HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Kids' Corner

An interactive children’s play coming to Bangkok

King’s School Ely Choir coming to Chiang Mai

Studying education in Chiang Mai

Friends beyond Frontiers

Kids' Corner

Marvin and I were in Bangkok the other day and there were so many people! Everywhere we went there were huge crowds of people. Marvin thought that Bangkok must be the biggest city in the world because there were so many people, so he went to the library to do some research about this. This is what he found out:

He discovered that Bangkok is NOT the biggest city in the world. The 10 biggest cities in the world are:

1) Tokyo, Japan 26,959,000

2) Mexico City, Mexico 16,562,000

3) Sao Paulo, Brazil 16,533,000

4) New York City, U.S. 16,332,000

5) Mumbai, India 15,138,000

6) Shanghai, China 13,584,000

7) Los Angeles, U.S. 12,410,000

8) Calcutta, India 11,923,000

9) Buenos Aires, Argentina 11,802,000

10) Seoul, South Korea 11,609,000

He also found out that the number of people on the earth was about six billion. Just forty years ago it was only 5 billion people and by 2050 they think that the earth will have more than 9 billion people on it!

Marvin got out his atlas so that he could find all of the places. It took him a long time but he did it. See if you can find these cities in your atlas.

If you have ever been to one of these cities, Marvin would love to hear about it. You can send your letters to:

Marg & 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 is everyone in the world doing at exactly the same time?
2) What does a leg wear to keep warm?
3) What do you get if you cross a chili with a poodle?
4) What to do you get if you cross a pig with a porcupine?


1) Growing older
2) A knee cap
3) A hot dog
4) A porkerpine

Bye from Marg and Marvin

An interactive children’s play coming to Bangkok

The Bangkok Community Theatre, a non-profit dramatics society in Bangkok, will be staging an interactive production of “Aladdin” for children this month.

The Bangkok Community Theatre will be staging an interactive production of “Aladdin” for children this month at the British Club’s Suriwong Room in Bangkok.

Although designed for children 4 to 9 years old, parents will also enjoy this unique type of live theatre-in-the-round, which stimulates the imagination and involves the audience in the action throughout! Children are encouraged to come dressed in costume to add to the fun.

Come early to make a simple musical craft that the children can use during the overture of the show (craft included in the ticket price) or stay late and enjoy the delicious picnic barbeque, sweets and snacks provided by the British Club on the lawn (refreshments are not included in the ticket price).

Aladdin will be performed in the British Club’s Suriwong Room, twice daily at 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. on November 29 & 30 and December 5 (public holiday), 6 & 7. Tickets (180 baht each) will be available throughout November at the British Club, tel. 02 234-0247.

King’s School Ely Choir coming to Chiang Mai

Performances at Prem, Luce Chapel, Amari Rincome Hotel and at the Church of the Seven Fountains

Katherine Voll

On the evening of December 17, the King’s School Ely Choir from Ely, England will give a special performance as part of Prem’s Arts Festival. The King’s Choir (or “King’s Barbers”, as they are known) will be staying at Prem for three days during their eight day tour of Thailand, all profits of which will go to the Phayao Women’s Development Fund, an organization which raises money to fund secondary education for hilltribe girls.

The King’s Barbers

The “King’s Barbers” is a talented group of thirty male singers, aged thirteen to eighteen. They were founded twelve years ago out of a group of cathedral singers and have performed widely in Europe, in Denmark, the Czech Republic, Poland, and Germany. They sing a wide variety of music, from authentic American barbershop to spirituals and original compositions. The group’s choir director, Peter North, has even arranged a special piece specifically for this tour, titled “You Can Smile” (inspired by Thailand, “The Land of Smiles”). For the Arts Festival, the “King’s Barbers” will perform first alone and then join up with Prem’s a capella group and choir to sing a selection of Christmas songs.

Other stops on the choir’s tour include a trip to Maekok, where they will visit a hilltribe village and meet some of the girls that Phayao Fund works with. Their schedule also includes a performance at Luce Chapel, Payap University on December 18, as well as one at the Amari Rincome Hotel December 20 and finally at the Church of the Seven Fountains December 21. The “King’s Barbers” certainly have a full trip planned, but it’s all for a good cause.

Prem looks forward to hosting such a talented group of singers and sharing with them a magical evening of music, art and good, old-fashioned Christmas cheer. The Prem Arts Festival certainly promises to be one to remember!

Studying education in Chiang Mai: Uncommon wisdom from unlikely people: the miracle of gifted students

On November 11, something extraordinary occurred in Chiang Mai. At Nakorn Payap International School, four secondary school students participated in a speech contest, and the results were nothing less than breathtaking.

The first speaker was Calvin Teerawatanahont, a Thai 7th grader who though short in stature, towered above the assembled students and teachers through the sheer power of his oratorical skills and verbal dexterity. He suggested that as privileged international school students, they could use their experiences to create alternative mechanisms to “encourage friendship between the countries around the world” so that “people of different countries could live together in harmony.”

