Bangkok Podcast: Canadian Ambassador Ron Hoffmann

2017-10-18T21:48:01+07:00January 29th, 2011|Bangkok Podcast Season 1, Interviews|9 Comments

Bangkok Podcast 37: Canadian Ambassador Ron Hoffmann

It’s a strata of expat life that few of us have to deal with on anything more than an administrative level, but the particulars of how two countries interract and overlap is a complicated Venn diagram that needs to be carefully controlled. On this episode, Tony and Greg are honoured to be joined by Ron Hoffmann, Canadian Ambassador to Thailand. We talk about a whole range of subjects – what his day-to-day roles are, how Thailand compares to his previous posting in Afghanistan, what he thinks of the whole Wikileaks debate, and how no one knows just how deep and complex the relationship between Thailand and Canada is.

We are also joined by Willem Deenik, Managing Director of Restaurants of Bangkok, the best place to find online information, reviews and great deals at restaurants throughout the city. He lets us know how users can benefit from his website, as well as some of the interesting dining-centered events coming up.

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  1. Vin January 30, 2011 at 3:50 am - Reply

    I have to chastise you a little, Greg.

    I’m surprised you’ve been in Thailand for 10 years and you brought up the Dire Straits song’s censorship in Canada as an example of how “that kind of thing happens in Canada, but not in Thailand”. I’m paraphrasing your comment. You basically were using it as an example of why you think life in Thailand suits you better.

    I think because you’re not Thai, you don’t see a lot of the innermost crappy things about Thai culture and society. There are probably a lot of aspects of the culture Thais wish they could escape. I’m sure there are many levels of censorship within Thai culture that are based on gender, status, and money.

    I agree with what Hoffmann said in response. You have a strong rule of law in Canada that protects people’s civil rights and keeps an orderly, safe society.

    Compare the life of a poor person in Canada to that of a poor person in Thailand. The poor Canadian would have a chance to turn their life around. I think poor people in Thailand are totally, utterly f*cked. If you’re rich in Asia, you can get away with murder. They don’t have the rule of law and protections you have by default in Canada.

    If the sh*t really hit the fan in Thailand, you could always go back to Canada. That’s a luxury many Thais would pay dearly for.

    This came across harsher than I meant it. But I have to take issue with your comment. 🙂

    • Greg January 30, 2011 at 10:35 am - Reply

      Hey Vin,

      Good point, duly noted. I did try to qualify it by saying something to the effect of that things like that don’t, to my knowledge, happen here, but it was pretty weak. What I probably should have said was that no one really worries about ultra-sensitive PC issues like that, and that I doubt in Thailand a single complaint from a single person would result in an expensive, time-consuming change in the national telecommunications law when there are more important things to worry about.

      At any rate, I wasn’t saying Thailand is free of conflict or stupid rules, not by a long shot. Indeed, the very fact that I’m unable (if I’m smart) to complain about some of the stupid rules in Thailand says more about it than complaining ever could. Similarly, you’re right in saying the crap we take for granted in Canada (like voting, as I mentioned) or free healthcare or clean air is only a dream for many Thais and others around the world.

      But if there was ever someone I was happy to be set straight by, it was Mr. Hoffmann, who is clearly the man for the job. 🙂

    • Tony January 30, 2011 at 11:39 am - Reply

      It’s kind of ironic when you think about the fact that we often complain about things that happen in Thailand that don’t make any logical sense to us. We say this would never happen back home or TIT!

      And yet, 1 person complains about 1 word in a 20 year old song and everything has to suddenly change. Which country is the ilogical one again?


  2. Gary February 1, 2011 at 4:37 am - Reply

    Wow! I didn’t realize I wasn’t the only one that wondered what ambassadors do. Very insightful!!

  3. Anthony MacGregor February 1, 2011 at 4:42 pm - Reply

    Hey, Greg and Tony. Great interview. Warm and friendly but informative too. Nice to see you waving the flag, even if you did it Canadian style, behind closed doors 🙂

  4. Anthony MacGregor February 1, 2011 at 4:44 pm - Reply

    Hey, great interview Greg and Tony – warm and friendly but informative too. Nice to see you waving the Canadian flag even though you did it in a way that I could hardly see it. Typical Canadian! 🙂

  5. Fullerphoto February 1, 2011 at 10:33 pm - Reply

    Really informative podcast as always.. Keep up the good work guys.

  6. Tony February 2, 2011 at 7:00 pm - Reply

    I’ve figured out what the secret Canadian symbol is and it’s not our flag. Whenever I see this symbol I immediately know they are from Canada.

    What’s the symbol? Is it the Canadian flag sewn on their backpacks? No, those people are probably Americans. However if you see this symbol they are probably proud Canadians.

    Mountain Equipment Co-Op

  7. Robert V March 11, 2011 at 11:53 pm - Reply

    If you did not constantly repeat that the both of you are Canadian. I would have thought that you grew up in the United States. I did not know that Canadians and Americans grow up with the same societal influence.

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