All posts by wordsmithscommunity

Bad-ass photos on Instagram

I know I’ve been dragging my feet a little with The Bangkok Consultant Social Media efforts, so I’m resolved to remedy the situation asap.

There’s some really cool pics going up on Instagram everyday now, so please take a look, comment and share the love. You can access all Social Media pages in the top right hand corner of the page.

Kind Regards.

Pic of the week:

Bangkok Consultant Pics

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Sponsor a thai student

Please sponsor a Thai student

In a royal address in 1961, His Majesty, King Bhumibol stated one of his fundamental beliefs about learning: “Learning is a never-ending process. Those who wish to advance in their work must constantly seek more knowledge, or they could lag behind and become incompetent”. This led to many projects being set up to help his people get a better education to much success. However, the sad truth is education costs money, and some students cannot afford the basics like school bags, books, uniforms, meals, medical store and so on.

In a country where everyone has a right to an education, it’s a shame to see so many denied their right to learn due to financial crisis. There are many organisations that can broker sponsorships for patrons and students in Thailand. The Bangkok Consultant supports the American Woman’s Club of Thailand’s program of student sponsorship.

The organisation was set up in 1955 to support Thai charities, and it welcomes woman from all cultures and backgrounds to get involved in their various activities in Bangkok, including weight loss programs and yoga lessons etc.  Some of their external contributions to Thailand include,

• community self-help projects,
• projects benefiting a community or group,
• hospitals, clinics, schools and orphanages,
• nutritional programs,
• books, supplies, scholarships, playground equipment, or teacher’s salaries.

The sponsor a student program is just one of the many projects, but we feel it is one of the most noble. For the cost of what many people would spend on a night out, you could help change a life, so please donate 6000 baht (per year) to this great cause.

If you would like to sponsor a student or get involved in any of the American Woman’s Club of Thailand’s projects then please see the website or call 02-712-3380 for more information.

 

asean-community-youth-project

Stephen Wilde The Factory

Exclusive Interview: Stephen Wilde

Just a few minutes’ walk from Chiang Rai’s famous clock tower is the recently opened community centre called The Factory. It is run by expat Stephen Wilde, an English teacher from Liverpool. The Venue opened its doors to the public on April 16th, 2016, and since then it has been shining a light on Chiang Rai’s dark and dreary back streets, where many young and disadvantaged Thai’s come to be inspired – a community centre that is working towards seeing a change in the city. Here is what Stephen had to say when The Bangkok Consultant caught up with him at the facility in January.

The Factory Chiang Rai

Hi Stephen, nice to see you again, how have things been at The Factory since you opened last April?

Yeah things have been going well. Last month (December) we had a gallery opening, and everyone enjoyed it, and our artists sold a few pieces too, which was great.

Cool, what other projects has The Factory been involved with to help the local community?

Ah lots of exciting stuff. We have been running workshops; we have instruments that the local school kids can use for free, and it’s a place where people can get together and share ideas.

Which in its self is a fantastic idea. Can you tell me more about some of the workshops you run?

Certainly, we have Meet & Talk nights, or Language Exchange nights where locals can come to The Centre and learn to speak some English for free with other Thai’s. We also have Yoga, Palates and Break Dancing lessons, which can be a lot of fun.

Do you speak Thai yourself?

Yes I have lived in Thailand for 13 years, and I am fluent in the day to day conversation.

That must come in handy when villagers come and stop by, who don’t speak English?

Yes, I also have my Thai business partner, Sai, here with me, helping to run the community centre.

Do you have anyone else here helping out with things?

Not currently, but we are slowly getting more established and our attendees are growing in numbers.

You are a non-profit organisation – is that right?

Yes, the first in Thailand. All of the profits go back into making The Centre a great place for underprivileged Thais to visit, but many expats and tourists also visit to jam or hang out.

The Factory Chiang Rai

The Factory is also a restaurant as well?

Yes, we offer a variety of Thai and Western dishes ranging in price from 20 – 250 baht, so everyone can have something to eat when they come and hang out. We sometimes offer food for free for those who maybe struggling. Last year we offered free food to local musicians who were struggling to make ends meet through their chosen career.

Do you serve alcohol at The Venue?

No, we don’t currently serve alcohol, but this is something we are working towards in the future because we understand that many adults enjoy a beer when watching live acts on stage.

So do you have many acts playing soon?

