Sweden’s Queen Silvia visits the Kredtrakarn Centre
story and photos by Peter Cummins, UNICEF
A Queen she certainly is - graceful, elegant and
beautiful - Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden, who was recently in Thailand
with King Carl XVI Gustaf. The Royal Swedish couple were on a state visit as
guests of their Majesties King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit. It was actually
the King’s second visit to Thailand in two months, having come to Sattahip
as President of the World Scouts Federation, to the 20th World Scout
Jamboree in February.
Queen and the Princess arrive at the Kredtrakarn Centre.
by the Centre staff at the pier.
Queen and the Princess talk to one of the girls.
Among her many visits, Queen Silvia, accompanied by HRH
Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, went to the Kredtrakarn Protection and
Occupational Centre, better known simply as the Kredtrakarn Home, in
Nonthaburi Province. Influenced by her determination to promote better
living conditions for children the world over, the Queen established the
World Childhood Foundation in 1999. Her dedication to helping children with
disabilities, promoting campaigns for fighting commercial sexual
exploitation of women and children and advocating child rights, is
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) office in
Thailand, dedicated to similar ideals, followed closely the Queen’s wish,
knowing that she was anxious to visit Kredtrakarn - a ‘safe house’, also
supported by UNICEF.
The Queen, the Princess and their entourage arrived at
the pier on the Chao Phraya River, to be greeted by H.E. Anurak Juremas, and
Khun Panit Nitithanprapas, the minister and permanent secretary,
respectively, of Social Development and Human Security, H.E. Chanchai
Sonthornmat, governor of Nonthaburi Province, Khun Wanlop Phloytabtim,
director-general of the Department of Social Welfare, ministry officials,
management and staff of the Home and, of course, UNICEF representatives.
The Queen and Princess Maha Chakri were entirely
engrossed in the activities of the Centre, particularly in the vocational
training aimed at rehabilitating the girls and women. As they strolled,
quite casually, around the different areas of the Centre, they conversed
animatedly, stopped to view the work, talk to the girls and, of course, to
sample the products from the cooking school.
Nothing escaped Her Majesty’s attention, as she
minutely examined the artefacts being made, observed the hairdressing
classes, the batik painting, weaving and the wickerwork. The Queen herself
was the epitome of elegance, wearing - most appropriately for the occasion -
a beautiful Mudmee blouse of a sandy brown and a long dress of silver-grey.
Of course, Her Majesty stopped a long time at the dressmaking school.
animated moment between the two Royal families.
staff (far left) pose with the Centre’s management personnel.
The girls were mesmerized by the Queen and were equally
delighted to see their own Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn close-up and be
able to talk to them. It was a most heart-warming sight to see the happiness
radiating from all parts of the Centre.
The Queen, for her part, was also visibly moved by the
sea of smiling, innocent faces which greeted her and the Princess all
throughout the visit, reflecting her aims for the World Childhood
The Kredtrakarn Home was established in 1960 and is now
under the supervision of the Royal Thai Government Department of Social
Development and Welfare, in the Ministry of Social Development and Human
Security. The main objective of the Home is to provide recovery and
re-integration services for and the protection of women facing social
problems, as well as rendering assistance to women and children, both Thai
and foreign, who are victims of sexual abuse and trafficking in whatever
forms they take.
The Home provides accommodation, medical care,
psychosocial recovery programmes, counselling, English language training and
non-formal education. It also presents nine vocational training courses, to
enable the girls to develop skills and attain knowledge which will help them
after they leave the Centre.
At the time of the Queen’s visit, there was a total of
237 residents at the Home, comprising 139 Thais and 98 foreigners,
principally Burmese, Chinese and Laotian girls and women.
HM Queen Silvia, understandably, within the context of her concerns for
the welfare of children around the world, made a visit to the Kredtrakarn
Centre a highlight of her time in Thailand.
