- HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:
Doi Saket turns 100
New orchid species named after HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn
EGAT turns fly ash into bricks
Ad Book 2003 is now available
to Nong Khai
Doi Saket turns 100
Doi Saket District celebrated its 100th year anniversary
with fun and entertainment, including a contest to select a “Miss Thida
Phra Chao Luang”, or the daughter of Phra Chao Luang. Chiang Mai governor,
Pisit Khetphasook, and Surapol Panasarnpol, Doi Saket district chief jointly
presided over the opening ceremony.
above Nongbua Phra Chao Luang Lake.
Panada Wongpudee (left), Miss Thailand 2000, and Charnvit Chaisiriwong
(right), interview one of the contestants.
the 17 contestants for the Miss Thida Phra Chao Luang line up for judging in
their northern Thai costumes.
Samoekae (left) presents the winner’s plate to Miss Kanokwan.
perform a duet on stage.
Samoekae Khetphasook (left), wife of Chiang Mai governor Pisit Khetphasook,
awards the sash to Miss Kanokwan Fun-ngern, who was crowned Miss Thida Phra
boys performing “sword fighting and dancing”.
R) Mrs Samoekae, Miss Wanranya Sirichan (who won the Miss Popular vote), the
winning Miss Kanokwan, Miss Thamolwan, the first runner up and Pol Col
Miss Kanokwan Fun-ngern, 18, a Mathayom 6 grade student
of San Kamphaeng School representing Choeng Doi Tambon Administration
Organization, along with Kulamanee Shop, won the title of Miss Thida Phra
Chao Luang, while Miss Thanolwan Wongvivat, 20, a Rajabhat Institute of
Chiang Mai student representing New Changpuak Restaurant was the first
The other fun fair festivities included a light and sound
presentation aimed at preserving local Thai traditions and culture in Doi
These activities included traditional Thai folksong
concerts and a light and sound show titled, “Bringing back the lotus and
The festivities were part of a plan to develop the district and lake
areas into an important tourist attraction for Chiang Mai and help preserve
traditional Lanna Thai culture and heritage.
The king being carried
in the spectacular grand procession.
The spectacular grand
Actors perform as king
and queen during the light and sound show.
The king being carried
in the grand procession.
The senior women from
the district perform the dok fai kham and fon pang local dances.
The king and queen in
Girls perform the Lotus
the symbol of the lotus.
New orchid species named after HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn
The Botanical Garden Organization has released details of
the latest orchids found in Thailand in Chiang Mai and Tak. The director, Dr
Veerachai Na Nakhon, disclosed that a group of botanical experts, Piyakaset
Suksathan, Santi Watthana, Methee Wongnak and Surangrat Indhamusika had
explored and found new species of orchids, of which two are new species in
the world and one has been found for the first time in Thailand. The
scientific team also included tropical orchid specialist Prof Dr Henrik
Acrenlund Pedersen from Copenhagen.
mirabilis H.A. Pedersen & P. Suksathan’ can only be seen in Doi Hua
Mud in Tak Province blooming during May to June.
discovered in Thailand, the ‘Sirindhornia monophyla H.A. Pedersen & P.
Suksathan’ can bee seen in Doi Hua Mud in Tak Province from March to June,
as well in Myanmar and China.
Three of the orchids are named after HRH Princess Maha
Chakri Sirindhorn to mark her 48th birthday, being named as the Sirindhornia
genus. The scientific name is ‘Genus Sirindhornia H.A Pedersen &
Suksathan’ and they can be found between 800-2,200 meters above sea level
and are 10-40 centimeters high and violet-pink in color.
The first species named ‘Sirindhornia pulchella H.A.
Pedersen & S. Indhamusika’ can be found 1,800 meters from sea level
only in Doi Chiang Dao, blooming around April to June.
genus orchid ‘Sirindhornia pulchella H.A. Pedersen & S. Indhamusika’
can only be seen in Doi Chiang Dao blooming around April to June.
The second species is called ‘Sirindhornia mirabilis
H.A. Pedersen & P. Suksathan’ only be seen in Doi Hua Mud in Tak
blooming May to June.
Another species, new to Thailand, is ‘Sirindhornia monophyla H.A.
