Happy New Year & all the best for 2018 – It has been a busy time over the end of year holiday period for the Consulate causing a delay posting this article. Over the past months of November and December 2017 the consulate was active providing consular assistance & support, supplying information and undertaking public diplomacy.
This bi-monthly posting covers highlights of Consulate activity, statistics on the scope and volume of service as well as some upcoming events and information for general awareness.
Consular & Public Diplomacy Highlights
One of the functions of the Honorary Consul (who volunteers his time) is to engage in public diplomacy by representing and promoting Australia. There are often event invitations and ceremonies that provide this opportunity. While I can’t always attend every event, due to diary or other conflicts, the following information highlights (in no particular order) some of the consulates participation during November and December:
- Joint Chambers of Commerce Networking Event
Representing the Australian Thai Chamber of Commerce (Austcham) I attended a joint Chamber of Commerce networking event organised by the Netherland Chamber of Commerce and Starworks. Food innovation was the theme. Enjoyed the Khao Soi and Somtom ice cream along with other tasty treats. Good evening meeting and networking with a variety of people.
- Australian Alumni Networking Event
A fantastic Australian Alumni networking evening at Le Meridien Hotel Chiang Mai. Great to meet and chat with so many people. Thanks to the Ambassador and Australian Embassy Bangkok, Australian Alumni Association and Austcham for hosting this event.
Some introductory comments by the Ambassador and speeches from two Thai Alumni on what their education in Australia meant to them. Some nice food and drinks by the hotel pool created an inviting & casual atmosphere for networking. Appreciate the coverage from Steve at Citylife.
- Australian Ambassador visits Elephant Parade Land
On his recent visit to Chiang Mai I had the pleasure of introducing the Australian Ambassador Thailand to Elephant Parade Land, a social enterprise, and their efforts to support elephant conservation. There was an Australian found working here – an artist – as well. The Elephant Parade now have an “Aussie Flag Elephant” you can purchase – See a story at the end of this post for more details
- Call on the Governor of Chiang Mai Province
Was pleased to attend along with the Australian Ambassador to Thailand for a meeting with the Governor of Chiang Mai Province, during a recent visit to Chiang Mai. The Governor briefed the Ambassador on various aspects of Chiang Mai province issues and initiatives. The Ambassador explained some of the Australian initiatives in Thailand to help foster positive bi-lateral relations. The Governor’s office is very open to working with the Consular Corps of Northern Thailand.
- Taste Australia Event at Rimping
It was all about Australian food and wine products and education at this event. The Consulate enjoyed helping out by supporting and participating with Rimping and Austrade on this event. Thanks Citylife for covering the opening ceremonies and Ace & Jenny for staffing the education booth. There was lots of Aussie food and wine flavours on offer.
Check out more event pictures thanks to Steve from Citylife.
- November 11th Remembrance Day
A Remembrance Day Service was conducted at the Chiang Mai Foreign cemetary by the Royal British Legion. The Consulate joined others to pay respects and lay wreaths in tribute to sacrifices.
- Wichai Wittaya English School visits Consulate
It was enjoyable to support and participate with Wichai Wittaya English Program School in their International Day event. The Consulate provided display material for their Australia booth that was created by students for their International Day. There was considerable effort by students to learn and prepare displays of about 20 countries The school visited the Consulate to provide best wishes for 2018 and to discuss Australian education opportunities.
- Consular Service Outreach – December 8th
Another busy consular service program at Le Merdien Hotel Chiang Mai. The last one of the year where passport and some notarial services were provided. Overall there were 85 clients provided with services. The Consulate assists the Embassy staff by operating the reception desk and queue management system along with answering questions from clients on a variety of matters.
