Women’s Group

In the frame of “The Month of Francophonie” and commemorating “International Women’s Day”, the Embassy of Kosovo hosted on March 9th an evening of music, cinema, and cuisine at the Peninsula Hotel.

The audience was first delighted by an elegant welcome tea and conversation, followed by a piano recital with the works of French, Kosovar and Thai composers interpreted by the ten year old Thai prodigy Maria Ramida Montivalai (Maki). The ladies then watched “Hive”, a triple Sundance award winning and Kosovo’s Academy Awards submission. The movie is based on a true story and depicts the struggle of a community of widows in post-war Kosovo who, after waiting in vain for years for their missing husbands to reappear, band together to launch a business, against the men’s prejudices and without losing their virtue.

In the words of H.E. Ulpiana Lama, Chargé d’Affaires a.i, “We women, have everything to lose from war and everything to gain from peace. Let peace be the 2022 theme. Peace, this often underrated concept, cannot be taken for granted. Every wish we make should start with the call for peace. Today is an extension of March 8th, the International Women’s Day. A reminder of how much we can still achieve by leaning on each other.”

The event was attended by the Ambassador of Belgium – Sibille de Cartier, the Ambassador of Canada – Sarah Taylor, diplomats from Switzerland, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Singapore, Morocco and others; representatives of major cultural and educational hubs such as “Alliance Française”, “River City Bangkok”, RBSO, academics, journalists, activists, and prominent expats.

H.E. Ulpiana Lama finally treated her guests with ‘Ajvar’, a Kosovo pepper relish that features extensively in the film and made by the Chargé d’Affaires herself, a diplomat of passion and commitment, a soirée of energy and enjoyment.

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail
Chinese New Year is celebrated globally around the world. Hong Kong Ladies’ Group hosted a luncheon to welcome The Year of The Tiger at Thai Scala Shark’s Fin Restaurant in Siam Paragon. Members came in beautiful Chinese festive outfits such as “cheungsams”. Everyone was given red packets of “lucky money” and long-stem bamboos which signifies “prosperity and longevity.”
Kathleen Pokrud
President of Hong Kong Ladies’ Group 
0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail
0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail

Great news – the AWC are back meeting in person. We have resumed our weekly Casual Connections Coffee mornings, and our diverse activities this month have included Aqua biking, a photography walk, Indian cooking with Kamalini Reena and Irina Zaitseva’s Essential oils workshop and many more planned for the coming months.

A recent casual connection went Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

For Breast Cancer Awareness month AWC Community Projects Fund will be donating 10,000B to Queen Sirikit Centre for Breast Cancer (QSCBC) Foundation. QSCBS provides breast cancer screening for the most underprivileged women in the slums of Bangkok and the surrounding areas.

Thank you to Kitima Sirichai and Samitivej for providing a lucky draw of a mammogram at Samitivej Srinakarin. Our newest member Francis Nicholls was the lucky winner this morning.

Are you new to Bangkok? Or moving here soon?

The American Women’s Club of Thailand was established over 65 years ago and from its start has offered just what you need to feel at home ~ our monthly activities include Weekly Coffee Connection, Book club, Game day, Creative writing club and a variety of unique activities in and around Bangkok. 

AWC and its members believe each of us can make a difference in our local community! Our Scholarship Programme; which began over 25 years ago, awards approximately 2 million Baht annually in scholarships to students in schools across rural Thailand.  

Let us help you make Bangkok the best experience of your life! The AWC embraces diversity and is open to any woman living in Thailand regardless of nationality, culture or creed. Learn more about the American Women’s Club at 


Andrea Di Castro

President AWC

0 comment
4 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail

Thailand was the first country to report the case of Covid-19 outside of China in January 2020. In March, two weeks before the first lockdown in Bangkok, the Hong Kong Ladies’ Group was ready to host one of our major events, The International Food & Tourism Fair 2020. It was finally postponed as we took responsibility for the health and safety of our guests.

Treasuring our handful of gatherings

Throughout the twenty months since Thailand closed its borders to the outside world, we continued to put the safety of our members as a priority. HKLG membership supported the Thai government initiatives for social distancing; especially under the consideration that many of our members are senior citizens or mothers with young children. For the past year until present, we have held only a handful of gatherings marking important festivities. We celebrated the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival last October; over six months after the virus first hit Thailand. In November, we held our Annual General Meeting luncheon to celebrate our birthday anniversary a month before the second wave. In March this year, we celebrated the International Women’s Day. By invitation of the Thai Hong Kong Trade Association, HKLG participated and supported Hong Kong Nostalgic Night in the same month. 

