HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Saxophone Obsession with Narisa

Chiang Mai hosted National Youth Day activities for the Northern Region this year

500-year-old Buddha head found at Wieng Kum Kam

Telecommunication of Thailand educates Tambon community leaders and youth on use of Internet

Tapas & Wine Bar opens at The House

Saxophone Obsession with Narisa

Move over Vanessa Mae

Text by Marion Vogt Photos by Michael Vogt

The Saxophone Obsession concert at the Somsavali Auditorium at Payap University was just as hip and cool as it was sophisticated. 19-year-old musician Narisa stepped forward and dazzled a crowd of several hundred with her warm, lyrical saxophone solos.

Narisa, a Chiang Mai girl and a gifted saxophonist started playing in a marching band in Grade 4 and never stopped, nor does she have the intention to stop. If talent, intelligence and sheer, plain, old-fashioned determination are prerequisites for success, Narisa is the name jazz and Latin-music fans and entertainers are sure to be hearing in the future.

We asked Narisa why a saxophone, since some less enlightened people still see this as a man’s instrument? She replied, “If I’m playing with musicians, they’re musicians and that’s it. Gender has absolutely nothing to do with it. It really irks me when people single me out just because I’m a girl. But people like P Koh (Mr. Saxman) have hugely inspired me and I am thankful for all his and other musician’s valuable suggestions and advice they have given me.”

Narisa started the concert with a song from Nat King Cole, followed by ‘Wave’, a Bossanova from composer Antonio Carlos Jobim, and ‘Wendy’, her favorite composition from Paul Desmond, which she claimed to have fallen instantly in love with when she first heard it performed by Frank Sinatra.

By that time it was clear that this concert was going to be an enormous success. Evergreens were played in jazz styles and a duet harmony with Jo, a very talented trombone player held everybody’s attention.

Apipol Sawangwong (singer at Good View Restaurant, Chiang Mai) came on stage with Narisa to do the old Billy Joel hit ‘Just the way you are’. When Apipol and the orchestra performed ‘Can’t take my eyes off you’, Narisa changed from her stylish evening dress into a hip Vanessa Mae style leather mini skirt and rejoined the band.

Her selection of songs was very well balanced. The famous ‘To be No. 1’ pop song was a duet between her and the very sweet, funny, young, but nevertheless gifted singer Chalongrath Nopwichai, and can only be described as a ‘showstopper’. A song composed by H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great brought the violinists on stage, and the stage was a collection of young, determined, fun loving professional musicians.

It was a rare performance from this young woman who moved on stage, talking to the audience, switching from Thai to English and back to Thai, and it was almost unbelievable that this is just a 19-year-old teenager.

The proceeds from the concert were donated to the Chiang Mai Public Health office anti-drug project, because Narisa wants to contribute to what she sees as the biggest problem in teenagers’ lives, not only in Thailand but all over the world. Chiang Mai Vice Governor Prinya Panthong received the contribution and expressed how proud Chiang Mai can be to have girls like Narisa representing local youth.

The huge screen made sure everyone in the audience caught all the action.

Ajarn Tirapat interviews Narisa on stage.

The backdrop, the cameras, the lighting - it was a professional performance.

Music is not always serious business. Rapper Chalongrath Nopwichai and Narisa showed that music and fun belong together.

Khun Boy, Aniruth Wongchingchai, the arranger and producer on the piano with all 22 members and musicians on stage.

Chiang Mai Vice Governor Prinya Panthong said how proud Chiang Mai is of Narisa. (From L) Prinya Panthong, Narisa, her father Pongsak C. Watananun MD of Jaliang Collection and Dr. Boonthong Poocharoen, President Payap University Chiang Mai.

Apipol Sawangwong (singer at ‘Good View Restaurant’, Chiang Mai) accompanied Narisa.

Narisa with fun-rapper, Chalongrath Nopwichai, with the guys on percussion dancing in the background.

Narisa introduced and thanked all the musicians that appeared with her during the show.

Harmony between saxophones, played with Jo, a very talented, self-confident musician.

Chiang Mai hosted National Youth Day activities for the Northern Region this year

Pichitpon Tongtuek

National Youth Day falls on September 20 every year, and commemorates the birthdays of King Rama V and King Rama VIII, both of whom ascended to the throne while quite young, leading to the pronouncement of National Youth Day being around this date.

