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See for yourself what a tremendously good project this is

Obituary: Bill Latham

See for yourself what a tremendously good project this is

Dear Chiangmai Mail,

Since reading about the school of life in Chiangmai Mail last month (issue 27), I wanted to go there and check it out myself. Last Saturday I finally made it.

Bad luck that it was raining but the day was set and I wanted to have a better impression, if the things written about it are true. I have to say, that I did not regret one minute. The farm itself is built in an area of the royal project which automatically seemed reliable to me.

After a ‘control security point’ it was about 2 – 3km until I reached the farm which was only 5 houses with an open kitchen whereby one house is badly damaged by storm.

2 small houses for guests and volunteers, one for the farmers, one for the boys and a smaller one for the girls which has an integrated veranda used for school lectures.

All that is still not ready and I have to praise Jens Kronberg, the coordinator of the school of life, for what he has achieved during the last 3 months.

I watched 2 boys ‘helping’ to paint the wall - every ‘Farang’ mother would have had a stroke right there - and it was not clearly visible what or who had most of the color - the boys or the wall... It was amusing to watch and clearly stated that they were proud to be allowed to help because it was done for them and they wanted to do their share.

The whole atmosphere there was pleasant and I am full of admiration for the people creating this. I watched a teacher coming to the ‘school room’ and handing a mobile phone to a small girl who talked non-stop on it. He later translated to me, that it was her grandma, asking what she was doing and how she was feeling. He later told me the girl said: “… I am very fine, I found many friends, I am not hungry, no, I am very full, and right now I am in class…”

I walked around the gardens, where every child can have his/her own little space and I even shared some food with them, which was simple but very tasty.

I have to state that your report regarding the school of life was very correct and the help which is received is clearly ONLY for the CHILDREN. The most important thing there is now to strengthen the whole project before thinking about taking on more kids. Here are people helping who don’t work regarding a ‘short time’ project but thinking of the future, who do not only talk but have hands on attitude. I was very happy to see by myself that I can advise people to help without feeling funny about it and I personally will do my best as well to be a part of making this project a success.

If anybody wants to learn more regarding the school of life, they can email the coordinator Mr. Kronberg ([email protected]) and I am sure, he will give them the same attendance and help which I received. I don’t want to discriminate any other project but this one I saw and visited myself, that’s why I thought I have to write it down.

As a conclusion: always look behind the scenes, you can only stand behind a project if you’ve touched it, so it could touch you!

It would be so nice to see some collecting boxes in some of the bars or restaurants in Chiang Mai, so people can give some ‘direct’ help. The amount of a bottle of beer is not much for a single person but added up; it is a lot for the children of the school of life.

I am including some pictures of ‘my day’ at the School for Life which do not need further explanation.

Raimund Haerthe

Chiang Mai


Bill Latham 1938-2003

William ‘Bill’ Latham, a long term English expat resident of Chiang Mai, died in Suan Dok Hospital on July 28th at the age of 65.

Educated at Newcastle High School Stoke on Trent, Bill spent his working life in the pottery industry as a ceramist and worked all over the world: USA, Venezuela, lived and worked in Africa for some years, Iran, Singapore, Thailand, Europe. He leaves two children, son Mark and daughter Jane, as well as one granddaughter. Bill was very well respected in the ceramic industry - you could not visit anywhere connected with pottery without them all knowing of Bill and his knowledge. He was the first person to develop casting press dies in resin - now used world-wide.

Everyone will remember him for his sense of humor and compassion.

An extremely popular figure, Bill will be best remembered for the extremely brave way in which he faced up to the amputation of both legs here in Chiang Mai in 2000 and 2001. His medical problem - blocked arteries - had first become noticeable in 1994 but Bill admitted to ignoring them until it was too late and surgery became essential. His courage extended to writing his story in a 2 part series, published locally and on the internet last year, as a warning to others with similar symptoms to seek medical advice promptly.

Although Bill’s health declined quickly, requiring more operations recently, he and his long time Thai partner Noi had the satisfaction of knowing that he had helped many people around the world to avoid the same trauma.

(Information and Photo courtesy of ‘Good Morning Chiangmai - News’)

Hours have changed


Since the publishing of my article on the 700yr Sports Complex (July 12), the hours of the fitness center have been changed. The weight room is unfortunately now only open in the afternoon and evening from 4:30 p.m. until 8 p.m.

Don Lee

Disturbing the peace


I can empathize with the people in Fang who fear their “peaceful and attractive image” is being destroyed by karaoke bars along the roadsides (last week’s Chiangmai Mail story “Karaoke entertainment outlets in Fang a problem” on page 4).

Having lived in an otherwise peaceful neighborhood for many years, every so often someone nearby throws a “karaoke party”, well that’s what I call them. Usually there are balloons and food and occasionally monks come early in the day, so I suppose it could be birthday parties or rights of passage, or a public holiday or whatever, but the constant seems to be a very loud karaoke machine that gets cranked up in the afternoon.

The problem is, this usually goes on all night. And worse yet, it seems the later it gets, the drunker the partiers become, the worse they sing and the higher they turn up the volume knob. It is disturbing the peace, but more than that, it is also rather embarrassing listening to these MTV wannabes.

I love Thai music, but what these croakers do to these beautiful songs is tragic. I’ve often thought about tape-recording them, then playing it back, loudly, at about 10 the next morning (when they are still hungover) but I fear that would only wake them up, get them drinking again and start using the karaoke machine more before they have to return it to wherever they got it from.

So, I feel lucky that this only happens now and again (well, about every other week it seems) and I couldn’t imagine having one of these places permanently built next to my house. I’d have to move! Once again, I empathize with people in Fang that have to put up with these places being built around them.


Hardy Noyes