The night before Visakha Bucha
Visakha Bucha Day is one of the most important Buddhist
days, celebrating the birth, attaining enlightenment and death of the Lord
Buddha. On this day, every part of Thailand celebrates by carrying out
various activities, such as offering food to monks and performing the Wian
Tian (ceremony of carrying lighted candles clockwise round a pagoda or
reaching Doi Suthep, people ring the bells on Wat Prathart Doi Suthep.
Kamphaeng villagers also attended the ceremony.
elephant made with papier-mâché was one of the highlights of the
Holy Water on the way to Doi Suthep to pour at the pagoda.
In Chiang Mai, there is also a very sacred and pious
ceremony, known as the Climbing Up to Doi Suthep. The ceremony is performed
on the night before Visakha Bucha to offer food to the monks on Wat Prathart
Doi Sutep the next morning and to show strong faith in the Lord Buddha.
Residents in Chiang Mai and nearby provinces have been performing this
ceremony for 630 years.
This year thousands of people attended the ceremony,
including foreigners as well as devout Thai Buddhists. Buddhists believe
they will receive merit by performing the ceremony, but for some, especially
the young, it was not only making merit that urged them to climb up but also
the challenge that stimulated them. Although it is 12 kilometers to reach
the Doi Suthep mountaintop, many old people also join in, unafraid of the
distance because of their strong faith in Buddhism.
tribes were a colorful sight as they too took part in the ceremony.
walks up the slope steps to worship at Wat Prathart Doi Suthep.
officials take care of the Royal Holy Water on the way up to Doi Suthep.
procession of people begins to head up Doi Suthep.
made for use in the climbing procession.
People started their long walk from Chiang Mai
University, and this year I joined in with many strangers of all ages. On
the way up, people rested by the roadside to refresh themselves with the
cool air before continuing walking. Along the way, there were aid stations
to help anyone who were faint or exhausted.
There was also the ceremony of carrying Royal Holy water to bathe the
pagoda in Wat Prathart Doi Suthep. His Majesty the King gave the Royal Water
for this purpose and this was the 4th time that the water had been given to
Chiang Mai. Sermsak Pongpanich, Ministry of Interior permanent secretary,
presided over the ceremonial pouring of Royal Holy water on the pagoda and
the Wian Tian ceremony at the temple.
An afternoon at Tha Sadet Market
by Kathryn Brimacombe
Tha Sadet Market in Nong Khai is a wonderful place to
explore if the endless lazy days slide effortlessly into each other without
much differentiation and you find you need something to do. The market is
next to Tha Sadet pier and customs office in the centre of town, and is
where boats used to ferry people back and forth across the Mekong River to
Laos before the Friendship Bridge opened in 1994. Today the pier is mostly
used for transporting merchandise across the river.
coloured silks spill out of baskets.
looking for anything in particular, just happy to window shop, I pass slowly
by stalls of toys, puzzles, kitchenware and herbal medicines.
Although the heart of the market is a few paces past the
customs office, the entire area along Rimkong Road from Banteringjit Road
eastward (including the many small streets branching off from it) has become
a marketplace. You can find everything in Tha Sadet Market from Lao textiles
and dried goods to Thai-made clothes and jewelry, and much more in between.
I begin my exploration outside the customs office, where
tuk-tuks and pickup trucks continually drop off boxes and rainbow-striped
bags full of goods to be taken across to Laos, and where men and women line
the road, sitting under large umbrellas with brightly coloured silks
spilling out of baskets. Next to them, vendors with large carts displaying
mounds of mangos and long links of red sausage also take cover from the sun
under the wide umbrellas.
I follow the road and walk into Tha Sadet Market proper,
which is like entering a tunnel. Shops on both sides of the road extend
their store displays as far out onto the pavement as they can, offering in
some places a very narrow path to walk along, while overhead the sky is
concealed with umbrellas and plastic tarps. Although the covering shields
shoppers and merchants from the sun’s rays, the effect is that of a
greenhouse - very hot and humid.
For a mid-week afternoon there are few people at the
market, which is a relief as sometimes it’s so crowded you must walk
shoulder to shoulder and shuffle along with baby steps. But today Thais and
tourists amble leisurely, taking in the visual array of merchandise offered,
occasionally stopping to ask the price of an item and begin bargaining.
with large carts displaying mounds of mangos and long links of red sausage
also take cover from the sun under the wide umbrellas.
mid-week afternoon there are few people at the market; today Thais and
tourists amble leisurely, taking in the visual array of merchandise offered,
occasionally stopping to ask the price of an item and begin bargaining.
Not looking for anything in particular, just happy to
window shop, I pass slowly by stalls of toys, puzzles, kitchenware, herbal
medicines, and floor rugs, whilst scanning my eyes widely over the displays
of items for sale. There is so much to see, the effect is dizzying!
