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I find it really intriguing that there is a systematic campaign to get more women into global politics and leadership positions across the world by women but the question rattling my mind is how ready they are to handle what comes with leadership and global politics.

Angela Merkel the Chancellor of Germany and an eight-time winner of Forbes’ most powerful women once said “it seems to me that the fact that I am a woman is a bigger issue than the fact that I’m from the East. For me, it isn’t really important. I’ve only ever known myself as a woman.”  While she was on a state visit to the United Kingdom; expressing these concerns about women in global politics.

We could have seen an unprecedented shift in the dynamics of global leadership, if Secretary Clinton, the presidential candidate for the Democratic Party had won the US 2015 election and shattered the imagery glass ceiling. We would have had three strong global economies (Germany, United States & United Kingdom) controlled by women, it only leaves one to wonder if the world would have been less chaotic, following the intensity the world has witnessed since the emergence of President Trump, not to say that he has not achieved much, but the world has not been in such a chaotic stage in many years.

Following these global attentions on the need for greater participation by women in politics which is encouraging, and while organizations like the Council of Women World Leaders, a network for female prime ministers and presidents, set up by Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, the former president of Iceland is actively campaigning to close the gender gap in global leadership, the possibility of a gender balance still looks slims and although there is a sign of hope, with the 2018 International Women’s March creating a huge impact on the importance of women’s involvement in leadership and the Me too Movement shading light on the plight of women as a prey in both the political and business spheres, as there seems to be a wakeup call within the gender corridors for more female participation in decision making across the life spectrum.

“You could certainly say that I’ve never underestimated myself, there’s nothing wrong with being ambitious.”  Angela Merkel speaking to TIME magazine in an interview in 2010, while reiterating her commitment to women in global leadership. The ability of the female folks to pull off a surprise like the wave of populism across the west is something we will have to wait and see.

The challenge:

Statistics have shown that Hillary Clinton’s loss in the presidential race points to her party’s inability to influence the women’s vote. While she did garner majority of female voters—54%, according to exit polling—she lost some key constituencies, including white women, 53% of who cast their ballots for Trump.

But here is the challenge the commodious gap between male and female Clinton voters. According to the Associated Press, Clinton’s gender gap—the difference between the number of men who voted for her and the number of women who voted for her—hit 13 percentage points. That’s the single largest such gap since the exit poll surveys began in 1972.

 “There is nothing worse than sweeping a threat under the mat and just living from day to day.” This is a quote from Angela Merkel on tackling your challenges and very much applies to what women leadership is facing across the globe.

Women are faced with a cultural problem “The motherhood myth” being a mother and a politician at the same time. The fight between women with a family and women without a family is something that we women will have to change, if they ever stand a chance to achieve equality then Women’s solidarity must be something they will collective fight for, “but it’s hardly always there.”

SIMON UGWU

Kenya’s First Lady Margaret Kenyatta held extensive talks with Princess Mabel of Orange-Nassau of Netherlands during her meeting with Princess Mabel where the two leaders focused their discussion on wide range of issues including child bride marriages, early pregnancies, gender violence, HIV/AIDS and how these issues affect the education and development of the girl child.

Princess Mabel during the meeting proposed a global movement of all organizations working for women and the girl child to bring the issues affecting them to the global attention. “Let’s create a strong global movement and through collaboration with change makers mobilize resources and compare lessons in various countries”.

 Their discussion was also circled on the collaboration between the Princess’s ‘Girls Not Brides’ global partnership and Beyond Zero initiative.

The First Lady in another session also held separate talks with Prince Harry and Sir Elton John at the International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam, where the Duke of Sussex and the rock music icon launched a $1.2 billion initiative – the MenStar Coalition – to fight AIDS in Sub Saharan Africa. The first project on the coalition’s list will be to encourage young men in Kenya for self-testing in the campaign dubbed “Chukua Selfie.”

Margret Kenyatta used a short video-clip to demonstrate the successes of the five-year Beyond Zero drive and how the initiative delivers varied health services to millions of Kenyans in hard to reach parts of the country, using fully kitted mobile clinics as enablers.