We are always building a list of bands based in Thailand that tour the country, and we would like to start having live acts play at The Factory on a regular basis. So if there are any bands in Thailand (both Thai and Western) that would like to come and play at The Factory, please contact me through the Facebook Page.

Excellent, it would be great to see some of Thailand’s finest play on your stage. What are your other goals for The Factory?

Well, I am trying to make a change in the city. I want The Centre to be a focal point for the community; a place where independent thinking is encouraged, and a place where talent can also be promoted.

Yes I can see you have many instruments here for anyone to use. Do they get used much?

Yes the kids like to come in after school and jam together. Some of them have great potential, so if I can encourage that talent, then it’s all worthwhile. By the time Thais reach their 30s, their potential to be inspired is significantly reduced. There is a new generation of Thais emerging in this modern age, so it is time to try to imbue some of them to be better than their circumstances dictate.

Yes this is a great cause and it is also fun too, by getting people to try different things and to help the community.

Yes, I first came to Thailand in 2000 with a passion for change and entertainment. So if I can pass on some of that passion to someone else that would be great. I want to see a young person’s talent realised and let it come to fruition. There’s so much potential in Thailand for the younger generation to shine, and I feel a revolution is in the air!

I like what you have done with the place.

Thanks, I styled it on Andy Warhol and Terry Wilson who both had places called The Factory; a place where artists can come together.

Yes it’s a very welcoming place. You’re a musician yourself, aren’t you?

Yes, I have played in several bands since moving to Thailand, and I often play gigs in some of the venues in Chiang Rai. I’ve also played in Laos too.

Stephen wilde the factory chiang rai

Yes, and of course that’s how you and I met when you played a 10 hour set Christmas Day, 2015.

Yes that was a long day, haha, but a lot of fun.

So what’s in the pipeline for this year?

This year’s all about getting some of the kids to form bands and encourage them to follow their dreams.

Is the Factory easy to get to from the town centre?

The clock tower is situated on a roundabout on Baanpa Pragarn road. If you come from the direction of Jetyod Road, you go straight ahead at the clock tower onto Suk Sathit Road, until you reach the end. You’ll see another (white) clock tower at the end. Go right, on Uttarakit Road, for 5 minutes, and you’ll see us on the left. Or you can see Google Maps for directions.

So is The Factory open every day?

No we are closed on Sundays, but this may change once we begin to expand our staff. Currently, we’re open Monday to Saturday, 11 am to around 7 pm.

So what are your aspirations for the future?

My biggest desire is to open branches in different ASEAN countries and to continue to build a network of international artists.

Well that all sounds very exciting, and I will be sure to follow your progress on all of your endeavours, and I look forward to seeing how things pan out this year. Thanks for your time.

This article is featured in the March 2017 issue of The Bangkok Consultant magazine.

Here are some of the events you can expect to find at The Factory this year:

  • Art Exhibitions (sculpture / photography / oils / water colours / digital art)
  • Book Exchange
  • Breakdance classes
  • Free stage and instruments use for school kids
  • Kids movie afternoons
  • Live Acoustic Music
  • Movie Nights
  • Open Mic / musician nights
  • Pilate classes
  • Photography Club nights
  • Thai Food (subsidized)
  • Quiz nights
  • Western Food (subsidized)

The Factory will also schedule these daily and weekly events:

  • Aerobics
  • Arts / crafts workshops
  • Book club – discussion and readings
  • English Camps / Workshops
  • Film discussion + viewing
  • Live international touring bands
  • Guitar Lessons
  • Singing Lessons
  • Stage Management classes
  • Yoga
  • Zumba Dance

So next time you’re visiting Chiang Rai, pop along to The Factory to meet fellow expats, play music, get involved in helping the local community or any of the above and more.

Recipes: Chicken and Mushroom Omelette

• 2-3 eggs in a mixing bowl.
• A cup of cold chicken strips taken from a leftover carcass.
• Six chestnut mushrooms sliced into 3-4 pieces each.
• Fish sauce and sesame seed oil.
• A wok (or frying pan) and seasoned oil.
• Ground pepper to taste.

Add one tablespoon of fish sauce to the eggs and just a few drops of the sesame seed oil; this is where the magic of this dish comes in. It’s all about the sesame oil, but don’t add too much. Three or four drops are sufficient.

Add some pepper if desired. Gently beat the eggs until the yoke has combined with the whites, but try not to over mix because we want the mixture to remain thick.

Fire up your wok and add the seasoned oil – As it begins to smoke add the mushrooms and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the chicken pieces and cook for another 20 seconds. Add the eggs and continue to stir with the edge of your spatula combining the omelette together.

