HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Kids' Corner

Black Lahu Hilltribe Village School gets new canteen and kitchen

Studying education in Chiang Mai

Hume Lake Christian Camp - a life-changing experience

Grace International Garage Sale deemed a huge success

Kids' Corner

Have you thought about what it would be like if there weren’t any rules to follow? What if you could go to school anytime that you wanted? What if you could drive on any side of the road or there weren’t any stop signs or traffic lights?

Life would be very difficult and confusing without any rules. Rules are made to:

- Protect people from getting hurt

- Help people do their jobs properly

- Help people to be treated fairly

- Help people to know what is right and wrong

- Protect the animals, environment and other people’s property

Sometimes we don’t like following the rules because we want to do something else but always remember that rules are there to keep us safe.

Do you have any special rules in your house? Write to Marvin and tell him about them. You can send your letters to:

Marg and Marvin
Chiangmai Mail
156-158 Im-boon Housing Estate
Muangsamut Road
T. Changmoi, A. Muang,
Chiang Mai 50300
Email: [email protected]
Fax: 053 234 145


1. What kind of cakes are not very nice to eat?
2. What did the dentist say when his wife made a cake?
3. Why did the cook put the cake in the freezer?
4. What do elves eat for snack?


1. Cakes of soap
2. Can I do the filling?
3. He wanted icing on it
4. Fairy cakes

Bye from Marg and Marvin

Black Lahu Hilltribe Village School gets new canteen and kitchen

Dutch charity groups help hill tribe children

Annelie Hendriks

The Gerald and Samsara Foundation from the Netherlands joined forces to help the Black Lahu hilltribe, in a small village called Huai Naam Rin, one hour drive from Chiang Mai.

The new canteen and attached kitchen - when the children return from their mid-term holiday they will be able to enjoy lunch in a beautiful new building.

The Gerald Foundation, named after Gerald Jan Rohmensen who dedicated many years of his short life to the well being of villagers, takes care of projects in the educational and medical field, and sponsors scholarships for children who want to study at the middle school in Mae Ka Chan. Every two months they send a medical team to help the small and very poor village, with the help of the McCormick Hospital.

Teachers, representatives of the Gerald foundation and villagers take a break for a photo after completion of the building.

Near the village is a primary school for Lahu and Thai children with eight teachers and 196 pupils. The condition of the classrooms is acceptable but their canteen and the kitchen were appalling. Pipes and taps were leaking, with the result that there was never enough water during the dry season. The Gerald Foundation decided to sponsor the construction of a new canteen and kitchen, build a water tank and renovate the toilets.

Annelie Hendriks from the Gerald Foundation received a certificate from the headmaster of the school.

On October 24 all facilities were ready and the teachers, with the help of the pupils, organized an opening ceremony for the representatives of the Gerald Foundation. Representatives of parents and the villagers attended and everybody promised to keep up the cleaning and the maintenance of the facilities.

Next week the children will be back from their mid-term holiday and they will be able to enjoy lunch in a beautiful new building. The Samsara Foundation, also from the Netherlands, will donate furniture and kitchen equipment for this project

Studying education in Chiang Mai: What Makes a Good Teacher? Three Perspectives

by Alexei Andre Waters

In a stable market system, the expansion of private language schools and the diversification of choice should satisfy the demands of students and the needs of teachers; and in so doing, generate reasonable profit margins for managers. Yet this seldom occurs in Chiang Mai. The main reason is that calculations made on the basis of a crass utilitarian doctrine govern the private language educational market.

A good indication of this can be observed in the divergences of managers, teachers and students in their views about the characteristics of good teachers working in private language schools.

For managers/owners/investors, the best teachers are western-born foreigners who are able to attract new students and persuade enrolled students to re-register. Previous teaching experience is appreciated, though not mandatory. Professionalism, effusively praised in theory, is seldom rewarded in practice. So long as the teachers are reliable, satisfy a minimal level of competence and follow directions - no matter how contradictory or inane - managers remain content.

There is nothing especially unusual with this calculation except that it masks some non-market considerations that reduce academic quality: granting higher market value to teachers based on their particular physical attributes. The blond, blue-eyed, fair-skinned foreigner of European decent is considered inherently superior to his darker-skinned relatives.

