HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

21st Bo Sang Umbrella Festival and San Kamphaeng Handicraft Fair

SE Asian Art Exhibition

Rotary Club of Chiangmai West celebrates New Year

Three Jewels in the Heart of Chiang Mai (Part 2)

21st Bo Sang Umbrella Festival and San Kamphaeng Handicraft Fair

Spectacular and colorful

Phitsanu Thepthong and Natchawi Srirat

The Umbrella Festival and San Kamphaeng Handicraft Fair took place at Bo Sang Village, San Kamphaeng District, where the local cottage industry of umbrella making and handicraft production is still preserved.

The festival was organized by the Chiang Mai Provincial Authorities, San Kamphaeng District and Ton Pao Municipality Office and was sponsored by the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

The opening ceremony was presided over by Deputy Minister of Interior Pramual Rujanaseri and the event attracted several thousand people. It featured various products on show and for sale, beauty contests, decorated floats with Miss Umbrella entrants, cultural shows, umbrella making, umbrella and fan painting, the Miss Bo Sang beauty pageant and folk entertainment.

Deputy Minister of Interior Pramual presses the button to officially open the festival.

The young boy and girl, seated on a beautifully decorated tricycle, wai to greet the onlookers along both sides of the main road.

Kindergarten students in the parade, some carrying the Tung flag.

The kindergarten students marching band.

 One of the beauty contestants.

 A young girl performs a sword dance to pay respect to her teacher and guests of honor before her sword dance.

Umbrella floats and young children.

 Miss Bo Sang beauty contestants had to ride a bicycle, while holding an umbrella (and look beautiful)!

SE Asian Art Exhibition

“Identities versus Globalisation?”

The Heinrich Boell Foundation launched its new exhibition project “Identities versus Globalisation?” in mid-2001, which has now become ready for general exhibition at the Chiang Mai Art Museum February 7-29.

Nguyen Dam Thuy from Vietnam, “Two Sides of the Gold Coin” which he explains as, “I believe in a future where we will strive to preserve the best of our national traditions and attributes without blindly succumbing to the power of money.”

The exhibition comprises works from almost 60 of the most promising and ambitious artists from 10 SE Asian countries (Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei, Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and of course Thailand).

Sutee Kunavichayanont’s “Share benefits - Venice of the East” from her series, “Twelve Reasons Why Thai People Don’t Need to Be Afraid of Globalisation.”

The curator of the exhibition, Dr. Jorg Loeschmann, said the theme of the exhibition stems from other Heinrich Boell Foundation initiatives in the region where identity building processes in modernisation and globalisation have become increasingly central in intellectual, conceptual and artistic manifestations.

The exhibition deals with one of the most taxing and contradictory questions that people have to face, regardless of their level of awareness of it. The resulting art conveys the deepest insights of the artists, touching the hearts and minds of the curious in one sense or another. In certain cases, it will motivate the public into a critical analysis of their own actions and how they are perceived by and relate to wider society.

In Chiang Mai, an international symposium “Cultural Dimensions of Globalisation” along with a conference “Debating Identity and Globalisation” will allow the artists, art theorists and managers as well as the public to debate these issues.

Rotary Club of Chiangmai West celebrates New Year

Text by Michael Vogt
Photos by Michael and Marion Vogt

‘Leave your worries behind and party’ was the overall theme and atmosphere at last Saturday’s New Year party at the Amari Rincome Hotel. Members and spouses turned out in full force, following the call from incoming President Preecha, who will take over the club from July. Traditionally, the incoming president is in charge of organizing this party, and he and his committee did a great job. Not only was there a sumptuous Thai buffet, but it was also arranged that each member and guest received a special gift during the night, even just a little something that made everybody laugh.

Well-versed Sergeant-at-Arms Banjob led everyone through the events of the night, hitting the right tone straight from the beginning. Being in charge of the entertainment, he organized karaoke, lucky draws, and some not-so-serious, yet competitive games.

Surprisingly, it was not difficult to convince those present to participate in the activities, and one could hear a number of Rotarians presenting a rendition of all time favorite songs, and others quietly eating food they normally wouldn’t look at. Karaoke affects different people in different ways!

A very enjoyable evening, and the club indeed deserved a break from looking after others. The Rotary Club Chiangmai West is one of the 10 Rotary Clubs in town, and will celebrate its 30th anniversary at the same time as Rotary International will celebrate its centenary next year. With this regular New Year party being so much fun, we are looking forward to the activities for that upcoming occasion.

One of the many ‘Crooners’ was Past President Michael Vogt, delivering his rendition of “My Way”, or was it “Thai Way”, or “Hit the Highway”?

The real shakers of the club - Rotarian Daniel Peterson and Past President Surachai felt the rhythm of the night.

Rotarians and guests cheering the watermelon and pumpkin seed eaters.

Incoming President Preecha had it on the tip of his tongue...

So did Immediate Past President Marc Dumur and his wife Luxami.

Three Jewels in the Heart of Chiang Mai (Part 2)

Text by Jim Messenger
Photos by Chin Ratitamkul

Last week we began to discover three jewels in the heart of Chiang Mai. These have art at its best in this city and places where it can be seen. Last week we visited the Chiang Mai City Arts and Cultural Museum, at the Three Kings Monument.

The Buddha image at Wat Chedi Luang.

Our next stop is across the street, next to the remains of the navel temple, to visit the newly opened Chiang Mai Province Local Museum. It’s a smallish space filled with amazing painted panels that run on for kilometers and focus on the Golden Age of the Kingdom of Lana in the form of King Tilokaraj the Great (1441-1487). He is the King who brought the Emerald Buddha to Chiang Mai and installed it in the giant chedi at Wat Chedi Luang. He also set up the 8th World Buddhist Council that took place in 1477, bringing monks from around the Buddhist world to Lanna. Surely this was the glory time of Lanna?

The giant chedi at Wat Chedi Luang.

The king had, through statesmanship and might of arms, extended his kingdom in all directions. Even the king of mighty Sukothai composed a poem in his honor.

The exhibition takes a slow tour around these stupendously detailed dioramas of Lanna life, ending in an inner covered courtyard that hosts some most magnificent stuccoed friezes that document the coming of Emerald Buddha to this city.

The 90 year old Lanna Architecture Museum is set behind hoary old faded rosewood walls.

Above, in the surrounding galleries, samples of Thai ways of life (including a stockade), lead one to view representations of four venerated local monks whose pivotal role in the development of Chiang Mai is thereby attested to. The whole exhibition can be experienced through a very professional-looking palm recorder/tape device that leads you through the numbered exhibits. A very nice idea. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Finally our journey leads us to the corner of Propokklao and Rachadamnoen Roads, just a hop skip and a jump away. Pause on the way to explore a small soi on the left behind the Mercedes Benz establishment. Be sure to bring some flowers with you, because here you will find a fine spirit house on the spot where it is believed King Mengrai, founder of the city, was struck by lightning and died 700 or so years ago. The spot has been zealously guarded, who knows how long, by the same family.

Move along at your own leisure down to the corner to view the shady, retiring matron, who is the third inner city jewel. This one is called the Lanna Architecture Museum. Set behind hoary old faded rosewood walls, the 90-year-old house inside the grounds is surely worth the visit. Half of stucco and half of wood, the venerable madam commands attention still and one can easily imagine the carriages driving into the ground to allow benighted and bejeweled guests to alight. Downstairs are the beginnings of a historical documentation of Chiang Mai’s domestic architecture. Also on display are some watercolors featuring local scenes. On till the end of the month. Tuesday through Saturday. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.