Bangkok is a city brimming with talented personalities and charming characters who have pushed their way through to really make their mark. There’s no doubt that they’re truly living their best life, and doing it in great style. In our Good Life Gurus series, we explore and ask the city’s millennial tastemakers and cultural arbiters to reveal what the good life means to them, and give us a little insight into how they live it up.
There are people you meet who move you with their craft, or motivate you with their passion. After our interview, Sakson ‘Saks’ Rouypirom invokes not only both these sentiments, but adds on one very grounding aspect: he inspires you to be better.
Sakson Rouypirom is the founder and director of the SATI foundation, plant-based restaurant chain Broccoli Revolution, Na Projects Group, and Covid Relief Bangkok. Born and raised in the United States, he holds a degree in psychology from NYU, though after graduating, took his talents a little closer to home. Back in Thailand, Sakson Rouypirom has shed a spotlight onto issues often hidden from the light here, be it sex trafficking, physical- and emotional abuse, or drug abuse. Through and with SATI, he fostered a system of education in underserved communities and for youth in need, uniting many of his projects under the cause for which the Thai word “sati” stands: mindfulness.
Here, we speak and listen with great admiration to the man behind the social movement. Covering both his work and his private life, we came to find that the two don’t present much of a separation for Sakson, but rather a harmonious and inspiring relationship that follows a simple, honest, and giving philosophy. Read on for interesting insight on sustainability and social enterprise, as well as the power of daily meditation, cold-pressed green juice, and not letting societal norms define you, no matter who you are.
Please give us a little background about yourself and what you do.
I’m a social entrepreneur, Director of SATI Nonprofit, Broccoli Revolution, and Na Projects group, and most recently I also helped start and run Covid Relief Bangkok.
What is the story behind SATI Foundation? How did it all begin?
SATI was a dream of mine from a young age. I was always taught by my parents to do my best to support those in need and make a positive impact on society. After accumulating experience from volunteering and working at several non-profits from a young age, I decided to start my own. I believe that a non-profit should have a strong emphasis on sustainability and long term outcomes of our actions, focusing on how and what we give has an impact on ourselves and others. I started SATI almost 10 years ago as a grass roots non-profit based in Thailand.
Who are the people you work with? What are they like?
At SATI I work with at-risk and underserved children and youths. At-risk youths are mostly in Bangkok who have a history of physical and emotional abuse, drug abuse, and sex trafficking. Underserved youths are mostly outside of Bangkok such as hill tribes in Mae Hong Son. Children and youths from low income and unrepresented families.
Outside of Bangkok we focus more on preventive care and education, such as sanitation and creativity. Within Bangkok we focus on occupational training and therapy. These two groups are one and the same but at different points of the same spectrum. With all this I have 2 main goals in mind. The first is to allow kids to understand that they have choices in life, as many are born into surroundings that make them believe that crime or occupations that harm them are their only choices. The second is to empower or develop self esteem. Year and year of physical and emotional abuse have a toll on youths’ mental state causing them not to be able to look beyond their present state. I hope that we can give them some glimpse of their potential and allow them to reach a level where their decisions are their choice and not the result of their environment.
What role do you think healthcare and education play in being able to live a ‘good life’?
In my opinion, healthcare and education are the 2 most vital factors to a good life. Personal healthcare before outside care. Feeling good physically and mentally are the keys to a good life. Education goes hand in hand with physical and mental wellness. The more educated you are in understanding the importance of your health and the steps you need to maintain it, the happier you will be in life.
What does the good life mean to you? How do you live the good life?
The good life for me means to live in the present as much as I can and understand that all the bad in my life is just as important as all the good, and to give it equal value. In recent years I’ve also started to understand more of finding joy in the process, and working on that rather then setting goals which often lead to unnecessary attachment and discontentment.
What are your 5 good life essentials?
- Understanding the process of giving and receiving
- Living in the present moment as much as possible
- Not allowing societal norms to define you
- Exercise and meditation
- Reading and experiencing a variety of people and topics. This is a good direction towards understanding and empathy which is the most essential part of a good life for me
What is your self-care ritual?
-Daily reading or audio book
– Eating a balanced diet of predominately plant-based minimally processed foods
What do you do to be more sustainable or eco-friendly (in work and privately)?
I limit use of single -se plastic. I also try to be conscious of my food consumption. Plant-based food has much less impact on the environment. When eating animal proteins I also try to choose locally grass fed or free range gai baan. Eating within an ecosystem is actually one of the best way to help the environment. Mass consumerism and marketing has allowed us to think that food needs to be flown over from other countries, when in actuality Thailand has everything we need from rice to ethically-caught seafood. Conscious consumption is the key to sustainability.
What do you do to keep fit?
Firstly, I keep fit by watching what I eat. It also helps to have my own plant-based eatery. I’m also very active; you rarely find me in one place for too long. I try to work out 6 days a week, mixing in Muay Thai, strength training, and running. Last but not least, I meditate, because a healthy mind and body go together.
Where do you go for… the best breakfast in Bangkok?
Home or Broccoli Revolution. For breakfast I only have a green smoothie with plant-based protein, an Americano or espresso with local light roasted coffee beans, and a cold pressed green juice from Broccoli Revolution.
Where do you go for… the best date night in Bangkok?
Where do you go for… the best drinks in Bangkok?
Kangkao natural wine bar. I’m a big fan of natural wine. No hangovers due to less impurities (at least, that’s what I tell myself).
Where do you go for… the best place to shop in Bangkok?
I don’t do much shopping but when I do I would say vintage clothes at Chatuchak.
Where do you go for… the best escape from Bangkok?
Up in the hills of Chiang Rai, especially once it gets cool.