Danish old-timer, Jorgen Lundbaek looks back at almost 50 years of good time in Bangkok.
Photos Disraporn Yatprom
Jorgen Lundbaek celebrated his 70 year birthday on Sunday 12 October 2014 with a big party in Captains Pub & Restaurant on the ground floor of Mermaid Hotel in Sukhumvit Soi 29 in Bangkok.
The 70 year old Dane is one of the resident Danes who has been living the longest time in Bangkok.
“I first came to Bangkok by ship in October 1960 but then went on to Vietnam. When I came back in November 1966 it was with the intention to stay one month. I had a good job in Vietnam, but I never went back. Instead I started working for another American company in Bangkok for two years and then I started with Captain Bent and Sven Marquardsen our own company. They have passed away but the result of that company is what you can see here.”
Looking back, Jorgen Lundbaek defines the turning point for his business success as the time when he joined Thoresen & Co.
“I started in the Marine Surveying business and doing that I realized that nobody was selling marine safety equipment services. Then I started that business with Viking from Denmark and that was the start of the success.”
“We started up as a small company and build it up slowly but then after a few years we joined the Norwegian company Thoresen & Co. and from that moment, things changed. They were on the stock exchange and had money to invest and it was from that point that it went big time. I would say that became the backbone of the success. We set up Mermaid Safety Services and then it changed to Mermaid Maritime and Mermaid Offshore and it was all a 100 pct success.”
Currently, Jorgen is busy in Vietnam with safety equipment so you could say the circle is complete.
ScandAsia’s birthday gift to Jorgen Lundbaek was wrapped in a copy of Bulletin – the member magazine of Scandinavian Society Siam. The wrapping was fitting since the SSS is the oldest association of Scandinavians living in Thailand. But Jorgen is not the oldest joining member of the Society – that honour goes to Poul Weber (1960), Ulla Dohlon (1961) and Ole Madsen (1966).
“I didn’t join the Scandinavian Society during the first year that I came back from Vietnam, so it must be in 1967 that I became a member,” he recalls. This was the same year that the SSS was joined by a bunch of other old timers: Anders Normann, Ib Ottesen and Henrik Hansen.
Later, when the Danish Thai Chamber of Commerce was formed, he also joined that and has remained a member since the beginning.
Describing Bangkok during his early years here, Jorgen focuses on the fun, he had.
“We only had four places to go for entertainment, it was either Suriwong, Silom, Sathorn and New Road. I was a young guy at the time so I went to Patpong every night and I had a great time!”
“You can say that was the foundation of my success,” he laughs.
For a 70 year old guy, Jorgen is both mentally and physically in an exceptionally good shape. He credits this to “all the fitness I am running around doing,” but surely his solid “foundation” from partying in the 60’s must also have something to do with it!