Three couples marry on the backs of elephants to celebrate
Valentine’s Day in Lampang
Three couples marry on elephant back
Metinee Chaikuna Photos by Supatatt Dangkrueng
The 9th Satoke Elephant ceremony was held February 14-16
at Suan Pa Tung Kwean, Tung Kwean Forest Garden at the kilometer 25 and 26
markers, Lampang - Chiang Mai Road, in Hang Chat District, Lampang.
Saengdao Singlah and
Supan Manpean from Lampang, Pornpimol Porkha and Teeraphan Boonkasem couple
from Chiang Mai, and Dana Hopestone and Kim St. John Woodward from the USA
had a Valentine’s Day they will never forget. The three couples were
married on elephant back during the 9th Satoke Elephant Ceremony in Lampang.
Shown here is the “parade of beauty” to bless the couples before the
The festivities included a Lanna wedding ceremony on
elephant back, flower carts contest, Lanna style elephant parades, elephant
shows, and the Forest Industry Organization’s local product stalls.
The highlight of the Valentine’s Day activities was the
wedding ceremony on elephants. Three couples were married, Saengdao Singlah
and Supan Manpean from Lampang, Pornpimol Porkha and Teeraphan Boonkasem
couple from Chiang Mai, and Dana Hopestone and Kim St. John Woodward from
During the elephant parade, heavy rain began to fall and
lasted about 10 minutes, letting up just before the wedding ceremonies
began. But even this did not dampen the couples’ spirits, as some of the
Westerners even believe that rain is a blessing for their wedding ceremony.
The Satoke Elephant ceremony was organized by the Lampang
Provincial Authority, the National Elephant Institute, under the royal
patronage of HRH Princess Galayani Vadhana, the Elephant Conservation
Center, and the Lampang Satoke Elephant Foundation to raise funds for the
elephants’ food and medicine.
Governor Chalermpol Prateepawanich gave a flower wreath to the couples after
everyone (except the governor) got wet.
Sa-toke (container) was filled with food for the elephants that took part in
the parade; the elephants ate it all after the wedding ceremony.
“mango rains” gave the couples a quick blessing on their special day,
and let up just in time for the wedding ceremonies to begin.
are asking, “Are you ready to spend the rest of your life with me?”
Satoke is a local container filled with Northern food (in
Chiang Mai called Kantoke). The Satoke Elephant ceremony provides lunch and
dinner for a number of elephants. This was first held on February 3, 1995.
This year was notable in that it was the first time that Satoke Elephant
feeding, floral blooms, elephant gatherings day, and Lanna weddings on
elephant back were held together, having previously been separate.
Friendship Across Nations
Story by Marion Vogt
Pictures by Marion & Michael Vogt
Valentine’s Day 2003 is not only a day for lovers but
also a day to renew friendships and contacts you have made during the year.
right: Dr. Christian Velder, Mrs. Roshan Dhunjibhoy, Ajarn Tosporn Kasikam,
his son, and Hagen Dierksen.
Abraham, the Consul of India, really seems to enjoy the presence of two
beautiful ladies, the wife of the Hon Consul of Canada, and his very own.
Crueaviwatanakul, managing director of Wangcome Hotel in Chiang Rai and the
Chiang Inn Hotel, is now also the newly appointed Hon. Consul to South
Africa, and decided to spend Valentine’s night with his daughter Ring at
you heard?” The Gossip Corner is open: what is Khun Padee Buchart,
Hagen’s secretary, whispering while Mrs Felder listens?
Mr Hagen E. W. Dierksen, the Honorary Consul of the
Federal Republic of Germany, and his wife Wanphen took the opportunity to
invite the diplomatic corps of Chiang Mai plus friends and business
acquaintances to a reception and a meal at the romantic Saen Kham Terrace
“We may have different opinions about life or families
- we may come from different cultures but these differences should not lead
to split our friendship.” This was the main theme of the night.
Valentine’s, the day of love is a day to remember and
cherish those people without whom everybody’s life would be a lot poorer.
And it worked. Rather warm weather, splendid food,
beautifully dressed Chiang Maians, and the warm welcome words of Hagen made
a lot of people think about the current world situation, and all agreed that
the different opinions of today’s world leaders should remind all of us to
move closer together, be there for each other, and never let politicians
split families, regions and friendships.
One could indeed wish that also higher levels would have
more of such understanding and common sense, as it was illustrated that
evening. Friendship across nations, borders and religions is possible, and
not only in Chiang Mai.
