Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Electronic tracking devices and wristbands for tourists

Thailand's tourism minister said on Tuesday that identification wristbands would be distributed to tourists following the murder of two British backpackers earlier this month that has raised fresh concerns over tourist safety.
Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said she had approached hotels over the idea of handing out wristbands to help identify tourists that get lost or into trouble.
"When tourists check-in to a hotel they will be given a wristband with a serial number that matches their I.D. and shows the contact details of the resort they are staying in so that if they're out partying late and, for example, get drunk or lost, they can be easily assisted," Kobkarn told Reuters.
"The next step would be some sort of electronic tracking device but this has not yet been discussed in detail."
In other words: We don't want tourists in Thailand anymore. It makes too much work. Read the rest of the story following the link above. It even gets better.

Monday, September 29, 2014

1st International Live Looping Festival this weekend

I don't have much clue what will actually happen there, but I do know that Yui-Saowakhon Muangkruan will perform. She is an incredible talented cello player, so I think the event will be awesome.

ZOO proudly presents the
3rd and 4th October 2014
Entry: THB 100

19 Prachathipatai Road, Phra Nakhon,, Bangkok, Thailand 10200

Welcome aboard fellow Friends, Peers, Fans, Pros, Amateurs and Curios of all things Live Looping.We hope this event will bring more folks from around the region to interact, share, exchange and support each other in new, ongoing or developed quests to enter, explore, think n dream up, execute and engage in refining and developing creative ideas in the wide open world of Live Looping...

I just copied and pasted the description from the Facebook site below.

3.10.14 19:30-00:30
Para Sabda (US)
Neuter Lover (BKK)
Wednesday (BKK)
Kasemsmai Wongchayasilpa(BKK)
Before Champ (BKK)

4.10.14 19:30-00:30
Yui Cello (BKK)
SA Trio (SG)
Pam Chung (HK)
Nakarin Teerapenun
& NaiNoi Nanon (BKK)

Randolf Arriola (SG)
Stylish Nonsense (BK)


Para Sabda is a moniker of musician and sound artist Thomas Hanson.

Conceived in Las Vegas during the summer of 2009, Para Sabda started as project to showcase live looping techniques and experimental methods of sound reinforcement. After relocating to Hawaii, Para Sabda shifted its focus to creating new kinds of live music with these technologies. Para Sabda is now based in the heart of Thailand, performing and recording improvisational music in Bangkok.

The name Para Sabda is derived from Sanskrit and roughly translates to the Supreme Sound, albeit a different supremacy of sound then one today might think. The state of sound which it alludes to is not necessarily physical vibrations, but sound which exist beyond description and represents the non-dualistic and infinite whole. It was once described by Lama Govinda as sound which cannot be heard by the ears, but only by the heart, and cannot be uttered by the mouth but only by the mind.

Musically, Para Sabda continuously seeks to expand the palette of the guitar. Majority of Para Sabda performances and recordings are created live simply using a guitar, reverb, and various looping techniques. Focus is placed on the natural beauty of the electric guitar sound. Left untreated, the guitar sound becomes the basis for lush soundscapes which are melodic and distinctly familiar but in their simplicity take music back to a sonic nature beyond genres and the expectations of the listener.


SA (仨) , which means ‘three of us’ in Northern Chinese dialect, depicts the coming together of three musicians united by their passion for music andbreaking new grounds. With versatile musicians Andy C. on the Dizi (Chinese flute), Natalie Alexandra on the Guzheng (Chinese zither) and
Cheryl Ong on drums and percussion, their music expands on their traditional Chinese roots through a creative infusion of modern elements with a tasteful use of electronics.

A 3-piece, Singaporean musical art group, SA(仨) aims to raise the awareness of ethnic cultures, as well as promote creative, innovative and experimental ways of music-making.

As the pioneering ethnic Chinese music group in Singapore to incorporate
the use of electronic and live-looping elements in their repertoire, this is the first time the group will be showcasing their music in Bangkok, as part of Live Loop Asia.

