Past R.I. President Bhichai Rattakul addresses Chiang Mai - Rotarians
When Bhichai speaks - you better listen!
Story and Pictures by Michael Vogt, Past President,
Rotary Club Jomtien-Pattaya
The Rotary Club of Chiang Mai had the honor and privilege
to welcome H.E. Bhichai Rattakul, whose 1 year tenure as President of Rotary
International came to an end in June this year. Khun Bhichai was the first
ever Thai national to lead one of the world’s greatest service
organizations, encompassing over 1.2 million members in over 31,000 clubs in
Goro from the Tokyo Rotary Club addressing his fellow Rotarians.
The Ballroom at the Imperial Mae Ping Hotel almost proved
to be too small, when 300 Rotarians came to see, listen, and show their
affection to “their” fellow Rotarian Khun Bhichai, who even at 77 years
of age seems unstoppable. Having been a Rotarian for the past 45 years, Khun
Bhichai said, “I’ll be 97 in 20 years. So what? There is so much to be
done in this world, and my job is far from over. As a true Rotarian, you
never stop. Whatever position is bestowed on you, be it Club President,
District Governor, R.I. President - we are only ‘Rotarians’ after all,
and it is our duty to help making this world a better place.”
Bhichai Rattakul, Past R. I. President, and Former Deputy Prime Minister of
This special evening also served to welcome a delegation
from RI District 2580, Japan, with 27 members representing various Rotary
Clubs in Tokyo, as well as one member representing the Rotary Club of
When H.E. Bhichai Rattakul addressed the Chiang Mai
Rotarians, he, in true Bhichai style, firstly removed the flowers from the
podium, so that everyone could clearly see him and his gestures. For
Rotarians and non-Rotarians alike, it is impossible not to be caught by his
sheer presence, by the sparks which are flying, and by his wise words, full
of determination, commitment, and love for human beings.
Rotarians getting in the picture with Past R.I. President Bhichai.
Recalling his first few weeks of his term in Chicago,
Rotary’s World Headquarter, he explained that he was given a wonderful
apartment, overlooking the whole town. However, being a loving husband, he
was used to have his wife, Khunying Charoye, with him, and that he greatly
missed her ‘standing by his side’. Khun Bhichai continued to talk about
his experiences as R.I. President, named a number of the world leaders he
had met, and always had a little extra story to tell.
of the many light moments with Khun Bhichai, thoroughly enjoyed by his
private Secretary, Chieme Sonoda Svensson (L).
He ended saying, “I enjoyed going around the world to
see first hand what Rotarians could do to help the less fortunate, but I
really missed home very much.” The year as R.I. President for H.E. Bhichai
Rattakul, scholar, gentleman, statesman, loving husband and father,
diplomat, politician, and teacher may have come to an end, but his personal
mission “Great Humanitarian” and “Rotarian” will never stop. Welcome
home, Your Excellency. You have brought, and will continue to bring, great
pride to this nation, and to “us” Rotarians!
the opportunity - Past President of the Rotary Club of Sinakhon presents a
Club banner to President Manit, Rotary Club Chiang Mai West.
Khun Bhichai congratulates Dr. Surapol Natakitkarnkul and wishes him well
during his term as president of the Rotary Club of Chiang Mai North.
a hand, indeed - H.E. Bhichai and the MD of the Chiangmai Mail, Michael Vogt.
came and greeted H.E. Bhichai Rattakul personally.
from Japan and Thailand.
and guests of the Rotary Club of Chiang Mai, surrounding Past R.I. President
Swinging - in the Akha hilltribe female tradition
Story and photos by Pichitpon Tongtuek
In early September each year, women from the Akha, one of
the hill tribe groups living in the northern remote areas of Thailand’s
mountains, enjoy their own ceremony in their villages.
Akha girls enjoy participating in the festival.
This year the ceremony was held from September 1-4, to
celebrate the abundant food and crops they have been producing after the
growing season and to show their happiness before harvesting. It took about
four days for this traditional ceremony. The first day was used to make
propitious offerings, which contained dark or red chicken, black sticky
rice, alcohol, pure sticky rice, tea leaves and ginger, presented to the
sprits they believe in.