HKLG 30th anniversary 

HKLG was founded in 1991 and this year marks our 30th anniversary. Due to the Covid situation, we are unable to host any event for the grand celebration this year. Nevertheless, we are grateful that our membership is in good health. Thankful for modern communications, our members are in touch with each other from our group chat, sharing daily doses of laughter, community news and useful information.

Charity drive 

This July, when the numbers of Covid cases were significantly high, field hospitals were set up around Bangkok. HKLG played our small part to help the local Thai community during this difficult time through the International Support Foundation ISGF. In August, we donated new mattresses for a field hospital organised by Busarakam Hospital in Suvarnabhuni Airport, with the aim to treat 5,000 Covid patients with 1,000 beds for those critically ill. Another dozen of our generous members made individual personal donations to this charity drive. On an annual basis, HKLG supported two ISGF student scholarships. 

In March, HKLG celebrated International Women’s Day with attendance of many members and friends. The House of Grace, a refuge for teen moms and abused women, was invited to present to the foundation. Members brought pre-loved clothing as donation to the worthwhile cause.

Looking into the future 

Covid has certainly affected lives of our members. Many who frequently travel between HK and Thailand, have missed seeing their families for the past two years. Who will travel when the quarantine restrictions in Hong Kong are 21 days and then to return to Bangkok will be another 7 days under Thailand ASQ rules? Returning to Hong Kong means a total of full five weeks to be isolated in a hotel room. By having faith in the future, the Hong Kong Ladies’ Group continues to be optimistic.

HKLG hope everyone will come out from these trying times to be more tolerant and appreciate life better. We look forward to hosting our International Food & Tourism Fair in 2022 when normalcy returns, and to celebrate our 31st anniversary with families and friends!

Hong Kong Ladies’ Group is a Bangkok based, non-profit making social group founded in 1991. Our objective is to assist newly arriving lady expatriates from Hong Kong to adjust to their new environment and to meet new friends through the monthly luncheons and activities. Apart from promoting friendship, unity and mutual support amongst its members during their residence in Thailand, HKLG has also established charitable trusts, funds from which are used to help the needy throughout the country. 

Interested parties can contact us at email: [email protected]

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail

Plots, settings, characters, conflicts, imagination and the pouring senses navigate a writer to bring out the voice of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, fantasy, thriller, and varied genres a phenomenal experience. Who would have known two dynamic expat ladies (Chloe Trindall and Cheryl Leend) in the year of 2000 in Bangkok would start their own writing group! The passing of time, laughter, discussions, teas, coffees, wines, brewing inspiration, and likeminded charismatic ladies brought us to a journey of celebrating 20 years.

On the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of the Bangkok Women’s Writers Group, ‘Rhythm of Missing Anthology’ was published by I-Fah Publishing honouring short stories by BWWG writers and was launched in the soulful, artistic, and welcoming Open House Bookshop by Hardcover, Central Embassy in March 2021. The event was graced by friends, writers, dignitaries, music, well wishers and has crafted a precious memory for everyone. The celebratory occasion was enriched with H.E. Italian Ambassador Lorenzo Galanti with Lady M. Francesca Andreini and Lady M. Tetsuko Wiberg. Poet and soulful Jazz singer, Coco Rouzier read her Poems in a jazzy style and Giulietta Consentino, one of BWWG’s inspiring writers and her team sang the amazing lyrical English and Italian Songs – ‘Sperlinga’. The readings by varied writers from global cultures nurture the theme of ‘time’.

Exploring subconscious imagery, tapping into experiences, coming out of the comfort zone, therapeutic sensations, and braving to showcase kinds of stories over decades bring about the connoisseur of storytelling where sharing one’s stories amplifies voice, creativity, and connects communities. ‘‘Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it’’ by Salvador Dali recreates many stories and creative pieces of flow since one cannot pause or stop the lyrics the mind and heart are infusing. This brings us to ‘The Melting Clock Bistro’ Bangkok, where BWWG writer meet up takes place and honouring creative scripts amongst the paintings of Dali caressed the 20th year celebration with oomph, joy, readings, dance, and flamenco in April 2021. Carla Soledad Rivera, the heart and creator of Olé Siam Flamenco and The HOMEBKK performed the magical flamenco with her team. The highly expressive, hand clapping, percussive footwork and intricate body moments performed live echoed distinguished tastes of life, creativity, passion, and community. Integrated part of rhythm, transforming spectacular beauty, and embracing storytelling celebrated the eminent anniversary in a festive galore.

