HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Nancy and Nima Chandler

Swedish Scouts celebrate Christmas in Chiang Mai

Prison cake presents for the New Year

Sachiko Kobayashi - A tribute to a fashion designer or a tribute to an artist?

Simon says: ‘It’s ShowTime’

Six babies welcome in the New Year at the zoo

Nancy and Nima Chandler

Story and picture
by Marion

During Christmas time I had the pleasure of meeting with 2 very exciting ladies here in Chiang Mai, very well known here, but also all over Thailand. Mrs. Nancy Chandler, better known as the Map Lady, and her beautiful energetic daughter Nima, who she claims is her boss now, and does not allow her to sit still and retire in peace. “She keeps chasing me around and reminds me of deadlines, while other people my age walk around the golf course and taking it easy,” Nancy complains with a twinkle in her eyes. Now, what makes an American lady draw maps in a city like Bangkok?

Nancy Chandler, better known as the Map Lady, and her beautiful energetic daughter Nima.

Nancy came to Bangkok in 1969 with her husband Al (she is divorced in friendship nowadays), tiny Nima and pregnant with her 2nd daughter Siri. She got involved with the American Women’s Club in Bangkok and since she spent her early years in the design business in the US and being sick and tired of walking around Bangkok, looking for a decent place to sit down to eat or drink while shopping, she offered to a map for newcomers to rely on.

By that time the American Women’s Club already had a nice little magazine called ‘Sawaddi’, and they printed Nancy’s ‘Market Map’. They received so many telephone calls from people who wanted to get that map, they had to reprint it. It even became a centerfold, although there were not too many details included in that first map.

Before reprinting, Nancy decided to put recommendations on the map, like a good noodle shop, or a place to shop where nobody cheats you. And people still called in to tell her how happy they were with the Market Map. So she went out and looked for a different printer who then taught her to separate the line-work, and who is still working with her today.

She started to walk the streets, now with 2 small children, but happy to find new places all the time. That’s how the first Market Map of Bangkok was produced. 4 years it stayed in the market without being revised. Nancy did all the distribution herself locally, walking from shop to shop and selling her map. Nowadays, revising is done every year.

In 1980 someone asked her to do a map of Chiang Mai, and with her two oldest daughters she came up north. At that time the only thing available in the market was Roy Hudson’s Guidebook, the first and only guidebook of CM and the North. So, with 2 kids she walked around and found out that it was a guidebook, which could not be called a map. She got together with Roy Hudson and asked him for his expertise and knowledge of Chiang Mai, which Roy was happy to share. That’s how the first Nancy Chandler Map of Chiang Mai got started.

Looking at it today, it has got everything in it, many of the amazing little art shops, which she will be happy to explore now with all three daughters. They also came up with an index. There’s a lot of different information in the index, things you might want to find when you come here as a tourist or even when you live here, from accommodation, to transportation, to personal shopping. Another unique thing about the map is that it is done without lines by using the folds as grip line.

One thing led to another. In the early 70’s, at the suggestion of a friend, Nancy began designing greeting cards for expatriates. In 1974 she established Nancy Chandler Graphic Ltd. with her first map of Bangkok being published the same year, and her map of Chiang Mai in 1981.

But not only maps. Nancy always worked on a variety of projects. She produced T-shirts, brochures and humorous certificates for graduates of the junior sailing program. For friends she created area maps, moving and birth announcements, advertising logos and package designs.

“The joy of working in Thailand was the huge variety of jobs I was able to do. In America I would have to be specialized. Here in Thailand I could experiment.”

Nowadays she only comes to Thailand on holidays. She set up a second home in Marin County, California, where her 3rd daughter Kim had a better choice of education. Kim, a high functioning Down Syndrome young lady, is an artist herself and attends community college in California.

Her second daughter chose to make Bangkok her home and works as a kindergarten teacher at the International School in Bangkok. Nancy’s oldest daughter, Nima teamed up with Mum in 1997 and manages the business year round from Bangkok.

Asked about her future plans, Nima, who is a former journalist, had a very simple answer - she wants to keep it running and she likes to keep the personal touch. When she took over she started with 3 staff, now she has 14, and a little shop in the night bazaar. In 2003, a new Bangkok map will come out, and in spring 2003 a new map of Chiang Mai. That’s why the whole family met here now: to do research.

Despite the fact that she wants to keep it special, the business is growing. But the maps will stay handmade, hand painted, a map designed without computer. That’s what the sympathetic young woman is eager to do.

Nima also wants to come up with new designs for greeting cards. She trimmed the 50 available designs in 44 sizes down to 50 designs in 3 sizes. Mum helps her with the artwork and Thailand will remain the family’s home and a continuing source of inspiration to them both.

Swedish Scouts celebrate Christmas in Chiang Mai

Supatatt Dangkrueng

406 Swedish scouts who visited Chiang Mai to celebrate Christmas, before joining the 20th World Scout Jamboree Thailand in Chonburi Province, joined with our community and sang Christmas carols to rejoice in the spirit of Christmas.

