There’s a saying that goes: if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. I can’t think of a more perfect phrase to describe H.E. Mr Waldemar Dubaniowski.
Waldemar’s enthusiasm for his job and his home country is infectious. “Asia knows about Germany, but (it doesn’t) know about Germany’s neighbours,” he said. “Poland is fascinating because, in addition to our own national and really colourful customs, we have customs that are partly related to both Germany and Russia.” After just a few hours with the Ambassador, I, for one, learned more about Poland than I ever knew about Germany: Polish is the second most popular language in the United Kingdom; the Polish are excellent IT specialists, Polish handymen are known as “the best handymen; they can turn their hand to anything. If you employ a Polish electrician, he can also successfully fix hydraulic faults.”
This is just an anecdotal example but seriously Polish are one of the most entrepreneurial immigrant communities, establishing over 20,000 companies across the UK. The country celebrates both a Constitution and an Independence Day; and in addition, which sounds truly interesting – Thailand’s King Rama VI wrote his Oxford University dissertation about Poland (“The war of the Polish succession”) .
Most recently, Waldemar has brought Poland to Thailand through cultural events. He organised Thailand’s first ever celebration of Poland’s Constitution Day (May 3rd) at the “Author’s Lounge”, the oldest part of Bangkok’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel. The event featured an extremely gifted Thai pianist – Maestro Rit – who’d temporarily lost the ability to play professionally piano due to health issues but has only recently regained the skill – playing beautifully Chopin.
What’s more – the Thai choir from the University of Mahidol sang beautifully the Polish national anthem in Polish. It was unbelievable, a one of a kind performance, and you should definitely Google it. Waldemar hopes to establish the event as an annual occurrence. In July, he also hosted a screening of the Polish dark comedy Vinci at The Bangkok Club.
“Seeing the joy on his face and hearing the excitement in his voice when he talks not just about Poland, but about his appointment as Ambassador, you finally begin to understand why he says he is not a workaholic.”
Unlike other Ambassadors, Waldemar does not see himself as a career diplomat. In the end of 2013 he wrapped up a very successful posting in Singapore, where he was elected Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, he left Embassy life to work as the Business Development Director of PricewaterhouseCoopers’s Polish division. A sports buff and an avid and an accomplished tennis player, he then went on to serve on the Polish Olympic Committee. Eventually, the President of Poland offered to him a return to Asia as an Ambassador, citing his strong knowledge of public works and deep understanding of business matters.
Waldemar Dubaniowski is one of the newest Ambassadors to arrive in Bangkok. He and his wife, Mrs Ewa Dubaniowska, moved to Thailand in the end of September 2017. They make a good looking couple and are bound to have a positive effect on whatever audience that they attend. He had previously visited Thailand as a university student. On the weekends, Mr and Mrs Dubaniowski prefer to walk around Bangkok, saying that walking allows them to see more and build a deeper connection with their host country.
Just like Waldemar is not your typical Ambassador, the Polish Embassy is not your typical Embassy. Where other Embassies look like compounds with high walls, patrolling security guards, and multiple buildings. The Polish Embassy looks like a sleek, modern business; as if you might queue to speak with an Apple Genius. Straight, plain white walls and furniture accented with natural wood. The decor is minimal with a simple bust of Frédéric Chopin near the entrance and one wall full of dried Polish flora. Behind the Ambassador’s desk is a neon outline of the crowned eagle from Poland’s coat of arms, and along the wall is a silhouette of a tree blowing in the wind. The branches are intertwining chrome bars and a few leaves fly loose.
Not one to pass up the opportunity to proudly promote his country, Waldemar pointed to the tree silhouette and said, “That image was chosen specifically for Poland.” In stark contrast to Thailand’s seasons of hot, hotter, and wet-hot, Poland goes through the four traditional seasonal changes: Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. The blowing tree represents the change from summer to fall. The intertwining chrome bars are Polish snow in winter. Other images around the office show sweeping, peaceful Polish fields, and there is an allusion to bison grass, an iconic symbol of the European country as well as the name of a famous Polish Vodka.
Although not a career politician, it’s hard to think of anyone more suited to the role of Ambassador than Waldemar Dubaniowski. “You are always representing home,” he said. “Whatever you say is always seen as the Ambassador’s opinion.” He takes great pride in not only his work and his country, but also in the work of his fellow Polish citizens as well. “There are three Polish musicians playing for the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra at Mahidol,” he said.
He also touted three Polish chefs at prominent Bangkok five star hotels: the St Regis, The Muse and the Dusit Thani. When you meet Mr Dubaniowski, he’ll tell you that he is not a workaholic. As he describes his past jobs and current duties as Ambassador, it’s hard to believe this is true. He stays so busy and promotes Poland so much it feels as though he truly never stops working.
However, seeing the joy on his face and hearing the excitement in his voice when he talks not just about Poland, but about his appointment as Ambassador, you finally begin to understand why he says he is not a workaholic. Whether an Ambassador, Development Director at PricewaterhouseCoopers, or as a Polish handyman, Waldemar will always find a way to promote his homeland. For Mr Dubaniowski, talking about Poland isn’t a job; it’s what he loves to do. If so, then it is possible that the Polish Ambassador to Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos H.E. Mr Waldemar Dubaniowski has never worked a day in his life.