The next visit to Chiang Mai by the consular service team is – 19 January 2018. Here is a link to the Embassy webpage on the 2018 Outreach dates and details: http://thailand.embassy.gov.au/bkok/Consular_Outreach_Visits.html
- Australian 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper Released
รัฐบาลออสเตรเลียได้เปิดตัวสมุดปกขาวด้านนโยบายต่างประเทศและการค้าประจำปี 2017 เมื่อวันที่ 23 พฤศจิกายนที่ผ่านมา ท่านสามารถหาข้อมูลเพิ่มเติมเกี่ยวกับแนวทางของประเทศออสเตรเลียในการสนับสนุนภูมิภาคของเราได้ที่ www.fpwhitepaper.gov.au #FPWhitePaper
- Hang Dong Police – Consulate Security Patrols
Thanks to the regular police visits to the Consulate by Hang Dong Station to provide a level of security.
Statistics, damn statistics – scope of consular activity
Here are some figures regarding the work and scale of activities covering the two month of November and December 2017?
The month of November involved 91 contacts/activities requiring 34 service hours. The client language mix was 80% English & 20% Thai.
By comparison the month of December was somewhat busier with 107 contacts/activities that involved 35 service hours with a client language mix of 82% English & 18% Thai.
The methods of interaction with clients and the consulate over December were: Phone 38%; Email 50%; Social media 3% and In person 9%
There is often times some humour in this role – Consulate clients can, at times, get confused between the Australian and Austrian Consulates in Chiang Mai – they are located at opposite sides of the city. Given the similar wording I often receive requests or visits from people looking for the Austrian Consulate, who also have experienced similar confusion – they shared this cute sign to help out the public:
The consulate work load involves various matters such as providing advise and information in response to inquiries for notarial and passport services, visa inquiries, offering referrals to the correct place for service as well as attending to clients for consular assistance.
The breakdown of Consulate activities & services for these two months are:
Consular & passports: – 43% in Nov & 71% in Dec
Australian visa’s: – 44% in Nov & 23% in Dec
Other & Information: 0% in Nov & 3% in Dec
Public diplomacy: 13% in Nov & 3% in Dec
Some of the consular assistance over the past few months involved visiting hospitalised Australians from illness or accident and attending to arrested individuals for visa overstays. In these cases it is often necessary to seek a privacy approval in order to make contact with family or friends to inform them of the situation so they can assist the client.
The Consulate uses social media (Facebook & twitter and dedicated websites) in order to provided & share information that may be helpful and/or interesting. These social media platforms activities for the month of November and December 2017 involved:
Websites: Total views of 1,237 for the following two websites during November and December:
936 – Australian Honorary Consul (tranquilinthailand.com)
Facebook pages: Facebook is where I post routine activity and this posting recaps some of these events. In the last month period a total of 2,631 users were reached over these two Facebook sites – check out these links:
Google my Business – The consulate is listed on Google to make it easier to connect and through this platform people can locate the consulate website or make contact.
For December 2017 there were 679 clients who searched for the consulate. Of these 33 requested directions – 22 visited the website & 7 called the Consulate.
2018 – Another Year for the Australian Consulate in Chiang Mai and lots of busy activities and helping out.
Upcoming Activity and Information
- Australian Day 2018 – Chiang Mai events on 26th January
- Embassy Consular Service Outreach –
19 January & 2 March 2018 at Le Meridien Hotel Chiang Mai for the next Outreach visits.
For dates, details and information on notarial and passport services available please see this webpage link.
- Australian Education Fair by CP International Chiang Mai
10 March 2018 at U-Nimman Hotel Convention Centre 12 – 17:00 hours. I will be opening this event. If you know of Thai people interested in studying in Australia pass information onto them – see this website.
- Aussie Flag Elephant – Elephant Parade Thailand
Have you heard of or visited the Elephant Parade stores around Chiang Mai or elsewhere in Thailand – maybe you have seen some very large and colourful elephant statues?
They now have in their product list an “Aussie Flag Elephant” that you can purchase – just visit one of their stores.
Elephant Parade® is a social enterprise and runs the world’s largest art exhibition of decorated elephant statues. Created by artists and celebrities, each Elephant Parade statue is a unique art piece. The life-size, baby elephant statues are exhibited in international cities and raise awareness for the need of elephant conservation.
Limited edition, handcrafted replicas and a select range of products are created from the exhibition elephants. 20% of Elephant Parade net profits are donated to elephant welfare and conservation projects.
To find out more please check out their website.