Wat Rong Khun
A labor of love and devotion
“Only death can stop my dream, but cannot stop my
project,” says Chalermchai Kositpipat, the creator of Wat Rong Khun whose
intention is to create one of the most elegant temples in Chiang Rai, which
he believes will give him “immortal life”.
church shines in the sunlight.
are always many people visiting the temple, even in the evening.
murals inside the church.
About 10 kilometers from the Chiang Mai-Chiang Rai-Phayao
Junction, or about 13 kilometers south of Chiang Rai City, is “Wat Rong
Khun”, still under construction in Chiang Rai, the hometown of its
creator, Chalermchai, a very famous Thai artist.
The first 18 million baht and 5 years construction has
only allowed 50% of the construction to be completed, but is enough to show
anyone who visits Wat Rong Khun about Chalermchai and his followers’ faith
in their religion and how much they have thrown themselves into this
obligation as faithful Buddhists.
Wat Rong Khun is a white temple; inside it contains
murals and paintings of the Buddha image and painted enamel ceramic floor
that will take another 5 years to complete. The outside is being created
with lime sculpture Thai designs decorated with small pieces of mirror that
make the building sparkle and shine under the sunlight.
The impression of this temple is not only in its bright
and splendid form but also the atmosphere it has. Even though the temple
isn’t very far from the city, it is calm and peaceful even during the day.
It seems that the creator and his followers put all of
their energies into creating this imaginative temple. Unlike many temples,
Wat Rong Khun refuses to accept donations of more than 10,000 baht and the
donors cannot have their names recorded on the buildings.
Sculpture of a creature in Buddhist belief is decorated with small pieces of
of the mirror respond to the Buddhists’ faith.
part of the church is still beautiful in the dusk.
Chalermchai wants to create this Buddhist art for his
beloved homeland and all human beings by donating all of his ability and his
life to the Dharma. Nobody knows when he will pass on but he insists that
all the money be used to continue the project and his followers are ready to
The second building is a pagoda, which has just been
started behind the wat. There are eight buildings in the grand plan
including the wat, pagoda, hermitage, temple, crematorium, monastery hall,
museum, and pavilion will be created on the temple’s 7 rai area.
Wat Rong Khun’s white color indicates the religious gracefulness that
attracts pure hearts of Buddhist people or anyone from other nationalities
to touch and feel the aesthetics.
Swairiang Chiang Mai kicks off with spectacular shows
Story by Phitsanu Thepthong
Photos by Phitsanu Thepthong and
Swairiang Chiang Mai, the river restaurant, produced a
light and sound show on the water, viewed by one hundred visitors and guests
while sampling Kad Mua, the northern market and enjoying a dinner.
and actresses take a bow after the show.
artist paints during the presentation by Thepsiri Sopha.
performance on the “The River”.
northern musical band entertains guests during the opening show and
displayed their work near the show.
audience enjoyed the show.
and cultural dances.
Part of the event was a drama called The River, produced
and directed by Dr Nawaphumin Chaichompoo. The restaurant wants the general
public to enjoy this nightly show and entertainment, especially the
mini-light and sound show of the Lanna arts and culture, and acting out the
legend of Phaya Naga in the water.
This story also included a religious ceremony to pay respects to the
water spirits, called “Wai Pee Khun Nam,” with the actors dressed
in ancient Lanna Thai style to present a story that had long been forgotten.
The actors include Chalermpol Chaichana, Damrong Khammongkol, Chakchai
Pinthong, and a dozen others being coached by Archon Valhi Panitchaphan.
There are six scenes for this watery story taking around one and a half
hours on the water stage.
Nakhon Pongnoi, well-known artist in the north, delivers the opening speech
to the audience.
light and backdrop created a stunning scene.
and actress perform during the show.
Nakhon Pongnoi (left), well-known artist, and Pairote Kosumkajornkiart
(standing 2nd left), the chairman of the Swairiang Chiang Mai Co., Ltd.,
with the performance troupe members.
Kad Suan Kaew expansion on target
Kad Suan Kaew shopping complex has negotiated a loan of
more than 200 million baht from Krung Thai Bank to continue investment
projects under the complex’s expansion and improvement plans.
left: Alongkorn Tesabamrung, manager of Krung Thai Bank’s business office,
Warin Soup-uppakarn, Krung Thai Bank’s senior director, Pol Lt Suchai
Kengkarnkha, Kad Suan Kaew MD, and Mrs. Jirawilai Kengkarnkha, deputy MD of
Kad Suan Kaew shopping complex after the contract signing ceremony recently
held at Pang Suan Kaew Hotel.
The managing director of Kad Suan Kaew shopping complex,
Pol Lt Suchai Kengkarnkha said the shopping center will be developed into a
“One Stop Shopping Center” and should be completed shortly. This April,
the Kad Dot Com, Channel Kid Zone, and food and entertainment zone will be
opened for the public, he said.
According to Nakin Chalaopak of the Kad Suan Kaew
shopping complex, 100 million baht of the Krung Thai Bank loan would be used
for renovation work, such as shopping center infrastructure, entrances,
gates and doors, passages, hall, parking spaces and toilets.
For the complex’s Lotus Pang Suan Kaew Hotel, the
management has set a budget of more than 100 million baht for further
renovation work, including outside and interior decor, infrastructure, and
hotel rooms, for both Huay Kaew and Suthep wings, as well as more facilities
and guest comforts.
The sports complex will also be improved and expanded, to
be the most comprehensive in Chiang Mai.
The first phase of the renovation project will be finished by April, and
the second phase will be completed within the year.
