Doi Suthep under the Nature Study microscope until April 30 next year
Nature Exhibition being held at CMU Nature Study Center
The Doi Suthep Nature Study Center at Chiang Mai
University has arranged a nature exhibition, running from now to the end of
next April with the National Science Museum Organization’s support.
Jarusombat, the Minister of Science and Technology, presided over the
exhibition’s opening ceremony.
young expert from CMU volunteers to explain crocodile footprints using an
The exhibition is in the series called “Natural ways:
from the sea to Doi Suthep”, aiming to publicize the natural sciences of
Doi Suthep Mountain and encourage people to preserve the environment and
The audience will see the history of Thai nature studies,
and names of the plants and animals discovered (such as Mahidol fish and
Rachinee crab). There is a display of Thai ecology and some kinds of forest
animals and other creatures.
artificial banyan tree was selected as an ecosystem case study.
of the Doi Suthep Nature Exhibition.
The information is interactive using computer media.
There will also be an exhibition of the creatures on Doi Suthep, and photos
taken from Doi Suthep.
the center, a beautifully arranged exhibition shows the history of Thai
nature studies, names of plants and animals discovered and given the Royal
Doi Suthep Nature Study Center at Chiang Mai University,
in honor of His Majesty the King, is located next to Chiang Mai Zoo on Huay
Kaew Rd. For further information contact: 0-5394-1402-3 or visit the
The center is open daily (except Monday) from 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Scottish family assist Chiang Mai HIV positive children
By Metinee Chaikuna
Photo by Nuttanee Thaveephol
A Scottish family, led by their mother, Tracy Cosgrove
came to provide clothes for HIV positive children at the Agape Home for
Children in Nong Hoi, Chiang Mai on December 22. The Agape House is a home
set up by Mom Avis Rideat for 33 HIV children who were from Phaya Thai
hospitals, Wieng Ping House, and from their own families.
The Cosgrove group also took the children to Chiang Mai
Speedway for a fun experience during the Christmas season. “Some of the
children were a little scared, but the rest were very excited,” said
Tracy Cosgrove is a working mum from Scotland, has spent
the recent 7 years of her life helping children in need around the world.
Traveling with her two children, Paul and Melissa, she also persuaded her
own parents to come as well. She not only provided the children with 1,200
items of clothing and toys, but also offered loving care to all the
children. “The delight in the children’s faces is wonderful. I myself am
a widow of 5 years, and I know how hard it is for my children to only have
one parent who loves them. It’s important for the children in Thailand. We
help them to enjoy their childhood. If we can help, we will,” Tracy said.
Tracy said that at the moment they have help of friends,
and are sponsored by British Telecom Call Center Glasgow, the Glasgow
Chinese School and Chinese ladies also helped pay for some of the clothes
and toys. Tracy also thanks Thai Airways for the excess luggage allowance.
For further information on the Cosgrove family, contact
her in [email protected] or [email protected]
Thai Treasures – Passion Buys
Your Guide to the Most Fabulous Finds Around
by Lori Ashton
Some may feel that with external influences and
technology, the meticulous making of Thai crafts has been lost or forgotten
in the rush to meet world market demands.
Vision and tradition continue to be brilliantly blended
in contemporary concepts at many Thai companies. The contemporary relies on
traditional skills, while established skills are enhanced by modern
Access to some of the globe’s top designers and
producers is at your doorstep. Lanna, Thailand’s northern region is
celebrated for its fine handicrafts. Encompassing several wonderful
provinces this mountainous region is literally heaping with endless, quality
product selection. For extra special gifts, home and office decor, the list
of places and variety of products is literally limitless. In and around the
nation’s second largest city and old capitol of Lanna, Chiang Mai offers
To assist you in finding the ultimate treasures
– a new magazine offers insight to some the best craft, antique, textile
and furniture shops. In addition, it also includes manufacturers, exporters
and special places such as exotic spas and special classes in the art of
creating Thai cuisine.
“As part of the promotion of the vast culture, craft
and art of Thailand, the Tourism of Thailand (TAT) applauds this exceptional
publication – Art & Culture – Lanna, the definitive
guide to studios, shops and special places.” The
director of TAT Chiang Mai, Chalermsak Suranant goes on to say that, “In
this comprehensive guide, they [the shops] are easy to locate so you may
browse and appreciate what each has to offer. Antiques, hill-tribe crafts,
clothing, modern ceramics, paintings, furniture, the list is endless. The
friendly people of the north are here to greet you.”
Abstract patterns in contemporary versions of traditional
silk radiate luxuriously. Impressively beyond the realm of existing
historical motifs and colours, ‘matmii’ silk, for example, that had
utilitarian uses in woman’s skirts (pha in) transcends its beauty into
fashionable scarves, cushions, functional containers and clothing.
