27 July 2022 The Vice Delegate attended the panel “Thailand’s informal workers in the age of COVID-19” at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand (FCCT).Speakers included: Caroline Skinner, Women in Informal Employment Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO)’s director of Urban Policies and senior researcher at the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town (online); Poonsap Suanmuang Tulaphan, director of the Foundation for Labour and Employment Promotion; Preecha Thaisongkhroh, president of the Confederation of Street Vendors in Bangkok, and Moderator was Panu Wongcha-um, FCCT President and Reuters senior correspondent. Thailand’s informal workers are facing a potential crisis after coronavirus related measures deprived them of access to the public spaces where they work over the past two years. At the same time, their already depleted finances are being eaten away by spiraling inflation or they are unable to survive because they sold their tools to get instant cash but cannot afford to purchase them again.
According to the National Statistic Office of Thailand, informal employment represents around 28 percent of employment in Bangkok and 56 percent of all employment in Thailand, based on a labor survey done in 2017. Thai cities rely on informal workers such as street food vendors or motorcycle drivers. In the countryside, informal workers play an important role in labor intensive agricultural industries. So, the issue is not directly related to the presence of tourists in the Kingdom and, as per its Capital, it mainly relies in the decisions of Bangkok Metropolitan Authority.
Bangkok, 3 August 2022 – At the Foreign Correspondents’ Clubhouse in Bangkok, the Vice Delegate attended a film screening and discussion, in collaboration with the Embassy of Italy in Thailand. The 70-minute documentary film, “Me and the Magic Door: Discovering Italian Architecture in Bangkok”, is a non-profit project initiated by Francesca Andreini (spouse of the Italian Ambassador accredited to the Kingdom of Thailand) and the film’s director Marco Gatti, aiming to showcase the best of Italy’s cultural legacy in Thailand and the long history of collaboration between the two countries via the works of Italian architects, artists, and designers.
Thailand has had a historical love affair with Italian arts and culture, led by King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) and King Vajiravudh (Rama VI). In 1868, the kingdom of Siam established diplomatic relations with the kingdom of Italy following the country’s unification. Many Italian architectural experts and artists were recruited to Bangkok to work on major construction and design projects in Siam during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These works of craftsmanship can be seen in some of Bangkok’s most iconic buildings including Government House, Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall, the Police Museum and others.The screening has been followed by a panel discussion featuring Italian Ambassador Lorenzo Galanti, Francesca Andreini, director Marco Gatti, and experts professors Neungreudee Lohapon and Paolo Piazzardi. The project has been granted the patronage of the Italian Foreign Ministry and the Thai Ministry of Culture, has been beautifully shot in merely 15 days notwithstanding the high number of different locations, and in the middle of a pandemy with more than one last minute change due to onsite Covid-19 infections (but the work behind the organization took a whole year of planning and 4 months of scheduling).Casting Italian-Thai talents has also been challenging. The Vice Delegate seized this opportunity to present a token of friendship and appreciation to His Excellency Lorenzo Galanti and Spouse Francesca Andreini on the occasion of their imminent departure after a fruitful four-year term: the Head of Mission and His Wife were in fact granted an audience, invited to the Palace the day before the event at FCCT for a cordial farewell face to face with Their Majesties the King and Queen of Thailand.
Bangkok, August 2022 – The Vice Delegate has been welcomed as a Life Member of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand (FCCT) which, for more than 60 years, has played a vanguard role as the ASEAN region’s most active press club: it advocates press freedom as a cornerstone of civil society in emerging democracies and is a vital venue for an open exchange of information. It is a very diverse club and most of its members are not correspondents: they fall into categories such as mass media and news persons; journalists; Corporate, government, diplomatic and multilateral organization members issuing from Thai government ministries, departments and agencies, or embassies and diplomatic missions in Thailand, as well as multilateral organizations (such as the United Nations, the Mekong river Commission, etc.) with offices in Thailand.Life Members may be drawn from any of the above three categories. Applicants are subject to the consideration and approval of the Executive Committee, and once accepted, will be looked upon as one of the major foundational supports of the FCCT.