I continue through the tunnel, passing by an electronics
shop filled with cameras, VCD players, portable CD players, karaoke
machines, microphones, and every possible electronic gadget imaginable. Next
to it is a beauty shop selling makeup, creams and lotions, and a group of
teenage girls chatter and giggle as they open the jars and bottles to smell
Several stalls down is a shop selling dried goods, its
shelves overflowing with packages of biscuits, crackers and snacks, jars of
coffee and boxes of tea, while huge clear plastic garbage bags filled with
thousands of dried mushrooms stand out front.
Further along I pause by a woman selling dried and
pickled fruit - luscious sultanas, cherries and cranberries as well as a
delightful assortment of other fruits burst from pots and plastic
containers. Seeing me stop, she takes out a spoon and gently scoops out a
bright cherry, the colour of a maraschino, offering it to me. Unable to
resist, I pop it into my mouth, savouring each sweet and sour bite as the
juice tantalizes my tongue. The young woman raises her eyebrows as I nod my
head and she laughs. She hands me a bag of the delicious red morsels, and I
place the bills into her hand, reaching into the bag for another cherry.
Sucking the tart juice, I continue my exploration.
Clothes shops selling everything from army fatigues and dresses to jeans and
socks abound, but gradually give way to stores selling beautiful textiles.
The textiles’ intricate hand-woven geometric patterns shimmer in rich
russets, golds and greens. With my non-sticky hand I caress the fabric with
my fingertips, the sensation of the soft silk delicious.
Soon, however, my stomach begins grumbling, and I leave
the textiles to follow the tempting aroma of grilled fish. My nose takes me
to a restaurant only a few shops away. I choose one of the smaller fish
beside the grill that has already been cooked, its dark, dry scales covered
with coarse white salt.
The woman stirs up the charcoal with a stick, revealing
the red hot coals beneath layers of white ash, and lays the fish on the
grill above the heat. Instantly the sweet scent of herbs and fish titillates
my nostrils and my mouth begins to water. She motions me to sit down and I
choose a table overlooking the Mekong River.
The fish soon arrives along with several dipping sauces, a plate of crisp
lettuce, mint, basil leaves, chillies and lemongrass, and a small basket of
sticky rice. As I wrap a packet of fish and herbs in the lettuce leaf and
take a bite, I look across the river and think this is the perfect way to
spend an afternoon at Tha Sadet Market.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Story: Marion Vogt Pictures: Michael Vogt
You are what you feel and you need to live your dreams -
this is the main moral of this irresistible musical which tells a story of
hardship, faith, endurance, betrayal and in the end forgiveness. This
message should inspire everybody who watches it to follow his dreams.
one more angel in heaven - There’s one more star in the sky - The Brothers
bring back pieces of Joseph’s Dreamcoat to Jacob. Extremely well performed
the narrator and Joseph take center stage, while the female chorus praises
in the background.
Sound - Asking for Benjamin’s life after he was accused of having stolen a
golden cup which Joseph had planted in the sack: "Save him - Take me -
Benjamin is straighter than the tall palm tree".
In the biblical story, Joseph is a handsome young man who
is his father’s favorite child and is able to interpret dreams, a sign of
power and greatness in ancient times. However, his spiteful 11 brothers
weren’t fond of Joseph - or his dreams - and became insatiably jealous
when their father gave him an extraordinary multi-colored ‘dreamcoat’.
Thus they sell Joseph into slavery to some passing Ishmaelites and explain
to their father that Joseph had been killed.
Act 1 unfolds with the curtain opening and the land of
Canaan set in the Australian desert. The narrator, Miss Anzie Yangmi,
walking down the stairs in a white long ball gown and when she started to
sing directly to the audience, they held their breath for the first time
that night because nobody expected such a full voice from such a young
person who was visibly enjoying her huge contribution in the musical. She is
the leader; she wanders around the stage, alive, sad, sparking, her voice
full of drama, depending on the scene. An incredible but fantastically
achieved task for a 15-year-old girl, who, if she decides to use this in her
future, will have a great career in front of her.
dance, choreographed by Chris Koottatep, a student from CMIS, after the
performance, was not connected to ‘Joseph’ but it helped the audience to
relax and get ready to cheer everybody back on stage.
remember the good years in Canaan? The reminiscing brothers decide to go off
to Egypt for a better life.
dream will do’ - The reunited family during the final song.
The huge stage fills up with people in the first act and
we get to know Jacob and his sons with the opening songs ‘Jacob and Sons’,
‘Joseph’s Coat’ and ‘Joseph’s Dreams’ where we, the audience,
get the 2nd surprise of the night. The clear, almost bursting voice of
Joseph, played by Daniel Couch, who is clearly, like the rest of the cast,
free of stage-fright and convinced of the task still in front of them at
this hour of the evening. Everyone, Joseph, the brothers, and the chorus
reflect self confidence, with well prepared songs and very dedicated
teachers behind them.
