After suspending meetings for the first few months of the year, the Pattaya City Expats Club held its first meeting of 2022 on Wednesday, April 13andOver 75 members and guests were present to hear keynote speaker Barry Kenyon’s speech on “Pattaya Through the Eyes of the Media 1992-2022”. His presentation provided insight into how local and international media have reacted to the many changes that have taken place in Pattaya over the past 30 years.
Barry lived mainly in Pattaya during these 30 years. He has held a variety of positions at the British Embassy, including as Honorary British Consul in Pattaya and a volunteer helping expats at the Pattaya Immigration Office in Jomtien Soi 5. He is now largely retired, but is a foreign affairs consultant to a Pattaya lawyer and provides interesting articles for the Pattaya Mail.
Barry began by mentioning that the news media has had a great effect over the past 30 years. He said his first experience with the news media dates back to his youth. It was at school in Lancashire, UK, where he was editor of the school magazine. What he published was subject to the control of a teacher. His second engagement dates back to 1983 in Haiti where he prepared press releases for the visit of John Paul II. His press releases also had to be reviewed before publication by a lady from the secret police.
When he first arrived in Pattaya in 1992, there were no English language newspapers, radio or television to provide information. News in English was mainly through the distribution of printed materials. Thus, many expatriates were not informed of important news. He cited as an example the creation in 1992 of the “retirement visa” which allowed retirees to stay in Thailand on a continuous basis because it remained unknown to many because its existence was not publicized.
This started to change in 1993 when the first issue of the first English-language newspaper was published. Thus, the Pattaya Mail was the first and oldest English-language newspaper in Pattaya. He considers the first 15 years or so of the 2000s to be Pattaya’s golden years for a flourishing media, with the establishment of many English-language newspapers, radios and televisions. However, in recent years there has been a decline in the print media. He mentioned the names of several newspapers that came into being but no longer exist.
Barry commented on matters of interest covered by the media, including an event in which he was personally involved. But in this case, it caused considerable negative media coverage for Thailand, both locally and internationally. In February 2016, Thai authorities raided the Pattaya Bridge Club and arrested the elderly members, the oldest being 84 years old. Barry was one of 30 arrested. Barry commented on the reason for the raid even though the Bridge Club had been around for over 20 years and held regular tournaments without any problems. Eventually the illegal gambling allegation was dropped, but an archaic law regarding the ownership of playing cards charged it; the law was imposed by the Japanese occupation forces during World War II.
In conclusion, Barry said that although the last 30 years of Pattaya’s history of change have been interesting, he believes that Pattaya will continue to change over the next 30 years. An item is being processed; the creation of a Medical City. One million square meters in East Pattaya, we are now starting development. It will not only include medical treatment facilities but will include many medicine-related industries.
After Barry’s presentation, MC Ren Lexander asked George Wilson to lead the open forum where attendees can make comments or ask questions about expats living in Thailand, especially Pattaya. For more information, visit the PCEC website at https://pcec.club.Barry’s presentation can be viewed on PCEC’s YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1HTAQsQ4sw.
For more information about the infamous “Pattaya Bridge Club Raid”, put this text in Google or another Internet search engine. To read Barry’s letter to the editor of the Pattaya Mail about the raid shortly after it happened, visit: https://www.pattayamail.com/mailbag/bridging-the-difference-55720