Hypothesis 1 proposed a relationship between a professional firm’s human capital and competitive advantage. The results lent support to Hypothesis 1. That is, the coefficient for human capital (0.43) was significant and positive, suggesting strong support for Hypothesis 1. The result also supported Carmeli & Tishler’s (2004, p. 1,271) assertion that ‘human capital is considered a source of higher performance in some local government bodies.’

The results supported Hypothesis 2. The coefficient for this hypothesis was significant and positive (0.27), suggesting strong support for Hypothesis 2. That is, there is a positive relationship between a professional firm’s human capital and competitive advantage, as enhanced by its core skills. The result also supported Grant’s (1991, p. 118) assertion that ‘skills (capabilities) are the main sources of competitive advantage.’

Hypothesis 3 predicted that there was a positive relationship between a professional firm’s human capital with international capabilities (cross-border skills) and competitive advantage. The standardised path coefficient was statistically significant and positive (0.23). This finding suggested that the more a firm acquires cross-border skills, the greater the relationship would become between a firm’s human-capital and competitive advantage. The change of R2 suggested that competitive advantage can be better explained by both the firm’s human capital and its cross-border skills. Hypothesis 3 was therefore supported.

The results supported Hypothesis 4. The coefficient for this hypothesis was significant and positive (0.27), thus suggesting strong support for Hypothesis 4, that is, there is a positive relationship between a professional firm’s international capabilities (cross-border skills) and competitive advantage. The result also supported Quinn’s (1980, p. 40) assertion that ‘these capabilities enable professional firms to build rapid momentum for new strategic shifts.’

The results supported Hypothesis 5. The coefficient for this hypothesis was significant and positive (0.23), thus suggesting strong support for Hypothesis 5; that is, a professional firm with international capabilities (cross-border skills) is more likely to generate competitive advantage than its counterparts without international capabilities (cross-border skills). The result also supported the assertion by Hitt, Uhlenbruck and Shimizu (2006, p. 1,152) that ‘service firms that internationalize without strong human capital are likely to be at a competitive disadvantage’, thus bridging the gap between strategic human capital (skills) management and internationalisation of professional-service firms—an area that has not been widely researched in studies.

The results also supported Hypotheses 6, 7 and 8. The coefficient for Hypothesis 6 was significant and positive (0.31), thus suggesting strong support for Hypothesis 6 (i.e. the relationship between a professional firm’s human capital and competitive advantage will be moderated by perceived VRIO valuing, in such a way that the relationship will be positive when valuing is high). The coefficient for Hypothesis 7 was significant and positive (0.26), thus suggesting strong support for Hypothesis 7 (i.e. the relationship between a professional firm’s core skills and competitive advantage will be moderated by perceived VRIO valuing, in such a way that the relationship will be positive when valuing is high). The coefficient for Hypothesis 8 was significant and positive (0.26), thus suggesting strong support for Hypothesis 8 (i.e. the relationship between a professional firm’s cross-border skills and competitive advantage will be moderated by perceived VRIO valuing, in such a way that the relationship will be positive when valuing is high). As can be seen from Figure 26, there were significant moderating effects of VRIO on the relationships of human capital, core skills and cross-border skills with competitive advantage. Thus, Hypotheses 6, 7 and 8 were supported.



The present study examined the moderating effects of VRIO on capabilities (international skills), particularly cross-border skills, with competitive advantage. Using multivariate analysis, it has been demonstrated that VRIO acts as a significant intermediate variable between cross-border skills and competitive advantage. Linear regression analysis (see Table 26) shows the strong moderating effect of VRIO on the relationship of human capital, core skills and cross-border skills with competitive advantage to be R = 0.55, R = 0.49 and R = 0.50 respectively. From the result, it was shown that the R-square (changes) of human capital and competitive advantage almost doubled with the VRIO moderators from 0.18 to 0.31; the result for core skills and competitive advantage increased almost tripled from 0.07 to 0.24; and the result for cross-border skills and competitive advantage also rose 3.5 times from 0.07 to 0.25. However, without the moderating effects of VRIO, the relationship between resources and competitive advantage remained uneventful at 0.43 for human capital, 0.26 for core skills and 0.26 for cross-border skills. Therefore, this study has contributed to filling the gap in the literature on VRIO as a moderator between international skills and competitive advantage. These findings provide theoretical and empirical contributions to the literature of both internationalism and strategic management. The results of this study support all of the hypotheses based on RBV theories.