Dunjibhoy tells one of her many stories from her time at the German
television stations, where she was a celebrity of her own, to Mr & Mrs
Felder. Roshan, of Indian origin with a German passport and a natural German
slang, is still very active in and around Chiang Mai.
in a beautiful Lanna skirt was Tiamtip Kittiput, the landlady of Chiang
Mai’s Tamarind Hotel. To her right: Padee Buachart, Hagen Dierksen’s
assistant, and Shigeyuki Suzuki, the Consul of Japan.
talk, or gossip as well? Shigeyuki Suzuki, the Consul of Japan, Sirin
Nimmanheminda, chairman of Niyom Panitch Group, and David Hopkinson,
director of the British Council Chiang Mai, and Honorary Consul of the UK
Thepin came all the way from USA, and keeping her company is Dr Anun
Seetapun M.D., F.A.C.S., a certified cosmetic surgeon from the American
Board of Plastic Surgery.
for Valentines Day: A thorn between two roses Eric S. Rubin, Consul General
of the USA, Chiang Mai, seems to enjoy being seated between his own wife
(right) and David Hopkinson’s wife.
care for each other! Never let different opinions of World leaders get in
the way of our friendship here in Chiang Mai. Hagen Dierksen gives his
welcome address on Valentine’s Day.
else but in Chiang Mai can you see so many beautiful Lanna Style dresses in
one place? Kh. Poo, wife of Thomas Baude, director of Alliance Francaise,
and Yuthapong’s wife.
Bhirombhakdi, Singha Brewery, together with his Valentine companion enjoy
the splendid food at Saen Kham Terrace.
called: The artist’s corner. Wanphen, Yuttana Mohprasit, nickname Dop, the
Interior designer of Saen Kham Terrace, Vichit Chaiwong, owner of Gong Dee
Gallery, Attaporn Tichinpong, Interior Design editor of Baan Suan Decoration
Magazine, Michael Vogt, MD Chiangmai Mail, and Nit Wangviwat, the Honorary
Consul of Canada.
the multi cultural food and German wine (from right) are Ring from Chiang
Inn Hotel with her Dad, the Hon. Consul to South Africa, Pravit
Arkarachinores, the Hon. Consul of Austria, Hagen Dierksen, Mr Zang Guo Qing,
the Consul General of the Peoples Republic of China, with his lovely wife,
the always smiling Nit Wangviwat and Khun Sirin Nimmaheminda.
for Chiang Mai Mail (from left): Ajarn Miang, an accounting professor at CMU,
Vichit from the famous Gong Dee Gallery, the lady in the most fashionable
outfit of the night, Wanphen Dierksen, Santi Chanonsuang, an artist of
traditional Lanna paintings and Dr. Nong, one of the best physiotherapists
Jeeraprapong (2nd left), vice chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries,
Chiang Mai Chapter, with his beautiful wife to his left, next to him in red
Sir Vorakit Yuthapong, head of the YMCA and former Consul of Sweden.
3 ‘diplomatic’ ladies talking fashion? Wives of the consuls of India,
Japan and Sweden.
looks like a fun night and it was a fun night for everyone - 3 consuls and
the offspring of one of them are definitely not discussing world politics
but something far more entertaining; from left: Austria, South Africa, and
Farewell to a friend
A truly memorable evening for, and with, Gary Dilley
Story and pictures by Michael & Marion Vogt
Last Saturday saw one of the most fascinating events, as
a memorial party was held at the ‘Twelve Gables’ estate for the
philanthropist Gary Dilley, who suddenly passed away on February 1. A
retired banker and chairman of the Foundation for the Education of Rural
Children, Gary was a polio survivor and especially sensitive to the needs of
disabled people. He led the foundation through its formative stages and was
instrumental in all of their building projects.
Prasertmanukitch, Chairman of the Board of Chiangmai Mail, Peter Filgur, and
Michael Vogt, MD Chiangmai Mail.
row (L to R): Lars Magnusson, Chiang Mai; Dieter von Boehm-Bezing, Chiang
Mai; Dr. Christian Velder, Chiang Mai; Hanna Velder, Chiang Mai. Back row:
Julinda Morgan, Singapore; Wolfgang Roese, Chiang Mai; Jon Morgan,
Singapore; Harold Vickery, Jr., Bangkok.
the most graceful dancers, performing the final farewell dance for Gary.
taking care of Norachai and his lovely family.
memories of Gary were shared, everyone was listening in anticipation.
The evening was held at Gary’s house, and was well
attended by not only members of the Foundation, but also by a number of
friends and acquaintances from all over the world. Gary, who will always be
remembered as a very special and unique personality, loved to welcome and
entertain guests in his house, and Renee Vines, board member of the
Foundation and close friend, as well as Celeste Tolibas-Holland, set the
scene for a light-hearted party rather than a somber remembrance. As it was
felt by all those attending, Gary truly enjoyed it.