These sentiments may have finally been discredited at home, but it governs the educational market in Thailand though with some notable exceptions. How else to explain why South Asians with post-graduate degrees speaking the Queen’s English find it much more difficult to gain employment at the most lucrative schools, though their white counterparts with lower levels of education are accepted carte blanche?

The most interesting views are from students. Students at private language schools, in virtue of paying significant fees for their study, value competence less than personality traits: affability, humor, clarity of enunciation - perhaps in that order.

That’s why pleasure (sanuk) remains a priceless commodity and structures the entire educational market. Teachers learn quickly that if they want to maximize their income opportunities, they need to transform themselves into “edutainers.” That’s an inelegant neologism, but one that captures market sentiments better than alternative platitudes.

Can there be any surprise, then, why successful English language teachers in Thailand emphasize games with little intellectual or linguistic merit? Managers are well aware of the situation and find no moral qualms about promising students that every course will pay homage to Dionysian values. The two magic words, “not serious” generate ebullient smiles throughout classrooms, corridors, and teacher rooms.

The problem arises when ambitious students need to prepare for interviews in English or submit a writing sample for their applications. So anaesthetized to serious study, they frequently revolt the moment they realize that progress at the higher proficiency levels is hardly enjoyable or interesting most of the time. Managers then confront a dilemma: should they give students want they want or what they need? And the winner is...

Yet, in fairness to students, they are ignorant about their particular linguistic needs and schools usually lack academic directors who can offer solid academic advice. (How many, after all, have taught any academic subject at colleges or universities in their home countries or can advise students how to prepare for the rigors of western academia?). The Australia Centre, British Council and Princeton Review are the most exceptional cases.

To the credit of teachers - even backpackers with minimal qualifications - they have respectable standards. They value teachers with the ability to adapt to challenging classroom dynamics, manage lethargic and disruptive young learners and motivate pampered rich students. And the willingness to assist others who are ill-prepared for their assigned courses is seriously valued.

However, precious few teachers have any financial or career-enhancing incentives to expend more than what is necessary to cater to the needs of students and mangers. That reinforces a situation that is scandalous for a country in dire need of increasing the English proficiency level of its labor force. The situation is worse locally since Chiang Mai International Airport will soon establish itself as a regional transportation hub.

Utilitarianism of the sort expounded upon by the likes of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill in the 19th century is more appealing in theory than in practice. One only has to consider what happened to India under the sway of utilitarian calculus to understand that the greatest good wasn’t distributed to the greatest numbers. So too in Chiang Mai: as long as managers, students and teachers have different criteria for identifying good teachers, only a small minority of the inhabitants of this province will find anything good or great that is worthy of admiration.

Hume Lake Christian Camp - a life-changing experience

Tessa Shockey

Hume Lake, a Christian camp based in the state of California in America, came to Chiang Mai this October. Grades 7-9 participated in the camp October 16-20 followed by Grades 10-12 October 21-25. The majority of the young people came from Chiang Mai International School and Grace International School; however, students also traveled from Chiang Rai and other areas of Asia.

A middle school student is drug across the ground during chariot races - Anna Wright (GIS - Gr. 7) on the blanket, is pulled by Julee Denney left (GIS Gr. 9) and Rachel Aspinwall (GIS Gr. 9).

The camp was held at Wang Tarn Resort outside Chiang Mai with Hume Lake camp bringing staff to serve as musicians, recreation leaders and counselors. Teachers from Grace International School, parents, others in the community and Marcus Schmaling, youth pastor at Chiang Mai Community Church also assisted the staff.

Middle school students perform in a 5-legged race (from right) Peter Schachtel (CMIS Gr. 8), Anna Wannemacher (CMIS Gr. 7), Leanne Jeffreys (CMIS Gr. 7), Madeleine Paulsson (GIS - Gr. 7), Frannie Jackson (GIS - Gr. 7).

Rich Baker of California was the keynote speaker who led the evening meetings. Hume Lake director, Cliff Carey, said, “The coolest thing about Hume Lake, Thailand, is that it’s no different than camp at home. People come, and God changes their lives. I cannot wait to come back again.” Dennis Grees, a student from Grace International said, “This camp has shown me the best change I could ever make.”

