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Phuket Business: The tree that bears fruit

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Business: The tree that bears fruit | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: At the helm of Anuphas Vividhkarn Co Ltd’s CSR program is Montavee “Tommy” Hongsyok. The 35-year-old Assistant Managing Director of Phuket’s exclusive Honda dealership follows in the footsteps of his father, Montri Hongsyok, an accomplished executive and respected community figure in Phuket.

Following is a Q&A session that the PhuketGazette recently had with Tommy about the Honda dealer’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) program.

Phuket Gazette: What is your philosophy on CSR ?
Montavee Hongsyok: In my view, CSR is a form of integrated management; a necessary commitment that companies make to promote and develop their organization to be able to respond to economic, social and environmental issues, for the betterment of society.

In implementing CSR initiatives, whether inside or outside of the organization, you have to carefully consider the impacts and be prepared to adjust and adapt the program so that the optimal benefit is realized in the community. A good CSR program is like a fruiting tree. You start off with a seed – the initiative – and plant it in the soil – the community. With regular sunlight, water and nutrients, that seed can grow into a plant.

With good care and attention, the plant becomes a tree that can branch out into the community, yielding its good fruit for everyone to enjoy and benefit from. However, CSR is not just a one way street – we don’t just do it to the community, but rather, together with the community.

Can you give an overview of your CSR program?
We’ve been conducting CSR activities for quite some time. Previously, we didn’t put much effort in formally publicizing our initiatives. Lately, we’ve noticed more and more new business ventures and start-up companies forming in Phuket, and feel that it’s time to formally set a positive benchmark for the new business generation to strive towards.

Our program includes a number of community based activities, organized in collaboration with the public sector and state agencies. Programs under our mother company, Honda Automobile (Thailand) Company Limited, include “Honda Green Way”, a campaign aimed at increasing green spaces and promoting eco-friendly cars and driving, as to address global warming and preserve the environment; Other initiatives include the “Honorary Tree Planting Project”, as well as the collaborative establishment of the “Honda Foundation” under the slogan “Together for Tomorrow”.

Implementing these initiatives has helped to raise awareness among our administrators and personnel. In addition to the programs through Honda, we also carry out a number of our own initiatives.

For example, we collaborate with the Phuket Regional Blood Center in holding blood drives every three months. The most recent initiative includes, in collaboration with K-SME reps in Phuket, a charity drive to donate necessities to the SOS Foundation’s Children Village.

Another program worth mentioning is our waste and sustainable garbage disposal project, which is designed to teach our employees as well as people in the local community how to separate and dispose their waste properly.

What are some of the important values that you’ve learned and apply?
I’ve learned a lot from my dad. He has given so much to his employees and all the people around him. He leads with sincerity and compassion, while not seeking monetary return. This has inspired me to do good things and give back to the people around me, likewise. By creating CSR initiatives with all one’s heart and ability, I can weave the good things of life into a quilt for the next generation.

The more you give, the more you receive; CSR activities bring returns that are more important than profit. These are satisfaction, a sense of sufficiency, fulfillment, merriment and love.

How do you measure the effectiveness of your CSR initiatives?
Feedback from our target groups, which includes our employees, customers and the local community at large, helps us know if what we are doing is working and worthwhile. Other than the satisfaction expressed directly to us, we can also look at data, such as CSI – the Customer Satisfaction Index.

It is important to understand that money is not, and should not be a basis for determining how successful a CSR program is. CSR is not like a business investment where you can expect an immediate, quantifiable return.

The returns in CSR are the fruits of that tree – they require time and care to develop and materialize into benefits that can be fully realized in the community. A key goal of CSR is for the values to be instilled in and by the people. You can’t force someone to care and make a difference. They have to want to and do it on their own account.

What is your CSR budget?
This is not absolute. We try to keep our CSR budget flexible and open, based on the needs and merit for each of our programs. Another thing to consider is that many of our CSR initiatives and goals overlap with other programs in the organization, including our ISO certification, employee training and team building, as well as customer experience management (CEM).

— Steven Layne

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO | The Thaiger

We look at the recent changes made by the Australian and Indian governments to except control over the world’s biggest social media platforms. India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social. There is now an open battle between the rise of social media platforms and the governments and ‘old’ media that have been able to maintain a certain level of control over the ‘message’ for the last century. Who will win?

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told. The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO | The Thaiger

“The rules signal greater willingness by countries around the world to rein in big tech firms such as Google, Facebook and Twitter that the governments fear have become too powerful with little accountability.”

India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social.

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The companies are also being made to publish a compliance report each month with details about how many complaints they’ve received and the action they took.

They’ll also be required to remove ‘some’ types of content including “full or partial nudity,” any “sexual act” or “impersonations including morphed images”

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told.

The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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Business

Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO | The Thaiger

When the airlines, in particular, were asking the government to put their hands in their pockets for some relief funding in August last year, it was genuinely thought that international tourists would be coming back for the high season in December and January. At the very least local tourists and expats would head back to the skies over the traditional holiday break. And surely the Chinese would be back for Chinese New Year?

As we know now, none of that happened. A resurge in cases started just south of Bangkok on December 20 last year, just before Christmas, kicking off another round of restrictions, pretty much killing off any possibility of a high season ‘bump’ for the tourist industry. Airlines slashed flights from their schedule, and hotels, which had dusted off their reception desks for the surge of tourists, shut their doors again.

Domestically, the hotel business saw 6 million room nights in the government’s latest stimulus campaign fully redeemed. But the air ticket quota of 2 million seats still has over 1.3 million seats unused. Local tourists mostly skipped flights and opted for destinations within driving distance of their homes.

As for international tourism… well that still seems months or years away, even now.

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