Editor's Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

GTH gives up-and-coming director Mate Tharakorn, who co-directed The Little Comedian (2010), a chance to fly solo with ATM. After the release of trailers and the soundtrack during New Year, ATM has created a buzz, and moviegoers waiting for GTH’s romantic comedy after the highly successful Bangkok Traffic Love Story (2009) and Hello Stranger (2010) flicks have high expectations. ATM follows the pattern of those two hits as a decent movie that’s worth checking out.

Opening Date: 
Thu, 2012-01-19
Monruedee Jansuttipan
As we usher in the Year of the Dragon, BK heads to China Town to talk to the families behind some traditional Chinese businesses. We find out how a new MRT extension and reluctant siblings are creating an uncertain future in Yaowaraj.

The Coffin Shop

Started by the owner’s great grandfather who emigrated from China, the Tia Heng Coffin shop has been open for 78 years. City regulations mean they no longer make their own coffins, while changing funeral customs have caused a real drop in business, but the biggest threat seems to come from the new MRT Line.

Current Generation
Prapaporn Euajitthaworn, 54

How have things changed?
We used to make all the coffins by ourselves. But now we have to stop making them at the shop because of city regulations barring businesses from creating noise or dust in densely-populated areas. We now have to order coffins from out of town.
This is a real family business right?
Yes, I used to run the place then my eldest brother took over. He went to run his own business four years ago, and my younger brother quit his job to take over. We are a really Chinese family so we still stick to the rule that the business must only go to sons.
What does the business entail?
We serve as an advisor for families wanting Chinese traditional funerals. Some of our clients buy their own coffins decades in advance. We let them keep them in our shop. We have one that’s been on hold for 14 years.
How is business?
It’s not as good as it used to be because traditions are disappearing. Now more people cremate their relatives instead of burying them like the old Chinese families did.
Does your business have a future?
Yes, but we might need to change our tactics. Our competitors wait at temples and hospitals for potential clients mourning recently deceased loved ones.

Next Generation
Saengchai Khunvisetpong, 48.

How did you get involved in the business?
I’ve been around the business since I was a kid, but I wasn’t involved. I was manager of a bank and had worked there for 19 years when I was called back by my family to run the business.
Do you like it?
I can’t say that I like it, but it’s in
my blood. It is my duty, as I am the son. I have to take care of the family business.
Does your business have a future?
I’m most worried about the rental agreement with the landlord. We are not sure when they’ll take the shop back. This building is really old, nearly a hundred years. They could decide to tear it down to develop the area because the MRT is going to open a station here. We’ve already bought another shop near Yaowarat to continue our business in case the landlord takes this one back.
Do you want your children to take over?
Definitely. But I have a feeling that they might not want to. They are young and still studying. They might want to do something else.

The Grocery Shop

Originally established more than 50 years ago by the current owner’s grandfather, the Yan Wo Yun Ta Sun grocery store sells hard-to-find imported ingredients from China, Korea or Japan. They’ve survived in a constantly changing market, but the next generation is undecided about taking over.

Current Generation
Joengsak, 54, and Woranuch Tangsombatwisit, 43.

How did you get involved in the business?
Joengsak: It was originally established by my grandfather, then my dad took over. He finally asked me back to help out about 25 years ago.
How have things changed?
We’ve been through a lot, like the emergence of the department stores’ grocery sections. We had to transform ourselves from just a grocery store to selling items that others won’t sell—like special salt soya beans, chili paste from China or instant noodles from Korea—and sell direct to restaurants instead of waiting for clients to walk in. We also created our own brand of soy sauce, too. It’s called Ta Kee Yan Wo Yun or Dek Uan (fat kid).
Who takes care of the business?
Joengsak: It’s mostly me and my wife, but I let my children help out with the accounts and sales to get them used to it.
Does your business have a future?
Joengsak: It does, but we need to continually change. We can’t just sell the same items we used to sell. We have to keep an eye on what’s popular.
Do you want your children to take over?
Joengsak: It’s up to them. I won’t force them to work here. I’ll let them do what they want.
Woranuch: I do. I don’t want to force them, but I have three daughters and we definitely need one of them to continue the business.

Next Generation
Torroong, 21, and Kwanwanas Tangsombatwisit, 16.

How long have you helped with the business?
Torroong: Since we were young. Mom and Dad let us help them and teach us what’s involved in running the business.
What are you doing now?
Torroong: Studying ICT at Silpakorn University.
Kwanwanas: Studying in grade ten. I’m not sure what I want to study at university.
Do you want to do something else outside the family business?
Torroong: Yes, I do. I want to work somewhere else to use my knowledge and gain more life experiences. I’m not sure about taking care of this business but I plan that I might help my parents with the advertising to make more people aware of us. I have no problem taking care of that but I want to do something else, too. I might continue my degree or work somewhere else for a while.
Kwanwanas: I don’t know. I haven’t planned anything yet.
What do you enjoy about the business?
It’s good working with newer clients, but some of the older ones treat me disrespectfully because they just see me as the daughter of the owners.
Kwanwanas: It’s good that I’ve learned how to run a business, while my friends just study or sit around at home.