The Dutch Princess talked glowingly about Kenya’s practical approach to health issues and proposed that the country should be the launch-pad for the global movement. “Kenya is known for its practical approaches to many issues. Kenya should be the exemplary case for the global movement”, a proposal the First Lady described as a fantastic idea.

By Emekpo Charles.

 

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka begins an official visit to Senegal, to highlight the importance women’s economic empowerment in the agricultural sector, encourage the repeal of discriminatory laws and to promote women’s leadership and political participation across the country.

As part of her stay, the Executive Director will visit Réseau des Femmes Agricultrices du Nord, a network of women farmers of the North, who produce and trade rice. The initiative is supported by AGRIFED, UN Women’s flagship programme on women’s economic empowerment through climate-resilient agriculture, which aims to empower at least of 30,000 women farmers in Senegal by 2021. Since the project started in 2017, over 10,000 women in the network have benefited from the creation of local selling points for rice distribution in Dakar and increased their sales. They have also received training in financial management and how to run and organize their businesses. Papa Abdoulaye Seck, Minister of Agriculture, and Salimata Diop Dieng, Minister of Women, Family, and Gender, will join Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka for the project visit.

Women farmers make up to 70 percent of the workforce and produce more than 80 percent of crops in Senegal, especially food crops. Yet, women farmers lack access to land, skills, financial resources and markets, compared to their male counterparts

The Executive Director is also expected to meet with the President of Senegal, Macky Sall, the Minister of Justice, Ismaila Madior Fall, as well as the second Vice-President of the National Assembly, Awa Gueye, to advocate for the increased political participation of women. 

Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka will engage with young women entrepreneurs and interact with representatives from civil society organizations during this visit.

UNwomen.org

Wife of the Chinese President, Peng Liyuan and her husband President Xi Jinping accompanied with UNESCO Special Envoy for the Advancement of Girls’ and Women’s Education, attended a graduation ceremony for pre-school teachers in the South African capital of Pretoria on Tuesday 24th of July, 2018.

The Chinese first lady was accompanied by Tshepo Motsepe, wife of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, and a representative of the African Self Help Association Trust at the event.

The pre-school teachers performed South African songs and dances to welcome the Chinese guests. According to the first lady, teaching is a noble profession.

In the quest to help the children realize their dreams and eventually carry forward the cause of national rejuvenation and prosperity, teachers should always bear in mind the expectations and responsibilities entrusted to them by their country, maintain a high standard of professional and personal ethics, stay benevolent and never give up learning, she said.

She urged the teachers and students to dedicate themselves to the cause of friendly cooperation between China and South Africa and make contributions to the development of bilateral relations.

The pre-school teachers training program is undertaken by the African Self Help Association Trust, which has covered thousands of people in poverty-stricken neighborhoods.

Source: Newsnow.com

 

Sonia Maria Sotomayor is the first from Latina origin and the third woman to sit on the bench of the United States Supreme Court. Throughout her career, she has distinguished herself for her work on issues of race, gender, and ethnic identity, which she continues to do during her tenure in the Supreme Court. She backed the informal liberal bloc of justices when they showed dissents along the commonly perceived ideological lines. Considered a feminist and minority icon, she has drawn severe criticism from American right-wing activists.

Her Early life

She was born on June 25, 1954, in The Bronx, New York City, to Juan Sotomayor and Celina Báez. She has a brother, also named Juan Sotomayor, who has worked as a physician and university professor in the Syracuse, New York, area. Her parents, who are Puerto Ricans, migrated into America separately. Both eventually met and got married during in the US. Celina served in the 2nd world war as a member of the Women’s Army Corps, while Juan worked as a dying worker owing to his low educational background.

Growing up, Sotomayor lived in the Puerto Rican communities in the South Bronx and East Bronx. She grew up in a Catholic home and later came to identify herself as a “Nuyorican”, a portmanteau of the terms “New York” and “Puerto Rican”. Initially, the family stayed in a South Bronx tenement and in 1957 but later relocated to the well-maintained, racially and ethnically mixed, working-class Bronx dale Houses.

