Swedish priest looking forward to Thailand

When the Swedish Church in February announced vacant positions both in Bangkok and Singapore, Lennart Hamark and his wife Lis applied for both positions. Five years have passed since the Hamarks returned to Sweden from Hong Kong, where they had lived and worked for ten years. This was their chance to come back to South East Asia.
      Being good friends of Tommy and Monica Qwennerberg, who established the Church in Bangkok ten years ago, this was their preferred choice – and now it will come true.
      “We have been there before and like the country,” the couple is quoted in an interview published on 16 June in the Swedish daily, Helsingborg Dagblad.
      “Although Bangkok is a dirtier place with traffic problems and pollution the benefits are greater. It is more genuinely Asian,” thay say.
      In Bangkok, Lennart Hamark will be the priest at the Church while Lis will be the Church Assistant. Their seven year old daughter Miranda, whom they adopted during their years in Hong Kong, will move with them and is looking forward to start in an international school in Bangkok.
      “Thailand faces the challenges of most Asian nations. Large parts of the population are relatively poor and certain groups fight for better judicial rights. The culture is fascinating and the religious beliefs are visible everywhere. Just go through the street an early morning and you will see people making offerings at their own little shrine. For a theologian this is quite exciting,” Lennart Hamark tells the journalist Torbjörn Dencker.
      Lennart Hamark mentions also the visits to Scandinavian prisoners in Thailand as a job waiting for him.
      “We are primarily there for the about 3000 resident Scandinavians in Thailand, but we also available for tourists if they need us in case of illness or death. Accidents happen frequently and the travel agencies are often not very well equipped to handle these situations.”
      Lennart Hamarek describes the mostly Swedish and Danish community in Thailand as typically 25 -55 years old hard-working people at the height of their career.
      “Their weekends with their families become important so we plan to have many family oriented activities.”
      Lis Hamark is hoping to be involved in the activities of the spouses, typically women who have put their career on hold to follow their husbands during their overseas assignment.
      Leaving their jobs in Helsingborg in Sweden, the Harmarks tells the newspaper, that they will certainly miss their friends and the changing Scandinavian seasons.
      “And the funerals,” Lennart Hamark adds.
      “Yes, I know it may sound a bit strange. But I will miss the funerals of which there will be far fewer in Bangkok than here in Helsingborg, because you usually have very exceptionally good conversations with the bereaved. Amidst all the sorrow there is always a significant gratitude for life itself and for what the deceased meant for them.”

About Gregers Møller

Editor-in-Chief • ScandAsia Publishing Co., Ltd. • Bangkok, Thailand

View all posts by Gregers Møller

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