Naphalai's Diary: October 21-27
I am the first to admit it—
I have a terrible memory. I could sit across the dinner table from you one day and not remember you when we next meet. Which can prove to be quite awkward, let me tell you. However, there are certain events and happenings—big ones—which are etched in your mind, and one of these was the live concert at Angkor Wat by Jose Carreras. This was in December of 2002, and the world-renowned Spanish tenor gave a performance to raise funds for four Cambodian charities. Over 40 tons of lighting plus other equipment turned the World Heritage site into a stunning backdrop for Carreras. Supported by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and with 112 chanting monks and 150 Apsara dancers from the Royal Cambodian Dance Troupe, it was a truly magical experience, sitting under the stars listening to the mesmerising voice of the tenor against a lit up Angkor Wat.
And last week I had the chance to watch Carreras live again, very likely for the last time as this was his Global Farewell Tour. The closing act of Bangkok’s 21st International Festival of Dance and Music, he performed with Irish soprano Celine Byrne, with Spaniard David Gimenez conducting the Royal Bangkok Symphony Orchestra. Their Majesties The King and Queen were among the guests and after the performance His Majesty bestowed on him the Most Exalted Order of the White Elephant. Yes, this should be another experience I won’t be forgetting easily in the near future.
Opening Of The World's Largest Lacoste Flagship
Talking about superlatives, I also went to the opening of the largest Lacoste flagship store in the world. Located at Central World, it covers an area of 500 sqm and carries the full range for products of the French brand, from apparel to footwear and accessories for men, women and children. Seen enjoying the fashion show was Boonkiet Chokwatana, chairman of ICC International, sole distributor of Lacoste in Thailand.
Cotton Day 2019
From France to the US, for the celebration of Cotton Day 2019 by Cotton USA at Waldorf Astoria. According to the agency’s ASEAN representative Kraipob Pangsapa, Cotton Day is celebrated every year with textile industry suppliers, licensees and consumers. This year six new licensees were introduced: 7th Street, The Zign, RAD Jeans, Pacific Union, Double Goose and Davie Jones. The highlight of the event was the Unlimited Urban Lifestyle fashion show featuring the latest collection from these brands.
Launch Of Huawei Mate 30 Pro
Next stop China, with the launch of the Huawei Mate 30 Pro at Zen Event Gallery. This new smartphone boasts four cameras as well other cutting edge elements such as the ultra slow-motion time lapse feature. Actress Donut Manasnan Panlertwongskul was on stage to talk about her experiences with the phone. It will be available from November 7.
Happy 175th, Penfolds
This was followed by Australia, the home country of the iconic Penfolds wine. To celebrate its 175-year anniversary, the company together with local distributor IWS Independent Wine & Spirit held the Penfolds 19 Limitless party at Waldorf Astoria of wines paired with food. Regional winemaking ambassador Sam Stephens conducted a tasting of three of its premium wines: Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz 2017, St Henri Shiraz 2016 and Bin 311 Chardonnay 2018.
Rilakkuma Comes To Town
Next up, Japan, in the form of Rilakkuma, the bear character and friends much loved by young and old. Siam Paragon unveiled the Rilakkuma World Happiness Town, a themed pop-up space with the cute characters in five activity zones, a café and shop with a wide variety of licensed merchandise. Sponsored by Kasikorn Bank, each of the zones are totally Instagrammable, which should be a great hit with IG-crazy Thais. The Rilakkuma characters will be meeting fans until November 4.
Dining With The Stars
Moving on, this next event had a strong Dutch flavour as it was a dinner featuring six chefs of Les Patrons Cuisiniers, the association of 23 Michelin-starred restaurants in the Netherlands. This is the second year that co-founder Henk Savelberg, who now runs his namesake restaurant in Bangkok, has organised Dining with the Stars. I was invited by Visooth Lohitnavy, founder of GranMonte Winery and a co-sponsor of the event, to join his table together with Sasiwat Wongsinsawat, director-general of the European Affairs Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and his wife, and Visooth’s wife Sakuna and their daughters, winemaker Nikki and Mimi.
66th YWCA Diplomatic Charity Bazaar
Rounding up my week was the press conference for the 66th YWCA Diplomatic Charity Bazaar, very appropriate considering the international tone of all the events I had gone to. Held at Central World, it was to announce the upcoming bazaar from November 15-17 presenting over 205 booths from countries around the world. Chairing the press conference were Olga Tapiola, wife of the EU ambassador and Usana Sukhonthasub, YWCA president. The bazaar is an annual event organised with the spouses of ambassadors to raise funds for YWCA charities.
Previously: Naphalai's Diary: October 14-20