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Chanintr Living brings iconic designer furniture to Phuket

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Chanintr Living brings iconic designer furniture to Phuket | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Think about a chair. Not much to it, is there? It’s an object often taken for granted – just a few pieces of wood stuck together to keep you comfortable.

Take a second, closer look. Notice the curves, the joints, the fragile pieces all there to keep you from landing on the floor. Look long enough and you’ll discover that a chair is in fact a little wonder.

Even more so if you realize, that behind some of the most common, familiar chairs and other pieces of furniture, stand the giants of modern design. The likes of Eames, Arne Jacobsen or Emeco, to name just a few, are constantly present in our lives.

The trouble is, most of the time they are not real. Some, if not most, of furniture we deal with everyday are in fact copies of pieces designed long time ago, far, far away. But if you don’t like drinking cheap sparkling wine instead of Champagne, or wearing Adonis in place of Adidas, why should you settle for fakes in the furniture department?

The good news is, you don’t have to. There is a company here in Thailand that deals in the real thing. The company is Chanintr Living, they have been here for 20 years, and they have almost 30 of world’s most famous furniture design brands in their portfolio.

Visiting one of Chanintr Living showrooms is like visiting a design gallery – and in fact some of the pieces you’ll find in Chanintr Living shops are on display in places such as New York’s Museum of Modern Art. The moment you step into the store, you realize you are surrounded by familiar objects – you know these shapes and forms, you’ve seen some of them many times before. The difference is, these are authentic. And each has a story to tell.

“Every iconic piece has a story and in our showroom you can ask about this story,” explains Chanintr Sirisant, the company’s founder and CEO. “It’s not a made up, marketing talk, but real history behind a piece, the philosophy of the designer,” he explains.

Mr Chanintr started the company out of love for design, and it’s the love for great design that is clearly visible in all Chanintr Living showrooms, including the one in Phuket’s Bypass Road. Take a look around, sit in one of the armchairs, spend some time on a sofa and you’ll understand this passion better.

“There is a lot to be said about what it takes to make a piece of furniture very well. The quality, the manufacturing, where the wood comes from and how it’s taken care of – it all matters,” explains Mr Chanintr.

You think that cheaper copies look and carry their daily duties just as well? In fact, they might look elusively attractive right there, in the shop. But give it six months, a year, five years, expose it to time, weather, and life in general, and you’ll see the difference. The originals are made to last, the fakes are made to sell.

But that’s not just it. The devil is in the details. Every curve and angle, every piece of wood, sheet of leather used in making an iconic piece of furniture is closely studied to give you the ultimate comfort.

“People try to copy Picasso all the time, but somehow you know that there is something a bit wrong with the copy. It’s this kind of thing. If someone puts a lot of time and effort into understanding something well, at the end of the day you will get a result that somehow speaks to you,” Mr Chanintr explains.

“Most of the pieces in our showrooms will be in great shape in a decade, they are made to last long. The useful life of lower priced furniture you see in other places, will be much shorter. The upfront cost of the original might be higher, but over the course of time it turns out to be of better value,” he adds.

In Chanintr Living showrooms, it’s not only the furniture that’s meant to last long. It’s also the relationships with the customers. To achieve that, Mr Chanintr works with people who share his passion for great design and care about the customer.

Nothing proves this point better than assigning Warrawan Foedisch, the first employee to join the company over 20 years ago, to lead Chanintr’s expansion to Phuket. Under her leadership, the small outlet in Surin, where Chanintr made its first steps on the island, soon became too small and the showroom was relocated to the large, two story Hafele Design Center on the Bypass Road.

“There is no point in having a customer who just buys one bedside table, this is not how you make this business,” explains Mr Chanintr when asked about his customer care philosophy.

“It’s all about caring, about building long term relationships. We find people who care about the customer, who really do see them through the whole experience. Obviously we sell good stuff of high quality, but customers come back because they trust us and they trust the level of service we provide.”

So next time you’re thinking of getting a new chair, or any piece of furniture for that matter, it is well worth paying attention to the details. Once you visit the Chanintr Living showroom, where you can touch it, sit on it, feel it and learn its story, you’ll never look at a chair the same way again.

— Maciek Klimowicz

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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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Thailand

21% of Thai teenagers are gambling

Greeley Pulitzer

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21% of Thai teenagers are gambling | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Gambling, local style, Rai Et, north-east Thailand – Pinterest

Early in October the Thai Health Promotion Foundation met to discuss the gambling situation in Thailand in 2019. Also present were the Centre for Gambling Studies, Stop Gambling Foundation and related groups.

The meeting was set up after a report revealed that more than half (57%) of the Thai population, or 30.42 million people, gamble. The director-general of the Centre for Gambling Studies at Chulalongkorn University shared the report, which was based on data from a survey of 44,050 people across 77 provinces.

The figure is an increase of 1.49 million people from 2017. While most Thai gamblers are of working age, 2.4% of the total were aged between 15-18 years. This means that 21% of that age group are gambling.

According to California’s Council on Problem Gambling, youth, like everyone else, gamble for many reasons, including entertainment; socialisation; competition; loneliness, and boredom; to get rich quick; to impress others; be the centre of attention; make new friends, and because winning provides an instant, temporary boost of confidence.

“The California Council on Problem Gambling lists depression as one reason youth turn to gambling, noting that depression can just as easily be an effect as a cause. This is especially important to note in a country like Thailand.”