Blood donations made to honor Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s 48th birthday
Arranged by Chiang Mai Provincial Red Cross on April 2
Dr Wutikrai Mungmai, chief of the Chiang Mai Provincial
Public Health Office, said that they had arranged donations to celebrate Her
Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s birthday on April 2, and
invited people to join the celebration by donating blood at the National
Blood Service Center.
blind man donates blood to honor Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri
Pai Pota, a blind woman, awaits her blood type results.
Over one hundred people were keen to donate their blood
for needy people. Cha-oom Sukpinit, a 73 year old man who has donated 109
times since 1963, and is a senior counselor for the Blood Donation Club
said, “In my entire life, the one thing I still regret is that I started
giving my blood too late (when he was 33 years old) and I’m now too old to
continue my blood donations.”
wait to donate their blood at the National Blood Service Center to honor
Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s 48th birthday
smiles, showing how proud he is after making good merit.
Sukpinit, a 73 year old counselor for the Blood Donation Club has given
blood 109 times.
Amongst the donors were five blind people from the Occupation Promotion
for the Blind Club. “I just really want to help save people’s lives and
I’m so proud when I realize that my blood is so useful for people who need
it,” said blind Pai Pota.
Over the roof
by Cliff Bamford
The novelist Thornton Wilder once said, “The test of an
adventure is when you’re in the middle of it; you say to yourself, ‘Oh,
now I’ve got myself into an awful mess; I wish I were sitting quietly at
home.’ But when you’re home and things are quiet and comfortable and
perfect you start wishing you were out having an adventure.”
Karen Village (L to R) Alan Crawford, Karen tribeswoman, Judy Weber.
smoking pipe at mountain tribe village where we entertained locals.
long tail on the way to Karen village (L to R) Norachai, Nancy Paez, Alan
Crawford, boatman, Cliff Bamford, Judy Weber.
By this measure, our small band had a most excellent
adventure a little while ago. It started one morning at breakfast in the
tranquil, handsome and profoundly comfortable guest home ‘Jaiya Mongkol B
& B’ of Norachai Prasertmanukitch in the Hangdong neighborhood of
Chiang Mai. Judy Weber, Nancy Paez, Alan Crawford and I had decided to take
a motorcycle trip to see “the real” north of Thailand. We debated our
options: should we head towards Fang, circling back through Chiang Rai? No,
that way would involve encountering too many tourists (like ourselves). How
about heading west, over the tallest mountains in Thailand, towards the
Burma border? We might wind up visiting some of the long-necked Karen tribes
that have relocated there.
When our newly elected board chairman Norachai mentioned
that he’d accompany us on the latter route, the decision made itself. We
were headed for the mountains.
So off we went, to Jaguar Motorbike Rentals near the
downtown moat (whom we chose because their equipment was in great shape and
because they were fair and honest about the inevitable repairs attendant to
a trip of this type). Since the first part of the journey was on paved
roads, we decided against dirt bikes, and chose street Phantoms plus a
crotch rocket. This may have been a mistake.
Anyway, we departed, with a confidence and savoir-faire
begotten of a nearly total ignorance of what awaited us. Three motorcycles
plus a proper four-wheel drive support vehicle, driven by the miraculously
talented Choo, our guide and driver who was to come to our rescue in a
profusion of senses before the trip was through. Through pure luck and
Norachai’s help, he had organized a proper caravan for a proper
Crawford intruding on the workday of a weaver at the Municipal Crafts
the team having breakfast at Norachai’s house. (L to R) Judy Weber, Cliff
Bamford, Norachai, Nancy Paez, Alan Crawford.
of our safe return at Chiang Mai Regent (L to R) Norachai, his wife Moon,
Cliff Bamford, Nancy Paez, Alan Crawford, Norachai’s daughter Eve, Choo
the guide, Judy Weber.
The first part was heaven. Smooth roads twisted higher
and higher, away from traffic and the humdrum, until we were each caught in
a sort of two-wheeled ballet whose rhythm was set by the ceaseless curves of
the beckoning road.
Eventually, we stopped for lunch in Mae Jam. On the way,
we passed an ancient hill tribe woman who had spent many of her 70+ years
weaving intricate designs into dresses, saris, and other fabric creations.
