Thaikhun recently launched their #BestSummerEver competition, which identified ten ambassadors across ten different cities nationwide. By partnering with STA, Singha beer and Tourism Thailand, the competition will identify one lucky winner to set off into the sunset on a two week all inclusive paid for trip to Thailand. Soon to embark onto the final challenge, meet Bath’s representative: Ren Balogun!
- How did you become the Thaikhun Bath ambassador?
By accident! I came across a free Pad Thai they were giving away and they asked me to describe why I love it. So, naturally, instead of doing my essay, as I was procrastinating hungover in the SU, I wrote an email why I was grateful for the existence of Thaikhun. That is how a means of procrastination turned into how I don’t have to pay for food every week.
- Are you excited about the potential of taking someone on this trip with you to Thailand?
So, all my friends have been really supportive about the voting. The winner gets to go on an all-inclusive Thailand trip and take a plus one! At the beginning everyone thought I would take my boyfriend, but I am not. It’s my final year; I have a lifetime with my partner but I have one chance to celebrate a big summer blowout. So, yes, I am so excited!
- What is the best part of the experience so far?
The best part is challenging myself over social media, not being afraid of asking people for their help, messaging people, reaching out and promoting myself over social media. It has been good for building my own personal brand.
- What has been the most challenging thing so far?
The most challenging thing is balancing my work- uni- ambassador life. Promoting myself on social media is quite easy to do, so it’s hard to avoid falling into the habit to focus on just the competition, but I also need to remember the 10,000 words for my dissertation.
- What is the next step in the process?
The next step is the charity round which is the most exciting because its about creating social buzz for a cause that is not yourself. I’m looking to raise money for a charity very close to my heart: bringing education to people with little resources in rural areas of India. The challenge is exciting because its all fair and good asking people to vote for me -that’s easy- but its also challenging a lot of friendships as I’m asking them to donate for a cause that I believe is really worth it. It makes me feel better about winning a trip if I’ve helped someone along the way.
- How can we help?
The easiest way to help is to take a look at my ‘justgiving page’. You can donate as little or as much as you want. This isn’t for me to win a trip to Thailand, this would be going towards a cause that has touched me and members of my family and I’m grateful for the opportunity to raise money for such a worthy cause.
- Can you tell us a bit more about the connection between the charity and yourself?
My step dad is Indian; his family has always done what they can in terms of supporting various charities. It is in their culture and religion to regularly give money and help those in need. Needing help does not only mean lacking financial ability, it is more about whether support is required and giving it to those who need it.
My step-dad, Amit, has always been very close with two neighbouring boys as he was growing up. One of the boys became best friends with Amit. He died a few years ago, leaving his wife and his two children (who are 11 and 15) to live with the grandparents. The family has very little income, but they managed to somehow get by. The boys weren’t able to go to school; they had to work in a nail factory. Amit was talking to them and asked about whether they wanted to go to school. Although they did, their priory had to be making money for the family. The grandmother died last year, and then more recently the grandfather died. The mother isn’t educated, but she is doing what she can to supply for the boys. Unfortunately, it is not enough- the boys still need to work.
Currently someone is trying to take their house, so they are worried. So if there were anything I could do to touch their lives or any children like that, it would mean a lot to me. We take the luxury of going to school for granted- but the truth is, I wouldn’t be at university without my education, so it would be great to give people the opportunity to learn, develop and further themselves.
- What is your favourite dish at Thaikhun?
My favourite dish has to be where it all began: The Pad Thai
Or, I guess, the Yaki Soba is pretty good too.
- What the must try cocktail?
Obviously the #bestsummerever cocktail that I designed. They also do really great juices, non-alcoholic but really hits the spot. A standout has to be ‘The Big 5’. Mhmmmmm.
- How did you create your own cocktail?
I went into Thaikhun with my friend and we started by experimenting a lot. We created some very terrible drinks. Eventually, with the guidance of the barman -shoutout to Matt- we got there. He basically tried the concoction and said it was quite strong. My response? Well, it’s made for students.
- What is the best part about Thai food?
It’s the authenticity. There is such a rich mix of flavours and a lot of the dishes, especially here at Thaikhun, are generally quite healthy. So you can treat yourself without feeling like you are indulging too much.
- If you had to pick one go-to Thai dish for the rest of your life, what would it be?
You cannot beat a Panang Curry!