Cross-Border Skills

The quantitative results show that most of the 329 participants perceived there to be a higher level of core skills and cross-border skills among the professionals in Taiwan than in Hong Kong or China. In addition to using regression analysis to determine the significance of various hypotheses, graphs were used to determine how widely held these resources were among firms in the sample (Hair et al. 2006, p. 41). Hansen, Perry and Reese (2004, p. 1,283) knew of no study in which this type of additional analysis had been done. Of the three regions (Taiwan, Hong Kong and China), Taiwan had the highest perceived mean values of human capital, VRIO, core skills and cross-border skills (see Figures 16, 17 and 18), as well as the highest perceived mean value of competitive advantage (see Figure 19). This result supports Hypothesis 5 that a professional firm with international capabilities (cross-border skills) is more likely to generate competitive advantage than its counterparts without international capabilities (cross-border skills). This would suggest that firms with strong human capital are not effectively leveraging their human capital if they do not internationalise.

Competitive Advantage

The VRIO framework (see Table 25) shows how lawyers’ perceptions of their skills influenced their competitive advantage and economic performance. As indicated in the VRIO framework, Taiwan was found to have the highest economic position with a sustained competitive advantage; China a medium economic position with competitive parity; and Hong Kong a medium–low economic position with a competitive disadvantage. This result supports Hitt, Uhlenbruck and Shimizu’s assertion that ‘service firms that internationalize without strong human capital are likely to be at a competitive disadvantage’ (2006, p. 1,152).

Key Contributions

Overall, this thesis makes three specific contributions to the literature. First, the study quantitatively measured resources via the perceptions of lawyers and applied the results to the VRIO framework (Table 25). Previous studies have only theorised about VRIS (Newbert, 2007, p. 24), and Arend and Levesque (2010, p. 916) treat VRIO—the strategic asset—as a fourth resource. This study has broadened the literature review of VRIO by exploring the empirically relevant theory of the powerful moderating effects of VRIO on resources and competitive advantage (Hypotheses 6, 7 and 8). Specifically, the results of this study suggest that the moderating effects of VRIO can greatly affect the relationships of resources and competitive advantage. This study has responded to the assertion by Thompson, Warhurst and Callaghan (2001, p. 938) that knowledge of competitive advantage is mostly inferred and abstract and that practical knowledge (measurement) of it is lacking. This is where this study has extended the RBV research; by examining capabilities (skills), it has addressed the weakness in the knowledge of competitive advantage. Further to the work of Miller and Shamsie (1996, p. 534) who directly measured resources, this study measured the perceived values of resources (human capital) and capabilities (skills), using a five-point Likert scale, and thus contributes to filling the gap in the literature on the applicability of the RBV to international (cross-border) human capital of professional-service firms.

Second, this thesis contributes to the international-management literature by theoretically arguing and empirically demonstrating a direct link between a firm’s international capability (cross-border skills) and competitive advantage (Figure 2). Moreover, this study supports Hitt, Uhlenbruck and Shimizu’s (2006, p. 1,152) theory on international human capital by testing the hypothesis that firms ‘that internationalize without strong human capital are likely to be at a competitive disadvantage’. Consistent with their theory, this study found that professional law firms in Hong Kong, China and Taiwan employ associate partners mainly in the areas of international IP and international M&A and litigation, and according to the VRIO framework, those firms that internationalise without strong human capital (both core and cross-border skills) experience competitive parity (Table 25). Thus, this thesis links the capabilities of cross-border skills and competitive advantage to internationalism.