Pedersen & P. Suksathan’. It can be seen in Doi Hua Mud in Tak during
March to June, as well as in the Shan State in Myanmar and Yunnan in
EGAT turns fly ash into bricks
Researchers from the Electricity Generating Authority of
Thailand (EGAT) and academics drawn from Thailand’s universities have
found a use for lignite fly ash in Thailand: using it as a core component to
make light-weight bricks that can even float on water.
The technique uses 70% fly ash, 20% cement, almost 10%
lime and water, and 0.1% aluminum powder to make the brick, said Surachate
Jungkasemchokchai, a researcher at the EGAT Research and Development Office.
It took his research team and scientists from the Science Service Department
almost two years to come up with the lightweight brick.
This fly ash is found in large amounts, as waste product
of the Mae Moh lignite mine and thermal power plant in Lampang. Each year,
up to two million tonnes of fly ash are released by the plants, added
Surachate. This fly ash generally pollutes the environment, is a health
hazard and spreads contamination to the surrounding areas. However, the
research group has developed a new technology that changes the fly ash into
a product of high value, usable in industry, as well as being commercially
EGAT researchers found that concrete made of 70% fly ash
has a strong resistance to erosion caused by sea water, and EGAT now sells
more than one million tonnes of fly ash a year as a major ingredient for
According to Assoc Prof Dr Chesada Kasemset, director of
the Institute for Science and Technology Research and Development, Chiang
Mai University, who is one of the successful 13-member team of the Utilized
Lignite Fly Ash Group, lignite fly ash has been successfully developed in
Thailand and has a very high potential for further application.
Director Chesada noted that at present, domestic cement
production totals 27 million tonnes annually. This leaves about 3 million
tons of fly ash still unused. If more utilization is possible, this will
greatly help in pollution control. This cement is of a high quality.
Therefore, more studies on its utilization should be carried out. At
present, government agencies are working on uses such as filling or pavement
material, as well as soil stabilization improvement.
Ad Book 2003 is now available
The 2003 edition of The Advertising Book, Thailand
Advertising, Marketing, Media Guide since 1984, containing an updated
information on around 4,000 companies and over 10,000 professionals involved
in advertising, creative, marketing, promotion, media, and new media
industries, is now available.
While most company listings come with contact address,
telephone/fax numbers, e-mail and URL addresses, and the name of directors,
ad agencies section also provides information on agency billings and
clients. Major advertisers section contains information on product
categories, brands, ad agencies and media spending by companies.
Besides listings, the directory showcases creative work
by most leading ad agencies, photographers, TVC production houses,
multimedia presentation organizers, market research and media companies.
The Advertising Book is now available at most leading bookstores at 500
baht per copy or can be ordered directly from the publishers by calling 02
580 6665, 02 580 7770.
to Nong Khai
by Kathryn Brimacombe
As I look through the dirty window at the Isaan
countryside rolling past, I have to pinch myself to make sure this is not a
dream. Four days ago I was in Canada saying goodbye to family and friends,
one-way ticket in hand back to my beloved Thailand.
to be finally in Nong Khai ... happy to be home.”
Now, more than 10,000 km, a 24-hour layover, countless
time zones, and one international dateline later, I am sitting in a lower
sleeping bunk on a very slow rapid train destined for Nong Khai. Although I
am itching to get there (I haven’t seen my partner for more than three
months and by looking at my watch I see we are already several hours late) I
am enjoying the long journey from Bangkok.
Isaan and Nong Khai are not strangers to me. When we
lived in Laos, I would always escape the melee and confusion of building a
restaurant in a tiny mountainous town to come to Nong Khai every few weeks
for two-days R and R. Nong Khai was a paradise to me - a place with paved
roads, a language I could understand to a certain degree and wide flat
expanses of landscape that made me feel free.
My favourite time for walking was in the early evening
when the air along the Mekong River boardwalk would chill just slightly and
the sky would turn into delicate velvet. The cool evening withdrew people
from their homes with a soft caress, a welcoming change from the glaring,
intense light and smothering heat that kept them prisoners in the shade of
The Mekong River has always fascinated me - it is like an
animal, a living, breathing, moving creature. Its currents are its muscles;
with the strength of a panther, it moves smoothly and stealthily like a
python. In the evening the Mekong always seemed to come alive, changing its
colour like a chameleon, camouflaging itself against the darkening sky until
it swallowed the sun.
