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Remembering Colin Hastings, a pillar of Thailand’s expat community

Colin Hastings

Colin Hastings, renowned publisher and vibrant figure in Bangkok’s social scene, tragically passed away in a car accident.

In memory of Colin Hastings, Publisher, Sportsman and Bangkok Social-scene legend, who sadly passed away in a fatal car accident earlier this week, we’re not posting a new episode of Trends this week. Instead, we are sharing the previous episode when we talked with Colin.

I first met Colin Hastings in 1989 when he was Editor of Thailand Tatler. I walked into his office at Post Publishing and was instantly in awe of this larger-than-life character wielding the power of the pen back then. His cheeky smile and willingness to help others on their way up in their career were heartwarming and inspiring.

I considered Colin to be a friend, although not in his close circle, as our connection was mostly business-driven. Our paths crossed many times, back in the 1990s, when Colin launched Thailand Update, a publication produced in partnership with the Tourism Authority of Thailand UK office. A decade later, when we worked on several marketing campaigns. And into my fourth decade of knowing Colin, we launched the pilot The BigChilli TV series pre-COVID lockdown. Our paths continued to cross, as Colin was supporting marketing communications for several hotels in Thailand. I was honoured to have interviewed him for the first series of Trends, in partnership with Travel Daily News, at the end of 2023, which might possibly be the last conversation with Colin on camera.

Shockingly and sadly, Colin, a youthful and fit 74-year-old, was taken from us on 29th April 2024 due to a fatal car accident in Bangsaray, Thailand. His early departure has emotionally impacted so many people in Thailand and beyond, across publishing, hospitality, sports and social spheres.

Colin started his journalistic career by reporting for local newspapers in his hometown of Kingston, Surrey in the UK. He then moved to national dailies in Fleet Street including the Daily Express and the Daily Mail before moving to Thailand and joining the Bangkok Post in 1975. After a short break back in England, where he worked for the pre-Murdoch Sunday Times, Colin returned to Bangkok and was a Thailand-based partner in a Singapore publishing company in the 1980s. He then re-joined the Bangkok Post in 1991 to launch and edit Thailand Tatler until 1998. Since then, he has published his own magazine, The BigChilli, the country’s leading English language expat publication.

Colin’s tenure as Editor of Thailand Tatler in the late 1980s and subsequent establishment of The BigChilli magazine exemplified his dedication to capturing the essence of expatriate life in the Land of Smiles. Through his pen, he painted vivid portraits of the diverse expat populace, from high-flying diplomats to eccentric characters who made Thailand their home. His publications not only chronicled the lives of expats but also served as a bridge between cultures, fostering understanding and camaraderie among the international community.

Beyond the realm of publishing, Colin was a staunch advocate for sports and social integration. His passion for rugby, both on and off the field, contributed significantly to the growth of the sport in Thailand. Whether playing, cheering from the side lines or reporting on the latest matches, Colin’s infectious enthusiasm endeared him to athletes and spectators alike. His presence at social gatherings, charity events and cultural festivities was a testament to his enduring commitment to forging connections and celebrating friendship and diversity. He would most often be seen with a couple of copies of the latest edition of The BigChilli magazine tucked under his arm.

He was an active member of the Foreign Correspondent Club of Thailand (FCCT), and British Chamber of Commerce Thailand (BCCT), and Colin contributed to countless other committees and was a regular at The British Club and Royal Bangkok Sports Club.

Colin’s legacy extends far beyond the pages of magazines or the boundaries of sports fields. His philanthropic endeavours, coupled with his role as a cultural ambassador, earned him the respect and admiration of colleagues and friends from all walks of life. His boundless energy, coupled with his trademark cheeky smile, lit up rooms and brought joy to those around him.

As we mourn the loss of a dear friend, business associate and publishing trailblazer, let us also celebrate the remarkable life of Colin Hastings as we raise a pint in his favourite pub in Bangkok. Let his legacy serve as a beacon of inspiration for future generations of expatriates, reminding us to embrace life’s adventures with passion, purpose and an unwavering sense of humour.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and close friends.

Managing Director - DBC Asia | + Articles

David Barrett is a MICE Consultant, Marketing Strategist and digital video advocate. Founder of DBC Group, Member of Institute of Place Management (MIMP) his motto is “Everybody has a story to tell. Let me tell yours.”

David is a long-term resident of Bangkok having lived and worked in the Thai capital for more than 32 years. He is recognised in the Thai tourism and hospitality industry for his passion for promoting Thailand, his love of Thai food, and his creative approach to marketing.

64 years young, David is a Brit in Bangkok. Born in St Helier, UK, he returned to the UK and set up home in Cornwall during the COVID pandemic. With business back as usual, David has returned to Thailand. He’s a man on a mission to interview leaders and trend-setters in business, sustainability, the arts and entertainment. You can watch his weekly conversations on Trends YouTube channel.