coated with honey – tears of trending legacy
keep it down – the fuelling words
cats, typewriters – blank notebooks
stars, wine – 3 cups of coffee
elegance of tick tock – fury of time
for a moment – all you feel – craving
basking in layers of stories – inking out
cheese, candles, knives – mocking the storyline
shortlisted stories, intensive competition – do not manoeuvre time
sunflowers, cakes – mirrors of progressive tastes
cannot shield – darkness between light
for the ink of words – has comforted generations
only to reconcile – rhythm of missing pieces
romancing within – symphonic galaxy of time

I joined BWWG three years ago. This is a simple sentence when written, but it took several years to be carried out. I had known about the group and curious, but I just couldn’t bring myself up for the group. There were always excuses, like I was busy with this and that. But after all, I wanted to stay in a comfort zone: Writing was my consolation and sharing it with someone I had never met was a scary thought.

Writing is a solitary work. You work alone. You ask a question and try to answer, back and forth, in your mind. Your silent dialogue never ends. It’s painful sometimes, but writers find a joy in creating their own world which is a very private part of themselves.

Writing is a form of expression and naturally, you would like to present the art to the audience. But simultaneously, it is scary to share your writing because it is like exposing yourself inside out to the public. What if people don’t like it? What if it’s not as good as you’ve thought? That would be like being denied your entire self. My ego would not be able to take it. I chose hiding over being vulnerable.

One day I met Nick Argles, publisher of Expat Life in Thailand. After we talked on different matters, he mentioned Bhavna and told me I should contact her. I was not sure why I should since it was not clear who she was, what she did and how I could be related to her. But Nick being Nick, was very persuasive. I did contact her and found out Bhavna was one of organisers of BWWG. I almost believed in the destiny. I told myself it was time to open the door to a new world.

Before the first Tuesday of the month, regular date of their monthly meeting, I was still mumbling myself, trying to find some reasons not to go. But I knew I had waited too long. I told myself that English was not my primary language and that was my last indulgence to excuse myself if my writing was not accepted well.

I arrived early at the venue, ‘The Melting Clock Bistro’ to find Bhavna sitting in front of the painting of Salvador Dali. Dali’s big staring eyes were overwhelming, but Bhavna’s eyes were welcoming and so were the group of ladies. No one was critical or dismissed my writing. On the contrary, their comments were nothing but warm and positive. I could sense they were simply trying to support and encourage each other. This was not a group for judgement, but communal nurturing. I felt embarrassed and ashamed of being timid of joining the group. I was the one being preoccupied with comparing to others.

We read each person’s writings, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, essay etc. I didn’t know anyone in the group: They were total strangers. But reading their stories, I felt I knew them, who they were, without even knowing their names. Each person distributed her short writing and it was like being invited to their private parties. Each host offered her specialty of drinks, pure water with lemon, throat burning whisky, deep tangy red wine, and sweet chocolate. I enjoyed tasting different flavours of their worlds.

By the time the party was ended, I simply felt elated. It really didn’t matter if my writing was better or worse than anyone else. We were connected in a desire to write. I imagined these women trying to express whatever their feelings in letters, biting their nails, staring at the window, waiting for a magical plot pop up, in front of a blank paper or screen. I was with them. Being present in a group of women who share the same passion was inspiring.

Oh, I didn’t and couldn’t use my last indulgence. None of them attending that night was a native speaker of English. Actually, I think everyone was from a different country, very cosmopolitan. It was even more inspiring when you learn these women are expressing themselves cross culturally. You find hidden gems from all over the world in a corner of Bangkok. Isn’t it exciting?

Rhythm of Missing Pieces is available at Kinokuniya Bookstores and Open House Bookshop by Hardcover, Central Embassy in Bangkok. Bangkok Women Writers Group is co-led by Morgan Pryce and Bhavna Khemlani. To join the BWWG you can connect through Meetup and FB: Bangkok Women Writers Group.

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail

We often hear such advice that it seems to have lost its essence. But for those who battle chronic diseases as cruel as cancer, it’s another story.

In June of 2018, at 52, during a normal health check in the Samitivej Hospital Bangkok, the doctor saw in the mammography a lump in my right breast. It wasn’t round – the shape like a real crab 😉 the size of a golf ball. 


Your entire life can change in an instant. You don’t think it can, but it can. 

My plan was to flight to Germany for 3 weeks’ holiday and I told the doctor – before we start with any treatment or surgery or examinations I will go home for recharge my energy, enjoy my life, having fun with friends, see my family, eat and drink my favourite German food, much hiking, etc.

