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Tale of a champion

On reading ‘Fighting for Success’ by Lynne Miller, I was reminded that all Thais must master one skill to live in their society. It is the ability to peer behind facades, to see what is actually behind a person’s mask, to understand the reality that actually exists and not what is apparent at first glance. In Thailand, little appears at face value. There are always social complexities and intricate relationships that are unseen and unknown. Thais understand this fact of life, new foreigners or expats here do not.

By The Phuket News

Sunday 5 December 2021, 12:30PM

A perfect example is when I was selling anti-corrosive pipe-wrapping tape back in the 1990s. Any buried steel pipe must be protected from corrosion. I brought the Sales Manager from this one UK pipe-wrapping tape company in to see a steel pipe importer in Bangkok one day. Their office was on the second floor in a non-descript, Chinese-owned (means no maintenance or upkeep) office building. The office space was very small, the desks almost touched (we had to slide in sideways); with an old fax, a rotary telephone, some battered filing cabinets and manual typewriters. 

We amicably chatted with the owner then departed. On the way down the stairs I explained this firm is the largest importer of steel piping in Southeast Asia. He looked at me like I was mad. I said they don’t put their profits into their office appearance, but into their bank account. They have all the tools needed to do business, nothing more. I have seen many companies come here wanting to do business over the decades; some of the largest, most successful firms in the West. Virtually all of them have failed and returned home for the same reason. They did not understand how Thais do their business which is almost the complete opposite in their home countries.

For any foreigner who wants to do business here it looks too easy at first glance. The sun and fun, the sand and tropical scenery, the friendliness and hospitality of the Thais are all an enticing allure (actually it is a steel trap) for the unwary, uninformed business investor. As the old saying in Hollywood goes: “For every face you see on the screen there are a thousand failures.” The same is true in Thailand for trying to do business.

Lynne Miller has admirably succeeded in establishing her Muay Thai business here in Phuket in spite of impossibly long odds through sheer grit, great determination, stamina and perseverance. As one sharp wit once said about Lynne, she has done the local business equivalent of climbing up Mount Everest upside down and backwards, without any equipment or oxygen to stand at the peak in ultimate triumph. All done through almost a superhuman, indomitable will.

Lynne’s book takes the reader through every single step of her trial-and-error, repeated failures and learning curve which remained vertical for years in the greatest of detail. It is a true primer on how to ‒ and how not to ‒ do business in Thailand. More so, she has ultimately, finally succeeded in the most male-dominated, tightly-controlled, extremely competitive world of Muay Thai. She stands alone as the rare example of a successful Western business woman in a take-no-prisoners, eat-or-be-eaten, sporting community.

The Thais have a saying: The Japanese want to sell US$1 million of goods in 100 years; the Americans want to sell US$100 million of goods in one year.” What this means is if you come to Thailand, you have to stay here a long time. You cannot give up after a few years, you have to be fanatically dedicated to succeed. Lynne figured this all out early on. She dug in her heels hard, refusing to be beaten or cowed. She overcame seemingly insurmountable odds to become a true Muay Thai success. She has earned the reader’s admiration of a remarkable journey well told. We owe her a debt repaid by readership. Lynne has written a great book.

HeadStart International School Phuket

Published by Sumalee Books, Fighting for Success is available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon at: and respectively. Those living in Thailand can obtain a copy direct from Sumalee, either by visiting their office or sending an email to:


By Leonard H. Le Blanc III




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