Name Barry Osbourne.
Moat House Hotel Group two years. Royal Air Force nine years, National Guard Hospital Riyadh three years, The British Club Bangkok 16 years, Royal Varuna Yacht Club two years.
Family background Born in Hereford, UK in 1963. Raised in a Foster family since young.
Education Hereford High School, Hereford Technician College.
What do you do here – and how long have you been in your present job?
I’m General Manager of the Royal Varuna Yacht Club just over two years
Where do you live? I live in Suan Plu, Sathorn, Bangkok,. It’s a great area and I’ve lived there 20 years.
How long in Thailand? I’ve been here 25 years now.
What brought you here? I was on holiday, I quit after three years in Saudi Arabia, took three months off to travel and found a job in The British Club in Bangkok.
What’s keeping you here? I still love Thailand and have PR status, bought my apartment and still enjoy working.
Describe the RVYC Royal Varuna Yacht Club is 62 years old, Thailand’s leading sailing club, under the governance of Royal Yacht Association, UK. We run private and group courses for children and adults alike, and all our courses and instructors are RYA qualified. The club is set in its own ground with 28 accommodation rooms, salt water pool and beach.
Can you sail? Umm… no.
How many members and how many nationalities at
RVYC? We have over 1,000 members many of whom are absent overseas, and around 425 full active members from 30 countries.
RVYC good for kids? The club is great for families. We have free sailing for the kids with full governance and guidance from our coaches most weekends. Kids at the club seem to thrive and make friends, they’re always so active leaving time for mum and dad to have a few drinks at our beach bar. The club is safe with 24-hour security - you can’t believe you are in Pattaya. Many members never leave the club the whole weekend.
Do yachties have special tastes when it comes to food?
No, not really, just plenty of good food and good old stodge too. We have a full a la carte menu and a special board every weekend. Specials always set out, we also create our set
meals to share, which are popular with members sitting around with a bottle of wine or three.
Is the RVYC thriving? We could do better with membership,.We don’t really recruit from Pattaya, most members are from Bangkok, so convincing people can be tough. I like to invite prospective members here to the club and see us for themselves. The club itself is our best advertising.
Before RVYC, what did you do? I worked Kimberly Holding Group, Sukhumvit for five years and Little Chef, Bang Saen two years.
Your favorite job in the past – and why? Probably my time in the RAF – met amazing people, travelled quite a bit. The Air Force led to my job in Saudi and Saudi job led to the British club. British club was a great experience. It’s a good family club right in the heart of Bangkok. I enjoyed it as we had a lot of freedom to create events for members, take them to concerts, to Cambodia etc. The various events also brought the different sections of the club together. The BC job also led to me eventually coming to RVYC. I’ve been really lucky as I always seem to fall into a job. I’ve never had a proper interview really.
Can you Speak Thai I speak a little bit, I get by.
What are your best attributes? Very patient.
High point in Thailand? I think when I got my Permanent Residency. I applied myself and was told by my GM at the time and long time residents here that I needed to employ a company to help me with the process. I didn’t. I did it myself by just following instructions, turned up to the interviews on time and I got my PR on first time of applying. I paid nothing under counter. But there have been lots of other good times over the years.
Low point? Well, being knocked over wasn’t much fun, but my time in hospital coincided with the Tsunami of 2004. The hospital was full of survivors with their harrowing tales. The British Cub acted as a collection point for members to send supplies to Phuket. The club also assisted a lot of people in many ways. It was really quite a depressing time trying to take in the enormity of what had happened. It made me realize that my injuries were nothing in comparison.
Most interesting person you’ve ever met? I don’t really know but over the years I’ve met many characters to say the least.
Most boring Not sure if boring is the right word more of a nightmare was Keith Floyd, the celebrity British chef. We held an event with him at the British Club as he was launching his own bistro in Phuket. We emailed members and sold the event out in hours, so we decided to host the event for a second night. What a mistake, Keith was drunk, rude, and insulting to members. It was terrible and we had to do it all over again the following night.
British food or Thai food? Thai food. My favourite is Tom Saeb Sri Krong Moo Orn (Hot and Spicy Soup with Pork Ribs) or Yam Tua Phloo (Winged bean salad) or Gai Phad Khing (Stir-fried chicken with ginger).
Favourite hangout places in Bangkok and Pattaya
Tawandang. Also Khon La Fan, Pattaya – a big Isaan local bar with great beers, bands and Isaan food – Tawandang without home brew beer.
Favourite restaurant? Tawandang, Ros’Niyom, Junker Pub Suan Plu, Bai-meung.
Favourite gateway destination? That’s easy – Bali, great food, hotels, great place to party or chill.
Is Thailand better than when you first arrived here?
I think it’s basically the same. OK, Bangkok is more modern with MRT, BTS, more shopping malls etc, but the rest of Thailand seems more or less the same. I still get a buzz out of Bangkok after all these years. There are frustrations living here that creep up now and then, but given time these will be forgotten and something else will crop up. I moved here because I wanted to be in Thailand and I still feel thesame. I feel at home here.
Can you see yourself ever going back to live in the UK?
UK? No, hopefully never.
What’s next for you?
Move back to Bangkok.
‘Phai’ retires after 50 years at the RVYC
For almost 50 years, Mr Phai Singhathai, popular head barman at the Royal Varuna Yacht Club, has been a familiar figure to generations of members, first as a boat handler and two decades later in his present position. Last month, after several postponements, he finally retired as a full-time employee of the club, just a couple of month short of that half century of service. He will continue to work part-time at weekends and holidays, however, while his daughter Renu will keep up the family connection as the club’s chef.