Third, this thesis augments the research of Kor and Leblebici (2005, p. 969) on partner and associate-partner leveraging and the relationship of associate partners and skills. By incorporating this linkage, this research broadens the study of firm-specific skills of general-service firms with the study of cross-border skills of professional-service firms (Malos & Campion 2000, p. 749). Thus, this thesis offers a more realistic view of human capital and expands the theory of competitive advantage to both the international-business and the strategic-management contexts.



The University of South Australia
Doctor of Business Administration (DBA/PhD Class 16th Intake)
Class 2007

A Tribute To My Father

A Tribute To My Father

Where There is a Will, There is a Way!

The late Mr. Auw Pit Seng 

A tough childhood upbringing

My father was originated from Shanghai's JiangSu Province's Zhen Jiang village in China. When he was born in 1901, his family was very poor, and because he was the eldest of the five children, his father had sold him off to an Indonesian trader, to exchange for money to rear up the rest of the family. He followed his trader-stepfather to Indonesia, living in Ajax, in the island of Sumatra, about a day's journey by train from Medan. When he was young, he had only received private tuition at home for a few years, and his stepfather always mistreated him. Since he was 10 years' old, he had to help his stepfather find pepper and herbs in the primitive jungles for trading. This kind of rugged life had built up his strong bodily physique, being able to carry products on his shoulders as heavy as a rice-bag. However, when he was 18 years' old, he had decided to turn his back on this kind of hard life and ran away from home, to explore better and alternative opportunities elsewhere. He had no money with him then, and had lived on serving tea to morning-walkers by the hillside to support himself, while reading books and newspapers under flickering candle light at night, which had weakened his eye-sight.

First breakthrough in life: as a Bookkeeper

In Medan, he had found a bookkeeping job in an import and export firm. This firm also provided free food and lodging, in addition to paying him 15 Dutch Guilders per month (approx. HK$3 today). At the end of the month, his employer gave him a raise of 20 Guilders, to 35 Gilders! He was so happy, he wrote his stepfather about it.

Second breakthrough in life: as a Reporter

During that time, my father had begun to write articles for local Chinese newspapers, getting to know many press people in the society. He didn't charge anything for that, except for the opportunity to publish and to receive a copy of the newspaper in return. He loved this job so much that he was willing to give up his job at the trading firm, while self-studying English and Dutch at the same time. His employer tried to persuade him to stay by offering him a pay of Gr.100 per month, but didn't succeed.

Started a family at 20

Trouble came to him through his old stepfather, who wanted him to get married before he died. My father reluctantly consented, after much nagging from my stepgrandfather. Because of an early marriage, my father had to change his bachelor life-style of reading and working, and started doing business seriously.

Third breakthrough in life: becoming a young entrepreneur at 20

He first started a small trading firm, selling books and newspapers, later on adding food, clothes, miscellaneous products, turning it into a small emporium.

Life-long learning : dictionary was his best friend

Though he was faced with the need to earn a living to feed a family, he was still studying hard in his free time. His greatest help came from the dictionary; no matter what vocabulary he came across, whether on the streets, from shop signs, or brochures, he would memorise them and check in the dictionary back home for their correct enunciation and meaning. That was how he struggled with his life-long learning. As a result, he could understand 50% Dutch and was quite comfortable with English usage. As regards Chinese, he would make sure he had read every book he had on sale at his shop.

Fourth breakthrough: becoming sales agent for Serravallo Tonic Wine in Sumatra

My father came across this miraculous wine purely by chance, after my first sister was born, he roamed the streets, looking for nourishing food for both mother and child. And the wine worked beautifully in replenishing strength! He found himself buying the wine in cases on cases! He would even sell the wine from his shop, recommending it to his friends and relatives, which had boosted the sales tremendously.

His sales efforts had impressed the Dutch sole agent so much that he was appointed as one of its sales agents in Sumatra. Within a short time, a new market for Serravallo tonic wine was opened. Busy wine business deals had forced my father to wind up his emporium business, concentrating on setting up marketing channels in the whole island of Sumatra.

