Soeren Wettendorff, a self-confessed former drop-out of the Scandinavian Society Siam, was on Tuesday 8 June elected new Chairman of the Society.
“I dropped out a few years ago by not paying my membership invoice, I thought there was nothing of interest to me going on in the Society,” he said in his address to the 26 members assembled at the Annual General Meeting at Rembrandt Hotel & Towers.
But when Soeren Wettendorff was asked by outgoing Chairman Eid Alexandersen if he would like to lead the Society, he saw it as an opportunity to change it more to his liking.
“The Scandinavian Society Siam should be the place where we can do something for the families, just like the Chambers of Commerce do something for the businessmen. We should reach out to the Chambers and cooperate with them.”
Soeren Wettendorff could also already announce that he expected to arrange many smaller and informal gathrings at the British Club on Silom Road because, incidentally, Jesper Doepping – one of the other new members of the board – was recently appointed General Manager of the British Club.
The full new board elected was
Soren Wettendorff – Chairman
Kristian Boe – Substitute
Barbro karlsson – Substitute
See photos from the evening here
The evening started with a special dinner for the twenty six participants – pytt-i-panna or biksemad – complete with a fried egg and beer – although most preferred wine. The evening had been moved twice due to violence in downtown Bangkok but could now finally take place two months into the new year of the Society – the fiscal year of the Scandinavian Society Siam still follows the calendar of the Rama VI reign during which it was established 91 years ago by which 1 April is New Year Day.
Reluctantly, we eventually moved into the meeting room, where the first round of applause went to Anders Lundqvist who was elected Chairman of the meeting. He thanked for the election, promising that he would not say “Hold kaeft!” like one of his predecessors as Chairman of the Meeting, Dr. Ejnar Ammundsen.
Anders Lundqvist first point was to present the minutes of the previous meeting, asking if there were any comments.
Kristian Bo asked for clarification regarding the number of directors of the board which was one of the bylaw changes adopted last year. It was clarified, that the number of board members were five members including the Chairman.
Leo Alexandersen then moved that the minutes were adopted, which was approved by the meeting.
Next, Chairman Eid Alexandersen gave her presentation of all the many activities during the past year, big and small, which in effect had amounted to one every month. She especially praised the Crayfish party 2009.
“It was the best Crayfish party ever – we had 203 participants, and there were no drunk people throwing up or anything like that,” she said.
Anders Lundqvist commented himself on the 90 Year Anniversary Ball that this event had really been outstanding and he congratulated the board on this successful event. The Chairman’s report was approved with a big round of applause for the big job she and Elina Koski had done during the past year.
Next, Elina Koski gave an overview of the current membership situation. It showed that 53 new members had joined the Society, while a number of existing members had left. Exactly how many that had left was discussed as Bengt Juhlin pointed out that in the minutes of meeting from last year it said there were 154 Danes among the members – while the current the number was 69 members.
Anders Lundqvist asked Elina if she could check it out and report her findings to the members by email.
The accounts of the Society was then presented by treasurer Gunnar Sjobeck. It showed a huge income on the 90 Year Anniversary Ball, which was ballanced with an equally huge expense account, but the event still left the Society with a profit contribution of 130.000 Baht. The net income on memberships had been around 270.000 Baht. The Bulletin had, however given a negative contribution of 170.000 Baht.
Leo Alexandersen wondered how the income on sale of jubilee books could be 2.100 Baht while the stock of jubilee books were still valued at 60.693 Baht, to which Gunnar Sjobeck immediate replied that this was easy: The board had found a few more books when moving office!
Jan Eriksson commented that with the net income of -140.000 Baht the Society would be bankrupt in three years.
Finally Poul Weber moved that the accounts were approved. Anders Lundqvist commented that in general, the financial situation seemed healthy, which was seconded by Gregers Moller, who pointed out that in the balance sheet the A/R on Memberships were only 6.000 Baht. The accounts were then approved by applause.
The two next points on the agenda concerned proposals for changes of bylaws or other proposals, but no proposals had been received in time to be submitted to the Annual general Meeting.
Anders Lundqvist allowed, however, Bengt Juhlin to ask at this point, if the board had acted on the proposal approved last year, that the board was authorized to employ an Executive Director.
Eid Alexandersen replied, that the board had decided not to make use of this option.
Election of the Chairman the Board then followed, traditionally a point of much attention.
Soren Wettendorff was presented in the correct way by putting his name in writing on a white board. Henrik Hansen asked if he would please present himself, and Soren obliged by stating briefly, that he and his friends had a few good plans that he would elaborate on later. Soren Wettendorff was then elected with applause.
The names of the proposed new board was presented in a similar way. Each of them were presented briefly either by themselves or by other members who knew then well. The proposed board was elected along with the decision, that Kristian Boe and Barbro Karlsson should be substitutes to the board, while the other four should be regular board members.
The last election was for Auditor to which post Eric Hallin was elected and Substitute which Gregers Moller was elected.
A lively discussion now followed of what activities, the members would suggest the Society should engage in.
Bent Juhlin said he had thought quiite a bit about it. In his opinion, the sports activities were all well functioning to the point that it was actually the SSS that benefited from the relationship with these activities more than the other way around. The main focus should in his opinion therefore be on developing the social events of the community which was the unique competence of the Scandinavian Society.
Elina Koski supported his conclusion. She also added that she strongly urged the SSS to continue with the Christmas Bazaar event which had been a joint event with the Swedish Church and had 300 adult participants.
Henrik Hansen said that he had been a member for 40 years and he then gave the new board an ultimatum: Either Soren Wettendorf and his team would increase the membership with 10 pct or he would resign as a member!
Jan Eriksson seconded that expanding the membership base was important. In this context the link to the British Club might become an asset. He also suggested contacting all the members of the Scandinavian Chambers of Commerce to canvas for new members.
Poul Weber thanked the old board for the fantastic job, they had done. After last year’s AGM there had been a lot of talk among members if the society had lost its reason for existence but the outgoing board had clearly demonstrated that the society was far from dead. He also thanked Anders Lundqvist for his good job as Chairman of the meeting.
Eid Alexandersen replied by using an image of the board as a car – she had been the steering wheel, Elina Koski had been the engine, Eric Helander had been the gear, Kristian Bo had been the breaks, and so on.
“We even had some spare tires,” she joked.
She then presented Gunnar Sjobeck with a gift for his many years of service on the board – a coffee mug in Swedish colours.
For Elina Koski, who had worked so hard with her, Eid had found something truly special. She had been in London during the days when the Icelandic ash cloud had closed down airports in Europe and here she had been shopping in among others the famous Portobello Road where antique shops mingle with street vendors selling old stuff from under the attic. Suddenly she had found this wonderful silver necklace that she instantly reckognized as the gift she had to buy for Elina. It was clearly in 1920 style, which was the style theme they had chosen for the 90 year anniversary party of the Society, yet simple enough to be worn today with almost anything.
Leo Alexandersen then took the floor to share with the members how proud he was of his wife Eid and how hard she had worked for the Society.
“I may be biased, but I believe this has been one of the best boards of the Society I have ever seen,” he said before presenting her with a beautiful bouquet of flowers.
The meeting was then over, but as tradition has it, the night was not over yet. The outgoing board members mingled with the incoming board members and informally conducted their transfer off office. Plastic bags and envelopes changed hands and many wishes of good luck were exchanged amidst sigh of relief that the task was now done and over and securely transferred to the next team.
Then, it was time for a wind down glass of wine outside the meeting room before the evening eventually was over for this year.