She was old, but she still had a great sense of humor. Judy was looking at a
tiny embroidered blouse as a gift for her niece. The old woman said, “If
you can fit into that, you can have it for free”. We then persuaded the
old woman to hop on the back of Judy’s chopper and drove her in high style
100 meters down the road, where we were the very first customers in a new
community crafts center. Alan sat down at a rickety wooden loom and started
helping the woman who was weaving there, to a chorus of giggles from her
co-workers. Both Alan and I bought traditional turbans, but our heads were
farang size and the turbans were not, so we wound up looking a little like
deranged middle-aged pirates.
Afterwards, Choo commandeered the kitchen of a local
restaurant, cooked an excellent meal, and served us with his trademark song
of “please enjoy your dinner.” And we hit the road again.
Or rather the road started hitting us. We had left the
smooth pavement and relative sanity of Route 1009 and chosen a secondary
road though the mountains. Before long, we discovered a new and surprising
natural resource that none of us had read about in any of our guides to
Thailand: talcum powder. Or something very close to it, in some places a
fifth of a meter deep, covering the road. For miles and miles and miles. To
ride behind one of the other bikes was to enter a featureless and endless
beige world of choking dust that found its way into places where dust should
never be. One example was the hermetically sealed rear luggage compartment
of our four-wheel drive backup vehicle. The dust had stolen in there in such
quantities that our belongings looked more like an emotionally disturbed
sand dune than anything resembling luggage.
But onward we pressed, until we reached a remote hill
tribe village near Mae Lana. We were the first farangs that had passed
through that spot for four months. We handed out treats to the children, and
Choo proceeded to change the flat tire on the Jeep. It didn’t take long
for a small crowd to gather. We had expected to find and observe tribal
people living in their traditional ways. Instead, we were the ones being
observed. Since we were intruding into the lives of these villagers, we
thought it only fair to pay for our passage by entertaining our hosts. Alan
and I tried our hand at juggling. Nancy did a fine choreographed rendition
of “Singing in the Rain”, using a palm frond as an umbrella. Stuff like
that. We are not sure how well this bit of spontaneous theater was received
by the local critics. There is a good chance that they thought we were all
escapees from some distant loony bin. In a sense they were right.
So onward we went, as the roads became more and more
challenging. At one point I was faced with two deep mud puddles with a
10-centimeter gelatinous glob of some dirt-like substance between them. I
elected the gelatinous glob, since there was less uncertainty about its
depth. Instantly I was up to my wheel hubs in mud the consistency of
spackle. My bike fell over, in slow motion, so I could savor every moment of
Weber takes the weaver lady for a ride to the Municipal Crafts Center.
at the village where we entertained the locals - This is Choo discovering
the road dust has invaded everywhere.
around at the Municipal Crafts Center - disguised as deranged pirates (L to
R) Alan Crawford, a weaver, Cliff Bamford, another weaver.
Meanwhile, Alan was riding behind me, prepared for just
such an eventuality, since he was by far the most expert dirt biker among
us. Rushing to assist me, Alan laid his bike gently down on the side of the
road. Unfortunately, the road had no side at that particular point - it just
had an edge. So the motorcycle started what could have been a long journey
down the side of the mountain. A few branches and vines stopped its descent
a meter or so down the cliff face. We managed to manhandle the bike back
onto the road. From then on, Alan had no front brake. And we still had the
downhill part of the mountain awaiting us. Oh well.
A little while later, the clutch on Judy’s bike decided
that enough was enough. Our friend and guide Choo would push this very heavy
bike up every hill, over rough roads, until it had a little momentum, at
which he would jump on and ride for 50 meters or so, to the next hill. Choo
eventually tired of this game after he had been playing it for a couple of
We came to a wide spot in the road, and collapsed to
consider our options. Night was falling. My bike’s headlight was aimed at
a point in the lower stratosphere. Judy’s bike had very little
transmission and no clutch left. Alan had no front brake. The Jeep was
running on its spare tire, and had only just made it past some of the
rougher spots in the road. We had no idea where we were, or how far away we
were from pavement (let alone civilization).