Her academic life was impeccable but she had a lot of issues at her home. Her father was an alcoholic and her mother was emotionally distant. She only had the support of her grandmother which she described to be the source of “protection and purpose.” At seven, she was diagnosed with type one Diabetes and immediately started taking insulin injections.

When she was nine (9) years old, she lost her father and her mother became more distant until her adulthood. Though distant, Celina gave Sonia and her brother Juan good education. She stated that her mother has been the greatest inspiration in her life. She was also influenced by the fictional character Nancy Drew. She became interested in becoming a judge after she started watching CBS’ ‘Perry Mason’ television series. On the death of her father, she took extra efforts to become fluent in English. She attended Blessed Sacrament School and became the valedictorian with a near-perfect attendance record. She then studied at Cardinal Spellman High School in The Bronx, where she was part of the forensics team and was chosen as a representative in the student government. In 1972, she graduated high school as a valedictorian.

Her College and Career

She enrolled at the Princeton University on a full scholarship in 1972 owing to her impeccable academic performance and the best out of the candidates that applied. It was difficult in her early months at Princeton where assimilation was an issue. There was a significant gender gap at Princeton where few women were students. The number of Latino students was even more discouraging. She experienced difficulties in writing and did not possess enough knowledge of the classics. So she worked hard, spending long hours in the library and got a professor to help her out during the summer. This was the beginning of her political opinions. She was elected to co-chair the Acción Puertorriqueña, a student organization dedicated to building a large, united and healthy Puerto Rican community with a strong cultural identity in the Princeton campus.

She led the movement that brought a Latino faculty to Princeton. She was also active outside of the school. She headed an after-school program for local children and served as an interpreter for the Latino patients at Trenton Psychiatric Hospital.

She graduated from summa cum laude from Princeton in 1976 and enrolled at the Yale Law School in the fall of the same year on scholarship. She thrived at Yale unlike her experience in Princeton. She maintained good grades and was very active on the campus. She co-chaired a group for Latin, Asian, and Native American students and continued to advocate for hiring Hispanic faculty.

She landed her first job as an intern at Paul, Weiss, Rifkin, Wharton & Garrison, a prominent law firm in New York, after her second year. Her performance there, by her own admission, was not particularly good and she was not offered a full-time position there. She cites this experience as a “kick in the teeth”. In 1979, she earned her J.D. from Yale and a year later, joined the New York Bar.

Photo source: FOX News Radio

Straight out of law school, in 1979, Sonia Sotomayor landed the job of an assistant district attorney under New York County District Attorney Robert Morgenthau. The response to her appointment with her community was conflicting, so were the emotions within her. She had to overcome her inherent shyness and muster enough courage to venture into rough neighborhoods to interview witnesses.

Legal Career

In 1983, she was instrumental in convicting the “Tarzan Murderer”, who gained notoriety in the early 1980s for entering into people’s apartments acrobatically and proceeding to rob and shoot the occupants. In 1984, she became an associate at a commercial litigation practice group named Pavia & Harcourt. While she had no prior experience in civil litigation, she learned on the job as her firm used her extensively. She was also involved in visible public service roles.

Despite not being connected to either political party as she was a registered independent, she held several important positions in the state government, including as one of the founding members of the New York City Campaign Finance Board from 1988 to 1992. Between 1980 and 1992, she served on the board of directors of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund.

While her impressive credentials had long marked her as a prospective federal district judge, her centrist political views had prevented both parties from recommending her. It all changed when Democratic New York senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan recommended her for a post. She was subsequently nominated on November 27, 1991, to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by President George W. Bush and was confirmed by the unanimous consent of the US Senate on August 11, 1992. She got her commission the following day. Her tenure as a district court judge was mostly uneventful. She demonstrated that she had no qualms about ruling against the government and received high-ratings from liberal public-interest groups, while other groups considered her as a centrist.

After being nominated by President Bill Clinton to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on June 25, 1997, she encountered staunch opposition from the Republican majority in the Senate as they believed Clinton had plans to make her a Supreme Court justice during his presidential tenure. Eventually, however, she was confirmed on October 2, 1998.

During the ten years, she served on the second circuit, over 3,000 cases were brought before her and she penned down about 380 opinions where she was among the majority. She gave rulings on various significant issues, such as abortion, first, second and fourth amendment rights, alcohol in commerce, employment discrimination, civil rights, and property rights.

