I have been living and working in Thailand for just over 14 years, since June 1995. I first visited Bangkok in connection with my work in 1989 when I was the project manager for a project to design and manufacture 20 diesel railcars for the State Railway of Thailand. I worked for British Rail Engineering Ltd (BREL) at the time. In the interim period the company has changed ownership many times and is now owned by Bombardier.
When I came to live here I worked for a company called Pacific Transport Ltd. It was a Thai company owned by Sahaviriya Co Ltd – I was employed as a Railway Advisor for a railway construction project planned in Laos. After 2 years I moved to work for Westinghouse (Australia), as a project manager on railway signaling installation projects. In 1997 the economic recession forced me to seek employment in a different industry and I moved to work as Foreign Affairs coordinator at Bangkok Hospital. Yes – quite a change !
My responsibility was to promote the hospital (which is a private entity) to the foreigners living in Thailand. Being from England where most people use the public hospitals this seemed an alien concept to me so I created a role and a job that I felt comfortable with. I joined as many expat groups as I could and recommended that the hospital join the chambers of commerce of the top 10 nationalities it wanted to target.
I soon went from knowing hardly any foreigners to knowing and being known by many and in this way started to develop my own network of contacts within the expat community which is still useful to me today.
I moved to work for BNH Hospital, another well known private hospital in Bangkok, in 2001 and am the manager of the Community Relations Centre.
Earlier this year we initiated a corporate social responsibility project (CSR) which we named BNH ‘Let’s Knit for the Needy’. The idea being to encourage people to knit small squares to make into blankets for children in the north of Thailand who don’t have adequate clothing to keep them warm in the surprisingly cold winter months. The response to the project has been amazing and since September when we launched the project at a press conference in Central World we have received enough knitted (and crocheted) squares to make over 300 blankets.