Longtime American expat Al Eberhardt is one of Bangkok’s great characters, well known in town as a man of many amazing parts, including entrepreneur, novelist, dancer, runner, retired businessman, urban philosopher, raconteur and co-founder of a high tech electronic project that eventually gave birth to 5G. He’s also a master of the art of zero wastage on his favorite cigars. Read on…..
Name: Alfred Eberhardt
Born: St. Louis, US.
Religion: Catholic, with Buddhist leanings.
Family: One sister, three brothers in the US. I’m the oldest.
Education: Bachelor of Science, St. Louis University, 1961. Also commissioned USAF 2nd LT (JET Pilot trainee qualified). I attained the rank of Captain on active duty at four years, eight months.
Status: Single. Fundamentally I am a loner and couldn’t have such an exciting life any other way.
What brought you here? Some people come overland to Thailand. I came overship. Asia was the place to be, all my USAF buddies were here.
Before that? I was on active duty with the USAF 1962-1966, with a further seven years as a reserve in Asia. I was working in Hong Kong 1968-69 as a 29-year-old USAF reserve captain during Mao’s Cultural Revolution.
First job in Thailand? Within one week of arriving here, I had set up Letter-Ads, a direct mail marketing company.
Today? I’m retired, having closed Letter-Ads 12 years ago.
Where do you live? Sukhumvit 49 in a small condo.
What’s keeping you here? The US is considered the greatest country on earth; Thailand is the most wonderful - great people, excellent food and girls, of course. It’s the lighthouse of Asia.
What have been the high points in your life in Thailand? It’s been one big great time. I’ve never really had to work hard – my all-female staff took care of everything.
Low points? When I was 115kgs. Then I spent time in a temple and got down to 83kgs, my weight today. Also about that time, I also took a hiatus from drinking beer. Something else more recent – my girlfriend left me for ‘a younger guy.’ I asked her how old is he. She said 75.
Has Bangkok changed much over the decades? Every city has its problems, the pollution, traffic, the number of high-rises and Bangkok is no different. The women don’t change, though.
What do you miss? The ‘old days’ have gone. Forget about them. The new old days start today. I don’t care to talk about the ‘good old days.’ All my old mates from the Vietnam era have gone and so have Patpong and the wonderful Napoleon bar.
Now you are retired, how do you pass the days? I’m up at 6.30 am, have breakfast and then do my ‘long breathing ‘exercises – inhaling 4-7 seconds, and then exhaling for 12-15 seconds, three breaths a minute. Then I go for a long walk before more ‘long breathing.’ It’s saved my life. I’m as healthy and fit as when I was 45. I can dance all night long. Between 6-8pm I usually go out for a beer, then back home for bed at 9pm.
Where do you hang out? Bistro 33, Robin Hood, Royal Oak and Buddy’s.
Do you still smoke cigars down to the last few millimeters? Yes, with the help of a toothpick.
Anything else keeps you busy? Since 1956 I’ve been working on a theory to neutralize gravity for practical earth and cosmic exploration applications. The theory is tiled SWAS (Sphere within a Sphere).
I’m also heavily involved in investigating Graham Phillip Bloy, a brilliant English inventor who I worked with to initiate an electronic project titled METME ((Maximum Efficient Transfer of Modulated Energy, forerunner of the ‘Internet of Things’ (IOT) and 5G.
What happened next? Six years into the METME project in Bangkok with US Embassy support, it was decided to move the project to my home town of St. Louis, Missouri, and for the next four years greatly enhanced development was performed at the CIA lab AEL (American Engineering Laboratory) in Washington D.C. At the ten-year point, Graham decided to venture out on his own and allegedly sold the US government secret project proceeds to the ‘big boys’ like AT&T, IBM, INTEL and especially Cisco Systems.
Now here’s a major point. Cisco Systems’ IOT income is financially vastly greater than the US annual budget. It could reduce the our national debt and fund Phase 4 of the infrastructure project in ten years as it is a majority owned and developed CIA effort of some three decades. We’re talking of trillions and trillions of dollars here.
So you’ll end up a millionaire? Probably not, even though I reckon my involvement is worth 30% of the project’s worth. I feel somewhat cheated but I’m not giving up. Think positive, I say.
Who’s your best friend here? I have many buddies and girlfriends.
Has the American community changed? It’s not like the military days – now most who come here are involved in commerce. Also not many backpackers.
Who’s the most interesting person you’ve met here? Ajarn Po at Wat Suan Mokkh, Surat Thani, in southern Thailand, Bangkok lawyer David Lyman, corporate security wizard USAF Capt Wallace Gowin and, the most interesting of all, Graham Phillip Bloy.
What else should we know about you? I was the first lifetime member of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand (FCCT) and board member
1982-83. For many years I was distance runner and serious about martial arts. I love dancing and can mimic Michael Jackson’s dance moves pretty well, considering my age. I was also co-author of three novels – ‘Tiger in the Mountains,’ ‘Without US’ and ‘Liberty or Lenin.’