Supachai Sateerasinlapin (2nd left), represented the Ministry of Social Development and Human Securities.

This year’s activities were set up with cooperation from the government and private sections on September 17-18, commencing with a seminar titled, “The ways of development for northern youth” at which 140 youths from the northern provinces attended. The result of this seminar was presented the next day following the grand opening ceremony held at Lotus Pang Suan Kaew Hotel.

The swearing in ceremony.

A grand parade of young people from 22 schools started from Three Kings Monument to Lotus Pang Suan Kaew Hotel. Supachai Sateerasinlapin, representing the Ministry of Social Development and Human Securities, delivered the opening address and cut the ribbon to mark the commencement of the activities.

The motto of this year’s National Youth Day was “Ruam Rang Khang Khun Chuai Kan Pattana Fai Ha Santi” which means helping each other in development and searching for peace.

Hand made decorations, one of the many youth activities.

“Candle Dancing”, one of the very impressive local Lanna dancing styles.

Inspired dancing from the representative youths.

Two beautiful young ladies bring in the celebratory bowls.

500-year-old Buddha head found at Wieng Kum Kam

The archeology team from the Office of 8th Fine Arts, Chiang Mai, discovered buried treasure at the Wieng Kum Kam ancient city site. After digging the grounds of a deserted temple there, they found the hidden head of a Buddha image done in Lanna style. As a bonus, a stolen Buddha image was also found and returned to Chiang Mai following a police investigation and follow-up.

An old deserted temple inside Wieng Kum Kam ancient town.

The team found the bronze head of a Buddha image with gold-plating in Lanna design, measuring 27.3 cm in diameter buried under the temple grounds of Wat Phan Lao in the archeological dig site of Wieng Kum Kam. It was estimated that the bronze head was 500 years old.

Sahaswat Naenna, the director of the 8th Fine Arts Office, said evidence of a Mondop (a structure topped with an artistic spire) in a complete condition was also found buried there. The site has been placed under police guard.

Chiang Mai MP Yaowapa Wongsawas said she would attempt to obtain some budget in the 2004 fiscal year to convert an information center into a museum to collect all found ancient objects.

A chedi still found in good condition at the ancient remains.

The Wieng Kum Kam renovation project is underway.

Telecommunication of Thailand educates Tambon community leaders and youth on use of Internet

Damri Muangkaew

Phisit Boonchuang, Chonburi’s vice governor, chaired a seminar titled “Thais step forward through the use of Internet” at the Grand Jomtien Hotel Pattaya last week in the presence of Telecommunication of Thailand (TOT) representatives, tambon community leaders and young students.

Government policy is urging all Thai youngsters and community leaders to become computer literate and learn how to use the Internet and has enlisted the cooperation of TOT to help make the plan a reality.

A seminar was held last week at the Grand Jomtien Hotel to educate the general public and young kids on computers and internet usage.

Phisit said, “Today the world of business has been moving really fast and all Thai citizens should learn how to use the Internet.”

Phisit said tambon communities have proven their tremendous potential to produce quality products, and now the government wants them to be able to promote them through the use of the Internet for greater global exposure. He said government officials contacted the TOT to help upgrade the knowledge of Thais on Internet use.

Wannaporn Leehacheewa, director of Public Relations Department of Telecommunications Organization of Thailand said almost 5,000 tambons have had internet connection systems installed to enable community leaders to sell their products in a more effective way.

The TOT divided their target in two groups, general public and young kids. The campaign was called the ‘edutainment’ where the use of computer and fun activities was combined to effectively educate learners.

Well-known public speakers, including Professor Apichart Damdee and his working group, have taken time to break the ice and slowly feed in useful information and knowledge of computer use to build up people’s skills.

In Chonburi, 10 similar campaigns educated over 93 tambon leaders from 8 provinces in the east, including Chonburi, Rayong, Chacherngsao, Nakornnayok, Chantaburi, Trat, Srakaew, and Prachinburi.

Students from 6 schools, including Banglamung School, Phodhisamphan Pithayakarn School, Sattahip Vidhiyakom School, Sriracha School, Saensukh School, and Sukhlapidhaya Krungthainukloh School were given a chance to train in the fundamentals of the Internet every Thursday and Friday between July 2 and September 19.

