Nai Lert Store
Nai Lert Store
Nai Lert's Ferry Boat
Nai Lert's Sea-going Vessel “Platoo”
Nai Lert's Boat “Samantao”
Nai Lert's Bus Company
Nai Lert's Ice Factory
javascript

Biography

The new generation may have heard some stories of “Nai Lert” as the entrepreneur of the White Bus, the public transport company of the private sector with the image and service that was excellent. Nonetheless, the White Bus is merely one of the several businesses that creative ideas of one of the important business explorers of Siam.

Nai Lert was born in the family of a Chinese junk tycoon that can trace his roots back to Thonburi era. His paternal grandparent was a civil servant in the King Nang Klao (The Third Reign) until he was granted the rank of “Phra Prasertwanit.” Nai Lert and his older brother jointly applied for the surname “Sresthatputra” from King Vajiravudh until it becomes a large, rich and acceptable family on the integrity without any blemishes.

Nai Lert store – the store like the Farang (Westerners) was born in 1893 in the middle of King Chulalongkorn reign (The Fifth Reign) was the first time that Siamese dared to challenge the rising influential Westerners at that time. Nai Lert opened his shop at the age of just 21 years old. He went through the occupations of an employee and a clerk in a Western shop, the tax house and the sugary soda water shop of the respected American missionaries.

Nai Lert has the background on good reading and writing English and was the seeker of knowledge and dynamism caused him not satisfied just a business tycoon. So he opened a business of renting horse carriages with a driver, and later expanded to the public transport sector is the White Bus and the White Ferry in Saen Saeb Canal.

At the Nai Lert store area later he opened a standard hotel named Hotel de la Paix to serve the Westerners traveling to the country. It was the first hotel owned by a Siamese. Although the hotel of Nai Lert was closed later on, but it was the learning experience leading to add the value to the land until it becomes the business of real estate development.

Throughout the reign of King Vajiravudh was considered as the age of building new things to the Siamese society. Nai Lert opened a bar of the Western style until his name was well-known. He opened an ice plant with the production capacity of several tons together with opening the new door to the fresh food business and cold beverages in the reign that used to belong to the rich only.

After the World War 1, the goods ship fleet of the Westerners was damaged from the magnet mines in huge numbers, so Nai Lert opened the ocean-going shipyard to build freight ships using teak wood by using the knowledge that is the integration between the East and the West to sell to the Westerners in tens of ships.

As for the bus and ferry business, he designed and assembled the bus bodies and ship hulls on his own. The bus style was developed by Nai Lert modeled after the horse carriage bus in the first generation, which still shows the traces in the form of the two-row bus of today.

Later up to the change of the administration in 1932, Nai Lert built a 7-story building that was the tallest building in the capital. It was a landmark or a new milestone of the Bangkokians in that age that anyone had to come to see it. The folks people and the villagers took their folks to see the views on top of the building and tasted the sweet and cold of the shaped ice. All the civil servants and the entrepreneurs used the Nai Lert’s bar as the recreational place and rendezvous. The 7-story building of Nai Lert still appears as evidence on Charoen Krung Road near Si Phaya intersection until today.

Not only that Nai Lert still participated in the establishment of Thai Airways Co., Ltd. by using his Nai Lert building as the location of its office in the initial phase. Later on the airways company in the first generation was grown up to become the Thai Airways and the transport company. However, the World War 2 caused its interruption and he did not play any role in it again.

The Western shop, the standard hotel, the rented horse carriages – the bus – the ferry – the construction of the ocean-going ship – the ice plant, the beverage bar – foods and beverages – the import-export business were all the businesses explored by Nai Lert. They were developed to meet the standards to be acceptable by the Westerners in Siamese society. Meanwhile, they made the Siamese were confident that the Thai people could perform the trade and service equitable to the Westerners.

Nai Lert was not interested in just the trade and business for profitability only, on the contrary, he did not neglect on the morals and paid attention to the suffering of his compatriots and natives as well. When he rode the boat through Minburi and Nong Chok towns he donated some money and land to build schools. Because he believed with commitment that education could bring the progress. The school that initiated by Nai Lert still exists and has the reputation that is acceptable in the community up to the present day.

During the time the farmers in Nong Chok were suffering mightily from the flood there was a large white boat came out to take the emaciated buffalos on the high ground to safety and moved the paddy to the dry ground before being damaged.

The spirit of the tycoon was great and recognizable by the people, supplemented by his easy- going decorum. He spent the simple life, was loved by people where he touched them. His virtue in several stances when supplemented together was suitable and that the Sixth Reign bestowed upon his title as Phraya Bhakdinorasresth.

After his death in the same year that the Greater East Asia War drew to a close on 15 December 1945, Khunying Sinn Bhakdinorasresth, his wife, took over the businesses and succeeded by Thanpuying Lursakdi Sampatisiri, his sole daughter. However, the inevitable change of all the many businesses explored by Nai Lert was gradually dissolved with the social ramifications that have taken place rapidly after the war.

Khunying Sinn established Lert-Sinn Foundation to support the medical studies with the donations to build Lerdsin Hospital until it is recognized by the capital residents up to the present day.

Although the things established by his labor of love were defunct even the White Bus was merged in 1974. Nonetheless, the researchers of the history of the businesses in Thailand, regardless of the searches of any kind of the business in the common people, will find the name of Phraya Bhakdinorasresth – Nai Lert Sresthaputra always got involved with it.

Nothing is irrelevancy as his reputation that is memorable, or any goods brand, but his virtue and sacrifice that is not distrust.

And the symbol of a red cross in the red circle that was born with the shop 120 years ago, still determines to bring the ethos that is the excellence of Buddhism to remind the people not to forget the – Four Brahmin Vihar.