Bert Elson, who is diplomatically retiring after a 10-year stint in the part-time hotspot, managed an extremely challenging task with genuine style and magnificent modesty. With his military background that included the Coldstream Guards– the earliest constantly serving routine program in the British army– and significant experience as an innovative caseworker fitness instructor for the Royal British Legion, Bert was constantly an apparent option.
He was designated in 2013 after a rather unstable duration for the British embassy in Pattaya. My own honorary consul retirement in 2010 at age 70, after 14 years which accompanied the British traveler numbers boom in Pattaya and the accompanying styles of uncommon deaths, practically day-to-day arrests and uncomfortable scandals, had actually in some way caused a succession of replacements who stopped working to last longer than 12 months. On top of that, the Pattaya consular workplace which had actually opened in 2007 and was easily situated near the Jomtien migration bureau, had actually been closed as part of the British foreign workplace policy to end all provincial workplaces throughout Asia as a cost-cutting workout. The Chiang Mai workplace later on suffered the very same fate.
Bert ended up being honorary consul at a time when frontline embassy services all over were being minimized. There was much talk in foreign workplace documents about the requirement to prevent “overservicing the clients” and to motivate those in distress to utilize social networks and sites instead of to anticipate individual counselling as a matter of course. Especially out of favor was the choice by Bangkok, in truth by London, to stop providing letters of warranty for UK pension earnings which belonged to the treatment at migration to acquire some sort of yearly extensions of stay. The issue, obviously, was that some Brits may be lying about their real money.
From the first day, Bert was predestined for success. Constantly devoted to his superiors and currently holding the BEM or British Empire Medal (not to be puzzled with the MBE), he performed particularly the guidelines of the consular area in the Bangkok embassy to call distressed Brits– specified by them– and to represent the embassy in whatever contexts they chose. Never ever a media figure, he was seldom openly photographed with policeman or political leaders and mainly prevented public speaking, even when pushed to do so. However he did keep a beneficial commentary on Facebook covering such concerns as the covid pandemic and how to avoid of difficulty as a British traveler or expat. Smartly, he never ever responded to the general public criticism on the web and in other places that the embassy was/is “worthless”.
As a director of Tropical Bert Holdings, Bert ran (and runs) a popular UK-style dining establishment on Pattaya’s so-called Darkside for around thirty years with his energetic spouse Pu. I appear to bear in mind the really first restaurant base they opened remained in Duck Square. Bert has actually done an exceptional task as honorary consul as the function is now formally viewed. He has actually kept his head down and, for the very first time in regional history, has really gotten a written retirement gratitude on the web by the British embassy in Bangkok. His skilled integrating of the resources of the Royal British Legion and the embassy has actually possibly been the secret key for his success. To state he will be a difficult act to follow is a severe understatement.