Sawanit Kongsiri, Assistant
Secretary General for External Relations for the Thai Red Cross Society,
shares the history of the Red Cross in Thailand and its many activities.
The Thai Red Cross Society provides disaster assistance
to flood victims. This was the topic of Sawanit Kongsiri, Assistant
Secretary General for External Relations for the Thai Red Cross Society,
when he spoke to the Pattaya City Expats Club at their November 13 meeting.
Club Chairman Michel de Goumois introduced Sawanit noting
he has had a distinguished diplomatic career, having served as Thailand’s
ambassador to several countries including China and Australia and has also
held several posts in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs including Deputy
Sue K. of Pattaya Mail TV
interviews Sawanit after his excellent presentation.
Sawanit gave some background on the Thai Red Cross
Society and the worldwide Red Cross and Red Crescent organizations, which
are represented in some fashion in most countries. The Thai Red Cross
Society was founded over 117 years ago and its Council President is Her
Majesty Queen Sirikit. The Executive Vice President is H.R.H. Princess Maha
Chakri Sirindhorn. Red Cross and Red Crescent societies are guided by seven
fundamental principles: Humanity, Impartiality, Neutrality, Independence,
Voluntary Service, Unity, and Universality.
He then described the four core areas of the Thai Red
Cross Society; those being (1) Medical and health care services, (2)
Disaster preparedness and response, (3) Blood transfusion services, and (4)
Quality of life promotion.
He pointed out that they operate two teaching hospitals;
one in Bangkok and the other in Sriracha. They also have 12 centers
throughout Thailand for blood donations. In promoting the quality of life,
he stated that they do this mostly in rural areas to help the elderly and
disabled. They also produce snake anti-venom for all of Thailand.
Sawanit then got into the heart of his topic, the
devastating floods in Thailand and the assistance being provided by the Thai
Red Cross Society through its volunteers. With the aid of pictures, he
described their various activities to assist flood victims. He also pointed
out they also wear the distinctive Red Cross to show that they are there to
provide assistance and do not represent any particular government agency or
The Amari provides a
sumptuous buffet with red and white rice and omelets cooked to order, for
Pattaya City Expats members and guests.
One of their activities is the Mobile Medical Units.
These are flat bottom boats that can travel in the flooded regions; they are
staffed with a doctor, nurse, and pharmacist to provide medical and health
Red Cross Relief Kits are also being distributed by many
volunteers. These kits contain many things including non perishable food and
other essential items. He noted that in preparing the kits, they take into
consideration the area where they will be distributed. For example, in the
Northeast, they provide sticky rice instead of regular rice. Each kit is
also in a plastic bag that can float. These items are transported by large
trucks that were provided by various companies and others to aid in the
relief effort. He pointed out in several of the pictures, the volunteers
were wearing red Coca Cola T-shirts; this was because Coca Cola sent many of
their employees to assist as volunteers.
Mobile Kitchen Units are also set up and can provide hot
food for many. He again mentioned that all of this is done by volunteers. In
one location that was close to a prison, he said the warden allowed
prisoners to volunteer to help with the kitchen. He also described how they
had set up areas where volunteers pack the relief items in assembly line
fashion. Much of the items are donated and these volunteers take special
care to ensure that items are not past their “use by” date. They also have
available if needed, mobile water purification trucks. Likewise, they have
the Vejapaha, a floating clinic that was donated many years ago by His
Majesty the King. However, it is of limited use at present because the
flooded areas are too shallow.
Sawanit concluded by commenting on the amount of
donations they have received for flood disaster assistance. As of November
11, they had received cash donations of around 406 million baht. But, they
also had received many donated items of food, clothing, etc. Sawanit also
pointed out that the areas where the Red Cross is assisting are not the same
areas that are receiving government assistance, so that they are not working
at cross purposes or duplicating effort.
After Sawanit answered many questions, Master of
Ceremonies Richard Silverberg called on Pat Koester to update everyone on
upcoming events and to conduct the always informative Open Forum where
questions are asked and answered about living in Thailand, Pattaya in
(L to R) Suwanthep Malhotra, Paul Strachan,
Sripassorn Athayakorn, and Kamolthep Malhotra exchange pleasantries at the
Pattaya Mail offices.