Tapas & Wine Bar opens at The House

A delightful culinary tradition from Spain can now be found in Chiang Mai

Text: Marion Vogt Photos: Michael Vogt

The House, a very stylish and upscale restaurant, opened its new ‘outlet’ in the premises of their restaurant. They call it the Wine & Tapas Bar. There are as many variations of tapas as there are cooks in Spain, or maybe more. What is it? you may still ask. We are talking about small portions of food, which are served as part of the social scene and lifestyle.

Chef Pom with his tray of tapas offering and recommending Bud Velat.

Spaniards go to bars to converse, join friends, argue, joke and flirt. Tapas are provided to keep them going, and are rarely eaten in lieu of a main meal. The best tapas bars are in the larger cities and near universities or towns where people happen to arrive at tapas time, such as where commuters end up. Doesn’t that sound exactly as if it was invented for Chiang Mai?

Janet Powell, sports director from Prem International chatting with Karen.

Some authors assure that “the tapa” was born when, due to an illness, Spanish King Alfonso the 10th had to take small bites of food with some wine between meals. Once recovered from his sickness, the wise king ordered that in all inns of Castile’s land, wine was not to be served if not with something to eat. This royal providence has to be considered convenient and wise in order to avoid the alcoholic disturbances in the body to the ones that drank the wine. That was the origin of “la tapa”, the word of such a rooted Spanish tradition, a solid food that covered the wineglass.

Artist and designer Daeng with Nai Glinhorn.

And so this tapa’s tradition was spread out all around Spain, and continues even nowadays, and it has been adopted, adapted, and disguised in other countries.

The traditional drink to be taken with the tapa is wine, or at ‘Happy Hour’, meaning ‘before dinner’, an aperitif in the form of a fresh Mediterranean cocktail of lime, rum, mint-bases, or a stylish Apero.

Owner Hans and his creative chef, Pom.

The opening party of the Tapas and wine bar was more a ‘happening’, a ‘who’s who’ and a ‘you have to be seen’. The whole atmosphere, the friendliness of the hosts, and the quality of the tapas served made people stay a lot longer then they probably estimated.

Mine host, Hans B. Christensen, seemed to be everywhere, talking to staff, guests, advising here, explaining there, and always keeping his calm and friendly mannerisms, which made his guests feel at home and at ease from the minute they walked in.

Seated and enjoying tapas and wine are Jarenrnsak Winyar MSC, and Gai from Bake and Bite Bakery, while Puk and Sanya from the Chiangmai Mail Sales team stand behind.

The kitchen staff served endless trays with mixed tapas. The ingredients that go into the making of Spanish tapas are limitless, and the combinations can stretch as far as the imagination. Vegetables, seafood, poultry, dairy and meat are all part of this grand culinary experience.

Pierre from ‘Mopi’ Company, Lukdarn, one of the hard working waitresses and Rotarian Michael Jacobsen.

The key to quality tapas is freshness and prime ingredients, which ‘The House’ supplied with culinary taste. The waiters carried ham croquettes, potato tortillas with whisky sauce, gazpacho soup “The House way”, and tiny small pieces of pork loin with garlic mashed potato in a sweet and sour sauce, which was then even garnished with grilled tomato and olives.

A Tapas Bar means you mingle, talk and get to meet new people while enjoying wine, cocktails and tapas. From left: Cherry and Nikolaus Prachensky, Rudy van den Berg from Horeca Food Supply, Frank and Becky Weicks.

Brochette with mozzarella and tomato seemed to be amongst the favorites, as well as bites of chicken laab, already prepared on a ceramic spoon with cucumbers and everything else that had to be there, was ‘just a bite away’. It does not matter if the Italians call it antipasto, the Chinese dim sum, the Turks maze, the French hors d’oeuvres and the Spanish tapas. However, unlike their cousins around the world, tapas are more than just appetizers.

Prem International School teachers are a common sight in Chiang Mai’s community.

For the guests it was a fuse of ‘Asia meets Spain meets the whole Mediterranean Coast’, and everyone present mingled and talked, made promises to return to experience this stylish, yet down to earth ambience again, and try even more of the delicious little tapas.