The Decoration Shop

Things remain tough for this family, despite switching from making traditional clothing to Chinese decorations and sacrificial offerings, but at least Ussanee Sae-kang has two loyal childrens who are happy to keep the business going for another generation.

Current Generation
Ussanee Sae-kang, 66.

How did you get involved in the business?
My husband’s parents used to make traditional Chinese clothing for people in Yaowarat. As times changed, I switched to sell shoes or some newer-style clothes. It went well until the first malls arrived in Bangkok and I got really sick. I couldn’t walk. We used all of our money to treat me. When I finally beat the illness, I donated all of my stock and started selling Chinese decorations and sacrificial offerings. We are near a Chinese temple, so it is a good location.
Who takes care of the business?
It used to be only me. But now my daughter and son are helping me. My other children have families and work elsewhere.
How is business?
It’s just good during the festivals, like Chinese New Year or ghost or spirit Festivals. We have to save up then for other times of the year.
Do you want your children to take over?
Of course. We built it together, so I want them to take care of it.

Next Generation
Thanyada Sarapan, 39, and Kampol Kittithammawut, 33

How long have you helped with the family business?
Thanyada: About eight years. My brother and I used to help my mother when I was young. But I went away when I got married and worked for C.P. as a manager. I finally quit and came back to help out when I had a child and my mom couldn’t take care of the shop alone. My brother was still studying at the time, so I had to take over for him.
Kampol: I just started helping about two years ago after graduating from university. I studied advertising. Now I have to learn how to sell because selling Chinese decorations is all about belief. You have to remember everything that relates to the festivals, like people who were born this year must worship this thing to make their life better.
Do you want to do something else?
Thanyada: Now I don’t want to, but I have to eventually because at the end of the day, this business will go to my brother. I might open a shop somewhere else. But it’s quite hard because people always think you have to buy decoration stuff at Yaowarat.
Kampol: I want to take care of my family business. I don’t want to do something else. Now I have to learn how to sell it well. I even studied how to read Chinese to better explain items and their meanings to our customers.
Do you want your children to follow you into the family business?
Thanyada: It would be hard because the business might already belong to my brother’s family.
Kampol: I do. It’s our business.
Do you like working with your family?
I like it. The only hard thing in running this is finding good, reliable workers.
Kampol: It’s good that we have the family feeling at work. I can see my mom and my sister every day. If I worked elsewhere, I wouldn’t have time to be with them like this.

The Tea Shop

Originally started in China, this centuries-old family business has now grown to cover Taiwan and Thailand, where they’ve been in wholesale and retail business for four generations. These days they run a number of tea shops including Ew Kee Tea. While the children are happy to continue the business, they face an uncertain future due to potential changes to the area brought about by the new MRT extension.

Current Generation
Dandit Watthanamaneenin, 66.

Who is involved in the daily business?
It’s me. I’m the one currently in charge of the branch here in Bangkok. We have other branches in Taiwan, but this is where I am based with my wife and three kids.
Does your business have a future?
It’s OK. But we are uncertain of our location. We’re currently waiting for the landlord’s decision on how they would like to manage the area after the MRT’s completion at the nearby Wat Mangkon Kamalawat station. We consider selling tea a long-term business. It would be a sad thing if we have to relocate from Chinatown, though. It’ll definitely affect our business operations, as our shop has had clients here for nearly fifty years.
Do you want your children to take over?
It’s really up to them.

Next Generation
Andrew Wang, 25.

Do you and your siblings help out with the family business?
I’m quite preoccupied with my own projects, while my brother just graduated from university and my sister still in high school, so we’ve been quite inactive. But that doesn’t mean we’re not supportive.
Do you like it?
I’ve never really been a big fan of tea, I’m a coffee addict. However, I’ve recently noticed a growing appetite and appreciation for tea, so as my interest grows, I believe I’ll be more involved.
What do you do now?
I’m a hip hop artist and producer, and I’ll be doing artist management in Shanghai. I also design and have my own clothing line, Luxlivin, and do online marketing. I am exactly where I want to be at the moment.
What is your plan for the future?
Anything can happen. I will definitely devote more of my time and energy into the family business once I’ve fulfilled my projects. I feel like this is one of those family responsibilities a sensible son has to live up to—it’s almost like an inheritance. I even have plans on developing the tea catering side of the business, as well as transforming the tea shop into a more creative/multifunctional tea bar without compromising the quality and original image of the brand. But nothing is certain until we know what our landlord wants to do.
What’s good about working in a family business?
It’s much easier to communicate with each other and sustain trust. There’s no office politics—no one’s trying to undermine anyone else. The badside is it’s difficult to scale up the size of the business unless there are more people to delegate the workload to.
Do you want your children to be part of the family business?
If my children happen to have a strong passion for the business, then I’d definitely encourage them.

Food Stall

The Je Gung food stall has been serving the hungry residents of Yaowarat with classic Chinese dishes from bird’s nest soup to fish maw and coffee for over fifty years. Like others in the area, they are unsure what the planned redevelopment might mean for their business.

Current Generation
Meeju Techa-anantpipat, 82.

