Now in its seventh decade, the club is a magnet for a much wider audience with members from all walks of life enjoying some of the hottest debates in town, presentations, book launches and congenial gatherings. It also continues to play an important role in the quest for freedom of speech and other media issues.
By Dominic Faulder
Back then, airlines, trading companies, restaurants and other businesses dominated the area - a far cry from today’s garish and moth-eaten nightlife haunts. Mizu’s survived until very recently with its tablecloths stiffened by the sizzling juices of countless Sarika steaks, and is currently undergoing refurbishment.
The history of the FCCT is the sum of its members – a long list of characters who have played fascinating parts, large and small, in the reporting of Southeast Asia. The FCCT’s principal founder, Jorges Orgibet, rolled up in Thailand with the US Office of War Information at the end of World War II and set up the US Information Service (USIS) office. A journeyman journalist and public relations man who in 1953 served as the first bureau chief for the Associated Press (AP), Orgibet never left. He passed away in 1986 at the Bangkok Nursing Home.
Alex Wu, a Chinese-language editor with USIS, and Prasong Wittaya of United Press, who served several terms as the club’s president, also played key roles.
Alexander MacDonald, the station chief after the war of the US Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency, founded the Bangkok Post in 1946. However, he was chased out of Thailand by 1955 before the FCCT really got going.