So Norachai and Choo scouted on ahead in the jeep to find
a pickup truck into which we could load the disabled motorcycles. There is
one vision that even the most stoic adventurer dreads. It is the sight of
your rescue vehicle leaving the scene without you on board. Leaving you
behind in the trackless jungle. Surrounded by unknown creatures of unknown
inclinations. It was a little creepy. So we did the only thing one can do in
that situation. We started playing poker, using rocks as chips. Oh yeah, we
also built a bonfire, which we started by dipping a Kleenex into the gas
tank of one of the bikes. Nancy stoked it for hours. The stakes of the poker
game where: whoever won had to go collect firewood. Jacks, Queens, Kings and
Aces were wild. Alan was first bidder and folded immediately, without
looking at his cards. Judy and I folded instantaneously after that, making
Alan the first folder therefore (by popular vote) the winner of the game.
Grumbling something about the rules of poker, he went off looking for
firewood. He soon returned dragging an entire fallen tree. We settled in to
enjoy the fire and the zillions of stars that hung in the cold sky just
beyond arm’s reach.
team (minus Norachai) arrives in Chiang Mai from BKK - (L to R) Alan
Crawford, Nancy Paez, Cliff Bamford, Judy Weber.
mountain tribe village where we entertained locals - Nancy Paez and local
village where we stopped for lunch we met the old woman with the good sense
of humor who wove fabric, whom we took on a short chopper ride to the newly
opened municipal crafts center.
A few hours later, Norachai and Choo returned with the
Jeep AND a pickup truck. Salvation! We gently shoved the disabled bikes onto
the pickup and tied them securely with a web of ropes, so they could not
possibly fall over. We collected our stuff. Choo jumped aboard the remaining
operational bike. The rest of us jumped into the vehicles and off we went in
a cloud of dust and high spirits.
For 20 meters, until one of the bikes in the pickup fell
over, causing more damage to itself and the other bike than 500 kilometers
of mountain roads ever had. Oh, well. This happened a couple of more times,
since the road to salvation was just as rocky as the ones we had already
traversed. Finally, we just let the bikes seek their own level and stopped
fighting the inevitable.
After a ride that lasted hours and turned Choo into a
human icicle, we arrived at Norachai’s charming B & B cottage in Mae
Sariang. Words cannot express how wonderful a hot shower and a soft bed
The next day, we had regained a little of our adventurous
spirit. We had breakfast on the boardwalk over the lovely pond Norachai had
created on his property. We fed the fish. Overnight, most of the vehicles
had been repaired and cleaned, so we took off again to Mae Hong Son where we
boarded a long tail boat and went for a visit to the Karen long neck village
Then we headed back to Chiang Mai. This time, we adhered
to the pavement. We are all safely home now. Life is quiet, comfortable, and
Without Norachai and his astonishing organizational abilities, this trip
would have remained a pipe dream. Norachai found Choo, our guide, one of the
best we’ve met in our travels far and wide. Both of these excellent
gentlemen defined great grace under great pressure. Sincere thanks for
orchestrating an experience we’ll never forget. Sincerely, Judy Weber,
Nancy Paez, Alan Crawford and Cliff Bamford.
Academy celebrates the King’s Award
Chiang Mai Ballet Academy recently celebrated receiving
His Majesty King Bhumibol’s award for the most outstanding academy in
community relations, a feat they achieved last year. The award was both for
the academy and its director, M. L. Preeyapun Sridhavat.
Preeyapun Sridhavat, director of the Chiang Mai Ballet School.
Mai Ballet Academy students perform at the celebration party for M.L.
The celebration party was held at the Imperial Mae Ping
Hotel on Sunday, March 30, and was also organized to recognize M.L.
Preeyapun receiving the award from Singapore for women working in the
creative arts in the Asia-Pacific region (also last year) and for her being
appointed in Chiang Mai as the Honorary Consul for the Republic of Peru.
Applied Ballet students perform at the celebration party for M.L. Preeyapun.
Applied Ballet harmoniously combines Thai and Western influences.