Managing his own advertising

He wouldn't stop finding out the best way to promote his business, while driving his small delivery truck up and down narrow muddy roads in scorching hot days in Sumatra. He even found out the mistakes of the Dutch agent in promotion and improved upon them: Dutch people would advertise in the newspapers, targetting rich people in upper society, which would only comprise a small minority, thus a very narrow market share. He, therefore, took over the advertising campaign himself: publishing in both Indonesian and Chinese newspapers, listing the origin of the tonic wine - its contents, purposes, advantages, nutrients, etc., so that people at grassroot level would understand it as well. Within a short period, the wine's sales figures had shot up in straight lines, which impressed many counterparts in the business world.

His successful advertising efforts also attracted other business entreprises, offering their different brands for him to promote; amongst them were U.S.'s Aladdin lanterns, flasks, Mitchum soaps, etc. - through the introduction of the then American Consul-General Ford in Medan.

Fifth breakthrough - sole agent for South East Asia

My father later on expanded his business boundaries to the rest of Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and other South Eastern Asian countries, becoming the wine's sole agent for this part of the world, since the 1920's.

Author's Comments:

This was the true life story of a man who had had no affluent upbringing,no big inheritance, nor any formal education, yet God had blessed him so much that he was like King Midas, instead of turning everything into gold, he turned every obstacle into opportunity.

My father was a model for all our children to follow, especially his unyielding spirit of perseverance in time of hardship, his genuine care for his family, and a customary cheerful disposition. 'Where there is a will, there is a way' is his motto for me.


Khun Boonchai

Presently, as nearly 5% of Hong Kong's workforce are having a hard time looking for jobs, I hope that through these series of My Entrepreneurial Friends, with their struggles and ultimate goal attaining, I could encourage these people who are unemployed, who might be thinking that they have reached their wits' ends to think again - it might just be an opportunity knock! It might be time for you to start your own business!

A Will to Survive and Love Your Life!

Khun Boonchai Bencharongkul)

In this first series, we have the pleasure of interviewing Khun Boonchai Bencharongkul, presently Chief Executive Officer of United Communications Industry Public Co., Ltd. (UCOM), ex-Managing Director of Narai Insurance Co., Ltd. (Narai), and  ex-Chairman/ex-Managing Director of Digital Total Access Communications Co., Ltd. (DTAC), Bangkok, Thailand, with a total workforce of 5,000 in all.

Khun Boonchai would share with us his experiences of how he has started his company and how he has coped with his business' decision-making.


AuwKhun Boonchai, may we know about your education background?
Bencharongkul: I had my university education in the States, in the suburb of Chicago, at Barrington College. I went to a junior college first, called William Harper College, and after two years, I have moved onto Northern Illinois University, majoring in Management and Economics, and minoring in Arts.


AuwHow did you start your business?
Bencharongkul: It was first built up by my father (Khun Suchin), and I had taken it over when my father passed away, on my return from the United States in 1977. My father had put me in charge of his insurance business, looking after a new market's development, when I was supposed to sell new types of insurance in Thailand, after a brief training in Germany. At that time, I tried to pursue sales of hails and frost insurance, which didn't occur that frequently in Thailand, but I was encouraged by our German insurance company to go and sell to tobacco farmers, which was the most difficult job of my life.


AuwYou were learning a new line of insurance business then.
Bencharongkul: I think it is very difficult to sell insurance to people in developing countries, with their low education background and tendency to take chances - leaving everything to fate, and their reluctance to pay premiums for something which they would consider would never happen, whereas for people in developed countries, they are more aware of the value of insurance.

Those five years were good marketing training for me, and I guessed after that I could just about do anything with my management background.


AuwWas it for your other company - Narai Insurance Co., Ltd.?
Bencharongkul: Yes, it was.