Sai District Chief Decha enjoys his ride on the rope swing, which is being
propelled by a hill tribe man, after the district chief presided over the
On the second day, all the villagers helped to build a
giant swing in the middle of the community village. They built two types of
swing; the first was made from timber arranged in the shape of pyramid with
a rope hanging from the middle of the swing. The other type was in the shape
of circular swing with four seats, which spin around like a cycle.
tribal woman looks a bit apprehensive as she prepares to take a turn on the
The third and the fourth days were the swing days, which
were, for the participants, days of fun, happiness and excitement.
This year, in Chiang Rai, the Akha people from 17
villages in the areas of the Doi Tung Development Project joined together at
Ban Pha Hee village to celebrate this joyful and colorful ceremony, with
Decha Satthaphon, the Mae Sai district chief officer, presiding over the
high, these young tribesmen have a go on the swing.
The tribes people who joined in this ceremony wore very
beautiful costumes, especially for the young women. This year they chose
September 3 to be the main day of celebration as this was the birthday of
the Princess Mother who would have been 103 this year.
women show their dexterity during their turn on the swing.
villagers build two types of giant swing in the middle of the community
village. This one was in the shape of circular swing with four seats, which
spin around like a cycle.
tribes people who joined in this ceremony wore very beautiful costumes,
especially the young women.
dressed women dance in celebration.
villagers form a musical band, beating their drums and gongs.
and women take part in the ceremony, the women with their dancing partners,
the bamboo sticks.
Akha boys join the festival.
go to participate in celebrating the festival by passing the entranceway to
villagers build two types of giant swing in the middle of the community
village. This one was made from timber arranged in the shape of pyramid with
a rope hanging from the middle.
of Akha women prepare for their turn dancing with bamboo sticks.
from the village, this Akha house was built in traditional style on the side
of a hill overlooking the valley.
Japan’s Kageboushi Theatre wows Chiang Mai children
But they’ll never come out from the shadows
The astonishing Japanese shadow play, “The Mochi-Mochi
Tree” was presented by the Kageboushi Theatre Company at the Chiang Mai
University Conventional Center and finished last weekend. The Kageboushi
Theatre Company is famous in Japan, and international cultural exchange is
an integral part of its activities, presenting works with local language in
30 countries from 1998 to the present time.
colorful and magic scene in the puppet show.
“The Mochi-Mochi Tree” was originally a famous
Japanese fairy tale. The story is about Mameta, a 5 year old boy who was
scared of a big tree at night. One night, Mameta’s grandfather was taken
ill and Mameta ran out of the house weeping as he went in search of a doctor
even though his feet hurt and he was scared of dark. The play showed the
true courage and tenderness of a child, and the moral of the story, spoken
by Mameta’s grandpa, “Mameta, do not think of yourself as a weakling
anymore. If a person is kind, he can do anything he has to do.”
from other stories.
The play showed that children were afraid of the darkness
because of their abundant imagination, and the shadow play lets children
stir their imagination. In this way they could ‘see’ animals, dinosaurs
and other shadow creatures the actors created on the screen.
The local performance was part of the six country ASEAN
tour by the Kageboushi Theatre. In Thailand, they only performed in Chiang
producer, Yasuaki Yamasaki set up the company because he loves doing it.
The producer, Yasuaki Yamasaki said his play is different
as it is a mixture of local fables, ancient tales and the modern performance
methods. He believes that local culture should be preserved and developed.
“Most countries in Asia try hard to preserve their culture which is good,
but it would be better if we also developed it or adapted the way of
preserving it. For example, the Ramayana performance in Thailand is now
preserving the culture by performing on stage in the ancient way,” he
Kageboushi Theatre Company cast members showed their puppets after the
Satoshi Nakada, one of the performers, said that the The
Mochi-Mochi Tree is very famous in Japan, and it is compulsory reading for
Japanese students. That is why they chose the story to perform in South East
The Kageboushi theater Company will return with another
musical play in Thailand on November 20-21 in Bangkok. The play would be
involve other countries in South East Asia, including Thailand, and this
time the play would be a story for adults.
the scenes in the puppet show.
staff prepares the puppets for the show.
