Elephant Rally proves popular with elephants and riders
Wasant Phothaprasert and Nuttanee Thaveephol
The first elephant rally was held recently in the Mae
Taeng Elephant Park, in Chiang Mai Province, and attracted many Thai and
foreign tourists to join the elephant jamboree. The rally was being used to
promote tourism and conservation in the area.
opening ceremony of the world’s first elephant rally, held on October 13
at Mae Taeng Elephant Park in Mae Taeng District of Chiang Mai, was
organized by Yupparaj Vittayalai School alumni.
Borvorn Rattanaprasit, the deputy governor of Chiang Mai,
presided over the opening ceremony. The revenue from the rally is being
given to the Yupparaj College’s alumni association for their centenary
celebration and to needy students.
Before arranging the elephant rally, the committee
consulted the director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Chalermsak
Suranun, assuring him that the elephant activities were in no way harmful or
cruel to the animals.
Suranan (seated left), director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand Office
Region 1, gets ready to head out into the wilderness
Somsak Nimmanun, president of Yupparaj College’s alumni
association said that the word “elephant rally” meant riding elephants
for traveling and exploring the countryside, not to force elephants to run
or do any strange activities. “We also sent a letter to explain the rally
to the secretary of the Friends of Asian Elephants’ Foundation, Soroda
Salvala and the director of the National Elephant Institute, Preecha
Puangkham. After they had been informed, they agreed to be consultants for
the activities,” Somsak said.
of elephants participated in the fun rally / fund raiser. Riders explored
the countryside looking for and finding rally codes.
The elephant is the symbol of Thailand, Chiang Mai and
the Yupparaj College’s Alumni Association.
Because of this year’s success, next year’s elephant rally will be
bigger than ever. The winners from this year’s rally received trophies
from Prime Minister Taksin Shinawatra.
Charity somtam auction gets 6000 baht for one dish
The “Somtam Hi-So” bidding contest was held at Kad
Suan Kaew Shopping Center in Chiang Mai last weekend with much interest
being shown on who would pay the highest price for the somtam cooking and
women in Chiang Mai dressed in traditional costumes take part in the “High
Society Somtam” cooking and bidding contest held at Kad Suan Kaew shopping
Central Kad Suan Kaew, Chiang Mai and the Lions Club
arranged the papaya salad festival with many prominent people joining in the
festival to make the Thai dishes; papaya salad (or somtam) and submitting
personalities in traditional costumes pound away with mortar and pestle
making their best somtam.
The most expensive dish, costing 6000 baht, belonged to
Waewdao Limlenglert, accounting and financial director of Sahapanich
Chiangmai Co., Ltd.
Montri Wongkasem, the managing director of Mengrai
Packaging Co, paid for the most popular dish but then went out to buy a 20
baht papaya salad at the nearby stall.
Waewdao Limlenglert (left), winner of the most expensive “somtam” dish,
presents it to Montri Wongkasem of the Rotary Club of Chiang Mai. The
winning somtam sold for 6,000 baht a plate.
Nantana Pajchimsawat, the chairman of the Youth Thai
Encyclopedia Sector, International Lions Club said that the income from the
bidding would be used to support the 5th youth encyclopedia quiz game which
is an annual Lions Club event. “The quiz game is held to promote His
Majesty’s encyclopedia project. The Lions Club has been playing an
important role to provide money for the youth activities, so we were invited
to join this program to help raise some charity funding”, Nantana said.
Winners of Panda Logo Design contest announced
Since we are waiting for a pair of rare pandas to come
from China, the Chiang Mai Zoo, under the Patronage of His Majesty the King,
ran a contest to design a suitable logo.
The competition attracted 396 entries with the winner,
Ruengwit Pootharaporn creating a logo of two pandas in “kanok” style
Runners-up Chaiyan Yamsri and Bamrung Israkul received
The winning logos will be used in promotions for Panda activities, and
will be registered with the patent office.
Chaiyan Yamsri’s logo
finished tied for second runner up.
logo was the second to finished tied for second runner up.
Pootharaporn’s logo done in the kanok style won first prize in the Panda
Logo Design contest.