Mekong River has always fascinated me - it is like an animal, a living,
breathing, moving creature.”
As my thoughts return to the present, my eyes refocus on
the scene on the other side of the glass, and I see we are leaving the city
of Khon Kaen. Tall concrete buildings, trucks, and tuk-tuks, softly lit by
the sun’s early morning glow, are soon replaced by brown rice paddies,
green fields, and tall, arching trees. The train porter shuffles down the
aisle in slippered feet, stopping at each bunk to fold up the mattresses,
removed the bedding, and pull down the seats, now that it’s gone 7 a.m.
and the rest of the travellers are awake.
As he approaches my bunk, I slip away to let him do his
work, and decide to view the countryside from the conjunction between this
car and the next. Wrenching open the door and stepping out of the
air-conditioned compartment, the heat strikes me as if I’d walked into a
furnace, and the smell of dust and smoke is so strong I can taste it on my
tongue. Everything seems so dry-the cracked earth, the dust, my mouth. After
several minutes I return to the cold sanctuary of the car, and the air
tingles my hot skin.
I watch the sun climb higher, burning off the soft peachy
haze that arose with the dawn, until its light becomes glaring white. The
train finally picks up speed and we race past copses of trees, trees that
have extended their limbs upwards and outwards like an umbrella, so that
they form an irregularity in the landscape, giving form, shape and shade to
an otherwise flat land. The arid geography is dotted with colour that stands
out against the dry brown-lime-green banana trees, pools of water covered
with bright pink lilies, and empty dirt roads the colour of ochre that
extend out beyond the horizon to the smoky-blue sky.
For almost half an hour I see no sign of life, except for
an occasional water buffalo or a long-necked white egret standing silent
with the lilies. Then we pass by a field full of tall corn and rows of
yellow flowers. An older woman leads three white cows with large humps on
their backs along a dirt path. An old man stands outside their home-a small
wooden house built on stilts with a rusty corrugated roof, surrounded by
large clay pots and ducks - watching the train roll by, his hands on his
hips, a red and white chequered sarong wrapped around his waist. Then, as
quickly as they appeared before me, they are gone.
Several hours later the train pulls into Nong Khai station. Spotting a
farang face in the car, the tuk-tuk drivers run to keep up, grinning and
waving wildly. But then as we slow to a stop, I see my partner standing on
the platform waiting for me with a smile, and butterflies begin fluttering
in my belly. I smile back, happy to be finally in Nong Khai, but also happy
to be home.
A Cultural Exchange of Friendship with California
Their warm smiles are, to be honest, better than their
singing. Still, the familiar American melody, “This Land is Your Land,”
brings smiles to the faces of their Thai hosts. About 20 Rotarian Club
members, some with their spouses and children, arrived at the Rotary meeting
to share a Thai meal and to greet these five Californian travelers.
The first verse of their song is:
“This land is your land,
This land is my land!
To the New York Island.
From the redwood forests,
To the Gulf Stream waters.
This land was made for you and me!”
The second verse has a uniquely Thai twist to it:
“This land is your land,
This land is Thailand!
From Maekok River,
To Phuket Island.
From the Angkang Forest,
To the Golden Triangle.
This land was made for you and me.”
A cultural exchange between the USA and Thailand is
springing up all over the northern provinces this month. A team of five
young-at-heart, professional Americans are visiting dozens of host Thai
families, all members of Rotary International. Their enthusiasm is as
refreshing as an ice-cold bucket of Songkran water running down your back.
The cultural exchange, sponsored by Rotary International, is fostering
friendships that are warmer than the sweltering Thai summer heat.
“We represent five different occupations and cultures
from the Golden State of California,” said Team Leader Wally Hofmann, who
is a 15-year Rotarian and serves as International Service Director for his
club of 65 members in the High Sierra resort town of Mammoth Lakes,
The 30-day trip to Thailand is part of Rotary’s Group
Study Exchange. This international program fosters better understanding of
cultures and business by sending teams to foreign countries. Rotary District
5260 hand-selected, trained, and paid for the team’s flight to Thailand.