Chiang Mai Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn gives a welcome speech to the 406 Swedish scouts and blessed them for Christmas and New Year.

The scouts gathered at the Tha Pae Gate where Chiang Mai Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn was the master of ceremonies and gave a speech to welcome and give Christmas blessings to all the Swedish scouts, Swedish people and all assembled there for the Xmas celebrations.

Swedish scouts sing Christmas carols at Tha Pae Gate on Christmas Eve.

The Swedish scouts ready to celebrate Christmas and the New Year at Tha Pae Gate.

HE Vorakit Kanthakalung, the Swedish Consul in Chiang Mai, responded and the head of the Swedish contingent, Mikael Goldberg, thanked Chiang Mai for the warm welcome and extended his blessing to the people of Chiang Mai. The assembly sang traditional Christmas carols, accompanied by the marching band from the Prince Royals College.

During their visit to Chiang Mai the Swedish scouts participated in social activities with the youth in the rural villages, in the districts of Chiang Dao, Doi Saket, Sa Moeng, Doi Tao, Mae On, Hod in Chiang Mai, the district of Pa Sang in Lamphun and the district of Wiang Pa Pao in Chiang Rai.

All activities were aimed at letting the scouts experience the rural environment and lifestyle, but also included some activities such as the repainting of playground equipment for some schools in the area. All this allowed cultural exchange between Thai youths and the Swedish scouts.

Prison cake presents for the New Year

Watch for the ones with files!

By Supatatt Dangkrueng

For many occasions, the most appropriate present for friends and relatives is a basket of bakery items. For this New Year, a bakery basket from Chiang Mai Women’s Correctional Institute is a new choice for this special occasion.

A cake, baked to order.

The director Nawwarat shows how to decorate a cake in the little factory inside Chiang Mai Women’s Correctional Institute.

Nawwarat Tanasrisutart, the director of Chiang Mai Women’s Correctional Institute, said the bakery is part of the job training for prisoners which can give them skills that can be used after they have been released.

The bakery course is an outstandingly popular course that earns THB 100,000 for the institute per month. There are many kinds of bakery items including cakes, cookies, brownies, and pies. Nawwarat said the bakery course has been provided for 17 months, and the income supports the institute after it was separated from the Chiang Mai Central Prison.

The little bakery factory starts daily from 4 a.m. with the 27 women workers baking fresh bread each day. When the baking is over, private companies come to collect the items to sell in shops in the Chiang Mai area. All the items baked in the institute are quality controlled and guaranteed fresh. Nawwarat said their bakery has the same standards as any other bakery outside.

Over 200 women have gone through the bakery course. These are prisoners with short sentences or trusty longer stay inmates.

Sachiko Kobayashi - A tribute to a fashion designer or a tribute to an artist?

Mario Vogt

I really do not know what comes first. I met Sachiko the first time at her house in Chiang Mai. She is a small, smiling, almost fragile lady; however, tough, strong, and 100% at ease with herself.

Sachiko at her residence in Chiang Mai. Elegance, grace, and totally at ease.

Elegance, beauty, grace, lustrous metallic charcoal silver gray, the spectators were in awe.

Sachiko was born in Japan, studied art and Japanese culture and especially the beauty of women during the Edo period. She was a well-known personality, particularly known in the fashion industry in Japan for organizing big exhibitions to perfection. She did it all - space design, stage design and stage costumes.

In 1992 she founded her own brand “Sachiko Kobayashi”, and at that time she decided to move to Chiang Mai.

Her house reflects the elegance and the grace displayed by her own personality. It is spacious, it has a Japanese garden, and most of all it radiates peace. The colors in her house harmonize with nature, natural colors, shimmering metallic and monochrome colors, but mainly, it is very spacious. Sachiko said, “All I need for myself is a bed, the rest is my work, my art and my fashion.”

The movements seem to make the beautiful body proportions diffuse as this model floats through.

Shonosuke Okura, the Noh musician, currently plays the drums with a Belgian orchestra. He maintains the tradition of beating the drum with his palms, which is regarded as the most difficult technique.

Even when black seemed to be dominating, the earthy and sometimes shining colors of the hand-woven shawls will never be out of fashion.

But let me get to her fashion - almost everything is hand-woven, and colored in natural dye. She designs clothes which depend on the body of the person for which they are designed. Her clothes do not use zippers or belts, but let the wearer adjust the sizes by using styles such as knots, which means that everyone can control the clothes they wear as comfortably or as tightly as one wants.

Her general idea is mixing only the best materials and choosing only the colors she feels for. And as simple as her clothes might look at first sight, the more complex they are when you look deeper. For example: one of her shawls, a beautiful design in 2 different shades of silver gray to charcoal gray and two different kinds of silk can be used for 7 different occasions, as a shawl, as a jacket, as a skirt, as pants, as a scarf, as a belt and as a dress. All this done with one piece of textile!

She creates art, not fashion.

Fashion is a word which varies from year to year, but the art Sachiko creates will still look beautiful in 100 years time. She admires designs that do not lose the charms in many years to come.