Crispy glass noodles with
Thai herbs wins new menu item award
Metinee Chaikuna Photos by Nuttanee Thaveephol
Crispy Glass Noodles with Thai Herbs, from the Thai
Chocolate Cookery Centre, won the new Thai menu item at the recent Local
Wisdom Thai Food Fair at Airport Plaza. The food entered had to be a new
Thai dish, and had to include Thai herbs. This new dish consisted of crispy
fried glass noodles, fried chopped chicken, dried prawn, sliced fresh
chillies, sliced fresh ginger and miang kam sauce, a Thai traditional item.
cooking demonstration at the Thai Chocolate Cookery Centre taught foreign
students about Thai food.
The cook who created this new dish is Dhanapume
Asoke-trakul, the consultant at the Thai Chocolate Thai Cookery Centre. He
said that the idea of this dish was from his favourite food, miang kam, an
original northern snack. Dhanapume said that there were so many ingredients
in miang kam that it was too complicated for everyday use, so he created the
new dish in miang kam style but using glass noodle as the main ingredient.
He also wanted to show that glass noodles could be cooked not only by
boiling but also by frying. Thai people think of glass noodles as the main
ingredient of the noodle soup, yum woon sen, but this new dish shows that
glass noodles can be much more than that.
Glass Noodles with Thai Herb” won first prize in the Local Wisdom Thai
new dish, made of chicken and Thai herbs, doesn’t yet have a name.
Dhanapume said that he had never been taught cooking in
school, but could cook all kinds of food, Thai and international and even
cakes, desserts and snacks of all nations. The reason he liked cooking was
that he liked eating.
Impraphai smiles as she shows off her husband’s winning dish at the Thai
Chocolate Cookery Centre.
The Local Wisdom Thai Food Contest was organized by the
Ministry of Health, Tourism Authority of Thailand, Thai Oil Products Ltd.,
Thai Ha Ltd., and Sheer Ltd. The contest was for new creations in Thai food
and was being organized in every part of Thailand, starting in the North
of their honors, Dhanapume Asoke-Trakul, holding the shield on the left,
Pratueng ‘Tub-Tim” Imprapai and his darling, Malee are very happy with
their winning certificate.
Thai Chocolate Cookery Centre, foreigners can learn about Thai food through
Narumon Sangra, the Local Wisdom Thai Food Contest’s
P.R. said that the objective of this competition is to maintain Thai style
recipes, using Thai ingredients. The contest is classified in to 3 sections,
over-all, restaurant, and hotel. In the Chiang Mai competition there were
over 150 applicants, but ended up with 10 finalists reviewed by the judging
The winner for the over-all section was Suntorn Bunmee
from a menu adapted from lod shong, Thai sweetmeat made of short noodles and
coconut milk, and the winner of the hotel section was the Botanic Residence
Resort Hotel with mixed rice and herbs.
The winners received a trophy from the Health Minister, certificates and
10,000 baht awards, and can compete in the national contest to win the Her
Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Trophy and a million baht.
One last party
by Lesley Warner
I was recently invited to a Thai funeral in Kanchantaburi.
Unfortunately for me, my friend decided that he wanted to go the evening
before, but didn’t decide this until 8 p.m. He talked me into it, as
usual, by using family pressure and tradition and his need to be there. I
was to rue my gullibility as the night wore on, as the journey was
horrendous. Traveling in torrential rain, we didn’t arrive at our
destination until 12.30 a.m. I think that I can safely say that I have never
seen so much rain falling at any one time in my life, even in England. It
was impossible to see where we were going.
members gather in front of the coffin for a final picture
As usual in all Thai religious ceremonies , one is
expected to donate, but it wasn’t too much this time. We arrived to see
many happy people sitting around eating and drinking the inevitable whiskey
and beer. There were also people of all shapes, sizes and ages asleep in
rows on the floor. At one end of the temple room there was a white coffin
decorated with neon flashing lights and flowers, next to it stood a framed
photo of the deceased.
for a day
The family thanked me for coming and asked me to go and
pay my respects, fortunately, as I had to do it alone, I had some idea of
what to do. I took a large incense stick from the pile and someone lit it
for me, I then clasped it between my hands as I knelt in front of the coffin
and did my wai. I placed the incense stick into the dish of sand with the
others and did my three wai’s placing my forehead on the floor three times
as I had seen done in the temples. All this took place in front of an
audience and as I turned round all eyes were on me. Fortunately they were
all smiling so I assumed I had paid my respects correctly as etiquette
Feeling quite brave and pleased with myself I accepted a
glass of Thai whiskey and coke and sat on the floor with everyone. I noticed
that grandmama was missing. As she had taken this man in as a child I was
surprised, and I asked where she was. My friend said, “Grandmama not come.