Photo source: Politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com

On Obama’s Barack Obama became the 44th President of the United States, Sotomayor started to be seriously considered for a Supreme Court seat. She was nominated by the President on May 26, 2009. While her candidacy was embraced by the Democrats and liberals, it faced heavy criticism from the Republicans and conservatives.

Right-wing personalities such as Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich called her a “racist”, referring to a comment she had made in a 2001 Berkeley Law lecture, when she had said, “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

She was confirmed by the full Senate by a vote of 68–31 on August 6, 2009, effectively becoming the first justice of Hispanic ancestry and the first Latina in the Supreme Court. On 8 September, a ceremony was organized to formally welcome and invest her into the Court.

She administered Vice President Joe Biden’s oath of office for the inauguration of his second term on January 20 and 21, 2013. She is the fourth female Supreme Court judge to have such a distinction. She has gradually emerged as the most liberal voice in the US Supreme Court in recent history.

She has constantly sided with the progressive side in her rulings. However, that does not mean there have not been any exceptions. Demonstrating individuality, she agreed with Ruth Bader Ginsburg against fellow liberals Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan on the issue of the constitutionality of the Obama health care law favoring the poor and disabled.

Her other prominent rulings include the 2011 J.D.B. v. North Carolina when the apex court decided that age is relevant when determining police custody for Miranda purposes; the 2012 United States v. Alvarez, which resulted in the Court striking down the Stolen Valor Act; and the 2012 Arizona v. the United States, which nullified several features of the Arizona SB 1070 anti-illegal immigration law.

Accolades/Achievements

 

In 2013, Sotomayor published her memoir, titled ‘My Beloved World’, through Alfred A. Knopf. She has been a life-long fan of the New York Yankees. In 2016, Sonia Sotomayor received the Hispanic Heritage Award for leadership. She won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 9th Annual DVF Awards in 2018.

Through hard work and dedication, Sonia Sotomayor has accomplished everything she has set out to do. She has demonstrated that as long as you put your mind to something, you can do it! She is a perfect role model and a prime example that anything is possible. She is a great representative of the Hispanic community and is considered a hero!

 

 

By

EMEKPO CHARLES.

 

In traditionally macho Brazil and in the male-dominant sports world, a female coach, Yuko Fujii was appointed head coach of the country’s renowned judo men’s team.  Today, she has made history as the first female head coach of Brazilian men’s judo.

The only woman to ever coach the Brazilian women’s national football team was fired after less than a year, prompting protests by players. The Brazilian Judo Confederation hopes it is playing a part in changing that.

“Our selection of Yuko as head coach for the men’s team really surprised the judo world. I’m sure other federations and other sports teams in Brazil will follow the example.” “Yuko is an excellent example of the increasing recognition of women’s role in sports, especially since judo is a martial art that women have had restricted access to throughout history,” says Ney Wilson, a confederation administrator.

Yuko says that she just wants to contribute “everything I have” to the team.

She defines her coaching style as totally geared to the individual. “I don’t teach my own judo style to the athletes, I work with them based on their own strengths and weaknesses,” she says.

“I never thought much about men versus women.”

Source: bbc.com

 

Supapan Pichaironarongsongkram
CEO of Chao Phraya Express Boat

About Supapan 
This EMBA Sasin graduate is the CEO of Chaophraya Express Boat. Founded by her mother Khunying Supatra Singholaka in 1971, the company continues to work to provide a high standard of river transportation. Business has grown exponentially throughout the years, although she says government policies pay little attention to the local marine industry. For her, becoming a successful businesswoman and leader entails constant hard work, perseverance, consistency, honesty, the ability to stick to one’s words, passion and a good set of values that one is able to instill in the employees.

Having attended school in Switzerland, Supapan’s dream job as a child was to become an interpreter for international conferences and seminars. Looking ahead she says, “I foresee futuristically designed boats with better safety facilities, enhanced comfort, more convenience and environmentally friendly.” Work aside, Supapan enjoys playing the piano and supporting a variety of charities although she admits that as president of the company and the Profession Women Association of Thailand and the Thai Boat Association, she is kept busy. Currently the company is working on replacing wooden boats with a fleet of high speed and more modern ones.

