Weekly Local Biography

 Keattisak “Dang” Saythai


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 happen.