How did you get involved?
I was born in Yaowarat. My Chinese parents sold clothing but when I got married, I had to help my husband’s family sell bird’s nest soup. It became hard to find quality bird’s nest, so we switched to selling fish maw soup, guaytiew lord and coffee.
Who takes care of the business?
My eldest daughter and her sister, who is in charge of the coffee stall.
How is business?
It’s OK. We can make a living.
Does your business have a future?
We’re not too sure about the development plan for Yaowarat after the MRT station is built. We might not be able to sell on the street anymore.

Next Generation
Thipmanee Techa-anantpipat, 52.

How did you get involved in the business?
I have helped my mom sell food since I was a kid. I also realized I wasn’t good at studying, So I decided to come take care of the business after grade 7.
Did you ever want to do something else?
I don’t have much education and this is the only thing I know. It can support my family. That’s all I know.
Do you want your children to take over the business?
I don’t have any but I do have nephews and nieces. All I want is to get them the best education they can. I won’t force them to do this. Still they come out to help on the weekend because it’s the busiest time.
What do you enjoy about the business?
It’s tiring, but it also makes me proud that I can take care of all my family members.

THE THREAT MRT Extension at Yaowarat

Project: MRT Hualampong – Bangkae – Putthamonthon Sai 4
Distance: 21.8 kilometers
Timeline: 2011-2014
Stations planned: 15 (Wat Mangkon Kamalawat, Wang Burapha, Sanam Chai, Itsaraphap, Tha Phra, Bang Phai, Bang Wa, Phet Kasem 48, Phasi Charoen, Bang Khae, Lak Song, Phutthamonthon Sai 2, Thawi Watthana, Phutthamonthon Sai 3 and Phutthamonthon Sai 4)
Construction issues: The route of the line from MRT Hualampong to Bangkae runs along Charoenkrung Road (Wat Mangkorn Kamalawat station), and the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) are currently negotiating to expropriate the land. The exact location of some of the station entrances and the development plans for the area as a whole have still not be confirmed.


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For years, the news reporter-turned-politician Mallika Boonmeetrakul, 38, was best known for her work with high-profile members of the Democrat Party, like MR Sukhumbhand. These days she’s making headlines thanks to her suggestion to block social networking sites in a bid to stop the spread of lese-majeste content—and for kicking Puea Thai’s bad boy MP Karun Hosakul.

My family has taken part in local politics for a long time. My grandfather was a head of a village in Payao province, and my dad became a member of the District Administration Organization (DAO).

Back then I felt nothing towards politics. It was just the way of life for my family. I never thought that I wanted to be a part of it.

I wanted to be a reporter since the eighth grade. I also had another passion to be a national athlete.

One of my dreams came true when I got on the national cycle team in 1993. I went to many competitions, including the Asian Games at Hiroshima, but I never won any medals.

I started working part-time as a writer for various publications while studying. Then I became a finance reporter at the Thai Financial newspaper.

After working for years, I realized the field that I wanted to work in most was political reporting. The opportunity came in 1997 when ITV was recruiting new reporters.

I built my brand as an investigation reporter. I investigated the corruption in politics and the police. My program called Sor Nor ITV (ITV Police Station), which investigated the police taking bribes. I managed to take down some superintendents and the deputy director of the police because they were caught taking bribes. Many politicians knew me from this coverage.

I never have a fear of death or anyone while being an investigative reporter. Mallika is all about freedom and liberty. I will go as far as I can. It’s my philosophy.

I always express what I feel. It’s my character. I even had fights with editors or producers when they tried to cut or soften my content. For everything I have done, I have worked 100% with my spirit and good conscious.

I swear I’ve never dreamed of being a politician. I even despised them.

I changed my mind in Thaksin’s era. I saw the weaknesses of journalists in reporting the truth. Those who run the media have power. It’s dangerous. It would be good to be part of the system to get rid of bad people, and being a politician is a good position.

Thaksin asked me to join his party, but I turned down the offer because I saw a lot of his misconduct. I finally agreed to join Sanan Kajornprasart’s party but I lost the election.

I felt OK when I lost two elections as a Democrat member. Even though I wasn’t an MP, I could still effect change. As an assistant for ministers, I actually think I accomplished more than some MPs. Anyway, I still want to win an election. It’s the top goal of a politician to be an MP. I would be more proud.

I didn’t intend to block Facebook or Twitter. It was just a sarcastic comment, in response to a lack of law enforcement of the lese-majeste law by the government. There is a lot of offensive content on the Internet, and officials just keep saying it’s too hard to fight.

I admit it’s impossible to block social networks these days. But if some day we don’t have them, we should learn to live with other social networks, too.

We should make Mark Zuckerberg and the YouTube owners realize their inventions are weapons, too. The Cyber Warrier group that I created will monitor them all.

I’m addicted to social networks. I post messages and am online throughout the day. Sometimes I also feel bored that they lack of flesh-and-blood. So I stopped playing for three days, but then I came back.

Kicking Karun Hosakul was an emotional accident. It’s not a big deal, this person is meaningless to me. I kicked him that day because he acted like an asshole. He stood over the head of my ex-boss, Bangkok Governor M.R.Sukhumbhand Paribatra. I told him so, but he shouted back at me and also used his hip to bump my leg. I was really pissed off, so I just kicked him.

I would kick anyone who did that, even if it wasn’t Karun.

I have no problem working in a male-dominated field. I have even been told that I have too strong a character.