AuwHow could it be related to UCOM's business?
Bencharongkul: Insurance is part of the family's businesses. So is UCOM, which later went on to become a public company, listed on the Thailand Stock Exchange, whereas Narai Insurance Company still remained to-this-date as a family-owned business. Pretty soon, Narai Insurance will have a new U.S. partner called Liberty Company.

As for the communications' business, it was something which my father had started forty years ago. He did the first twenty years' part and I continued with the second twenty years'. The company will continue to prosper, after we have come out from the financial crisis. This year is the year in which UCOM will celebrate its fortieth anniversary.


AuwWhat was the most difficult time for you?
Bencharongkul: Last few years, because the whole market, country and region were facing the same crisis. Things were difficult to pick up. However, telecom sector still showed a good sign of growing, and the trend for cellular communication was going much stronger, with a customer base getting bigger by the day, and a market penetration reaching 90% of the population, which would mean that they were hoping 80% of the population in the country would own a cellular phone. So the market is very big, requiring a lot of capital investment. So, it is truly a global type of business. We don't think that this business can sustain on its own, in its own country. It needs to globalise, with partnership joining hands together.

Three years ago, when the financial crisis first hit Thailand, it was bad for many people. They lost everything and couldn't stand such a heavy hit on their businesses. Many were laid off and couldn't find new jobs, and have to start some small businesses on their own. Some even went on to sell sandwiches, and some opened small restaurants. Bankers stayed home and didn't have anything to do until today.


AuwYou must have gone through a few ups and downs in your twenty years of business dealings.
Bencharongkul: Right. When my father passed away, it was quite a test, because at that time, I was not really someone who had done anything successful, but was merely working for my father, with no confidence from the banking industry and customers. And I have always worked in the insurance business. I have started to go back to the communications' side, because of large amount of debts left behind by my father, when he passed away. He had 25 kinds of businesses and they all seemed to go into coma. It was very difficult to get any confidence from the banking sectors. Fortunately, some banks did have some confidence in us and lent us the first sum of money to get started, and I was able to sell communications equipment to the Royal Thai Army. The reason why I have chosen communications' business was that, in the midst of everything that was deteriorating and falling apart, I convinced myself that as long as people needed their ears to listen and mouths to speak, communications would still be a good business. That was about twenty years ago.

So I came back and took over the communications' company, and left the insurance company to my younger brother and sister to look after, because it could generate enough income to cover the debts. You would need pretty big projects, things that could give you revenue and profits, to pay off some of the debts. The first few projects got off the ground, because some customers who had known and loved our father stepped in and helped us to start in this industry.


AuwPeople normally would say that starting a business is difficult, but the person who could continue it would have an even harder and tougher job to do. What were the strategies you were using to overcome difficulties?
Bencharongkul: Yes, the overheads were always there. The people who have worked with my predecessor, in this case, my father, could not change, because they have been working that way with my father for the last twenty years. We have to keep them, because it was a small family business - forty-five people twenty years ago, whereas today, we have five thousand people. So we kept them, but in the meantime, we have recruited new blood, assigning some jobs for those people who used to work, and trying to change their ways of thinking. It is better to do everything yourself, so that when it comes to difficult times, people would know that you have worked very hard day and night.


AuwDo you have a Think Tank - a committee of people helping you, when you ere facing difficulties?
Bencharongkul: No, we would normally share our difficulties, thoughts and plans together among forty or fifty people; not that many. After the first year, we had about seventy people. I'd brought in fifty more people into the company. Basically, it is you who has to create a vision of what you want to be, where you want to be, and you would work at it; never give up. Think in the Chinese way. I'll always remain oriental, even though I have spent eight years growing up in the States. I would always stay oriental in my culture and value, and we will go on with our lives - our commitment to our family, our colleagues who work with us, and our belief, and work hard.