As it begins to set, turn down the heat and allow to cook for a few seconds. Fold it and leave cooking on the other side while you prepare a plate. Slide the cooked omelette onto a chopping board and chop into bite size pieces before plating up.

Serve with fresh tomatoes or cucumber and steamed rice.

This article is featured in the March 2017 issue of The Bangkok Consultant magazine.

Recipes: Thai Yellow Curry

  • 2 diced chicken breast
  • 1 large, parboiled,
  • peeled and chopped potato
  • Peeled onion cut into quarters
  • 1 tin of coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon of Thai red curry paste
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of mild curry power
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of fish sauce (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons of fat (olive oil is fine)
  • Small bunch of coriander leaves
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Heat saucepan or wok to a medium heat and add the fat. Immediately add the curry paste and begin to separate with
a spatula. Add the coconut milk and stir together.

Mix in the curry powder. Tip: Mix the powder with a little water before adding or it might clump together. Put in the
chicken and onion and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the potatoes and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Add the sugar, fish sauce and salt and pepper. Turn off the heat and gently stir. Check the chicken and potatoes are
cooked thoroughly before pouring into a serving dish or onto your plates.

Finish off by sprinkling the chopped coriander over your curry. Serve with steamed rice and a mojito (optional).

This article is featured in the December 2016 issue of The Bangkok Consultant magazine.

Staying out of trouble with Neteller

For those who do not wish to indulge in a credit card, or if you have an insufficient credit score, this prepaid MasterCard could be the answer to your prayers. As a traveller, it is important to have multiple contingency plans in case the worst happens, and you lose access to your funds: if your bag is stolen or you misplace your cash card. Neteller is one of the better cards we have researched and is widely used by our team in Bangkok. Neteller is not a credit card in the traditional sense because the only credit available to you is what you top up, so this can be used as another source of ready cash if trouble strikes.

The Bangkok Consultant suggests a minimum of two backups. Cash is always handy, which can be traded at many money exchange bureaus, and it is always wise to separate your bulk cash with your day to day money and your credit cards (one in your pocket and the other in your bag), so if one does go missing you still have the other. Traveller’s cheques can be a popular choice but they can be expensive to change, and if trouble doesn’t strike, you will need to change them anyway. Usually, the cheapest way to draw on your income, when travelling, is to take as much as you can from an ATM in one visit. An ATM in Thailand will charge 200 baht to withdraw, so taking as much as you can in one go is the cheaper option. Your bank will also charge a small exchange fee, but usually, then you will get that day’s national exchange rate. If not, the ATM should tell you the price before you proceed. Increasing your maximum daily limit before you leave your home country is beneficial. Most ATM’s in Thailand have a 20,000 baht limit; others may have more, so making sure you can access at least that much can make it cheaper. If you’re paying 200 baht every time, at the ATM, to take out 20,000 baht, then you are only paying 1%. Taking five grand out at a time is not the most economical way of doing things.

Unfortunately with all credit cards, including Neteller, you will not get a good exchange rate, but this card is meant to be used in an emergency and not for drawing cash out all the time. Again, using the card for other electronic transactions (hotels, restaurants & supermarkets, etc.) is fine. Use your backup currency for cash transactions and use your credit card for everywhere else that will accept it. Always make sure you tell your bank and credit card company that you will be using your card abroad, otherwise the fraud department may block your card, and this always seems to happen at the wrong time. It is always best to carry what you need when you go out and store the rest in a safe place at your hotel. It’s surprising in today’s modern world, but there are still many airlines that will only accept a credit card payments when booking flights online, so this can cause problems for you if you don’t have one. Credit cards usually come with better guarantees than ATM cards, including fraud protection and other benefits.

Topping up your Neteller prepaid credit card to cover 20,000 baht is enough to get you out of trouble until a replacement card can be sent out. In conjunction with your other backups, this should see you through. If you do not wish to top up your Neteller card before you leave on your trip; you can opt to top it up online should you get into trouble, but in our experience, it is best to have at least some cash available. You may not be able to get online, or due to unforeseen circumstances, you may not be able to access your bank account funds.

Sometimes replacement cards will only be sent to specific banks, which could involve travelling a distance to get to your designated branch e.g. Chiang Mai to Bangkok. Of course, you can continue to top up your Neteller card and access your funds that way until your new bank card arrives. So if you’re looking for ways to ensure you don’t end up shit creek without a paddle, Neteller is a handy, debt free, way of reassuring you have a stress free trip.

