7th EBAC meeting took place in Bangkok last Sunday. Due to the still on-going political situation, the UN building in Rachadamnern was closed and the meeting was kindly hosted by the Chairman of Greenspot Co., Ltd. Mr. Chote Sophonpanich at their office. It was nice to see some familiar faces, but even nicer to see a half room full of new faces and more younger generation as well.
The whole weekend became quite action packed as both task forces that I am part of had meetings at the British Club, scheduled for the day before the EBAC meeting. Green Business Task Force chaired by Mr. Carson Wen opened the day with an inaugural meeting for the members to get to know each other better and select the projects to support the UN ESCAP Sustainable Business Goals.
It was really nice to meet a room full of new people – all working in green business. Carson opened the meeting as the Chair welcoming everyone to the meeting and thanking all for coming despite the political crisis situation. Ms. Barbara Meynert, who chairs the Connectivity Task Force, spoke about ESCAP and their Sustainable Development Network.
In the introduction session, I witnessed three very interesting presentations about clean energy: wind, bio fuel and ground energy storing by Gilad Regev, Anthony Dixon and Bruce Hicks respectively.›› continue reading
Vacations are luxury that I can rarely afford. This time was different though: Wisa won flight tickets for two to Tokyo at her company’s Christmas lucky draw, so I had no excuses to take time off.
While having traveled in South East Asia quite extensively, I had previously missed out Japan completely. I used to live in a Japanese populated area in Bangkok for few years, so I wasn’t entirely off guard what to expect, but was still blown away – positively so. Unfortunately we didn’t have a tour guide, but still we managed just fine.
Being such a huge city (13 million population), Tokyo is incredibly organized. Everything works, I mean everything really works. The airport reminded me of Hong Kong in some ways: it was easy to get from the airport to the center by train/metro. 60 km was done in about 40 minutes and boom, we were right in the middle of the action.
The hotel we stayed in was in a walking distance from the Tokyo station, and after a few broken English consultations we found it quite easily. The hotel, Sotetsu Fresa Inn Tokyo Kyobashi, was quite new and very clean. The room was really small, but served it’s purpose for us as the base during the 4 nights stay.›› continue reading
We did a brief one-nighter in Hong Kong earlier this week to meet our partners in a new joint venture. I’m sure the official news release will come out shortly, and I don’t want to be a spoiler, so I will treat the subject discreetly here.
I was introduced to one of the partners earlier last year, and we met, again, in Hong Kong. He was keen to learn more about 3D printing and we spent hours just talking and brainstorming the business possibilities. That’s when the idea for the venture sparked, and he started to build it further. We then met in Bangkok in a larger get together and spent some time around the idea.
It took quite a lot of email and call exchange, but it all went very smoothly, even though we were not sitting in the same city. Talking about the necessity for email and internet these days. This would have been impossible without them.
So this time we actually got face to face into the same room. We met at one of the partner’s office in Sheung Wan area and signed off the necessary founding documents. From there we headed out for a few to change to more casual environment, and then onwards to Shanghai Fraternity Association club for dinner.›› continue reading
Songkran only comes once a year (thank god) and it’s the time for all the kids and child minded to roll up their sleeves and dig out their super soakers. Songkran is a new year festival celebrated in Thailand, and some other South East Asian cultures. In Thailand it’s celebrated normally from April 13-15, with few exceptions such as Chiang Mai where the party goes on for 6 days. Songkran has a long history and traditions of which relate to purifying by throwing water upon others.
Personally I have had my Songkran fun over the years, and these days I just prefer to go somewhere quiet and hope being isolated enough to escape the – sometimes fierce – water war. Usually I fail, which was the case again this year.
My holiday travels are quite limited to Wisa’s Thai labor law holidays, but Songkran is one of the few times in a year when we can escape Bangkok for longer than 3 days. This year we chose Ko Kut hoping to stay dry.
Ko Kut (or Koh Kood) is a prestige island located in south east Thailand near the Cambodian border. It’s also Thailand’s smallest province with population of 4000. The pier Laem Ngop located in Trat province is about 6 hour bus ride from Bangkok following a 1.5 hour boat ride to the island.›› continue reading
Every once in a while I have the urge to close computer & phone, and just escape Bangkok’s concrete jungle. Unfortunately most of the nice beach destinations are more than 3 hours drive or a flight away from the busy capital (Koh Kood, Koh Mak, Krabi, Phuket etc.), but luckily there are plenty of options for the beach getaways near Bangkok. One of them is Koh Kret.
Koh Kret is a tiny 2 square km island located in Chao Phraya river in Nonthaburi province north from Bangkok. It is a man made island with history that dates only to 1722, when a canal was built as a short cut to a curve in the Om Kret part of Chao Phraya river. The canal was widened many times and finally Koh Kret became an island. Koh Kret has served as a refuge for Mon tribes and even today they have kept some of the culture alive through pottery making.
Koh Kret offers a number of temples, local shopping opportunities, pottery factories, and many beautiful river view locally run small restaurants and coffee shops. There’s not that much for visitors to do on the island, but that sort of is the point of going there.›› continue reading