AuwWhen you employ people, what qualities were you looking for in them? Do you treasure university education, someone who has a creative mind, or someone who might be stupid but still can be trained?
Bencharongkul: After twenty years, I am much older and wiser. It depends on the type of work you would utilise people for. Many years ago, I used to believe in kinship, development of bonds, relationships of working partners, going through life together and be successful together. Later, I have found that people have different agenda in life. As they grew older, they would gradually show their independent ways of thinking, or preferred ways of life. That's why, musical bands do not stay together for a long time, if they are really good. If they are really creative, they do not want to stay together. I think business is the same. Unless they are all professional employees or entrepreneurs who would always come back to you. I used to think very sentimentally for the company to last a hundred years. Today, I would make sure that the company is profitable, looking after the shareholders and customers very well. Of course, your staff and employees have to be well taken care of as well. But they must share the work to fulfill their duties which they have been paid for.


AuwWhen you were young, who was your hero? Or do you have anyone you would admire the most, e.g. Some want to be a policeman, some want to be a fireman? What was the vision you had when you were young? Did you have an easy life what was all laid out for you, or did you have to struggle for what you have today?
Bencharongkul: When I was young, I didn't have a hero. I had a comfortable life, but it wasn't a luxurious one. We got what we would like to have. Our parents looked after us very well. When we were in Thailand, our parents were very strict. But their attitudes towards us changed after they sent us to the States, as they realised that our upbringings in the United States would give us a different perspective of independence.


AuwCould the fear of losing you change their attitudes?
Bencharongkul: No, they just wanted us to be independent. I think my father had struggled all his life, because his father died when he was only seven years old, and he had to work very hard to send him to school. So, he just wanted to make sure that we could survive on our own when he would have to leave us one day, which he did. We survived. Each of us was very independent.


AuwYour father left you when you were a teenager?
Bencharongkul: He left us when I was in my prime, twenty-seven years old. Four years before he died, we had some difficulties with court cases, involving our partners at the hotel which my father owned, over some misunderstandings and differences. He passed away with cancer and didn't have a chance to solve the problem. We solved the problem and went on with life. We didn't want to continue to go to court.


AuwWhat is your secret of staying alive in your business, that you would give to other entrepreneurs for guidance?
Bencharongkul: I think people need to have a will to survive, to love your life. You must think about responsibilities you have for others. I think people who give up, usually think only for themselves and have no responsibilities. Some people whom I had known, committed suicide, were not good and responsible persons. They gambled a lot, losing money and making wrong decisions. I don't think they were responsible for their family with young children, because their wives have to pay off a lot of debts, after they died.

I think as long as we have breath, we should still have the will to fight. If you have the will to survive, you will survive. Just stand on your feet and be strong. If you have borrowed and ended up having a lot of debts - work hard and pay them off, because you have borrowed and spent them. Whether you have spent them on business or on investment, you did borrow from others. I think heavy debts would be the only thing that would kill a business.

I also believe that I am a good person, doing businesses that are good and legal. The products and services are good. And people whom we are working with are good people. That should be something to be proud of.


AuwDuring your many years of managing business, you might have encountered challenges from your competitors, how did you handle that? Nowadays, people are saying that competitors no longer exist, they can be invited to join in as partners as well.
Bencharongkul: You could never get away from competitors. There are even more competitors today, for our case, in Thailand - big, international companies. I often tell our employees that we have to compete with ourselves - do better than we did yesterday. When we do good, our customers would be happy with us. These are things they would like to have and like to see. This way, you can keep your customers and grow your business. Very often, we do not satisfy our customers' needs, just sell what we think the customers would need. So, sell the right things, the right products. Make sure the customers do not get dissatisfied.

AuwIn Japan and Germany, they would invest 10% of their revenue in R&D, would your company do that in Thailand as well?
Bencharongkul: UCOM is selling technology, not manufacturing technology. We spend a lot of money on a) having good marketing programmes - with people knowing about our products that we represent from overseas; b) cellular phone services; and c) on training as well. In our line of business, we do not have costly R&D.