The biopsy revealed a mix of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) or pre-cancerous cells and invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC), the most common type of breast cancer. I learned breast cancer vocabulary very, very quickly. I was diagnosed on 16 June 2018, and my right breast-preserving operation was on 18 July 2018.

During a mastectomy, a breast surgeon also examines the lymph nodes to see if the cancer has travelled outside the main tumor in the breast. Before surgery I only knew that I wanted – no, I needed – negative nodes. I knew that if the cancer had spread beyond my breast, treatment would be more complicated. Women who die from breast cancer don’t die from cancer that stays in the breast; they die when that cancer spreads to other parts of their body, commonly the lungs, liver, brain, and bones.

My surgeon removed 7 lymph nodes and during the surgery the pathology find out that there had been cancer in three of those nodes. Scans of my lungs, liver, and bones were, thankfully, clear. My cancer was hormone receptor positive, which meant I would need hormone therapy for the next 4 – 5 years to keep my body from using oestrogen. But before that I would need chemotherapy and radiation.


My chemotherapy regimen was called TAC for the three drugs I would receive via an IV, every three weeks for three infusions. (Each infusion and rest period was called a “cycle.”) The list of possible side effects of these drugs were terrifying and endless. The first infusion was my learning one. I spent all night vomiting. I was exhausted down to my bones. I lost my sense of taste so I could barely eat or drink. Water tasted foul. No bitter taste – like beer or coffee. I had to avoid all of my favourite foods because they tasted nothing like they used to. My hair fell out two weeks after my infusion and I shaved it off. In that moment I looked like a cancer patient. Something that felt private became very public. 

I hated chemotherapy but I am grateful for it because it works very, very well, but I hated the way it made me feel. I had horrible nerve pain, problems with the bowel movement, the first days I had the feeling that I wear a heavy metal coat, my fingernails were very sensitive and under my skull was a heat like in an oven.

I had my last infusion on 16 of December, 2018. At the end of chemotherapy, I started hormone therapy. I would receive a shot called Zoladex every three months to put me into menopause and I would take an Aromasin pill daily. If surgery was to cut out the cancer and chemo was to poison it, then hormone therapy was to starve it so it could never grow again.

I started radiation on January 2019. I had to be at the Chula hospital five days a week for a total of 30 radiation sessions. Radiation was much easier than chemotherapy; the only inconvenience was the daily commute to and from the hospital. I did not experience any real side effects from radiation except for a little sore throat and dry skin. Unfortunately, after 3 weeks I had very burned skin (I couldn’t wear a bra). And then active treatment was over.


It has been more than two years since my diagnosis. I have found navigating survivorship to be surprisingly difficult. When you are in treatment your doctors are responsible for you. Your life is all about “killing cancer.” And then it’s done and you’re meant to live your life and hope that you’ll never have to go through it again. But you might. Or you might not. So you live in this limbo that can make you crazy.

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver

Sometimes I am so scared I can hardly breathe, and sometimes my life is full and busy and I go without thinking about cancer. Some days I am filled with gratitude to be alive today, to be done with treatment, to feel about as close to normal as I guess I will ever feel. My bones ache and I get hot flashes all the time from being forced into menopause. But I am here- from the moment I was diagnosed, that is all I ever wanted.

I lost friends when I went through treatment. Many people don’t know how to act around someone that’s going through something so hard, especially something as scary as cancer. But it’s not nearly as complicated as people seem to think. When you love someone, you show up. You stand by them. You hold them up when they’re falling. You listen to them rant and rave about the unfairness of it all. You throw them a magical, sparkling unicorn party to celebrate the end of chemotherapy. You treat them like the person that you love, the person that needs you to just love them, to stick by them, to invite them to things even when they are too sick to go.

We are all going to die. We just think that it won’t happen until we are old and ready for it. Cancer took a lot from me, but cancer helped me understand an important lesson: none of us are promised tomorrow. You know this already, but you really don’t. So listen to me. Be happy now. Go on that adventure now. If you’re unhappy, change your life. There is no “right time” for the things you love. Now is it! Because this life is all we get.

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail

Dr Abdulla El-Hossami. Medical Director Asia Pacific. Verita Life, Integrative Cancer Centre

Starting from the first menstruation cycle to menopause, the female body can go through many changes. Although it is normal to feel different sometimes, it is always better to ask your doctor about any changes happening as some of these changes could be the signs of cancer or other diseases. 

Cancers affecting women mostly are breast, endometrial, cervical and ovarian cancers. Knowing about these cancers and what you can do to prevent them or find them early may help save your life.

