Interview with Chief Finance and Operations Officer (Bursar), Stephen Andrews

Stephen Andrews, Chief Finance and Operations Officer (Bursar) at Brighton College Bangkok, has lived and worked in Thailand for the last eight years. His role is to lead the management of all the non-academic and support services, in support of Brighton College’s world-renowned reputation of delivering excellent and inspirational teaching.

Stephen
Stephen Andrews joins as Chief Finance and Operations Officer (Bursar)

What attracted you to a leadership position at Brighton College?

I have worked in an educational environment for almost 18 years, and I have been closely observing developments in this sector. I was aware of the reputation of Brighton College UK and its exemplary focus on individual pupils, unique combination of academic excellence and extra-curricular activities, and the fact that many of Brighton College pupils have gone on to pursue higher studies in some of the best universities in the world.

Therefore when I learned that Brighton had plans to establish a school in Bangkok, I was truly excited to play a leading role from the start and see the school grow and develop. I also admire Brighton’s strategy of setting up sister schools, to develop the high standards and successes of Brighton internationally and the achievements of Brighton College Abu Dhabi and Brighton College Al Ain especially in such a short space of time, are truly remarkable. Brighton is a truly innovative enterprise and I wished to be part of its journey and further growth in Thailand and other parts of South East Asia into the future.

What have been your career highlights to date? What has been your proudest achievement?

I have had the wonderful fortune and great pleasure of living in the ‘land of the smiles’ Thailand for the last eight years and Bangkok has truly been home to me, my wife and daughter. Prior to joining Brighton College Bangkok, I worked as an Executive Director in an International Facilities Management Company based in Bangkok. Before moving to Thailand, I ran my own management consultancy business for several years, working across a variety of countries and sectors supporting companies and organisations in pursuing excellence in their respective areas.

I believe we all have many achievements, which we are proud of for different reasons. Whilst most achievements are the result of good leadership I believe this leadership must be supported by a dedicated team who all work towards the same goals and are part of this shared achievement. In this regard, one of my proudest achievements was in 2011, when Thailand was devastated by severe flooding for several months, with large areas inundated by 2-3 meters of water. During this major crisis situation, I had the responsibility for an International university that was home to almost 5,000 students, faculty and staff from over 80 counties, which unfortunately was located in the flood area. My team and I prepared for the massive flooding, arrangements for the safe evacuation of all personnel, and temporary relocation of academic and housing facilities and subsequently also supported in the recovery and restoration of the university. The success of our joint undertaking was that everyone was evacuated safely, temporary accommodation arrangements were made, and the academic programme was able to continue (despite the University campus submerged in 2.5 meters in water) with the original student graduation only delayed by 4 months. So this was one of my proudest achievements, which I credit to excellent teamwork, and working towards a shared vision.

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Stephen with daughter Caelyn, and wife Petsongphun

What skill set/experience do you feel you bring to the team?

Education has always been close to my heart, as evidenced from the 18 years of my career spent in this sector. I have worked both in the UK and Thailand therefore I have an appreciation of the various educational systems and supporting cultures in both great countries. In addition, having lead and managed the non-academic services provided in schools and universities including those of a very multicultural environment, just like Brighton College Bangkok, I have a deep understanding and appreciation for diversity and internationalism. The above coupled with my earlier experience in the management consultancy business, across a variety of countries and sectors, will allow me to bring a range of international best practices and innovations to my role at Brighton College Bangkok. I am eagerly looking forward to being a part of the senior management team, and feel confident that together we can ensure that pupils attending Brighton will have the best possible education with all of the supporting structures in place.

What are your priorities between now and when the school opens?

Brighton College Bangkok will be the home of a beautiful, newly built, ‘state of the art’ College so one of my key priorities is to support the completion to ensure that all facilities are available on the first day of the school opening in September 2016. I am eager to meet with the teachers, support staff and prospective parents. It will be a very exciting period leading up to the opening of the school, and I am very much looking forward to this new opportunity in my career.

Interview with the Registrar (Head of Admissions), Kim Meaden-Kendrick

Kim Meaden-Kendrick, Brighton College Bangkok’s Registrar, is currently based in South Africa though is looking forward to returning to her second “home” in Bangkok.