The celebrations included performances by students of the academy with
Thai dancing and Thai applied ballet.
Great fun at the Mahakam Larb Muang Festival 2003
This year’s 28th Mahakam Larb Muang Festival, and Miss
Thida Larb Beauty Contest was held successfully on April 5 at Kad Suan Kaew,
with more fun and excitement than ever before. It’s been really impressive
for those attending the event.
difficult to choose - the 3 winners, Varanya Sirichan, Ms Juthamas Maijai,
and Daisy Vogt.
Chiangmai Mail’s Larb cooking team enjoys the competition.
little help from our friends —Amari Rincome’s Executive Chef Adrian and
his staff were on hand to support the Chiangmai Mail Team with beautiful
fruit carving and flower arrangements.
Chiangmai Mail reporter Daisy Vogt won the first
runner-up for the Miss Thida Larb beauty contest and also the Miss Popular
Vote, winning prizes worth more than 15,000 baht.
The local fair started at noon on Saturday, when dozens
of representatives from almost 50 groups and organizations, all mainly from
the Mass Media organizations of Chiang Mai, registered for the Larb Northern
Food contest as well as the Miss Thida Larb Beauty Contest.
After registering their teams, most of them started to
prepare the meats and ingredients for cooking the Larb. After the
preparations where done they started cooking, each in their designated area,
while the local Thai Slor Sor Sueng instrument band played on the central
stage in the background.
The Chiangmai Mail team worked friskily and
efficiently to prepare the Larb, while staff from the Amari Rincome helped
by carving some beautiful decorations in order to decorate the platter for
the Larb competition.
Lae band entertains festival goers.
from Ban Roi Chan performed a “fingernail” dance to welcome visitors.
Mail’s Larb entry is ready for judging.
Is it a
smurf, one of Chiangmai Mail’s reporters, or a chef? Two out of three is
not bad … it’s Supatatt!
Fun, and having fun, was the name of the game and when
walking through the huge ground of the Kad Suan Kaew Garden it looked like
all teams achieved this.
Before the beauty contest began, Larb Nian and Larb Leela
cooking competitions took place on stage, followed by the opening ceremony,
which was presided over by Udornphan Chantraviroj, the president of the
Chiang Mai Provincial Administration Organization, who beat the gong, the
local symbol of victory. He was accompanied by his PAO team members, who
were welcomed by a “fingernail” dance performed by girls from Ban Roi
This event was organized by the Chiang Mai Press Cub’s
chairman, Thani Suwattana. Music was presented by the Kavila band from the
33rd Military Circle, and the famous northern Noke Lae musical band,
For the beautiful ‘Miss Larb Competition’, Daisy, Chiangmai
Mail’s own Miss, was beautifully transferred from a blond European
girl to a blond Thai, by beautician Addy Beaute, who is very well known in
Chiang Mai beauty circles. Also, the judges were impressed that the only
farang ever to compete in the 28-year history of this event spoke very clear
Thai, mixed with some northern phrases.
the event participants made themselves up in Chinese fancy style.
Tassanee Sungkerd (seated left), assistant MD of Kad Suan Kaew shopping
complex, and Udornphant Chantaraviroj (seated right), the president of
Chiang Mai Provincial Administration Organization enjoy the proceedings.
Srinakorn Srikaew (left), and Panlika Chaiyasri (center), from the Amari
Rincome Hotel, and Ampai Kuntawong (right), Chiangmai Mail reporter trainee
at the scene.
Larb Nian competition goes full speed ahead on the stage.
All 28 contestants walked onto the big stage, posed for
pictures, walked again and waited, while music groups and children dancers
took over the stage. It was very exciting when all the Misses came out
again, waiting for the call of the last 10 who were then interviewed by the
MCs of the day, Therdsak (Tong) Jiamkitchwattana and Ms. Pikulthong (Nong
Nat) Jiamkitchwattana. Questions were asked and answered about the North,
about Thai culture and of course about the preparation of Larb. You could
see the crowd waiting for the questioning of the ‘Farang’ - but what a
surprise- she spoke Thai! This probably won the hearts of everyone, since
she became not only the 1st runner-up but also voted ‘Miss Popular’.