With a strong belief that Ethnic Instruments deserve wider recognition, SA's breaks through conventional methods of ethnic music making. The use of electronic effect pedals and live looping devices not only allows the trio to challenge the limited acoustic sounds of their instruments, but also presents endless possibilities in their music-making process.



Stylish Nonsense is recently Electric / Acoustic Whatever Duo, in between post-punk and electric vintage funk with unpredictable fresh raw energy. Their music alters. Every Live sessions happen to be extremly fluid and unique.

In 1993, while studying at King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang (Thailand), Yuttana Kalambaheti and Wannarit Pongprayoon met at the Music Club of the Electrical Engineering Department. They have been creating music together ever since.

Starting out on a 386dx computer with a Blaster16 soundcard, and the software Cakewalk 2.0, they have over the years evolved into a highly regarded band that makes each gig unique, since they rely solely on the art of improvisation.

They have over the years produced and remixed many major pop artists from Thailand, and released material on several labels.

In 2000, they joined forces with Bear-Garden's Somsiri Sangkaew, and established the Panda Records indie music label.

Stylish Nonsense have been playing regularly in Bangkok, and numerous other cities all over Thailand such as Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen, Korach, Cholburi, Saraburi, Songklah.

They have also played aboard in Germany, France, Belgium, Japan, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Other projects
Multi-instrumentalist Yuttana Kalambaheti also does solo concerts under his own name.

Multi-instrumentalist, recording engineer, and producer Wannarit Pongprayoon is a member of Rocket Science, Plastic Section and also does solo concerts under his own name.

Studio Work

Studio Live Session



Kasemsmai Wongchyasilpa (mai) is a bass player based in Bangkok. Very active on the Jazz scene and an accomplished session player, he is also very keen to explore and experiment with musical styles fusions and technology.

As much of a groove man as a natural melodist, his solo looping act delivers virtuosity and a wide array of musical landscapes.



Yui Cello (Saowakhon Muangkruan), is a cellist who tells her story through her instrument.

She is not only a cellist but also a story teller, using her tool to raise the dramatic effect of her performance, by creating something different. The Yui Cello phenomenon, as she explains, gets the inspiration from society matters, other’s life experiences and her life.

The journey she takes as a cellist, is unique as she alone is daring enough to expose serious matters, starting from impersonal touchy public topics, to highly personal own life matters.



Neuter Lover started her music scene as a Bedroom Studio artist, she delivers a blend of Ambient and Shoegaze music with sound of computer programming and noise Guitar.

With her unique of vocal and music sounds, In 2005, Her demo was nominated for 15 finalists of FAT Awards 3 - 'Bedroom Artist of The Year' (by FAT Radio, FM 104.5). And the demo song 'Find' was published on DDT Magazine's compilation CD vol.4. Additionally, she was honored to be selected to perform live in Fete de la Music 2005, as the highest scorer of her self-produced 10 demoed songs.

And as soon as she released her demos on the Internet, she was invited to be vocalist/songwriter of the duo band 'Acid Lily', founded by a japanese electronica artist. They produced music online and released the first EP on November 2005 with Spicy Disc records (thailand), then a self-released album in April 2006.

The end of the band came on November 2006 and they won FAT Awards 5 for 'Bedroom Artist of The Year'.

Now it's time for Neuter Lover to continue her own tunes!
After passing out from many hard situations, 1st mini album 'I am Neuter Lover' released on

April 27, 2010.

It was a long journey of studio production since the year 2007, Neuter Lover produced her mini album with talented artists who understand her music, they created fantastic sound installation and additional arrangement. Then all the tracks were mixed down and mastered by Woody Pornpitaksuk, who was recognized at the 43rd Annual Grammy Awards for his work on the Historical Album: Louis Armstrong - The Complete Hot Five and Hot Seven Recordings.

