Chiang Mai treated to the Wonders of Three Cultures
November 28-30 saw the three day event, the Wonders of
Three Cultures, Laos, Burma and Thailand, held in Chiang Mai. It was
officially opened by Vasing Kittikul, Executive Vice President and Customer
Service Department of Thai Airways International (THAI).
Three Kings Monument
At the opening of the event, he said this was jointly
organized by several sectors to promote tourism and the airline industry,
with Chiang Mai is as the aviation hub, linking the neighboring countries.
During the three day event the highlights were the
performances of art and culture from Burma, Laos and Thailand.
Wonders of 3 Cultures in Chiang Mai was really a ‘once in a lifetime’
event. Three countries, three cultures, side by side on a spectacular stage
set against a magnificent backdrop of fountains, water projections and laser
harp. (L to R) Myanmar, Thailand and Laos. (Photo: Michael Vogt)
Luang Prabang in Laos, is the former capital of Lan Xang
(the kingdom of a million elephants), and was listed by UNESCO as one of the
world’s cultural heritage sites worthy of preservation. The town retains
the truly traditional Laotian lifestyle, boasting serene Buddhist temples,
and a slow pace of life.
fine art Karaweik troupe perform a breathtaking keem dance.
Meanwhile, Myanmar has always been a land of great
culture for more than 2,000 years. This can be seen in its shimmering
bell-shaped pagodas, gilded with layers of gold leaf, pierce the skylines of
the cities and towns, traditional Burmese style teak-wood carvings, charms
of golden pagodas, expertise in silver and lacquer ware.
Paothong Thongjua team from Bangkok presented a stunning fashion show.
In addition, Thailand’s Lanna, the land of cultural
charms, with its beautiful natural environment and harmony in art and
culture. Despite extensive modernization, Lanna still maintains its rich
traditions, authentic lifestyles, crafts and architectures. Chiang Mai as
the centre of the area always impresses visitors with rich traditional
environment and relaxing atmosphere.
grand and spectacular fashion show featured dazzling antique costumes
modeled by the Chiang Mai based Sabun-nga modeling troupe and Bangkok-based
The cultural performances by the Three neighboring countries of Laos,
Burma and Thailand hosted by Thai Airways International were very
impressive. Suthep Seubsantiwongse, the executive vice president of THAI and
Chiang Mai MP Yaowapha Wongsawas presided over the opening ceremony and
delivered welcoming addresses to all the guests including Chiang Mai deputy
governor Prinya Parnthong, Chiang Mai Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn, the
Laotian Ambassador to Thailand, and Chao Duangduen na Chiang Mai.
dance troupe performed traditional dance from Laos.
Trade and investment opportunities in Northern Thailand
German Asia-Pacific Association delegation visits Chiang Mai
An investment group of mainly businessmen and government
officials from Europe have been in northern Thailand to investigate
opportunities to increase trade and investment relations between the two
Dirksen received a gift of appreciation from Siriporn Nurugsa, the director
of the BOI’s Northern Region Investment and Economic Center. (Photo by
The opening address, at a seminar at the Royal Princess
Hotel, was given by Deputy Governor Thongchai Wongrianthong who was proud of
the excellent cooperation between the Chamber of Commerce, the northern
region investment and economic center of the BOI and the Industrial
Federations who co-sponsored the meeting.
Governor Thongchai stated that this exchange of ideas will lead to mutually
beneficent activities in the future. (Photo by Michael Vogt)
Hagen Dirksen, Honorary Consul of the Federal Republic of
Germany also welcomed the delegates, who spoke on the ‘Rose of the
North’ with its rich history, unique culture, beauty, and hospitably and
exceptionally good food. He named tourism as still the major industry in the
Northern Province with more than 50,000 Germans visiting every year, but
adding that Chiang Mai is also becoming known as a place for retirement.
Reasons for this include the moderate climate, access to an excellent and
inexpensive health service system, an affordable cost of living, and a low
Hagen Dirksen’s summary included the evolving as a
regional ‘education hub’, the small and medium size enterprises
(SME’s) in handicraft, garment, pottery, art design and furniture
industries, but most of all Chiang Mai is a center for agricultural
production and agribusiness. He said, “The fertile valleys and lower
slopes of the mountains in the North provide an excellent production base
not only for rice, but also for vegetables, fruit trees, flowers, and other
cash crops. The processed products are mainly exported to Japan and other
Asian countries, but also to Europe.”
Hagen Dirksen did not stop there, as despite the positive
factors mentioned in infrastructure development, Chiang Mai is facing a
number of major challenges. There is a need for an efficient and
cost-effective public transport system and adequate wastewater treatment
plants, as well as an effective solid waste management system.
In the regional context, there are infrastructure
projects envisaged that could become subject to international bidding. These
projects, mainly coordinated under the Greater Mekong Sub-Region (GMS) and
Economic Quadrangle program, are aimed at developing regional north-south
and east-west economic corridors. However, as the implementation of GMS
plans has far-reaching political, social and economic implications for the
entire region, it is difficult to predict when these mega-projects will be
started, let alone completed.
