October is a significant month for Thais
as it marks the passing of two of its greatest monarchs, King Chulalongkorn, Rama V, and King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Rama IX. Many activities have and are being organised to pay tribute to these highly respected kings who have contributed to the development and prosperity of the country. Two years ago last Saturday we lost a revered ruler who had been on the throne for 70 years. He spent most of that time close to his people, listening to their problems and working hard to solve them. Was it any wonder then that when he passed away, the Thai people felt like they had lost their father?
Last week there were several events held to pay respect to the passing of King Rama IX but I was able to attend only one. This was a photo exhibition at Leica Gallery at Gaysorn. On display were photos taken by the brand's three Thailand ambassadors of volunteers during the one-year mourning period. Tul Hirunyalawan, Peerat Wimolrungkarat and Chutchawan Janthachotibutr showed the sacrifices and loyalty of people who came together in tribute to a beloved monarch. The exhibition is on until the end of the month.
This month is also going to be one heavy in art and culture as it marks the start of Thailand's first bienniale next week. Leading up to this though is Ghost:2561, a video and performance art series to take place every three years. The first edition curated by Korakrit Arunanondchai runs from October 11 to 28 at various locations in Bangkok and features works by Thai and international artists.
A dinner was held at Coca restaurant in Surawongse featuring cuisine from Angela Dimayuga of The Standard hotels, chef Num of Samuay and Sons and Pitaya Phanpensophon of Coca. Not quite knowing what to expect, I arrived on the second floor of the restaurant where right in the middle was a giant shrimp "statue" made out of cooked crustaceans which was meant to be the shrimp cocktail and completely edible.
We ascended to the third floor for dinner and entered a room misted with dry ice smoke. When this cleared we found to space decorated with banana trees and tables covered with banana leaves, out of which we were meant to eat. Cutlery was provided though as guests tucked into a huge menu of Thai, Chinese and fusion specialities. Organiser Chomwan Weeraworawit welcomed the group of art aficionados, supporters and specialists before inviting Korakrit to explain the concept. I was among a crowd that I don't usually encounter and must say I greatly enjoyed the experience.
Save My Bag
Back to the crowd I usually find myself in. Minor Corporation led by James Richard Amatavivadhana launched Save My Bag, an Italian brand of bags and accessories, at Siam Paragon. Founder Valentina Agazzi is coincidentally half Thai but raised in Italy and her business established in 2013 now has 23 flagship stores and boutiques in 40 countries. It was Minor's PR head Ardhawadee Jiramaneekul who first discovered the lightweight bags available in 40 colours and patterns, and believes there is a market for them here.
Nescafe's 45 Anniversary
I also went to the celebration of Nescafe's 45th anniversary in Thailand at Central World. Chairman and CEO for Nestle Indochina Victor Seah unveiled a campaign featuring three products, Red Cup, Blend and Brew and Ready to Drink, to nurture a stronger bond with the local community. Three new presenters were also introduced for each product: Pope Thanawat Wattanaputi, Panjan Porama Imanothai and Proymon Manasporn Chanchalerm.
I then put in a stop at the Triumph boutique at Central Rama 9 to check out the new range of underwear from the brand's Florale line. Lots of feminine pieces that you'd want to wear to show off to your partner.
Korean's Ambassador Farewell
And finally, a lunch to farewell the outgoing Korean ambassador Noh Kwang-il and his wife Chunwa Oh. Hosted by Juling and Watt Chirathivat at Red Sky of Centara Grande, the event was just one of many to say goodbye to members of the diplomatic corps who have completed their term. That's something that is a disadvantage if you are a diplomat--having to leave behind friends after getting to know them--although I am sure the benefits of overseas postings far outweigh the cons on the whole.
(Previously:Naphalai's Diary: October 1-7)