This article is featured in the March 2017 issue of The Bangkok Consultant magazine.

VonHaus Nano 3.0 Media Player

Travel Tools: VonHaus Nano 3.0 Media Player

This little tool is a lifesaver when on long travelling expeditions. Let’s face it, as much as we all love to travel; sometimes we just want a day off sat on the sofa watching movies. At just 340g this miniature device is excellent for adventurers looking to travel light, taking up hardly any space in your suitcase, and you won’t have to worry about it tipping the scales too much at check-in.

Unfortunately, not all hotels in Bangkok and Thailand have any TV in English, let alone any movie channels. So that’s where this little beauty comes in handy. With minimal installation required this media player can be set up in any hotel room in just 5 minutes, so even if you are staying somewhere for just one night, it’s worth installing it to turn your stopover into a convenient break.

This device doesn’t stream from the internet but merely plays all videos and music previously downloaded. Unfortunately, many hotels around the world, especially in Thailand, haven’t caught up with the wide flat screen revolution, so your TV remote can switch between various sizes to suit the screen you are watching including 4:3 and 16:9 as well as others.

Some of the older TV’s in Thailand do struggle to work sometimes so having your personal remote control gives you all the power from volume control to pause functions and all other standard remote features. If you decide to stop a movie halfway through and head out for some supper, even if the media player has been unplugged, it will remember where you stopped, so you don’t have to skip forward to where you left off.

But, of course, many hotels do have the latest TVs, so the HDMI input will give you excellent results if you’re program was recorded in a digital format. Your VonHaus Media Player will play most files including MP3, MP4, AVI, MKV and so on. However it doesn’t play old AVI files, so if you are planning to download some movies, and TV shows, it’s perhaps best to try and get MP4 or MKV files.

This media player has two different types of input. The first is the old faithful USB port, allowing for a 1TB external hard drive to be connected, enabling you to carry with you several months’ worth of television for those long haul trips, if required. And, of course, you can also take a backup of your entire music collection to listen to on your travels. The second is an SD Card Input, which is handy for either watching movies or if you just want to check through today’s photos using the slideshow function.

This media player has two different types of input. The first is the old faithful USB port, allowing for a 1TB external hard drive to be connected, enabling you to carry with you several months’ worth of television for those long haul trips, if required. And, of course, you can also take a backup of your entire music collection to listen to on your travels. The second is an SD Card Input, which is handy for either watching movies or if you just want to check through today’s photos using the slideshow function.

The power supply is a standard, easily replaceable component that, in the unlikely event that it goes pop, can be substituted at any good electrical store, which in Bangkok are abundant. This device uses all standard components for easy use and replacements.

The VonHaus Nano 3.0 is a great product for the weary traveller who after a hectic day sightseeing just wants to come home and chill out.

These devices are not easy to find in Thailand, so it is best to purchase one online before you leave on your trip.

This article is featured in the March 2017 issue of The Bangkok Consultant magazine.

The Devil’s Brew

Most beers in Thailand don’t taste very good to me, and some of the stronger ones can pack quite a punch with monumental hangovers as a result. During one of my many stays on the island called Koh Chang, an old friend from the UK, who runs a bar, showed me a shocking trick with a bottle of Thai beer. Using a glass bowl, three-quarters filled with water, he removed the cap from one of Thailand’s most popular beers and placed his thumb over the top. He then held the bottle upside down in the water before removing his thumb. What happened next was astonishing. I could see the chemical preservatives being withdrawn from the beer, and after a couple of minutes the process was complete. After removing the bottle, he compared it next to an unopened one to show me the extent of removal which was around 15 percent. So for every large bottle of beer I drank, there was about a cup of preservative in it. No wonder the beers taste so bitter and cause such brutal hangovers.

Thai beers tend to be strong; the Thai favourite Singha being a relatively strong beer at around 6% ABV. The strongest is Chang beer which would beat Stella Artois in a bar fight any night of the week. For many years, I drank Leo, a good all-rounder, but after seeing the amount of preservatives used in Thai beer, I moved on Heineken; however I was still dubious to how it was made. The problem is that in hot countries storing beer is not always easy, and often arrives on the back of a pick-up truck exposed to the sun and heat of the day. Once it is delivered it probably doesn’t always go straight into a fridge, so preserving the beer is difficult.

