Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Lost youth? No regrets

'Wasted' years built a businessman who prefers station wagons

Published on November 21, 2007

Lost youth? No regrets

Chatchawan Toominmorn, photo right, owner of wooden-furniture export company Lertsin, enjoys practical vehicles like his Toyota Fortuner.

When we look back on our lives, many of us have regrets about having wasted time somewhere in the past. Chatchawan Toominmorn, however, feels good about having lost most of his teenage years, for in the course of enduring that loss he became a fully fledged businessman.

He is the owner of Lertsin, a company that exports wooden furniture.

"Lertsin was inherited from my father," Chatchawan explains. "It has been in business for more than 32 years in Chiang Mai province, and we have a production base in Australia.

"After I finished secondary school, I went to Australia for eight years to study. Life there is very different from in Thailand because of the different cultures. When I wanted to buy something there, I had to save the money to buy it for myself because I grew up in a family that does not indulge its children, and this has made me stronger.

"I lost my teenage years, but I became a businessman in return."

Chatchawan says he returned to Thailand and began working in the family firm when he was 24.

"I felt I was emotionally stronger than friends of the same age," he recalls. "Some of them were graduates but were still asking for money from their parents. Living abroad gave me a chance to learn the nature of people from other countries. I know them now in all respects, regardless of race, and this has benefited my business, which is involved in exporting."

Chatchawan caught the "station-wagon bug" when he was studying in Australia, mainly because these vehicles were less expensive than others and could be used for many purposes.

"I don't like driving sedans because I'm a big guy," he says, "and European cars are fuel-guzzlers. Besides, I have to go to my furniture plant, and driving a sedan is not suitable. So I bought a Toyota Fortuner with a 3-litre engine, because it has good acceleration. I'm not a fast driver, and I wanted a car for working."

Chatchawan says the Fortuner's seats are adjustable to increase loading space and this makes it stand out from sedans. Besides, he believes the latest models of Japanese cars have an interior finish to match that in European cars.

Thanadol Rila

The Nation

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