In the end, Varanya Sirichan from Vihoksaifah Newspaper
and Chiang Mai Reporters Club was crowned Miss Thida Larb 2003. As
mentioned, Daisy Vogt of Chiangmai Mail Newspaper was the first
runner-up, and Ms Juthamas Maijai from the TV Channel 11 Sawasdee Muangthai
TV program and Northern Mass Media Club finished second runner-up.
Meanwhile, the winner of the Larb cooking contest in the
amateur category was a team from Thai Rath mass-circulated newspaper. The
first runner-up was a team from Mac Media Chiang Mai Co and the second
runner-up was the Spirulina team.
In the Larb professionals category, the winner was Xin Sia Yer Bao
Newspaper, the first runner-up was Khum Khantok Restaurant, and the second
runner-up was Lotus Pang Suan Kaew Hotel.
Sheraton Birthday Brunch and April Specials
story and photos by Peter Cummins
A birthday party it certainly was: The Sheraton Grande
Sukhumvit celebrated the second anniversary of its award-winning Sunday
Jazzy Brunch at the end of last month, with a ‘full house’ which packed
the Living Room, enjoying the jazz, the sumptuous buffet, wine and the usual
fun and games - for the young and old.
Richard Chapman welcomes the Jazzy Brunch aficionados.
Kervorkian cuts the birthday cake; Richard looks on.
Like any birthday, there was a special cake and General
Manager Richard Chapman called on the hotel builder, well known
man-about-town Bob Kervorkian to cut it, brandishing a huge sword.
Magnums of champagne, a two-night stay at the Sheraton
sister hotel in Phuket and a “super special” massage at the Grande Spa
went to lucky winners among the many who placed their cards in Richard’s
famous glass bowl for the draw, also undertaken by Bob who had the
magnanimity to leave his own card aside.
But there were even more winners, when Richard announced
that through the month of April, all diners at the Jazzy Brunch could look
forward to free wine included. At under 1,000 baht, this is undoubtedly the
best dining value in town. With or without wine, the new buffet at the
Sheraton is indescribable, with table after table of an amazing array of
fare promptly swooped upon by the guests.
famous Sheraton glass bowl: Bob Kervorkian draws the winners. Richard
Jeremy Monteiro, the first jazz musician to be awarded
the “Cultural Medallion of Singapore” - just recently - regaled the
crowd with his Super Quartet - a fitting tribute to the birthday
Meantime, the Sheraton’s Marketing Communication
Department announced the “Grande Songkran Package”, an irresistible
special during the month of April also and it includes:
- A daily buffet breakfast at the Orchid Cafe
- A choice of one set dinner at Basil (Thai) or Riva’s
(Latino) per person per stay
- A 55-minute massage per person per stay.
A minimum two-night stay is mandatory, with the choice of
the Deluxe, Single 3,999 baht (plus service, tax), Double 4,999 baht (plus
s/t); Executive Suite Single 7,999 baht (plus s/t), Double 8,999 baht (plus
s/t). Conditions apply and the offer is only open to Thai residents.
For reservations and/or more information Tel. (66) 02 653 1070; fax: (66)
02 653 0407; e-mail: <reservations. [email protected]> In all
correspondence quote rate code “Songkran”.
A license to cook
Story and photos:
Marion & Daisy Vogt
This week was just too hot to tour the surroundings of
Chiang Mai, but having my daughter around for the university holidays, we
decided to do a ‘mother-daughter’ cooking class. And doing something as
a ‘treat’, it has to be done in style. Where else but at the Regent? The
Regent Cooking School is a well equipped, beautifully designed stand-alone
facility, built in Lanna style with its own herb garden and an outdoor
dining venue. We were greeted by Miss Kanittha, the Cooking School
coordinator, and the always caring and friendly Miss Sangwan from the PR
smiles are <from left> Nomjit Soungvichaiphonkun, PR & Customer
Services, Passport to Suvannaphoum Magazine, Pitak Srichan, The Regents’
Thai Cuisine Chef, Somock Inthavong, The Regents’ Resort Manager, Jirann
Siri, MD Passport to Suvannaphoum Magazine.
received their individual licenses to cook, all participants posed just
after the successful completion of the class.