Tell us a little about your background and career to date

I was born in a very small town in Zimbabwe and had a happy childhood climbing trees, riding horses and riding bicycles around the local neighbourhood. As a young teenager, I left Zimbabwe with my family and began life as an expat child. I completed my University degree in Australia and moved to Bangkok to begin my working life. I started out in the classroom as a teacher’s assistant and through the years went on to work within a Secondary School office, Staff Development and Recruitment and then onto the fields of Marketing, Business Development and Admissions.

What attracted you to a leadership position at Brighton College?

I was looking for a new challenge in education management and was delighted when I stumbled on the news that Brighton College were planning to open up a new school in Bangkok. Whilst I have worked predominantly in international schools, I have never had the fortune of working in a brand new school and being part of the team responsible for building a successful, vibrant and dynamic school from scratch. Of course, I was well aware of the success of Brighton College both in the UK and the Middle East so I was very keen to join the team in Bangkok. There is nothing more satisfying than being able to be part of school team which is like a tremendously motivated and cohesive family unit and ensuring that the pupils become the very best that they can be.

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Kim Meaden-Kendrick: Brighton College Bangkok’s new Registrar (Head of Admissions)

What have been your career highlights to date?

I have had the great fortune to have worked in five top international schools over my career and have been a part in the growth and development in all of these schools. I have loved the challenges posed by the multi-cultural environments I have worked in and have cherished the friendships built with teachers, pupils and parents as I have had the privilege to work alongside our future artists, lawyers, adventurers and captains of industry. I have shared in the excitement of the school community when a pupil achieves the top marks possible upon graduation and who were able to pursue their dreams against some incredible odds.

What are the two biggest challenges we face in education?

A major challenge we face in education is making sure that our pupils are not just academic, but are emotionally intelligent and able to make the most of their individual gifts in any given environment. The other major challenge we face in education is making sure that children are happy, secure and engaged with their learning.

How does a Brighton College education prepare children for the world as it is today? What makes it unique?

Our children must learn the value of the connection between body, mind and spirit. Getting to know each of our pupils and helping them to grow as sentient, perceptive and emotionally robust individuals is vital in helping them learn the necessary skills beyond the syllabus. Brighton College has a unique blend of traditional academic rigour with a vast array of opportunities beyond the classroom in the performing arts, sport and much more.

How are you and your husband feeling about the move to Bangkok?

We are very excited about moving back to Bangkok. It is our second home and we are looking forward to re-immersing ourselves in the sights, sounds and tastes of this wonderful, vibrant city.

What are your priorities between now and when the school opens?

I am looking forward to helping build a very dynamic and exciting school. I will be working very closely with prospective families to ensure that each family are fully aware of the tremendous benefits of our Brighton College education. I will be working closely with our marketing team and the Headmaster to ensure that we begin our Brighton College Bangkok family in the very best way possible.

What message would you like to send prospective families about sending their children to Brighton College Bangkok?

The families who will be joining us will consist of individuals concerned with making the most of their time in Bangkok and at the same time helping their children obtain a top class education which will offer them every option possible for their future success. Pupils at Brighton College Bangkok will be happy, successful and ambitious. We will be able to help families feel secure that they have made the best decision for their children in choosing our school.

An interview with the Head of Pre-Prep School

Kelly Crompton, Brighton College Bangkok’s Head of Pre-Prep School, is currently Headmistress of a primary school in Lincolnshire, UK.

Tell us a little about your background and career to date

I was born and brought up in a small village in North Lincolnshire, an area known as the Isle of Axholme, which includes Epworth – famous as the home of John Wesley. Since being at primary school myself l have always enjoyed learning and being part of a happy school community; this is something which has stayed with me throughout my life. l am committed to ensuring that all children l am privileged to share learning with are as inspired as I was at school. l have always enjoyed many different sports, both competitively and recreationally. l think sport has a large part to play in developing healthy, well rounded, successful and happy children. I began teaching at Scawby Primary and went on to become an Advanced Skills Teacher, which enabled me to combine teaching with supporting other schools. I then became a School Effectiveness Advisor for Improving School and Assessment with Hull City Council, before returning to North Lincolnshire schools as a Deputy Headteacher. I am currently Headteacher at Normanby-By-Spital Primary in Lincolnshire, combining this with supporting school improvement for Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council.

