assisting Expats at Pattaya’s Immigration Office at Jomtien Soi 5. He is now largely retired but is a foreign-cases consultant to a Pattaya lawyer and provides articles of interest for the Pattaya Mail.
Barry began by mentioning that the news media has had a big effect during the past 30 years. He said his first experience with news media was as a youth. This was in school in Lancashire, UK where he was the editor of the school magazine. What he published was subject to the control of a teacher. His second involvement was in 1983 in Haiti where he prepared press releases for the visit of John Paul II. His press releases also had to be reviewed before publication by a lady with the Secret Police.
When he first came to Pattaya in 1992, there were no English language newspapers, radio, or TV to provide information. English language news was done mostly through the distribution of printed handouts.Thus, many Expats were uninformed about important news. He cited the creation in 1992 of the “retirement visa” which allowed retirees to stay in Thailand on a continuing basis as an example as it remained unknown for many as its existence was not publicized.
This began to change in 1993 when the first issue of the first English language newspaper was published. Thus, the Pattaya Mail was the first and longest lasting English language newspaper in Pattaya. He considers the first 15 years or so of the 2000s to be Pattaya’s golden years for a flourishing media with their being many English print news, radio, and TV coming into existence. However, in recent years there has been a decline in the print media. He mentioned the names of several newspapers that came into being but now no longer exist.
Barry commented on issues of interest covered by the news media including one event he was personally involved in. But in that case, it caused considerable negative news coverage for Thailand both locally and internationally. In February 2016, Thai authorities raided the Pattaya Bridge Club and arrested the elderly members with the oldest being 84. Barry was one of the 30 arrested. Barry commented on the reason for the raid even though the Bridge Club had been in existence for over 20 years holding regular tournaments without any problems. Eventually, the allegation of illegal gambling was dropped, but an archaic law regarding ownership of playing cards the charge; the law was imposed by Japanese occupation forces during WWII.
In conclusion, Barry said that although the past 30 years of Pattaya’s history of change has been interesting, he believes that Pattaya will continue to change over the next 30 years. One item is in process; the making of a Medical City. A million square meters in East Pattaya us now starting development. It will not only include medical treatment facilities, but will include many medical related industries.
After Barry’s presentation, MC Ren Lexander called on George Wilson to conduct the Open Forum where attendees can make comments or ask questions about Expat living in Thailand, especially Pattaya. For more information visit the PCEC’s website at https://pcec.club.Barry’s presentation can be viewed on the PCEC’s YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1HTAQsQ4sw.
For more information on the infamous “Pattaya Bridge Club Raid” put that text into a Google or other internet search engine. To read Barry’s letter to the editor at the Pattaya Mail about the raid shortly after it happened, visit: https://www.pattayamail.com/mailbag/bridging-the-difference-55720