Gloria chats with Dao and Jeff Mitchell of Amar International Asia.
If you need help with anything to do with the repatriation of a sick or deceased loved one, you should absolutely call on the skill and patience of Dao and Jeff Mitchell and their team at Amar International Asia. When meeting with them both recently, it quickly became apparent that it takes a special type of person to undertake this type of work. You must be able to communicate quickly and efficiently between all parties. Also, when offering a 24/7 Global service that spans different regions and time zones, prepared to acknowledge requests at any time, even those that come in the middle of the night.
Dealing with family expectations, embassy procedures, and Thai authorities is an essential and delicate balancing act. Loved ones may not understand that upon death, the relevant embassy in Thailand has to be informed and asked to provide a letter of release before the body can be repatriated. Acting as the family’s intermediary means Amar have to be gentle but firm in order to get all the crucial information. They have also found that having one point of contact when working for a family helps to avoid misunderstandings and differences of opinion. Also, they have to politely advise the correct procedures if misinformed family members have taken incorrect advice or relied on their own (sometimes out of date) research as to how to proceed with the authorities. Grief handling is of course, the most painful part of the job. In their experience Dao and Jeff tell me that not everyone deals with loss in the same way. Another important attribute they must have is empathy when picking up on the mood and feelings of each individual family and client
Both Jeff and Dao have a wealth of experience to call upon when dealing with all these issues, gained from having worked in embassies here in Thailand. During his time with the British Embassy Jeff Mitchell MBE notched up 1,000 prison visits and extensive training in crisis management. This included UK Foreign office training that involved a military course (with actors) to enact disaster scenarios. Then it was on to actual rapid deployement that included Japan during the Tsunami in 2011, The Phillipines during Typhoon Yolanda in 2013, the aftermath of the plane crashes in Phuket and Samui and the bombing incident at the Erawan Shrine.
Likewise Dao, whilst working for the French and Canadian embassy dealt with many difficult cases. Although her crisis training was to be thrown in at the deep end, working from 7:30 a.m to 9 pm, dealing with calls literally as they came in. One of her bravest missions was to rescue a 15 year old Canadian citizen who contacted the embassy in fear for her life. She claimed that her parents would kill her if she did not marry her uncle. Dao literally had to lead the girl to safety, by the hand and organize for her to be met by the social services in Canada.
So it was that Dao was sought out by the Australian company Amar International, to start a funeral company in Thailand. Working with this company (of over 160 years old) Dao gained even more valuable experience and continued to build a tremendous network with officials, airlines and also hospitals throughout the country. She went on to form Amar International Asia in 2018 and built up a team that included contacts from all over the Nation: 2 in Phuket, 2 in Chiang Mai, 2 in Udon Thani and 2 in Samui. This was especially useful recently when the company had to retrieve a missing passport in the North of Thailand for its unfortunate owner was stranded in Samui unable to travel.
No job appears to be too small or too big as Amar can also arrange complete funerals that take place here in Thailand. Dao tells me that the sensibilities of western clients and their guests, have to be considered. Usually they are often from a culture which has different views when dealing with mortality. So the whole team at Amar understand the importance of giving a dignified farewell to loved ones and take enormous pride with the extra touches they provide. For example, coffins used in Thailand may often be very basic and so Lamdaun (seen in this photo) works diligently to provide coffin lining. Also, if the body is naked or not respectfully attired she will make a navy blue silk outfit in which to clothe the deceased when being transported to the final resting place.
All details of the funeral can be left to the Amar team to provide: floral arrangements, a video montage set to music,photo tributes and decorations. Contact them today if you require an advanced quotation for you or a loved one.