With the holidays right around the corner, some of us are feeling extra generous about showing loved ones how much we care. But it is not always easy to shop for someone who has almost everything, so we seek inspiration from our friends Supanavit Eiamsakulrat, Pakapol Jarrunpattana, Sailub and Siengsaw Lertratanachai, Dr Mathanaplaawe Sarakunemonte and Anujtha Jaovisidha, who share with us some of their dearest gifts received—tagged with either extravagant prices or warm fuzzy feelings.
As the chief executive officer of KE Group, one of Thailand’s leading real estate developers of luxurious projects spanning property and retail spaces, one would imagine Supanavit Eiamsakulrat coolly sharing with us a lavish list of gifts. In fact, the businesswoman appears rather bashful discussing the topic. “What I feel is most significant in life, more than mere objects, is the time spent with people you love,” she tells us.
Supanavit has chosen gifts that are of incalculable value to her because they hold a special place in her heart. In 2008 her husband Kaveepan gave her a 14-carat diamond ring as their 15th anniversary gift. “He knew that it would put a smile on my face, and it did. But most importantly, it beautifully symbolises his love,” she smiles. Because of its remarkable bling factor, Supanavit doesn’t wear it often and saves it for more special occasions.
She also shares with us the story behind a pair of gifts she received from her husband and three sons, Kavin, Kris and Will, during a cruise last year to the South of France. An avid collector of dainty rooster crystals and Murano glass ornaments [she is born in the year of the rooster according to the Chinese zodiac], her family found the perfect additions to her growing collection. “At an antique shop in Avignon, they came across these unique Napoleon Bonaparte figurines with rooster heads. My sons said that they perfectly represent me—a conqueror who drives things with passion and determination.”
After completing a bachelor’s degree in civil and environmental engineering at Boston University in the United States, Pakapol Jarrunpattana is now back home working as a business development engineer at his family’s TTS Engineering construction company. A humble timepiece collector of just two years, the young gent says that he started off with Patek Philippe and Rolex. “The brands aside, I am more intrigued by the intricate details and functions of specific models. I have always wanted a tourbillon watch—and this one found me,” he says showing us his first Audemars Piguet.
He was casually strolling around in Central Embassy with his parents, Suparp and Rattiya, when they paid a visit to Audemars Piguet’s newly opened boutique. “I have walked in a couple of times to specifically ask for the black, all-ceramic Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar wristwatch. Because they still didn’t have it, they showed me the limited edition Royal Oak Tourbillon Extra-Thin Openworked model instead,” he tells us. Pakapol says the audaciously skeletonised design and exceptional engineering techniques of the gravity-defying tourbillon left him in awe. To top it of, there are only 100 pieces in the world.
“I showed it to my father to just simply appreciate the beauty of the timepiece. Out of the blue he said I could have it,” he says. Any watch enthusiast, or anyone with any idea of the price tag that comes with it, will understand that this is a big deal. “I’m still shocked even now,” he laughs. “My father must have given it to me as an acknowledgement of my hard work, and I am very grateful. But he has always been a giver—his happiness comes from putting his wife and children before himself.” Pakapol is thrilled to be joining Audemars Piguet as the brand’s guest at the SIHH Geneva 2018 international fair of fine watchmaking plus a trip to its factory.
Dr Mathanaplaawe Sarakunemonte drives her limited edition Porsche 911 into Aetas Hotel and Residence in Soi Ruamrudee, the red license plate a glaring contrast on the yellow supercar. Dressed in athleisure attire and decked in sparkles, the 48-year-old single mum of four teenagers turns heads as she poses with the gifts—the car and jewellery—she bought for herself. “I am single after all, who would I expect gifts from?” she laughs.
An investor, a numerology consultant—her business SIM789 has provided various big names with ‘lucky’ phone numbers—and an author of several bestselling books on numbers and self-help, she recently signed a contract with NLP co-founder Richard Bandler and renowned hypnotist Paul McKenna to organise a hypnosis expo in Thailand. She is rolling in money. “Many people will tell you that I work very hard, but I couldn’t be happier because I am now free from stress and financial strains. I can buy whatever I want,” she says.
She does not mind us calling her purchases impulse buys. Her Porsche 911 was purchased in full with cash after the car dealer sent the pictures and details to her mobile phone. On the other hand, she got her seven-carat ring and 15-carat earrings during a casual visit to her friend Chuchai Chairitthilert’s jewellery shop. “I don’t think that cars or gems are overly extravagant, as they can be deemed as investments,” she says. When asked if her children have given her anything extra special, she replies with a smile. “They’re too young to be earning their own money and buying me lavish things. But I am thankful they are such great kids to their mum—receiving roses from them is enough to make me happy.”
As equestrians competing at national and international levels and representing Thailand on the national team since 2013, it comes as no surprise that sisters Sailub and Siengsaw Lertratanachai’s most beloved gifts from their father, businessman Vinij, are horses. But to have them pick just one each out of the seven they share is a difficult task. “All seven of them are really special to us because each one of them has their own story, so this is really hard for us,” laughs 21-year-old Siengsaw.
Elder sister Sailub is now based in the Netherlands with her two white mares, both of which she calls her babies. “I had Vrauke W first,” shares the 24-yearold. “She had severe colic and had to go through two surgeries. It was incredibly difficult for me to see her in so much pain.” There was a 70 per cent chance that she wouldn’t survive during her second surgery, but she did. “It was one of the most amazing things for our family. After her recovery, she ended up performing so much better and winning more medals with me,” she smiles. It was when Vrauke W became sick, which was just two weeks before a SEA Games competition, that her second horse, Cagena Z, arrived at the stable. “The first time I got on her, I felt an instant connection. It took me just five seconds to welcome her into the family, and one month later we won two bronze medals at our first competition together.”
Siengsaw tells us about her chestnut mare, Dakota, which she received as a birthday present. After winning several medals together, the young rider sent her back to Europe and contemplated selling her as they had too many horses at the time. “But no matter how many people came to try riding her, she didn’t respond to any of them. I went back to Europe, got on her and she jumped over and across everything. So I knew I had to bring her back home with me,” she laughs. Her most recent four-legged gift is Courville L, which she rode in the 2017 SEA Games in Malaysia. “She did an amazing job in all the competitions!”
The third generation of the family behind Toyota Tsusho (Thailand), general manager Anujtha Jaovisidha has grown up accustomed to the Japanese tradition of gift-giving. “An omiyage, for instance, is a gift or souvenir that you give family and friends after returning home from a trip. It is a small act of congeniality that shows that you care,” she smiles.
“I received this Montblanc pen from my late father [Lt Chan],” she tells us, looking down at the silver writing instrument. “He gave this to me a long time ago when I first started working for the family and had to sign important documents.” Today, the 43-year-old oversees the company’s import and export of automotive parts, as well as its new business-matching segment. “I still use the pen today, but with great care. It is always heart-warming to have it with me, especially when I go on business trips abroad.”
Another gift dear to her is a cross-stitch artwork by her grandmother given to Anujtha when she was very little. “We were both born in the year of the tiger,” she shares. “She was an avid sewer and I actually remember her working on it. This used to hang at her house, but when I got married and had my own place she had it put in a new frame and gave it to me as a housewarming gift. I feel good every time I look at it.” Her two favourite gifts may not be expensive, but both have personal value in that they bring back a warm rush of cherished memories.