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When did you first go to work in Cambodia, and why?
I worked at The Phnom Penh Post from 2011 to 2014 and at Khmer Times from 2016 to 2018. My first job in Cambodia was as Managing Editor of The Phnom Penh Post in 2011.
I was offered that job by my good friend Bernie Leo, a former colleague at the Murdoch organisation is Australia who had just moved to Cambodia from Shanghai and been hired as Editor-in-Chief. At that time The Phnom Penh Post had recently been sold to new owners, who took the paper from a fortnightly to a daily, published from Mondays to Fridays.
There was a lack of experienced production journalists there and Bernie needed someone who had worked on daily newspapers, and I had a lot of experience as a sub-editor. I’d worked on daily newspapers in Sydney, London, Hong Kong and Bangkok. On a paper that only comes out once every two weeks, there is time to play with headlines and captions, rewrite stories, choose photos etc. You don’t have that time on a daily paper because every night you have a deadline.
At the time I was offered the job in Cambodia, I had been the chief sub-editor of the Sunday Bangkok Post, which I really enjoyed.
I was offered more money to go to Cambodia, but it was the challenge of working on an iconic newspaper like The Phnom Penh Post that was a major factor in accepting the job and I somewhat reluctantly left the Sunday Bangkok Post. I’d also known Phnom Penh Post founder Michael Hayes since he started the paper and a lot of my friends had worked on it and it was a highly-respected publication.
By Maxmilian Wechsler
Master Group Corporation (MGC Asia) has been the official importer and distributor of high-end cars in Thailand including BMW, MINI, Rolls Royce and Aston Martin since 2000. When the group added the Maserati brand to this impressive list last year, Piyathep Siwakas was tapped to lead the division. His extensive knowledge of the automobile industry in Thailand and especially the high-end market made this a logical choice. Before becoming general manager of Maserati Thailand, Mr Piyathep was a top performer at selling and promoting the exclusive MGC lineup at Millennium Auto.
THE Maserati brand has a very rich heritage,” said Mr Piyathep in a recent interview. “The company was established by the three Maserati brothers in 1914 in Bologna, Italy. The car’s logo was derived from Neptune’s trident as depicted in the Fountain of Neptune in Bologna’s Piazza Maggiore.
“The Maserati brothers built race cars for another automaker before starting their own brand, and their cars were excelling in the sport of racing more than 100 years ago. Over the years Maserati cars won many trophies and awards in Europe, the United States and South America, and were a force in Formula One racing in the late 1940s and 50s.” Factory production of race cars was suspended in 1957, but Maserati cars continued to be used in Formula One races well into the 1960s. There are reports Maserati may return to Formula One racing in a partnership with an American team.
Maserati is now a subsidiary of the Italian-American company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), the world’s eighth largest automaker. Other brands manufactured by FCAinclude Abarth, Alfa Romeo and Fiat.
A deal with the Italians
“The old importer wanted to stop Maserati operations in Thailand, so SPA Maserati in Italy was looking for a new investor. They approached many players in the automotive business in Thailand and MGC Group was one of the candidates. MGC Asia Managing Director Dr Sunhavut Thamchuanviriya knew the former Maserati importers and he decided to purchase their stock of cars, spare parts, tools and equipment and expand Maserati’s operations in Thailand. All this was agreeable to the Italians and we got the brand we are the sole importer and distributor of Maserati cars in Thailand. The official signing of the agreement between SPA Maserati and MGC took place on February 17 at the Siam Kempinski Hotel,” said Mr Piyathep.
“We have invested in the brand and it has paid off. Sales of Maserati in Thailand increased 100% in 2017 over 2016. We have two showrooms in Bangkok, one in Sukhumvit Soi 26 and the second in Siam Paragon. We plan to expand the number of showrooms in the future. The Soi26 location is also our after-sales center. There we have all the high-tech equipment needed to maintain these state-of-the-art machines and staff who thoroughly understand the technology. Every tool is special. We invested around 30 million in the service facilities. We have many spare parts on hand and if a car needs something we don’t have it can be brought in quickly by DHL air freight. Waiting for parts is a thing of the past.
“The Maserati experience is all about passion for details and the performance. The signature sound of the engine tells you the proud racing heritage of Maserati cannot be ignored. It is a very special sound. What you see when you open up the hood is power and precision. When you get on the road it feels like you are driving a supercar, but in fact it is not a supercar or racing car, but a vehicle that is very suitable for daily use.
Highlighting major news reports over the past 50 years, the ninth installment of our 10-part series begins in 2007. The September issue covered 2002-2006.
By Maxmilian Wechsler
Last month The BigChilli published an article on the growing influence of women in the Bangkok diplomatic corps. Not surprisingly, the big majority of ambassadors and other diplomats representing their nations in the Land of Smiles are still men, and we are giving them equal time in this month’s edition. Following is a list of the male ambassadors and chargé d’affaires overseeing their countries’ embassies in Bangkok as of September 26, according to the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Ambassadors in Thailand
Launch of Korean’s Number One Kid Cosmetics Brands, ‘Puttisu’, Fulfilling Childhood Creativity with Natural Makeup Products, including Pretty Mothers and their Little Daughters to Share Proper Child Development Parenting Tips
How a tragic event was reported by the media on the very day it happened
One of the darkest chapters in Thailand’s history unfolded here in Bangkok a mere generation ago when the government ordered the police, counter-protestors and other loyal groups like the Village Scouts to quash a student demonstration based at Thammasat University.
So brutal and bloody was the ensuing crackdown that only recently have the authorities and public at large felt comfortable about discussing the situation.
The BigChilli has an extremely rare copy of the Bangkok World published and distributed on the afternoon of Wednesday, October 6, 1976, and is reproducing here the newspaper’s version of events as they appeared on its front page and subsequent pages.
The first inside page of the newspaper, for example, carried a story giving an “hour by hour” account of the crackdown, including the following updates:
7.05 am. Police officers claimed that the police firepower was inferior to that of the demonstrators and called for better weapons. Two policemen were injured by gunfire.
7.30 am. Shots were fired from inside (Thammasat) university. Shooting became more frequent at the university’s front gate.
7.35 am. Police marksmen received orders to shoot back at gunmen
from inside the university only when the target was clearly visible.
7.55 am. Members of right-wing counter-protestors attempted to climb the fence and enter the university but were driven back by gunfire.
8.05 am. About 20 students retreated to the riverside with arms.
8.22 am. A policeman was injured after being hit by gunfire from the Faculty of Law building.
9.30 am. Five or six vehicles left Thammasat University campus, reportedly carrying drums of petrol for the purpose of burning down Wat Bovorn Nives.
10 am. A large number of students arrested inside the Thammasat University campus were taken to the university football field and ordered to lie face down on the grass for weapon searches.
Assistant Police Chief Pol Lt Gen Chamras Mangklarat revealed that a number of Vietnamese-looking men had been arrested within the campus.
10.25 am. The bodies of three students were burned by counter-protestors.
10.35 am. The police chief said that the police were quite capable of handling the situation and that no help was needed from the military.
FOOTNOTE: The now defunct Bangkok World was the sister newspaper of the Bangkok Post, which for the only time in its 72-year existence did not appear on the following day and therefore denied readers updates of the terrible events that had taken place in the city 24 hours earlier.
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