High school students beat a makeshift drum to cheer their team on to victory (from left) Michael Lyons (GIS, Gr. 12), Walt DeMoss (GIS staff), Josh Rideout (CMIS Gr. 10), Luke Sandell (CMIS - Gr.10).

Recreation was part of every day’s schedule. Teams competed throughout the week in relay races, water competitions, such as the belly flop, and camp favorites such “Kajabe Can-Can”, “Steal the Bacon” and “Dizzy Bat”. The games were exciting, fun and innovative, as well as competitive and filled with team spirit. The winning team won championship T-shirts.

During the dizzy bat race, Gina Schlatter (CMIS, Gr. 9) attempts to run an obstacle course after spinning around 10 times. Two Hume Lake staff in the background.

Each day there was also enough free time to hang out with friends and staff, swim, and play sports. Some chose to have jam sessions. There were also opportunities to go to seminars that dealt with life issues that teens face.

Students competed against each other showcasing their singing abilities. To vote, the audience cheered for their favorites, and a decibel reader was used to accurately determine who had the most fans. There were judges to critique the performances as well as the performers themselves. The two middle school finalists were Luke Ryan and James Inglis. Luke Ryan won with his rendition of Billy Joel’s “The Piano Man”. The two high school finalists were Jenny Christian and Chris Kehler, with Jenny winning with her remake of the Dixie Chicks country western song, “Goodbye Earl.”

A high school team performs a robotic cheer - on the left Anna Collins-Wakeman (CMIS Gr. 12) is on Michael Peguero’s (CMIS - Gr. 11) shoulders. On the right, Kim Peguero (CMIS Gr.10) is on Zach Hallead’s (GIS Gr. 11) shoulders.

The Hume Lake band led the students in times of worship with music that was upbeat and contemporary. This was an important ingredient in the camp experience. Rich Baker challenged students in their faith through his powerful teaching from the Bible. He showed his enthusiasm throughout the week, “I want to encourage people to never forget what He [God] has done for us when times get tough.” Baker’s motto was, “Come on Jesus, help us out!”

The students made many life-changing decisions and commitments as a result of the teaching and worship. Jiyun Moon, from Chiang Mai International, said, “I learned how to love Him [God] the right way.” Jeremy Nigh from Chiang Mai International School commented about the recreation, worship, and teaching, “It was exhilarating! It was emotionally satisfying, and spiritually energizing. It was the best camp yet!” Shemaiah Khopang from Grace International School summed up the experience saying, “I can’t use words to explain it. All I can say is, if anyone has the chance to come, come, because it’s worth it. The staff is really special. It’s encouraging to see them on fire for God.” Hume Lake was a life-changing experience.

Grace International Garage Sale deemed a huge success

When the first Grace International Garage Sale was 3 years ago-held in the parking lot of the school, it was well received, but this when Grace International School organized their annual rummage/yard/garage sale, approx. 1000 people attended.

The students tried their entrepreneur skills by selling hot dogs.

37 families, individuals and NGO’s rented the available booth space, and in addition to used items on sale, there were delicious hamburgers/hot dogs/desserts and even shakes to stifle the hunger and quench the thirst of shoppers.

Most of the people who rented booth space were selling their unwanted items which might have been exactly what somebody else was looking for. Even a few people were seen selling Christmas decorations. Others came with homemade salsa, peanut butter and jam.

The students from Hallelujah Tae Kwon Do impressed the crowd with their skills.

Students from grades 7-up participated by selling food, donating items, by having a car wash and other things in order to raise money for their particular class. Money raised by the individual classes goes to the class funds. Seniors students received the door receipts to use for their class trip or individual senior projects. The rental space money is being used towards the annual Senior Scholarship given at graduation - this year will be the second scholarship, and will be given in June, 2004.

The new ‘Grace Sports Booster Club’ had a booth selling items with the GIS logo and the Tiger mascot.

The Hallelujah Tae Kwan Do was a terrific addition - the crowd loved it, when they showed their skills.

The senior slave auction was a highlight as well. This year’s sale was twice as big as last year.