At the Regent Cooking School, every session begins with a
traditional Thai spirit house blessing in the morning to please the spirits
so they will watch over the house, the area and, of course, our cooking.
Our group for that day was mixed, Thais and Farangs,
experienced cooks and novices alike, all with the desire to get a
one-of-a-kind introduction to Thailand’s fascinating culture and
Our chef and teacher for the day was Khun Phitak, who
started cooking at the age of 18 and traveled the world, getting his
experience in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Germany, Malaysia,
Iceland and of course in Thailand.
We were all seated around a huge stove, one of these
dream kitchens everyone would love to have in their own house, including the
helping hands to clean up after. We were more than impressed by the wood and
stone appliances, by the over-dimensional extraction fan with built in
lights. The small architectural details showed that no expense had been
spared in creating an environment that is not only inviting for the
‘student’ but also an open aired, fun place for the cooks to show off
for a start - and absolutely edible was the result of the half-day event.
you ever seen the golden Krathong mold?
We had a personalized program, made up of 5 different
items, which eventually added up to a full 5-course meal. Starting with the
appetizer, our chef had chosen to teach us how to make a banana blossom
salad. This yielded an interesting and inquisitive taste, and let me tell
you, the next time we have a banana blossom in the garden, it will end up in
After tasting our salads and comparing them to the taste
of the chef’s, we continued on to the next course which was the famous tom
kha kai, or spicy chicken soup with coconut milk, followed by kaeng kiew
warn moo, or green curry with pork in coconut milk. Both dishes were
ethereal to our taste buds and a lot simpler to make than any of us had
Now, since we had already learned to make the appetizer
and main-dishes, our chef explained that we needed some snacks to serve
between the courses, which led us to prepare chicken and shrimp tartlets.
The tartlets, or golden krathongs, were made beforehand, and we all had a
chance to try out the traditional golden krathong mold. I guess dipping the
‘krathong thong mold’ in the hot oil, counting the seconds until the
batter was golden, then trying to shake it off again was the fun part and
more than once we giggled and laughed and clapped our hands. It was a
typical case of adults becoming childish again but a good laugh for
everybody. For the fillings we were once again allowed to go to our own
workstations and make the two different fillings, one sweet and one spicy.
The larb, or minced spicy chicken salad, was my personal favorite and I’m
sure I will be making it again soon.
Last but not least the dessert was made, this ended up
being tapioca with water chestnuts in coconut milk. Usually sold on the
market and made very sweet, we were now allowed to flavor it according to
our desire and for those people with a sweet tooth this was a very rewarding
Since we had now completed our five courses and didn’t
have to worry about cleaning up the kitchen or washing the bowls, woks and
saucepans, everybody gathered on the terrace next to the cooking school and
ate their own creations. During this time a wine tasting was also held, 2
white wines, a beautiful light 2002-Sauvignon Blanc Echeverria from Chile
and 3 most tasteful Thai wines; a white and a red wine from Khao Yai, a
Sauvignon Blanc 1999 and a very fruity and full 1999 Shiraz reserve. After
having also tested the red Shiraz, Chateau de Loei 2002, we agreed that this
day at the Regent Cooking School was not only enjoyable but also effective
and rewarding in every aspect.
Payap University Exchange Students
Visit Dhamma Park Project
by Cheryl Wheeler
On the twenty first of February, a group of twenty
foreign exchange students from the United States, Germany and France visited
The Dhamma Park Gallery and Heritage Gardens in Pasang, Lumphun
University Thai Studies students learn how to mortar adobe bricks with the
help of a local expert.
Barry Wheeler explains adobe construction principles to Thai Studies
The students from Payap University’s Thai and
South-east Asian Studies Program were welcomed to Dhamma Park by its
director, Venetia Walkey (Vanida Wongsam), an expatriate English
artist and peace builder, wife of National Thai Artist, Khun Inson Wongsam.