Clay in twisted forms is evidence that a new wave of
young trendy-thinking artisans is seeing a future – worldwide for their
creations. Celadon glazes crackle atop colour combinations and forms
appealing to all.
Avid and authoritative antique collectors alike
appreciate the secret selection that awaits them. Asian antiquities from
Thailand, Laos, China, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam and beyond usually are
found in a more vast variety in northern Thailand. Rare and heritage art
objects grace collectors’ cabinets globally. Laquerware objects, hand-spun
and woven textiles, reposs้ silver, fanciful puppets and Buddha images
are only a few of the unusual and vintage collectibles.
Southern exposure while making some final selections for
special New Year’s gifts, is a very nice thought indeed! Many quality
shops and special places have sprouted up around Phuket Island in the last
few years. Offering antiques, contemporary and traditional handicrafts, home
decoration and gift items, you are sure to find something for everyone. If
you do not know where to begin – Art & Culture – Phuket, the
definitive guide to studios, shops and special places has been
assisting visitors and residents with their shopping needs for nearly three
As trusted recommendations, Derek Davies recently wrote
in Phuket Magazine’s website, “…find inspiration in Art &
Culture – Phuket, a compendium of studios, shops and special places
published and written by Lori Ashton and distributed through most of the
better outlets on the island. If you’re looking for antique textiles from
Laos, basketry from Indonesia or hand-made tiles from Thailand, this little
bible of the beautiful will point you in the right direction.”
The fun is in the hunt. All great venture finding the
perfect New Year purchases. What splendid alternatives – taking a northern
mountain break while making selections directly from the artisans or
relaxing beachside after browsing through a range of Asian traditional and
contemporary goods in the many featured outlets.
If you prefer Bangkok City shopping – look for the
upcoming edition of Art & Culture – Bangkok. In the same
styling and completing the series as the only national shopping guide, it
too will include many interesting articles from art, craft and culture
experts such as Lonely Planet Thailand author, Joe Cummings; Art
& Crafts of Thailand and Lanna Style writer, William
Warren; author of Andaman Style, Ping Amranand; and
cultural advisor, Professor Paothong Thonchua.
Look for it in mid 2003.
Pick up your complimentary copies of Art & Culture
– Lanna and Art & Culture – Phuket (and Beyond) at major
hotels and outlets in Bangkok, Phuket and Lanna, Thai Airways and TAT
offices internationally and many other outlets – or contact directly to
the Art & Culture offices in Phuket or Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai Office: Art & Culture, Serendipity Designs Co., Ltd.,
Micro Genesis Building, 14/1 Soi 17, 3rd
Floor Nimanhaemin Road, T. Suthep, Muang Chiang Mai 50200, Tel: 053 894 910,
Fax: 053 894 911, email: [email protected] Website:
Expat and Thai artists create collaborative theater
Show scheduled to open January 9
by Kristin Barendsen
Thirty-six young Chiang Mai artists, with a near-equal
balance of Westerners and Thais, are collaborating to write, produce, and
perform a musical based on Thai folklore and Western mythology.
“Watachakra - Ad Infinitum” weaves a mermaid, a young hunter, and an
evil monkey in a plot of love and betrayal. With original music performed
live, the show features singing, dancing, video effects, and elaborate
costumes. The piece is in English, with Thai subtitles projected on a
Co-director Laura Spector and actor Chadwick Gray, New
York artists turned expats, felt their creative energy was underutilized in
Chiang Mai. In October they held an open meeting for Western and Thai
artists, and found that many “had a lot of artistic energy and nowhere to
channel it,” Spector says.
People from 13 countries brainstormed together and
decided to put on a show, although they had no script, no budget and a tight
time schedule. Writers hammered out a script as musicians held jam sessions
at the Rasta Cafe. Local actors responded to an open casting call. The piece
is currently in rehearsals, and will be performed January 9-12 at CMU Art
Spector was surprised at how many people came to the
first meeting, but more surprised at how many stuck with it. “As a
foreigner, it’s easy to travel, but difficult to get involved in the
community.” She says expats want to get involved, “and collaborating
with Thai people is one way to do that.”
The group chose to work on a play “because we could
integrate every art form we had available: music, drama, visual arts, dance,
animation, sets, and costuming.” A seven-piece live band mixes ancient
Thai instruments with bamboo sax, djambe, piano, and bass guitar. The
musical style ranges from classical opera through rock and hip-hop. All
songs are old Thai lullabies, sung in Thai to original music.