Nakada, one of the performers, said that the performance in Chiang Mai was
Why don’t you stay - just a little bit longer?
Photos: Michael Vogt
Text: Marion Vogt
This famous song from the 60s could be heard throughout
the evening of the ‘Good Bye Party’ for outgoing General Manager Marc
Dumur from the Amari Rincome Hotel. However, Marc was quite taken by
surprise when, during the party, the lights were turned off and the mood
switched from joyful to sad. The realization had hit the staff that Marc,
after seven years at the Rincome, really was saying Good Bye and moving on
and they showed their appreciation of him in a very touching way.
Signs and Banners with ‘We all love you’ popped up
everywhere. Flowers were handed out, together with Magic Candles and all
joined in a Thai pop song whose words meant, ‘Let’s not be sad, but show
our love’. ‘Khom Lois’ were lit carrying ‘We love you’ messages
into the sky.
It was a very special moment - the outpouring of love and
affection was immeasurable and could be seen on all faces. Open tears, with
people just being sad to have to say Good Bye to a person who was visibly
more to them, than just a boss. Marc had acted as an advisor, a friend, a
person to trust and yet still the GM of the hotel.
After being with the Amari Group for 13 years (six years
in Bangkok and seven years as General Manager at the Rincome) Marc Dumur
will move on to open his own business in Chiang Mai, together with his wife
Luxumie, but his memory will always stay in the hearts of the employees of
the Amari Rincome Hotel in Chiang Mai.
sweet employees of the Amari Rincome Hotel will miss their boss.
people and 150 flower garlands around Marc’s neck.
wanted a picture taken with outgoing GM Marc Dumur.
and clapping but nothing could take away the sad expression in the faces of
heads of departments presented Marc with a heart shaped collage of photos.
never forget you; you will stay in our hearts forever.
group picture with the now invisible GM Marc Dumur somewhere in between.
‘bear-hug’ from the heart, from Marc’s secretary Khun Dum.
Saori-Hiroba Foundation exhibits the work of disabled children at Kad Suan Kaew
The exhibition, promoted by the Saori-Hiroba Foundation,
showed the results that disabled children could do. Goods included clothes,
scarves, and dresses.
Saori-Hiroba Foundation, a non-profit organization, was
founded in Osaka, Japan, in 1982 to expand the opportunities for people with
disabilities to reach full participation in society.
Saori-Hiroba’s hand weaving technique for people with
disabilities is highly regarded in many countries. In Thailand, Saori-Hiroba
Foundation has been engaged in cultural exchange projects since its
hand-weaving technique was first introduced at the NGO Foundation for
children with Disabilities (FCD) in 1989.
products, made by disabled people using Saori-Hiroba’s hand weaving
technique, are on display.
disabled people are hard at work.
clothes on display.
pour over products made by physically and mentally handicapped people.
Le Paradis des Fleurs III
CMU Faculty of Fine Art flowering
Text: Marion Vogt Photos: Michael Vogt
The Faculty of Fine Arts at Chiang Mai University,
together with the Department of Industrial Promotion, northern region,
arranged the third consecutive year’s demonstration of garden and flower
Mai Vice Governor Prinya Panthong opens the exhibition.
The Head of the Department of Industrial Promotion was
very much in favor of this exhibition, since Art and culture is the heart of
every nation, especially in Thailand where flowers and handicrafts go
together. It gives students the opportunity to experience and challenge
themselves by working together with real professionals, exchange ideas and
build up social contacts.
Sucharitakul with a friend and Vice Governor Prinya enjoying the show.
Ajarn Sunanta from the Department of Fine Arts, the
organizer and display arranger of this exhibition thanked the many helping
hands that made this exhibition at the new Central Airport Plaza possible.
She stated how important it is to let Art students exhibit and display
flowers, leaves and beautiful Thai fruits. She asked the Vice Governor of
Chiang Mai, the ever smiling and expressive Prinya Panthong to lead the
opening ceremony. It was a most unusual opening, with artistic colorful
dancers from the Faculty of Fine Arts, modern Latin music and when one of
the dancers handed a ceramic tankard with water to Prinya Panthong, instead
of the normally used scissors for cutting a ribbon, the audience was
stunned. After rinsing the Lotus flower arrangement on stage, the Vice
Governor declared the Garden and Flower Exhibition 2003 open.
