I was in Hong Kong over the weekend
But really it could have been anywhere. You know how it is when you go from airport to hotel and back to airport, you hardly have time to take in the destination. Also, I stayed at the Renaissance Harbour View, which had direct access to the Christie's auction I was there to attend. So I really didn't need to go down to the city street level. However, my host Prapavadee Sophonpanich, the Thai Christie's rep, did take me for dinner at the Michelin-starred Caprice at the nearby Four Seasons, which was really nice. Joining us was Jane Ngiam, who used to be the editor of Singapore Tatler and is now Christie's Singapore rep. It was great to catch up with her. I don't think it's often that Caprice gets three ladies having dinner on their own as we were given special treatment from a very attentive staff. Oh, and I also had a fantastic view of Hong Kong harbour from my room—waking up to that view in the mornings did help to remind me of where I was.
An Eye-Opening Experience
Never having been to an auction before I found it an eye-opening experience. Christie's takes over the convention centre twice a year for its spring and autumn auctions. Two floors are turned into mini museums for the display of art, jewellery, watches and handbags that are going under the hammer. Prapavadee organised for some of their experts including Dexter How, senior specialist for Southeast Asian art, to take me through the exhibits so I had some very informative and interesting sessions. Later in the day was the evening sale, which is held in addition to the regular day auctions for high value items; this was for Asian 20th century and contemporary art. It was quite exciting to see the way bidding jumped for the most expensive piece of the night, a work from France-based Chinese artist Zao Wou-ki which went for HK$176.725 million, more than doubling its high estimate.
Talking about high value,
In Bangkok, I went to the Breguet dinner held to showcase its high jewellery collection—a total of 80 million baht worth. Held at Savelberg, the timepieces included the exquisite Crazy Flower watch with three layers of baguette diamonds around the bezel. That alone costs 36 million baht. Can you imagine walking around with such an opulent piece? I would be afraid someone would chop my arm off to steal the watch! Hosting the gourmet event was Tipanat Lenbury, managing director of the Swatch Group Trading, and Weeraporn Tatiyavoranant, Breguet brand manager.
Designs For A Good Cause
Although Thais like spending lavishly on themselves, they also do have a kind heart and often donate to charity. The Ramathibodi Foundation produces cute souvenirs such as bags, scarves and mugs by leading designers to raise funds. For 2018, four illustrators have volunteered their time—ML Chiratorn Chirapravati, Somnuek Klangnok and sisters Pattreeda and Nulatong Prasarnthong—to create the Thai Thai collection, launched at Greyhound Café. They will also design nuptial souvenirs for couples to distribute to guests on their wedding day. Proceeds will go to the purchases of medical equipment for the Chakri Naruebodindra Medical Institute.
Unveiling of the BDMS Wellness Clinic
Also medical related is the preview of the BDMS Wellness Clinic. Since the Bangkok Dusit Medical Service group bought the former Swissotel Nai Lert Park Hotel and the shopping arcade in front from the Sampatisiri/Bodiratnangkura families, I had been waiting to see what they would do with it. Well, what was unveiled is a world-class wellness, regenerative and preventive centre that will attract both local and international clientele. Headed by leading anti-ageing specialist Dr Tanupol Virunhagarun and world-renowned musculoskeletal and sports medicine specialist Dr Jiri Dvorak, it is expected to tap into and help promote Thailand’s standing as the region’s top destination for healthcare services. What is of great interest to me are the anti-ageing programmes, something I and many of the country’s rapidly ageing members are in need of.
Opening of Restier in Thailand
I also went to the opening of Restier’s first shop in Thailand at Central Embassy. This is a brand of luxury latex bedding made in Thailand that has won awards and is known internationally especially in Shanghai, where it was first launched. Welcoming guests were general manager Teeratat Rangsivoraroj and assistant general manager Dhanyapat Sajjalaksana. The event was also to introduce its brand ambassadors Chompoo Araya Hargate and BamBam Kunpimook Bhuwakul of the Korean boy band Got7. That explained the huge number of fan club members waiting to greet the two stars.
A Quick Stop at "Fierce Fashion"
The event was to introduce latest fashion offerings from brands at Emporium and EmQuartier. An open-air catwalk had been set up on the ground level between the EmQuartier buildings, but the unpredictability of the Bangkok weather resulted in a light drizzle that caused the show to be delayed. It was quite spectacular though when it finally went ahead, to the delight of the huge crowd gathered there.
And finally on to R.Haan...
... On Thonglor, to congratulate chef Chumpol Jangprai on the opening of the restaurant together with Todd Piti Bhirombhakdi. Chef Chumpol is well-known for his innovative Thai cuisine and has been involved with top establishments such as Blue Elephant, Siam Wisdom, Vivarium and R.Haan (which means food in Thai). Spotted at the opening were Piti’s family including mother Arunee and sister Preerati. If you're there, you have to check out his kaffir lime dessert in syrup.
(Previously: Naphalai's Diary: May 14-20)