Bangkok, 7 August 2022 – “Sala Sudasiri Sobha” acoustic hall has finally reopened after Covid-19 restrictions with the new concerts series 2022/2023 starring foreign artists, starting with its closest partner, the Embassy of Italy in Bangkok. The Vice Delegate has attended the first event, a Guitar Recital by guest artist Carlo Fierens from Liguria, Italy, who flew in to Thailand especially for this unique performance, at the presence of H.E. Lorenzo Galanti, Italian Ambassador and Spouse, Mr. Ugo Boni (leaving his term in Thailand as Deputy Ambassador) and spouse, Mrs. Francesca Blasone (starting her term as Italian Deputy Ambassador to the Kingdom of Thailand), and spouse. The highly varied program featured a variety of lyrical melodies to a daring virtuosic music, containing elements of Spanish, Italian as well as American music. As one of the founding members of “Quartetto Paganini”, devoted to the rediscovery of the repertoire for guitar and string trio with a special focus on the works by Niccolò Paganini, the Italian musician performed Paganini’s famous work “Capriccio no. 24, op. 1”. One more highlight has been “Evocaciones” by Antón García Abril inspired by Spanish poets who wrote poems especially conceived for guitar executions. The Vice Delegate presented a token to guitar master Carlo Fierens who showed gracious appreciation.
Bangkok, 22 August 2022 – The Vice Delegate enjoyed one more movie screening at the CU Music Hall, Art and Culture building, Italian Section of Chulalongkorn University, the only school in Thailand that offers a degree course in Italian studies (B.A. in Italian). Furthermore, it organizes courses and cultural activities for the general public. The watchers follow the journey of a Thai-Italian writer in exploring Italian architect’s projects in Siam through “Me and The Magic Door”, a film created by the collaboration of The Embassy of Italy in Thailand, Thai-Italian Chamber of Commerce (TICC), Max Image Co., Ltd, and The Arc of Memory Research Unit Chulalongkorn University. The event, thanks to the President of Chulalongkorn University Prof. Bundit Eu-Aporn and to Ajarn Neung Lohapon turned out into a beautiful evening, with music from Bangkok Symphony Orchestra and an exhibition of Italian paintings (shown also in the movie) kindly offered by B.GRIMM The Vice Delegate presented a sign of appreciation to Professor Paolo Piazzardi and Assc. Prof. Nueungreudee Lohapon.
Bangkok, 27 August 2022 – The Kenyan Ambassador, H.E. Lindsay Kiptiness, has often talked about the importance of the film industry in His Country.
Finally, the first film from Kenya to be shown in Thailand has been introduced by His Excellency, with wife Madam Pamela, at RCB Film Club, River City: the drama “Subira”, Kenya’s nomination for the Oscars in 2018, at the presence of the Ambassador of Italy, H.E. Lorenzo Galanti and Spouse, the Maldivian Deputy Ambassador Huda Shareef, Diplomats from Argentina, Morocco, South Africa, Switzerland. “Subira” is a love story, social document and woman’s tale combined in the debut film by Indian-born Kenyan director Ravneet Sippy Chadha expressing the need for women to be as free to follow their ‘passions’ as men.
During the reception after the screening, cheered up by colourful members of the local Kenyan community, the Vice Delegate presented a memento to His Excellency Lindsay Kiptiness, who reciprocated with a very informative “Welcome to Magical Kenya” passport.
Bangkok, 30 August 2022 – The Embassy of Israel to Thailand organized a reception and a film screening at Central World.
Her Excellency Madam Orna Sagiv, the Israeli Ambassador accredited to the Kingdom of Thailand, as well as Mister Ariel Seidman, Deputy Chief of Mission, warmly welcomed the Vice Delegate.
The plot of the movie, “Forgiveness” (very commercially successful in 2019), featuring an all-star cast, involves wartime days in Southern Israel and the misadventures of two friends staging a mismanaged robbery, finally finding reconciliation with each other and their family.