Various friends, among them Renee Vines, Deborah van Dijk,
Jerry Rose, Hagen Dirksen, Frank Weicks, Peter and Ann Dawson, shared a
number of moving and humoristic stories about Gary. For the final farewell,
an elegant candle dance was performed by the most graceful dancers, moving
slowly up the shrine, and giving a series of “wais” to tell him goodbye.
It was as beautiful as it was touching, and Gary would have just loved it.
Gary, wherever you may be, may your parties be as joyful
and entertaining as we remember them in our hearts. Keep on laughing, as we
will continue to care for those you loved, and for those you have brought
smiles and laughter to. Farewell, Gary, we miss you!
one of many stories is Renee Vines, close friend and member of the Board of
the Foundation for the Education of Rural Children.
fond memories about Gary are Nisar Ahmed and Peter Filgur, both Gary’s
business associates, and Ms. Asra, a friend from New York.
each other’s company - Wolfgang Roese, Lanna House Antiques, Hagen Dirksen,
Honorary German Consul, Suchid von Boehm-Bezing, Chiang Mai, and Julinda
& Bob Stratton, Vermont, USA, together with Ajahn Witti, Faculty of Art,
talk? Hanno van Veen, left, banking associate from Amsterdam, chatting with
Harold Vickery, Jr., Lawyer from Bangkok.
good laugh on Gary’s behalf (left to right): Norman Allin, Pacific World;
Matthew Slater, Asalon; Ulf Buchert, Oriental Express.
Wine Tasting Etiquettes
By Ranjith Chandrasiri
Wine tastings are popular because they override the
limitations of sampling wine alone, at home. How many wines can you taste on
your own unless you don’t mind throwing away nine-tenths of every bottle?
How many wines are you willing to buy on your own? And how much can you
learn tasting wine on your own or with few friends whose expertise is no
greater than yours?
session at the Royal Cliff Wine Club in Pattaya.
Wine tastings organized by wine clubs, merchants and wine
societies are events designed to give wine enthusiasts the opportunity to
sample a range of wines. These events can be seminar-like events (seated) or
they can be more like parties (tasters milling around informally). Compared
to a wine appreciation class, the participants at a wine tasting are more
likely to have various levels of knowledge. Tastings don’t come in
beginner, intermediate and advanced levels - just one size fits all.
At a wine tasting, you can learn from the professionals
who organize the event as well as from your fellow tasters. You have the
added advantage of making new friends who share your interest in wine. Most
importantly, you can taste wine in the company of some individuals whose
palates are more experienced than yours, which is a real boon in training
your palate. I have led and attended literally hundreds of wine tastings and
I can honestly say that I have learned something about wine at almost all of
If you have never been to a wine tasting, don’t feel
intimidated. Familiarizing yourself with few wine tasting etiquettes will
help you feel more comfortable. Otherwise you are likely to be appalled when
you see people slurping and spiting in public.
Why are those people behaving like that?
Do you have to make loud slurping or gurgling noise that
you hear “serious” wine tasters make at tastings? Of course, you
don’t. But the drawing of air into your mouth does enhance your ability to
taste the wine. With a little practice, you can gurgle without making loud,
To spit or not to spit?
If you swallow every wine you taste, by the time you
reach wine number nine or ten you will be far less thoughtful to make a
judgment about the wine. So spitting is acceptable. In wineries,
professional tasters sometime spit right onto the floor or into the drains.
In more elegant surroundings, you spit into a spittoon, usually a simple
container like a large bowl (one per taster) or an ice bucket that two or
three tasters share.
At first, naturally, some tasters are reluctant to spit
out wine. Not only have they been brought up to believe that spitting is
uncouth, but they have also paid good money for the opportunity to taste the
wine. Why waste them?
Well, you can drink all of your wine at a wine-tasting if
you wish - and some people do. But I don’t advise that you do, for the
simple reason that evaluating the later wines will be difficult if you
swallow the earlier ones, as the alcohol you consume will cloud your
More finer points on tasting etiquettes
Smoking is a complete no-no at any wine tasting and using
strong scents - perfume, aftershave and scented hair spray are undesirable
as these smells can interfere with your ability to detect the aromas of the
Courteous wine tasters also do not volunteer their
opinion about a wine until other tasters have had a chance to taste the
wine. Serious tasters like to form their opinion independently and are sure
to throw dirty looks at anyone who interrupts their concentration
To attend a professionally organized wine tasting, look
out for good wine clubs, wine schools and other organizations in your area.
Your local wine merchant may be able to guide you in the right direction.