I totally love to watch romantic Korean series. I watch every popular series, like Coffee Prince. I love how you have no idea what will happen next, unlike Thai lakorn, where you can always guess.

I already achieved my biggest dream, which was being a reporter. That was my goal. Whatever I get after this is all a bonus.

I always set up goals and check up every three months and ask myself, “Did I achieve it yet?” It’s a good way to live your life. It also makes me proud when I achieve that goal, even if it’s just a tiny thing for someone else.


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His experiences during the political unrest of the 1970s led “Tor” Maroot Sarowat, 54, to fully appreciate the power of the media and led him to become one of Thailand’s most influential lakorn directors. These days he looks to help the next generation through his lectures and his ongoing work fighting corruption, as well as continuing the main passion of his life: directing stage plays.

I dreamt of being a diplomat as a kid, so I tried to get into Thammasat University to study international relations.

I was a teenager in the midst of Thailand’s political unrest in the 1970s. Most of the incidents happened in and around my university.

The unrest made me change my studies from international relations to mass communication. I realized that the information from inside the university was completely distorted when it was reported by TV stations or the radio.

I realized the media are so powerful. They can change what people think. After working in the mass media for more than 30 years, I now know that there is no other profession where you can say something and have millions of people listen to you. This is the influence of the media. If you are a diplomat, you can only talk to a certain group of people.

I was self-trained in directing stage plays while working at AUA [American University Association Language Center]. Back then the stage play circle was very small. Shows would only get 10-20 people turning up to watch.

Kru Lek [Patravadi Meechuthon] asked me to join her team. She wanted to make lakorn for Channel 3 where actors had to remember their lines instead of relying on staff to whisper the words to them. That’s soulless acting.

I continued working on my stage plays as director until Gai Warayoot Milintachinda, my senior friend at Channel 3, asked me to direct a lakorn.

I turned him down for three years. The last time he asked, I thought “Should I give myself a chance?” and finally agreed. I promised myself that I would do my best, then when it was a failure I wouldn’t have any doubts.

I really loved my first lakorn Sai See Plerng because the leading female character was a real bitch. It was new for audiences that the nang-ek is bad. It turned out to be one of the most successful. We got so many awards.

I did a lakorn about corruption ruining a country, a love story called Prakasit Ngerntra. The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) liked it because it was telling people about the vileness of corruption. They asked me to join them, and I’ve worked with them for nearly 10 years now.

We’re trying to make a new generation abhor corruption. To see it as a disgusting thing that the older generation has created.

Corruption is the worst crime in this country. It doesn’t matter how much you take from others, even if it’s just one baht, it means you are corrupt.

We have laws; you have rights to speak out about corruption. We are taxpayers so we have the right to monitor our money. Everyone should speak out as this crime hurts our country. That’s why we created a competition to make short films about corruption [], to highlight the need to speak out.

I felt being a director wasn’t fun anymore, so, in 2001, I decided to move from Channel 3 to work at Channel 7. I wanted to be a producer. I didn’t want to be a boat staying safe in the calm water. I wanted to explore the ocean and discover new horizons.

If Channel 7 didn’t want me, I would go back to the thing that I love most, stage plays. I will do that until I die. Fortunately, Channel 7 accepted me.

I directed a movie Likitrak Katjaimae, which flopped, but it’s fine, at least I tried.

The lowest point of my life would be when my lakorn was put on hold for 10 months. I had to pay all my bills and my employees salaries. I had to work other jobs, directing stage plays and teaching in university to survive.

Lakorn or movies would be nothing without editors. You film them in a random order, jumping from scene to scene. They have to put it all together.

The charm of directing is getting to know new people. When I read a script I want to understand the characters as if they are real human beings.

I love directing stage plays because they are alive. You have real people on the stage, real flesh and blood, the audience can watch them. It is not like lakorn, which is watching the past of those actors’ lives. Watching a stage play means you’re alive, too.

I might stop directing in a couple years; I now feel I need to give back. I am now lecturing at universities, teaching mass communication and acting. It’s the happiest job for me now.

I want to study drawing and singing. I’ve never sung well in my life.


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Bangkok Sweety

Editor's Rating: 
Average: 2 (1 vote)

Here comes the latest in a growing line of multi-couple romcoms from the Thai movie industry. Unfortunately, Bangkok Sweety is certainly more miss than hit and is really just a pale imitation of blockbuster Love Actually, released back in 2003, with its similar concept of following the lives of numerous different couples around the New Year holidays.

Opening Date: 
Mon, 2012-01-09
Monruedee Jansuttipan

Here are five exceptional work spaces where you might want to be employed in Bangkok—or perhaps they can inspire your boss into an office makeover.

