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Friday, August 12, 2016
Industry Icons Announced as PADI AmbassaDivers
PADI is honoured to announce two industry icons as PADI AmbassaDivers.
Clement Lee is a diving icon from Malaysia and Rachan Malaiwongs is a diving icon from Thailand. Both Rachan and Clement have been long established positive voices from their respective communities, strong advocates of PADI as well as championing many environmental initiatives in the region.
Clement Lee became a PADI Instructor in 1985 and in 1991 was one of the first of two Malaysians to become a PADI Course Director. Having extensive diving experience in Sabah’s waters, Clement was one of the pioneers to introduce professionalism in recreational diving, as well as dive resort management in Sipadan. As a Tourism Board Dive Committee member for Sabah, he has also worked tirelessly to promote the dive tourism industry there. Actively promoting conservation and environmental initiatives including Project AWARE, Clement has been the recipient of numerous PADI awards over the years as well as receiving the DEMA Reaching Out Award in 2008 in the USA and was inducted into the International Scuba Diver Hall of Fame in 2011 in the Cayman Islands.
In 2015, Clement was appointed to the prestigious role of Tourism Advisor of Malaysia to represent and help promote the diving.
Tourism Malaysia described Clement Lee as, “the embodiment of the entrepreneurial dive industry pioneer, a staunch conservationist with unrelenting views on the importance of protecting and conserving the region’s unique marine attractions. Clement has had a profound influence on the growth and development of recreational diving and dive tourism in this part of the world.”
Rachan Malaiwongs became a PADI Instructor in 1994 and in 1999 became the first Thai PADI Course Director. After graduating from college in Chiang Mai, Malaiwongs moved to Koh Samui where he had the honor of meeting the late Ceasare Benelli, credited with exploring and naming many dive sites in Koh Tao. Benelli became his mentor and teacher, and through their relationship, Malaiwongs earned his PADI Divemaster certification before moving on to take his PADI Instructor Development Course and work at various dive operations on Koh Samui and Koh Tao and helped shape the diving industry in Thailand.
Rachan is credited with training many of the Thai PADI Instructors and acting as a mentor to these new PADI Professionals. Malaiwongs continues to cultivate a strong community among the PADI Instructors he has trained including in the growing diving hub of Bangkok. He has been an unofficial PADI ambassador for many years including assisting with initiatives to help grow diving.
Rachan said “I’m proud of what I’ve achieved today, training hundreds and hundreds of Thai diving instructors who have helped make Thailand one of the biggest diving hubs in the world.”
Rachan has received numerous PADI awards over the years including for his outstanding contribution to the diving industry.
The aim of the PADI AmbassaDiver program is to help inspire others to start diving, keep diving or teach diving. This program aims to help grow the pool of divers, ocean advocates and explorers in the region and across the globe. Rachan and Clement truly epitomize the meaning of being a PADI AmbassaDiver.
PADI is honoured to welcome Clement Lee & Rachan Malaiwongs as PADI AmbassaDivers.