Dr Nalinee Paiboon
President and managing director of Giffarine Skyline Unity
About Dr Nalinee
President and managing director of Thailand’s leading manufacturer and exporter of beauty and health supplement products, Giffarine Skyline Unity, Dr Nalinee Paiboon founded the company in 1996. The medicine graduate from Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University was left with 100 million baht after her divorce. She decided to combine her financial assets with her knowledge to build a direct-marketing company that enables Thais to work on their own. “In retrospect, investing all my savings into Giffarine was the best decision I have ever made,” she says. “The company becoming successful has also led to an income source for hundred of thousands of people.”

Since then Giffarine, with product lines running over 2,000 items spanning cosmetics and food supplements, has grown exponentially and expanded overseas. In 2017, the company accomplished full adaptation of the digital world, with revenue exceeding 68,000 million baht and a global revenue of 5,650 million baht. The key to success, she says, is a deep understanding of the minds and souls of those you are working with. One of her biggest inspirations in life is His Majesty the late King Bhumibol and the way in which he dedicated his life to helping the less fortunate. With that in mind, Nalinee is involved in numerous charities such as an orphanage support fund for college scholarships. A lover of animals, she is also a keen supporter of the Thai Elephant Conservation Center. Her mantra: “Happiness will not come from money, but rather, it comes from how you use money as opportunities for the less fortunate people to become successful and happy.”

Khunying Natthika Angubolkul
CEO of Eastern Sugar Group

About Chadatip

One of Thailand’s top retail development entrepreneurs, Chadatip Chutrakul leads the management and operations of Siam Piwat,  the developer of the group of innovative luxury malls in central Bangkok including Siam Paragon, Siam Center and Siam Discovery. She is also the visionary behind IconSiam, the US$1.7 billion  landmark on the Chao Phraya River set to be completed in late 2018. Under her leadership, the company has grown rapidly, establishing 35 subsidiaries ranging from retail developments to department stores, specialty retailing, facility management, multi-purpose venue management, high-end restaurant ventures and marketing agency. A graduate of Chulalongkorn University with a degree in banking and finance, Chadatip worked abroad before returning to Thailand and joined Siam Piwat in 1986. She was appointed as managing director of the company in 1996, and CEO of the group in 2005.

Daughter of General Chalermchai Charuvastra, the founder of the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Siam Piwat, Chadatip is married to Apichart Chutrakul, founder and chief executive officer of Sansiri Public Company Limited and has one daughter, Chayapa Chutrakul. In 2017, Siam Discovery, one of Siam Piwat’s properties, was awarded the Store Design of the Year 2017, the World Retail award by the World Retail Congress and the Gold Award for Marketing Positioning & Brand Awareness from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) as the project with the best marketing, positioning and brand awareness in Asia Pacific.

Nualphan Lamsam
President and CEO of Muang Thai Insurance

 About Nualphan
Daughter of Photipong and Yupa, Nualphan graduated with a degree in marketing from the Faculty of Commerce and Accountancy, Chulalongkorn University before going on to pursue a master’s degree in educational management at Boston University. One of Thailand’s leading ladies in both the business and sports sector, Nualphan was among the early importers of designer labels and still owns Hermes distributor Saint Honore (Bangkok). The CEO of Muang Thai Insurance also plays a leading role in the country’s sports sector and is the chairwoman of Port football club as well as the manager of Thailand’s women’s national football team. The wife of the Correction Department’s director-general Pol Col Dr Naras Savetanan is also a partner of Meister Technik, importer of Audi cars. She also holds the position of honorary consul for the Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Lithuania. 

