The president of the Chiang Mai Restaurant
and Entertainment Association is a young energetic Thai,
Keattisak Saythai, known as “Dang”. He is also someone who
has “adopted” Chiang Mai as his home, and understands the
importance of being part of the local society and community.
Dang was the youngest child in a large
Bangkok family, with five brothers and one sister. His father
was in the grocery business, but both his mother and father have
since passed on. Like most young Thai children he helped his
parents in the family business after school hours, but when he
left school after his secondary education was over, he then
entered the work force, initially in the building construction
business, but very quickly moved on to become a merchant and
trader, a career that fitted better into the ‘family’ mould.
At that stage in his life, he did not feel the need or necessity
to continue his formal education, a decision that he found he
would have to rectify later in his life.
The decision to leave Bangkok was not an easy
one, but one that was in some ways prompted by the economic
crisis resultant from the Gulf War. However, what was Saddam’s
loss was Chiang Mai’s gain, as Dang decided to come to Chiang
Mai and open a business here.
He looked around and decided that there was a
steady market for the restaurant business, after all, everyone
has to eat! He opened his first restaurant in Chiang Mai in
1993. “It was not easy. You have to work very hard and there
are a lot of problems associated with the business. Every day!
You also have to pay much attention to detail.”
He also admitted that he was quite lucky in
that this first restaurant became patronised by the governor and
the mayor and he got to know them personally, a factor that
would be important later.
It was not long before he opened up his
second restaurant - a cafe style establishment in the Nong Hoi
area and then recently opened the third, a cafe featuring
evening musical entertainment.
During this period of expansion, Dang also
returned to education. “To start with it was more important
for me to join the workforce and learn practical skills, but I
also needed the theory, so I went to the Rajabhat Institute of
Chiang Mai. It was interesting being an adult in the class.
Sometimes I was older than the teacher!” After the three year
part-time course, he graduated in the field of Business
Management with their diploma.
After a number of years in the “Rose of the
North” and becoming an integral part of the local community,
Dang felt he was very much accepted and became involved more and
more with the society. This involvement began happy”. He did
speak further on this by indicating he would like to expand his
business saying, “If you come from a good family and you have
a good business, you can do a lot of good for people.” He is
working hard in local politics, but admitted that if he were
given the choice he would like to move into national politics,
but did add, “This is not the time to change.”
He was not reticent with his advice for the
young up and comers in the world. “You must pay attention to
economics. Don’t waste time on the streets and use your spare
time in sports. Get an aim in life and learn from those more
experienced than you are. Consult the experts, because business
is not as easy as you would expect - there are many problems you
have to learn to cope with. With globalization, life is now very
much more competitive. Continue the learning process and avoid
getting side-tracked or ‘lost’. You must become prepared, so
that you can meet your competition.”
Reading the above paragraph you can see the
application of his studies in business management which are
applied to the practicalities learned from the actual physical
day to day running of a business.
Dang is still a young man, and very obviously
on the way up himself. He does appear to have the correct
balance to be able to turn his 80% satisfaction level into the
100% when the time is right. He also has the ability to identify
the correct timing and the other factors needed to ensure
success. “Luck” does not play part of this. Hard work and
attention to detail does, and Dang is prepared to make it