Saatchi & Saatchi

Achingly cool workshop


Joel Clement, regional creative director of Saatchi & Saatchi

What was the inspiration behind creating this office?
We happened to be moving our office so we wanted to do something very different, as a signal of the renewal of the company. I’d been following a fun Thai architecture and design firm called Supermachine and told them that we had a small space, small budget, but that I wanted the most fun office in Bangkok. I want to make the staff happy, inspire creativity, and bring us all together. A few people in our office are into fixed gear bikes so I was inspired by that. Supermachine came back with great ideas that blew me away. Our reception desk is a bus with wheels you can move around. The meeting table is two tables made up of nine bicycle frames. They can move and be separated or joined together as one big meeting table. In the creative department, there is a huge wall hanging we call the “monster” which we use to put work on, but employees can use it to keep their bike accessories too. I wanted to put people’s interests into the office so they feel like they are really a part of it.
What are the employees’ favorite spots?
When we first got here, the funky living room has some good backdrops for photos and was very popular. Another one is the two individual meeting booths, they’re like café-style seating where people can sit and share ideas, have small meetings, or just have lunch. We’re also planning to make our balcony into a kind of playground where we can ride our bikes and have a weekly barbecue party.
Does it work? Is there an increase in productivity?
It does, there’s been a real difference in the energy level that our employees bring to work. For instance, we took down all the walls in the creative department because we wanted to eliminate the boundaries between people and encourage more interaction. We’ve got this energy of people shouting across tables and walking around, it has really brought us together. We get more done in a shorter time.
Location: 12 /F, Sindhorn Tower, Wireless Road
Space: 500 square meters with 600 square meter balcony
Staff: 40 people
Designed by: Supermachine Studio


Better than Home

Vatcharapong Siripark, senior vice president of Dtac

What was the inspiration behind creating this office?
Before we moved, our offices were located in five different areas which caused problems with communication. We needed a new office to expand and combine our operations and improve our corporate culture. At the time, Chamchuree Square was the only building with enough space available, so we chose here. Our main focus was the well-being of our staff; we wanted a place that’s convenient and would improve employees’ lives by providing accommodation and entertainment. Our brief to the interior design firm, Hassel, was that we don’t want to build an office; we want to build a home. That’s why we called it Dtac House.
What are the employees’ favorite spots?
There are quite a lot. First, would be the slide by the stairs­­­­, between the 31st and 32nd floor—people love sliding down, it gets them in touch with their younger side. Second would be our library where people can come and relax, read or even borrow books, music and movies. Then there is the Recreational Room on the 38th floor, where employees can engage in many fun activities such as karaoke, yoga, fitness, aerobics, pool, indoor soccer—there’s even a two-lane indoor jogging track. We also have a bakery, coffee shop, and smoothie shop, which all come from street stalls that we asked our employees to pick. We don’t charge them rent so they can sell their goods at a cheaper price for our employees.
Does it work? Is there an increase in productivity?
Definitely, we have a yearly employee checkup where we ask our staff how happy they are working here. Before we moved, our employees were 60% happy, but after the move, our employees were 80% happy. It’s also much easier to communicate and coordinate with each other now since we’re all in one place.
Location: Chamchuri Square, L22-41
Space: 60,000 square meters
Staff: 3,000 people
Designed by: HASSELL

Sun Systems

Ultimate frat house

Nutapong Jatabut, CEO of Sun Systems

What was the inspiration behind creating this office?
We’re a software company creating software like phone top-up programs for mobile companies. We have to keep programs up and running 24/7, which means our employees have to work late. Our old office didn’t have air-con after office hours or bathrooms for those who had to stay overnight. People worked hard but they would hardly interact with each other. They just kept their eyes on their laptop screen. I wanted to break that barrier since communication is vital for a company like us. I wanted to make them happier when they’re working. Humans are the most valuable resource in this office. Creating a good programmer takes three years so we have to make them happy to work with us. An intern student introduced me to Amata Lupaiboon, a famous architecture. I told him that I wanted a fun open plan office with a bit of a bar-vibe, like “100 Ratchadamri” (now Falabella), and we got it. It’s really cool. It’s also very energy efficient. We use only 30% of the lights in here because the design allows so much natural light to get in.
What are the employees’ favorite spots in the office?
We have a little party every Friday evening on the second floor balcony: there are drinks, barbeques and games. We turn on some music, relax and just socialize. Also, there’s an antique pinball machine that employees and I love to play. Whoever gets the lowest score has to drink or receive some kind of punishment. We also have a foosball table which is quite popular. Then there are bedrooms for people to sleep over or take a quick nap.
Does it work? Is there an increase in productivity?
Yes. Employees feel that this is not an office, but something more like their own personal space. We have better communication, employees are willing to stay and work late. And as the CEO, I no longer have to monitor people individually, which can create pressure. All I have to do now is listen to people interacting, and I now know what’s going on.
Location: Ladprao Soi 1, 181 Sun One Building
Space: 1,200 square meters
Staff: 50 people
Designed by: Amata Lupaiboon, Department of Architecture

