Chinese New Year Festival celebrated spectacularly in red
Thai-Chinese people gathered in Lao Jow Alley to
celebrate their New Year, with Chiang Mai Municipality as the co-host. Along
Thapae Road all the way to the alley at Wororos Market, thousands of people
watched the grand parade, which ran from Thapae Gate to Lao Jow Alley. The
opening ceremony was presided over by Thongchai Wongrianthong, Chiang
Mai’s deputy governor and Chinese consul Peng Ren Tong.
Dr. Ken Santitam, Chiang Mai Municipality’s permanent
secretary, said the objective of this event was to create unity amongst the
Thai-Chinese community, Chiang Mai people, tourists and visitors.
The parade represented members of associations, clubs, educational
institutes, and business entrepreneurs. In the alley, the shops were all
decorated in Chinese style and there were many kinds of Chinese food
available for the festival visitors to experience.
left) Dr. Ken Santitam, Chiang Mai municipality’s permanent secretary;
Thongchai Wongrianthong, Chiang Mai deputy governor and the Chinese consul
Peng Ren Tong joined in cutting the ribbon to begin the ceremony.
maidens dressed in traditional Chinese garments took part in the grand
parade, making a memory they may never forget.
Chinese “warriors” march through the streets of Chiang Mai.
pretty young lasses helped Chiang Mai bring in the Year of the Monkey at the
Chinese Dragon featured prominently at the celebration.
Chinese figure marching in the parade.
people participated in the festival in Lao Jow Alley where the shops were
decorated in Chinese style.
Prem hosts Asia Pacific IB Workshops
Beginning Jan. 17 and continuing until Feb. 9,
international school teachers from around the Asia Pacific region have been
flooding Prem’s campus, rushing off to classes, taking part in workshops
and generally remembering what it is like to be students again. For three
weeks, Prem Tinsulanonda International School is hosting the International
Baccalaureate Organization’s professional development workshops.
teachers Deborah Beran and Susan Searle take time out from PYP workshops to
pose for a photo.
The workshops are divided into three sessions, which are
geared towards three different teaching categories: the Primary Years
Program (PYP) which was held Jan. 17-19, the Middle Years Program (MYP),
held Jan. 23-25, and the IB Diploma Program, which will be held from Feb.
Prem began hosting this conference in March of 2001 and
in January 2003 it became the first center in the Asia Pacific region to be
given a franchise to provide IB workshops. This conference is now becoming a
yearly tradition at Prem.
workshop leaders (left to right): Justine Smyth, Linda Douglas, Gerry
Campbell, Sandy Paton, Peter Kenney, Louise Hurley, Christine Gilliland,
with Prem Conference Coordinator Ezra Schuster and Prem Center President
“The Prem Center is more than a rapidly-expanding
school,” explained Lister Hannah, the president of Prem Center. “Amongst
the other things it does, it runs IB teacher workshops for the Asia Pacific
region. These workshops draw from more than 70 schools from 20 different
Participating teachers, he added, have flown in from
countries as widespread as Australia, India, China, Singapore, Indonesia,
Malaysia and Vietnam.
workshop participants hard at work (and enjoying every minute of it!).
While some of the workshops will focus on more general
teaching strategies, other workshops cater to specific subject areas. This
year’s IB Diploma workshops, for example, are designed for Biology,
Chemistry and Physics teachers, subject areas in which it is particularly
crucial to stay up-to-date. Enrollment for the workshops has been high and
Prem will be hosting more than 200 participants over the course of the
“This is an exciting opportunity for teachers to keep
up to date on the PYP, MYP and IB philosophies and to hone their teaching
skills. It’s also a great way for them to stay networked and meet up with
other teachers in the region,” said Ezra Schuster, the conference
coordinator at Prem.
The feedback from workshop participants thus far has been
very encouraging. Ezra Schuster notes that, although many of these teachers
have attended professional development conferences in the past, several
participants have commented that their experience at Prem has been truly
“Prem is happy to be able to serve the international
teaching community in this way,” Schuster added. “We have the facilities
to provide a great regional center for these kinds of workshops. Hopefully
the participants will walk away having enjoyed themselves and having
acquired skills which will make them even better teachers.”
Australia Day celebrated at the Grillstation
Tie me kangaroo down, sport!
