It was a simple love story that brought Gregers Moller to Thailand many years ago. Today with two beautiful daughters to be proud of he is for good reason also very proud of his stable of magazines, produced and designed by his own staff for all of the Scandinavian chambers of commerce in Thailand. He runs his own online news portal too.
His company Scand-Media today also produces local magazines for the Italian, Australian and Canadian communities, and with so many publications and challenges facing him daily, his friends often wonder where on earth he finds the time for a life. Busy though he is on the publishing front, he still finds time to write articles for Danish newspapers and support homeland news bureaus and radio stations, supplying them with the hottest news and features from the region.
And for major clients like the several UN agencies, NGO’s and the International Red Cross, he delivers graphic and printed works to the highest international standards too.
But he is a modest man.
“It is my business and I am dedicated to its success. No more. And with 20 employees we have the resources to be on the mark whenever something happens and to meet our constantly revolving deadlines,” Gregers explains.
Post War Poverty
It seems he was destined to travel from an early age and as a child was uprooted often from homes in Nærum, Haderslev, Holte – then Rendsburg in Germany – and then to Fredericia in Denmark and finally he landed at Herlufsholm boarding school.
“My father was a military officer and brought the family wherever he had to do duty. Like a circus,” Gregers smiles.
“When we stayed in Germany I was just a kid and that was shortly after the Second World War. It made a lasting impression on me and for the first time in my life, I experienced real poverty first hand.”
Many of his classmates were refugees and even as a child he was struck by the fact, that though he himself was from a relatively well-to-do family, the school in Rendsburg treated everybody as equals.
“I learned that all people, whatever their so-called status, should be treated with respect and as equals,” Gregers says.
After finishing boarding school, Gregers continued his education in a farming college and worked for a year as a ‘farmhand’ before changing course to study journalism at the Danish School of Journalism.
Learning the Trade
After graduation, he moved to the capital Copenhagen and got his first job with specialized publishing house Beilin & Johansen. There he got the chance to work as a journalist and magazine editor.
Later he worked as an editor with other well-known magazines and found himself learning the ropes at the hands of real professionals while taking an MBA in Marketing during evenings.
“My bosses at all of these different magazines had a great influence on me,” Gregers remembers.
“Lui Beilin, Erik Kjær Poulsen and Svend Erik Pedersen are just some of the great names and personalities who taught me the magazine business…and how to keep readers happy. And I learned to keep my feet on the ground too.”
Settling in Asia
In 1988, Gregers and his Thai wife decided to move to Thailand with their two young daughters, Nina and Monica. Gregers quickly found work with the Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende. Soon he was covering major events such as the Tiananmen Square student uprising in Beijing in China, a story which was front page news every day in Denmark – and around the world – for a week.
“After that I was very busy covering whatever happened in Asia…catastrophes and even the Gulf War,” says Gregers, grimly remembering the horror of it all.
“In 1992 we had the student uprising in Bangkok and covering that I was close to being killed myself, almost mowed down by armed soldiers. That was a time for reflection. Was this really my life, my future?”
Thus Gregers decided it was time to establish his dream – to be editor of a new magazine – Scandasia – in Bangkok. It would be a magazine for Scandinavians all over South East Asia and he would work day and night to make it a success. But it failed. The idea was just too big too soon, and he could not quite get the advertisers to cover his costs.
“So I decided instead to concentrate on the Danish community only in cooperation with the Danish Embassy and the Danish Chamber of Commerce. That became a success very quickly,” Gregers remembers with a smile.
Later came magazines for the Swedes, Norwegians and Finns in Asia, and magazines covering the whole region – Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Burma, Laos and Cambodia.
Successful though he is, Gregers puts great importance on the fact that his employees are well taken care of and treated with respect. And there can be little doubt that his staff love and admire him.
“He is the hardest working man I have ever met but he still has time for a coffee and a chat, always has a smile and is always looking for new ways to do better business while helping us learn more about our profession,” says one of his writers.
“He is a true professional in everything he does and a good man who sets a wonderful example to his staff and clients too. I am sure he will love to see this remark being published in his own magazine,” he adds laughing.
Gregers has not forgotten his roots in Denmark either. He provides two internships each year for Danish students from the School of Journalism in Denmark, and the interns get a great opportunity to learn how to deal with many different tasks in the world of publishing and educate themselves while working abroad.
Gregers is in no doubt about his role as a foreigner living abroad and in a country he loves almost as much as his own.
“I feel a clear duty to behave well, set the right example and to treat my staff fairly in this country,” he says.
“As a Dane, I am in many ways very privileged to live here, and I want to be a good representative of the Danish culture and the values I cherish from back home.”