She very mad. 1.5 million baht insurance money go to wife. Family don’t
like her. Grandmama said it should go to family in the village.” I
refrained from any comment.
The night turned into a long one as everyone just sat or
lay on the floor. By 3 a.m. I was feeling dizzy with tiredness but had no
pillow or cover and by this time it was quite chilly. Someone offered me the
use of their car so I climbed into the back and did my best to get some
sleep. I managed about 2 hours and then everyone was up and about and
thinking of food or whiskey.
I tentatively asked if I could take a photo, as I had
been pre-assured by my friend that this would be ok, but I wanted to check
because it seemed rather impolite at a funeral. Once the camera came out
they loved it, they even had a professional photographer there for the day,
like we do for a wedding.
As the morning wore on more and more people began to
arrive until there were about 150. I had managed to get a cup of coffee but
didn’t feel up to eating any part of the very large spread of food,
although they offered to prepare something for me. I knew that if I accepted
I would be obliged to eat it, and even though they were outside caterers I
didn’t want to cause any unnecessary extra work. So I made do with my
‘Jiffy Garage’ chicken pie. Being knowledgeable now at these events I
always have one in the car (I didn’t realize how long it would be before I
would get any food).
coffin is carried around the temple three times to assist his journey into
the next life
The deceased man was a sort of foster father to my friend
so he and 3 other family members were expected to sacrifice all their facial
and head hair; this also involved being a monk for the entire ceremony. At
10 a.m. they came to whisk him and the others away to the barbers and I
asked if I could go along to take photos. Being used to my unusual requests
to be with the males instead of the females they let me go. It didn’t take
long and they were all bald, this in itself I could handle, but when the
eyebrows came off it was pretty scary. They looked awful. I wondered how my
friend’s boss would take it. Needless to say I ended up providing the beer
for these ‘would be’ monks while we waited.
gold and silver paper symbolising transfer of money into the next life
When we got back to the temple my friend’s mother was
immediately on my case (it is forbidden for Buddhist monks to touch or be
touched by women). She cornered me away from him and the next time I saw him
he looked like a real monk in his robes. I was not allowed to talk to him
and his mother made sure of it for the rest of the day, watching me like a
hawk every time I moved. At one point she even came and asked me for
cigarettes and a lighter and then made a big show of putting them on the
table and backing off so he could pick them up. I am not totally without
sense and quite realized that I would be committing a cardinal sin to go
near him but this made my day very long. Many of these people hadn’t seen
me before so I heard my most hated word ‘Farang’ over and over again and
felt like an exhibit in a zoo.
Regardless of age or closeness to the deceased they all
seemed to enjoy themselves. My friend had told me previously that people are
not sad at a funeral. Death is a time of rejoicing in Southeast Asia because
it marks the entrance into the next plane of existence, not the end of
existence. Descendants of the deceased continue to pray for their soul for
years and the pictures of the deceased are always displayed prominently in
homes. So meeting death in a Buddhist culture is a whole lot less traumatic.
I often feel that the Thais take life very lightly but this must be why, and
probably answers a lot of questions about their general attitude; quite
enviable I think.
At 1 p.m. the monks came into the temple; the family and
all their friends gave food and candles to the monks. Goodwill is created by
these gifts and it is believed that the goodwill helps the lingering spirit
of the dead person. When all the monks had arrived, including mine, they
chanted while the dead person was being prepared for the funeral pyre. The
monks continued to chant in order to help the dead one’s good energies to
be released from their fading personality.
An aunt led me into the temple and I found myself on my
knees as the monks started chanting. My immediate thought was, “Oh no, not
on my knee’s, I need to escape.” I watched several people burning the
ornate paper tiers that had been passed around in the temple; this was to
help the spirit of the deceased on his way. I saw the professional
photographer taking photos so held up my camera and excused myself. I took a
few shots and then kept out of the way until the funeral procession later.
the crematorium after lighting the pyre
Of course no one spoke any English (I wish there was a
magic formula to learn Thai) so I just wandered around for about two and a
half hours, it seemed interminable.