They might even sponsor wine tasting events occasionally apart from the
informal sampling opportunities they offer in the store.
Ranjith Chandrasiri is the resident manager of the Royal Cliff Grand and
the founder the of the Royal Cliff Wine Club, Royal Cliff Beach Resort,
Pattaya, Thailand. Email: [email protected] royalcliff.com or wine [email protected]
Leveraging local small scale economics in the fight against a global epidemic
A prominent facet of the destructive nature of HIV/AIDS
is its tendency to leave behind disjointed family units that are forced into
economic instability. In Thailand, financial challenge occurs to some degree
for nearly every person influenced by the disease. A typical story might be
an AIDS infected individual who becomes too weak to maintain an existing
profession, or is disallowed to continue working by a previous employer.
Also common are widows, orphans, or grandparents who are suddenly left
without a reliable source of income.
Smoked Logan Fruit
In these scenarios, individuals who have avoided becoming
infected themselves are nevertheless challenged by AIDS in obtaining basic
necessities such as food, medication, and educational supplies.
Personal economic hardship resulting from the disease is
especially prominent in Chiang Mai, as the area was the early epicenter of
the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Thailand. The province has thousands of stories
involving grandmothers unexpectedly needing to support grandchildren, aunts
and uncles suddenly faced with twice as many children to feed, and infected
income providers needing new means of livelihood.
However, the problem is being tackled in interesting ways
on a local level via initiatives designed to promote self-sustainability
among those infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. Organizations such as Rejoice
Urban Development Program have formalized programs that foster small-scale
business initiatives designed to allow individuals to help themselves. An
example is Rejoice’s Sustainable Development Project, which makes
micro-credit available on a loan or grant basis to persons with unique
business ideas. The typical loan is 6000 baht, which is used to finance
equipment and marketing start-up costs of a new business. Terms of repayment
are 500 baht per month interest free. To-date, the financial results of
these entrepreneurial initiatives have been astounding.
Development Frog Farm
For example, a frog farm developed under the Sustainable
Development Project became profitable within 1 year, and is now experiencing
operating margins of 30%. Similar projects currently in different states of
profitability include a private electrician business, handcrafted stationary
and greeting card manufacture, a mobile sausage and salad kiosk, retail egg
sales, and a scrap, recycling business and just recently Rejoice started a
sustainable development bakery. Rejoice additionally provides managerial
assistance to these enterprises both from its Chiang Mai office staff and
through its global network of volunteers, many of whom are successful
Rejoice has received gracious donations from the Canada
Fund and the Elton John AIDS Foundation UK and private individuals in order
to operate the Sustainable Development Projects.
Projects such as these simultaneously provide a critical
source of income to those suffering unexpected misfortune while allowing
personal energy to be channeled toward something other than the disease. An
interesting by-product of the Sustainable Development Project is its impact
on overcoming societal misconceptions surrounding HIV/AIDS. The public
increases its understanding that infected individuals and decimated families
can remain productive members of society. Witnessing vibrancy in those
infected and affected by the disease not only revises community attitudes,
but also results in increased general public support for HIV/AIDS outreach
Publicity surrounding HIV/AIDS typically focuses on its
global scale and medical advancements in fighting the epidemic. Although
presenting the big picture is critical in maintaining global attention, it
is the millions of small-scale success stories of those coping with the
disease that make every effort meaningful.
We truly appreciate any help you might offer our
campaign. All donations will greatly impact our fundraising target and will
ultimately benefit the lives of many afflicted people. If you or someone
else you know is in a position to help our cause, please contact us with
your pledge commitment today.
Donation Suggestions: $10, $25, $100, more?
Bank Details: Donations for Thailand and Other Countries:
Bank Account Name: Derek E. Hallam for Rejoice Urban
Bank Address: Bank of Asia, 149-149/1-3 Chang Klan Road
A. Muang Chiang Mai 50100
Bank Account Branch: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Account Type: Deposit
Bank Account Number: 017 - 2 - 16675 - 3
(No Routing, Sort, or Swift Code required, this is a
Deposit Account Only)
Please make all donation cheques to: Derek E. Hallam for
Rejoice Urban Development Project
Donation Cheques can be mailed to: Rejoice Urban
Development Project, 70/1 Amarin Court, Klong Cholarpratan, Moo 6, T. Suthep,
A. Muang, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand.
Here’s what you can do now: Please don’t ignore this
article! Take action and show your support for people infected and affected
with HIV and AIDS. Please also take a look at our website:
Contact by e-mail at contact @rejoicecharity.com with
your contribution pledges.
If you prefer, you may contact us directly at tel./fax office: (053) -
806 - 227, mobile: (06) - 1922 - 128.