Bonanza’s handsome heir, Songkran Techanarong, 26, opens up about struggling through his teenage years and how family saved his life by giving him the chance to prove himself.

My parents knew that I was stubborn so they let me get hurt and learn my own lessons.

I loved going to Bonanza, our hotel in Khao Yai, for outdoor activities. I realized when I got older that maybe my family would take me there, as the oldest son, so that I would bond with the place.

I got a modeling job when I ran into [scout and film director] Poj Arnon at Siam. I had just graduated from junior high school in England. He asked me to do a photo shoot for The Boy magazine. After that, jobs kept coming.

It was pretty fun back then. I met lots of people and hung out with friends. All of my modeling money went on partying.

I started taking drugs for the adrenalin rush. As a teenager, I just wanted to try it.

My family intervened after I had been doing drugs for a year. They were afraid that my life would fall apart, so they sent me to study abroad again, this time to New Zealand.

It was all so natured and quiet, compared to Bangkok’s bustling atmosphere, where we had parties till dawn at the pubs.

I had to be patient even though I wanted it to be over as soon as possible. My dad didn’t pay for my expenses. It was pretty exhausting to study all day and work all night.

These struggles shaped me. I realized how well-intentioned my family was and I had to give back to them. My first task was getting a bachelor’s degree. That is essential to having dignity in our society.

I chose finance because no one in my family had studied it. And finance is the life blood of any business.

My dad let me manage our family business without coaching me. He built his business with nothing but will and hard work.

I love to play golf so I decided to renovate Bonanza’s golf course. It was a success, and was chosen as the main course for the SEA games in 2007.

Our first concert event in 2008 had huge facility problems. But even professional planners don’t always get it right 100%. We learned from our mistakes.

Big Mountain 2 is meant to be a real music festival.

Neighboring countries like Japan, Singapore and Malaysia already have something like this. They can export their culture via these long festivals.

I don’t agree that our concert is disturbing animals in the national park. It’s in a different area to the UNESCO forest.

The biggest problem with being in a family business is building up your credibility among the employees. They might see me as a rich boy running his father’s business, which makes it harder to get them to listen to me or follow what I say.

I didn’t do everything right, but some of it was successful. After five or six years, it seems they’ve accepted me.

If you want people to listen, make them see the future first.

I am still involved in the entertainment industry because my old friends are still there and ask me to show up at events.

I have become a target for gossip news and rumors involving actresses [including his famous girlfriend, Taksaorn “AF” Paksukcharoen]. I get really frustrated about this. Besides, it impacts my perceived reliability, which is essential in business.

I can’t ignore the news. I’m a businessman. I have to follow the current social trends.

I used to underestimate acting jobs. I thought they were easy. I changed my mind after appearing in My Best Bodyguard with Her Royal Highness Princess Ubolratana. It’s tough to make the audience believe your performance. I really respect actors now. It’s an art.

I love to hang out with experienced people. It’s like playing sports with brilliant players. It will make you advance yourself. Don’t have too much ego. Just ask them for advice.

The most important thing in life is to have goals. If we live pointlessly, we cannot motivate ourselves to achieve.


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