Naturally, the question of funding these projects is also
a challenging issue, but as regional tourism and trade is growing rapidly,
especially between South-China and Thailand, so are the opportunities for
regional cooperation and foreign investment.
Rachan Veeraphun, the chairman of the joint economic
quadrangle chambers committee (JEQC) agreed 100 percent with Hagen
Dirksen’s speech and confirmed the importance of the quadrangle project
and pointed out that this year it will actually be six countries because
Vietnam and Bangladesh will be joining.
He updated the delegation on the progress of important
road construction in China, Thailand and Laos, with three major roads now
under construction. The condition of the road in Laos is very poor so the
Thai and Chinese governments with the support from the Asian Development
Bank are jointly helping Laos with a low interest loan of USD 30 million
from each party to build the 228 km road which is expected to be finished in
Another road is almost finished to reduce the traveling
time from the Thai border to China to only six hours. This is the so called
He also appraised the delegates of the new Thailand and China Free Trade
Area (FTA) which already increased the volume of exports to China by 560
percent last October. In return, vegetables and fruit import to Thailand
increased 175 percent.
Two artists exhibit at Gongdee Gallery
When Vichit Chaiwong, the owner of Gongdee studio and
gallery, invites young artists to have an exhibition in his studio, it is an
honor. Vichit, who graduated himself from Silpakorn University, went on to
develop his skills under the watchful eye of Professor Aub Sanasen, who has
had a significant influence on Vichit’s work.
Sanasen in front of ‘our’ favorite painting - a very bright colorful
portrait. (Photo by Michael Vogt)
Professor Aub Sanasen also had a significant influence on
one of the young artists featured in the ongoing Gongdee Gallery exhibition
- being his daughter U-kaew, and as a father he was obviously very proud
that his youngest daughter is following the family tradition.
U-kaew Sanasen, when asked when she started to paint,
became quiet and then said, “Oh, I don’t remember, I paint all my life
... My mother is a musician, my father a painter, and my sister Ormkwan
Sanasen has been recognized as one of Bangkok’s finest multi-talented
people. So for me to follow what I like to do best was never a matter of
in front of his personnel favorite sculpture. (Photo by Michael Vogt)
U-kaew, who already has a BA in Fine Arts, is doing an MA
course at Silpakorn University and her paintings have changed from life and
imaginative to figure studies. They are still lively and colorful, but with
a huge emphasis on technique, method and style.
The second artist is Sarawuth Thongkampa, an honors
student who, since 1987, has received many awards for his sculptures. Over
the years, Sarawuth’s sculptures have changed from detailed playful
sculptures to cleaner lines and when asked which was his favorite, he
quickly chose a tall wooden lady, looking like a Roman figure in shining
left) Vichit Chaiwong, MD Gongdee Gallery, U-Kaew Sanasen, Sarawuth
Thongkampa and Professor Aub Sanasen. (Photo by Michael Vogt)
Both artists, U-Kaew Sanasen and Sarawuth Thongkampa, are on exhibition
at Gongdee Gallery until December 31.
Thanksgiving Day Dinner
in Chiang Mai
But the turkey, duck and chicken didn’t thank anybody
Photos by Michael Vogt
In Chiang Mai, with so many global citizens, every nation
celebrates its own special days, and restaurants offer national promotions.
However, when it comes to Thanksgiving, a real American holiday, it is not
that easy to find a proper turkey dinner with all the trimmings except in
big hotels, simply because Thai food is cooked in a wok and not in a large
oven needed for the big bird.
Tur-duck-en (Tur from turkey, duck and en from chicken).
We were lucky enough to be invited to an All-American
Thanksgiving dinner, and it was, like so many other aspects of life, not
about stuffing yourself with food, but sharing a meal with friends and
Our little Thanksgiving Dinner started with us sitting
around in beautiful sunshine, enjoying a breeze, which almost smelled like
‘winter’ - yes, 16 degrees is freezing cold in Chiang Mai! Tabasco
spiced warm pecans were passed around to warm us up.
like a festive Christmas table.
By the time for the main course - the turkey - we were
ready. Out it came, but it was not an ordinary turkey. It was a
‘Tur-duck-en’. What is a Tur-duck-en? It is a turkey stuffed with oyster
dressing, stuffed with a duck stuffed with rice, stuffed with a chicken
stuffed with sausage and apple stuffing. Easy, when you know how!
a little bit more whipping cream would be perfect on my pumpkin pie,
wouldn’t it? Bud, Richard and Marc in the background waiting his turn.
It tasted as delicious as it looked. Huge portions of
Tur-duck-en, chilled asparagus with mustard sauce, baked pumpkin with sour
cream, homemade cranberry sauce, gravy, the stuffing - it was such a great
meal! Afterwards everyone stuffed themselves with pumpkin pie, mincemeat pie
(no meat, but rum-raisins and nuts) and whipping cream.
It was nice to be amongst friends, and to give thanks to the turkey, duck
and chicken who made it all happen!
is all about sharing a meal with friends and family.
‘specialists’ (Marc and Michael) found cutting the turkey was not an