“One fear I had was that I don’t speak much Thai,”
Spector says. “But some of our Thai people can translate; others speak a
little English, so we get by. Some of the farangs involved speak English as
a second language also, so it’s the same issue.”
Maew Vangchuay, co-director, wasn’t impressed at the
first meeting she went to. “There was only one other Thai person there
besides myself. But I thought I could help, because I speak English well and
I could bring more Thai people into the production.” Maew, who studied
drama at CMU, recommended herself as co-director. “I’m trying to make
the play suitable for a Thai audience,” she says, in ways such as toning
down the sexual innuendo.
Maew says that she and Laura make a good team: Laura is
direct, though diplomatic, while Maew “is more Thai - I try to smooth
things out.” Overall though, Spector says, “Disagreements have been very
tame compared to my expectations.” Maew suggests, “Maybe the farangs
here have absorbed some Thai culture.”
The play is based on Western and Thai mythology
“because folklore is a common denominator of every culture,” Spector
says. “It’s where morals stem from, and our earliest childhood memories.
Thai fairytales have similar morals to Western folklore, but the stories are
Canadian co-writer Ryan Harper says the play “is a
caution about cultures misunderstanding each other.” The central drama is
a war between humans and gods, loosely analogous to the conflict between
Western materialism vs. Eastern spirituality. “The story is a cycle,”
Harper explains. “The narrator is the ghost of the main character, the
hunter. Mankind springs forth from a gourd, and then returns to the gourd in
the end.” In the play’s title, “Watachakra” is Sanskrit for
“cycle,” and “Ad infinitum” is its Latin counterpart.
Funding has been a challenge. Armed with a letter of
support from the American Consulate, committee members approached both Thai
and farang local businesses asking for sponsorship. Most Thai businesses
balked at the request, saying it was “too expensive.” “They’re
probably not used to solicitations like this,” Maew says. “Chiang Mai
needs examples of art patrons in our community.” As of press time, all of
the play’s sponsorship is from farang businesses, such as Dasy Nails and
La Gondola Restaurant, which generously funded the costumes.
Spector adds, “In Bangkok it’s much easier to find
sponsors because big companies are headquartered there. But in general Thais
will sponsor established, not new talent. It’s the same problem in New
“We never could have done this in New York,” she
says. “Renting theater space is incredibly expensive, and people don’t
have enough time.” Harper adds, “Most farangs here teach English only 20
hours per week. That’s one reason why they are able to stick with this
However, the directors decided on a very tight production
schedule because in such a transient community, Spector was afraid that
people would move away or lose interest if the timeframe were longer.
Most collaborators are in their 20s and 30s. Actors range
in age from 6 to 54. Many of those involved have multiple roles, such as
Bpou Pawarakun, who solicits sponsors, makes costumes, and performs as a
witch doctor in the play. The most difficult thing for him about his first
acting role? Saying the “th-” sound properly in the word “those,” he
Like Bpou, many of those involved have no prior
experience with the role they’ve taken on. Spector says, “We never asked
about experience. We asked only about desire.” Harper adds, “everyone is
involved in doing something they like, that they want to do. Maybe they
couldn’t do this in their home country, because they’re not
Other artists are very experienced, such as Chadwick
Gray, but here have a chance to experiment with new media. “I’ve never
done animation before, and it’s fascinating,” Gray says. Gray is helping
to create video and animation sequences, and plays the villain, the
“demented monkey” Jaowanon.
Will Johnston plays the hero, a naive hunter who falls in
love with a mermaid and is tricked by Gray’s monkey. Blond and blue-eyed
with American good looks, Johnston has been acting since he was nine. When
asked about the play’s multimedia approach, Johnston says, “It amazes me
that they want to do so much. But it will come together - theater
productions always do. We’ve got a good group of people who believe in
Chanida “Chompoo” Yasiri plays the mermaid who
can’t be with her hunter lover because she is a god and he is a human.
Chompoo, who studied acting at CMU, says her character is “loving, heroic,
real.” Throughout the play she is fixed on a lotus flower, a choreographic
challenge that means her acting has to be that much more dynamic.
Offstage coordinator Elaine Morgan from Ireland sums it
all up: “With hardly a strong word said, we molded our ideas together and
worked to create something concrete. I never would have realized there were
so many talented and open-minded people in Chiang Mai.”
Spector says she would consider doing another theater
piece in the future, but first she wants to take the show on the road to
Bangkok. “Hopefully, this is the experiment to inspire future projects.”
She laughs. “For other people to create future projects.” Gray
agrees, with a caveat. “But I really want to do this again.”
Admission is 60 baht general admission, 40 baht for students with valid