Floating through. A minimum of accessories, a minimum of make-up shows the beauty of art.

Magic of a cloth. Is it a jacket? Is it a shawl, or is it trousers?

It seemed almost like a ballet performance.

Her fashion show at the Regent was an event, not a show. It started with her good friend Shonosuke Okura, a Japanese Noh musician whose father was the 15th originator of the Okura style, and who continues this cultural treasurer. Shonosuke, who had played in front of the Japanese emperor, the Dalai Lama, and who had even been invited to play for the Pope at the Vatican in December 2000, was present and started the night very dramatic with a ‘big hand drum solo performance’.

With that the models started to appear. But not cat-walking down the staircase, they seemed to be floating. The shawls were flying, looking like being airborne around the wearers. The drums were beating while the performers from different countries and age groups presented the multi facetted creativity and utilization of an apparently simple piece of cloth.

A minimum of make up, a minimum of accessories with only the background drums and the beautiful models presented us with a tribute to art, or was it a tribute to fashion?

Simon says: ‘It’s ShowTime’

Marion Vogt

After more than 20 years in business, ‘Simon Cabaret’ finally found its way to the ‘Rose of the North’, Chiang Mai.

Sonthaya Khunpluem, Minister for Tourism and Sports, just before igniting the opening fireworks.

Turquoise and purple were the main colors of the evening, plus a dash of very gray skies. A little drizzle was interpreted as additional refreshment during the Grand Opening of Simon Cabaret, which is located just behind the Novotel Hotel.

‘Simon’ got its name from the former Mayor of Pattaya more than 20 years ago, whose nickname used to be ‘High Sigh’, which turned into ‘Simon’, and stayed as such ever since.

Simon at that time was founded to show stage beauty, acting, dancing and light, and it became so successful that it spread quickly. First, Simon moved to Phuket and opened its doors in the year 1990, and nowadays people say: “If you leave Phuket without having been to Simon, don’t claim you have been to Phuket.”

But the success story did not stop there, as they expanded even further. Simon went overseas to Singapore with more than 50 dancers and actors, to show the beauty and grace of Thai Cabaret abroad, and to give Thai nationals experience working in an international environment.

H.E. Minister Khunpluem was happy to pose and chat with some of the foreign visitors after he officially opened Simon Cabaret.

Khunying Samlit Duewing, owner of Simon, with Chiang Mai Governor Pisit and his elegant wife.

Acrobatics, costumes, light and sound; it’s a journey to the Simon’s Dream.

Come on and join - it’s time for the grand finale.

A golden dream - this scene took the audience on a journey to Egypt.

On December 25, after 23 years, Simon Cabaret finally opened its doors here in Chiang Mai, and Khunying Samlit and Wilat Duewing, the initiators and owners, proudly presided over the opening ceremony. Chiang Mai’s ‘Who’s Who’ was present, and the 1000 seats in the semi open-air theatre were not enough to accommodate the crowds. 100 actors and dancers, highly motivated, trained by teachers from the Philippines, were cheered by the crowd, and slipped and slid the night away like there would be no tomorrow.

Neon dreams, tastefully combining grace and beauty.

Beauty and ... the beast?

Over 1000 spectators trying to get the best seat in the house. Unnecessary, as the seating arrangements are perfectly laid out, so that one can see everything from everywhere.

And the angels sing ...

The choreography and the Sound on Scene matched by the stunning costumes fitted together beautifully, and the crowds couldn’t take their eyes of them.

‘Simon’ Chiang Mai is as professional as all other outlets, but a lot more concerned about expanding the international character. The songs and themes played come from all over the world, be it world famous musical songs, Thai favorites, or well known pop songs from the last decades. It is done to fit a clientele from all over the world, young and old, and the first night proved to be the success they deserve.

Six babies welcome in the New Year at the zoo

The Chiang Mai Zoo has six newborn babies and the zoo will be open for the general public to visit and wish the new Chiang Mai residents well. The zoo management says that these new attractions are the zoo’s New Year gifts to Chiang Mai. The zoo officials said this serendipitous occasion would herald good luck for the year to come.

Two Common Marmoset

The six new members include two Common Marmosets (Callithrix jacchus), now the newest and smallest monkeys on earth. The species originated in Brazil, but the babies’ parents have happily relocated in Chiang Mai.

The Serow

Red billed Hornbill

Another two babies were born to the Jaguars (Panthera species), once natives of South America, and look like their close relatives, the tigers.

The next baby is particularly special (though all babies are) and is a Serow (Capricornis sumatraensis), which is one of the 15 endangered species that authorities are trying to preserve in Thailand.

The last baby is the Red Billed Hornbill (Tockus erythrorthychus), a species which came originally from the African continent. This little baby is also special in that it is the first Red Billed Hornbill born in the Chiang Mai Zoo.

Thanong Nathipitak, director of the Chiang Mai Zoo, said the zoo is delighted with the progress of the six new babies and invites all of Chiang Mai to come and see them over the festive season, and particularly for children during Children’s days on January 11-12.