Garden - a combined work, arranged by the ladies of the community of the
Federation of Thai Industries.
In his short opening address he said, that he wished that
all of Chiang Mai could come and see what these young people, with the help
of experienced and dedicated adults, had arranged. He was looking forward to
the promised fashion show with the models of the young Designers 2003 and he
is more than honored to be the one to open this ‘Paradis des Fleurs’ in
Chiang Mai. He especially liked the combination of flowers and women because
both are beautiful, interesting, and always different and cannot be
Sunanta from the Department of Fine Arts, the organizer and display arranger
of this exhibition thanked everyone.
models, some professional from the north, some just happy to be a part of
the show, like multi-talented Narisa C. Watananun, the girl obsessed with
model presented this outfit as shy, sexy yet sophisticated.
Dream! ‘To sleep on a bed of flowers’ by three girls from CMU who see
this dream as the color of flowers, the sound of birds, the beauty of
butterflies which make us relax and have sweet dreams. A wonderful mix of
nature and color.
dresses, 15 characters, 15 different models - the young designers deserved
all the praise they received!
Beauty Suit Performance Art
Glad Rags and Red Threads
Photos: Michael Vogt
The Beauty Suit art exhibition at CMU Art Museum is an
international, collaborative performance art exhibition. It aims to
investigate contrasting notions of beauty in Thai and foreign societies.
While the artists were mainly Thai, French and Australian artists were also
involved to get this project up and running.
oiled people, cleaning the floor with a white cloth while a violin virtuoso
in a tuxedo plays in the background. What does it mean?
Katherine Olston, the Australian Performance and
Installation organizer said they have tried to involve the male point of
view as much as the female. Males and females have different attitudes in
regards to “Beauty”, so they tried to include both sexes.
Everything at the Beauty Suit art exhibition must be
looked upon as a ‘performance’. The swinging dresses on a string, the
‘secret VIP’ who performed the opening ceremony, as much as the MC, Khun
Kow Na Chiang Mai (left) received flowers from her best friend Fon (right)
for her great efforts and success on opening night at CMU.
Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. Nothing was truer
on that first evening. And everybody was allowed his own interpretation of
what the artists wanted to say with, for example, two oiled people, cleaning
the floor with a white cloth while a violin virtuoso in a tuxedo played in
the background. .”Fiddling while cleaning up their act” perhaps?
Or the ‘red dressing room’ with double mirrors,
designed by Boondarik Sukhaboon - performing in a wedding gown -, which was
heaven for all voyeurs.
One of the most viewed artistic designs was Kaew Kow Na
Chiang Mai’s slide show, which declared war on unnecessary cosmetic
surgery of young girls by showing horrifying photos of cosmetic operations
that had gone wrong. Her theme - which was written on the wall in shocking
pink letters was ‘There are so many ways to make a girl beautiful, but so
many girls are hurting themselves, because of their yearning for beauty’.
Performing art in an aerobic dance show was a showstopper
and despite 40 degrees Celsius temperatures, humidity and no breeze in the
display area, visitors were seen joining the fun.
Beauty Suit Art exhibitions, which is an Asialink
Project, is funded by the Australian Council. The following artists and can
be seen daily until 26th September - Santiphap Inkong-ngam (Thailand) -
Video Installation, Jakrit Chimnok (Thailand) - Fashion Design &
Installation, Estelle Cohnney (France) - Installation, Narumol Thammapruksa
(Thailand) - Performance, Kaew Kow Na Chiang Mai (Thailand) - Performance
Photography, Chayanee Anuruktipun (Thailand) - Photography, Katherine Olston
(Australia) - Performance and Installation, Mattanee Widhayapond (Thailand)
- Performance and Fashion Design, Tanyakorn Jaisamak (Thailand) -
Performance, Boondarik Sukhaboon (Thailand) - Performance, Ratchanok
Kateboonruang (Thailand) - Fashion Design, Naowarat Siripoka (Thailand) -
Fashion Design, Sukrit Kaewdam (Thailand) - Fashion Design.