In an article in The ASEAN Post, it was noted that in December 2017, Thailand’s Department of Mental Health (DMH) reported that an estimated one million teenagers are believed to suffer from depression, many of whom go untreated, with two million more are at risk, making upward of three million among a population of eight million teens then.

The DMH said that stress and anxiety may affect a student’s ability to concentrate and perform well at school, and they may show several warning signs, such as lack of attention, loss of interest in daily activities, lethargy, sadness, and sleeping issues.

“It is clear from studies that depression and gambling go hand-in-hand: the unfortunate case in Thailand is that it is affecting children too.”

SOURCE: The ASEAN Post

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Bangkok

Professor: Military government too interested in tourism – not people’s welfare

Greeley Pulitzer

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Professor: Military government too interested in tourism – not people’s welfare | The Thaiger

A professor of Rangsit University has criticised the previous military government for focusing too much on tourism and not enough on the welfare of the Thai people. The professor was speaking at Chulalongkorn University at a seminar discussing street stalls and urban development.

She questioned the National Council for Peace and Order’s policy of clearing street vendors in all but a few areas such as Yaowarat and Khao San Road that mainly cater to tourists.

She claimed that the NCPO – in power since the coup of 2014 until this year’s election – was more interested in economic development through tourism than in the welfare of the public.

Having affordable street food options was not just about tourism, she said, it was vital for poor workers who have migrated from the countryside, adding that it was part of an informal rather than a formal economy.

“For years people had earned their living from selling goods and services, including food, on the streets.”

This in turn provided an affordable option to eat for workers who came to Bangkok on for large investment projects. The issue, she said, was not just about tourism but the wider economy that might benefit.

The professor noted that CNN had once called Bangkok the best place in the world for street food but this had changed with the sanitized food trucks that have appeared since stalls and vendors were banned from most areas.

The Thaiger notes that banning street vendors has divided the capital. Many are happy that the sidewalks are easier to navigate, but others – including tourists – have said that the lifeblood and character of the city has suffered.

SOURCE: Naew Na | ThaiVisa Forum

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Chiang Rai

Journey back to Tham Luang in ‘The Cave’ – VIDEO

The Thaiger

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Journey back to Tham Luang in ‘The Cave’ – VIDEO | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Tom Waller on site during the filming of The Cave – AFP

Determined divers racing against time. Rising waters threatening lives. 12 teenagers and their soccer coach trapped inside for two weeks. A remote cave that most had never heard of.

The stuff of a Hollywood drama, except that it’s all true and happened in Chiang Rai last year. Now the first of several re-tellings of the story comes to the big screen in The Cave.

The ordeal in late June and early July last year had barely ended when filmmakers began their own race to get the nail-biting drama onto cinema screens. The first of those projects premiered at the start of October, when director Tom Waller’s The Cave showed at the Busan Film Festival in South Korea.

The film was shot over three months earlier this year and has been in post-production since then. The 45 year old Thai-British filmmaker says the epic tale of the Wild Boars (Mu Pa) football team was a story he simply had to tell.

“I took the view that this was going to be a story about the people we didn’t know about, about the cave divers who came all the way from across the planet.”

The 13 young men entered the Tham Luang cave complex after soccer practice and were quickly trapped inside by rising floodwater. The boys were forced to spend nine nights lost in the cave, whilst Navy Seal and other diver searched frantically, before they were spotted by a British diver.

It would take another eight days before they were all safe, against all odds, in a risky mission.

Waller was visiting his father in Ireland when he saw television news accounts of the drama.

“I thought this would be an amazing story to tell on screen.”

But putting the parts together after their dramatic rescue proved to be a challenge. Thailand’s government, led by the military NCPO, became very protective of the story, barring unauthorised access to the Mu Pa team or their parents. Waller often feared his production might be shut down.

His good fortune was that the events at the Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai province had multiple angles and interesting characters. Especially compelling were the stories of the rescuers, particularly the expert divers who rallied from around the world. He decided to make a film “about the volunteer spirit of the rescue.”

Other people proposed telling the story from the point of view of the boys, and Netflix nailed down those rights in a deal brokered by the Thai government.

“I took the view that this was going to be a story about the people we didn’t know about, about the cave divers who came all the way from across the planet. They literally dropped everything to go and help, and I just felt that that was more of an exciting story to tell, to find out how these boys were brought out and what they did to get them out.”

Waller even had more than a dozen key rescue personnel play themselves.

Waller said they were natural actors, blending in almost seamlessly with the professionals around them, and helped by the accuracy of the settings and the production’s close attention to detail.

“What you are really doing is asking them to remember what they did and to show us what they were doing and what they were feeling like at the time. That was really very emotional for some of them because it was absolutely real.”

Waller says his film is likely to have a visceral effect on some viewers, evoking a measure of claustrophobia.

“It’s a sort of immersive experience with the sound of the environment, you know, the fact that is very dark and murky, that the water is not clear.”

“In Hollywood films, when they do underwater scenes, everything is crystal clear. But in this film it’s murky and I think that’s the big difference. This film lends itself to being more of a realistic portrayal of what happened.”

Some scenes were filmed on location at the entrance to the actual Tham Luang cave, but most of the action was shot elsewhere.

“We filmed in real water caves that were flooded, all year-round. It is very authentic in terms of real caves, real flooded tunnels, real divers and real creepy-crawlies in there. So it was no mean feat trying to get a crew to go and film in these caves.”

The Cave goes on general release in Thailand on November 28.

ORIGINAL ARTICE: Associated Press | Time.com

Journey back to Tham Luang in 'The Cave' - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Tom Waller – Associated Press/Sakchai Lalit

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