What attracted you to a leadership position at Brighton College?

That’s quite simple! Brighton College is a shining light for education. As well as its exceptional academic reputation, it holds so many outstanding accolades: UK Independent School of the Year, England’s Independent School of the Year and Richard Cairns, ‘England’s Headmaster of the Year’, to name but a few. Obviously this track record was extremely attractive when looking to become a leading member of the team. However, l think that equally important was the knowledge that in becoming a leader at Brighton College l have a major part in leading a dedicated team of professionals who have the happiness of every child at heart. I believe that children are most successful where they are treated as individuals and are challenged and supported to ensure success. The caring, positive and vibrant environment created by Brighton College is something which l know will be equally successful in Bangkok.

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Kelly Crompton: Brighton College Bangkok’s new Head of Pre-Prep School

“A Brighton College education provides all children with the very best, academically and pastorally, so that they are exceptionally well-rounded individuals who have the utmost respect for themselves and the world around them.”

What have been the highlights of your time at Normanby-by-Spital Primary School?

Having been at Normanby for three years there are so many outstanding moments. However, those that stand above the others are linked to my commitment to precision teaching and learning which has ensured that all children have learning differentiated to best suit their needs – this has ensured that this year our results have been excellent. The pride on the faces of each and every child when they have achieved their next step, however large or small, is always a highlight. I pride myself on the fact that we are a happy, family school with deep roots in the community. I wanted to create a wildlife and science outdoor area for the children to enjoy and to learn in, and the whole community rallied round to donate their time and support. Local businesses also donated their time and materials resulting in a stunning outdoor learning area which the children and community are thrilled with. The children documented this journey shared with a stand at Lincolnshire Show 2015 where we were judged and awarded 3rd place – a wonderful achievement.

What, in your opinion, is a Brighton College education?

Brighton College values the whole experience of learning; through the academic curriculum, sporting opportunities and pastoral support, every child has the best grounding to succeed whatever the world may hold. Academic excellence is coupled with the development of character and a love of learning. In keeping with its foundation, the school encourages all its pupils to consider the effects of their actions on others, which is reflected in the Pre-Prep school’s motto, ‘Be Good, Be Kind, Be Honest’. A Brighton College education provides all children with the very best, academically and pastorally, so that they are exceptionally well-rounded individuals who have the utmost respect for themselves and the world around them.

What are your priorities between now and when the school opens?

I am currently working with David and the international schools team to ensure that we create an inspiring, relevant and engaging curriculum which will provide challenge and wonder for all children and where every child can excel. The assessment has also to be exceptional so that we can ensure all children make outstanding progress, that they can celebrate their successes and be involved in their next steps, and that parents know how they can best support their children at home.
I will also be working with the team to ensure that the learning environment is awe-inspiring and provides children and families with a wonderful surrounding for their learning. On arrival in Bangkok I will be working to recruit our excellent staff team for the Pre-Prep; I am committed to recruiting the best as everyone will have a very important role in inspiring, challenging and supporting all children in all aspects of their learning and development.

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Kelly Crompton joins Brighton College Bangkok from Normanby-by-Spital Primary School in Lincolnshire, UK

“I believe that children are most successful where they are treated as individuals and are challenged and supported to ensure success. The caring, positive and vibrant environment created by Brighton College is something which l know will be equally successful in Bangkok.”

What message would you like to send prospective families thinking about sending their children to Brighton College Bangkok?

You can be certain of an extremely warm welcome and l would be delighted to share the Brighton College education with all families. I will be proud to share the stunning environment for learning and the commitment we all have to inspiring academic excellence, through our exceptional curriculum, sporting opportunities, and attention to recognising and celebrating the talents, qualities and achievements of every child.

An interview with the Founding Headmaster

David Tongue, Brighton College Bangkok’s Founding Headmaster, is currently Headmaster of Brighton College Al Ain, which was recently awarded the highest-ever inpection rating given to a school in the Emirate.

