THE STORYTELLERS

DERECK THAMRAK

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Dereck Thamrak

Dereck Thamrak outside his Pron Promh restaurant

 

DERECK THAMRAK: Well, my father has the Thai restaurant business in North Strathfield since 1987. He took over from the previous owner which opened about a couple of years earlier. I actually was born here, but I grew up in Thailand until I was 9 years old and came into the restaurant and lived at the restaurant in North Strathfield in 1999 and, ever since, I've never moved away. I grew up there and worked my way within the restaurant, and all our family lived at the restaurant, so we grew up within the area.

OLEV MUSKA: So you feel that you are totally a North Strathfield person?

DERECK: Wholeheartedly!

With the world changing so fast these days, I think that sense of soul sort of lacks in certain areas, whereas, with North Strathfield, our current shape would be … we need an extra push in order to retain a sense of self and at the same time adapt new contemporary ideas.

OLEV: I understand you’re refurbishing your …

DERECK: That's correct, that's why we're doing the refurbishing. Our goal is to retain the good values that we have but, at the same time, we're adding a new identity - a new, more modern contemporary value to our traditional and our cultural value that we have. We're not changing that per se - that's really important. We're keeping our own identity but, at the same time, we're adapting to the ever-changing world as well.

I went to school at Concord West at North Strathfield, that's my primary school.

OLEV: Was it good going to Concord West?

DERECK: Yes, it was a very close-knit community. Every one knew every one, literally.

OLEV: You didn't have any difficulty, being from overseas?

DERECK: No, I assimilated really well because - I think the most important reason – because every one was just so really, really helpful and really sincere. I had some doubts when I came here that that might be a problem, in terms of communication and getting along with other friends, but as it turned out, it was the complete opposite, where people are very welcome. And I think that translates well to what I do now, because I long for that sense of connection, and everything that I do reflects that.

OLEV: You certainly tend to try and instill that into what you represent. And do you have a perspective on growing this business beyond just making ends meet - after all, every business wants to make a profit? Do you want to go further than just this one restaurant?

DERECK: Oh yeah, eventually I would want to go further but I think profit is not what drives us. Its the result of the goodwill that we provide. If you place profit as the major driving force, the other values disappear and I think, in order to succeed in the long run, we don't put profit as the main goal. Obviously, you need profit to be sustainable, but our goal is not to maximise profit as quickly … we want to grow sustainably …

OLEV: … and have integrity about it …

DERECK: Yes, yes. Funnily enough, its not why we do business currently. I think why we do it is this idea of wanting to serve people. For me, that's what I drive the business as and I think that's the total perspective as a whole as well.

 

BACKGROUND

In response to community consultation, a number of local residents were interviewed and recorded. The sessions took place in December 2012 and February 2013 at Concord Library.

A short excerpt from each resident appears on this website. Together, they form a cross-section of insights into the wonderful community that is of and around the North Strathfield area.

The full interviews will be archived and available for borrowing at the City of Canada Bay Council Library Services.


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