They are both sculptors.
The students were introduced to Walkey’s contemporary
Buddhist sculptures, which present the epic psycho-physical journey from
Ignorance to Enlightenment with both humor and satire. They are arranged
round an eight meter high Fountain of Wisdom in the center of the gallery.
There the students were offered an opportunity to meditate and reflect on
the meaning and purpose of life.
In the garden the students also encountered and played on
many colorful sculptures that Khun Inson created as imaginary machines to
clean up environmental pollution under the sea, on land, and in the air.
The students helped to build a mud brick house and to
spin and weave cotton grown in Heritage Gardens. This cotton is part of the
project to bring back its cultivation to this region and re-link the younger
generation to their ancestral traditions, traditional tools, natural dyes,
organic fertilizers and natural pesticides.
The students also tried their hand at weaving grass
thatch, another traditional skill that is in danger of dying out. These are
survival skills which are essential for villagers around the world.
to spin cotton fiber on a traditional hand-made spinning wheel is a valuable
is done with dried elephant grass, twine, and long strips of bamboo.
Mahatma Gandhi was chosen as an icon for Dhamma Park’s
Cotton Field Project. He led India peacefully to freedom from British
rule in the early twentieth century. He taught these skills as part of the
Buddhist philosophy of sustainable self-reliance. Gandhi emphasized the
development of right conduct for those who wished to change society.
Gandhi’s philosophy is in accordance with His Majesty
The King’s speech on December 5th 1997, urging the Thai people to become
more self reliant through sustainable living. Barry Wheeler, a Thai Studies
professor of appropriate technology for sustainable rural development and
Mary Griep, an associate professor of art from Saint Olaf College,
Minnesota, U.S.A., guided the student’s experiences at Dhamma Park.
One of the main goals of Dhamma Park is to serve as a
center for Socially Engaged Buddhism and the Arts. This goal can be achieved
by raising the level of spiritual and environmental consciousness of
visitors and to rekindle personal interest and pride in traditional skills
that are both useful and environmentally appropriate, in addition to being
Dhamma Park’s staff and local experts were present to
demonstrate and assist the students in weaving, spinning, mud brick making,
and grass thatching. The Cotton Field Project (in which students from five
primary and secondary schools in the districts of Pasang and Lumphun took
part) is supported by the funding committee for the Development of Community
Projects for the Province of Lumphun. This project is part of the
committee’s policy to bring back local wisdom.
To find out more about Dhamma Park and Heritage Gardens, please contact
the Project Manager, Venetia Walkey, at Tel/Fax 053 521 609. E-mail [email protected]
co.th - To find out more about the Thai and Southeast Asian Studies program,
please visit the Payap University Website at www. payap.ac.th/thaistudies or
write [email protected]
Thailand to host the 9th ASEAN Art Awards
600,000 baht cash for top artist
The 9th ASEAN Art Awards will be held in Thailand next
year and organizers are seeking five artists to be Thailand’s
representatives. This competition is a stage for artists to display and show
their creativity. There will be participating artists from eight Asian
countries - Brunei, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar,
Vietnam and Thailand.
meet the press at Chiang Mai University Art Museum.
Winning the final round of judging of the 40 entries will
net the winner USD 15,000 (B. 600,000), and 5 runner-ups will receive USD
5,000 (B. 210,000). This final round will be held in midyear 2004.
The Thailand/ASEAN Art Awards will take place at the
National Museum of Art in Bangkok this August to select representatives. The
Thailand winners will receive a B.125,000 prize and trophy. The winning art
pieces will be shown at the Art Exhibition August 6-24 at Bangkok and
December 10-30 at Chiang Mai University Art Museum.
To enter, participants must be of Thai nationality and
send in their art piece 2x2 meters in size including the frame, and not
weighing over 30 kg. More details are available from the Fine Arts Faculty,
Chiang Mai University, telephone 053 944 836.
Private and government organizations and the Philip Morris (Thailand)
Company are involved with the awards as hosts and sponsors.