Pattaya Personalities “Neo”
By Kevin Cain
Our latest addition to the Pattaya Personalities page is somebody I had heard a great deal about from my time living in Pattaya. Almost all the expats I had spoken to in conversation had either met or knew about Neo's deeds in our fair city. For Neo has tirelessly devoted himself to the ecology of Thailand's beaches and streets together with the welfare of the people and stray dogs.
His first foray into Thailand was to settle into Phuket in 2000 where he became familiar with the Soi Dogs project. It is a well known fact for those of us that live in Thailand, that the stray dog situation is almost at epidemic proportions. There is simply nowhere to house and care for the unfortunate creatures and any assistance helping to alleviate the situation is normally voluntary and part time.
In 2004 he moved to Bangkok when the devastating tsunami struck. One of the biggest nations to suffer loss was Sweden as there were many “Swedish” hotels destroyed during the terrible event.Neo, a Swedish national, was responsible for giving telephone assistance and support to concerned relatives both still in Thailand and back in their homeland of Sweden.
He then spent a further 6 years in Bangkok working for a dog charity and although he enjoyed his time in The Big Mango found that the air quality was affecting his health. So he decided to settle somewhere more clement and came to live in Pattaya beside the sea.This is where Neo's passion for the ecology and cleanliness of his adopted home really took a vice like grip and his vocation truly began. It is also about this time that many Thais and Ferrangs started to notice Neo on the city's beaches and sois tirelessly striving to clean them up.
Neo's policy is to hit one place and keep on cleaning it again and again until it is spotless, that way he says people are shocked into keeping the place clean. His attempts to involve local inhabitants to help are rather hit and miss, sometimes he has willing volunteers to assist him but often the effort trying to enroll the extra manpower is simply too time consuming.
As if all this was not enough, Neo's love for dogs was still an overriding passion and saw him walking the city's parks and wastelands feeding stray animals and trying his best to tend to them.
In 2012 he was greatly helped when he joined the Rotary Club of Eastern Seaboard and started the “Green Pattaya” initiative. The aim of which is to bring awareness to the local population of the serious pollution problem in the city and gain support for the cleaning of targeted areas. The premise being that if an area is totally clean then residents will respect it and care for it. Neo’s hope is then that if he sets the example of cleaning then others will follow his lead and continue the good work. Infact you may have noticed the considerable difference in areas such as Pratumnak, Sheraton Road and Cosy Beach that have received constant attention by Neo.
In 2014 Neo joined the Carolinas E Rotary Club which is basically a world online Rotary organisation that among other issues highlights Ecology and Pollution matters. Neo promotes his clean up campaigns via social media so if you are interested doing your bit for the city then just visit his Facebook page:
for details of the next clean up campaign.
I asked Neo where his inspiration came from for this addiction to voluntary hard labour for the good of others? His response was a very spiritual one, that the teachings of Buddha had convinced him to attend to his deeds by an insight into the material world around him.
There are many astonishing ways Neo has tried to focus attention and gain aid on his projects. One included a charity run from Chiang Rai to Phuket. This mammoth 1,000km trek took almost one month to complete during which he slept and ate where he could along the way. It is even more fantastic feat if you take into account that he damaged his knee in the first couple of days running too fast with some excited school children. This injury made running uphill extremely painful and the only way to alleviate it was to run backwards ! There was even an extraordinary instance of Neo running an incline of 10km totally backwards through a national park. I don't know if this is some kind of record but personally after five paces running backwards I’m sure I would have collided with a tree However, Neo did not instead he went on to raise 600,000 baht through his sponsorship which went to a local dog shelter.
His next planned sojourn is to run from Pattaya to Phuket to raise funds for his Green Pattaya Petition an awareness campaign to businesses about the dangers to the local environment of discarded plastic straws. Plus an even bigger project is planned after the run to Phuket of an epic walk from Chiang Rai to Trang in the very south of Thailand. Neo estimates that this incredible journey will take him over three months to complete and hopes that his devoted projects will benefit from his endeavours.
Neo is a highly driven individual and his whole life is devoted to improve the standards of living for other people and creatures. Everything he does is totally unselfish and for the benefit of others. He tirelessly strives to clean the very streets we walk on, to feed and house local unfortunate beings and dogs and to give awareness to vital ecological and pollution issues not concerning himself with any remuneration for all his hard work, toil and sometimes heartache.
One thing is for sure, Pattaya is a cleaner and better place in Neo’s passion, care and attention. It is just a pity we don't have an army of Eco Neo's to fight the war against pollution and ignorance.He is soon hoping to an office in Pattaya to support his Green Pattaya initiative where he will also offer free sterilization for dogs.So if you have been interested in what Neo is trying to do for Pattaya and would like to add your support then simply visit his Facebook page for all his current activities. I am sure that this amazing young man would appreciate help in any way or form - certainly Pattaya would !