District 5260 includes portions of northern Los Angeles County, San Fernando
Valley, Antelope Valley, and north 300 miles to the tiny resort town of
Mammoth Lakes. GSE Team members were recommended by Rotarians from District
5260. After a rigorous application and interview process they were selected
to attend the Thailand trip.
None of the members had ever visited Thailand before
arriving in Bangkok on April 2nd. After a 22-hour flight through Tokyo,
Japan and a two-day rest from jetlag at a monastery in Thaton, the team was
ready to go on their whirlwind trip.
The Thailand hosts are members of Rotary District 3360,
which includes such communities as Fang, Chiang Saen, Mae Chaen, Masai,
Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Lampoon, and Prahe. Local Thai members are opening
up their homes, their resorts, and their hotels to their American guests.
Once in Thailand all of the GSE Team’s meals, tours, and housing expenses
are covered by their Thai Rotary hosts.
“The purpose of this trip is to share our common
interests and unique differences in the Spirit of Rotary,” said Mr.
Hofmann, who has published the weekly newspaper, Mammoth Times in his
hometown of Mammoth Lakes since 1987. A staff of about 15 also produces
tourist magazines that welcomes and informs visitors to the region that is
located at the eastern gateway to Yosemite National Park.
“Our trip started out great and just gets better and
better with each day,” added Mr. Hofmann. “We’re seeing and doing so
many great things, such as shopping, visiting temples, enjoying spas and hot
springs, eating some of the world’s best food, and even golfing!”
In two short but jam-packed weeks, the team has been
hosted by a slew of Thai residents. In Chiang Mai they received friendly
greetings from many residents and businesses, too many to mention because
some would certainly be overlooked. They were guests of Dr. Sumin
Prurgsiganont at Rhuam Path Hospital for two nights for accommodations while
they adjusted to the new environment (not as patients!). They did stay in
the homes of current Rotary Club of Chiang Mai Airport President Pinyo
Duangcham, Past-president Choochart Nimsakul, Past-president Jurai Chamnan,
Rotarian Chamnan Janruang, and Rotarian Chidwong Thanormthin.
The California guests toured the region with Rotarian
Suparie Chatrkanyarat, a partner and tour guide for Sabai Holiday Tours.
Here’s a quick glance at the GSE’s itinerary in just
one week while visiting Chiang Mai:
Saturday, April 12: Welcome dinner at Khum Khantoke
Restaurant. Sampling Northern Thai style dinner by sitting on the floor and
enjoying various dishes served on Khantoke - a round tray with a stand made
of bamboo or teak. Menu: (appetizer is banana fritter) pork in tamarind and
ginger curry, crispy vermicelli in sweet plum sauce, young chili paste
dipped with boiled vegetables, crispy deep fried pork skin. All dishes
served with sticky rice. Meal includes side dishes of saut้ed
vegetables and fried chicken. Dessert is in-season fresh fruits and Kaotan -
a deep fried, flat long grain rice with sugar cane.
Sunday, April 13: Got wet! Took part in the annual
Songkran Festival. April 13-15 is a public holiday. Chiang Mai is the most
popular place for this festival and is considered to be one of the world’s
Monday April 14: Invitation lunch at Chaonang Coffee Shop
with a delicious buffet at the Empress Hotel. Met with Past District
Governor Dr. Supawat Poovakul, of the Rotary Club of Chiang Mai.
Tuesday, April 15: Met at the International Center, at
Chiangmai University. Visited the Chiang Mai City Arts and Cultural Center.
Toured the Sankampang Handicraft Village, and visited Romtavin, the sa paper
umbrella and bamboo fan-home industry. Had a fabulous buffet lunch at Bann
Maitree Teakhouse Restaurant. Shopped at the Gems Gallery, the biggest
jewelry factory in Thailand (a branch is in Pattaya, the most famous beach
on the South East Thailand).
Wednesday, April 16: Visited the Doi Suthep Temple on
Suthep Mountain (further up is the Winter Palace and Doi Pui Hill tribe
village). Did more shopping at the Jade Factory! Golfed at Green Valley
Country Club, a world class golf course designed by an American. Mr. Hofmann
met Chiang Mai’s vice-governor. Ladies had lunch at the Hongteal
Restaurant, and visited the Robinson and had their hair cut (just 200 baht
included shampoo, cut, and drying!). Mr. Koegler visited a forest fire
prevention station with Rotarian Chamnan.
