Pattaya Personality - Kwaang
By Kevin Cain
I have always liked the Pratumnak Hill area and even though there were ominous grey clouds overhead when I last visited there recently it was even more of a treat to go as I was on my way to meet a young lady I had never met before. Siripoom Boonmamuang (or Kwaang) was only previously known to me as half of the famous Pattaya People Party Patrol .
The dampness of the breeze hurried my step as I looked for the New Nordic Steaks & Grill Restaurant, which is part of New Nordic Group’s Hotel Concept Marcus. My editor had previously told me to look out for the two large elephants by the entrance so seeing a stone bench I took advantage of it and waited. Barely had I been sitting for a couple of minutes when a smiling young women came to greet me. This was my first my encounter with Kwaang, although it felt more like meeting an old friend because of the amount of times I had seen her presenting the famous Party Patrol segway on TV.
We made our way to the New Nordic Steaks & Grill restaurant, where we took advantage of a comfortable table overlooking the courtyard below, a few sleepy Marcus residents were finishing late breakfasts and discussing their day ahead. Whilst ordering refreshments from the attentive waiter, my editor timed her entrance impeccably to order a fresh cappuccino. Then once we were all suitably relaxed and sipping our Javas we got down to business.
Having seen Kwaang on TV I had formed an opinion that she had a bubbly persona as she always came across full of life and verve and within minutes this opinion was confirmed. However I could soon sense that there was far more to Kwaang than simply a media queen. Hailing from Chiang Mai, she majored in law at university because it was her mother’s wish that a young Siripoom pursue a career in the government or the police. The problem was that Kwaang did not like her studies one little bit in fact studying law simply bored her.
This news was not well received by her mother, who was struggling to bring up a young family by herself and Kwaang had a touch of conscience about letting her down and so she did not refuse her mother’s request that she start working in a bank. It was however a decision she came to regret as she hated the boring monotony of the stiff financial institution.and two years later she rebelled yet again and shocked her mother, when she left her secure job to run a Pizzeria.
She loved the Pizza Shop, managing the business and dealing with customers was one of her favourite aspects of running the restaurant. Unknown to Kwaang this early insight into customer relations was beginning to form what was to become the bedrock of her future career. Unfortunately when the escalating situation of political unrest between the Red and Yellow shirts caused many of her expat patrons to leave the area her business proved to be unsustainable, and sadly the Pizzeria had to close its doors.
Kwaang decided she needed a vacation, and it was five years ago that she arrived in Pattaya to have a well earned rest. Like so many new visitors to the seaside resort, she found that she loved the variety the city had to offer. One thing led to another and the holiday soon turned into a job as she saw an advertisement for a sales rep for Pattaya People Media Co. Her personality and capabilities soon got her recognition within the organisation when she was made station manager of Nova FM radio. Then within a few months the infamous Pattaya People Party Patrol was created for television and became an instant hit. Her partner in crime was Megan and the chemistry was perfect, the show became the number one events show in Pattaya.
Finally the continuous partying, constant venue openings and event reporting took its toll and Kwaang decided it was time for a new challenge as her career took yet another turn when a wine company invited her to promote their wines in Pattaya and it was then that she met Anders Eliasson the man behind News Steaks & Grill. Her early forage into catering stood her in good stead, and she became assistant manager of the successful restaurant enjoying the daily challenge of running a busy restaurant and solving a new problem every day. Her duties also included PR and Marketing which she was so good at that she and Anders started a business as restaurant consultants helping similar eateries in the Pattaya region. They then left their location in Thappraya road to start News Steak and Grill at New Nordic the group had taken such an interest in Kwaang that she was invited to become PR manager for the New Nordic Group. Since then the marketing and events of New Nordic have gone from strength to strength with the Music Festival and the Phoenix Golf days becoming instant successes.
As with many of our Pattaya Personalities, Kwaang appreciates just how much the city has done for her. Her employers also want to put something back into the community so when an opportunity came to do just that Kwaang jumped on it. So The Orange Elephants scheme was born, formed to support the New Nordic Orange Smile Scholarship initiative. The initiative was setup to provide scholarships for selected students in Pattaya to further their education. New Nordic residents, guests of the the restaurants and anybody visiting the sales office in Pratumnak have been asked to part with 500 baht for an orange New Nordic Elephant the proceeds being used to help the future of a deserving student learn English..
I was curious how somebody like Kwaang likes to relax in her spare time. Her first love is reading, in particular Mitch Albom and her second passion is fashion. Kwaang described her addiction as one of eclectic tastes, she enjoys shopping in markets and secondhand shops just as much as malls. Her love of the quirky and bohemian is reflected in her dress sense and accessories, in particular handbags. Her description of some of her favourite bags include:’ Burgers, Popcorn a Pineapple and other just as crazy designs.
Leaving New Nordic I certainly felt happier than I had been before the interview. Kwaang has an infectious personality, she naturally imparts confidence and a state of joyfulness. I wonder what the next development will be for this highly intelligent and ebullient women ? To find out - continue to watch this space !.