Boon Design

Sustainably stylish studio

Boonlert Hemvijitraphan, architect, head of Boon Design

What was the inspiration behind this office?
Our old office was in a shophouse. It was dull and square. It’s not a good place to have an architecture firm. An office should reflect your skill and identity, so I decided to build a new place. My original idea was that I wanted to build an office from things that are leftover. So I went to a junkyard where they sell containers. At first I thought I’d buy only one or two containers but when I saw so many in one place, I felt I wanted to make it even better. I ended up buying eight containers. I designed this office by myself. I put space and added value as the core of the design with one belief, “Everything is possible.” I stacked the containers together to create central space, and the second floor was designed as a working environment.
What are employees’ favorite spots in the office?
That would be the main hall, due to its multi-functional use. There is a bar counter and a dining table where they can sit and relax. The bar counter doesn’t have booze or coffee yet but we plan to do that. We always have a small party to celebrate every project that we finish. I also plan to do a meditation course for those who are interested because I think it’s a good way to put your life in balance. I won’t force anyone; it’s up to them. I also invite architects from other offices to come here and exchange ideas too.
Does it work? Is there an increase in productivity?
It’s really helped for our image that we can show our office as the symbol of an architecture company that can be whatever you want it to be. For my employees, I’ve never asked them directly about this place but I kind of see their relaxed expressions. It’s hard to evaluate the productivity. I’ve tried to highlight that this is not just a place where anyone can work—you have to have talent—and this is what I can provide for talented people like them.
Location: 113 Praditmanutham 19, Ladprao
Space: 500 square meters
Staff: 10 people
Designed by: Boonlert Hemvijitraphan


Playground for grown-ups

Tom Srivorakul, CEO and Co-Founder of Ensogo Thailand

What was the inspiration behind creating this office?
We are one of the fastest growing companies in Thailand, going from just five staff to 220 in one year. When we moved our office, we wanted to make it a happy place for our employees. The average age of our staff is just 27 years old, so they are all young, creative and dynamic. While our office might not look particularly fancy we really focused on making sure our staff would have as much fun as possible. That’s why we created the game zone, which houses a pool table, table tennis and a giant LCD screen with an X-Box, Wii and PlayStation for staff to play games whenever they want. We also have added-value services for staff like free lunches, a fruit buffet, free massage and yoga classes. We also run a lot of in-house competitions, activities where they can play together like pool competitions, selling food for charity or even a dress-up challenge. We also have a balcony where they can have a small party every night. That’s awesome.
What are the employees’ favorite spots in the office?
I think it might be our game zone but also the balcony space where they can hang out after a day at work.
Does it work? Is there an increase in productivity?
Definitely. I have run three other businesses before I founded Ensogo, and this is the first company where I don’t have to ask employees to stay late! They volunteer to do it themselves. Our appeal and kudos grows too. The pride in working here has grown a lot: they are proud to tell everyone they work with Ensogo. The office makes them relaxed so they’re happy to stay late and work. We work hard but we play harder.
Location: 10/F, Abdulrahim Place, Rama 4 Rd.
Space: 1,000 square meters
Staff: 220 people
Designed by: Ensogo


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More than sixteen years since his hit single “Ta Klom Klom” took Thailand by storm, Paopon Thephassadin Na Ayutthaya aka Tar Barbies, 36, is looking to stage a comeback, writing off his previous albums as amateur while keeping up his foul-mouthed but charming bad boy image.

My parents raised my younger brother and I like hippies. They never forced us to be what they wanted.

Just once, my mom asked me to do something. She asked me to finish getting my degree. I nearly dropped out because my grades were really bad. I had to score thirteen as in a row to pass, but I made it.

I speak too fast. My mom took me to see the doctor because she was worried that I had some condition but the doctor said I was normal. I speak fast because I think fast. I have to say everything before another idea comes out.

I love to push things to a certain point. Then I lose interest. Like when I played tennis, I made it until I went to the junior open then I dropped out. I just wanted to see what it was like.

I hated the music industry after seeing every celebrity get recruited to be a singer, no matter whether they were models or boxers. That’s ridiculous.

I loved to write poems and got awards at school. So when my friends started playing music, I offered to write lyrics for them.

Those songs brought us a first record deal. One of my friends showed our songs to the record company and they loved it, even though we couldn’t play that well.

I was stubborn. I refused to sing “Ta Klom Klom” at first. I told the producer that the song was too pop. I had grown up with Nirvana! But they begged us to do it, so we agreed to record it just once. We said, no matter how bad it is, we won’t fix it or re-record it. It became our most successful single.

When I look back, I feel our first songs fucking sucked. I really hated them. Those who are real musicians will know that we were just crazy kids who played like morons. My friend used an electronic guitar to play an acoustic song. I mean, what the fuck? I recently ran out from a pub because I couldn’t bear to listen to our songs.

And now we’re back, doing music, after being away for eight years. We have more knowledge about music. We’re ready. I enjoy looking at the feedback from both those who love and those who hate our new single, “Korn Wan Sud Thay.”Some say it has a good sound while some say, “What the hell is this song?”

Music doesn’t reflect who you are anymore. I grew up in an era where everyone showed their identity through music, like by dressing grungy like Nirvana, or dressing as a rapper when they listened to hip-hop. Now you’ll see guys dressing like Way Thaitanium but they listen to P’Bird.

One thing that never changes after being in entertainment for more than ten years is that I won’t compromise. I won’t do things that I feel are not right. But I will sometimes change my mind about something, if I judged it too quickly.

I used to think acting in lakorn was nonsense so I rejected many offers. I felt that lakorn is just disposable entertainment. They have the production tools in their hands, so why don’t they do good things instead of having bitches slap each other?

My opinion changed after acting in movies. I used to think acting class was retarded but it actually helped me a lot. And now I love acting. I feel like I’m having an orgasm every time the director says, “Cut! It’s a wrap!” Because that means I nailed it.

