1991 Songkhla Thailand

Out sampling

Out sampling

In 1991 Dort and I were lucky enough to briefly live in Songkhla on the east coast of southern Thailand.  Back then Songkhla was a fairly sleepy fishing town that also catered to the off-shore oil and gas sector.  Hatfield won a project to help develop and implement environmental monitoring and management plans for the nascent, onshore shrimp farming industry.  We established a project office that also served as our accommodation – Dort fixed up the “Spirit House”s which is a shrine to the protective spirit(s) of a place (see photos). Most houses and businesses in Thailand, Laos and Myanmar have a spirit house placed in an auspicious spot, most often in a corner of the property.  PT Hatfield Indonesia had just been setup, but Kent Wiley hadn’t yet moved to Bogor.  Our first employees were all young Thai female university graduates (Loksana, Bunruen and Sukanaya), and we also had one of our first staff secondments from Indonesia to help out on the field programme.  Unfortunately, this region of Thailand has been impacted by sectarian violence in the last 10 years, but when we were living there it was a peaceful, beautiful spot.