Weekly Local Biography

  Ruediger Junior

Despite the immediate thoughts of the American anglophiles, this week’s personality will never become Ruediger Senior. Junior is the surname of a man with a colourful past, an undoubted colourful future, and one who produces 60-70 colourful contemporary abstract paintings every year. In some ways an enigma, Ruediger Junior (“most people call me Rudy”) is an interesting ex-pat here in Chiang Mai, admitting that he has discovered that he is made up of different personalities, all co-existing within one body.

Rudy was born in Algiers, the capital of Algeria, but he is German not Algerian, his German father and German mother being diplomats stationed in Algeria when he was born. As I pointed out to Rudy, if you are born in a stable, it does not make you a horse!

When he was three years old, the family returned to Germany, his parents to leave the diplomatic corps and his father to set up in business for himself. Rudy went to the local schools, but did not display an academic prowess. “I was very, very average,” said Rudy, “Sports and arts were the only things I was interested in.”

When it was time to finish school and look seriously at a career, the first of Rudy’s personal hurdles appeared. His father wanted him to go into business, but this did not attract Rudy in any way. “My main interest was always art and music - all the things you can’t make money with,” said Rudy with a laugh. A compromise had to be reached and it was decided that the hotel industry should be his future direction.

To that end, he was enrolled in a five year course in the famous Swiss Hotel School in Lucerne. There he found that he enjoyed the practical aspect of the training, putting the didactic classroom lessons into play. “I liked the close contact with the guests. Building bridges between people and cultures.”

By the time he had finished four years of the course he was ready for the hospitality world outside. He had already been working in Italy and France to learn the languages, and he had itchy feet. “I didn’t do the last 12 months. I was already being paid too much, so I lost interest,” said Rudy.

The job that was “paying too much” was in Munich, but now being a free agent, Rudy was interested in seeing more of the world. The opportunity to do just that came from a most unlikely source - his father! Junior (Senior!) bought a restaurant in Chiang Mai and needed a manager to run it. In retrospect, Rudy feels that this was an attempt by his father for the pair of them to have something together, as they did not do much together while he was growing up.

He ran the five storey restaurant here for five years, but it was difficult and probably did not have the personal outcome that either of them wanted. Rudy explained it simply as, “Two stubborn Germans!”

Now 1995, Rudy had produced many of his own abstract paintings and so decided to open an art gallery to display and hopefully sell these. “I paint 60-70 paintings a year. When I start I can’t stop. They are abstracts with a cosmic background and Thai temple art patterns running through them like a mantra,” said Rudy attempting to explain his art. “My own development was proceeding, but the money wasn’t there,” said Rudy, and after a couple of years he bundled up his paintings to go on a world selling trip to Europe and the USA. This was successful and he returned to Chiang Mai to open a small business here with a Thai partner.

Remember that Rudy’s all consuming passions had been art and music, so this stage in his life should have been ideal. It was 1997 and he opened the Sax Music Pub. “I wanted to have a contemporary mix of music and art. I wanted a different clientele that could appreciate my art, which I exposed as a revolving exhibition.”

Rudy’s involvement in this venture was much more than decor for the walls, as he is also a musician (another one of Rudy’s personalities). Despite no formal training, he plays saxophone, bass, drums, guitar and keyboards. “Giving me a musical instrument is like opening up Pandora’s box,” said Rudy, in explanation.

But there are even more “Rudy’s” packed into that one body. There is Rudy the writer, who following help from a clairvoyant Diana Manilova has found that he can be used for ‘channelling’ to receive messages from others, which Rudy regards as ‘teachers’. “They are teaching us, trying to get us going in the right direction.”

To help keep himself going in that right direction, Rudy practices meditation and completes two hours of yoga every morning, “My spiritual work-out,” says Rudy.

However, he does have some pursuits that are not in the spiritual plane, one being riding his Africa Twin motorcycle. Once he gets clear of the metropolis he finds it “very joyful”.

As far as any long term aims are concerned, he admitted to only one - hoping that one day he might have an audience with the Dalai Lama. He explained this apparent lack of ‘need’ to fulfil aims saying, “What you don’t achieve this lifetime, you can do in the next.”

However, he does have an immediate desire to return to the hotel industry and manage a small hotel in Chiang Mai. “I love this country for so many different reasons - the nature and the people who have taught me how to feel. I have found out that I have several different personalities. They all have to live inside myself. We have lived before and they are all joined together in one body - and that is me!”

Thank you Rudy for your very frank and revealing hour of your time. I am sure that you and your different personalities will join in harmony while living in this calming environment called Chiang Mai.