Asirawan Siam Healing House and the SA-Thai Slave Heritage Reflection Centre was established in August 2015, comprising of a Heritage Reflection Centre focused on the shared history between Thailand and Cape Town which goes back 400 years rooted in Cape Slavery; a self-catering guesthouse and; an authentic Thai healing spa. We are a SA-Thai family business which operates alongside a Non-Profit Trust (Step-Up 4 Life) for our voluntary offering - SA-Thai Slave Heritage Reflection Centre.
Eight years ago Samantha Castle and Patric Tariq Mellet also established a non-profit organisation called Step-up 4 Life to promote social contriburion and social cohesion among youth, rooted in our African and Southeast Asian traditions of sharing and working together for the common social advancement of our societies. After eight years of promoting volunteering and social giving within communities among youth at schools, universities and workplaces, and networking South African youth with young people in other countries, the SA-Thai Slave Heritage Reflection Centre is now the non-profit core project of Step-up 4 Life. It is focused on heritage research and reflection to enhance the promotion of the culture of self-help, social contribution and also the furthering of social advancement, by assisting youth in exploring their heritage roots and networking with youth and institutions across the old Indian Ocean slave routes. We are born of a people and tradition of rising up above adversity and are challenged in every new generation to tackle the contemporary adverse circumstances that dominate the lives of the poor.
To be able to sustain ourselves and provide a home for the project, Leena and Patric, now a pensioner, developed a modest Self-Catering Guesthouse and a Thai Healing Spa to generate income for themselves and as a place where individuals and groups are able to visit and spend time in reflection while also learning about Cape Slavery and Indigene history and heritage and about the old links with Thailand and Souteast Asia.
Leena Asirawan (Deeying) Mellet is, in her early 50s and is from a small farming area, Sinakon in the Sukhothai province of Thailand where she has a farm next to her brother and sisters farms. Her 97 and 98 year olf parents also live on the farm. Between them them they farm sugar, rice, cattle and poultry. Leena, while farming also went into business with her 29 year old son, Cheytta, in Bangkok. The business operates in the building industry producing gates, ballatrades, canopies, stairwells, fire-escapes and footbridges. The family are industrious hardworking people who after the second world war faced a devasted landscape, but as a result of some amazing social development programmes of the late Thai King Bumibol Rama IX, the family and others like them have developed a sustainable legacy for the next generations. Leeana also has a daughter, Watsana, who is presently studying at university in Uttraradit.
Around 9 years ago Leena went to the Wat Pho Temple Traditional Medical School in Bangkok to train in the healing arts and Thai Massage - Nuad Baron. On graduation she travelled to various contries and came to South Africa on a five year work visa. She is highly experienced and proficient in the healing arts and has a loyal following of clients, many suffering from serious ailments as those who simply need release of stress, relaxation and rejuvination. The Wat Pho Traditional Medical School is recognised by the Thai Health Department and their certification is underwritten by the Thai Health Department.
Patric Tariq Mellet, now in his early 60s and retired, grew up in very poor circumstances in a number of foster homes and institutions while his single mother earned a pittance as a garment and laundry worker in District Six. He was forced to go out to work at the age of 16, earning R10 per 6 day week. His family were a mix of 'Coloured' (Camissa), Indian and poor white people which came under unbearable pressure when the Apartheid regime came to power. As a result of these circumstances Patric joined the resistance movement and dedicated his life to fighting for freedom. At different times this involved arrest, interogations, harassments and finally exile for 14 years. At the end of the Liberation struggle Patric also widely known as Tariq (or by his nickname Zinto) first went to work in the early childhood development arena. When the first non-racial democratic Parliament was established he became the Head of Public Relations and Protocol at Parliament under the office of the Speaker of Parliament , Dr Frene Ginwala, and also co-ordinating protocol events between the Speaker's office and that of President Mandela.
After a number of other working arena's, including the co-founding of Inyathelo - The South African Institute for Advancement, he went into the law-enforcement arena of border control and immigration as Director and Commanding Officer of Maritime and Aviation Ports in the Western Cape (and later OR Tambo Intl Airport) and from there went on to serve as Special Advisor to Minister Naledi Pandor. The latter five years of his working life saw him particularly working in the arena of combatting human trafficking. Patric's family tree has 26 people who were slaves from Africa, India and Southeast Asia, as well as 5 Khoena indigenes and 19 Europeans.
From the age of 8 years old he has spent much time learning as much as he could about his heritage and now in retiring years has focussed on research, writing and bringing an understanding to young people of how their ancestral heritage can inspire them to make meaningful contributions in life. Though leaving school at a young age, and spending much of his life first as a mechanical engineering fitter and later as a lithographic printer, through night classes and part time studies, he achieved a masters degree in his mid-40s. Patric Tariq Mellet was awarded provincial honours for his work around Cape Heritage and many visit Asirawan Siam Healing House to consult with him. Patric Tariq Mellet has three sons, two of whom work in the healing arts arena (the eldest is a chef), and six grandchildren.
Nan Ratchadapron Deeying is Leena's niece; her brother Somat's daughter. She is 29 and has completed her BA degree in communications and arts and was working in Thailand for a large automobile company as a manager, but recently gave it up to join us and to particularly work towards assisting the heritage programme to become known in Thailand.
We do hope that you will come and visit us to experience our offerings.
Asirawan 'Leena' Mellet
Patric Tariq Mellet
Ratchadapron 'Nan' Deeying