I’ve never been famous with the mass audience, so I don’t understand what it’s like to be a celebrity. Now, I really don’t understand what’s going on in our society where “celebrity” is an occupation. They just get paid to show up at events, let reporters take photos of them with a product logo behind them—what the fuck is that?

I’m also pissed off when people judge me just because I have a big surname. There are people who post comments on YouTube on our new music video that I have the same last name as “Praewa 9 Bodies” [an underage driver who caused nine deaths in an accident] so it’s like I might be a bad person, too. I want to kick those behind those comments in the face. They judge me even though I didn’t do anything wrong. I intend to do good music, so why is my music dragged into this?

Money is important but how you make it is more important. It’s not about how much, it’s about being proud of what you’ve got. You can be the richest man if you’re happy.

I’m like a gipsy who’ll do any job that comes my way. Sometime I feel that my life is like being on a boat. It can get stormy, but I like it. I just wish the storms didn’t come so often.

I dream of being a husband who has two kids and four dogs. I wish I could have a wife who can grow old with me. We can hold hands, walk on the beach, just like old tourists in Krabi or Phuket. That’s really nice.


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Recently stripped of his MP’s status, one of the main leaders of the Red Shirt movement, Jatuporn Prompan, 46, opens up about the path that took him into politics, fears of assassination, Thaksin and the monarchy.

My parents were both widowed before they married each other so I had lots of step-brothers and step-sisters.

I moved out of home when I was only eight to live with my brother in Nakhon Si Thammarat. Then I moved to Bangkok when my father died three years later.

I lived at Wat Bowonniwet where one of my brothers was a monk. I had the opportunity to attend a vocational school where I studied to become a building contractor.

My life was quite trashy during my years in vocational school. I got drunk and fought with other school’s students all the time. I needed to stop and find things in my life to help me regain my focus.

I became a volunteer teacher in a mountainous region near Chiangmai. It was really remote. All the teachers had to sleep in a cave because there was no house to stay in. We later built a little house where we could live.

I originally planned to stay around 5-6 months but ended up being there for three years. I was so happy, even though I didn’t get paid.

Being a volunteer taught me so much. It helped change me to become more calm and aware, to better understand myself and others. It taught me that if you want to sacrifice your time, you can’t think that you’re sacrificing anything.

I came back to Bangkok to continue my education. I decided to study political science at Ramkhamhaeng University because I had been bound up in politics since I was I kid. I always went to listen to political activists speaking in public in Bangkok and the South. Many were famous like M.R. Kukrit Pramoj, Samak Sundaravej, Uthai Pimjaichon or Chuan Leekpai.

I became well known after the Black May in 1992. I was the last speaker on the stage before Major General Chamlong Srimuang was arrested and the king had to intervene to stop the violence.

I didn’t think about being a politician. I was happy to keep helping my politician friends plan their campaigns instead.

I changed my mind because I realized it was easier to get things to happen as a politician instead of passing it on to someone else and expecting them to make it happen. I joined Palangtham before becoming part of Thaksin Shinawatra’s Thai Rak Thai.

The key to being a good speaker is to say what you truly believe. People have come so far, they now know as much as the politicians.

I have to use three phones because I know my main number is bugged. So I have two other numbers to secretly talk with my colleagues and supporters.

My life hasn’t been normal for so long. I can’t walk in public like I used to. It’s about safety, not just for me but also my friends and family as well.

If they want to kill me, just kill me. Don’t drag others into this.

I try to protect my family, my wife and three daughters. I try and ensure they stay away from what I am doing with the redshirts as much as possible. I don’t want to make trouble for their lives, so I try to keep them out of the public eye.

Since Seh Daeng was shot dead, I knew it could also happen to me any day. My feeling is beyond fear. You have no time to think about fear when you are shot. You have no feeling when you are dead.

I wasn’t paid by Thaksin. Death and freedom can’t be traded with money. Money is nothing if you’re dead or in a cage. I can find money on my own.

I told Thaksin, “Don’t start the movement with money.” If they come with money, they will run away when the first bullets start to fly. There wouldn’t have been 91 deaths during the 2010 protest if the protesters had been paid to be there.

I never considered toppling the royal institution. I used to live in Wat Bowon where the king and royal members often visited. I feel good about and respect the royal family.

We were framed with this allegation by those who want to destroy us. I even named my oldest daughter, 11, Porpiang [Sufficiency, after the King’s teachings]. How could I harbor the idea of trying to bring down the royal family?

My biggest achievement and happiest moment would be when I was a teacher. Teaching is all about giving.

If I can’t be a MP any more, I will drive the Red Shirt movement as I always have.

You don’t need to act as an enemy to those who have a different political standpoint. We can talk like friends who just have a different way of thinking.


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The Apple Girls Band met at Chulalongkorn University and soon became famous for their melodious voices and unusual instruments: iPhones, iPods and iPads. Dubbed Thailand’s first Apple band, they are already a YouTube sensation and have played alongside leading rock band ZEAL at Big Mountain.

BK: How did the Apple Girls Band get started?
Saitip “Walnut” Wiwatnapattapee: A friend wanted to make some music for the Fat Music Festival. We recorded his song in three versions: full band, acoustic, and eight-bit sound. For the video, we decided to use applications on the iPhone. But my friends who are all male thought they didn’t fit with the “Apple style” so I recruited my friends, Fern, Vas, Tookta, and Pac, from Chulalongkorn University’s CU Band. Wan-Yen and Mint later joined the band while I was studying in Canada.