I have been told by several people, often with much glee, that the beer in Vietnam is very cheap, but what the hell are they putting in it? During the Vietnam War, US soldiers used to drink 4% ABV beer on military bases, which used to arrive on huge pallets labelled: ‘This beer contains Formaldehyde,’ a well-known preservative. In my efforts to find more information about the types of chemicals used in Thai beer, I discovered, depending on who you talk to, it is either Glycerol or cancer causing Formalin, a derivative from Formaldehyde, utilised in the preservation of corpses.

Glycerol is widely believed to be harmless and is shockingly used in a variety of foods in the West for its preservative qualities. I have always been a firm believer that it doesn’t matter what the so called ‘experts’ say, no one should be putting any chemicals into their bodies, especially the amounts that are in just one bottle of beer. Just because something doesn’t give you cancer right away doesn’t mean it won’t cause sickness in later in life. Glycerol is used by the food industry for many things: as a preservative, a thickener and as a sweetener. It has been known to cause headaches, dizziness, bloating, nausea, vomiting, thirst and diarrhoea, which of course sounds like the effects of too much alcohol anyway, but these chemicals are not doing anyone any favours and simply cannot be good for sustaining long-term health. The more I delved into this subject, the more I discovered it is not exclusive to Thailand but all over Southeast Asia. The climate of many Asian countries is not ideal for beer storage and many chemicals are used to prevent sediment from forming in the bottles.

Perhaps a more immediate worry is the potential use of Formalin, which has been well documented in the past as a preservative in Asian beer. After chatting to a retired American ex-serviceman, in Melaka, one afternoon (over a beer), who told me that he knew a few guys that had died from leukaemia (which is associated with the consumption of Formaldehyde). He confirmed that crates did indeed arrive labelled, “Contains beer with formaldehyde,” which led me to believe this may have been where the use of nasty chemicals may have started, at least in Vietnam. Chinese beer is also notorious for Formaldehyde. It has been suggested their breweries add small amounts to the mash, to act as a clarifying agent, and although many companies deny it, it is my opinion, that many still permit Formaldehyde in their mashing process. Which is why the beer I was drinking at the hostel in Guangzhou was only 40 yuan (40p) a bottle. There is no doubt, in my mind, that chemical preservatives are being used in Asian beers because I performed the experiment myself and, once I had removed the chemicals, the beer tasted so much crisper, and I hardly felt any ill effects the morning after.

This article is taken from the book, A Learning Curve, by Paul Raftery.

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Travel Tools: Galaxy Tab A6

This device really is the ‘dog’s bollocks’ for travellers. I used to believe the 10.1 was the ultimate travel accessory, but, as it turns out, less is more. You can pick these up for as little as 7000 baht in most shopping malls. This latest model was released March 2016 and is the best tablet/phone I’ve ever had. OK, it does look like an oversized phone, but really it’s a small tablet, which can be used as a phone. Phones are OK for making phone calls (obviously) and the 10.1 tablets are a little cumbersome when we are constantly on the move. So this good all-rounder is perfect for travellers. It has a good solid design without feeling like a brick and the 7.0 size allows it to fit easily into side pockets and small bags, though if you intend to watch movies on it, you may want a bigger screen. The one downside is, like most Galaxy devices, there is no flash, so photo quality suffers in poorly lit locations.

The great thing about it is once you have mobile internet set up, you have the internet with you wherever you go, and it is usually a lot faster than most free Wi-Fi areas. So even when your sat on a slow, boring train ride you can keep in touch with friends or post photos to Facebook to help while away the time. You can also turn your Galaxy Tab A6 into a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot, allowing you to use your laptop with faster Wi-Fi speeds than your hotel is providing. There are several Apps that can make our travelling lives easier such as Google Maps or Sav Nav; or the ability to book hotels online at the touch of a few buttons. This truly is a travellers’ must have accessory; I never leave home without it.

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(The Bangkok Consultant)

 

new-google-maps-logo-vector-download

Top Travellers’ App: Google Maps

The original travellers’ best friend: Google Maps allows you to wander to your heart’s content, without the need to keep track of where you are. This latest edition also offers up-to-date traffic reports on your local area, Sat-Nav, offline maps, information on local points of interest, (hotels & restaurants) and directions on how to get there.

Related Articles:

Using Google Maps as a Traveller

Using your Happy Tourist SIM in Thailand

What can you tell me about Siam Discovery?

 

King Bhumibol Adulyadej: A tribute to a great man.