After ‘Poor poor Joseph’, when Joseph is already sold
into slavery and led away by the Ishmaelites, there seemed to be only
concern on Joseph’s part, since he can’t speak Egyptian very well. With
this we wander back to Jacob and are perfectly led from ‘Drama’ to ‘Comedy’
with the song ‘One more Angel in heaven’. The audience relaxes again and
smiles with solos from Ben Morse, Jeremy Nigh and Joo Eun Son who cannot
only sing but also love acting and fooling around. It is a joy to watch and
listen to every single one of them.
But now it’s drama-time again and after getting to know
Potiphar and his seductive wife, the fall of ‘Butler Joseph’ is shown by
the misinterpretation of the advances of the wicked woman.
it! Anzie Yangmi & Daniel Couch, the narrator & Joseph look very
relaxed after 3 days of performing at Kad Theatre!
could not have been achieved without those three in the center. Left:
Choreographer Sallyanne Wichai who teaches PE and Dance for the last 9 years
at CMIS, Middle: Director Jonnell Uptin, combined her love for music with
teaching and did a marvelous job! Right: Musical Director Kevin Morse - 5
years after graduating from CMIS he is back in Chiang Mai-this time as a
teacher! What a success!
One of the highlights of the night enfolds with the song
‘Close Every Door’, a solo by Joseph who, despite being thrown into
prison, still does not lose hope and sings his heart out, standing all alone
on the stage, just illuminated by a single spotlight. The heart of the
audience reaches out to him, when a 5 second power cut cannot even make him
blink. By now it is clear to everybody that the 5 months spent on the
production of this musical taught the students professionalism and will help
them throughout their lives. It was a truly amazing performance of Daniel
Couch alias Joseph.
With ‘Go, Go, Go Joseph’, where more than 40 dancers
fill the stage, the first act closes to a 15 minute intermission for a well
deserved break for all the performers.
Act 2 opens with a small change to the original musical
of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. The stage is set to Thailand for this
production, and the narrator, alias Anzie, tells us ‘Pharaoh’s Story’
and introduces the Elvis-like Pharaoh, and his disturbing dreams which cause
him sleepless nights. Pharaoh’s butler tells of a man he met in prison who
had interpreted his dreams before and therewith Joseph is called at once to
help Pharaoh. Joseph does this and is promoted to be Pharaoh’s number two
with the song ‘Stone the Crows’ where the (female) chorus praises Joseph
for all the great work and how all of Thailand (including themselves) loves
In ‘Those Canaan Days’ the play changes back to the
brothers who started reminiscing over the good old days, when Joseph was
still around. A scene which reflects the amount of acting and singing talent
which lays inside each and every single one of this group. It was real fun
The play changes again to ‘years later’, when Joseph’s
now starving brothers arrive in Egypt and ask Joseph, whom they don’t
recognize, for assistance. Joseph in turn gives his brothers a scare, but
eventually grants them all they desire, reveals his identity, and reunites
with the family. The songs, ‘Grovel, Grovel’ and ‘Who’ s the Thief?’
are again dominated by the narrator and Joseph, but nicely arranged with the
background chorus and played on stage with almost the whole cast present.
They changed back to ‘light music’, Calypso sound, with ‘Benjamin
Calypso’, which looked like so much fun that the audience could be heard
humming and giggling in between. And this easy going mood was used to lead
to the last three songs, ‘Joseph all the time’, ‘Jacob in Egypt’ and
‘Any dream will do’ where most of the time the whole company, both
choruses, the brothers, Elvis-Pharaoh, and of course the narrator were
present and singing.
To get to the end, I guess I can speak for each and everyone who was
there, that CMIS is lucky to have such dedicated teachers with a vision, and
that they are able to transfer this vision to their high school students, to
have the courage and the incredible spirit to come up with this production.
Hopefully, Chiang Mai will see and hear a lot more of them in the future!
New Royal 24 K stamp issued
The Communications Authority of Thailand (CAT) has
produced the first set of "150th Year Anniversary of the Royal
King" 24 K gold stamps to commemorate King Rama V’s 150th year
of the 24 K gold stamp collection, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of
King Rama V the Great.
The director of the CAT office, Boon Chanprapa, said that
the stamps are printed with King Rama V’s image within the 4 color frame.
His Majesty’s image is embossed and the frame with roses design is printed
using 24 K gold leaf. This set is expected to find public favor because of
its elegance and style.
This stamp design is similar to the Golden Crown set
created on the occasion of King Bhumibol’s coronation 50th anniversary.
The collection is divided into 2 sets, 4 stamps a sheet
and 10 stamps a sheet. The former is 400 baht and latter 1,000 baht each.
The special stamps will be available at postal booths up till May 28 this