Calvin was followed by Kim Kyung Min, a 9th grade Korean national who has studied English seriously for only nine months. Mr. Kim delivered an impassioned speech to the packed auditorium. He managed to convey a message that was nationalistic without a hint of ethnocentrism, one that was particular in focus though universal in its theme. To his Korean classmates, he urged them to emulate Kim Jang Hwan who overcame extreme war-induced poverty to become one of South Korea’s most famous personalities. To the entire audience, his jeremiad was essentially a plea for students to “dare to deal with” challenges that can be only met with “courage, belief and strong minds.”

Perhaps the most impressive crowd-pleaser was Kanyakrit Vongkiathajorn, a 7th grade Thai national. She rose to the podium with the grace of a celebrity, the demeanor of a seasoned politician and the wisdom of a distinguished university professor. Her speech, “Why the world should be rid of poverty,” was a powerful reminder of the insidious nature of the cumulative effects of indifference by the privileged towards the plight of the wretched of the earth. In eight short minutes, she convincingly argued that the structure of the world economy and exploitation of third world countries by the structural adjustment policies promoted by global economic institutions like the IMF and World Bank, leads to global poverty.

I have taught hundreds of first and second year undergraduate students at Cornell University and few wrote short papers of Kanyakrit’s caliber. Perhaps fewer still have the ability to deliver speeches with such poise, uninhibited by the reaction of the listeners due to an unshakable moral authority on which her arguments were based.

She was followed by Anna Bezemer, a precocious 9th grade Dutch national whose soft voice was backed up by a wave of powerful statistics and closely reasoned arguments about the horrors of overpopulation. “There are so many problems related to overpopulation, such as economics, and the value and quality of life that I couldn’t talk about because I didn’t have enough time, but are almost as important as energy or food,” she said plaintively, imploring the audience to heed her words. “People are not doing enough to save our world. The leaders of every nation of the world need to work for it, work really hard!”

What was striking about these brilliant young students is that they are non-native speakers and have intellectual gifts that are absent from most university students and, unfortunately, a majority of employed English teachers in Chiang Mai.

In particular, the depth of the analysis of Miss Bezemer and Miss Kanyakrit ordinarily requires the benefit of superior undergraduate training. So, there they were: two young secondary school female students, presenting themselves in informal attire, standing in for the rest of humanity silenced by the inarticulateness of poverty and the hidden injuries of extreme disadvantages. They were unadorned by fame, unaccompanied by a phalanx of clever spin-doctors (doesn’t this speak volumes about the decline of moral seriousness in contemporary politics?).

It’s refreshing to observe the potential for greatness that is presaged in young minds uncorrupted by greed and the illusions of grandeur.

All of these four exemplary Nakorn Payap International School students were able to articulate profound ideas with a sense of personal immediacy and political urgency. They delivered speeches with a buoyant youthful confidence emboldened by a moral vision of a world transformed; a world that even if leaders heeded their calls, might not be entirely free from serious conflicts and social problems. Yet, for them and for us, such a world would better exemplify the ideals of a new civilization that was promised during the European Enlightenment but never completely fulfilled.

Friends beyond Frontiers

International Day at CMU

Text by Marion Vogt
Photos by Chin Rattitamakul

On November 14, CMU celebrated their second annual International Day at the center for promotion of arts and culture. The area behind the center was transformed into an international fairground where visitors could walk from booth to booth, receiving educational information as well as tasting the food of the respective countries.

CMU President Dr. Nipon Tuwanon during the opening address.

The MC’s were truly international, but were in Thai traditional clothes. Kristina Boyer (exchange student from Northfield, Minnesota, 3rd year Communications) and Supat Chupradit (4th year Science at the Faculty of Associated Medicine) welcomed the guests and led everyone through the afternoon without any major delays.

The consular corps of Chiang Mai showed up in full force, to support their countries’ booths. In his welcoming address, CMU Vice President Dr. Tanun Anumanrajadhon emphasized internationalization, globalization, and the decrease of differences between nations if people make the effort to accept each other. He said that CMU helps students to make new friends, establish friendships between nations and accept differences in language and social behavior, since we all actually have much in common.

Representatives from each faculty and country, some in national costumes.

The opening address was given by CMU President Dr. Nipon Tuwanon who thanked the consuls and honorary consuls of America, Germany, France and the UK for their support, and the teachers for the tremendous work they did in making the afternoon possible, plus the students who worked hard to share their home cultures with everybody.

The consuls of Chiang Mai showed up in full force (from right) Thomas Baude (France), David Hopkinson (UK), Eric Rubin (USA), John Gunther from AUA, Hagen Dirksen (Germany) and CMU President Dr. Nipon Tuwanon.

The conducted tour of the booths and displays showed the immense possibilities the students have, regarding an international education. This included International Degree Programs in Germany, Summer Studies in the US, the benefits of study in Australia or to experience America as an Au Pair.

The afternoon’s entertainment continued with dances by Japanese students, duets by Laotian, Vietnamese and Cambodian students, Canadian and South America Latin Dances by Canadian students, an American variety show, Traditional Thai Circle Dance and Roum Ouay Porn by the Thai students and ended at sunset with Candle Lighting music by all participants.