As Thailand mourns the death of a great man and king; it is sad that the first blog post for the Bangkok Consultant is under unhappy circumstances. However, rather than sadness, we should celebrate a life that touched the hearts and souls of a nation:

His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej was one of the most revered kings in all of Thailand’s history. During his 70 year reign, he set up many economic and agricultural projects to help some of his country’s poorest people. A ‘hands on’ King, he was born in Massachusetts, in the US, in 1927 and was the youngest of three, with his elder sister Princess Galyani Vadhana and an elder brother Prince Ananda Mahidol. After the death of his father in 1929, the young family moved to Switzerland where they studied Liberal Arts, as well as Bhumibol taking English, French, German and Latin lessons.

During this time, his nine-year-old brother, Ananda, became the new King Rama VIII of Thailand though his mother was adamant that he have a normal upbringing away from royal life. Following the end of the Second World War, King Ananda and his brother, Prince Bhumibol, returned to Thailand still both just young boys. Sadly, during this time, King Ananda passed away and, as a result, Bhumibol ascended the throne in June 1946. He was officially coronated in May 1950, at the Royal Palace in Bangkok.

coronation

Having a Western upbringing, and education, allowed the young King to recognise the potential in Thailand and set about trying to change things for the better. In an attempt to help his people become more self-reliant, in the wake and devastation of the war, he began to set up a number programs to educate rural Thais in self-reliance. When he was 18 years old, he used a short wave transmitter to form his own radio station called Ar Saw and would often play saxophone live on air, while taking the opportunity to ask his listeners for donations to some relief projects.

During his formative years as King, he had a very personable approach, shaking hands and speaking to the public on matters that were important to them, giving him the name, The People’s King. In ancient times, commoners were not allowed to gaze upon the King, and most Thai Monarchy traditionally would keep a distance from their subjects. As Thailand began opening up to Western consumerism and ideas, the King embarked on an extensive expedition to see the living conditions of his people across Thailand. As a result, he became highly active in the development of Thailand’s rural areas, and over his lifetime, he set up thousands of human development programs to help his people.

One that I was particularly impressed with was the Artificial Rainmaking Research and Development Project, established in 1969. The majority of Thai people depend on agriculture to survive; however, drought has always been a large problem with many families often relying on a single crop a year, which can cause mass famine if it fails. King Bhumibol took it upon himself to learn about this problem, to try and help his people and devoted many resources to studying and researching artificial rainmaking techniques, donating a lot of his private funds to help launch the project. Initial methods included releasing chemicals into the air via a Cessna airplane (and other delivery systems) that react with clouds to produce more rain. The project had some success. In 1999, he discovered a new technique called Super Sandwich, which gains more cloud density increasing the amount of rainfall. Today new techniques are being discovered and are being introduced to the Thai people. The King’s ingenuity for inventing the rainmaking technology has been widely recognised, as well as many of his other projects.

Another of his Majesty’s projects is called The New Theory, based on the ideas of Tolstoy and Gandhi, which are a set of guidelines for the proper management of limited natural resources to achieve optimum benefit. It teaches Thai people how to divide up their land for the cultivation of vegetation, rice and animal breeding (including fish), which should (in theory) give the farmers all the food they need for consumption, making them self-reliant. During his reign he had implemented over 4,000 successful projects and, in 2006, Secretary-General Kofi Annan presented King Bhumibol with the first Human Development Lifetime Achievement, recognising the monarch’s 60-year-long efforts to help some of the poorest people in his kingdom. Mr Annan told the King at the award ceremony:

“Your Majesty has made an extraordinary contribution to human development. As the world’s ‘Development King,’ Your Majesty has reached out to the poorest and the most vulnerable people of Thailand – regardless of their status, ethnicity or religion – listened to their problems, and empowered them to take their lives into their own hands

award

Among other awards, King Bhumibol also received a gold medal for his Royal Rainmaking Project from the Brussels Eureka in 2001. Being a highly educated king, he was a keen believer in lifelong learning and knew the importance of education and schools to help in the recovery and development of Thailand. He began funding many projects to help hill tribe children get an education and, in 1976, started a foundation to help people who had dropped out of formal education due to poverty. Many of these were practical vocations, which filled a huge gap in the market during this time. The King is recognised as a great man for all he has done for his subjects, and yet he held no political power, his status among his people is above all, and the love and respect of his Majesty, by the Thai people, is unequalled anywhere else in the world.

He will be sadly missed.

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(The Bangkok Consultant)