Thursday, April 17: Visited Doi Intanon Mountain where
the Royal Project is situated. Trout fish farm is one of the new successful
projects. Intanon is the highest mountain in Thailand, about 7,500 feet
above sea level. That evening enjoyed a farewell dinner at Hofbrauhaus
German Restaurant. Then finished the evening off with, yes, more shopping at
the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar!
Friday, April 18: Travel to Lampang
The Rotary District 5260 Team to Northern Thailand
includes: Lyle Koegler, a Los Angeles County Firefighter and Forester. This
26-year old native of California spent most of his childhood summers
exploring the natural beauty and wonders of Tuolumne Meadows which is
located in the heart of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, at the northern edge of
Yosemite National Park. “This is where I found my true calling to work in
the great outdoors,” said Mr. Koegler. Eagle Scout training and a zest for
life exudes from this rugged 6’4" man who likes to joke with his
hosts “...and I’m looking for a wife!” (Sorry, ladies but he’s
already taken!) His parents are both teachers for nine months of the year,
which allows them the opportunity to work as Park Service Rangers at
Yosemite during their summers off. Lyle is sponsored by his own hometown
Crescenta Valley Rotary Club.
Stephanie Mines, 39, is the owner of Grizzley’s, an
event planning service based in Montrose, California. Her interests revolve
around small businesses and community service. “I am so impressed with the
number of small businesses in Thailand,” said Ms. Mines. She is past
president of the Montrose-Verdugo City Chamber of Commerce. And works
tirelessly for several service groups that help with business development
and important local youth needs. “In Thailand, I’ve had the pleasure to
meet with chamber directors and many small business owners. There are so
many good things happening in this country. It’s good to see government
working to support small businesses. This truly is an amazing country of
smart and savvy small business owners.” Ms. Mines also has the distinction
of doing her best to improve the Thai economy. “I’ve bought more Thai
goods for my business than I ever dreamed!” she said with a trademark
chuckle. She is sponsored by the Glendale Rotary Club.
Saralyn Otter, 26, works as a Children’s Librarian for
the Los Angeles Public Library System. The Los Feliz Branch, where she works
full-time, has more than 45,000 books, 18 internet-capable computers, and a
variety of programs for children, teens and adults. “Children come to the
library for story times, art classes, or a magician’s performance,”
explained Ms. Otter. “I also get to visit every grade school in our area
at least once a year and tell the students about their local library.”
She’s visited several libraries in Thailand on her journey with the GSE
Team. “I’ve seen libraries at universities, vocational schools, and
public libraries. Thailand’s really doing very good work in their
libraries, especially with the kids programs and utilizing technology.”
She represents the Universal City Rotary Club.
Shruti Shankar is a 26-year old graduate student at Cal
State University Northridge working on a Masters degree in Public
Administration. Her parents immigrated from India to the United States in
the early ’70s. “Much like many Thai families, my extended family is
very important to me,” said Ms. Shankar. Ms. Shankar was especially
impressed with the quality of educational facilities and curriculum at
Rajabaht Institute in Chiang Rai. “I might want to enroll!” she
exclaimed to her team. She is the oldest of four children and lives with her
family in Granada Hills, which is located at the northern-most edge of the
San Fernando Valley. She is hosted by the North Hollywood Rotary Club.
The GSE Team’s trip to Thailand comes to a close on
April 30 when they fly from Bangkok back to Los Angeles and return to their
respective communities. They will be packing home boxes and bags of
souvenirs, and storing many good memories from their trip. We have shared
many wonderful experiences with Rotary Club members throughout District
5260,” said Team Leader Hofmann.
Each Rotary meeting in Thailand ends with the group, and
often their Thai hosts, singing Walt Disney’s “It’s a Small World.”
An exchange of cultures is clearly taking place, in the meetings and in the
homes of their new-found Thai friends. Rotary International’s program has
closed the gap between American’s and many other people around the globe.
It truly is a small world after all.
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