Yuwadee Chirathivat
Executive Director of Central Retail

 About Yuwadee

Influential businesswoman Yuwadee Chirathivat has dedicated almost four decades to the success of the Central Department Store Group under the family business of the Central Group. One of the eight children of Samrit Chirathivat, she is the mother of Chodok, Barom and Voralaksanai Bhicharnchitr. Now holding the position of executive director of Central Retail, she is known, however, as the driving force behind the international expansion of Central Department Store and the success behind the group’s global recognition, Yuwadee was on Forbes’ list of Asia’s 50 Most Influential Businesswomen two years in a row. The group’s latest international success is the opening of the flagship store, La Rinascente,  in 2017 situated right in the heart of Rome. Having celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2017, Central Department Store was first founded in 1947 and became the first department store to have branches throughout Thailand.

Looking at the future, Yuwadee reflects on the changing landscape of the retail business and the importance of omni-channel retail. “With the industry shifting towards digital channels rapidly, it is important to keep innovating and embrace these new developments, leading the way to ensure that we can continue with our long-term sustainable growth model. We aim to extend our current retail platforms with pioneering use of new technology to offer a seamless shopping experience for our customers, with a synergy of the physical bricks and mortar retail and the creative opportunities of the digital channels for a new generation. At the end of the day, our customers’ shopping experience, regardless of the platform, is the most important thing for us.”

Chadatip Chutrakul
CEO of Siam Piwat Group

About Chadatip

One of Thailand’s top retail development entrepreneurs, Chadatip Chutrakul leads the management and operations of Siam Piwat,  the developer of the group of innovative luxury malls in central Bangkok including Siam Paragon, Siam Center and Siam Discovery. She is also the visionary behind IconSiam, the US$1.7 billion  landmark on the Chao Phraya River set to be completed in late 2018. Under her leadership, the company has grown rapidly, establishing 35 subsidiaries ranging from retail developments to department stores, specialty retailing, facility management, multi-purpose venue management, high-end restaurant ventures and marketing agency. A graduate of Chulalongkorn University with a degree in banking and finance, Chadatip worked abroad before returning to Thailand and joined Siam Piwat in 1986. She was appointed as managing director of the company in 1996, and CEO of the group in 2005.

Daughter of General Chalermchai Charuvastra, the founder of the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Siam Piwat, Chadatip is married to Apichart Chutrakul, founder and chief executive officer of Sansiri Public Company Limited and has one daughter, Chayapa Chutrakul. In 2017, Siam Discovery, one of Siam Piwat’s properties, was awarded the Store Design of the Year 2017, the World Retail award by the World Retail Congress and the Gold Award for Marketing Positioning & Brand Awareness from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) as the project with the best marketing, positioning and brand awareness in Asia Pacific.

Kamala Sukosol
CEO of Kamol Sukosol and The Sukosol Hotels Group

About Kamala

A mother of four and grandmother of eight, Kamala is the CEO of Kamol Sukosol. Founded in 1939, the renowned holding company opened its first hotel 45 years ago when her father bought land in Pattaya and tasked her with building a hotel on it. Since then, it has grown to become one of the most high-profile hotel groups in the country, with its newest development, The Siam, ranking top on TripAdvisor for the majority of last year and turning into an icon in Bangkok’s luxury hotel scene. Well-informed, decisive and open-minded, she believes the secret to her success as an entrepreneur and female leader is her inner entertainer. CEO by day and a passionate singer in her spare time, her charity concerts and ability to entertain have helped her build invaluable relationships throughout the years of her career, and she firmly believes in maintaining honest trusting relationships with both her teams and business partners. Although she moves in high society and the diplomatic circle, she continues to remember the importance of being humble, and strongly believes that life is too short and that it is important to know your priorities in order to achieve a good work-life balance. Looking ahead, she likes where her company stands now and has high hopes for the future, wishing to focus on quality rather than solely on expansion.

Khunying Patama Leeswadtrakul
Chief CSR and director of GS Steel

About Khunying Patama
The chief CSR and director of G Steel, Thailand’s leading steel manufacturer which distributes locally and internationally, Khunying Patama is a keen supporter of sports and music who currently holds the position of president of the Badminton Association of Thailand and chairman of the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra of Mahidol University. A philanthropist at hearth, she dedicates much of her time in charitable endeavours. Understanding the importance of education Khuyung Patama overseas G Steel CRS projects, many of which seek to contribute to country’s sustainable education development. As the first Thai woman to be elected as a member of the International Olympic Committee.

Source: Thailandtatler.com