Tell us a little about your background and career to date

“I was educated at a North London grammar school, and after graduating from university my first overseas post was at a leading HMC British school in Madrid, initially as Head of Geography and then as Curriculum Director. During seven years in Madrid I worked as a Schools Inspector for the National Association of British Schools in Spain and completed a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership with a research focus on leadership within an international context. My first headship was in South America as Headmaster of the Senior School on the Falkland Islands – a British overseas territory. I joined Brighton College Al Ain prior to start-up and as Headmaster of the College I am responsible for the overall leadership of the school.”

What attracted you to a leadership position at Brighton College?

“School leadership is an incredibly creative, rewarding and dynamic undertaking. As a headmaster, I have always set the highest possible standards for myself, my colleagues, my schools and the pupils in my care. No other leading independent school epitomises this attention to detail to the same degree as Brighton College – from its unique combination of traditional academic rigour combined with an innovative and creative approach, to its legacy of appointing the very best teachers and its focus on the highest possible standards. I was attracted to Brighton because it achieves excellent results in an environment where pupils are allowed to develop their own unique combination of talents and passions, in a kind, respectful, tolerant and supportive atmosphere.”

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David with pupils at Brighton College Al Ain

“I was attracted to Brighton because it achieves excellent results in an environment where pupils are allowed to develop their own unique combination of talents and passions, in a kind, respectful, tolerant and supportive atmosphere”

What have been the highlights of your time at Brighton College Al Ain? What has been your proudest achievement there?

“I have loved every minute of my time in Al Ain. Setting up a successful school from scratch has been a wonderful experience. I have had the opportunity to work with some truly excellent and inspiring teachers and some unique and lovely pupils. Seeing the school grow from an architect’s plan to an incredibly well-resourced campus, welcoming our first pupils, witnessing the excellent teaching and the phenomenal academic progress of our pupils, and becoming the first new school to achieve the highest awarded inspection ranking in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi have all been highlights; however, I am most proud of the fact that we are providing a truly authentic Brighton College education for the children of Al Ain. I am confident that a pupil from Brighton could join us here and find the College remarkably familiar (apart from the heat, of course!).”

What are the two biggest challenges we face in education? How does a Brighton College education prepare children for the world as it is today?

“The major challenge we face as educators is in ensuring that children are given the opportunity to enjoy their childhood. At Brighton College we get to know each and every one of our pupils exceptionally well, ensuring all secure mastery of a wide range of skills and go well beyond the scope of the syllabus. These skills are not limited to one particular subject area, but are vital for their future success and for them to compete in the global economy. We teach our pupils to be literate, numerate and articulate; to write well, construct an argument and debate; to lead, innovate and be entrepreneurial; to be creative and technologically literate and to stand up on stage and have the confidence to inspire an audience.”

What is a Brighton College education? What makes it unique?

“Brighton College has tradition and history but it is not weighed down by this – it is always looking to evolve and improve, it feels fresh not stuffy, it is ambitious, aspirational and modern. The College has a unique mix of traditional academic rigour with a creative and innovative approach to teaching. It is not looking to create a stereotype: the College has a culture of respect and tolerance and looks at each child as an individual, identifying their unique combination of talents and nurturing them to make sure they’re successful and that all successes, no matter how small, are celebrated. However, its outstanding academic results are not achieved through stringent selection criteria, but by inspirational teaching. The College has an innovative approach to curriculum design, offers the widest possible range of co-curricular activities and has a culture of excellence in everything it does.”

“The children at Brighton College Bangkok will be happy, valued as individuals and will have every success celebrated”

How is your family feeling about moving to Bangkok?

“Bangkok is a vibrant, modern and varied city. As a family we have lived across three continents and have travelled widely. This means that we settle in to new locations very quickly. My wife Victoria loves being at the centre of the College and wider community and my children, Harry (7) and Annabella (4), are very much looking forward to making some new friends and the varied experiences that Thailand’s rich culture will bring. Having grappled with the snow blizzards of an Antarctic winter in the Falklands followed by the 50 degree heat of a desert summer in the UAE, it is true to say that we can’t wait to arrive!”

David, with wife Victoria and children Harry and Annabella
David, with wife Victoria and children Harry and Annabella

What are your priorities between now and when the school opens?