Then the beautiful sound of her music led Neuter Lover to Win AVIMA 2010 (Asia Pacific VOICE Independent Music Awards) 3rd place (Bronze) in "Moody melancholic masterpiece" with the song 'Ha (Find)".

More info: www.Voize.my/avima

Experience the 'I am Neuter Lover' mini album at www.neuterlover.com.Cds and downloads available online and international orders are welcome.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Innovation, Design and a bit more from Thailand

When we lived in Laos we were hungry for design and often went to Thailand since this was the place to go for good and modern design in South-East-Asia. It certainly influences neighbouring countries. At the recent Thailand and Innovation and Design Expo at QSCC you got an idea about contemporary Thai design. And I like to talk  about design first, because the innovation part was not always so convincing.

The event is organised by the Department of International Trade promotion and the Ministry of Commerce, and as expected only few we met spoke English. Even the event flyer is mainly in Thai, and I witnessed two potential buyers struggling to communicate with the Thai seller.

But if there is a will there is a way, so we had a good time and got most of the information we were asking for. When it comes to furniture you can get really good stuff here, well manufactured, using best wood, and with creative designs.

Something are innovation and design, but still well done. One is a pet coffin, and the other thing is a rescue hood, that has two bottles with breathable air attached. Something anyone living in a condo should have.

Also quite nice was a toy kit that is kind like lego, just made out of plastic straps that can be put together using screws. You can even create moving 3 D objects with it. Well done and it looked like good quality too.

Supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is a research project that aims to improve toilets. Students in the NATS project did actually a lot of research with wastewater management and invented three solutions for homes. The most sophisticated one separates the liquides from the non-liquid parts, disinfects them by using bacterias and even getting some cooking gas out of it. 
And then you could see some fails. One is a water faucet that will automatically recognise that you want get water out of the tab. I may have misunderstood the invention, but it looked quite, lets say, weird.

The next pictures shows a robot that is made to get autistic people into communication. It basically replaces the human factors and counts on curiosity of the patients to explore the thing. Personally I though a bit more thinking about the guys design would have done no harm.

And finally just some more pictures:

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Echelon Thailand 2014 - my review of the recent industry's meetup

I spend the recent two days at Echelon Thailand 2014, an event that promotes technology start ups and is a localised event of the famous Echolon in Singapore. Organised by E27 and Hubba at Sasin Institute. It seems the place to go when you are a tech startup in Thailand. 

The event tries to bring together those who think they might have the best business idea ever and those, who are looking deep into it - entrepreneurs and investors. So no wonder day 1 was mainly on the investors side, with a lot of talking about exit strategies and founding rounds and less about actual business models and products. 

A quite impressive talk was given by Kent Liu, CFO of Viki, a video streaming site that is a success story. He was one of those who encouraged found to think globally rather than local. Vikis success is that they sign deals with content providers in every country they can. A Thai success story is by the way Ookbee, an online bookstore that went in 3 years to 7 million users and three countries. 

The most important event at Day 1 is the start up pitch. 8 founders presented their ideas. Wishbeer.com was the jury's winner: They deliver over 600 types of beer to your door, not just in Bangkok but all over Thailand.

Piggipo (peoples choice) is an app that lets you record all of your credit card spendings. Something that seems to be quite necessary in Thailand, and they have a lot of downloads already.

My favorite was My Motosai, an app that let you call you a motosai. You may say why I need this, they are just a few meters from my home, but there are reasons like all of them are busy, track record and it gives you better choices. 

Within the same category falls Skootar, a messenger service app, that aims to consolidate trips from messengers to make them more efficient and increase their income. 

School OS wants to improve the administrations system of schools in Thailand and is already in place in private schools in the south. Would be hard to get it through the bureaucracy and corruption of the public school system.

 A company that wasn't pitching but an exhibitor is Food story. They provide an extraordinary designed POS system for restaurants, and they give the basic version for free. It works only with iPads, but is worth a try.