It was then time for the procession. The monks, including
the 4 temporary ones, were joined by string and led the procession, followed
by the coffin and the family holding flowers. They walked slowly around the
temple 3 times. One monk led the way, throwing pieces of paper with symbols
as he went. I never could quite establish why but presumably this was more
help for the deceased.
After the third time around the temple they climbed the
steps to the ornate crematorium. At this point it was difficult for me to
see, but I didn’t feel I could march up there with my camera even though
the professional photographer was there. As I craned my neck through the
crowds to look, I saw two men opening the coffin, a man with a huge meat
cleaver climbed up to bend over the body. I was horrified at this point, I
heard the blow and then the cracking of a broken scull and I felt sick
rooted to the spot, when suddenly a broken coconut was flung to the ground!
I later found out that a coconut was broken over the face of the deceased so
that the milk would cleanse his face before meeting his maker. Well, don’t
laugh, anything is possible!
The people then began to climb the steps to pay their
respects. A steady stream of them continued for about 30 minutes and then
the majority left. The coffin was placed inside the crematorium to be
burned; I had already been warned that the burning here in Thailand is not
quite as we know it. The bones remain after the burning and the family will
then rake over the ashes to take a bone in respect to the deceased; this
they keep at home. When I suggested to my friend that I couldn’t really go
along with this idea, and didn’t want to see or touch any bones and
certainly didn’t want any in my home, he seemed amused. He then explained
that this was much better than the old days, and only a couple of years back
in his village, before they had a burning machine they only used a bonfire.
I said, horror struck, “Oh, goodness what happened if it rained like
today?” His answer was as always to an idiot. “We have to go back and
finish when the rain stops.”
We were very fortunate, although the family were
disappointed that they couldn’t continue with the burning until much later
in the day as there were too many complaints about the smell from the nearby
residents (the modern world touches everywhere).
I waited only long enough for my monk to change his
clothes and made a hasty exit for the journey home.
Bytes, Bits & Mega Tips
Install on Demand
Who is doing the demanding here? You or your computer? I
have no idea what “Install on Demand” means, so it must be my computer.
Damn right it is.
When checking my email recently a dialogue box popped up
and told me it is going to download a language plug-in. It gave me a cancel
option and that is exactly what I did - cancel the action. I did not want a
language plug-in to be installed. I cannot think of a reason why I should
want to have a Japanese or any other language plug-in when I don’t have a
clue how to read the language anyway. Furthermore, it could be a vulnerable
Over the last few months I had this dialogue box jump at
me just when I tried to delete this same email message, causing me to cancel
the download and then try to delete the message again. That just wasted
several seconds of my precious time!
Well, here’s how I won back that valuable time:
The most confusing part is that, although I use an email
program such as Eudora or Outlook, I had to change the setting in my
Internet browser application, which is in my case Internet Explorer 5.5. Oh
please, spare me the words “What! You are still using the old version 5.5.
I’ve got 6.” I have long given up on keeping pace with always having the
Ok, where were we? Internet Explorer. When your email
program tries to read the message, it detects a bit of code which tells it
the language. If a specific language pack is not installed on your computer,
it prompts you to download the files as needed.
To switch off this option follow these steps:
Open your Internet Explorer and click on “Internet
Options” under the “Tools” menu. Then click on “Advanced”. Under
“Browsing” you have several options, including “Install on Demand”.
Unclick the check box and click the OK button. Done. You won’t see that
dialogue box again.
Q&A: Get your spelling right
Question from Claude G:
When you talk about the software Microsoft Works, what is
the right way to write it? MSWorks or MS Works (with space between MS and
Works)? A French computer engineer told me that it should read MSWorks, but
I am not sure he is right. Could you give me your opinion about this? Thank
Did you spell check it in MS Word? Oh, how do you spell
that: MSWord or MS Word? MS stands for Microsoft, hence Microsoft Word or
Microsoft Works - 2 words. Abbreviating Microsoft to MS would make it MS
Word or MS Works.
This way it doesn’t show up in my spellchecker either, whereas MSWorks
has a red wiggled underline. If it would be one word, wouldn’t you think
Microsoft would’ve added it to their own spellchecker? Well, with
Microsoft - don’t answer that question.