“My priority is the recruitment of the highest quality teaching and leadership staff. Our teachers will need to be talented and able to inspire and challenge their pupils. Working in a start-up school demands creativity, flexibility and tenacity. During the pre-opening phase I will be ensuring educational oversight of the development of the College campus to guarantee that our iconic site becomes the leading facility in the region. I will work closely with the College’s Marketing and Admissions teams to ensure that families of children joining the College fully understand the unique benefits of a Brighton College education.”

What message would you like to send prospective families thinking about sending their children to Brighton College Bangkok?

“The children at Brighton College Bangkok will be happy, valued as individuals and will have every success celebrated. They will be given the opportunity to be taught by the best teachers and grow into polite, considerate and empathetic individuals. Our children will develop confidence, be outgoing and will be stretched academically. They will be given the opportunity to develop the widest possible range of extra-curricular interests and become ambitious and successful. Towards the end of their time at Brighton College Bangkok we will assist with applications to the world’s leading universities. As a parent of school-aged children myself, I am acutely aware of the questions parents need to ask before choosing the right school for their child.”

Designing a school for the 21st Century

Darren Coxon, Director of Education, Brighton College International Schools


Slide 1
A view of the performing arts ‘Hub’ from reception

In the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park they display computers from the very earliest models through to the present day. One of the rooms is set up as a classroom filled with BBC Micro computers, one of the earliest mass produced PCs and a common sight in UK schools in the early 1980s. I can remember our computing lessons, creating simple programs with a teacher who on reflection was probably only a couple of steps ahead of us, it was all so new.

How times change. In 1965, Gordon Moore estimated that computer processing power would double every year. Moore’s law has been largely proven correct: our iPhones are now thousands of times more powerful than the ‘supercomputers’ of the 1950s and 60s, and at a tiny fraction of the cost. We now have in our pockets extraordinarily powerful tools that are getting quicker, and cheaper, all the time.

Anyone born in the last 20 years or so has been raised on a diet of digital media accessed through a handheld device. It is worth remembering that Facebook did not exist before 2003, and Google before 1998. We are still in the early days of these new tools, learning how best to integrate them into our lives.

And this is the issue. Whilst we might be still finding our way, our children have grown up using these tools and can’t imagine a world without them. To them, keeping in touch through networks like Whatsapp and Snapchat is completely normal and natural, and the idea of looking in an encyclopaedia for information is just weird. How many of us have been at the receiving end of a child who refuses to give up their phone when asked; only the other week in the UK a supply teacher was stabbed for doing just that. This might be an extreme case but it highlights how ingrained these devices are into children’s lives: MRI scans of teenagers’ brains have even shown an alteration in how their brains work because of the amount of hyperlinked, visual stimulation they receive every day. This isn’t just a behavioural issue.

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There is much debate at the moment about how a digital diet is changing teens’ brains

With this in mind, there are two approaches taken in schools. Some see mobile devices as a distraction and a cause of bullying and so ban them. Others have taken the plunge and are integrating them into lessons and allowing pupils to use them to help with homework. The problem a lot of schools have is that both teaching style and classroom layout make it hard for teachers and pupils to use these devices effectively. A lot of schools have brought in iPads only to find that no one really knows how to use them. I’ve worked with quite a few schools now as an IT leadership consultant and have seen how much everyone struggles to get it right.

This is why designing and building a new school from the very start, as we are doing in Bangkok, is such an exciting prospect, as it allows us to ensure that the spaces created enable learning to take place in lots of different ways and that the technology used truly integrates into those spaces. It’s important that there are still those formal areas where teachers can deliver high quality, inspiring teaching (as this is one of the most important parts of a Brighton College education). All our classrooms will be large and airy, with the latest projection facilities, attractive furniture and powerful wifi.

The learning resource centre
The learning resource centre

But classrooms on their own don’t address the different ways children now learn. There will also be open-plan, flexible learning spaces where they can work at their own pace and collaboratively, and a wide, linking corridor between our school buildings which will serve as a learning resource centre, with links to the outside and a combination of different learning zones. The school is designed to take into account both how children learn best and what they need in order to be successful when they are older: a combination of excellent exam results and the sorts of skills employers now look for. Like Reggio Emilia, we see these intelligently-designed spaces as the ‘third teacher’, enabling our children to learn wherever they are.