The industries darling seems to be Grabtaxi, maybe because they are quite active and present in social media. A bit disappointing was that their speakers had to admit they make no actual money, and they kind of waiting for it instead of having an aggressive plan. Focusing on the social enterprice part can turn out not to be the best strategy.

So, how about the event itself? Well, start up events always tend to see themself in the center of the world. In particular by defining start ups as technology companies and kind of claiming entrepreneurship for their own industry. What makes indeed a difference to traditional ways of founding a company is that events like Echolon encourages them to seek investors and funding as soon as possible. Few speakers actually pointed out that a good business has to make money as soon as possible and has to have a sustainable business model.  But for it it was the majority who is looking for an exit as soon as the funding money is burnt. This is how it works in Silicon Valley, but I am not sure if it is a good model for Asia, where local investors are looking for an ROI out of the companies operations, not from more VC money. Also, IPOs in Asia are still risky and should be well considered.

But, despite my concerns, a lot of optimism was there, you could feel the passion of young business people willing to start something from scratch and work hard for it. Maybe this was the most common advice for them: You have to be dedicated 100 percent and work hard, very hard for your goal.

Regarding the organisation of the event, the Sasin Institute is a well know institution in education, expensive and a bit fancy, but a good place for an event like this. The event went smooth without delays, although for the next time a check of the pointer system would be good: failing technology is bothering both participants and speakers likewise. And: it is nice to offer a webapp for asking questions (and vote for them) to the panel. but not so nice when this isn't used much. My suggestion: Let the speakers answer all question afterwards online.

The best voice goes to the speaker from Mymotosai, as you can hear in this this video:

Friday, September 19, 2014

Thailand Innovation and Design Expo

Yesterday opened the Thailand Innovation and Design Expo at Queen Sirikit Convention Center. It is a showcase of contemporary designs from Thailand, less folk art but a lot of modern designs.

Product categories:
  1. Agriculture: Rice
  2. Food & Beverage
  3. Alternative Energy & Green Products
  4. Fashion
  5. Electric and Electronics
  6. Automotive & parts
  7. Health & Wellness
  8. Digital Contents
  9. Retail Business
  10. Constructions
Exhibition Profile:
  1. Thai and foreign companies from over 7 countries
  2. Innovation and design promotion agencies
  3. Research and educational institutions
  4. Financial institutions and trade and business supporting agencies
The fair runs until Sunday.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Living in Bangkok: not only for newbies in town

When they started quite a few years ago, the event had a clear mission: to give new expats in town some guidance and basic information. Now Living in Bangkok has grown to an event for all kinds of expats on locals, new here or long time residents. It just happened at Bumrungrad Hospital, and I though even being here for one year is still considered new for most old-timers.

The event is - I guess due to limited space - split into two locations, the ground floor of the main building and the 10th floor of the clinic. Although it is a bit unfortunate, I think most visitors found the way. Also, because they were nicely guided by a lot of volunteers.

What was for offer? A lot of schools were there, kindergarden, some health and insurance experts, food people (in particular for delivery, Wishbeer.com stand out here), some charities, travel companies and so on. If you are the average expat family with kids and you just arrived you got a lot of useful information. A lot of performances as well.

For those who are here already a lot of stuff was to discover as well. Namely Wishbeer.com, a company that delivers international beers to your home, Grabtaxi, in case you don't know it yet, and Spice Roads who offer excellent bike tours in Thailand.

To offer some cultural touch a Thai crafts fair was there as well, with a lot of handicrafts. Some were a bargain, some overpriced, but in general they sold quite nice things there. And you buy for a good cause as well.

IN case you missed it, the website lists a lot of information. There is also an iOS app for expats called Living in Bangkok, made by Bumrungrad hospital, available for free.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Someone is baking delicious American Pies in Bangkok

The business of making cakes is serious, in particular those cakes and pies we know from our childhood. Nobody made ever a better pie that grandma. In Germany we love apple crumble pie, while I learned that in the US the apples are in the open or covered with a neat grid. Since I am not so much into baking, I am happy that someone else decided to bring finest American Pies to Bangkok.
James Schoepflin is a filmmaker as well as a baker, and the latter is his current profession in Krungthep.