AuwWhat is your business strategy for the next five years?
Bencharongkul: Next three, six and twelve months are very important. I think a year is already a long-term, because with the internet and the introduction of different new technologies, the world is changing very fast. There would be a WAP phone this year in Thailand, which they called GPRS, which is not yet a true internet mobile phone, but what they called 'a two-and-a half generation'. It would work like a mobile internet, having different gateways; different from PC. You'd have to create a new portal for the mobile phone, and these things would change every minute in life. So, you can't plan longer than a year and every year will be very different - on this, I guess many companies in the world would agree with me. Monthly reviews on your short-term plans would be important. Of course, we would still set plans for one year, two years, three years, but no one would commit numbers. Even visions have to be changed. We don't know the actual impact internet would have on our customers every year; things move so fast.

AuwYou said you have seen some entrepreneurs doing something like selling fish-balls, sandwiches, etc. - things which have no relations to their professions. Why did they do such side-line businesses, when they should make use of what they have learnt in their life and apply it?
Bencharongkul: Some of these entrepreneurs were in the finance sectors, which collapsed, but I applauded these people, because that's all they knew all their lives. They were strong enough to take the initiatives to survive, and didn't care standing in the streets selling sandwiches, when previously they were big bosses in the company.

AuwBut people say these should not be regarded as disasters. In fact, they could turn them into opportunities.
Bencharongkul: Of course, there are different strokes for different folks. All through my troubled years, I had been thinking of what people said that in the midst of problems and difficulties, there would be opportunities. But for three years, I hadn't been able to see anything really, even though I had been thinking and thinking hard of what to do best.

AuwBut I am sure there are opportunities in life if you care to find them, they will be there, like the Chinese from China after the Second World War. In fact, for most of the Chinese in Hong Kong, their ancestors have come from Mainland China. After the war, they came with nothing in their hands, and yet they have started Hong Kong, and are still building it up. I am sure there must be opportunity everywhere.
Bencharongkul: You have to have a will to survive and to fight, then you will have opportunities, because if you look hard enough, there will be opportunities. Never give up, because giving up means that you are already defeated.

I have some friends who had given me some posters with mottos on them, which I've lost, but I could remember parts of them which said that 'Those who went to wars and lost would be better persons than those who never did go to war and sat back to wonder what it's like to win or to lose.'

AuwIt refers to the importance of experience, right? They say: 'It is better to have experience though losing in it, than not to experience anything at all, just sitting back and relaxing, not going through anything, or simply wasting time.'
Bencharongkul: Many people in the history were like that. Some people are never successful, though they have tried all their lives. I guest it boils down to what is reality, doing it and continuing to fight and survive as the world goes round.

AuwDo you have the ambition of Julius Caesar of conquering the world?
Bencharongkul: Never. I would like to see a happy world where everyone shares resources, lives peacefully, without differences of colours, religions, or boundaries - people should not hurt one another. Everyone is born equal. There should not be revenges either. Everyone should have his opportunity if he tries hard enough. No human being should have the right to hurt, nor take advantage of another person. We are all born pure and innocent. The environment will protect us. I have seen paradise in bad places. I am quite contented with life. If you are a conqueror, you must be cruel. I don't admire conquerors, but survivors and caring people.

AuwWhat is your motto in life, that you would always remember when you are discouraged, or still looking for an answer?
Bencharongkul: I have, particularly after my father died, found something. Before, I have many different wishes like any normal human being, but desires in life change as you go through different stages in life. After my father died, I realised one thing that he had left not the money nor the wealth, but he had left a good example and a good deed, which was much more than any other assets he could leave us with. His goodness opened doors for many different opportunities for his children. Many doors were opened. People greeted us with great smiles, saying how much they had loved our father, or were very close to him, and welcomed us to talk to them about business opportunities. Many have helped me up to this date. I owed a lot to my father. I would say 80% of my success are owed to those who have loved my father, without asking anything in return. The rest were to my mum (Khun Kanchana), who was a very strong woman, who would stand up and fight. Nothing could scare her. She had a strong will to live and taught us to be strong, too, to face challenges, uncertainties, etc. After all, life has many facets determined by our fate.


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IN CLOSING, I would like to thank Khun Boonchai for taking the time out to share with us, which encouraged us very much.