What do Germans, Australians and Americans have in
common? They all like to party and for the 7th consecutive year, a large
group of these nationalities met at the Grillstation for one of Gypsy’s
sparerib BBQ nights. It has become a tradition to celebrate the Australian
National Day at Gypsy’s place.
mixed crowd from the US and Australia, exchange students who study at CMU
and those who came from Perth with Prof. Ian Fairnie in the middle (back
row). (Photo by Michael Vogt)
Another reason for the celebration is the friendship
between Gypsy and exchange-student Professor Ian Fairnie from the Curtin
University Perth, who once again brought his students (8 Australians and 15
Americans) to Chiang Mai.
time friends (R) Gypsy and Ian Fairnie with students and teachers from CMU
and Curtin University (Perth). (Photo by Michael Vogt)
Australia is known as a country with many multicultural
communities, which explains in some ways the Aussie open-handed approach to
life, and Prof Ian’s group is on a tour to experience three different
Asian cultures: Buddhism in Thailand, the completely different understanding
of Buddhism in China and the Christian way in the Philippines.
(L) from the Grillstation relies on “hands on” experience when he
prepares his BBQ ribs at his restaurant opposite the Porn Ping Tower Hotel.
(Photo by Michael Vogt)
Prof. Ian Fairnie said, “The understanding of a
different culture lies in the foundation of its religion and getting to
understand the differences is part of our undergraduate students program. I
did not come with them to teach or preach, they have to experience, they
have to ask questions and they have to participate. 30 percent of their
final grade will rely on this trip.”
But the Australian National Day was not a study night. It
was a mix of cultures that had one thing in common. Let’s party and have
Another look at Hall of Opium Museum in Sob Ruak
You’re a dope if you don’t go
In the heart of the Golden Triangle where Laos, Myanmar
and Thailand meet at Sob Ruak, 10 kilometers north of Chiang Saen in Chiang
Rai province, a huge new museum is well worth visiting.
tunnel of hallucinations.
The Hall of Opium Museum teaches the visitor, in a very
educational and entertaining way, the story of opium and its derivatives
morphine and heroin in vivid set pieces, multi-media displays, very well
made life-sized wax models of historical figures, beautiful objects such as
carved pipes, opium weights, pillows and lamps, a carefully reconstructed
cargo of an 18th-century British ship carrying opium and a opium den in
Thailand, photographs and written commentary.
Chinese merchant, smoking opium.
The exhibition starts with a long dark and cold tunnel
which at first you cannot see the end. Bas-reliefs of skeletal figures in
great pain accompany you until you reach the end of the tunnel of despair,
danger, fear, suffering and mystery.
The story of opium includes interesting, but also
disturbing, information about the background of the opium wars, the
relationship between drugs and crime controlled by criminal syndicates, the
worldwide efforts to control trafficking and the physical and psychological
effects of taking drugs.
view of three countries - Laos, Burma and Thailand.
Case studies of people, from different ethnic and
national backgrounds, affected by drug addiction are very illustrative and
impressive. As is the Gallery of Excuses or the Gallery of Victims in which
famous persons who fell prey to drugs show the descent from euphoria to
great suffering and lost talents.
It is an example for many other museums in Thailand. The
Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Mae Fah Luang Foundation, with a loan
from the Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund of the Japanese Government and
with help of the Ministry of the People’s Republic of China has done a
very good job. It is also praiseworthy that the museum does not avoid
difficult subjects such as legalizing drugs, medical uses of opium and
drugs, crime and corruption.
Research for this museum began in 1994 and is the result
of an initiative started in 1988 by Her Royal Highness Princess
Srinagarindra, the late Princess Mother of His Majesty the King of Thailand.
She started to rehabilitate the forests and the lives of the people living
in the heart of the Golden Triangle in Thailand, ending their dependence on
opium growing and its use and to educate them on the history of opium in the
Golden Triangle and throughout the world, and build their commitment to join
the fight against illegal drugs.
This museum aims to be more than just a museum, and would
like to become an educational center for the youth of Thailand. They expect
100,000 students to visit their educational program in 2004. The museum
would like to become a research center of importance for South East Asia on
opium, opiates and other narcotics.
The exhibition ends with the ‘Hall of Reflections’, a
quiet room where people can reflect on what they have seen and learned. The
room will be well used, because there is so much to reflect on after
visiting this place.
The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday 10 a.m.-3.30 p.m.
telephone 053 652 151.