Gung Hey Fat Choy
Wishing You Prosperity and Wealth
We are really lucky people living in Thailand. We can
celebraฟte all holidays from whatever country we are from, plus the
Thai holidays. And if that’s not enough we can renew our New Year’s
resolutions 3 times per year, which we have by now placed in a cupboard
marked “maybe next year.”
youngster will no doubt be competing in the Chinese kiddy contest. (Photo by
However, all hope is not lost with the resolutions made
and forgotten on December 31, as there’s a second chance to start afresh
with the celebration of Chinese New Year on February 1st. The Chinese New
Year is very similar to the Western one, swathed in traditions and rituals.
The origin of the Chinese New Year is itself centuries old - in fact, too
old to actually be traced. It is popularly recognized as the Spring Festival
and celebrations last 15 days.
Preparations tend to begin a month before the date of the
Chinese New Year (similar to a Western Christmas), when people start buying
presents, decoration materials, food and clothing. A huge clean-up gets
underway days before the New Year, when Chinese houses are cleaned from top
to bottom, to sweep away any traces of bad luck. Doors and windowpanes are
given a new coat of paint, usually red, then decorated with paper designs
with themes such as happiness, wealth and longevity printed on them.
The eve of the New Year is perhaps the most exciting part
of the event, as anticipation creeps in. Here, traditions and rituals are
very carefully observed in everything from food to clothing. Dinner is
usually a feast of seafood and dumplings, signifying different good wishes.
Delicacies include prawns, for liveliness and happiness, dried oysters (ho
xi), for all things good, raw fish salad (yu sheng) to bring good
luck and prosperity, angel hair (fai-hai), an edible hair-like
seaweed to bring prosperity, and dumplings boiled in water (jiaozi)
signifying a long-lost good wish for a family. It’s normal to wear
something red as this color is meant to ward off evil spirits - but black
and white are out, as these are associated with mourning.
After dinner, the family sits up for the night playing
cards, board games or watching TV programs dedicated to the occasion.
Lighting firecrackers on New Year’s Eve is the Chinese way of sending out
the old year and welcoming in the New Year. On the stroke of midnight on New
Year’s Eve, every door in the house, and even windows, have to be open to
allow the old year to go out, and at midnight, the sky is usually lit up by
On the day itself, an ancient custom called hong bao,
meaning red packet, takes place. This involves married couples giving
children and unmarried adults money in red envelopes. On New Year’s Day,
nobody is supposed to wash their hair because it would mean washing away
good luck for the New Year. Red clothing is preferred during this festive
occasion, which is sure to bring the wearer a sunny and bright future. It is
believed that one’s appearance and attitude during the New Year’s
celebrations sets the tone for the rest of the year.
The family begins the year by passing on greetings from
door to door, first to their relatives and then their neighbors. Like the
Western saying, “Let bygones be bygones,” at Chinese New Year, grudges
are very easily cast aside. You will hear many times, “Gung hey fat
choy”, which means, “Wishing you prosperity and wealth”.
The Festival of Lanterns, which is a celebration with
singing and dancing, marks the end of the New Year. Although Chinese New
Year celebrations vary in different locations, the underlying message is one
of peace and happiness for family members and friends.
So let us hope once again that the Year of the Goat or the Year of the
Black Sheep will bring all of us Peace on Earth!
Prem Tinsulanonda Center hosts regional IB Asia Pacific Workshops
The Prem Center, in cooperation with the International
Baccalaureate Asia Pacific (IBAP), held 12 International Baccalaureate (IB)
Asia Pacific Workshops between January 18 - 27 at its campus in Mae Rim,
Diploma Workshop leaders (with the name of the Institution and the subject
in parenthesis) (L to R): Vivek Bammi (Jakarta International School,
Indonesia - Theory of Knowledge), Lister Hannah (president, Prem Center,
Chiang Mai), Shelley Gonzales (deputy director, IB Asia Pacific, Singapore),
Nigel Forbes-Harper (Prem Tinsulanonda International School, Prem Center,
Chiang Mai - English Language A), John Green (Li Po Chun, United World
College, Hong Kong - Chemistry), Ibrahim Wazir (American International
School Vienna, Austria - Higher Maths), and Ezra Schuster (Prem Center -
Over 240 teachers from 14 countries in the region,
representing 70 schools were registered. The purpose of these workshops was
to inform, qualify and ensure that IB teachers at whatever level are
thoroughly prepared and oriented to deliver an exciting and challenging
The workshops included IB Diploma Workshops on Higher
Level Maths, Maths Methods, Chemistry, English Language A; IB Primary Years
Workshop, Intermediate and Advanced levels; IB Middle Years Workshops,
Language B, Science & Technology.
IB programs are taught in over 1500 schools around the
world and they are seen as the premier university entrance qualification
programs. IB continues to expand rapidly and workshops such as this ensure
that quality assurance and educational best practice are continually being
The Prem Center has hosted Regional Workshops in the past but was
particularly proud to be the first to be franchised to run a set of
Workshops by IB Asia Pacific.
China Girl where are you?
Kad Suan Kaew offering B. 50,000 incentive in quest
China Girl 2003 will be chosen at Kad Suan Kaew Shopping
Complex February 1-2 this year, coinciding with the Chinese New Year
celebrations. Pol Lt Surachai Kengkarnka, managing director of Kad Suan Kaew
Shopping Complex, said they are offering this chance to teenage girls, aged
14-19, to come and take part in the China Girl Contest 2003.
The contest will be held at the front stage of the
shopping mall starting from 3 p.m. on February 1 and the organizers are
looking for a girl who is representative of the “new generation”. Prime
requisites include good personality, self-confidence, and smart. With 50,000
baht up for grabs, many of our local beauties should be perfecting their
It is also hoped that this contest will support teenagers
to show their natural abilities and spend their leisure times without drugs.
As a small bonus, Chinese New Year presents will be given
away to visitors and customers who come shopping at Kad Suan Kaew that day.