BK: What was it like the first time you played together?
Pimprapa “Fern” Chalermwongwiwat: It was quite intense, we only had two hours to practice and we’d never played the song before—and we had to play it on Apple gadgets!
Walnut: The power in the studio went out, so we were only able to record half of what was intended, it was a hectic day. After editing, the video was posted on YouTube and the feedback was unbelievable: we hit 50,000 views in a couple days. [Nearly 250,000 now.]

BK: What’s the hardest thing about these electronic instruments?
It’s frustrating because everything is so small. It’s hard to play certain chords or keys because of the limited space. However, it’s also more fun since there are so many different sounds.
Walnut: It’s like playing with a toy; you just press and have fun with the different sounds.

BK: Any incidents during the shows?
Yes, sometimes the program will just freeze or malfunction and certain sounds will play by themselves. You can’t always rely on electronic gadgets.
Walnut: Mistakes can happen at any time, what’s important is to know that the show must go on.

BK: Besides the Apple Girls Band, what do you do?
I’m studying computer engineering. I also teach the piano and singing; and I sing at The Wave, Route 66, and The Den.
Pac: I’m a third year student. I sing at private events and also do a bit of modeling for Lots Hop and Thiranon clothing.
Walnut: I’ve done a lot of work. I’m so hyper. I’ve worked for advertising agencies, night clubs and I was a barista in a coffee shop. I just came back from Canada after studying there for six months.

BK: What’s the feedback so far?
There are good and bad comments. Some people say that we’re just copying bands from abroad by using electronic gadgets; some say we should stick to real instruments. But they don’t know that we can also play real instruments.

Also in the Apple girls Boonyavat “Vas” Thanasomboon, Jamaporn “Tookta” Saengtong, Nichamon “Wan-Yen” Pongsuwun and Nissara “Mint” Sitthathikarnvet. See them at


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Fired from hosting his radio show on FM90 after he criticized the government on YouTube, Theera Kajanapairin aka DJ Judge still won’t back down. He talks to BK about what journalism should be and what lights a fire in his heart.

My family life wasn’t perfect. My dad died when I was ten years old and I had conflicts with my step dad. I left home when I was in grade 12 because I felt my mom didn’t believe in me. She thought I was a wayward kid.

I decided I would take care of myself and cut off all support from my family. I earned a living by tutoring in French and social studies. I spent only B100 a day.

What kept me out of trouble were my friends and school [Triamudom and Chulalongkorn University]. They were the twin pillars of my life.

School was like my golden age. I got to do all my beloved activities, like stage plays.

I first started DJ’ing [music shows] in 2003 but I felt really blessed as a DJ when I first hosted JudgeJudd [a news variety radio program] in 2010. I felt it was so me. I love talking about and critiquing current events. I wanted that kind of work much more than just talking about music and commercials.

The radio station closed down seven months later and I had to go back to DJ’ing [music] at FM90. It was really frustrating.

I posted clips on YouTube criticizing the Flood Relief Operation Center (FROC) officers. I just wanted to say what I felt. The first one didn’t get much attention so I did a second without any expectations, but it got massive hits and went viral really fast. It’s got more than 600,000 views now.


I was suspended from my DJ job at FM90 and got fired over the phone a month later. I wasn’t angry but I felt bad that they did it without any proper explanation.

I didn’t feel guilty after posting those clips. It’s just a door closing. Another will open. I had enough of being a DJ who just does music. And I will preserve the JudgeJudd channel on YouTube as my sacred space that commercials and politics can’t reach.

I do feel sorry for scolding members of the government too rudely. I should respect that they are senior officers in our country.

I felt angry when I was threatened. I got this call and then my car was vandalized. It’s like a dog biting at your back. If they don’t like what I say, why don’t they come to talk me in person?

The entertainment industry has this curse—people in it can’t talk about politics. They will get in trouble if they do, and have no idea who ordered it.

I want to make politics like entertainment, like it happens in the US. I want to produce TV news that’s not just reporting. I don’t want to sit in the newsroom without changing anything. My style is about critique and expressing my attitude.

There is no media in this world that is neutral, despite what textbooks say. Every reporter has a viewpoint. It depends on them to make it explicit.

I’ve stopped looking for new friends now. I am pleased with the quantity and quality of friends that I have. They’re real friends who are ready to be with me when I have troubles.

I’m afraid of money and business because these things can change people. I don’t want to be all that rich. I just want to take care of my family.

I brought my mom and my elder sister to live with me after I bought a house. I told my mom to choose me or my stepdad. She chose me.

I am proud that I can take care of my mom now. She has worked hard as a food vendor her whole life. I was quite happy when she sighed and said, “Now my life is comfortable and I’m only dying of old age.” That means she feels her life is good now.

I am not being dramatic. I don’t use politics to get people’s attention. Everyone needs to find a core in life that will make you feel balanced.

My biggest dream is to act in stage plays. They always light a fire in my heart.

Some dreams in life can only be just a dream and you have to move on with something that you like second-best.


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