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Our senior school showing an innovative use of space

It is also important that we train our teachers to embrace these new ways of teaching and learning. Brighton College Bangkok’s teachers will need to demonstrate both the skills to maximise the potential of mobile technology and the willingness to learn and to adapt to teaching in new, more flexible spaces. One of the advantages of building a school is that we can choose teachers who understand the needs of children today and are prepared to be both teacher and guide; to inspire but also to support increasing independence.

The prep school playground
The prep school playground

The world of the BBC Micro, Sinclair Spectrum and Pac Man has long gone, but the core principles of excellent teaching in a safe and inspiring place are more important than ever. It is our duty as educators to create great schools, ones that enable us to do our job of helping children to learn and grow. Brighton College Bangkok will be this sort of school, and as a result is well-placed to become one of the top independent schools in South East Asia.

Brighton College Bangkok: opening August 2016

150520-PAC-Dusk-ViewThe UK School of the Year 2013-14 will open its third sister school in Bangkok in August 2016.

Our Bangkok campus will open with a capacity for 1500 boys and girls aged 2 to 18. We will share the aims and ethos of Brighton College UK, one of the UK’s leading schools, and will offer our pupils a traditional yet innovative curriculum, marrying the best of what the East and West have to offer. Our avowed aim is to become the leading British curriculum school in Thailand.

Our Pre-Prep School is to open in August 2016, with the Prep and Senior Schools opening a year later.

Brighton College Bangkok bird's eye view
Brighton College Bangkok: bird’s eye view of the iconic campus

Brighton College was founded in 1845, and is one of the leading co-educational schools in England today.

Academic results consistently place us among the top 3 schools for boys and girls in England; provision for art, music, dance and drama is exceptional, and our sporting prowess is nationally renowned. Every year, more and more of our pupils secure places at the world’s most esteemed universities, including Oxford and Cambridge. In 2015 a record 29 pupils won Oxbridge places.

Our former pupils number amongst Britain’s foremost business, professional and political leaders, including Professor Lord Skidelsky, Sir Michael Horden and Sir Thomas Graham Jackson.

Brighton College Bangkok view of the stunning Performing Arts building
Brighton College Bangkok: view of the stunning Performing Arts building

Brighton College Bangkok is a partnership between Brighton College and the Assakul family, whose businesses include the Ocean Group.

Brighton College Bangkok will offer the innovative Brighton College UK curriculum, leading to the award of IGCSEs and A-Levels. Our pupils will benefit from outstanding pastoral care delivered through a traditional House system.

A Brighton College Bangkok education will offer all pupils a caring, supportive and tolerant environment in which they can thrive and develop a lifelong passion for learning. In addition, we will provide access to the latest educational technology and purpose-built state-of-the-art facilities for music, art, dance, drama, sport and co-curricular activities.

Our iconic school will be built in the Krungthep Kreetha area of Bangkok. It will be easy to get to by major expressways, and is around a 30-minute drive from central Bangkok and a 15-minute drive from Suvarnabhumi Airport.

150519-Front-View-How to apply

We understand that choosing a new school can sometimes be a daunting task; our Admissions team will be happy to guide you through the process.

Pre-Prep School (opening August 2016)

The Pre-Nursery (aged 2-3), Nursery (aged 3-4), Reception (aged 4-5), Year 1 (aged 5-6), Year 2 (aged 6-7) and Year 3 (aged 7-8) are all open for entry in August 2016.

Prep School and Senior School (opening August 2017)

Our Prep and Senior Schools will open in the second year of operation; however it is still possible to express your interest now. Year 4 (aged 8-9), Year 5 (aged 9-10), Year 6 (aged 10-11), Year 7 (aged 11-12), Year 8 (aged 12-13), Year 9 (aged 13-14) and Year 10 (aged 14-15) will open in August 2017.

Register your interest online at www.brightoncollegebangkok.com. We can then keep you up to date with the latest admissions information, as well as all developments at Brighton College Bangkok.

For further queries, please email admissions@brightoncollegebangkok.com or telephone +662-512-1872 (landline) 089-009111 (mobile).