Meet the blond Swede Peter Björk, who grew up in Värmland, in his regional and resident city of Karlstad. There is a famous expression in Swedish saying “The sun always shines in Karlstad”. True or not, it is here that Peter attended school and where he spent most of his youth.
“It was a very pleasant upbringing,” says Peter.
After finishing school, the Military Service was waiting and Peter joined Värmland’s Regiment and later on the Professional Officers Education Program. He attended the Military Academy in Halmstad. He later on moved to the – in Sweden – well-respected Krigshögskolan Karlsberg, (the War College at Karlsberg in Sweden).
After his years within the military sector, he asked for leave and enrolled at the University of Uppsala.
While there, Peter decided to study “Human Resource Management”. Peter also made it to Chalmers Tekniska Högskola (Chalmers University of Technology) in Gothenburg, a very prestigious university, later on to study “Change Management”.
In between the studies at Uppsala and Chalmers Universities, he found a job at Stena Line, the ferry boat company with ferries to Denmark, Norway and Germany.
Gothenburg became his base and it was convenient as Peter had a brother living there and a residence in Bohuslän (the coast). Peter became responsible for the service staff on the ferries to Denmark and Norway.
After a couple of years, he and some researchers and students from Chalmers and Handelshögskolan decided to form a company together. They worked as consultants within the public sector and industry, hospitals, schools and car industry. This business continued through almost the 1990s.
Well, how did Peter then end up in Bangkok, Thailand?
A Swedish friend of Peter, moved to Bangkok at the end of the 1980s, married a Thai woman and opened a tailor business. Peter went to visit them as a tourist several times. When the big crisis came in 1997, Peter got the idea of starting the same kind of company here as he had had in Sweden, and still has, in Thailand.
He contacted the Swedish Embassy, the Export Council and the 3 Swedes Anders Lundqvist, Håkan Skoglund and Johan Winlöf at Connector Asia. Together they rented an office at the One Pacific Place, which also was/is the location of the Swedish Embassy. We are now talking about year 1998. It was, like most of us have experienced, not so easy to get started, requiring lots of research which had to be done, with companies to visit, seminars to organize, etc. During this period, Sweden had a female ambassador HEMrs. Inga Eriksson-Fogh who helped and supported them, although she was relocated to Sweden 1998.
For some years, Peter stood with one foot still in Sweden and one in Bangkok.
Peter has also worked for the Thai Swedish Chamber of Commerce, as its Executive Director for 4 years and later on in the same position with the European Chamber of Commerce (EABC). Today he is back as President for the Swedish Thai Chamber of Commerce, SWECHAM.
He also experienced a year in Cambodia, but went back and forth between Thailand and Cambodia, as he did not want to relocate from his beloved Bangkok.
About 10-15 years ago, he started to think about writing a book. He had it quite clear in his mind what the book was to be about and he made an early first start. It rested for quite a while, but after approximately 3 years later, he restarted the writing and to him Covid made it possible to spend a lot of time writing on this project.
To write a book by oneself without any help, it’s an impossible task. Peter was happy to get some good advisers, among them a friend’s wife, Camilla Söderlund who is a linguist and who gave him some very important advice. This, in addition with the help Peter received from the publisher, Gregers Möller and his wife Disraporn made it possible to finally get the book printed and published
“This is a kind of “Novel of Adventure” (Äventyrsroman) Peter says. The name Bangkok Twilight stands for dusk, nightfall, but can also reflect the differences we live and experience in the Land of Smiles, as it also means a period or state of obscurity, ambiguity, or gradual decline.
Asking Peter what he likes and dislikes about Thailand he answers: “I am most fascinated by this country, especially by Bangkok; it works like a magnet on me. You always discover new things; it has a high pulse and that attracts me. The people are friendly even if you cannot always understand them or their logic. I don’t think I ever will really understand the culture here, but I like the Buddhist way of thinking. People are mostly humble.”
“I also love the climate, even if April and May are a bit too humid and warm. I love the Thai food and I manage to eat and like it as spicy as the Thais themselves. We are spoiled with so many great restaurants here and it always happens something. Bangkok, was before Covid, a city that never sleeps. Also, Thai hospitality is truly world class.”
“Negative to me is only that they often say one thing, but mean something else,” he adds.
Wanting to know if Peter has found a place in Thailand that he really loves and returns to, his answer comes quickly, River Kwai.
Asking Peter about his future plans, he smiles.
“Well, I’m planning to make a trilogy and the next books will take place the years after the Millennium. They will reflect the authentic historical context at that period, but as with Bangkok Twilight it will be a mix of fantasy and reality.”
Now we know that we have two more books to look forward to.
Congratulations Peter on your first public book release!
“If you have been living here for quite some years, it’s most possible that you will recognize some of the characters,” Peter concludes with a blink in his eye.