He just opened a shop selling homemade pies. Unfortunately it is not in downtown, but more near the airport in Ladkrabang. And in this area you get free delivery. There is also a website available, with a map and a lot of information, online order included. Check out http://kingofpieland.com/.

For a test I tried the Granny Apple Pie with extra rum, and it was so delicious that it barely lasted long enough to take a picture. Prices are from 75 to 350 baht depending on the size and type of pie. There is a facebook page also available, have a look on https://www.facebook.com/AmericanPies.

Every cakes comes in a neat box, well packed. As the owner told me they started already to deliver pies to certain shops in the Ladkrabang area. I just hope they may find a way to serve more areas, maybe by franchising?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Why CEOs are a less responsible person in the company

The main reason why a CEO gets a lot of money is usually because he is responsible. Responsible for the quarterly results, for the profits, for the employees, for nearly everything. And most would say that this is the biggest burden for them, to have all this responsibility.

But are they actually responsible? First of all, many CEOs, in particular those in big companies, try to hide them from any decision making based on actual facts. They have so many layers of responsibility in their management that they sometimes barley know what they actually produce. They have people who prepare the decisions, and the CEOs job is basically act as he (or she) did it himself.

When it comes to a crisis, the CEO is usually the first to run away from all responsibilities. He will cut jobs, to punish those who he thinks are responsible for the disaster. Or he blames the board, the shareholders, the banks. Rarely you see a CEO who says "I fucked up".

Responsibility in companies is on the shoulders of the ground staff. They make the money. They produces awesome products and they make sure they are shipped in time. They even know the customers. And yet, they are the first to go if something goes wrong.

The risk a CEO has these days is minimal. The bigger the company the more money you get, and thats enough for a hell lot of parachutes. You may loose a bit in stock options, maybe a big chunk when you company goes down at Wall Street, but this will seldom be life threatening.

And then look at average Joe in the warehouse. His risk everyday is not to loose some stock options. His risk is his income that provides money and food for a family and pays a home. If Joe does something wrong, his life will change, often in a bad way.

The CEO risks to be fired. So what? He will call his driver, get to the next bar, have a whiskey for 30 Dollar and starts calling some friends to tell them he is available. He doesn't even need to check his bank account.

And yes, of course there are CEOs who started the company they are working at, who are shareholders, who are dedicated and actually nice. But most of those I met aren't. They are far from what is actually going on in their company. Guess why Undercover Boss is such a success? Because even in middle size companies you have this problem that too many levels of hierarchy makes the CEO isolated. And isolated people don't have much information to make good decisions.

Since this is a blog, this isn't an article based on a survey or any scientific method. It is my opinion, and I might be wrong. Feel free to discuss and correct me.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Expat event at Bumrungrad Hospital

Just a reminder that the "Living in Bangkok" event at Bumrungrad Hospital will take place in a week.

From the press release:
Bumrungrad and ThaiCraft co-organize Living in Bangkok each year to help expatriates and their families make connections with the people and organizations serving the expat community. 
We encourage you to visit both event venues -- the ground floor lobby of the main hospital building and the SkyLobby on the 10th floor of the Clinic building. ThaiCraft will offer its renowned arts and crafts, brought directly from the Thai villages where they are made, for purchase at both venues.
Entertainment running throughout the day at both venues features talented choirs and performing groups from international schools and the community. 
We hope you have an enjoyable and productive day. All of us at Bumrungrad, ThaiCraft and our event exhibitors look forward to serving you in the months and years ahead. 
The event targets newcomers to Bangkok, but it developed over time to a gathering of Thai and expats, with the ThaiCraft fair giving a reason to everyone to have a look.