Breast cancer: 

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women and the second most common cancer globally. In 2018 there were over 2 million new cases and the top 10 countries with the highest rates of breast cancer were Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, France, New Caledonia, Lebanon, Australia, UK, Italy and New Zealand1.  Many other countries in Europe as well as US and Canada were also in the top 25. 

There are a few well established risk factors for breast cancer. Ageing is directly proportional to your chances of getting breast cancer. Most breast cancer cases involve women of over 55 years old. Another risk factor is a positive family history. Having a first degree female relative with breast cancer doubles your risk of getting it. Likewise, having a personal history of breast cancer increases your risk 3 or 4 times more to develop a new breast cancer. Radiation or Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) exposure in the past raises the risk of developing breast cancer too. Other risk factors may include: 

Being overweight or obese

Early menstruation

Alcohol drinking

Physical inactivity

Tobacco smoking

Certain breast changes.

Early detection of breast cancer – when it is still small, has not yet spread, and might be easier to treat – can help prevent further complications of the disease. Regular screening tests are always recommended as the most reliable way to detect breast cancer early. 

According to the American Cancer Society, every woman between the age of 40 to 44, if they wish, should have the choice to start yearly breast cancer screening with a mammogram. While women age 45 to 54 should get it done every year. Women from 55 years of age can switch to a mammogram every 2 years, or can continue the yearly screening2. 

Ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer is the second most prevalent gynaecological cancer in women and the one causing the most deaths in the US with an estimated 21,750 women confronted with the disease this year3

The most important risk factors of ovarian cancer are age and family history of ovarian or breast cancer.  Although it can occur at any age, it is more likely to happen as women get older. Other risk factors may include: 

Being overweight or obese

Using talcum powder

Using hormone replacement therapy (HRT)


Having endometriosis.

So far there is no specific test or screening to detect ovarian cancer, but certain signs should not be ignored and should be reported to your doctor. These signs include: 

Abdominal (belly) swelling with weight loss

Digestive problems (including gas, loss of appetite, and bloating)

Abdominal or pelvic pain

Feeling like you need to urinate (pee) all the time.

Endometrial cancer

Endometrial cancer, sometimes called uterine cancer, is a type of cancer that begins in the endometrium which is the inner lining of the uterus.

Endometrial cancer is the most common type of cancer occurring in the reproductive organs of women.  The American Cancer Society has estimated approximately 65,620 new cases of uterine cancer in the US by the end of this year4

The risk of endometrial cancer increases by age and it is more likely to affect women above 60 years old.  Other factors may include: 

Early menstruation, late menopause, or both

Not having been pregnant

Being obese

Having had breast cancer or ovarian cancer 

Having received hormone replacement therapy for breast cancer.

There are no screening tests or examinations to detect endometrial cancer early in women who are at average risk and have no symptoms. However, every woman should be explained about the risk factors after menopause and should report if they have any unusual discharge, spotting, or abnormal vaginal bleeding. It is important to know the Pap test, which is very good at finding cancer of the cervix, sometimes can detect some early endometrial cancers although it is not a test for endometrial cancer5.

Cervical cancer 

Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that arises from the cells of the cervix in women and it is the fourth most common type of cancer in women. The World Health Organization estimated 570,00 new cases of cervical cancer in 20186

The most common cause of cervical cancer is HPV (Human Papilloma Virus).  Other risk factors include: 


Having a weakened immune system

Having history of a chlamydia infection

Being overweight

Being exposed to or taking certain hormone treatments. 

Having regular screening tests can help find changes in the cervix that can be treated before they become cancer. A Pap test and an HPV DNA test are the two most popular methods to screen for cervical cancer. Diagnosis also involves a pelvic exam with a colposcope to check for any visible abnormal changes in the cervix.

As you can see these cancers share more or less the same risk factors. So, if you could avoid smoking, exercise regularly, follow healthy diet, stay at a healthy weight, avoid or limit alcohol consumption to not more than 1 drink per day, have regular health checkups, you should be able to reduce your chance of developing these cancers. 

For more information on our Integrative Cancer Treatments and Autoimmune Diseases Programmes

Email [email protected] 

Call +66 (0) 2 554 8333


1 https://www.wcrf.org/dietandcancer/cancer-trends/breast-cancer-statistics

2 https://www.cancer.org/healthy/find-cancer-early/womens-health/cancer-facts-for-women.html

3 https://www.cancercenter.com/cancer-types/ovarian-cancer/about

4 https://www.cancer.org/cancer/endometrial-cancer/about/key-statistics.html

5 https://www.cancer.org/healthy/find-cancer-early/womens-health/cancer-facts-for-women.html

6 https://www.who.int/health-topics/cervical-cancer#tab=tab_1

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail
Newer Posts