The winner of this year’s Miss International Queen
transvestite pageant thanked the staff of the Pattaya Mail for our support as
she made her post-contest media tour of the city.
Sripassorn Athayakorn, 21, a communications arts major at
Bangkok’s Ramkhamhaeng University, met with Pattaya Mail Publishing Co. business
development manager Suwanthep Malhotra and employees at the paper’s Second Road
office Nov. 10. The woman-of-the-second-category thanked the staff and presented
a bouquet of flowers.
Company staffers chatted with Sripassorn and wished her well
before presenting a commemorative Miss International Queen edition of the
newspaper, which she signed with “a signature is not enough. There must be
Sripassorn said she never imagined she’d win the pageant and
thanked the media that has followed her story. She pledged to do her best to
uphold Thailand’s good reputation.
Mike Diamente, Bruce Hoppe,
Neil Maniquiz, Judy Hoppe and Roseanne Diamente seem to be having a
Dr. Iain Corness
The British Chamber of Commerce (BCCT) held their latest
meeting at the Pullman Aisawan Resort on November 18. With all the traffic
jams in Pattaya currently (a combination of additional traffic from Bangkok
and some inexplicable restrictions put up by the Traffic Police), it was a
wonder anyone managed to get through to the resort, but the hardy ones did
manage it. The numbers were also swelled by the Automotive Focus Group which
joined the BCCT members and friends after their meeting had concluded.
The Pullman’s GM Clinton Lovell attended, making sure
everything went like clockwork, and it did. Mention must be made of the
great food (and drink). The Pullman Aisawan has been setting a consistently
high standard in their hospitality, and considering that the BCCT networking
venue had to be changed just before the date, it made Clinton’s team effort
even more outstanding.
Jerry Stewart (left) gets
cooking lessons from Dusit Thani Executive Chef Adrian W. O’Herlihy.
Many new faces attended, including some networkers new to
Thailand, such as Anthony Collier, who has set up a branch of his
architectural business in Chonburi, with his 30 year old head office in the
Looking at the fact there will be need for staff
recruitment after Thailand gets over the floods and re-building commences,
JAC Recruitment Eastern Seaboard had Branch Manager Wilasinee Towijit and
consultant Krisana Thongbu-rarn on hand to make their presence known.
These networking evenings would not be the same without
the dynamic CEA group, and this time it was Projects Director Andy Hall who
represented the company.
Alain Deurwaerder enjoys a
drink with Russell Pang.
The Bangkok Hospital Pattaya was represented with Neil
Maniquiz explaining the heavily discounted ‘Father’s Day’ check-up packages
to those who were interested.
A very busy networker was J. Bou van Kuyk, with his card
suggesting that as an international business consultant he could find
solutions yielding 25 percent return on investment. He ignored my B. 100 as
not being the level at which he operated!
George Strampp (back from Italy) and Ron Kosinski
brightened up the evening, as they always do, while BCCT Chairman Graham
MacDonald ensured everyone was enjoying themselves.
One group that really did let their hair down was Dr.
Iain (celebrating his 70th birthday that evening),
wife Som and their friends from Australia John English, Rainey Cherry and
Ian Munro. Peter Malhotra, MD of the Pattaya Mail Media Group gave an
eloquent speech about Dr. Iain’s contribution to the Pattaya Mail and
to Pattaya itself, after which Clinton Lovell arranged a cake in less than
five minutes! It was demolished in even shorter time!
For those who missed this very good networking evening,
the next BCCT event will be a joint networking with the Australian-Thai
Chamber of Commerce on December 9 at the Amari.
Clinton Lovell GM of the
Aisawan Pullman presents the winner with his lucky draw prize.
Dr. Iain Corness (2nd left)
entertains his long time friends from Oz, Ian Munro, John English and Rainey
congratulates the birthday boys, Maurice Bromley and Dr. Iain.
Som is moved as the Doc beams
on being presented with his birthday cake.
Maurice Bromley is a happy
fellow with wife Renita and Som Corness in his arms.
Nigel Quinnell loves to pose
with pretty girls.
Boys about town, John
Hamilton, Craig Muldoon, Garry Irvin, Peter Malhotra and Paul Strachan.